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Test Divas: Ayurveda Rituals Tri Dosha Cleanser

By Carmelina Karas

If you’re anything like me, you like the feeling of a squeaky clean face after cleansing. However, if you’re also like me, you are not in love with the dry feeling you are left with as the cleanser has also stripped away your natural oils and hydration. Enter the Tri Dosha Cleanser from Ayurveda Rituals. This cleanser had me intrigued instantly by the look of the formula as the clear bottle showcased an ivory, opaque cream. I definitely wasn’t expecting a cleanser to look so thick and luxurious!

Before applying it to my face, I needed to know more. The ingredients list includes rose floral water, aloe vera gel, pomegranate seed oil, turmeric, and many essential oils including bergamot, lemon, rosewood and thyme. This is not your regular cleanser. In fact by the look of it, it seemed more like a moisturizer or facial treatment.

The question that everyone wants answered when discussing a cleanser is – does it actually clean your face? Not only was my face clean, although not squeaky, it also felt smooth, soft and hydrated. I have sensitive skin and sometimes get worried about using new products but because of its creamy base, it was delicate enough for me to use.

This product checked all my boxes for what I’m looking for in a cleanser and I’m interested in testing out the rest of the Ayurveda Botanical Skincare line in the future!

Test Divas: Sound Sleep Cocoon

By Carmelina Karas

Night creams are not new. There are many products that offer a night-time renewal or transformation since your skin absorbs ingredients best at night. However, I have yet to find one that actually helps you sleep! I bet if someone told you that you would not only wake up looking great but also after a restful night of sleep, you would be skeptical.

Let me share with you my experience with the new Sound Sleep Cocoon from Dermalogica. I too was skeptical. I was used to heavy night creams with moisture that soaked into my face overnight, but would wake up feeling greasy. The creams worked and my skin was hydrated, but so were my pillows, blankets, and pajamas! In addition, it took me a few rounds of tossing and turning to fall asleep and when I did, I was easily woken up by my own movements. When I heard about this new product that was more of a gel than a heavy cream that actually helps you sleep – I knew I needed to try it.

Within the first few days of adding the Sound Sleep Cocoon to my night-time routine, I knew this product was going to be a keeper. The delightful lavender smell was the first thing I noticed. I even put a little extra gel under my nose because of how soothing the scent was. I discovered from reading the ingredients that this product has motion-activated essential oils, including French lavender, sandalwood and patchouli, that released as I moved around during the night. The next benefit I noticed was the increase in my skin’s hydration. The fine lines and wrinkles were smoothing out overnight and my skin felt softer and more even.

The final benefit, and a bit of a surprise to me, was the website portal created for this new product – soundsleepcocoon.com. The website includes tips and further information on how to use the product. However, what I was not expecting is that the website has soothing sounds to help you sleep via a playlist by NuCalm! I played it right from my phone as I was sleeping and before I knew it, I was waking up the next day refreshed with soft, smooth, hydrated skin.

Test Divas: Lip Lock

SST Willpower

By Hermione Wilson

I used to think wearing lipstick required a sacrifice. You could have this bold, beautiful lip colour but in order to have that you had to accept the fact that your lips would feel dry and cracked the whole time, and have to refresh your lipstick every 10 seconds.

And yes, before you ask, I did put on lip balm first, but it didn’t seem to help. Inevitably I would start to feel the moisture leaching out of my lips and have to fight the irresistible urge to lick them. Pretty soon the lovely colour I put on at the beginning of the night was everywhere – my water glass, my napkin, my fingers – except on my lips.

Me in lipstick_RSZDSo needless to say, I didn’t really like wearing lipstick except on very rare special occasions. That is, until I discovered SST’s Signature Power Stay Lipstick “Willpower”, a lovely shade of matte red that give me a bold lip without being blindingly glossy. But the best part about this lipstick is that it contains Vitamin E and beeswax, so no dry lips!

I think I’m in love. I never get that horrible desert-dry feeling with the Power Stay Lipstick, eveSST Lipstick 2_RSZDn after it sets, and it doesn’t move around once it does, so no more smudges on my water glass! SST’s long-lasting lipstick has empowered me to start wearing lipstick more often, not just on special occasions. I never knew wearing lipstick could be so effortless and fun! I have tasted the sweet sweet fruit of a hydrating matte lipstick and I’m never looking back.

