Entries from December 23rd, 2013

December 23, 2013

beauty scoop | beija flor naturals whipped organic shea butter

Shea butter.

We all love it — but there’s something about Beija-Flora Naturals Whipped Organic Shea Butter that has me lusting for a gallon-size tub of this goodness.

beija flor naturals whipped organic shea butter

{Beija-Flor Naturals sent me a sample of its whipped shea butter. A 4-ounce jar costs $14.}

Perhaps its the airy, whipped texture that is easy to scoop out and melt into my skin, leaving a soft sheen and gentle moisture.

Or maybe its the sweet scent of vanilla cookies with a touch of coconut that comforts me as I massage it into tired feet and sore hands.

Whatever it is, I’m sold on Beija-Flor Naturals Whipped Organic Shea Butter.

Let’s take a look at what’s inside:

Organic shea butter, apricot oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, vitamin E

And that’s all it took to capture my heart.

So simple — yet the whipped texture feels new to me, and while the shea maintains that thick, wrap-my-buttery-arms-around-your-body consistency, it just feels light and airy and very calming to spread across the skin.

I’ve tried a bit of it in my hair (think half the size of a dime for my fine hair) to style when I’ve forgotten to pack my typical pomade, and while it was too heavy for me, it gave my hair this pretty gloss that I consider experimenting with a bit more. Hello, sleekness!

If you have thick, dry hair in need of taming, Beija-Flora Naturals’ Whipped Organic Shea Butter could be a great multipurpose product for you!

Bonus: If you’re in the Bay Area, Beija-Flor Naturals’ founder, Stevonne, has a shop in Oakland called Concept Forty-Seven where her line lives along other natural beauty babes such as Vapour Organic Beauty and John Masters Organics.

Final verdict for me? Definitely a re-purchase. And maybe it will be in person sometime in 2014!

What’s your go-to shea butter? Tried anything from Beija-Flor Naturals? Tell me in the comments section!


December 16, 2013

holiday gift guide 2013

We have just a little more than a week left before Christmas — are you anywhere near finished with your shopping?

Just in case you aren’t, I’ve rounded up my top style and beauty picks for the holidays and beyond.

Some of these items are on my actual wish list this year, while others are tried-and-true favorites that I think your loved ones will love, too.

Happy last-minute shopping!

kimberlyloc holiday gift guide 2013

From top row to bottom row, left to right:

1. Jane Iredale Glamour Eye & Lip Palette, $75

I’ve been playing with this palette for a few weeks now. It’s got such a great little sampling of perky eye and lip colors that make me excited to paint my face in the mornings.

While the color pots are small, you get a great range of colors — 15 eye shadows and 15 lippies! — to experiment with. I’m sure you can nail the perfect holiday looks with this pretty palette. (Also available at Nordstrom!)

2. Roots Rose Radish Jasmine & Clary Sage Perfume, $50

Roots Rose Radish’s packages its solid perfumes in cowrie shells and houses its various fragrance oils in cold-pressed, unrefined jojoba oil for a slow release of scent.

While it’s no secret that I covet the Jasmine & Clary Sage scent, Roots Rose Radish also offers gorgeous perfumes in Ylang Ylang & Grapefruit and Rose Frankincense & Patchouli.

3. H. Gillerman Organics Remedy Pack, $160

Introduce a loved one to the power of aromatherapy with H. Gillerman Organics’ Remedy Pack, which features full size essential oil remedies — Sleep Remedy, Tension Remedy, Stress Remedy and Sinus Remedy — in a cute little Brooklyn-made pouch.

I swear by Hope Gillerman’s aromatherapy treasures; she keeps me pepped up with peppermint at work (Tension Remedy) and soothes me to bed at night (Sleep Remedy). Sinus Remedy and Stress Remedy must be equally amazing.

4. Prada Sunglasses, $290

I would feel transported to a magical land every time I slipped on these Prada shades.

With its whimsical side designs and square lenses, these sunglasses draw a little more attention to your well-hidden eyes and shield you glamorously from the sun’s rays.

