Finding the Perfect Eco-Friendly Cup of Coffee

Beaver Rock Coffee Ontario

Eco friendly coffeeI love coffee.  I love it.  I love the process of making it, pouring it, and drinking it. I like how it tastes and that it brings me alive in the morning.  I’ve tried switching to decaf, and I’ve tried switching to green tea (and decaf green tea) to make sure it wasn’t having an impact on my rosacea symptoms.  As far as I can tell, this is one of the one things in my diet that I love and that doesn’t make my cheeks redder (provided I let it cool down before drinking it).

That said, throughout my transition to a rosacea-friendly lifestyle, I’ve quite coincidentally started living a greener lifestyle, too. I’ve come to like it and have a taste for living greener.  Soap nuts instead of traditional laundry detergent. Natural skin care full of ingredients I’ve read about and understand. A cleaner diet made with more whole foods and less junk.  It was natural for coffee to make it into my efforts to improve what I’m putting in my body.

As a result, I’m adding a new Green JulieBC section to my Rosy JulieBC blog, to share some of the eco-friendly and natural treasures I’ve discovered as a result of living the Rosy Life.

Changing Coffee Habits

I’d always bought my coffee at the grocery store.  At this time last year, if you’d asked me about my favourite type of coffee, I would have told you it was the Melitta medium-dark roast.  I didn’t have any specific intention of changing.  My main effort with coffee was to find a great sale.

Earlier this year, I attended a skin care webinar.  It was fascinating, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The webinar was held by M2 Brand Management, which often sends a gift pack to one lucky participant in each of its webinars. That day, that lucky participant happened to be me.

Bulletproof Coffee french pressI’d expected to receive a few skin care samples that were discussed in the video. What arrived at my door was a box filled to the brim with tons of full-size, awesome products.  One of those products was a certified clean coffee.

In my traditional way of doing anything, I started looking into the products I received, including the coffee.  I realized that I could be doing myself – and the planet – a big favour if I turned my love of coffee into a more eco-friendly habit.

A Better Cup of Coffee

Coffee roasters are not all created equal.  Every roaster treats its craft with its own skill and respect level.  There are lots of things to think about when you’re a coffee roaster.  It’s a business, of course, but even beyond operations, costs, marketing and all the business-related stuff, there’s a lot more.  Coffee beans provide a different taste and environmental impact, depending on where they come from.

The part of the world, the individual, farmer and even the specific crop will all impact final taste and environmentally-conscious growing techniques, among other things.  Some roasters are meticulous about controlling their eco-footprint.  These efforts are great for the world, but it also helps those of us who love coffee to get a better cup without the guilt from loving what we love.

Since I’ve started paying attention to this factor, I’ve brought my coffee enjoyment to a whole new level.  The coffee I used to drink before.  The coffee I’m drinking now is outstanding.  Here are some of the roasters – and the coffees – I’ve recently tried and that have impressed me.

The Coffee Roasters


Bulletproof Coffee LogoBulletproof coffee has fascinated me for a while. It’s found a unique place in the market because it’s not just about the coffee.  It’s also the “additives” like the Brain Octane Oil (which was also a part of my prize box).  To make a real Bulletproof coffee, it takes the coffee, the brain octane oil, and grass-fed ghee (clarified butter). Blend them together until they look like a latte.

The idea is to drink a great-tasting, clean coffee that will fill you up and give you the chance to burn fat, too. What appealed to me was the brand’s dedication to a clean product. It’s Rainforest Alliance certified, and claims it has been “Independently lab tested for 27 performance-robbing toxins.”  Not entirely sure what that means or what “toxins” they’re referring to – I couldn’t find where they specified – but it certainly sounded good.

I also love the idea that I’d be able to have a cup of coffee in the morning that would power me up without giving me jitters, anxiety or chest tightness/pains from too much caffeine.

Beaver Rock

Beaver Rock Coffee LogoBeaver Rock is a roaster I discovered while googling Ontario coffee roasters that are eco-friendly.  This is an outstanding brand. I highly recommend checking out their website to find out more about everything they stand for because there’s no way I’ll be able to do it justice here.

What stood out to me the most at first was their dedication to eco-friendliness.  Since the whole point to my search was to find a green company that also made suuuuper-great coffee, what drew me to this one at first was how much effort it was making to reduce any negative impact on the environment.  Check out some of the great things they’re doing to take the guilt out of each cup:

  • They recycle absolutely everything they possibly can throughout the full process. Even better, they also reuse as much as possible, including their packing materials, cardboard and even their shipping skids!
  • The chaff left behind from the green coffee beans once they’re roasted isn’t thrown away. They send it to local farmers who use it as a fertilizer and mulch.
  • The used burlap coffee bags are also reused! They’re given to local groups for use in neighbourhood gardens.  How awesome is that?

I purchase their whole beans in bags so I can grind them myself before making each pot of coffee.  That said, they also sell single-serve cups.  At first, that made me think they might not be as green as I’d previously suspected.  After all, single-serve cups are like plastic drinking straws.  They’re unnecessary and adding loads to our landfills…except in this case.

Beaver Rock has become the first roaster to offer a single-serve cup that is fully recyclable.  Will that make me think that single-serve cups are good for the environment? Nope. But they’re not going anywhere anytime soon – just like drinking straws – so I applaud this brand for coming up with a more eco-friendly option. In fact, they received the “Grocery Innovation Award” for this improvement in such an otherwise wasteful area.

While I was shopping there, I also learned why these recyclable cups are superior to the supposedly biodegradable cups some brands offer.  The reason is that those cups biodegrade so slowly that they aren’t accepted by most “green bin” municipal composting programs. In fact, they can’t even be legally labeled as “biodegradable” in California for just that reason.  So far, recycling seems to be the top option, and this was the first company to offer it.

Epic North

Epic North Coffee LogoAnother Ontario coffee roaster, I’d been eyeing this one’s website and finally had the chance to try it when I went to Kempenfest this year.  Kempenfest is a huuuuge arts, crafts, food, and music festival in part of Ontario’s “cottage country”.  Several rows of sellers wrap their way around the ‘U’ of Kempenfelt Bay, which is a part of Lake Simcoe. This year, there were over 300 artisans featuring their awesomeness. Lo and behold, just as I was approaching the booth from St. Jacobs that makes the best caramel apples in the whole world, I spotted Epic North’s booth. Finally, a chance to try their coffee!

Epic North caught my eye while I was looking for eco-friendly coffee roasters because they’ve thrown in a socially responsible component, too. They’re partnered with Organic Products Trading Company and Cafe Imports. They work directly with green coffee growers and build relationships with them to ensure these farms and families are being paid a fair premium price for their high quality product, and to improve sustainability during the growing process.

Even beyond that, what stood out to me was that one of their coffees, ROSC, supports first responders with every bag sold (more about that later).

The Coffees

I’d love to go on and on about what I loved and didn’t love about each of these coffees, but I’ve already written way too much, and while I feel like I know a good cup of coffee when I taste one, I’m hardly an expert in describing flavours.  Still, I’ve been trying some phenomenal coffees over the last while, and I do want to share my thoughts about each one.  Here goes!

Beaver Rock Cuban

Beaver Rock Cuban CoffeeStarting off strong – both with taste and preference – this is the best coffee I’ve ever tasted.  It’s my favourite all-time coffee, and I will be buying this for as long as the lovely people at the roaster’s store will tolerate my presence shopping there 😉  I recently sent a box of Ontario products to another YouTuber/blogger, Petite Stephy in a collab, and I wish this coffee had existed at that time because I would have loved to share it with her.

