March 3, 2015

beauty secrets | skin cleanse by adina grigore

If the books No More Dirty Looks and Eat Pretty had a baby in 2015, it would likely be named Skin Cleanse and read like a whip-smart older sister who knows just how to get you to pay attention and finally use all those raw natural beauty ingredients you’ve been hoarding.

I had the pleasure of finishing up S.W. Basics (formerly Sprout Skincare) founder Adina Grigore’s first book, Skin Cleanse, this week, and came away inspired to continue to pare down my beauty products (kinda hard when you’re a product reviewer) and learn just what simple beauty ingredients work best for my skin.

skin cleanse by adina grigore

{If you’ve read either of the former books mentioned above (and you should, they are natural beauty bookshelf staples for me!), then you’ll want to add the latter to your library — she fits right in perfectly!}

While reading Skin Cleanse, I easily drew comparisons to the two books mentioned above because of the emphasis Adina put on the crucial things we’ve learned from both NMDL and EP: The beauty industry’s lack of regulation doesn’t help us much, and we need to clean up our diets if we want our faces to be clean and clear, too.

But the way in which Adina outlines these concepts feels fresh. While most of us probably consider ourselves “deeper green” beauty babes than perhaps the “lighter green” target of this book, I still found myself feeling sheepish at the things Adina calls out in Skin Cleanse and inspired by the challenges and ideas she presents.

“If you are a frequent product swapper and you’re having skin problems, then it becomes almost impossible to know what’s causing the problem.”

::Every green beauty blogger hangs her head in shame::

But don’t get me wrong. Adina doesn’t come at natural beauty skin cleansing with a shame-angle (shame-gle?). Instead, she points out what everyone else won’t say because they’re likely 1) selling you something or 2) clueless.

See where I get the “big sister who’s telling you like it is” motif?

Here’s big sis dropping some more knowledge:

In addition to the often-recommended suggestion of keeping a food journal to identify items that may be triggering reactions on your skin or in your body (and to open your eyes to everything you’re actually consuming), Adina also recommends keeping a skincare product journal to get an accurate picture of everything you’re putting on your body in a day.

Even for us green beauty junkies, the list is overwhelming. (Remember this post?) It’s a bit embarrassing to see how many lotions, oils, creams, serums, cleansers, wipes — the list goes on — we use to attempt to maintain great skin.

It’s also a bit maddening to know that despite using all these magic potions (natural or not!), most of us are still left with something to desire in our skin.

This is where Skin Cleanse — and the actual skin cleanse process — gets really good. Adina reveals three levels of skin cleansing that you try in an effort to reset your skin’s dependency on a billion products and slowly add in only the good, simple skincare that your skin may be craving.

Level 1: Supplement is for “beauty junkies who just want a little extra natural nourishment.”

Level 2: Eliminate & Nourish is for “experiment lovers with nagging skin ailments.”

Level 3: Detoxify is for “courageous truth-seekers, the super-sensitive and Skin Cleanse converts.”

Though I consider myself a “deeper green” beauty who gets the ins and outs of products, ingredients and labels, the levels presented more so take into account your deep dependencies on products — natch or not.

This is what got me. I may have the most clean, beautiful skincare collection you’ve ever dreamed of … but I only have one face, and there’s no way I need 17 face cleansers and 32 face oils to get the simple job of cleansing, hydrating and protecting done.

Busted by big sis.

I took a stab at Level 2, which involved detoxing my skin by going sans makeup and sans products for just one day. One day, and my anxiety levels crept up so high. What’s a product junkie to do?

Well, for one, whip up some of the fun DIY skincare recipes Adina provides in the book.

And for two, well, spend time doing other stuff that doesn’t take as long as my 10-step green beauty blogger regimen.

  • Did I miss some of my favorite green beauty products? Yes.
  • Did I fully embrace the “less is more” approach and enjoy becoming re-introduced to the happy, glowing skin that I’ve been bad-mouthing off and on for years? Yes.
  • Am I getting excited to finish out a lot of my products and use more pared-down, simple ingredients like shea butter and aloe vera going forward? Yes.

While I’ve always stocked some favorite carrier oils and items like apple cider vinegar and honey in my skincare arsenal, Skin Cleanse reminds me to actually use these things and not get carried away by the latest, greatest facial oil (which likely uses my favorite carrier oil, jojoba, in some fashion) or toner (which likely has a base of apple cider vinegar) that I could probably whip up myself.

That’s not to say that absolutely everything can be DIY’ed, nor do I have the desire to go completely DIY in my skincare, but instead it’s a reminder to not overthink some things in my skincare philosophy.

  • Do I really need a fancy oil cleanser? Nope, just use your favorite carrier oil.
  • Do I really need a crazy cream to keep my skin hydrated all winter? Nope, shea butter is probably just fine.

This book helps me re-confirm where I want to spend my money and my time in my skincare regimen, and it also gives a gentle wake-up call that the beauty industry (yes, even our precious green beauty industry) is still driven by sales.