Test Divas: Summer Scents

By Hermione Wilson

As summer draws to a close (sad, I know) we’re looking back to the delightfully fragrant spa products that gave our noses the most pleasure this season:

Makes Scents smallMake Scents

Make Scents sent us a handmade body scrub and body butter from their Garden of Eden collection.

The predominantly lavender scent these products emitted took me right back to my childhood. I associate the smell with my grandmother, who is an avid gardener and has always been fond of sprinkling her chest of drawers with dried lavender. Applying the Makes Scents body scrub on myself was a bit awkward – this is really a product meant to be administered by a spa professional while you lie supine on a massage bed.



Yummy Skin 2 smallYummy Skin

Yummy Skin sent a lovely pink and tan bag filled with deliciously fruity smelling hand and body lotions and sugar scrub samples. I haven’t yet dug into the scrubs, but I’ve been using the lotions everyday and I’ve become pretty compulsive about sniffing my hands every time I put them on. I recommend not doing this if you’re feeling hungry because the scents of these lotions will have your mouth watering.







tea smallSahara Tea

This last batch of spa products has been great as the weather starts to cool. Again, it’s the delicious smells that make these loose leaf organic teas so special. And not only do they smell great, they taste even better. The teas are so rich you can taste every berry, every herb, every spice. My favourites were the wonderfully nutty and earthy 100 Mysteries and Karmic Chamomile, a fresh fruity combo with an exotic flair. The collection also came with empty tea pouches that can be filled by hand. Stuffing the pouches by hand really gives you a sense of ownership over the process. It forces you to slow down, consider your choice, and take lots of delicious whiffs while the water is boiling. Definitely an experience to share with a good friend and fellow tea lover.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Test Divas: OPI Spring Haul

When we got a veritable bouquet of OPI nail polishes in the mail, including their new Color Paints collection, we knew we had to share the love with the whole office! The test divas here at Spa Inc Magazine pitched in to test drive the new shades, snap Nailfies (that’s nail selfies) and document their first impressions. We invite you to wonder through our spring garden of beautiful OPI polishes. Enjoy!

OPI Swag_blog



Me wearing Tiramisu_blogSpring is in the air! I usually go for a brighter bolder shade when the weather starts to warm up, but I decided to try a neutral for the first time. OPI’s Tiramisu For Two contrasted nicely with my skin tone and didn’t fade into the background like I thought it would. It’s light and airy and wonderfully ladylike. This is definitely a shade I could see myself wearing on the regular. Like jeans and a tailored blazer, it goes with everything!





RobertaSpring has sprung and my feet, like the rest of me, are glad to see the sunlight and be out of boots and shoes. So to be able to “put my best foot forward” I used OPI Worth A Pretty Penne and I love it!







Theresa (and daughter)

From Theresa_blogWhenever I bring home goodies like nail polish, my four-year-old daughter is quick to volunteer as a tester. This time she asked to try Pen And Pink from OPI’s Color Paints line. I applied one coat of the pink-red polish and we both loved the look. It’s sheer and fun, and the perfect touch of girlie for someone usually accustomed to the rough and tumble world of her brother.








From Beth

O Suzi Mio went on well and very easily with very little mess. The colour is cool because it’s dark, but it’s not too dark. I usually don’t like a deep purple. I usually like brighter colours but I definitely like this one. Since it’s different to what I usually wear, it’s refreshing.








Loving this vibrant blue Venice The Party? OPI nail polish – even though it’s not the typical spring shade! I’m definitely a blue jeans kinda girl, so I’m happy Venice The Party? matches almost everything in my spring/summer closet. Now the only thing missing is the warm weather!










Marian I like that Silver On Ice is a neutral colour, but it still has some glitter and shine to it. It’s good quality and it went on smooth.  









20150521_215423_resizedIt goes on nice and smooth, and I like the thickness of the brush and polish. It dries fast, which is nice, and has a lovely shine to the colour.

Test Divas: My Le Mieux Holiday Spa Day

By Hermione Wilsonspa day 1

When I got four delicious Le Mieux skin care products in the mail before Christmas it was like receiving an early present. I couldn’t wait to take them home over the break and try them out!