This coffee is a 5 on the darkness scale (I usually prefer a medium-dark roast and this one suits me perfectly.  Comparatively, their dark roast is a 7). It’s a full flavour and just slightly smoky without any hint of being burnt.  This coffee is smooth.  Very smooth.  No bitterness or sourness.  For me, this is the perfect cup of coffee.

Beaver Rock Dark Roast

Beaver Rock Dark Roast CoffeeThis was the first coffee I tasted from Beaver Rock and, until I tried the Cuban, this was my favourite all-time coffee.  It is dark without any charred or burnt flavour. It is very smooth, and I can make a strong cup of it without losing that smoothness.  I love a strong cup of coffee, but many coffees reveal their drawbacks when you make them strong.  Not this one.  It’s a 7 on the darkness scale and ideal for anyone who loves a dark roast.  It’s clear that this is made with skill because it’s easy to go too far with dark roasts.  This one sure doesn’t. It’s completely balanced.

Beaver Rock Black Cherry

Beaver Rock Black Cherry CoffeeThis is one of the most unique flavoured coffees I’ve ever tasted.  I’m thrilled with it.  To be clear, I’m not normally a flavoured coffee person. No flavoured coffee appeals to me in the morning. I save these for Saturday or Sunday afternoons. I like to have several from which to choose so I can complement the mood I need to have.  If I’m writing Irys (I’m a book author as my “real job,” and I’m currently working on the second last step before the third book in the Perspective series is published on Halloween this year), it needs to be something that feels sweet yet elegant. If I’m blogging, something more like this Black Cherry.

It doesn’t taste like black cherry flavoured candy.  It tastes like coffee with a hint of the actual fruit. It’s subtle, smells incredible and perfect for when I wants something special without being sweet or too playful.

Beaver Rock Crème Brûlée

Beaver Rock Creme Brulee CoffeeI drool over this Crème Brûlée coffee.  Godiva used to make a crème brûlée flavoured coffee, and it was my absolute favourite when I was writing Irys.  It feels special, high end and like something Irys would drink if she ever had something in her cup other than what is likely the finest tea on Qarradune.

Beaver Rock’s version of this flavour is even better. Every time I smell this coffee, I’m hungry.  Even if it’s not brewing. If I get too close to the bag, my mouth waters.  Once it’s brewing, it tastes just as good as it smells.  It doesn’t fail to be rich, flavourful and like an expensive dessert.  At the same time, because it’s a fine coffee, I get to enjoy that dessert with all the smoothness and creaminess, but without being overly sweet.  Because this is a coffee, I get all the flavours, none of the sugars. I’m thinking of making a cup right now.  By the time I’m done writing this, I likely already will have.

Beaver Rock Koffee Krisp

Beaver Rock Koffee Krisp CoffeeThe Koffee Krisp flavour surprised me. I was expecting something quite close to a Coffee Crisp bar.  It’s described as double chocolate and vanilla coffee on the brand’s website.  I definitely got a taste of chocolate and I definitely tasted the vanilla.  But somehow, it didn’t taste like Coffee Crisp to me.  The Koffee Krisp coffee struck me more as a s’mores flavour.

That could just be my uneducated pallet, but I could taste coffee, chocolate, and vanilla and when they all came together, it tasted like coffee, chocolate and homemade marshmallow.  It was definitely good. I certainly liked it.  It just didn’t strike me as the flavours I was expecting.  Of the three flavoured coffees from Beaver Rock I tried, this was my least favourite.  That said, I absolutely fall over myself for their coffees, so that’s definitely not saying something negative about the taste of this one!

Epic North ROSC

Epic North ROSC CoffeeEpic North, as previously mentioned, has a coffee they sell to support first responders.  Instead of choosing the flavour I was most likely to enjoy – which, as previously mentioned, would be a medium-dark roast) – I picked the one that would give $9.11 of its proceeds to that cause.

ROSC stands for “return of spontaneous circulation.” It’s a medium roast that combines Costa Rican and Columbian beans.  The official description of the taste says it has notes of “cherry, dark chocolate and butterscotch.” I don’t think my pallet is good enough to pick up those flavours.  To me, this is what I think of when someone says “very good cup of coffee.”

To be honest, my first impression of this coffee wasn’t a fair one. I used the same measure of beans as I previously have when making coffee from whole beans.  I ground the amount, and it brewed and the result tasted like something I’d get at a diner.

Being the second chance-giver I am, I boosted the bean count the next time I made the coffee and what a difference! Yum!  I’d still prefer a darker roast, but, as I said, I chose this one knowing it was a medium roast because of the social cause it supported.

This coffee was extremely smooth without a single hint of bitterness.  It’s the kind of coffee I’d serve to guests because I know not everyone likes a cup as dark and strong as I do.  This is the type of all-around coffee you can serve with confidence when you’re making it for a group.

Still, I will want to give its other coffees a try now that I know how smooth their ROSC is. I think their Freeride (dark roast) or Watt/Kilo (espresso blend) would likely be more up my alley. If I get the chance to try them out, I’ll be sure to do another review or add to this one.

Bulletproof (French Kick + Brain Octane)

Bulletproof Coffee and Brain OctaneThis was the coffee that got me trying all these new options in the first place.  I tried the French Kick, which is a dark roast.  Overall, what I’d say about the coffee on its own is that it is a good, decent coffee.  It’s not as strong or full flavoured as I’d prefer from a good dark roast, but it holds its own and it’s not bitter at all.

That said, the whole point to Bulletproof coffee is to drink it with the Brain Octane.  This is what is supposed to make you feel fuller, help your body to burn fat if you’re doing a keto diet (which I’m not) type of eating plan, and that is supposed to give you a ton of energy.  That ton of energy is what appealed to me the most.  I work 12-14 hours per day, and I suffer from regular insomnia. If I can get more oomph from my coffee, I want it.

As I said, the coffee is nice.  I followed the directions for starting with the Brain Octane, which is essentially a modified coconut oil.  As per the directions, I also found some grass-fed unsalted butter (ghee) to add, too.  Yup, I oiled and buttered my coffee. You’re supposed to start small and ease your way into all that oil and butter.  Eventually, the goal is to add 2 tablespoons of the Brain Octane and 2 tablespoons of the butter.  I never made it that far.

In fact, I made it only as far as about 1 tablespoon of the oil and 1 teaspoon of the butter.  I blended and it looked frothy and gorgeous, like a luxury latte.  While it was freshly blended and piping hot, it tasted kinda awesome. Very surprising.  That said, I have rosacea, which means I can’t drink anything that is piping hot. I have to wait until everything cools down before drinking it or my face lights up to a colour halfway between a tomato and a beet.

I have to say that if you let this coffee cool down, the magic really goes out of it. It separates so there’s a pretty thick oil slick on the top.  Drinking through it distorts the taste and leaves an oily lipped and mouthed feeling that I can’t say I enjoyed at all. This, combined with the digestive issues it added to my day (I have some digestive struggles which include some unwanted symptoms when I have too much fat all at once, and I’m somewhat lactose intolerant, which doesn’t help, either), meant that the full-force Bulletproof coffee just wasn’t for me, particularly when I found out how much it costs.

One thing I do want to point out, though, is that the energy boosting from this drink is not just hype.  It’s amazing.  I loved every bit of it.  All alertness, no jitters.  I can still add a small amount of the Brain Octane to my coffee (no butter) and enjoy some improved alertness, but that’s about as far as I can go.

