Monday, March 17, 2014

- - Saffron Rouge Inner Circle | March 2014 Review - -

Hi friends!

Yay - the latest Inner Circle package arrived last week! As I keep saying time and time again, this is my favourite subscription and I wait for its arrival at my doorstep anxiously every month. The shipping was stellar this month - I got the shipping notification on the 12th and I received my package the very next day.

Read further for a closer look at this month's Inner Circle package...
What is Saffron Rouge?
Saffron Rouge is an online eco-friendly & organic retailer (that operates in Canada) whose monthly subscription, Inner Circle, provides deluxe samples of products from organic beauty brands around the world. 

Frequency: monthly 
Cost: $24.99 + tax (in total, I am charged ~$28) 
Ships To: Canada, U.S., internationally 
Bonus: A 10% off discount comes with every box (this month there was 20% off!)

Unlike many subscription services, Inner Circle products are not curated for each individual. Instead, the products are curated around a theme. Although everyone gets the same products (colours may vary), the items are pretty versatile in their use.

Rewards Program: Saffron Rouge has a rewards program that is conveniently available to all of its customers. As you order from Saffron Rouge, an account is automatically created for you that is associated with the email that you order with. For every 2,750 points you earn, you are able to redeem a $50 gift certificate that is transferable and never expires. I'm not sure how many points you earn with regular purchases (some items will offer bonus points), but you do get 75 points for every Inner Circle package you purchase.

Previous Inner Circle reviews:

I love taking photos of the moment just after opening up the package but before taking anything out. The way that Saffron Rouge designs their product brochures and the way they fold it into the package - you just never know what kind of colours will surprise you each month! :)

This month, there was a bright green brochure. My first thoughts were: "Aha! St. Patrick's Day!"

Product brochure

The theme for March revolves around on-the-go products that cleanse, energize and get you through your day.

What a pleasant surprise - this month Saffron Rouge included a code for 20% off their online store, whereas usually it's only 10%.

I never seem to make the most of these discounts. Hmm...I really should one of these days - especially with the awesome products I've been discovering. I think what always throws me off is the shipping cost. I know for sure my orders wouldn't go over $50; however, the shipping would then cost me $12.45. I imagine that you would receive your package pretty quickly, but I still think that $12.45 is a fairly high shipping fee - especially for a company that is based out of Canada. Makes me happy that the shipping is complimentary for Saffron Rouge packages.

Of course, the shipping cost does decrease if you spend over $50 (free shipping when your order reaches $100), but I honestly just don't think I would be spending more than $50 at one time. Maybe it's easier to spend over $50 on Saffron Rouge than I think?

Interestingly enough, the $12.45 shipping cost is the same as if I were living in the U.S. and ordering less than $50 of products from there. Hmm...

Anyways, I digress. Let's talk about this month's products!


* Please note that all the prices are in Canadian Dollars *

1 || Eye Serum (Kahina Giving Beauty)
        (Sample size: $29 for 5 mL - Thanks, Tonya! | Full size: $87.00 for 15 mL/0.5 fl.oz)
        (Link to product)

This is a brand that I an unfamiliar with, but I'm looking forward to trying out this product!

(Edit: 17/03/14) Thanks to Tonya of Little Sustainable Me, I now know the size of this sample! After doing some calculations, 5 mL of this product comes out to about $29 (CAD), which does give you some perspective about the full-sized bottle ($87 for 15 mL). Saffron Rouge often has the cheapest price point available for products like this. However, while I haven't been able to find a cheaper option for the full-sized bottle, eBay does have a few listings of these Xela packets for much reasonable prices. You could essentially buy three packets (15 mL) for more than half the price of a full-sized bottle. Here are the links to the general Kahina Giving Beauty eye serum listings: |

I'm thinking that to make the most of this sample I'm going to use a small binder clip after I open up this packet.

