November 24, 2011

Gabriel and Zuzu Luxe Mascaras

My very first post on this blog was about Physcician's Formula Organic Wear Masacra, which I hated. So I figured it's about time I share with you some natural mascaras that I love. 

The ones I'm talking about are from Gabriel Cosmetics, and their more trendy line, Zuzu Luxe. I've tested both, and I personally can not distinguish between the two formulas. When I compared them side by side, the Gabriel formula was wetter, but I think that was because it hadn't been open for as long. They also have the exact same brushes and tubes. Gabriel mascara comes in black and black brown, and Zuzu Luxe mascara comes in black, brown, navy and clear.

I'm really amazed that they were able to make a mascara that performs this well with a pretty clean ingredient list. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'd owned several natural mascaras in the past, but it was not until I started using the Zuzu Luxe that I was actually able to part with my drugstore mascara. And that's really saying something for me, because I love full, thick lashes. I found that I really can layer this up a good amount without getting a clumpy, uni-lash mess. It gives a nice amount of volume, and length too. Here's a picture of it freshly applied (sorry for the puffy eyes - I've been getting allergies). 
Another great thing about this mascara is that it that it pretty much lasts all day. Here's pictures taken after a long day that included sweating and a 40 minute bike ride:
The product itself also lasts a long time without drying out. I've been using one tube for more than 2 months and it is still good (and yes, I know I probably should throw it out).

As with every single truly natural mascara out there, it may not live up to your holy grail mascara that you used before you got into the whole non-toxic thing (or maybe you still use because most natural mascaras are mediocre), but it comes very close to it. The reality is that those mascaras work so well because they are full of sythetics and other stuff you probably don't want near your eye. Gabriel/Zuzu Luxe gets close enough to the performance, and I am totally satisfied with it.

The one place for improvement might be the brush. Both mascaras have a pretty standard fiber spool brush. I could only imagine how well this product would work with a brush that has more full, open fibers, like my old favorite - L'Oreal Voluminous. However, I've read before that companies pour massive amounts of money into creating brush prototypes, which may not be feasible for smaller natural beauty brands.

Overall, I really recommend trying out these mascaras. They might just get you to throw out your mainstream mascara too. 

EWG Rating (preliminary): 2. Note: I believe the current rating on the database is based on an old formula. This rating is based on the ingredients listed on Gabriel's website. This product does contain three ingredients with a rating of 3.
IngredientsAqua (Infusion of Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice); Cellulose Gum; Sorbitol; Stearic Acid; Cetearyl Alcohol; Lecithin; Panthenol; Crithmum Maritimum (Sea Fennel) Extract; Tocopheryl Acetate; Euphrasia Officinalis (Eyebright) Extract; Xanthan Gum; Iron Oxides; Hectorite; Titanium Dioxide; Potassium Sorbate
Price: Gabriel is $15.20, Zuzu Luxe is $16.70

Disclosure: A sample of this product was provided by Gabriel Cosmetics. Opinions are 100% mine and I am not compensated for this review.

November 19, 2011

Egyptian Magic

I've been putting off reviewing Egyptian Magic for a while because I feel a little bit conflicted about it. I bought it because I'd read great reviews about it online. This is definitely a product with a lot of hype around it. The description the company uses only adds to this
Kamitian folklore recalls the existence of a miraculous skin cream secretly used by the great sages, mystics, magicians and healers of ancient kamit (ancient egypt), used as an anti-aging skin rejuvenation to maintain radiant, healthy, smooth and glowing skin. This egyptian magic is our take on this legendary skin cream, designed to leave your skin feeling smooth.
Obviously this isn't to be taken too seriously, but I did expect a lot from this stuff. Firstly, I think I would say that calling this a cream in a misnomer. It is a balm or salve texture, which is was a bit of a surprise for me because I ordered it online. It has as pretty neutral smell. I thought it was slightly odd at first but then I got used to it, and now I like it. A little bit goes a long way, so one tub should last a long time.

The company claims that Egyptian Magic is good for burns, cuts, scrapes, scars, rashes, eczema and psoriasis. I don't suffer from all of those ailments, so I can only speak to some of it's uses. Here are my experiences:

  • First off, I enjoy it as a moisturizer. It is way too heavy and greasy to wear during the day, but it is great as an overnight treatment. My skin got a bit clearer when I used this every night.  It's also a great thing to put around a sore nose when you're sick.
  • I had a skin biopsy several months ago, and the nurse told me to put Aquaphor on the spot to take care of it. Of course I wasn't going to use something that was composed mainly of petroleum jelly and mineral oil, so the first week I was stupid and didn't put anything on it. Then a light bulb went off and I figured I would try using Egyptian Magic. Overnight I noticed a huge difference in how much it had healed. Was it the Egyptian Magic or just a coincidence? I really don't know, but either way I continued to use it and the giant scab went away fairly quickly.
  • I also have a tendency to get eczema around my eyes. They get extremely itchy, and the saleswoman at Whole Foods suggested using Egyptian Magic. Unfortunately, I did not think this helped at all for that. (What does? Tea tree oil, but that's for another post...)
  • The first time I tried an Egyptian Magic hair masque, I didn't notice a huge difference. The second time I combined it with sweet almond oil and coconut oil, and it made my hair super soft. Then again, maybe it was the coconut oil or the sweet almond oil.
So as you can see, I do think this is a nice product, but I also do not think it's totally amazing. I can't argue with the simple list of natural ingredients: olive oil, beeswax, honey, bee pollen, royal jelly & propolis extract. And with so many applications, it's definitely useful. But is it a magic miracle cream? Not so much, in my opinion. The price is actually fairly reasonable compared to other brands because of the quantity you get. So while I still think it is expensive, if you use it a lot it is not too overpriced. I am still using it for my face at night and it provide nice moisture, but there are several other moisturizers I'd like to try before repurchasing this one. Also I'd really like to see more eco-friendly glass instead of plastic.

Ingredients: olive oil, bees wax, honey, bee pollen, royal jelly, bee propolis

Where to buy: $30.15 from 

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