PHEW – so that’s all of them for now. I’m going to keep trying more local, eco-friendly and socially responsible coffees over time. I’m hoping to have a part-two eventually.

As a small note, in case you’re curious: I drink my coffee black – no cream, no milk, no sugar, no anything but coffee.  I have a regular everyday Sunbeam electric coffee maker that I use throughout the week. On the weekend, I use my Epicure French press.  I have a Hamilton Beach coffee and spice grinder (which I use exclusively for grinding coffee beans). I’m currently debating buying a drip system because the wonderful people at Beaver Rock assure me that the difference is outstanding.  Santa may be getting this request if I’m good this year!


Made in Québec! (My First Video Collab with Petite Stéphy)

Made in Quebec - Petite Stephy collab with Rosy JulieBC

Hi Rosy Friends! 🌸

I hope you’ve checked out my latest YouTube video.  If not, you’re in for a lot of spoilers here.  Just in case, I’ll add the video so you can have a look and find out what this post is all about before moving on to the rest!

Thanks for watching! I hope you liked it!

My First YouTube Collab

I have wanted to do a collab for a while.  I’ve also known that when I did my first collaborative YouTube video, it would likely be with Petite Stéphy.  I have watched every video she has ever added to her channel.  There’s just something about her that I find very relatable, friendly, and genuine.

When I finally got up the nerve to contact her, I immediately knew I wasn’t making a mistake.  What a lovely person! What a fantastic blogger!  You know when you get a feeling as though you’ve met someone in a former life?  That happened between us!  I think, despite my social anxiety (panic) disorder, if we met in real life, I’d be okay.  That’s saying a lot.

After a couple of fantastic IMs (she was even willing to accommodate the fact that phone calls are triggering for me and didn’t make me feel bad about it at all), we were all set with our video ideas and everything we needed to make it happen.

Sharing Our Local Treasures

I proposed the idea to send each other a box full of some of our favourite products. Petite Stéphy took that a step further with the inspired idea to exchange a box full of products made in our home provinces. Since she’s from Québec, and I’m from Ontario, it was a great way to share local treasures with each other that we may never otherwise have stumbled upon!

I had SO much fun putting together the box I sent Petite Stéphy!  I tried to shop in-person with as many of the brands as possible. I hunted down some of my top products from Toronto and throughout “Cottage Country,” from Innisfil to Collingwood, and from Barrie to Bracebridge, among other places.

In case you’re curious, check out her video here!

What I Got, and What I Thought

Of course, opening up the box Petite Stéphy sent me was just as much fun as creating the one I sent her!  Ontario and Québec sure have some beautiful products.  Amazing companies and brands out there! Of course, I’m sure that can be said about all the provinces, but I’m just speaking for this particular experience.

Here’s what I thought of all the beautiful products Petite Stéphy sent in my surprise box:

  • La Sublime (from Camellia Sinensis Tea House) –  This is a loose-leaf tea that is mild and soothing.  Perfect for bedtime.  It’s exactly what I was hoping it would be when I read the package.  It contains: chamomile, lemon grass, and wild rose.I’m not typically the biggest fan of chamomile, but the lemon grass and rose flavours were a perfect combination. It wasn’t anything like the bags I used to get at the grocery store.  This was a whole other level of yum! Ultra-soothing, this is the perfect tea for someone like me, since I struggle with sleep on a regular basis.  I thoroughly enjoyed this tea and all the fantastic info/instructions provided on the package.
  • Sweet and Salty Zen (from Fourmi Bionique Granola Company) – This was the perfect selection for me. I absolutely love granola in the morning.  I haven’t found one I like a lot that I can find locally, so I typically eat a plain muesli then add pumpkin seeds almonds, shredded coconut, and some fruit (berries, half a banana or something like that).  The Sweet and Salty Zen contains: pumpkin seeds, coconut slices, dark sesame seeds and Matcha tea in its granola!  YUM! It had about ten times the flavour of my normal breakfast! So delicious!  It felt as though I was really getting a treat in the morning.  I still have one serving left, and I’m saving it for Monday morning.  I want to start the week on a happy note.  Definitely something I’ll want to have again. I’m thrilled that I know this exists!
  • Hand Cream (from Kariderm) – If you’ve been following this blog or watching my YouTube videos, you know I have extremely dry skin.  That makes this hand cream the ideal skin care gift for me.  I was very surprised at how quickly it absorbed into the skin, even with such highly moisturizing ingredients. I have it sitting on my desk right now because it’s a great option to hydrate my hands without having to worry about leaving a slime layer on my keyboard. The smell is also delightfully fresh!
  • Mascara (from Zorah biocosmétiques) – This black mascara is a super-find!  My eyes are easily irritated by mascara.  Previously, I’d found only one brand that doesn’t mess with my ocular rosacea-prone eyes for one to two days following wear.  This Zorah mascara has now been added to my list of non-irritating mascaras!  It glides on smoothly without clumps or flakes.  It gives a beautiful black coating to each lash, and the design of the brush makes it easy to reach each one, top and bottom.  It lasted comfortably all day and was simple to remove with a microfiber “eraser” cloth, followed by my usual face cleanser.  The next day, my eyes felt completely fine! I’m astounded and very grateful to know about this mascara. I plan to do a make-up video using this one very soon.
  • Classic Summer Honey (from Miels D’Anicet) – This was such a curious product for me.  I love honey, and I am a regular shopper at a nearby apiary. I laughed when I received this because I’d sent honey to Petite Stéphy, too!  What impressed me about this one – aside from the taste, of course – was all the great info provided on the package, right down to the types of pollen used to make the honey, and the beekeeper behind the little bees who worked so hard to make the honey in the jar. I’ve always thought that the differences between one honey and the next are pretty subtle. I do have certain honeys that I prefer to others, but I never thought a taste difference would be drastic.  So I took the opportunity to test my theory. I sampled the honey I usually buy and then this honey…Holy wow!  What a difference.  They were both delicious, but I really could taste a significant difference. I’m not sure if I would have noticed if I hadn’t eaten one right after the other, but having tried it that way, I can see that they are nothing alike.  Amazing!

Big thanks to Petite Stéphy for agreeing to collab with me and for selecting such fantastic Québec products for me to try.  I hope this won’t be the last time we work together on such fun and fascinating experiences 🙂


ZENMED Skin Care Product Reviews (Used on Rosacea-Prone Skin)

Zenmed Skin Care Products for Rosacea - Rosy JulieBC

Zenmed Skin Care Products for Rosacea - Rosy JulieBCHi Rosy Friends! Over the last few months, I’ve had the privilege of trying a huuuuge number of ZENMED products.  In fact, I’ve tried so many that I started this blog post in March 2018 and now it’s already halfway through June, and I’m just getting it finished (including rewriting this introduction, of course, because the original was completely out of date).

I’m going to do my best to keep this concise because the products are fascinating, so I’ll be tempted to go on and on.  I’ve already done quite a few YouTube videos on my channel, but I thought it might be nice to have all the info here in one place. Here goes!

What is ZENMED?

I could do an entire blog post just on what this company stands for, but here are the points I found the most fascinating about them.  These are the reasons I find the brand appealing and that explain why I was happy to give so many ZENMED products a try.