And that leads me to this collection of small but mighty ideas, which I’ve been discussing with a few close blogger friends lately:

  • Use what you love.
  • Use what makes you feel good.
  • Use what works.
  • Don’t follow all the hype.

It doesn’t have to be an entire collection of expensive, fancy products. It doesn’t have to be an entire collection of every organic skincare ingredient in the bulk bins at Whole Foods.

Instead, like with fashion, the best skincare collection is a mix of your favorite high- and low-end pieces that work with your skin’s personal style. You define the high, and you define the low. Your skin will tell you what it needs. It’s your job to listen to it.

I would also suggest listening to what Adina preaches in Skin Cleanse. You don’t have to make big changes all at once, but even us “deeper green” and “medium green” beauties could use some reminders when it comes to how we’re approaching our skincare.

I’m thankful to have Skin Cleanse on my bookshelf, right next to Eat Pretty and No More Dirty Looks, for when I need a few gentle reminders (and some skin cleansing inspiration!).

Have you checked out Skin Cleanse yet? What are your green beauty addictions? What’s your take on DIY? What are some of your staples? Tell me everything in the comments section!

 

February 25, 2015

beauty scoop | waxelene lip tube

As much as some people like to chalk me up to being a glamorous, attracted-to-expensive-products green beauty blogger, you dear readers know me better than that.

You know that I like to review the best of the best, be it expensive or frugally priced products, and you also know that I have no shame for getting a bit TMI on here for how I treat everyday skin issues and nuisances.

Today’s post gets into the un-glam side of being a human, and details just how I love to use Waxelene, probably the most un-exciting product to those of you used to exotic ingredients and fancy packaging.

Time to get real, y’all!

waxelene lip tube

{Waxelene sent me a sample of its Lip Tube to review. It costs $3.99 for a 1-ounce tube.}

Dubbed “The Petroleum Jelly Alternative,” Waxelene is a lovely all-purpose, American-made moisturizer made of organic soy oil, beeswax, organic rosemary oil and natural vitamin E from soybeans.

That’s it. No fancy carrier oils or nasty petroleum-derived ingredients. Just four simple yet oh-so-effective ingredients that work hard to keep your lips and skin lubricated and protected from the elements.

Now clearly, I have the “Lip Tube” on showcase today, but besides using it to coat my lips during brutal, cold windy days, my other absolutely favorite way to use Waxelene’s Lip Tube is to keep my dry, itchy, irritated nose in check as the weather fluctuates and drives my skin into overdrive.

So, basically, I’m saying that I like to put Waxelene onto my pinky or, if I’m feeling fancy, onto a cotton swab, and stick it in my nose.

Hello, relief to my dry, flaky, about-to-bleed nose!

Hello, grossed-out looks from strangers and friends!

waxelene lip tube

The Waxelene Lip Tube distributes the perfectly sized strip of product to fit inside my nose and keep it moist and protected. I don’t know about you, but I’m prone to nosebleeds and extreme irritation during crazy weather patterns, dry air and drops in pressure.

Sorry to get so detailed here, but I get scabs in my nose sometimes from these weather conditions, and it’s awful! Waxelene has been a savior to my nostrils, and is the only thing that nurses them back to health in a timely manner.

I also have a backup stash of Waxelene Flip Tube, which is a larger tube designed more for use as a hand cream or larger-surface-area moisturizer, but this isn’t my favorite use for this wonder jelly.

(It’s also available in a big ol’ jar, in case you’re a mega fan!)

As a hand cream, it’s just blah to me — no real scent and a little too greasy — but as a lip balm and nose skin treatment? Sold!

I’ll keep my flip tube in reserve for things like knee scrapes and body scab treatments, but it’s the Lip Tube that’s truly versatile and portable to me.

While I love scented lip balms and enjoy interesting flavor and scent combinations, sometimes it’s just nice to have a very simple, classic lip balm that delivers heavy-duty hydration and protection without any fuss.

It’s an even bigger bonus to have a product that doubles as a spot treatment for pesky, unglamorous winter skin issues.

That, to me, is what makes Waxelene Lip Tube a winner and a repurchase.

Have you tried Waxelene? What do you use it for? What sizes do you prefer? Tell me in the comments section!

 

February 23, 2015

beauty scoop | kypris beauty elixir II healing bouquet

With its natural essential oil blend of geranium, jasmine, patchouli and lavender, it’s easy, on the surface, to see why Kypris’ Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet has been one of my go-to facial oils since I began testing it in September 2014.

It’s a well-documented fact that floral scents grab my attention, and when they’re blended with stellar carrier oils and skin-saving actives such as CoQ10 and vitamin C, they get used on the regular.

This is because in addition to smelling good and looking pretty, my fussy skin deserves natural products formulated with ingredients that work hard to keep it calm, plump and happy.

kypris beauty elixir II healing bouquet

{KYPRIS sent me a sample of Beauty Elixir II Healing Bouquet to sample and review. It costs $200 for a 1.69-ounce glass dropper bottle.}

Described as “flower power for combination skin,” Kypris Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet is packed with antioxidant-rich, American-made, fermented-from-yeast Kaneka CoQ10, which is said to be bio-identical to the CoQ10 produced by the body.