Altogether, there were two cleansers – the Phyto-Nutrient Cleansing Gel and the Phyto-Marine Cleansing Lotion – the Essence Toner and the Hyaluronic Shea Mask. Of all the products, I was most excited to try the mask. I love the drama of a good facial mask. I love slathering the thick solution on my face, lying under it for a few blissful minutes and feeling it start to work on my face. I love the reveal afterwards, the watery unveiling, and the fresh new feeling my skin is left with. I always fantasize that when I take off the mask, another smoother lovelier face will be waiting beneath.Hyaluronic Shea Mask-2oz-2013-new copy

Well, reality is a little less dramatic but no less satisfying. Le Mieux’s Hyaluronic Shea Mask didn’t dry uncomfortably on my face or make my skin tingle. It felt creamy and rich, but not heavy, and when I rinsed my skin felt refreshed and smooth.

That was actually a common theme with all the Le Mieux products – they all left my skin feeling smooth and soft. My skin is naturally dry and the cold winter weather hasn’t helped, so I was happy to find that the Le Mieux products were very supportive of my skin’s moisture content. My second favourite product, Phyto-Marine Cleansing Lotion, was rich and creamy like the mask and left my skin feeling just as soft.  I’ve actually taken to adding it to my regular cleanser for extra moisture.

Essence Toner-6oz copyThat being said, I didn’t feel that the gel cleanser or the toner dried out my skin. In fact, I was surprised to find that, unPhyto-Marine Cleansing Lotion-6oz-new-2013like with drugstore toner, after applying the Essence Toner I didn’t even feel the need to use my regular facial moisturizer. I did, of course, but unsually I do it out of necessity because my regular cleanser leaves me feeling stripped of essential epidermis! I was a bit confused as to how I should apply the toner though. Was I supposed to spray it on my face and rub it in with my finger tips? When I tried spraying it onto a cotton swab and then applying it, I felt like the swab absorbed more toner than my skin did. If anyone knows the right way to do this, please let me know in the comments!

All in all, though, I was impressed by Le Mieux products. They were rich and gentle on my skin and they smelled great too!

spa day 2

Test Divas: ChiaDerm+ Products

ChiaDerm+ bills itself as “a superfood for your skin.” Their products contain Chia seeds and not much else. No parabens, filler, or chemicals; vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO – all in all, it sounds like it is good eat, but what does it do for your skin?

The Test Divas got a chance to test out two ChiaDerm+ products, the ChiaDerm+ Serum and ChiaDerm+ Balm. Here’s what we thought:

ChiaDerm+ Serum by Hermione Wilson, Staff Writer

chiaderm-product-serum-one-in-chia-seeds-1000x1000I chose to test the Serum because I was fascinated by the claim it made to improve acne. I’ve been struggling with acne since I got my first breakout at age 13. I thought once I hit the big 2-0 it would go away. No such luck. I’m nearing the end of my 20’s now and I think I’ve tried every acne product line on the market. Some have made it worse; at best they make no difference at all. I especially have to be careful when I choose a facial moisturizer. I have very dry skin so I have to balance the need for a formula that is heavy enough to provide the moisture I need, but light enough that it doesn’t clog up my pores and cause breakouts.

Adding a few drops of the Serum to my moisturiser – once in the morning and again before bed -felt great. The moisturizer I’m using at the moment is pretty thin, as it is oil-free, but sometimes, especially as the weather gets colder, it doesn’t seem to be enough. With the addition of the Serum, though, my moisturiser went on smoother and my skin felt soft without feeling oily.

After about a week of using the Serum, I noticed some new breakouts on my face and panicked. Granted, a week probably isn’t long enough to see any kind of improvement and my breakout could have another cause, but next time I would test the product out on other parts of my body first (I’m still a Test Diva in training, so bear with me!). Still, I like how the product feels, so I think I’ll try it on my neck and chest next. I’ve even put a few drops in my hand cream and it’s really soothing to my skin after it’s taken the daily abuse of multiple hand washes and the dry winter air.

I like that this product doesn’t have a bunch of ingredients I can’t pronounce. It’s simple and organic and it has a nice mild nutty smell to it. I can’t speak to the ChiaDerm+ Serum’s acne-fighting properties as yet, but as a moisturizer it’s very effective.