  • Since getting started in 1999, all ZENMED products have been 100% doctor-formulated.
  • Each product is based on meticulously selected, pharmaceutical-grade natural ingredients combined with essential oils, vitamins and minerals.
  • This company focuses on gentle, realistic, and practical skin care for troubled skin (rosacea, acne, scarring, spider veins, stretch marks, delicate, sensitive and even sensitive baby skin).
  • They have a keep-it-simple attitude that recommends the use of fewer products, not more, when possible.
  • All products are 100% sulfate-free, paraben-free, synthetic fragrance-free, irritant-free, dye-free,  and steroid-free.
  • They produce their products in the smallest possible batches to ensure the maximum freshness and shelf-life.
  • They have a rewards program when you shop directly from their website but they do not auto-ship, which is awesome because some of those programs are notoriously difficult to stop.
  • All products are cruelty-free, vegan-friendly, and vegetarian-friendly. Packaging is minimal (no outer box with a tube inside, it’s just the tube) and 100% recyclable. The company is on both PETA’s and Leaping Bunny’s Approved Sellers list.
  • They don’t just sell products but also provide useful information about certain skin conditions, including helpful care tips.

On to the products I tried!

ZENMED Gentle Cleansing Cream Review

The first thing I’d like to say about the Gentle Cleansing Cream is that it lasts a shockingly long time.  I used my bottle of it for at least 3 months, if not more, and I am a regular face-washer. I am not a slacker when it comes to my facial skin care routine.

I love the pump bottle.  One pump dispensed the perfect amount. It made the cleanser easy to use both next to my sink and in my shower. The cream cleanser itself was very gentle and non-irritating.  I felt like my skin was getting clean without being stripped of its healthy natural oil base. It didn’t do much to remove makeup, but most cleansers aren’t so that isn’t a failing in my opinion.  I enjoyed this gentle cleanser.

ZENMED Nutrient Boost Spray Review

I wasn’t sure what to think of this product.  It was a nice cooling mist for my skin, but I didn’t notice any difference after using it. I’m not sure what results I was supposed to experience.  It was meant to cool things down during flushes, flare-ups, hot flashes and after sun exposure.  Initially, I didn’t notice much from it.  I completed the product without really experiencing any difference from it.  It was nice and cooling when my skin was hot, but I didn’t notice much of a difference between misting with this product or just misting with water.

Oil Free Moisturizer with SPF 30 Review

This is the ZENMED sun protection moisturizer meant for people who have oily or acne-prone skin.  My skin is desert-dry and rosacea-prone, so it wasn’t exactly meant for my skin type.  Still, I was happy to try it out.  I noticed that my cheeks were more pink while I used this product.  Don’t think this was  because this moisturizer irritated my skin.  Instead, think it just wasn’t moisturizing enough for me.

That said, after giving it a try, I handed it over to my best friend, who has adult acne and oily skin.  She absolutely loves it.  It’s her go-to sunscreen for her face and since a little bit goes a long way, she’s still using it (and the expiry date hasn’t passed yet).  It works perfectly for her, doesn’t cause break-outs, and doesn’t make her skin any oilier than it would naturally be.  It may not have been right for my skin type, but it looks like a fantastic product for the people it was designed for!

Skin Protecting Lotion with SPF 30 Review

This moisturizer was far more appropriate for my skin type.  I love that it is mineral-based and not chemical-based.  It works fantastically for sensitive and reactive skin.  It was ideal for my skin, and it even sat well under makeup.  I used it every day for about two months.  Unfortunately, the expiry date for the product was only about two months after I received it so, despite the fact that only a little bit is needed, and a bottle lasts a long time, it passed its expiry before I’d used it up.
Still, during the whole time I used it, I was a huge fan of it.  I love the way it looked and felt.  It didn’t smell bad.  It left my skin hydrated and protected.  I didn’t get any sunburns, and it didn’t cause any rosacea flare-ups or adverse reactions. Great sunscreen!

ZENMED Organic Cream Exfoliator Review

I am very picky about the type of exfoliators I will use.  People with rosacea are typically discouraged from using exfoliating products because, by their very nature, exfoliators irritate the skin.  Even the gentle ones work as a type of abrasive to essentially scratch off dead skin cells and other unwanted surface-level nonsense.

That said, I love exfoliating. I don’t do it much anymore because of the aforementioned reasons.  However, I do like to have an exfoliating product so that I can use it once a month (it used to be once per week, so I’ve improved), suuuper gently. So far, I’ve come across 2 exfoliating products that have passed all my tests for use, including everything from the right ingredients, to being plastic micro-bead-free (this one contains jojoba micro-spheres) and just reacting well with my skin.  ZENMED’s Organic Cream Exfoliator is one of those products.  I love it.  I still use this product.

There are just enough little natural beads to do the trick, and the more gently I use it, the better the job it does without irritating at the same time.  Really, no pressure is needed.  It leaves my skin feeling fully hydrated.  While I don’t recommend exfoliating if you have rosacea, if you’re like me and you go against that good advice, this is a nice product to use.

ZENMED Anti-Redness Mask Review

This is a FANTASTIC mask. I absolutely love it.  I save it for days when I really want to treat myself.  It feels wonderful when it’s on, and my skin feels terrific once I wash it off.
When this gel mask is on the skin, it is cooling, calming, and perfect.  It’s ideal for summer days when the heat is far too much for my skin. It’s lovely for winters when my face has been whipped by cold and wind . I think of this as a perfect step in my home spa sessions.  I even find that it helps to keep my face cooler if I take a bath (especially if I combine it with one of those cooling eye mask thingies that you put in the freezer first).
If you ever do try it, I will caution you that it is quite fluid.  I thought it would be much thicker because it is in a tube package.  All the other ZENMED products I’d received in tubes were pretty thick, like creams.  This one will come rushing out the dispensing hole if you hold it upside down, and a whole lot of it will spill down the sink if you don’t have your hand ready…not that this happened to me…nooooo.  Please be aware that it is a liquid product even though it’s sold in a tube.  That will save you the heartbreak of wasting this gorgeous, fantastic, lovely face mask!

ZENMED B5 Hyaluronic Plumping Serum Review

Anti-aging products and my rosacea-prone skin don’t usually get along.  That said, this serum didn’t seem to cause any adverse effects.  I used this hyaluronic serum without any struggles at all.  No redness or irritation .
That said, even after patting it into my skin and neck for several days and nights, I didn’t really notice an observable difference.  I’m not sure what I was supposed to be able to see.  Maybe it’s that I don’t really pay that much attention to things like wrinkles on my skin (yet!!!).  I’m so focused on my rosacea symptoms that I’m not obsessing over fine lines quite yet. As a result, it could have been having a beautiful effect that I didn’t even notice.
Still, I liked using this product. It seemed to be very gentle and hydrating.  It certainly didn’t cause any unpleasantness and, since hyaluronic acid is such a hyped ingredient right now, it felt really cool to test it out.

ZENMED Support Serum Review

The Support Serum came in a neat little pump bottle. I really like the way this design dispenses the perfect amount. I also like that it locks easily so that it won’t make a mess if I bring it with me when I travel.  I don’t like that a little touch of it gets dried up during the day between uses so it makes one of those little hard bits at the start of each use.  However, that was far from a deal- breaker, particularly when considering how much I absolutely loved this product and its effects.
I used this overnight every night for quite some time (in fact, I still have a lot left even after regular use, and I’m still using it at the time I’m writing this blog).  The ingredients are fantastic. It is refreshing smelling. It is cooling and soothing and, by the next morning, it takes down the look of the redness on my face. It didn’t erase it, but I noticed a difference.  I didn’t have a flare-up while using this product, so I couldn’t test it that way. However, it has reduced the look of my permanent redness that never goes away (due to 15 years of damage and skin mistreatment).
This worked well with my light therapy and with the rest of my usual skin care.  I will definitely buy this once it runs out.  It makes a difference for me, and I want to keep using it.