While this little tidbit about Kypris’ ingredients didn’t really speak to me at first (CoQ10 is CoQ10, right?), it became more interesting to me when I learned that many CoQ10 ingredients are processed from bacteria or tobacco derivatives.

Yeast fermentation is said to yield the most effective, biologically active form of CoQ10, and Kaneka CoQ10 is GMO-free, allergen-free and Kosher certified.

The inclusion of this ingredient alone reflects how thoughtful Kypris founder Chase Polan is in her formulations — and we haven’t even gotten to the additional abundantly beautiful, natural ingredients in Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet that make it a standout oil in my beauty cabinet.

Yes, I have a beauty cabinet. In my kitchen. Be jealous of my Midwestern space. Do not judge.

kypris beauty elixir II healing bouquet

Kypris Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet also boasts fat-soluble tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, a stable vitamin C ester that, paired with the vitamin E-rich carrier oils in this formulation, encourages collagen production, reduces inflammation and can help fade acne scarring.

(This is the same form of vitamin C used in Odacite’s An Autumn on the World and Yuli’s Liquid Courage.)

As I continue to research the ingredients and results I want from my skincare, it’s become more and more crucial to me to prioritize stable vitamin C, paired with vitamin E, in my oils and serums.

Vitamin C provides potent protection, shielding skin from damaging free radicals. Vitamin E enhances the antioxidant effects of vitamin C when both are applied to the skin.

One additional ingredient that I’d love to see in Kypris Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet is ferulic acid, another potent plant antioxidant known for its ability to enhance the effects of both vitamins C and E — as dramatic as doubling the natural UV protection of both vitamins.

UPDATED: See tweet below for Kypris’ response about ferulic acid.

kypris beauty elixir II healing bouquet

Besides these heavy-hitting ingredients, Kypris Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet contains stearyl glycyrrhetinate, an isolate from licorice that helps diminish irritation, reduce flakiness and restore suppleness to dry, fussy skin.

This blends well with the ultra-moisturizing carrier oils we know and love, especially vitamin A- and E-rich baobab oil, linoleic-rich kukui nut oil and skin-healing tamanu oil, a favorite for my acne-prone skin.

Grapeseed oil, an oldie but goodie that oily, acneic skin tends to respond well to, forms the base of this oil, along with beta carotene- and linoleic acid-rich sunflower oil.

Another oil high in linoleic acid, pumpkin seed oil, makes an appearance in Kypris Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet, Pumpkin seed oil is one of those curious oils that I want to explore more, as it’s also rich in vitamins A and C, zinc, and other trace minerals and vitamins that are extremely beneficial to the skin.

Here’s the full ingredients list:

Love, Helianthus annuus (Sunflower Seed) Oil, Cocos nucifera (Virgin Coconut) Oil, Vitis vinifera (Grape Seed) Oil, Adansonia digitata (baobab) Oil, Aleurites moloccans (Kukui) Oil, Calophyllum inophyllum (Tamanu) Oil, Curcubita pepo (Pumpkin Seed) Oil, Ubiquinone (CoQ10), Opuntia engelmannii (Prickly Pear Seed) Oil, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Extract, Hippophae rhamonides (Seabuckthorn Berry) Extract, Punica granatum (Pomegranite Seed) Extract, Rubus occidentalis (Black Raspberry Seed) Oil, Vaccinium macrocarpon (Cranberry Seed) Oil, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate (From Licorice), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C Ester), Rosamarinus officinalis (Rosemary Leaf) Extract, Non-GMO Mixed Tocopherols, 100% Natural Essential Oil Blend (Geranium, Jasmine, Patchouli, Lavender)

As you can see, virgin coconut oil is the second ingredient in Kypris Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet. Many of you have said you are sensitive to coconut oil, sharing stories of horrible breakouts and reserving it instead for use in your hair and on your body.

Personally, I have never had issues with using coconut oil on my face (and I am oily / acne-prone), but could it be because I typically use organic, virgin coconut oil? This interesting post (from a brand, but with sited sources) notes that virgin coconut oil is indeed non-comedogenic and instead highly antiseptic.

The bottom line, though, is to trust and know your skin and when in doubt, sample, sample, sample before buying. Which leads me to the next part of this review: Price.

There’s no way around it, but yes, I agree that Kypris Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet is expensive. It’s $200 for a 1.69-ounce glass dropper bottle, which comes out to about $118 per ounce.

When put into that context, though, it’s more in line with the pricing of Yuli and Marie Veronique, and highlights how pricey Odacite’s beautiful “Autumn on the World” serum ($149 for half an ounce!) is.

While a $200 skincare investment is huge, I challenge you to keep in mind quality, sizing and thoughtfulness in formulation.