Emma Corso_CROPChiaDerm+ Balm by Emma Corso, Co-op Student

One of my friends is currently on a health kick. And so, for the past three weeks, I’ve spent the bus ride to co-op listening to her rant about whatever new food, supplement, or vitamin she’s taking, and one of the things that seemed to pop up quite often were Chia seeds. She has them every day (puts them in her lemonade, of all things), so when I was given the opportunity to test the ChiaDerm+ Balm, I decided I’d go to her for answers before I started using the product.chia_derm_balm_seeds

It turns out that Chia seeds are one of the healthiest things out there – when it comes to food. They’re packed with tons of nutrients, fibers, proteins and antioxidants, so they’re not only good for your body and brain, but they can also help reduce the risk of heart disease, among other things. Now, in applying all this stuff to the balm I was going to start using, I got pretty excited. This product is completely organic, and Chia seed extract is the main ingredient. Immediately upon opening it I already knew I liked the way it smelled, but only time would tell how it worked, and after the week I spent using it, I’ve decided that I really like this product.

I used it primarily on my lips (they tend to get extremely chapped in the winter, so I always carry one or two balms and some Polysporin® in my bag), but the instructions said it also worked well to reduce redness and scarring, so I put it on areas where I experienced both of those things (primarily due to dryness), and really began to notice a difference nearing the end of the week. I only used it twice a day, before I went to bed and once I got up in the morning, so it might have worked better if I’d used it more frequently, but I did start to notice a change in my skin by about the 6-day mark. It also helped reduce my dark circles. The one thing I’d like to comment on is the Balm’s “anti-aging” ability. Being sixteen (soon-to-be seventeen), I’m not in dire need of anti-aging products just yet, but as soon as I told my mom about it, she wanted it. She already knew about the health benefits of Chia seeds, so the “anti-aging” thing was an added bonus. I had to keep it in my room to stop her from using it all before the week was over, seriously.

I’m not too experienced with beauty/skincare, but everyone’s got a few favourite products that they consistently use because they just seem to work. I haven’t been using the Chia Derm+ Balm for very long yet, so I’m definitely going to continue using it for at least a few more weeks, and I’ll hopefully get even better results.

I don’t think I’m ready to go back to my old products just yet.


Test Divas: Antipodes’ Top Picks

By: Jodee Cave

The Test Divas were lucky to enough to try out some of Antipodes’ best products, fresh from New Zealand and we HAD to share our top picks!

Antipodes is new to the Canadian market. The line is infused with certified organic ingredients from fully sustainable sources and can be used by people of all ages and various skin types. We’ll tell you about the products that really stood out in our opinion and would love to know your thoughts!



Grapeseed Butter Cleanser: This unique cleanser really gives you the best of both worlds! Not only does it clean deep down to remove impurities, but with the addition of nourishing cocoa butter and combination of calming oils, it leaves the face hydrated and fresh and helps to really soothe the skin. The key ingredient that sets the cleanser apart from the rest is the inclusion of Vinanza Grape, a high-level antioxidant found in sauvignon blanc grape seeds of New Zealand. This ingredient aids in repairing free radical damage and instantly revitalizes the skin. It works wonders for dry patches and uneven skin.




Kiwi Seed Oil Eye Cream: This little cream packs a powerful punch! Loaded with super-rich vitamin C harvested from the seed of the New Zealand kiwi, carrot seed, avocado oil and aloe gel. It’s rich, yet lightweight formula works to repair damaged tissue around the eyes and provides a soothing sensation on the treated area. This has definitely become a staple in our beauty regimen and just might be the same for you!




Apostle Skin Brightening Serum: The skin brightening serum is a water-based product which aids in targeting uneven skin tone to help restore the skin. Infused with Waiwera mineral water, this serum rejuvenates the skin and restores moisture. The inclusion of antioxidant-rich Vinanza Performance Plus aids in reducing discolouration in melanin and combats redness. This serum smells incredible and will leave your face smelling delicious all day! It contains light exfoliating agents of kiwi enzyme, oxifend from red grapes to give the skin a polished glow, and Mamaku black fern and Reishi mushroom to promote healthy cell renewal and a fresh, bright complexion. This product is a perfect pairing with the Antipodes Juliet Skin-Brightening Gel Cleanser to really blast those blemishes!


