Entries from August 30th, 2012

August 30, 2012

beauty scoop | just neem neem cure

A few weeks ago, my face exploded.

Because of stress, poor eating and the general timing of my cycle, my face erupted in more than seven breakouts.

A state of panic doesn’t help with calming the skin, so instead, I took to my beauty stash to do everything I could to treat the blemishes I’d acquired and prevent any new ones from forming during that hectic week.

As you all know, my go-to is tea tree and jojoba. I did several of these treatments over the course of two days, but also decided that my skin may want a shot of something different — something it wasn’t used to using — to combat my breakouts.

Enter neem oil.

Neem oil is similar to tea tree oil in that it’s a natural antiseptic and antifungal. It’s popular in India and especially in Ayurvedic medicine because of its healing properties, but one thing that most people can’t get over is it’s smell.

Straight up neem oil does not smell good. It smells like burnt peanuts and onions and garlic.

I have a small sample of neem soap, a neem and jojoba oil face serum and a neem, jojoba and essential blend. Of these three, only one of them, the last one, smells good.

just neem neem cure

{Just Neem sent me a sample of its Neem Cure oil, which retails for $8.50, to review. Photo Courtesy Just Neem}

Just Neem’s Neem Cure combines neem oil, jojoba oil and a mixture of smell-good essential oils to deliver a potent zit-zapping cure in a bottle minus the stank. I used this, in combination with the stinky neem soap, for four days straight to help calm my skin and shrink my pimples.

It worked.

Did it work better than tea tree and jojoba? I’m not totally sure. I think they were about the same.

But I do think that my skin reacted to this antifungal a lot quicker this time because it was something new (does your skin ever get “used to” products?).

All I did with the Just Neem Neem Cure is stick a cotton swab into the bottle and dab the liquid directly onto my breakouts.

Because Neem Cure is formulated with neem essential oil and jojoba oil, there’s no need to dilute — the diluting is done for you! It takes one step out of my beloved tea tree and jojoba oil process, and I don’t worry about overexposing my skin to a raw essential oil.

My only gripe about Just Neem Neem Cure is its lack of full ingredient disclosure on the packaging. I’m not sure what comprises the “essential oil blend,” which smells very good (floral!). The company website does list an ingredients glossary, but it’s not specific to each product.

Just Neem wouldn’t reveal the essential oil blend to me, and while this is perfectly legal and normal in the beauty industry, I appreciate companies that are transparent in their labeling (besides, if you use lots of essential oils, just list them — it’s the percentages and ratios that really matter!).

I think it would be helpful to update this for those of us with allergy concerns and general conscientiousness toward what we put on our bodies. What do you think?

Have you ever tried neem oil? What are your go-to acne busters? I think neem is going to have a permanent space in my vanity…but I’ll definitely have to mix in some smell-good oils with it!

August 27, 2012

beauty scoop | burt’s bees lip shimmer

I love lippies. However, I’m more into glosses and washes than lipsticks.

This is mostly because I’m perpetually late in the morning and can’t devote the time and skill to perfecting a gorgeous, lined-and-filled lip.

For mornings when I just want to slick something on and go, but still look a little put-together, I’ve been using Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer in Plum.

This bold-for-me lip shimmer delivers a jolt of deep color to my naturally rosy lips, and it moisturizes with shea butter and tingles with a hint of peppermint.

burt's bees lip shimmer in plum @kimberlyloc

{This is a bit of a deeper color than my norm, but it’s so perfect for fall. Photo by the Teacher Man}

I picked up this lippie at Walgreens (it was on sale!) along with a few other random drugstore items. I have always been a fan of Burt’s Bees, though its acquisition by Clorox a few years back concerned me.

Because of this, I definitely proceed with caution when purchasing Burt’s Bee’s products. but for the most part, they seem to still carry on the traditional values set forth by the original owners.

burt's bees lip shimmer in plum @kimberlyloc

{Photo by the Teacher Man}

Also, I appreciate that all the ingredients are listed right there on the skinny little lippie’s packaging. Check it:

Castor seed oil, sunflower seed oil, beeswax, euphorbia cerifera wax, peppermint oil, lanolin, cocoa seed butter, copernicia cerifera wax, shea butter, strawberry seed oil, apricot kernel oil, black currant seed oil, rosemary leaf extract, elderberry seed oil, tocopherol, canola oil, soybean oil. +/-: mica, iron oxides, carmine, alumina, titanium dioxide

burt's bees lip shimmer in plum @kimberlyloc

{Photo by the Teacher Man}

It’s a pretty clean list (save for the carmine, which is animal-derived…from bugs…ew…and the lanolin, also animal-derived…from sheep sweat, essentially) for the low price of $5. Could it be better? Yes. But is it easily accessible in terms of both cost and national availability? Yes.