  • Is certified organic important to you?
  • Do wildcrafted ingredients speak to you?
  • Do packaging and design make your heart sing?
  • Do you want to have an intimate experience with your skincare ritual?

All of the brands mentioned above have one of more of these properties, and it really does come down to personal preference, what your skin needs and what your budget can handle.

I appreciate the bigger sizing of Kypris Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet, and I especially adore the rituals involved in the Kypris line.

As mentioned in a previous post, Kypris Antioxidant Dew was a game-changer for me. While it’s become a staple in my skincare ritual, getting mixed with whatever facial oil of the month I’m testing, I especially enjoy mixing it with my Healing Bouquet.

This is because not only do I know for sure that they’ve been formulated to work together in harmony, but I also appreciate that this smart combination helps me stretch my precious bottle of Healing Bouquet.

This oil, after six weeks of testing, kept my skin looking and feeling beautiful, but the biggest draw to me is that after the initial testing phase and moving on to other face oils, I found myself truly missing Healing Bouquet.

Besides knowing that it’s loaded with extremely active and beautiful ingredients, this face oil is one that I constantly wanted to use because my jasmine addiction is real. As superficial as it may sound, if something doesn’t smell good, I’m just not going to use it.

And that’s money wasted, no matter how amazing the ingredients lineup is or how beautifully it’s packaged. It has to smell good. And it has to work.

There’s no question to me that Kypris Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet does what it says it will do: “calm, soothe, and inspire radiant, supple skin for those with combination or inflamed, fussy skin due to blemishes or overexposure to the environment.” I’ve never had a breakout or reaction from using this — and it’s been in and out of rotation for five months and drastic weather changes.

And there’s also no question to me that it smells good. If you’re truly a die-hard jasmine fan, at least get a trial size of Kypris Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet to experience. You won’t be disappointed.

And if you are, you can send it to me. Surely there’s something in my beauty cabinet I can swap you for it.

Have you tried anything from Kypris? What active ingredients do you look for in your skincare? Where do you save on green beauty, and where do you splurge? Tell me in the comments section!

 

February 16, 2015

beauty secrets | the ultimate guide to natural hand creams

No matter how big of an oil addict you are, a stellar hand cream is a critical component of your green beauty arsenal.

During cold winter months, especially, a thick, slippery hand cream keeps your skin in top shape, delivering moisture deep into your pores and keeping it locked in for hours.

I’ve been on the great hand cream hunt for months now, and as I launch the newest post in my “ultimate guide” series, it’s awesome to note that there are, so far, zero hand creams that are on my “did not like” list.

(Bookmark for later reading: The Ultimate Guide to Natural Deodorants; The Ultimate Guide to Natural Mascaras; The Ultimate Guide to Natural Shampoos; The Ultimate Guide to Natural Sunscreens)

So, for now, enjoy more than 10 mini-reviews of some beautiful hand creams. Surely you’ll find something you absolutely must try!

ultimate guide to hand creams

*Indicate PR sample
**Indicates sample with purchase

Natural Hand Creams I Liked and Will Repurchase

100% Pure French Lavender Hand Buttercream
$8 for 2 ounces ($4/ounce)

I’ve had very little experience with products from 100% Pure, but pretty much everything I’ve tried has made a good impression on me. The French Lavender Hand Buttercream, though, made a GREAT impression on me.

After receiving it in my monthly Petit Vour box, I was extremely taken by its clean lavender scent and slippery texture that dried to a silken finish. With a liquid base of aloe leaf juice and rose hydrosol mixed with heavy-hitting cocoa, shea and avocado butters and further cut with coconut, rosehip, pomegranate and vitamin E oils, 100% Pure Lavender Hand Buttercream keeps your hands crack- and flake-free, period.

Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Organic Rosa Centifolia Flower Water (Rose Hydrosol)*, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Butter, Cocos Nucifera (Virgin Coconut) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender Essential) Oil, Extracts of: Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Seed, Euphorbia Cerifera Cera (Candelilla Wax), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf, Origanum Vulgare (Oregano) Leaf, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Flower/Leaf, Organic Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf*, Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal), and Lonicera Caprifolium (Japanese Honeysuckle), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C) Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Oil, Geraniol**, Limonene**, Linalool** * Certified Organic, **component of natural essential oil

**Osmia Organics Linden Rose Hand Cream
$24 for 1.7 ounces ($14.12/ounce)

In my eyes, Osmia Organics can do no wrong. And founder Sarah Villafranco really hit it out of the park with her Linden Rose Hand Cream.

I tried a small sample of this hand cream with one of my big orders (I adore Osmia’s Spot Treatment, body oils, body soaps and black clay facial soap … see how I say OO can do no wrong?), and after using it just twice I was hooked. It’s one of the more expensive picks in my favorites / repurchase list here, but for good reason. Osmia Organics uses only the best of the best organic ingredients, as evidenced below.