2 || Transformative Cleansing Clay (Suki)
         (Sample size: ~$6.5 for 4 mL/0.13 fl.oz | Full size: $51.50 for 30 mL/1 fl.oz)
         (Link to product)

Hmm. It's a bit surprising to see that only one Suki foil packet was included in Inner Circle packages this month - usually there are two.

In any case, I don't think I've gotten a sample of the Suki cleansing clay before. This products is supposed to be "a 3-in-1 purifying, inflammation soothing, blemish reducing cleanser/masque/targeted spot treatment" that "calms skin, deep cleanses & unclogs pores, soothes redness & inflammation, formulated for acneic, inflamed & blemish-prone skin." I find it interesting that you can use this product as either a cleanser or a masque. 

I'm always a bit nervous to leave product that I've never tried before on my face for long periods of time - even more so after my experience with the Nivea cream last month. I often make sure to do a patch test before putting anything on my face, but sometimes I guess I just don't keep the product on long enough on to indicate whether or not I'll get an allergy to it. While I'm still on the topic, I've recently found a good guide to testing out makeup products before purchasing them. I'm sure a lot of you ladies already know about this process, but it's still something that's worth looking into.

3 || Thickening Mascara in Jet Black (Living Nature)
         (FULL SIZE: $31.90 for 8 mL/0.25 fl.oz)
         (Link to product)

"This product contains only ingredients created by nature and is both synthetic and animal free." 

I have a habit of alternating mascaras within a small time frame because I've been noticing more and more that various mascaras create their own unique effect. This is definitely a step up from my naive assumption that mascaras were pretty much all the same.

Lately, I've been really drawn to mascaras that create the look of clump-free, lengthy and separated eyeshashes, and so far I have been pleasantly surprised by the Elizabeth Mott mascara I received in Beauty Box 5 last month. Why do I mention this? Because I find that the Living Nature mascara achieves the same effect. :)

PLUS..........wait for smells nice! I couldn't put my finger on it, but after checking the ingredients I realized that it smells like lavender! This is a first for me because I have yet to come across mascara that doesn't smell like...well, mascara - if that makes any sense?

Haha, what a coincidence - I was just looking at the packaging in more detail and I noticed that it says: "Patch test before use." I'm not sure if I've ever come across a product that explicitly recommends doing a patch test. Have you guys?

Interestingly enough, there's also an expiration date for this product that is set at: "Feb 2015." I'm guessing this applies for unopened mascara since the little "open jar" symbol says "3M" on it, and 3-4 months is roughly how long you should be using your mascara for anyways.

4 || Grape Stem Cell Solutions Cleansing Milk (ilike)
         (Sample size: $5? | Full size: $70.00 for 250 mL/8.5 fl.oz)
         (Link to product)

"This Cleansing Milk is filled with moisture-rich ingredients that not only help relieve dry, flaky, patchy skin, but that effectively remove makeup as well. And with its natural ability to supply the skin with powerful antioxidants, this age-defying cleansing milk will rejuvenate and hydrate to perfection."

What an intriguing product! This is basically a cleanser that moisturizes the skin and removes makeup. I think that when I do get around to using it, I'll mainly evaluate it on the basis of removing makeup.
The intriguing aspect of this Hungarian product is that it contains Vitis Vinifera Fruit Meristem Cell Culture = grape stem cells. 

In brief, stem cells are undifferentiated cells that are valued for their regenerative properties. There are two basic types: human and plant. Most cosmetic products with stem cells that are on the market today contain the latter. 

Here's an explanation of plant stem cells:

"Plant-derived stem cells typically are obtained from plants and fruits that can stay fresh for a long time or regenerate on their own, like Swiss apples, gotu kola, and grapes. Extracts of these stem cells are added to products to help neutralize free radicals and fight signs of aging and sun."

At this point, how effective plant stem cells are is largely unknown. For now, I've only come across testimonies of products being great moisturizers.