ZENMED AVT Cream Review

This is a gorgeous thick cream.  I loved using the AVT Cream and feel that it thoroughly hydrated my skin. It is meant for daytime and nighttime use.  For me, it was absolutely perfect for nighttime.  It’s summer right now, so I found it too heavy for the daytime.  If I wasn’t going out but was just working from home, it was just fine to use in the daytime.  However, in the summer, it was too heavy to use in combination with other products such as sunscreen and/or makeup.
I’m considering purchasing this product again during the winter to give it another shot. I’m under the impression that I will love it during the winter because I need an exceptionally heavy face cream during the colder months.  For the summer, though, it left too much of a layer behind.

ZENMED Essential Eye Serum Review

The Essential Eye Serum feels very nice when applied.  I loved using it in the evening the most, even though I also used it in the morning (as per the instructions).  It was cooling and refreshing and didn’t irritate any of the rosacea-prone skin in the surrounding area.

Overall, I enjoyed using this product. I liked the feeling of it.  However, I did find its texture a bit on the strange side.  It was thick.  Very thick.  Thick enough that when I withdrew the dropper from the bottle, it left a hole behind that took so long to refill that it didn’t move while I waited.  Though this didn’t make it any less pleasant to apply to my face (in fact, it made it easier to dispense the perfect amount from the dropper onto my finger), once I’d used about half the bottle, it made it quite difficult to fill the dropper.  It’s a glass bottle with a small opening, so there isn’t a huge amount of maneuverability and, since there’s an empty hole where the dropper naturally enters the bottle, it took a lot of crafty dropper use to try to get enough of the product to use it. I’ll likely use a tiny spatula or toothpick to access the last quarter of the bottle.

I’m not entirely sure if it worked to reduce under-eye circles on me.  I have chronic insomnia, so I’m likely not an ideal person to test that sort of product, particularly because I’m obsessed with my facial redness far more than shadows and fine lines.  Perhaps it was working wonderfully and I didn’t notice.  What I do know is that it felt very refreshing and cooling, and I felt like I was doing something good for my skin to avoid future unwanted sagging and bagging.

Having tried all these amazing products, I can easily say that ZENMED is among my favorite skin care brands.  I love how responsible they are to customer, ethical and environmental needs. Some of their products have easily joined my all-time favourites.
Big thanks once again to the team at ZENMED for sending me these products to try.  I’m definitely hooked and consider myself a loyal customer.

A Day in the Rosy Life

A day in the rosy life - nighttime rosacea skin care - Rosy Julie BC

Before I became a rosacea blogger and YouTube creator, I was trying a few things to keep my symptoms under control.  That said, since I decided to become a guinea pig who shares all sorts of new products, strategies, treatments and techniques, it completely changed my lifestyle.

I call it “living the Rosy Life”

A day in the rosy life - Rosy JulieBC rosacea
Just came in from a walk in -28ºC weather (-18ºF).

If you’ve been watching my videos or reading my blogs, you’ve likely heard me use this term at one point or another.  It’s the positive-sounding term I like to use for the lifestyle I’ve adopted to help keep my symptoms down, my flare-ups rare and brief, and my spirits up.

Rosacea is a complicated skin condition.  Because of that, no single thing can cure it.  As of yet, there is no known cure.  Even if the symptoms go away, they can still return.  The condition is a chronic one.

I went through several stretches of time where that really got me down.  Just knowing that I’d be dealing with the redness, burning, pimples, stinging, itching and occasional patches of dragon skin made me feel ugly, hopeless and judged by others.

Having rosacea and remaining positive

It wasn’t until I became a rosacea blogger that I started seeing things through a more positive light.  Instead of letting it continually beat me down, I accepted that this is a part of me and if there was something out there I could do to make it better, I was going to find it.  So began the days of guinea piggery.

Self-acceptance and opening myself up to patient new attempts to take control has done wonders for avoiding rosacea-related depression for me.

However, despite the fact that I’m trying new products very frequently – either because I’ve purchased them or a company has been generous enough to send them my way – I still maintain an overall Rosy Lifestyle.

As I write these words, I’m taking a bit of a break from product testing.  I like doing that around the holiday season because it gives my skin the chance to reset before I subject it to something new.

What does living the Rosy Life look like for me?  I thought I’d take this opportunity to share it with you, in case it might help to inspire new strategies you can discuss with your doctor or dermatologist to try for yourself.

Mornings: Out of bed, Rosy-Head!

a day in the rosy life - Rosy JulieBC morning windowMy alarm goes off at the exact same time every day, weekend or weekday.  This is because I have adopted very clean sleep hygiene to help keep insomnia at bay. I have an anxiety and panic disorder and am prone to insomnia, so I do what I can to get the rest I need.  Sleep is vital to keeping inflammation and, therefore, rosacea symptoms down (as well as being great for reducing anxiety and being well overall).  More about this topic later.

When I get up in the morning, I drink a small glass of water to start rehydrating after dehydrating during the night. Hydration is vitally important to a healthy body and healthy skin, so I do my best to get it right. Next, I apply a rosacea salve (the SBT Seabuckthorn Soothing Rosacea Salve) to my cheeks.  Its winter right now and even though I always wear a scarf over my face (light or heavy, depending on how cold it is outside), the salve stops my face from getting chapped and windburned. Because of the scarf and my big sunglasses, I don’t need sunscreen too much at this time of the year, though I wear it religiously during the spring, summer and fall.

a day in the rosy life - Rosy JulieBC granola a day in the rosy life - breakfastI eat a breakfast with whole grains, fresh or frozen fruit, nuts, seeds, and a coffee.  My breakfast doesn’t contain any added sugars because they promote inflammation, and that’s not how I want to start my day.  That said, I absolutely love my morning coffee so I allow myself that indulgence, drinking it black.  I do let it cool to the point that it doesn’t produce steam anymore before I drink it since heat is a rosacea trigger for me.

Next, it’s time for a walk.  I walk a neighbour’s dogs every morning with a friend. It’s a brisk half hour walk and as much as I dread it every single morning, I love it once I get going.  I enjoy spending time with the pups, I adore gabbing with my bestest friend in the world, and the exercise is great for reducing inflammation in the body, promoting overall health, burning off some of the bajillion calories I eat every day and giving me energy to face the day.

Once I get home, I wash my eye area and my face and carefully moisturize. I recently did a video about the routine I’m currently following.  If you’re curious about the sample of custom-designed face oil I mention in the video so you can have it tweaked for your own needs, I hope you’ll go check it out!

Products used:

After that, I settle in to work until lunchtime. During this period, my fingers work so quickly on the keyboard that I’m surprised they don’t make smoke. I keep the room cool but dress warmly so my face won’t overheat. My mornings typically fly by so fast that I’m nearly convinced I’m being abducted by aliens because what else could explain all that missing time?

Noon already!

I make lunch my main meal of the day.  I love a big lunch with multiple parts. I’ve become quite spoiled since I’ve been working at home.  I worked outside the house at a more traditional job for many years and hated making lunches for the next day.  I rushed through them so they tasted awful.  Now that I have the opportunity to prepare my food, I don’t turn my nose up at it. It’s a privilege I greatly enjoy.