Aloe leaf juice, shea butter, sweet almond oil, sunflower oil and grapeseed oil give this natural hand cream its wonderful base while extracts of organic and wild-harvested essentials oil of rose otto and linden blossom CO2 scent this concoction with a soft rose and honey smell that’s subtle and calming.

Aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter*, prunus amygdalus (sweet almond) oil*, glyceryl stearate, helianthus anuus (sunflower) oil*, lactobacillus ferment, glycerin*, palm stearic acid, vitis vinifera (grapeseed) oil*, hydrolyzed oats, cetearyl alcohol, sodium stearoyl lactylate, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) CO2 extract*, proprietary blend of organic and wild-harvested essential oils and extracts

Primavera Hand & Nail Cream in Ginger Lime
$18 for 1.7 ounces ($10.59/ounce)

A favorite hand cream of mine since 2012, Primavera’s Hand & Nail Cream in Ginger Lime is lightly scented, extremely fast-drying and the perfect size for your bag, desktop and carry-on beauty booty.

It takes advantage of the featherlight, moisturizing properties of jojoba, sweet almond, avocado and macadamia oils and adds a punch of hydration with shea butter.

I’ve gone through about five tubes of this and am sad that my local spa no longer carries the line.

Water (Aqua), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil* org, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil* org, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Polyglyceryl-3 Stearate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)* org, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil* org, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil* org, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter* org, Fragrance (Parfum), Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Zingiber Officianale (Ginger) Root Oil* org, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract* org, Cera Alba*org, Tocopherol, Xanthan Gum, Lactic Acid, Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate, Alcohol* org

*The Soap & Paper Factory Shea Butter Hand Cream in Jasmine
$18 for 2.3 ounces ($7.83/ounce)

Soap & Paper Factory is one of those old-school clean beauty brands that’s been in my go-to arsenal since started this journey to better beauty products back in 2007. While I haven’t talked about S&PF much on the blog, I couldn’t not mention its Shea Butter Hand Cream in Jasmine because, um, I’m kimberlyloc and you KNOW how much I adore jasmine.

With its whimsical, colorful packaging and short ingredients list, Soap & Paper Factory Shea Butter Hand Cream in Jasmine easily earns a spot on the repurchase list.

As with most of the hand creams on this list, it combines aloe leaf juice, coconut oil, shea butter and cocoa butter for an incredibly moisturizing base, but it also adds beautiful beeswax, borage oil and meadowfoam oil to keep it light and whipped while adding additional hydration.

Purified Water, Organic Babadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Oil), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Cacao (Cocoa Butter), Beeswax, Borago Officinalis (Borage Oil), Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam Oil), Natural Fragrance & Essesntial Oil Blend (Phthalate Free), Sodium Levulinate(Preservative)

*Vineyard Hill Naturals Natural Hand Cream in Milk & Honey
$6.99 for 2 ounces ($3.50/ounce)

At $3.50 an ounce, Vineyard Hill Naturals Natural Hand Cream in Milk & Honey is a steal! The soft, comforting scent of milk and honey is only slightly sweet and is something of a lullaby to your hands and nose before bed.

Sunflower oil, aloe leaf juice, shea butter and sweet almond combine with milk proteins and honey to deliver a hand cream with the perfect consistency and fast drying time. The 2-ounce squeeze bottle is the perfect size for your bag, and again, at $6.99 and easily available online or at Walgreens, it’s a no-brainer hand cream for the price and nice ingredients list.

Purified Water, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil (Sunflower), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Capric Caprylic Triglycerides, Polysorbate-60, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Dimethicone, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter (Shea), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Peel Wax (Orange), Cetyl Ricinoleate, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil (Sweet Almond), Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract (Lavender), Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Sorbitol, Hydrolyzed Milk Protein, Honey, Beeswax, Sodium PCA, Vitis Vinifera Seed Extract (Orange), Stearic Acid, Olea Europaea Oil (Olive), Tocopherol Acetate, Xanthane Gum, Sodium Alginate, Phenoxyethanol, Ethyl Hexyl Glycerin, Fragrance, Essential Oils

*The Wonder Seed Hemp Hand Cream in Spring Lavender
$12.95 for 2.4 ounces ($5.40/ounce)

Probably the most interesting ingredients list of the bunch, The Wonder Seed Hemp Hand Cream in Spring Lavender is an insta-favorite for me thanks to the ultra-hydrating powers of hemp seed oil, which I’ve sung the praises of so many times before on the blog.

Hemp seed is just one of those underrated oils that I wish more brands would use because it’s exceptionally rich in essential omega fatty acids and protective proteins.

The Wonder Seed has based its entire company around this miraculous oil, and I cannot be more grateful for the random occasion that introduced me to this brand. A quick look at the first few ingredients in this natural hand cream show just how committed The Wonder Seed is to hemp seed oil: it’s ingredient No. 2 in this product, followed by hydrating heavyhitters grapeseed oil, aloe vera, jojoba oil, coconut oil, squalene and borage oil.

This hand cream feels a bit runnier when you squeeze it out, but is so spreadable, silky and fast-drying. You will want to hold my hand after I apply this, promise.