Please note that where the stem cells are on the ingredients label matters quite a bit. The ingredients are always listed in descending order: with the predominant ingredient listed first and the least-present stated last. Therefore, to get the most out of a stem cell-based product, always check to see if it's at the top of the list. The ilike cleanser lists grape stem cells as the 8th ingredient out of a list of 27, so chances are that it has got a good amount of stem cells included.

If you'd like more information about stem cells, here are a few places you can check out:

As a last note, kudos to ilike for encouraging patch testing: "Test on inner arm if prone to allergies."

5 || Energizing Ginger Lime Body Oil Travel (Primavera)
         (Sample size: $12 for 30 mL/1 fl.oz | Full size: $42.00 for 100 mL/3.4 fl.oz)
         (Link to product)

There was some variety in this month's Inner Circle packages. Some people got the Energizing Ginger Lime Body Oil, while others received the Cleansing Juniper Cypress Body Oil. I received the former.

I haven't had a chance to try it out yet but just like with many products I've been receiving from Inner Circle, this one focuses on moisturizing.  It also promises to "combat dry, itchy skin without leaving your skin feeling greasy."

By the way, the lime scent is strong and enchanting, but I'm hoping that it doesn't become too overpowering once I start using this product.

6 || Lip Balm (Dr.Hauschka)
         (FULL SIZE: $19.00 for 4.2 g/0.14 fl.oz)
         (Link to product)


I've slowly becoming used to Dr.Hauschka products and from what I've seen and experienced, the brand really does product high quality products. This lip balm promises to promote "skin cell renewal" and "moisturize lips with a translucent shine that can be used under your favourite lip colour products."

It's a little difficult to apply this lip balm because it's in a small container and you can only get so much product on your finger with one swipe. I'm going to see if I can use one of my brushes for it. Even then though - would I really be pulling this out in public to brush on some lip balm? I'll probably just test this out at home and use it as a base for lip products as is suggested.

Note: this product contains peanut oil. 

(Edit: 18/03/14) Today I started using the brush from the Suki Luscious Lips Trio, which I received in my December Inner Circle package, to help me apply this lip balm. Gosh, what a difference it makes! Initially, I didn't actually expect for this Dr.Hauschka lip balm to be so creamy, but it is! I strongly recommend using a small brush as an applicator (as opposed to your fingers) to get the most out of this product.

7 || Mini Solar Day Cream (The Body Deli)
         (Sample size (mini): $19.25 for 10 mL/0.3 fl.oz | Full size: $50.50 for 60 mL/2 fl.oz)
         (Link to product)


 "Solar Defense contains micronized zinc oxides, a natural mineral sunscreen that reflects the damaging UVA/UVB sunrays and provides the equivalent of SPF 15 in natural sun protection. Potent herbal anti-oxidants such as olive leaf extract and pumpkin seed oil are used to protect against environmental stress. Full spectrum antioxidants such as vitamin C, Coenzyme Q10, tocotrienols and cold pressed pumpkin seed oil, all work to minimize free radical damage. This cream is perfect for normal skin that requires daily nourishment and environmental protection. This Mini-version is ideal to toss in your travel bag."

I stay indoors most days so sunscreen isn't something that I need a lot of, which is good because this product is not a replacement for sunscreen. I like that the cream, card, and the mini cosmetic scooper came in their own bag. 

I'm going to give this cream a try and then I'll let you know how it goes.


|| Total Value: $122.65 (CAD) ||
After talking a lot about patch tests and stem cells, we've finally reached the end of this review. Woo! I love that there's always something new to learn about a product from Saffron Rouge, which I'm sure is the point of the Inner Circle subscription - to expose yourself to various natural and organic products/brands and to educate yourself about them. As always, the total value for this month's package is through the roof and that's without counting the Kahina sample!

I would like to say: "All in all, yet another great month for Inner Circle!"...but I'm sure you are probably tired of hearing me say that, so I will just let the products speak for themselves. :)

If you would like to subscribe to Inner Circle, you can do so here.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Cheers! -A.~

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