Gift these to someone who isn’t notorious for breaking or losing her sunglasses …

5. Osmia Organics Greenest and Cleanest Soap Set, $130

My favorite bar soaps, hands down, are made by the hands of Sarah Villafranco, founder of Colorado-based Osmia Organics.

These soaps are special; the curves on the top of the soap showcase Sarah’s artistry and care. Each scent triggers different memories and feelings while cleansing your body with saponified oils and butters blended with various clays and essential oils to nourish your skin.

6. Hobo “Farrah” Bag, $248

Also available in Caramel, Stone, Black and Peacock, the Hobo “Farrah” is big enough to use as an everyday bag yet sleek and compact enough to use as an evening clutch — just remove the strap!

I’ve had my eye on this bag for a few months now. The striking violet color spoke to me in so many ways — namely “take me home!”

7. May Lindstrom Skin “The Good Stuff” Radiance Oil, $110

What better time than the holidays to splurge on a sexy, scrumptious body oil from May Lindstrom Skin?

I’m a huge fan of this sweet body oil, reserving it for special nights when I want to amp up the flirtation and see my skin glisten and glow. “The Good Stuff” gives you that feeling of power and beauty typically found in sexy perfumes or lingerie; May calls this her “fabric-free lingerie” and could not be more on-target with that description!

You can also count on May to deliver this cocoa-scented body oil to you wrapped in gorgeous black and gold and with a handwritten note; who knows, if you ask, she may even address the note to the lucky gift recipient.

8. Red Dirt Shop “The Escapist by Jenn Porreca” iPhone 5/5s Case, $37

Kansas City-based Red Dirt Shop partners with local artists to create stunning cell phone cases that are sure to spark conversations.

Beyond talking about the beauty of your new cell phone case, you can talk about how a portion of the sale of your case went to helping Water.org build wells in countries like Ethiopia, India, Haiti and Uganda so that families there could have access to clean water.

Every five cases sold gives one person clean water for life and exposes individual artists to more people who may adore their work.

9. Shinola “Runwell 28mm” Watch, $600

Made in Detroit and now available in Kansas City, Shinola offers timeless timepieces for men and women that command attention.

With their sleek lines, bold faces and supple leather, Shinola watches are bringing back a bit of American pride to high-quality watchmaking and are sure to catch attention.

10. Cashmere-lined Leather Gloves, $54

You can never go wrong gifting gloves (as long as you know the right size!), but a pair of cashmere-lined leather gloves steps it up a notch.

In a classic or bright color, leather gloves show off style and sophistication that comes with age — and the right pair of leather gloves will get better as the years go by.

11. Clare Vivier Simple Tote, $368

Made in Los Angeles, this suede and leather Clare Vivier tote is effortlessly chic, with rich colors from eco-friendly dyes.

The Simple Tote can works for everyday laptop-schlepping to and from work as well as for those long errand-running days when you just need a roomy, yet stylish, bag to run around town.

December 11, 2013

beauty scoop | capriclear moisturizing spray

Body oils have been a staple in my beauty routine for several years now.

After every shower, I always apply a handful of thick, moisturizing oil from head to toe, focusing on key dry spots such as my elbows and knees.

A lot of times, though, I end up using a wee bit too much (especially if the body oil isn’t housed in a pump jar), so I was excited to try this convenient spray-on body oil from CapriClear.

capriclear fractionated coconut oil moisturizing spray

{CapriClear sent me a sample of its coconut oil-based moisturizing spray. It costs $16.99 for a 5.2-ounce plastic spray bottle.}

I’ve tried one other dry oil spray before and loved it, but it was loaded with some fillers that left me no choice but to eliminate it from my to-buy list.

CapriClear Moisturizing Spray, though, has just one simple ingredient: Fractionated coconut oil.

For the record, the official listing on the bottle is Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (100% Fractionated Coconut Oil).

In case you missed my post on coconut oil for beginners, fractionated coconut oil is coconut oil minus the medium-chain triglycerides.

That means that while this coconut oil is odorless (no familiar coconut smell here), it’s not virgin, pure coconut oil — but that’s OK!

