I received these items at no cost to facilitate my review. All opinions remain my own.
As I sit here shoving Twizzlers and Miss Vickie’s in my face, it might surprise you to know how important pure, safe, carefully crafted beauty products are to me. I’m not saying it makes sense; I’m just saying that I’m thoroughly committed to sourcing eco-friendly, body-friendly, recognizable-ingredient-heavy toiletries for me and my kids. In my defense, these products are applied to our bodies daily, sometimes more than once, while my junk food habit is a once (okay twice) weekly affair.
When one-half of the mother-daughter team behind New Brunswick’s Garden by the Sea 100% Natural Skincare & Teas reached out to me recently about a blog review, I was bloody thrilled. That is to say, I was thrilled, and I was bloody. The cracked skin on my hands had me staining Little Miss Cub’s onesies every time I changed her diaper.
My skin is most definitely repaired after applying Garden by the Sea Repair Cream nightly. I also use it on my nasty, cracked heels. It was a quick fix on my super-dry shins when capri weather caught me off guard in an unseasonably warm February. Garden by the Sea’s repair cream is also currently soothing the cuts on my shins, since apparently, I’m 33 years old and still can’t shave my legs properly.
The Garden Girls have more than my hands covered: they sent me a complete facial care kit for my acne-prone skin, plus shampoo, spray conditioner and even some fizzy relaxation treats.
Garden by the Sea Hair Care
For my dry scalp and dandruff-prone hair, I chose the “School Days” Tea Tree Shampoo Bar. Strong enough for lice-infested children, but made for flaky Mamas! (Or something like that.) I haven’t used a mainstream shampoo on my hair since transitioning to my homemade recipe when Cub was tiny. That was a long, long, month of nasty hair, so I’m not going back! Since I left the Herbal Essences and Pantenes behind, I’ve discovered I can easily get away with not washing my hair more than once or twice a week. Now that I have two kids and this whole blog business has turned legit, I appreciate the infrequent hairwashing even more. Getting my shampoo in a bar just takes my green haircare routine to the next level. One fewer bottle to toss in the recycling!
I rub the bar on my head and enjoy the light scent of tea tree and the lovely lather. Heck, I even repeat, because this bar is going to last me forever! I noticed a short adjustment period for my hair when switching over to the bar. My hair got greasy, but I have a quick fix. Dry shampoo made of arrowroot powder and cocoa powder before bed does the trick! I’ve been using the School Days bar for more than a month, my hair and scalp are totally adjusted and my locks are luxurious. (For real: shiny, soft, voluminous… camera ready!) I tend to use my dry shampoo trick to get one more day of presentable hair before I shampoo again.
Update 3/31/2016: I’ve now started using the Hippie Sudz bar, and I love it even more than School Days! My hair is even softer… I feel like I should be in a Pantene commercial. Also, my dandruff seems even less using this one!
What about conditioner? Well, I haven’t actually used conditioner in ages, but I was super curious about Garden by the Sea’s Apple Cider Vinegar Conditioning Hair Therapy. I often use a highly concentrated water and ACV treatment on my scalp if my dandruff gets out of control, so I was worried I would smell like salad dressing after using Garden by the Sea’s spray, which is a no-rinse treatment. I apply the ACV spray containing rosemary, tea tree and peppermint oil to my scalp out of the shower, then brush through. I let my hair air dry, and no one’s asking me to pass the croutons.
The best thing about this ACV treatment is that I can use it in between shampoos if I notice a few flakes. I spritz it on my scalp before bed, and no flakes in sight come morning time.
Garden by the Sea Clearly Beautiful Facial Care Line
To cope with my combination, acne-prone skin, the Garden Girls sent me four products from their Clearly Beautiful collection.
I’ve never used a bar cleanser before: I always thought it would be too drying. I’m now 100% converted to the Clearly Beautiful Facial Soap! As with the shampoo bar, I’m excited to be cutting back on packaging. (Bar shampoo and bar cleanser are also perfect for travel!) Clearly Beautiful Facial Soap cleans deep with Multani Mitti clay and contains grapeseed, neem, white grapefruit, bergamot, patchouli and tea tree oils. You know how some cleansers leave your skin feeling tight—like it might crack if you smile too hard? Definitely not the case with this bar! My skin is noticeably clearer after a month’s use.
After washing my face, I chase with some toner. I confess, I’ve never understood what toner is for. I asked Catrina at Garden by the Sea, and now I know! “Toners are astringents that help reduce pore size, cleanse excess oils, and remove surface dirt… you use toner after cleansing to remove any extra residue and minimize pores. You can also use it on its own to do a quick surface cleanse through the day.” I feel like I’m totally adulting when I apply toner. I also love to refresh my face during the day with a bit of toner. Little Miss Cub helps sometimes too!
The facial moisturizer in the Clearly Beautiful line contains (among other goodies) shea butter, grapefruit seed extract and lavender essential oil. It is super lightweight and leaves a matte finish.
I have always associated acne treatment with dryness. Any kind of moisturizer, I thought, would just make my skin oilier and more prone to pimples. Garden by the Sea has shown me that hydration and acne-care are not mutually exclusive! They sent me their Clearly Beautiful Evening Facial Serum to apply at bedtime after cleansing. The air in Calgary is so dry that when we first arrived here, I got nosebleeds all the time. When I got a facial over Christmas, I got an earful from the aesthetician about how dry my skin was. I’m no longer afraid to moisturize my face thanks to Garden by the Sea!
I’ve had the chance to try a couple of different green beauty brands for my blog, along with the myriad brands I’ve tried on my own. Garden by the Sea is my new favourite. Why? For one thing, their products work. But beyond that, it’s good value for your money, and you’re supporting a Canadian small business. With the recent ruling against Johnson & Johnson, hopefully more and more consumers are realizing that bigger is definitely not better when it comes to beauty brands!
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Order direct from Garden by the Sea. Orders of $100 or more ship for free in Canada!
Garden by the Sea also makes a full line of care products for babies and kids! Watch out for a review in April, and check out the line at Maman Loup sponsor, Lollypop Kids!