Entries from January 30th, 2013

January 30, 2013

natural beauty buff | jessica lafleur, stark skincare

As I continue exploring amazing natural beauty brands from skincare and makeup to haircare and spa products, what’s excited me most is discovering brands based in our neighbor to the north — Canada!

One Canadian skincare brand that I absolutely adore is Stark Skincare. (You’ve read some of my reviews here and here, and have participated in my blog birthday month giveaway here.)

Not only do I love the simplicity and effectiveness of the well-edited Stark Skincare product line, but I also can’t stop gushing over founder Jessica Lafleur.

Besides being in awe of her will to create natural skincare products after identifying a gap in the market (and noticing that everything she was trying on her own body was not helping), I’m pretty much sold on Jessica and Stark because, well … cat ladies gotta stick together.

jessica lefleur stark skincare

{Look at these two lovely ladies! Photo Courtesy Jessica Lafleur}

When Jessica sent me her “natural beauty buff” profile info and mentioned her meezer, Mi Ae, would be accompanying her in her picture, I about died. 

Jessica definitely earned some kimberlyloc cred for this picture.

I hope she will also score some mommy and mommy-to-be cred with my readers because Jessica is in her final weeks of pregnancy and has totally reformed her beauty routine to include products that keep her glowing all the way to 40 weeks and stretch-mark free for the long-run.

Check out her favorite beauty products below.

*As usual, I’ve starred the items I also use and love.

Green Beaver Daily Face Cream SPF 15

Green Beaver Daily Face Cream SPF 15

{Photo Courtesy Jessica Lafleur}

Green Beaver is a Canadian company that makes great every day items (actually, they are just outside of Montreal…so we’re practically neighbors!). I love this simple sunscreen. It lightly moisturizes skin, wears well under and over face oils and makeup and adds a little bit of shine, which I actually like. (Matte skin creeps me out.) This isn’t enough for a beach day, but is good for regular exposure. It is also one of the only sunscreens, natural or not, that doesn’t burn my eyes.

Crane Humidifier

crane humidifier

{Photo Courtesy Jessica Lafleur}

A good humidifier is a MUST for cold winters, and a humidifier that is nicely designed is a welcome addition to my bedroom dresser. Wintertime air dries skin out severely, and in my apartment, where we can’t control the heat, it is basically a desert it’s so hot and dry! I find with my humidifier, not only is my skin better moisturized by the morning, but my sinuses thank me as well! I sometimes treat my houseplants to a “spa day” and blast the humidifier at them for a few hours. Everybody’s happy. :)

*Stark Skincare Grapefruit Cleanse + Hydrate Balm and *Cypress Purity + Defense Oil

stark skincare grapefruit balm and cypress oil

{Photo Courtesy Jessica Lafleur}

I obviously use my own products, since they were originally designed for my own skin. GF is my go-to for pretty much everything. I use it as a cleanser in the morning, and as a moisturizer throughout the day, and often as my belly balm (I am, at the time of writing this, 30 weeks pregnant*, and NO stretch marks yet!). CY is also used by my self and my husband after every shower. I love the unisex scent and the dewiness that it leaves on both our skin. (Editor’s Note: I believe Jessica is now about 33 weeks along, according to my email dated January 8 — the time of this submission.)

Nivea 24 Hour Sheer Comfort in Lotus

Nivea 24 Hour Sheer Comfort in Lotus

{Photo Courtesy Jessica Lafleur}

Warning! This is my dirty little secret. I used to not really wear deodorant (and when I did, it was Soapwalla’s or my own DIY blend), and had minimal smell issues. Then I got pregnant. Suddenly, I couldn’t STAND the smell of my ‘pits! It wasn’t just me, it was anybody’s body odor. I couldn’t be in public without smelling skin and body odor or hair and becoming completely grossed out. On a whim, I tired the “happy” scent of this deodorant, which I actually really liked (it’s orange, and I’m a huge citrus fan), and now I have moved onto the more sophisticated lotus scent. Sigh. Considering deodorant was THE product that made me aware that I’m sensitive to cosmetics over 10 years ago, I find this little phase of mine to be quite annoying. I will have to wean myself off conventional deodorant once again, once I’m not quite so sensitive to perfectly natural human scents.

stark oil live clean shampoo aubrey conditioner konjac sponge

{Photo Courtesy Jessica Lafleur}

Unmarked Amber Bottle

This is the very first public peak of our new product coming out in February 2013! To mark Stark’s one year anniversary, we will be launching this gorgeous body oil. This oil is so special to me. I’ve been using it throughout my pregnancy (did I mention I have NO stretch marks?), and the scent and silky feel will always bring back this amazing time in my life. This oil is just pure luxury, and to keep with Stark’s credo, a little goes a long way AND it’s multipurpose as it can be used on body, stretchy bellies, hair, baby and as a bath oil. The soothing scent is perfect for bedtime rituals. I really can’t wait for everyone to try this out!