I focus on making sure I eat a lean protein along with something hydrating such as soup (every now and again I make huge batches of hearty veggie soup that I freeze in portions for my lunches), some no-added-sugar whole grain toast and an apple or another piece of fruit.

I’ve been making a point of eating mindfully, so while I may listen to an audio book (I’m currently listening to Book 3 of the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, “City of Glass.” I really enjoyed The Infernal Devices series, so this lets me stay within that universe. Yes, I love young adult fiction series), I pay attention to the flavours and textures of the foods I’m eating and the way they make me feel. It sounds silly, but it helps to make meals more enjoyable, I’m less likely to overeat, and it makes it easier for me to identify foods that trigger my rosacea symptoms because it slows things down.

For the rest of the afternoon, it’s back to work for me.  Typing, typing, more typing…

Before dinner, I head out for another walk. Another half hour or so. It’s easy to want to avoid exercise because as soon as  the heart rate rises, so does the colour in my cheeks.  That said, the benefits of exercise for rosacea symptoms greatly outweigh the temporary rosiness. Exercise reduces our overall risk of flushes and lowers inflammation, so it’s more than worth it to keep my body healthy and active.

Being Rosy from dinnertime to bedtime

a day in the rosy life - dinnerI usually have a large but light dinner, such as a huge salad with some form of protein to go with it.  The salad might be cold or warm, depending on my mood and how cold I feel after my walk.  Cold salads still work for me in the wintertime because even though I walk in frigid weather, I go fast and far enough to work up quite a sweat in my giant parka.

After dinner, I drink lots of water and herbal tea (I love rosehips and hibiscus) in the evening to stay hydrated and to enjoy something calming as I work for another few hours.

An hour before bedtime I shut down all devices with screens (computer, phone, tablet) and turn down the room lights to help create a calm atmosphere and promote natural melatonin production.  Like my waking time, I head to bed at the same time every night to make it easier for me to fall asleep. I suffer from regular bouts of insomnia, so every bit of extra help counts.

a day in the rosy life - Rosy JulieBC yogaI unroll my yoga mat and do one of four beginner yoga routines I have on a DVD I just love.  I do the Beginner Yoga DVD from Gaiam with Rodney Yee.  Depending on how I feel in the evening, I do the Beginner, Flexibility, Energy Boosting or Relaxation routine.  Each one is 20 minutes long and I try not to do the same one two days in a row.

I’ve only recently been taking yoga seriously.  I’ve tried it out now and again, but I have been trying to do it in earnest over the last while.  As I write this, I’ve done it for over two straight weeks without a day off (and a secret goal in my head to get to 30 straight days). It has been fantastic for my anxiety and my ability to sleep at night – both great for controlling rosacea – but I’ve also found my body becoming stronger and more flexible already.  This has come with the unexpected benefit that I’m less likely to flush from bending or picking up heavy things! Whoda thunk?!  Once I’m done, the TV is shut off and no more device screens are allowed until the next morning.

After my yoga routine is finished and I roll up my mat I shower, carefully washing my face.  Once I get out and dry off, I do my light therapy with the Dual Care Red and Amber High Power LED from Smarter Lights.

I complete my rosacea skin care routine using the same techniques as my morning routine, only with one main product switch, as I use:

All set for bed, I turn on my (cool mist) humidifier so I don’t dry up and turn to dust during the night.  My place seems to turn into a desert during the night in the winter. I’m not sure how I’d live without the humidifier running. It makes a visible difference to my skin and respiratory health.

I take the time to moisturize the rest of my body, not in any rush, using the time to be calm and take care of myself.  I do this while listening to the audio book again, letting me wind down and become restful before bed. This calm is very good for anxiety control and for a good night of sleep – both great factors in rosacea control.  You might not think that making sure you don’t have dry skin on your feet could help your rosy cheeks, but it’s all a part of living the Rosy Life!

a day in the rosy life - Rosy JulieBC - night headphones
Those round dealies are the headphones. They slip right inside the headband through an opening in the back.

Feeling all clean and soft, I snuggle down into my bed and listen to my audio book until I fall asleep.  I used to use ear buds overnight, but they kept falling out and getting wrapped all around me.  I was afraid I’d hang myself with them by accident one day. So I invested in a cool fleece headband with earphones slipped inside (they’re easy to pop out to wash the headband).  It’s soft and comfortable, even if I turn on my side.  The earphones don’t squash my ears, letting me listen to the book in comfort overnight. The headband is quite wide, so while I often use it as though I was keeping hair out of my face, I can also use it as a type of sleep mask to keep the room even darker than my blackout curtains allow.

That’s the end of a typical day in the Rosy Life.  It’s amazing how many habits I’ve developed since becoming a rosacea blogger – nearly all of them for the better…nobody’s perfect 😉

I’m a Big Baby About Having Rosacea

Little Sleepy Head Bath

Hi Rosy Friends!

It’s been a while, but if you’ve been keeping up with my latest videos on my Rosy JulieBC YouTube channel, you know that I haven’t disappeared. I’ve also started tinkering around as @RosyJulieBC on Instagram. Throughout that time, I’ve become quite the big baby about having rosacea…

By that, I mean that I’ve been incorporating a growing number of products meant for babies and toddlers into my life.  I’m not a parent, so I don’t regularly find myself walking/surfing through products meant for little ones.  However, every now and again I’ll come across a product or two as I shop and, despite the fact that they’re designed for teensy tots, they often work better for me than equivalent products designed for us grown-ups!

I recently released a video on the subject (below, in case you’re curious), but I thought it might be nice to dedicate an actual blog post to the topic, since I find it to be an interesting one, and I’ve really let posting slide over the last little bit.  I’m dedicated blogging regularly again (I know, I know, I keep saying that, but I swear I mean it every time haha).

The following are some of the products meant for little ones but that work for big babies with rosacea, like me!

Kids-sized reusable water bottle

Hydration is massively important to healthy skin, healthy digestion, and overall wellness.  To function properly, your body needs to get a certain amount of water through your food and through drinking it, of course.  In my ever-so-humble opinion, living a Rosy Lifestyle absolutely requires you to hydrate properly.

Since I’d prefer not to be a giant hypocrite, that means that I work hard to drink the right amount of water every day. When I head out the door, I need to take water with me. As a result, I have amassed a broad selection of different types of water bottles.  The main struggle with reusable water bottles is that you never really know how well one will work for you until you give it a try.  I have glass ones, stainless steel ones, BPA-free plastic ones, ones with citrus infusers, ones with a straw, ones with a small drinking opening, ones with a wide drinking opening…I’m pretty much the reason the reusable water bottle people are in business!

kids water bottle BPA freeWhile the big ones and the heavy ones (glass!) are great for keeping around while I’m at home or in the car, it’s my kid-sized one that I love the most when I head out to walk dogs, go to outdoor festivals, or at any other time that I’ll need to carry it around. The one I have is Nalgene with a carabiner-style locking flip-cap and a small pour spout-style drinking opening. It’s easy to carry in a bag or attach to a strap.  It locks so it won’t accidentally open and spill, and its opening is small enough that I don’t pour it all over myself when I drink out of it.  I’ve never seen these options in water bottles made for adults. Plus it has a shark on it that says “chomp” and that’s just awesome! 😉 I got this one in clearance in the kids lunchbox section of a department store.

Kid-sized gel ice packs

Keeping cool in the summer can be very difficult, especially when it’s a million degrees outside, humid, and I’m trying to get to sleep despite regular anxiety attacks.