Fractionated coconut oil like this one from CapriClear is a dream if you’re:

  1. particular about your scents;
  2. want to blend your own scents with coconut oil as a carrier oil;
  3. in search of a lightweight body oil — the fractionation process thins out the coconut oil, making it a no-brainer for use all over your body before bedtime or before getting dressed on a tight morning schedule.
  4. dealing with eczema — CapriClear carries the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance

While CapriClear Moisturizing Spray isn’t the most beautifully packaged body oil I own (it kind of sticks out among a sea of Osmia Organics, May Lindstrom Skin and Skin & Bones body oils), it’s one that I reach for a lot on busy mornings when I need to just be able to spray, rub and go.

I also love that CapriClear Moisturizing Spray is scent-free; with my recent foray into searching out the best natural perfumes, I don’t want my body oil competing with my scents.

CapriClear Moisturizing Spray is just one of those no-nonsense, economical oils that is great for daily use or for introducing your friends to the power of natural products.

CapriClear’s creator, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Betty Bellman, also gets a finger-snap from me for being one of those cooler derms who listens when her clients ask for natural solutions to skin issues — which is what lead her to making this multipurpose moisturizing fractionated coconut oil spray.

While CapriClear Moisturizing Spray probably isn’t a product I’d be drawn to on my own, after trying it, I’m convinced this is my new go-to spray oil for those low-maintenance days when I just don’t have time to fuss over myself. The pricepoint is fair and its gets the job done — sold.

What sort of coconut oil do you use on your skin? Have you tried CapriClear or any other coconut oil sprays? Tell me in the comments section!


December 10, 2013

beauty scoop | may lindstrom skin the honey mud gentle cleansing silk

In typical May Lindstrom-style, the skincare chef has made the daily act of cleansing your face a luxurious ritual that commands a little bit of “me” time without requiring an all-out spa retreat on a busy weeknight.

“The Honey Mud Gentle Cleansing Silk” gives you that little bit of aromatic, pampering escape that you need during your bedtime ritual without slashing too many minutes off your sleep time.

may lindstrom skin the honey mud review by kimberlyloc

{I purchased “The Honey Mud” from May Lindstrom’s website after finishing the sample she gave me in September. It costs $80 for a 100 ml Miron glass jar.}

This pre-mixed honey, oil and clay concoction takes the “just-add-liquid” aspect out of your skincare ritual.

It instead allows you to have an easy-yet-beautiful natural cleanser to reach for on nights when you can’t take too much extra time yet still want to feel like you’re having a spa moment at home.

may lindstrom skin the honey mud review by kimberlyloc

On nights when you don’t feel up for mixing “The Clean Dirt” or putting together a DIY raw honey and oil cleanse, “The Honey Mud” offers you a pudding-like cleanser that feels thick and gently gooey without the skin-pulling or tugging that typically happens with pure honey cleansing.

may lindstrom skin the honey mud review by kimberlyloc

Massaging it in is feels like icing your face with the most rich, sinful chocolate and vanilla frosting.

You get that chocolate high without any of the caloric guilt afterward; instead, your skin feels pillowy soft and your mind relaxed and at ease as you transition from bathroom to bedroom mentally prepared for sweet dreams.

may lindstrom skin the honey mud review by kimberlyloc

{Thickly applied to the skin as a mask, “The Honey Mud” helps detox pores and smooth skin to reveal a soft, clean complexion.}

You can leave “The Honey Mud” on your face for 15 minutes or so if applied to dry skin, using it as a mask to gently de-gunk pores and intensely soften the skin.

I also love playing skin chef myself by mixing “The Honey Mud” with “The Problem Solver” for the most spicy-yet-sweet mask.

If time is of the essence, as it usually is, then simply apply “The Honey Mud” to damp skin to experience a milky emulsion that helps melt away makeup and impurities while stimulating your senses with its intoxicating scent.

may lindstrom skin the honey mud review by kimberlyloc

{When “The Honey Mud” meets water, it returns a creamy, frothy emulsion.}

Let’s take a look at the ingredients in full and see what makes “The Honey Mud” oh-so-good.