Live Clean Apple Cider Clarifying Shampoo

This is not such a clean product (but not the worst, either), and was bought in a pinch at the local drug store. I have to admit that I like the soft apple scent (not at all like Apple Cider Vinegar, which is a little amusing), but it actually contains Bragg’s ACV, which is kind of impressive. I only wash my hair about once a week, and with this shampoo, my hair actually gets very, very clean, which is nice because I love to do Shea butter and coconut oil masks, and this gets all the residue out. So far this hasn’t made my scalp itchy, which commonly happens to me with conventional shampoo.

Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Conditioner

I love this conditioner so, so, so much. I’ve been using it for nearly two years and normally I also use the same shampoo that goes with it. I love Aubrey’s. It’s such an old-school brand that a lovely man started in his basement, so I totally relate to him. Anyhow, this conditioner makes my hair feel like silk, and I like to use a little on the ends every time I wet my hair (about three times a week and once a week when I wash).

Konjac Sponge by The Konjac Sponge Company in Red Clay

I started using these sponges over a year ago, and loved them so much I had to start offering them on my site. They are ultra soft, almost like a jelly, and are made of pure vegetable fiber with a little clay added. Pairing this sponge with our Grapefruit Balm is such a nice way to start the morning. I like to massage the balm on before the shower, then let the steam do its magic for a few minutes, then I wet the sponge and give my face, neck and chest a nice massage with it. I love all the different types of Konjac sponges, but I think the pink is my favorite. Or maybe this red one. Or the white one…hard to pick!

Neti Pot by NeilMed

Neti Pot by NeilMed

{Photo Courtesy Jessica Lafleur}

Not strictly a beauty product, but I do feel prettier when I can breathe properly!

rms living luminizer vapour organic beauty

{Photo Courtesy Jessica Lafleur}

Vapour Organic Beauty Stratus III Instant Skin Perfector

I love the ingredients in Vapour products! This magical crayon-like thing makes my sometimes sallow looking skin look fresh and healthy! I just sweep it along my cheekbones and below my eyebrows and blend it in with my fingers. It’s very subtle, but effective and catches the light nicely. I have a feeling I’ll be getting a lot of use out of this when my baby is born…

*Vapour Organic Beauty Atmosphere Luminous Foundation 130

This foundation is great. It feels light and it’s very comfortable to wear… in other words, I can’t feel it once it’s on. I apply it to the middle of my face and around my eyes, and blend outwards, which I must have read somewhere because I’m a little clueless when it comes to makeup (one reason I love Vapour…its so fun and easy to use and blending is very easy!).

Vapour Organic Beauty Aura Multiuse in Spark 202

This adds just the right amount of a healthy hue to my cheeks (and sometimes lips). I swear I’m not on Vapour’s payroll! I sincerely love their makeup. As I have said, it’s really easy to use, the ingredients are great and oh, the scent? It’s so fresh and clean and subtle. To me, creamy makeup is the way to go as powder makes me feel like a little old lady (and not in a good way). Only complaint is the packaging, which I feel could be a little fancier or more design-y (My tubes don’t look like the metallic versions on the site which irks me a little….still, I only have love for Vapour!)

*RMS Living Luminizer

I was recently gifted this and at first was all like “there’s no way that this can live up to all the hype”. I had even been using my own concoction that was very similar to RMS’ for my own use. Lo and behold…there really is something magical about this (satisfyingly heavy) little pot. There is literally the exact right amount of shine and glow to this product. It doesn’t look cheesy. It isn’t too subtle (in other words, you don’t need to apply half the pot to get any kind of results), it’s just perfectly lovely, and it really seems to stay put. I apply to the inner corners of my eyes to look alert when I’m feeling less-than. Another post-partum essential, I am sure!

January 28, 2013

beauty & style secrets | how to incorporate emerald green into your look

Unless you’ve been avoiding the Internet lately, you probably know by now that emerald green is the “color of the year” for 2013, according to Pantone, the leading authority on color trends.

What you may not know, though, is exactly how to incorporate bold emerald green into your look when it comes to hair, makeup and accessories.

That’s where I come in.

On Monday morning, my “Better Kansas City” segment with co-host Kelly Jones aired (we actually taped last week, but due to the presidential inauguration, couldn’t share these secrets with you until today).

Kelly and I chatted through everything from nail polish and eye makeup to pashminas, rings and flip flops.

Watch “Better Kansas City” co-host Kelly Jones and I talk emerald on Monday’s show.

Below is a closer look at the products discussed during the show.