This may sound like a nightmare thing to do during the winter, but in the summer, I take kids’ first aid gel ice packs straight from the freezer and either wrap them in a tea towel or use them straight-up against the back of my neck and/or on the bottoms of my feet.  Sounds crazy, but the next time you’re very, very overheated, give it a try.  It cools you down really fast.

Hello Kitty Boo-Boo Pack gel ice packsSince being overheated is a fast way to turn my cheeks tomato-red, keeping cool is very important.  I got my freezer packs (or in this case, “boo boo” packs) at the local dollar store.  Mine happen to be Hello Kitty themed, but I’m sure that the Strawberry Shortcake or Thomas the Tank Engine would work just as well (as would any other character or non-themed gel ice pack.  I’m 98% sure the theme doesn’t affect the coldness haha).

Baby food fruit puree pouches

Ever since I was a child young enough to be in the target market for most of these products, I’ve been at risk of hypoglycemia.  When I eat the wrong balance of foods or wait too long before eating, my blood sugar levels plummet.  It makes me emotional (hangry!), my hands shake, it spikes my anxiety, and can even cause me to faint. All those things are a rapid path to a rosacea flush – and are rather uncomfortable, too – so, naturally, I try to avoid them.

Reusable baby food pouchOver the last few years, those little baby food fruit and veggie puree pouches have become extremely popular.  I keep them on hand so I can toss one in my purse or bag in case I need a quick blood sugar boost. Since I’m not exactly a fan of the packaging garbage they create, I’ve recently found some reusable/refillable ones so I can simply make my own purees (easier than you think), fill the pouches, freeze them and then take them with me when I think I’ll need them.

Little Sleepy Head Bath Time and Skin Care

If you’ve been following my videos/blogs for a while, you’ll know that I’m always on the hunt for a new sunscreen.  In my opinion, sunscreens are the hardest skin care product to find because the vast majority of them cause my rosacea to flare.  They make me itchy, they sting and they make my skin red and pimply.

In my hunt for a product that wouldn’t do this (because it never hurts to have options!), I came across the Little Sleepy Head Daily Rehydrating Sunscreen.  It caught my eye because it’s safe for babies and toddlers with sensitive skin, as well as being free of “Paba, Parabens, Nano-particles, fragrances, or Phthalates,” non-irritating, water resistant, and non-comedogenic.  What really sold me on it was that it flat-out says that it’s “well received” by people with lupus, rosacea, acne and other skin conditions.  Holy cow!  A sunscreen that directly says that rosacea sufferers don’t often react to it!

Little Sleepy Head Sunscreen, Body Wash, and LotionBefore I knew it, I was unpacking a box with the sunscreen as well as the brand’s entire line of bath time and skin care products! So here’s what I thought of treating my skin like a big baby with Little Sleepy Head‘s skin care line:

  • Little Sleepy Head Daily Rehydrating Sunscreen – I’ve been using this on my face, neck, ears, and upper chest area since I first got it.  On hotter days when I was wearing short sleeves, I used it on my arms as well.  My skin has tolerated it extremely well.  It has no fragrance and is very easy to apply.  I can see how it would be quick to spread on the skin of a kid who is fussing because it was certainly easy for me to apply to myself – and boy can I be fussy! 😉  I liked that it did feel like it was moisturizing my skin, but even if I got sweaty and it ran into my eyes, it didn’t sting. I’d usually wash it off my face as soon as I came indoors again, but it never irritated any place that I applied it no matter how long I left it on. This was a definite find.
  • Little Sleepy Head Gentle Hair and Body Wash – As much as this is meant to be used both as a shampoo and a body wash, I just used this as a body wash.  I have a huuuuge amount of hair and would likely go through the whole bottle in three showers if I shampooed with it.  That said, when using this as a body wash, a little bit goes a long way!  It’s a very soft product that lathers and spreads nicely.  It feels lovely on the skin and smells phenomenal.  I shower before bedtime, so the natural lavender and chamomile in the ingredients provided a beautifully soothing and relaxing bit of aromatherapy to help me combat my typical bouts of insomnia. It was also very effective at washing away the sunscreen, which I didn’t find was at all difficult to remove. As a side note, I know for certain that this product was not meant for this purpose, but in a pinch it also doubled wonderfully as a shaving gel!
  • Little Sleepy Head Hydrating Baby Lotion – After using a baby bedtime bath product it only makes sense to moisturize with the matching lotion, right? This moisturizer also contains lavender and chamomile and has a very close (natural) scent to the body wash. Since it also contains oatmeal, aloe, and shea butter, even my super-sensitive, rash-prone skin tolerated this product very well.  I love that both this product and the body wash are in a pump bottle.  I find that super-convenient.  I haven’t run either of them out yet so I don’t know if the pump bottle lets you get the product right up to the end (some designs. are more effective than others in my experience) but if I run into any problems, I’ll be sure to update this blog post to let you know.

So there you have it.  I have rosacea, and I’m a big baby about it, too!

While I do still love my all-natural skin care for my face from unbelievably great quality brands like SBT Seabuckthorn, Face Addiction and even Celtic Complexion, among others (the list is always growing), I’m happy to add a kids line, Little Sleepy Head, to my sunscreen and sensitive skin care favourites.

What about you?  Have you found a baby and/or kids product that works better for you than the adult alternative?  If so, please share in the comments section below!





Rosy Life Kit 2 – What Rosacea-Friendly Products Do You Want?

Take the Rosy Life Kit Survey

Hi Rosy Friends,

After the success of last year’s Rosy Life Kit, I’m creating another one.  This time, I’m asking for your help!  I’d love to know what you want in a gift box full of rosacea-friendly products.

Want to help?  Thank you!!!  Please click the link or button below to take the super-fast, super-easy, no-wrong-answers survey.  It’s completely anonymous, never asks you for any personally identifying info and it has only 5 multiple-choice questions.  That’s it!

Take the Fast, Easy, 5-Question Multiple-Choice Survey!

Take the Rosy Life Kit Survey

Thanks again, Rosy Friends!  Your help means a lot!

Rosacea on Spring Break: Will We Ever Look Tanned Again?

Rosy JulieBC Rosacea Sun Protection Skin Care

Rosy JulieBC Rosacea Sun Protection Skin CareSpring Break is nearly here and for a lot of us, that means we either want to spend some time in the sun or look as though we have.  For those of us with rosacea, both possibilities can pose a rather significant challenge.

Tanning is a relatively controversial topic both in terms of achieving the look from sun exposure or through sunless methods.  UV rays (from both the sun and tanning beds) and certain chemicals in self-tanning products have been directly linked with an increased risk of skin cancer and premature aging.  However, that won’t be the topic of this post.  There are tons of articles online from some fantastic sources, and I recommend checking them out if you want to learn more about that (important) topic.

Here are two from that I find particularly helpful:

The Trouble with Traditional and Sunless Tanning with Rosacea

When you have rosacea, you need to keep those aforementioned issues in mind above and beyond the fact that the sun is the top rosacea trigger, according to the National Rosacea Society.  Their figures show that 81% of us are triggered by sunlight. That’s more than 4 out of every 5 rosacea sufferers!

Rosy JulieBC - spring break sun protection with rosaceaAnother 41% of us are triggered by certain skin care products – nearly 1 in 2 rosacea sufferers.  That means that regardless of whether we’re into traditional or sunless tanning, rosacea can present a considerable barrier to achieving that sun-kissed look on Spring Break.