Guess we can pick our battles.

burt's bees lip shimmer in plum @kimberlyloc

{Photo by the Teacher Man}

I think Anya approved of the Burt’s Bee Lip Shimmer in Plum — do you? The only thing I don’t really like about this balm is that the color distribution is a bit uneven — because it’s a deeper color, it still takes a little perfecting, though it doesn’t require lipliner or a lip brush. Just make sure to apply it while looking in the mirror, as you can easily color outside the lines with this one!

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think of the color or if you’ve tried other Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmers!

August 24, 2012

model makeup | kansas city fashion week kickoff at saks off fifth | kansas city, kansas

As the only beauty blogger in the group of fashion bloggers who styled it up at the Kansas City Fashion Week Kickoff Party at Saks Off Fifth last night, I completely geeked out over the gorgeous looks the talented Mieisha Chaney completed for our models.

Of course, I’m partial to my girl April’s glowing face.

I asked Mieisha for a smoky eye that incorporated the colors in her denim and accessories paired with a simple nude lip. I also wanted some bold eyebrows (Remember the Chanel runways back in February? It was all about eyebrows!) to help frame her face.

april kansas city fashion week makeup

I absolutely love the way her eye color plays on the colors in her headpiece — looks so fabulous against her skin!

Here are the other looks from the evening’s style and makeup session:

bright red lipsteal eyes

Erin’s model sported bright red lips to offset the menswear-feel of her outfit while staying true to the glam, classic look of the fur she wore.

Jess’ model rocked the Icelandic look with frosty teal eyes that truly popped.

oxblood lipsfresh face

Meggy’s model showed how fall’s hottest color trend, ox blood, commands attention while still looking polished and sleek.

Kristina’s model demos the fresh-faced, feminine look with bubble gum-pink, glossy lips and light blush that allows her perfect skin to glow from within.

What beauty looks do you love? Tell me in the comments section which one you’re going to try next!

August 22, 2012

natural beauty buff | donna cristino, jing ai organic & natural cosmetics

“I’m starting with glamorous, pure, earth-friendly products that share the love; I want people to know that certified-organic is the new sexy!”

Donna Cristino, the creative beauty behind Jing Ai Organic & Natural Cosmetics, is a shining example of a beauty entrepreneur I admire who is making her dreams come true.

Donna just launched her line of organic and natural cosmetics into the mainstream thanks to an appearance on QVC.

For a small natural beauty startup, this is huge! I couldn’t be happier for Donna, whose makeup line I’ve been loving since last winter (remember this review?) — I know she’s so excited to share her message of “pure love” (the translation of “jing ai”) with the masses…all in honor of her grandmother, Rose.

See what this natural beauty uses on a daily basis — then pop on over to her site to get 25% off your first order of Jing Ai products!

(As usual, I’ve starred the items that I also use and love)

donna cristino jing ai organic & natural cosmetics

{Donna Cristino is the founder of natural beauty brand Jing Ai Organic & Natural Cosmetics. Photo Courtesy Donna Cristino}

“I use Lumene lift touch every night to take off my eye makeup and face makeup. It is gentle enough for my eyes and skin. As someone who has very sensitive skin, this product is amazing.”
“After I wash my face daily, I put on my Lumene serum. It is a deep-repairing serum that helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. I love this product and would highly suggest to anyone interested in finding something that makes your skin smooth to give it a try.”
“Weleda is a brand that is very gentle, and their products are loaded with healthy ingredients. I use their almond facial lotion daily. It is fragrance-free and for sensitive skin. It is loaded with organic sweet almond oil, which is so nourishing and healing to your skin.”
“I have a very good friend who almost lost her life to melanoma. I know how important it is to wear sunscreen. I use Supergoop City Sunscreen Serum daily. I NEVER leave the house without it. Sunscreen is the best protection against skin cancer, and it keeps your skin looking young!”
“Lastly, I put on my Jing Ai Sierra Glow Duo every single day of my life. I created this brand to give woman product made with USDA-certified organic and natural ingredients. It is gluten-free, vegan, and we are certified by the Leaping Bunny because we never test on our furry friends. I use it on my eyelids and my cheeks as a bronzer and highlighter. It is a universal shade!”

August 21, 2012

trend report | fall 2012 beauty trends

On Monday, I made my live television debut. You guys have been so supportive of me, and I am very grateful to have several ways to connect with my readers!

Here, I’d like to outline the trends I talked about on-air in a little more depth. I also want to share a few of the products with you that I wasn’t able to talk about because of time — luckily on my blog, there is no limit! Enjoy :)


Trend 1: Dewy skin on fresh, natural faces on the Valentino and Vera Wang runways

valentino fall 2012 rtwvalentino fall 2012 rtw

{Fresh faces at Valentino. Photos Courtesy Style.com}

Get the look: Darphin Aromatic Renewing Balm ($70, also available at Halls in Kansas City); Jane Iredale Glow Time Mineral BB Cream with SPF 25 ($48, also available at Roca Salon & Spa in Kansas City)

There’s two ways to get this look: First, you’ve gotta take care of your skin. Use the EcoCert-approved Darphin Aromatic Renewing Balm every night to repair your skin with 12 different essential oils, but also, dab some onto the apples of your cheeks mid-day for a little glow.