Raw Honey, White Halloysite Clay, Organic Macadamia Integrifolia (Macadamia Nut Oil), Organic Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel), Argentum Metallicum (Colloidal Silver), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa Absolute) Oil, Organic Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange) Oil, Organic Cananga Odorata (Ylang-Ylang) Oil, Organic Vanilla Planifolia (Vanilla) CO2 Total Essential Oil, Organic Juniperus Virginiana (Cedarwood) Oil, Boswellia Carteri (Frankincense) Oil, Commiphora Myrrha (Myrrh) Oil

In addition to the naturally antifungal properties of raw honey, “The Honey Mud” calls upon witch hazel, frankincense and myrrh to help detoxify clogged pores.

Colloidal silver, an ingredient I’ve called out for commentary before, is also among the deep-cleansing ingredients inside “The Honey Mud.”

I’d love to hear some thoughtful responses from the green beauty community (May has addressed it in this No More Dirty Looks comments thread) about this naturally antibacterial ingredient — it’s seeing a bit of a renaissance among green beauty brands, especially for acne-clearing products, though has a bad rep among some who have taken it internally and had not-so-lovely experiences.

The second ingredient, white halloysite clay, helps raw honey out in the de-gunking department, as this white clay is known for its gentle detoxification and purification properties.

With these two hardworking, oil-unplugging ingredients, you’d think your skin may be left with that all-too-familiar tight feeling that you can sometimes get after using a clay mask.

Not so with “The Honey Mud.” A smart mixing of protective macadamia nut oil keeps the skin hydrated and smooth, working in harmony with the other beneficial ingredients in this incredible, multipurpose treat.

While I did have the luxury of trying “The Honey Mud” before spending $80 on it, I was all-too-excited to restock my supply; I scraped out the last smear of it and timed my final use of it perfectly for when I knew my paid order would come so I’d never be without it.

(I’m obviously not overly concerned with colloidal silver, though I mentioned it above, but seriously want to hear from everyone about the benefits and risks of this ingredient when used topically. I’ve had no issues and have used it randomly for years.)

This is the first May Lindstrom Skin product I’ve purchased (as I’ve been generously gifted samples of the other items from the line), and I would easily purchase it again and again and again.

I think that “The Honey Mud” and “The Problem Solver” are the absolute must-haves from this beautifully curated line; if you have to start somewhere, start here!

For those of you who are curious about “The Blue Cocoon,” the other new release from May Lindstrom Skin, I’ll have my review ready as soon as possible … maybe even this week. Would anybody be opposed to a double-dipped week of May Lindstrom Skin reviews?

I didn’t think so.

Have you tried “The Honey Mud” yet? Do you prefer to use it as a cleanser or a mask? How often do you use it? Tell me in the comments section!


December 4, 2013

beauty scoop | yuli skincare pure

There’s just a handful of masks that I reach for when I’m having a bit of a skin emergency.

Yuli Skincare’s “Pure” mask is one of them.

yuli skincare pure mask review by kimberlyloc

{Yuli Skincare sent me a sample of its “Pure” mask. It retails for $65 for a 1.7-ounce glass jar.}

Ever since September when I shared that I hopped on the Yuli train, I’ve been getting emails from readers (were you one of them?) asking for some real talk on this mask.

“Does it really work?”

“Is it better than this mask? Is it better than that mask?”

Short answer: Yes, it really works. No, it’s not “better” than another beloved mask; it just serves a different purpose for me.

yuli skincare pure mask review by kimberlyloc

{I like to mix up my Pure mask in a little bowl that I keep in my bathroom and apply it with an inexpensive foundation brush — I picked up a cheapie at Target to use with my dry masks.}

yuli skincare pure mask review by kimberlyloc

{In this picture, I mixed “Pure” with straight water. The result is a thin, active mask with very fine exfoliants in a soft paste. In the past, I’ve mixed “Pure” mask with manuka honey, Yogi Skin Detox Tea and even Panacea Elixir. You can also try yogurt for a cooling effect.}

And that purpose, for me, is to give me back a little of my confidence during the time of the month when I feel like everyone is staring at my blemishes instead of my eyes.

Sounds like a damn good reason for Yuli Skincare “Pure” mask to be on my repurchase list, right? Because it is!