Since there are a lot of us facing this challenge at the moment, has asked me to share my thoughts on the topic.  They also provided me with a handy list of general tips we can follow to take care of the rest of our skin to avoid “sun shock,” skin cancer and other sun damage.  Click here to download that list for free.

Please note that this is not a sponsored blog post. asked me to discuss Spring Break and skincare for fun in the sun with my own spin. It’s such a great and relevant topic that I was more than happy to comply.

Tanning in the Sun with Rosacea

If you’ve been reading my blog or watching my Rosy JulieBC YouTube channel for a while, then you know that I fall into that group of people whose rosacea symptoms are triggered by sunlight.  This means that for me, tanning my face is out of the question.

Rosy JulieBC - broad brimmed hat sun protectionFor one thing, I don’t tan, I burn.  For another thing, it causes my cheeks to turn dark purply-red and I break out in papules and pustules that look like acne (though they’re not).  After even a short time in the sun, my skin feels tight, hot and will sometimes sting or feel itchy.

This is even worse at a time like Spring Break, when I’ve spent the last few months thoroughly covered up during the winter and have had limited time for natural sun exposure, anyway.

How to Enjoy Spring Break in the Sun with Rosacea

This doesn’t mean that I can’t go to a place that is sunny and warm.  It just means that some extra precautions are necessary.

Rosy JulieBC - sunscreen for rosaceaI’ve accepted the fact that I will not be lying out in the sun with my face in the direct sunlight.  Still, it doesn’t mean I need to find the nearest dark cave and hide in it while everyone else is out and having fun.

Here’s what’s in my rosacea sun exposure toolkit:

  • Moisturizer – thoroughly moisturized skin fares far better against the sun than dry skin. My skin is naturally as hydrated as the Sahara Desert, so I stick to a rigid moisturizing routine on a regular basis, but particularly when I’ll be in the sun as well. Some top favourite products for this include:
    • SBT Seabuckthorn’s Chokecherry Oil
    • SBT Seabuckthorn’s Tea Cream
    • Face Addiction’s Soft Cream
    • Celtic Complection’s Creme
  • Sunscreen – of all the skincare products I use, a good sunscreen is the hardest for me to find. The reason is that most sunscreens contain ingredients that cause my skin to flare up.  There are a few that I’ve found that don’t cause a rosacea flare-up.
    I apply the products a half hour before heading out to give them the chance to absorb and start working at their fullest. I’ll then reapply every 2 hours or more frequently if I’ve been swimming or sweating a lot. Each have their benefits and drawbacks, but my favourites include the following:

    • The Matter Company’s Substance
    • Celtic Complexion’s Organic Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
    • Celtic Complexion’s Tinted Moisturizer SPF 31
    • La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios Mineral Tinted Ultra-Light Fluid Lotion
  • A Wide-Brimmed Hat – I don’t mean a baseball cap. I mean a hat with a big brim that goes all the way around to shade my face from sun in all directions.  Some hats actually come with an SPF, which I appreciate.  Otherwise, I just look for one that provides actual shade and that doesn’t have lots of holes (for example in a loose weave) that would let the light through.
  • A Parasol – I’ve started to love using bright and pretty parasols. I save the black umbrella for rain protection. For the sun, I use a brightly patterned, summery umbrella or a Chinese-style parasol.  I’ve collected several options over the years so I can match them to my outfit or my mood.
  • Water – staying hydrated gives skin an extra boost of protection. The healthier skin is, the better it can protect itself from the sun and the less likely it is to experience rosacea symptoms. Getting a great refillable bottle helps to encourage me to drink from it more – and to bring it in the first place!

Those are the tips I use for my face.  For the rest of my body, I follow the tips mentioned in the list I mentioned earlier.  These help to avoid sun shock and keep skin healthy and comfortable while reducing the risk of sunburn.

Sunless Tanning with Rosacea

Rosy JulieBC - sunless tannerThere are two main categories of sunless tanning: tanning beds and topical products.  I’m not going to talk about tanning beds as an option for several reasons: I’ve never tried them, I think they’re dangerous to a person’s health, and they are a fast route to a rosacea flare-up so I don’t feel that they apply for our needs.

So that leaves us with the second category: topical products.  These come in the form of sprays, lotions, creams, serums, oils and several others.  I’ve tried a few of these over the years but, to be honest, I started phasing them out when I began taking my rosacea seriously.

The reason is that I couldn’t find a single topical self-tanner that didn’t irritate my rosacea.  Since I didn’t want to have a tan-looking body and a white-and-red face, I gave up on trying to look tan at all.  That said, it isn’t impossible to look sun kissed just because you have rosacea.  The key is to choose your products carefully, apply them with a light hand and understand the ingredients.

How to Achieve a Spring Break Sun Kissed Look with Rosacea

Ideally, you can try to find a self tanner that you can use on your body and a matching tinted moisturizer or mineral makeup bronzer that will allow you to make it look as though your face and your body were in the same sunshine over spring break.

Rosy JulieBC - Bronzer for rosaceaTo do this realistically, don’t apply a ton of product to either your face or body.  Your goal shouldn’t be to look as though you baked in the sun for hours every single day.  That will only give you an orange or otherwise fake skin colour.  People won’t think you had a great time in the sun if you do that.  They’ll think you don’t know what you’re doing with self-tanner or that you made a concerted effort to bring out your inner oompa-loompa.

Instead, make your goal to have a bit of a healthy “glow.” Embrace your natural skin colour but enhance it with a very slightly darker golden shade that makes it look like you were able to step out into the light after having been inside all winter long. A little bit can go a long way for giving you a healthy look that shows you had a great time on Spring Break.

To make sure you’re using self-tanner properly and safely, consider checking out the Skin Cancer Foundation’s information about these products.  It provides some very handy insight about DHA (a major ingredient in nearly all self tanners) and in what ways it can be safely used as well as how it should be used in order to avoid risks to your health.

In terms of mineral makeup that can help you to bronze your face to match without causing a rosacea flare-up, here are some of my favourite options:

  • Cheeky Cosmetics Bronzing Powder
  • The All Natural Face Vegan Bronzer
  • Physician’s Formula Argan Wear Ultra-Nourishing Argan Oil Bronzer
  • Physician’s Formula Nude Wear Touch of Glow Palette
  • Everyday Minerals Bronzer

Rosacea After the Sun

This may sound like a lot of work, but it’s actually quite straightforward.  A little bit of preparation in advance will mean that you’ll be ready to work these tips into your Spring Break trip very conveniently.

Rosy JulieBC - parasolYou’ll be able to achieve the look you want – both there and when you come home – while keeping your skin healthy, protected and nourished, and saving yourself from a vacation filled with rosacea symptoms.

That said, nobody’s perfect.  If you do end up getting more sun than you meant, be sure to have a plan of action to get things under control very quickly.  Nourish your skin with after-sun products like La-Roche Posay’s Posthelios After Solar Repair, or my personal favourites: pure aloe vera gel and SBT Seabuckthorn’s After Sun Cream.

If you’ve had a sunburn, pure aloe vera gel and SBT Seabuckthorn’s Sunburn Soothing Salve (rich in coconut oil and other important oils that cool, hydrate and encourage healing in sunburned skin) can rapidly become your best friends.  These are worth having on hand for quick damage control, just in case.

Don’t Forget to Have Fun!

Rosy JulieBC - beach rosaceaNo matter what you’re doing over Spring Break, I hope you have a wonderful time and come home with calm skin, no rosacea symptoms and a huge journal of great memories.


I’d like to thank for inspiring me to write this post.