Purified Water (Aqua), Virgin Organic Hemp Seed Oil, Grape Essential Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Organic Aloe Vera, Gingko Herbal Extract, Glycerin (Vegetable), Soluble Natural Plant Collagen, Organic Lavender Essential Oil, Jojoba Oil, Cetyl Alcohol (Coconut Oil Based), Soybean Oil (Non-GMO), Mandarin White Oil, Coconut Oil, Ginseng Extract, Stearyl Alcohol (Vegetable Based), Geranium Oil, Chamomile Oil, Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract, Beta Carotene, Organic Green Tea Extract, Potassium Stearate (Natural Plant Based), Hyaluronic Acid (Natural Plant Based), Carnauba Wax, Squalane (Olive Oil Based), Borage Seed Oil, Vegetable Glyceryl Stearate (Natural Plant Based), Behenic Acid (Natural Plant Based), Lauric Oil Extract, Nutmeg Oil Extract, Citrus Extract, Sea Salt

Natural Hand Creams I Liked But Will Not Repurchase

*Andalou Naturals Hand Cream in Lavender Shea
$8.95 for 3.4 ounces ($2.63/ounce)

Made with shea, cocoa and mango butters as well as sunflower, sweet almond, tamanu and evening primrose oils, Andalou Naturals’ Hand Cream in Lavender Shea (reviewed here) is a thick and creamy hand cream that feels lovely and works well.

So then why is it in my “will not repurchase” list?! I’d repurchase it if I were in a pinch, as Andalou Naturals is easily accessible via Whole Foods, Natural Grocers and other great health food stores, but it wouldn’t be my top pick hand cream compared to the ones listed in my repurchase list above.

There’s something to be said for stellar ingredients, strong sustainability values and affordable pricing, so that’s why this natural hand cream goes in this section.

Aloe Barbadensis Juice*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil*, Stearic Acid, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*†, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa)* and Mangifera Indica (Mango) Butters, Fruit Stem Cells (Malus Domestsica, Solar Vitis) and BioActive 8 Berry Complex*, Vegetable Glycerin, Calophyllum Tacamahaca (Tamanu) Oil, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Allantoin, Lavandula Officinalis (Lavender) Extract*, Hibiscus Sabdariffa and Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Extracts*†, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil*, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Oil, Cyamopsis Tetragonolobus (Guar) Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenethyl Alcohol, Lavandula Officinalis (Lavender) Oil*

*Beauty Without Cruelty Hand & Body Lotion in Sweet Lavender
$12.95 for 16 ounces ($0.81/ounce)

Made with organic sunflower oil, aloe vera leaf juice, jojoba oil, shea butter and flax seed oil, Beauty Without Cruelty’s Hand & Body Lotion in Sweet Lavender is a fine choice for an all-over hand and body treat, but like the Jason cream mentioned below, it’s not exactly travel-friendly and is designed as more of a body lotion than a hand cream. Size matters!

But when it comes to the product itself, it feels wonderful on the skin and contains an impressive number of organic ingredients, especially at just 81 cents per ounce. It’s just not one of those that I would seek out and order special online compared to the ones I listed above that I love, but this is definitely a great choice if you’re interested in exploring the various options out there (and another one that’s also available at Walgreens!).

Purified water, glycerin, Helianthus annuus (sunflower) oil*, glyceryl stearate, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, Carthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed oil, Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice*, stearic acid, Lavandula hybrida (lavandin) oil*, Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil*, Butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter*, Linum usitatissimum (flax) seed oil*, Prunus amygdalus (sweet almond) oil*, Aleurites moluccana (kukui) nut oil, Calendula officinalis (calendula)extract*, Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) extract*, Rosa damascena (rose) extract, Citrus aurantium (orange blossom) extract, Anthemis nobilis (chamomile) extract*, Arnica montana (arnica) extract*, allantoin, panthenol, sodium pca, ascorbic acid, tocopherol, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, soy lecithin, phenoxyethanol, ethyl hexyl glycerin, benzyl alcohol.

*Beesentials Relaxing Lavender Hand & Body Cream with Bergamot
$12.99 for 6 ounces ($2.16/ounce)

With a gorgeous formulation and even more admirable company ethos, Beesential’s Relaxing Lavender Hand & Body Cream with Bergamot is a thicker hand and body cream made with nourishing cupuacu butter, shea butter, squalene, olive oil, honey, propolis, beeswax and silk protein. Impressive, right? I enjoy using this hand cream before bed, but usually like it on my feet even more.

It’s not an absolute favorite of mine because I like my hand creams a bit thinner and silkier. I find that this hand cream take a bit more time to work in to ensure it disappears into the skin, but I admit it would be an excellent cream for severely chapped skin.

Another thing to note is that the scent profile of Beesentials’ hand creams (I’ve tried this one, the Cucumber & Green Tea and the Original Honey Unscented) leaves you wanting more. It’s extremely faint, but allows the smell of beeswax and propolis so come through. If you’re a fan of those scents, this might be for you!