Thanks to Beauty Brands and Halls Kansas City for letting me loose in their respective stores so I could choose a few more items to share in addition to my own personal collection of emerald items!

emerald eye makeup from marie natie, smashbox and tarte

{Make emerald work for you from day to night. I love wearing sheer mineral makeup for daytime looks and bold cream shadows, built to an intense glow, for evening.}

emerald nail polish from deborah lippman zoya china glaze OPI

{Have a little fun on your toes and tips with striking shades of green that flatter any skin tone.}

emerald tory burch flip flops hard shell clutch pashmina cocktail ring hair tye

{If you’re not quite ready to buy an emerald coat, dress or pants, work the color of the year into your accessories collection instead.}

  • Tory Burch Khaki and Green Flip Ray Wedge Flip Flops (sold in-stores at Halls KC for $60; similar here)
  • Hair Tie (sold in-stores at Halls KC for $14; similar here)
  • Cocktail Ring (sold in-stores at Halls KC for $105; similar here)
  • Pashmina (sold in-stores at Halls KC for $78; similar here)
  • Hard-case Clutch (sold in-stores at Halls KC for $350; similar here)

Have you updated your beauty and accessories wardrobe with a little bit of emerald yet? What sort of pieces have you chosen — or what pieces are you after? Tell me in the comments section!

January 25, 2013

giveaway | lotus wei perfume sampler

It’s the last Friday of my blog birthday month!

It’s been an incredible month of fresh new posts, from outfits to beauty reviews, and I’m thrilled to have so many lovely brands offer to host a giveaway in honor of my birthday and to treat my sweet readers.

Today’s blog birthday giveaway sponsor is Katie Hess of the lovely natural fragrance and aromatherapy company Lotus Wei. You may remember my reviews of her line of transformative perfumes — I loved them so much that I just had to have her share a sampler set with you so you could experience it for yourself!

lotus wei perfume sampler set

Perfume is one of the most-difficult products to leave behind when you transition to natural and organic personal care.

While I’ve pretty much made the switch and now love using sheer scents from Lotus Wei and other green companies, I still have my formerly beloved scents tucked away in a bag that’s not within reach.

After about six months of going phthalate-scented-fragrance-free, I dug back into that bag of toxins to wear an oldie for a “special night out.”

Much to my surprise, I ended up in a coughing and sneezing fit within minutes of spritzing it on — my body, which had obviously become accustomed to the new, natural smell of itself and its surroundings, was screaming a collective “wtf?!” at me.

I haven’t reached for those synthetic fragrances since.

And you don’t have to either! I am sure you will find a new, natural fragrance you love from Lotus Wei after you win this sampler. Ready to test your luck? Use the handy-dandy Rafflecopter widget below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway begins Friday, January 25, 2013, at 12:0o a.m. Central, and closes on Friday, February 1, 2013, at 12:0o a.m. Central.

Sweepstakes Terms and Conditions

1. No purchase necessary. A purchase does not improve your chance of winning. Void where prohibited.

2. Entrant must be 18 years old as of sweepstakes start date and a legal resident of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia as of start date.

3. Sweepstakes begins Friday, January 25, 2013, at 12:0o a.m. Central, and closes on Friday, February 1, 2013, at 12:0o a.m. Central.

4. Each entrant selected as a potential winner must comply with all terms and conditions set forth in these Official Rules, and winning is contingent upon fulfilling all such requirements. Winners will be selected by random drawing. If a potential winner cannot be contacted within fourteen (14) days after the first attempt to contact such potential winner, an alternate entrant will be selected in his or her place from all entries received.

5. Sponsor(s) is/are not responsible for lost or mutilated prizes and none will be replaced. Prize is nontransferable and must be accepted as awarded. No cash or other substitution may be made, except by Sponsor(s) in the event that the prize cannot be awarded for any reason, in which case, Sponsor(s) will award a prize of equal or greater value. All taxes, fees and surcharges on prizes are the sole responsibility of winner. Void where prohibited.

January 22, 2013

beauty scoop | goe oil

Besides for my hands and feet, I’m not much of a body lotion person.

Chalk it up to laziness or just a really big love for oils, but my preference for liquid body moisturizers is well-known within the natural beauty blogging community.

Well, when Jao Ltd. sent me a sample of its nearing cult-status Goe Oil, I was puzzled by the packaging of this natural moisturizer that contains 28 plant, fruit and flower oils and butters. Why is an oil in a squeeze tube?!

goe oil from jao ltd

{Goe Oil from Jao Ltd. retails for $40 for a 3-ounce tube.}

Easy answer: It’s in a squeeze tube because Goe Oil is a solid oil.

Is your head spinning yet?