I basically always have very active blemishes on my face — forehead, hairline, chin, sideburns area — and “Pure” helps them heal and reduces the intense redness of angry, flaming pimples.

Case in point: During my period of incredibly cranky skin a few months back, I used “Pure” three times during a 14-day period during more than a month of monster breakouts.

I saw a remarkable difference in my skin — active pimples flattened and drained without irritation or dryness, and seemed to run their course a little faster than pre-Pure mask.

yuli skincare pure mask review by kimberlyloc

{You can see how “Pure” looks when it’s still wet and as it dries. I typically leave it on for about 10-15 minutes depending on which mixer I use to dampen the mask. When I use manuka honey, I tend to leave it on longer.}

When I’m crazy broken out, or just feeling a little rumble in the deeper layers of my skin, Yuli’s “Pure” mask is incredible at taming, soothing and healing moody and inflamed skin.

I’m chalking this up to the powerhouse combination of beautiful and beneficial ingredients that my oily, acneic skin has responded well to before — detoxifying clays, mung beans, white willow bark, cucumber, frankincense, neem and MSM (sulfur).

Here’s the entire ingredients list:

Rhassoul clay, organic mung bean powder, Australian Beige clay, organic rose petals, French green clay, organic rice powder, Zeolite, B. frereana (frankincense) resin, organic white willow bark powder, organic neem leaf powder, Biodynamic fruit enzymes, organic cucumber extract, organic milk powder, MSM, Organic Biophotonically Charged Matcha, chlorella, organic rooibos extract, goji berry, Magnesium

First, the clays. “Pure” combines rhassoul, Australian beige, French green and zeolite, all which gently draw impurities from pores and deliver rich, skin-nourishing minerals back into them.

There’s really no need to collect individual clays to mix yourself if you have this mask on your shelf! (This is what I keep telling myself, at least … #productjunkie)

Next, the mung beans and cucumber. I’m no stranger to this Asian food and skincare staple, and it’s lovely to see more beans popping up in green skincare overall. Mung beans are extremely cooling, which is helpful for overactive, unhappy skin.

Cucumber holds its own to the mung beans (the saying isn’t “cool as a cucumber” for nothing!), offering additional softening and calming effects.

For a classic Pitta // Sagittarius with a deep love for all things spicy and hot, I definitely need this combination to bring some balance back to my skin!

Now, the frankincense, neem and MSM (sulphur). My skin absolutely loves anything frankincense and neem.

Frankincense is an amazing anti-inflammatory, and neem is yet another impressive antibacterial / antifungal ingredient that’s prized in Eastern medicine (hello, Ayurveda).

The nonchalant MSM on the ingredients list is, I’m assuming, methylsulfonylmethane, an organic sulfur compound found in many of the foods we eat.

It’s also another incredible anti-inflammatory and skin-repairing ingredient, though it does bring back visions of pale peach-colored vials of sulfur that I used to get from the derm. (This seems like a more luxe way to enjoy the benefits, no?)

Now, just because I’m highlighting these ingredients doesn’t mean there’s any less love for rose, rice powder, fruit enzymes, milk powder, matcha … good gosh the list is long and clean and there’s just something in there for almost every skin concern.

And while I’m writing this review from an acne-prone person’s point of view, don’t dismiss “Pure” as a “teen skin” (I hate that phrase) product; it’s loaded with antioxidants, collagen-boosters, skin-soothers and scar-healers that skin of any type will adore.

Depending on how particular you are with scents, you will likely either love, hate or be indifferent to the smell of Yuli “Pure” mask.

The crisp, herbal scent reminds me of clean, earthy air after a torrential downpour, which to me, is very soothing to my nose during the ritual of applying “Pure” mask.

It’s got that sort of gathered-from-the-forest medicinal scent that makes me feel like I’m feeding my skin its greens — because in a way, I kind of am.

Now, if only we could solve all our skincare emergencies with a serving of greens both inside and out.

Maybe we can. Now isn’t that a novel idea?

Have you tried Yuli Skincare’s “Pure” mask? What did you think of it? What other masks do you keep in your skincare arsenal? Tell me in the comments section!


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