Cupuacu Butter, Shea Butter, Squalene, Olive Oil, Cetearyl Olivate, Honey, Propolis Extract (Bee-Derived), Isotearyl Isotearate (Vegetable Derived), Oleyl Oleate (Vegetable Derived), Silk Protein, Beeswax, Cetyl Palmitate, Sorbitan Palmitate, Sorbitan Olivate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol (Paraben-Formaldehyde Free Preservative) and Xanthan Gum.

*Jane Iredale HandDrink Hand Cream SPF 15
$29 for 2.03 ounces ($14.29/ounce)

As a bona fide Jane Iredale addict, it pains me to put the HandDrink Hand Cream SPF 15 in the “like but won’t repurchase” category, but it just comes down to economics for me. It’s really hard for me to justify spending $29 for a hand cream that doesn’t smell particularly great (it doesn’t really have a scent at all, TBH) but does boast SPF, which is extremely difficult to find in a hand cream.

We all know that sun protection is important for our skin — and many of us are cognizant of the fact that our hands tend to be the body part that gives away our age — thus the interest in a moisturizing + protecting hand cream to maintain a youthful appearance.

As we approach warmer weather and I begin researching great green SPF options, this one may come up again because there’s only ever been one other SPF-laden hand cream I’ve tried (and has, sadly, been discontinued), so it might just be that this is what it costs to get a clean, everyday hand cream with SPF in it. We shall see…

Zinc Oxide 2.75%, Titanium Dioxide 1.25%, Aqua/Water/Eau, Coconut Alkanes (and) Polysilicone 11, Cyclopentasiloxane, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Glycerin, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Raphanus Sativus (Radish) Root Extract, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Pectin, Chlorella Vulgaris/Lupinus Albus Protein Ferment, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Fruit Extract, Sodium Ascorbate, Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Tocopherol, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract (and) Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid

*Jason Smoothing Coconut Hand & Body Lotion
$9.30 for 8 ounces ($1.16/ounce)

If Jason made this Smoothing Coconut Hand & Body Lotion in a smaller size that helped it feel more like a toss-in-my-bag hand cream it would be a repurchase for me, but the 8-ounce packaging lends it more to the body lotion category.

With that said, I’d likely put this on the repurchase list for body lotions, but it’s very seldom that I use them (I’m a body oil girl, as you all know) so better to critique it here. The coconut scent is out of this world, and the use of coconut oil, castor seed oil and shea butter give it a great thickness and slip that isn’t too chunky and isn’t too runny.

I do wish the ingredients list packed some more beautiful oils and butters in it, but at $1.16 per ounce, you can see that Jason is striving for affordable naturals here, and that’s to be commended.

Aqua (Purified Water), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil(1), Stearic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Xanthan Gum, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Punica Granatum Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Allyl Caproate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Citric Acid, Ethyl Butyrate, Isoamyl Butyrate, Vanillin, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, D-Limonene

*Nature’s Gate Herbal Blend Hand Cream in Orchid
$6.99 for 3 ounces ($2.33/ounce)

The only reason Nature’s Gate Herbal Blend Hand Cream in Orchid is on the “like but won’t repurchase” list is for the scent alone. Orchid just isn’t my thing, I guess. It doesn’t smell bad, per se, but it just doesn’t have any personality at all.

I would repurchase Nature’s Gate Herbal Blend Hand Cream based on its formulation, ingredients and price, but would opt for the safer Rose option or venture into the Cherry Blossom territory to get the scent experience I’m looking to enjoy when I apply hand cream throughout the day.

So, back to the ingredients. Organic safflower oil, organic shea butter and organic sunflower oil team up with sweet almond oil and dimethicone for a creamy, slippery hand cream that feels soft and dries quickly. As pointed out, yes, this hand cream containers dimethicone (the ingredient that gives cosmetics their slip), but that doesn’t bother me in a hand cream (I limit it a bit in my facial cosmetics).

Water, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil*, Glycerin, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Wheat Straw Glycosides, Cetearyl Alcohol, Fragrance**, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Dimethicone, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil*, Sorbitan Stearate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Orchis Mascula (Orchid) Flower Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Black Tea) Leaf Extract*, Ocimum Sanctum (Tulsi / Holy Basil) Leaf Extract, Spirulina Maxima Extract*, Tocopheryl Acetate, Allantoin, Xanthan Gum, Alcohol*, Sodium Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Glyceryl Undecylenate.

*Odylique by Essential Care Lemon Butter Hand Smoothie
$25 for 2 ounces ($12.50/ounce)

A lovely light lemon scent greets you as you smother Odylique by Essential Care Lemon Butter Hand Smoothie into your hands, and this has been my daily use hand cream for quite some time post-testing phase.

There’s only a few reasons why it doesn’t make it into the repurchase list for me: 1) It’s expensive for a hand cream that I don’t absolutely adore; and 2) It’s a bit too runny for me. It would be great to thicken it up just a pinch so that it has the same slip and slide but dries quicker. I find myself having to dab off excess with every use, even when I’m extremely light-handed in my application.