We would love to hear about your diva experience with Antipodes. Try it out and tweet us @SpaIncMag or leave your comments below!


Test Diva: 100% Pure Products


By Ammi Parmar, High school editorial intern


 clip_image002100% Pure Mint White Tea Moisturizer  

Having combination to oily skin I was super worried about trying out these products. My skin can be very sensitive so changing moisturizer can cause my skin to cry out in breakouts. Learning that the 100% Pure Mint White Tea Moisturizer works for normal to oily skin types I got excited, hoping maybe that this moisturizer would do the trick. My biggest concern was the strong mint scent irritating my sensitive skin. To my surprise, it did the complete opposite. The scent although strong at first, once applied is so calm and gentle my skin did not complain. It was able to moisturize my skin without clogging my pores, while feeling super lightweight. The plus side for me was that it was able to control my oily skin throughout the day and not many moisturizers do that for me.


clip_image002100% Pure Rose and Calendula Water Serum

The 100% Pure Rose and Calendula Water Serum was something I was incredibly excited to use, for I’ve never tried a water serum before. The lightweight absorbency of this product worked. However, if you have skin like mine, which is combination to oily, I wouldn’t recommend it, especially if your skin is oilier. I found that it almost over-moisturized my skin, causing it to then breakout. If you have normal to dry skin, this is perfect for you. If you find that your skin is in other words loose, the Rose and Calendula Water Serum should work to improve skin firmness and elasticity. Being a 17-year-old, that wasn’t one of my concerns. The fact that it is 100 per cent natural and 100 per cent vegan is another perk, allowing you to have beautiful skin while being good to the environment and your skin.


Test Diva: Erbaviva Organic Skin Care Products

By: Lindsay Grummett

Erbaviva began back in 1996 as an organic baby skincare line and then expanded to include items for mothers-to-be and general consumers. While the product lines have grown, the company’s philosophy remains the same: create pure products that are consciously crafted with herbs and botanicals while being free from harsh detergents, chemical fragrances and other additives.

As a lover of organic products, I was excited to try out some of the Erbaviva items and was sent a body lotion and a bug spray. Now, I know the bug spray doesn’t exactly scream spa, but since many of our readers are organic enthusiasts as well as mothers, I thought it was a worthy inclusion. My sister-in-law, Ally, took on the role of Test Diva for the bug spray since she lives in the middle of nowhere and knows a little something about mosquitoes. Before we get to Ally, here’s my review of the body lotion:

Relax Body Lotion

relax_lotionLast year I wrote a story about “Employing Aroma as a Business Strategy” and ever since I’ve been really into aromatherapy. I now have a little collection of essential oils that I use for an energy boost or to help reduce stress.

That being said, I was really excited to try Erbaviva’s Relax Body Lotion because it’s infused with the essential oils of lavender, rose and neroli (which comes from orange blossoms). The product has an amazingly organic scent with noticeable hints of the lavender. The smell isn’t too strong and I find it to be truly relaxing. Not only that, but the lotion performs well, too. It made my skin feel moisturized and incredibly soft. I was really impressed with the product and would definitely purchase it in the future.




Organic Buzz Spray

buzz_sprayI recently received a bottle of Erbaviva Organic Buzz Spray from my sister-in-law. I was skeptical at first as I have tried other organic sprays in the past and I found they weren’t very effective. I live in the country surrounded by thick forest and the bugs can get very bad! I am not comfortable using products that are loaded with chemicals on my 3-year-old (or myself) and with the warm weather arriving, I was on the hunt for a good natural product so I could play outside with my daughter.

I am happy to say that I have found my “go to” product in Erbaviva! To put this spray to the test, I took my daughter to the drive-in theatre with my friend and her two small children. We sprayed everyone with the product and even sprayed some in her SUV. We opened the back and enjoyed two full movies without a single bug bite! We could see the bugs outside but not a single one came into her car! The best part about this product is that there was no chemical smell. My friend’s son has sensitive skin and this product didn’t cause any reaction. In my opinion, Erbaviva’s Organic Buzz Spray deserves a 10/10!


photoBug-free movie night with the kids!