Second, to really let your skin appear flawless, try the amazing mineral BB cream from Jane Iredale. I just started using it (I wear BB5), and it offers a fantastic full coverage without feeling heavy. I apply it with a dampened wedge sponge by pressing it into my skin and then smoothing it down my jawline. Perfection!

Trend 2: Ox blood-color, vampy lips on the Gucci runway

gucci fall 2012 rtwgucci fall 2012 rtw

{Bold lips at Gucci. Photos Courtesy Style.com}

Get the look: Lancome Advanced Replenishing & Reshaping Lipcolor in Jezabel ($29.50, also available at Halls in Kansas City); Jane Iredale PureGloss Lip Gloss in Black Currant ($20, also available at Roca Salon & Spa in Kansas City)

Ox blood…so…specific…and kind of creepy…but I like it. It’s the new take on burgundy, but a bit deeper, and a bit sexier.

While I’m not a big lipstick person (I prefer glosses and lighter-wash lipsticks), this trend intrigues me. Sexy lips always make a statement, but it takes a good lipstick to really pull it off. Lancome may not be the quintessential natural brand, but man, do they make some fine lipsticks.

Yes, I’m cleaning out my beauty bag.
No, I don’t wear a lot of lipstick.

But for a big color payoff…sometimes a conventional lipstick is your best bet. (See, I’m not perfect and have my weaknesses).

If I want to be realistic, though (I mean, am I really going to wear this trend every day? Probably not), I’ll spring for a truer-to-my-beliefs ox blood lip gloss from Jane Iredale. I’m still tiptoeing into the trend!

Trend 3: Dark nails, autumn leaf-inspired nails on the Naheem Khan and Alexandre Herchcovitch runways


{Deep and shimmery gel nails. Photos Courtesy CND}

Get the look: Chanel Nail Color in Vamp ($26, also available at Halls in Kansas City); Zoya Nail Colors in Angelina, Salma, Penny and Blair ($8 each, also available at Roca Salon & Spa in Kansas City)

For me, nail polish is where it’s at. I geek out when the new season collection come out (look for a post very soon!), but sometimes it’s fun to comb through past collections and pick colors that just make sense for fall.

Hello, rusty leaf colors.
Hello, deep, vampy colors.
Hello, Chanel.

As I said on-air, Chanel Vamp is an instant classic that belongs in every woman’s nail polish collection. Piece of trivia: This is the color Uma Thurman wore in Pulp Fiction! Vamp has inspired tons of deep, dried-blood colors in other brands’ collections (think Essie “Wicked”), but there can only be one Chanel and there can only be one Vamp.


Trend 1: Sleek ponytails on Jason Wu runway

jason wu hairjason wu hair

{Sleek ponys trotted down the runway at Jason Wu. Photos Courtesy Style.com}

Get the look: Kiehl’s Deeply Restorative Smoothing Hair Oil Concentrate ($25, also available at Halls in Kansas City); Shu Uemura Cotton Uzu ($38, also available at Shelby Herrick Salon in Kansas City)

I love that the ponytail is getting a sleek update for fall 2012. Instead of haphazardly throwing your hair into a pony, take a few extra minutes to comb it and slick some flexible hold product into it for a fine, put-together look. I tried the Shu Uemura Cotton Uzu, and while it may not be the most-natural product I’ve ever used in my hair, it’s definitely not the worst (um, AquaNet, early 90s, done). It tames flyaways yet didnt’ weigh down my fine hair. Win and win.

And if you’ve been around the blog for a while, you know that I love oils for hair, skin, nails, whatever. Though I prefer pure-grade ingredients (aka I have a big jar of coconut oil in my pantry that gets used for beauty and cooking purposes), it’s convenient to have a spray-style oil that allows you to get a finer application of the ingredients. Use a spritz of this oil to get the sleek look, but also, apply some to your ends to help temporarily seal split ends.

Trend 2: Statement hair accessories on the Oscar de la Renta runway

oscar de la renta fall 2012 rtwoscar de la renta fall 2012 rtw

{Jeweled headbands added a sweet look to Oscar de la Renta’s fall 2012 ready-to-wear show. Photos Courtesy Style.com}

Get the look: Jeweled headbands (vintage styles available at Donna’s Dress Shop in Kansas City)

The style made popular by Blair Waldorf a la Gossip Girl isn’t going away — it’s just a little less schoolgirl and a little more chic. Make a statement on the weekends (or hell, during the day) with high-sparkle headbands, clips and barrettes that add a touch of glamour to your hair.

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