Coconut, avocado and sunflower oils give Odylique by Essential Care Lemon Butter Hand Smoothie its slip while cocoa butter offers a bit of texture. I’d love to see an additional butter or wax in here (mango? beeswax?) to thicken it up a bit more and then re-evaluate. Despite these critiques, I’ll finish my tube and enjoy the silky hands it leaves me after I dab off the extra layer.

Aqua, Cocos nucifera oil*, Theobroma cacao seed butter*, Persea gratissima oil*, Helianthus annuus seed oil*, Glycerine**, Cetearyl alcohol, Hippophae rhamnoides fruit extract*, Aloe barbadensis leaf juice powder*, Rosmarinus officinalis leaf extract*, Cetearyl glucoside, Citrus limon peel oil*, Cymbopogon citratus oil*, Pelargonium graveolens oil*, Vanilla planifolia bean extract*, Lactic acid, Sodium anisate, Sodium lauroyl lactylate, Sodium levulinate, Xanthan gum, citral*, geraniol*, limonene* & linalool* (in the essential oils)

February 10, 2015

natural beauty buff | annie jackson, credo beauty

“We believe that everyone deserves products that are exquisite, effective, modern, and good — in every sense. We started Credo with the goal of providing you with the world’s most exceptional collection of those very products.”

I’ve been fortunate enough to work in the green beauty world for the past eight years, and it’s been absolutely inspiring to see the various facets of this industry evolve over the years.

  • New natural beauty brands have launched left and right.
  • Conventional beauty brands have slowly cleaned up their acts.
  • Indie brands that started on Etsy are taking over Target.

The biggest trend I’ve seen over the past two years, though, is the explosion of amazing online green beauty boutiques, and Credo Beauty is one of the latest to burst onto the scene with quite an impressive lineup of both product offerings and street cred.

annie jackson credo beauty

Created by Shashi Batra, a founding member of the Sephora USA team, Credo Beauty is setting itself up to be a major online (and soon, brick-and-mortar) green beauty destination.

Today’s natural beauty buff, Annie Jackson, serves as VP of Merchandising and Planning and brings a wealth of experience in branding and product innovation to this exciting new venture.

Case in point: One look at the site gives you an idea of the breadth of brands available (from 21 Drops to Zoe Organics), but what’s extra special about the online shopping experience is the care Credo took to create its “Maker Videos” that bring you a bit closer to the brands and founders you know and love.

To bring you even closer to this exciting new green beauty shopping site that is sure to haunt your dreams, Annie is sharing her top green beauty picks with us today — which, of course, are all available at Credo, which is a bit mind-blowing to me.

And if you’re connecting the dots the way I am, I’m going to be bold and say Credo could be the brand that takes shopping for green beauty to the next level.

Can you imagine what it would be like to walk into a Credo Beauty store anywhere in the country, the same way we can walk into a Sephora anywhere, and play? I’m placing my bets on Credo to bring every green beauty guru’s dream to life with this concept!

 

annie jackson of credo beauty's favorite green beauty products

RMS Beauty Living Luminizer

My skin gets really dry in the winter, and this is a great addition to your moisturizer. The texture is really emollient and gives dull skin a really natural luminosity and feels hydrating.

W3ll People Bio-Extreme Expressionist Mascara

Loads on the volume with no flaking! Mascaras are hard for people to make the jump to natural, and this one does not disappoint!

Armour Lip Gloss

Pigments are really rich, and the formula and scent are to die for! “Gypsy” is a great nude (my favorite), and the rest of Theo’s shades are really wearable.

True Nature Botanicals Pacific Body Oil

I am a body oil fanatic. The texture of this oil is almost hard to describe. It is think, but totally lightweight at the same time. It sinks into your skin, smells like Hawaii and absorbs almost instantly. Gorgeous!

Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil

Super hydrating, and my skin feels clean, with a beautiful hydrated barrier left behind.

Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil

We get asked all the time “What is squalane?” This little gem of a product is 100 percent derived from olives. But what is best about it is not where it comes from, but how it protects — sun damage, wrinkles, discoloration — this is your product. People have even gone so far as to call it the holy grail of skincare. I agree!

Sans Bio Active Body Exfoliant

Amaaaaaazing! Seriously, an at-home spa moment. Sloughs off dead skin and rinses away easily. Your skin feels lusciously plump, and super soft and moisturized all day.

S.W. Basics of Brooklyn Makeup Remover

Removes makeup easily, doesn’t leave a greasy residue — great for contact lens wearers. Love the simplicity of their ingredients.

Dr. Alkaitis Universal Mask

Based on active plants — and it feels like it!  Your skin looks smooth and plumped, and it removes redness. It’s like a superfood-packed green juice for your skin.

Province Apothecary Sleep Well Therapeutic Roll On

Works like a charm….for the whole family :-)

 



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