Goe Oil is a solid oil/balm because of its high concentration of the beloved jojoba oil (which is is actually a wax ester), jojoba butter and cocoa butter combined with other natural oils that deliver much-needed moisture to dry, thirsty skin.

goe oil solid oil on plate

{Goe Oil comes out of the tube in a soft, buttery solid texture and immediately melts into the skin upon rubbing.}

Here’s the entire ingredients list:

Jojoba Butter, Sunflower Oil, Jojoba Oil, Monoi Tiare, Rice Bran Oil, Avocado Butter, Grape Seed Butter, Grape Seed Oil, Cocoa Butter, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Rose Hip Oil, Soy Lecithin, Pumpkin Seed Butter, Mango Butter, Cupuacu Butter, Avocado Oil, Shea Butter, Hemp Seed Oil, Kukuinut Oil, Chamomile Oil, Beeswax, Calendula Oil, Essential Oils, Tocopherol, Vitamin E, Acetate, Rosemary Extract

If I were a crazy oil-eater, I’d be drooling all over this pure ingredients list.

While none of them are certified organic (bummer), this is an amazing combination of effective moisturizers and smell-good stuff that is perfect year-round.

I’m loving Goe Oil as a pre-bedtime treat on my hands, knees, elbows and feet, but also as a controlled hair oil treatment (using it just on the ends with no risk of OD’ing on oil thanks to the balmy consistency!).

goe oil on hand

{Goe Oil melts on your hand, not in your mouth … because you shouldn’t be eating this stuff no matter how natural it is! Save it for your skin!}

I’m also looking forward to using Goe Oil as a post-sun hair treatment this summer. Not only will it help temporarily seal your split ends, Goe Oil is also a lovely styling aid that can keep flyaways at bay as well as add a little extra texture to saltwater-laced hair.

Besides the mega moisturizing properties of Goe Oil, I’m also in love with the faint tropical scent. It’s scented with Tahitian Monoi oil, which is made with gardenias and coconut oil, but isn’t overpowering to the scent-sensitive (like me).

While Goe Oil seems pretty pricey, because of its rich moisture, you don’t have to use much. The amount I swirled onto the plate in the pictures above was more than enough for my hands, arms and elbows as well as my shins, knees and feet. I used the bit of excess on my hands to smooth the ends of my hair and the flyaways near my face. So, as I say with most oils, a little goes a long way!

Have you heard of Goe Oil? Tried it? What did you think of it? What do you like to use on your hands and feet? Got any other multipurpose product recommendations? Tell me in the comments section!

January 17, 2013

beauty scoop | olie biologique huile radicale 005 rejuvenating oil

I think I’m in denial about how dry my skin can really be.

My whole life, I’ve been that oily kid in the back of the room who shines bright like a diamond by noon.

I grew up fearing oil and rarely moisturized my face, knowing good and well that I’d be swimming in sebum in no time if a drop of cream dared come near my pores.

Well, those days are (somewhat) over. Though I do get sort of shiny mid-day (these babies are on my to-get list), I know better about delivering good-for-your-skin oils to my face every morning and night.

With the current state of dry, cold air and recycled indoor heating, my skin has been so thirsty for something more — and I found that something more in Olie Biologique’s Huile Radicale 005 Rejuvenating Oil.

olie biologique 005 huile radicale rejuvenating oil

{Olie Biologique sent me a sample of its Huile Radicale 005 Rejuvenating Oil. It’s available in 5 ml container (shown) for $15 and a 30 ml jar for $68.}

True to my nature, I at first shied from using Olie Biologique’s Huile Radicale 005 Rejuvenating Oil, instead opting for its lighter-weight sister.

Well, that wasn’t cutting it.

I had some dry patches like whoa this winter, and my skin was putting in an emergency request for a super-intense oil treatment. On went the Huile Radicale 005 Rejuvenating Oil before bedtime; by morning, my skin looked luscious. And no. dry. patches. in sight!

Let’s see what that morning goodness was made of:

Organic Camellia Oil, Organic Rosehip Oil, Organic Blackcurrant Seed Oil, Organic Evening Primrose Oil, Natural Vitamin E, Grapefruit Oil, Sandalwood, Rose Geranium Oil, Rose Bulgar Oil

I love this ingredients list. In addition to old favorites rosehip and vitamin E, Olie Biologique’s Huile Radicale 005 Rejuvenating Oil also contains precious camellia oil, known for its plumping qualities, and gorgeous black currant and evening primrose oils, known for their calming properties.

Also, if you’re a fan of roses, you will absolutely love this oil — it’s got the scent of fresh-cut roses thanks to, well, real rose oils (see ingredients). I smell a perfect Valentine’s Day present in the works … (why get roses when you can get rosy facial oils!).

Do any of you have skin type crises every now and then? What are your emergency-use products for dry patches in the winter? Ever tried anything from Olie Biologique? Tell me what you know in the comments section!

 



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