Entries Tagged as 'beauty'

August 28, 2014

beauty scoop | osmia organics black clay facial soap

When it comes to washing my face, I’m just going to say it: I’m not into bar soaps.

I like a good gel or foam or cleansing oil, but a bar soap? It just feels blah.

But Osmia Organics changed my perception of facial bar soaps with its Black Clay Facial Soap.

Bring on the (Osmia) facial bar soaps.

osmia organics black clay facial soap

{Osmia Organics sent me a sample of its Black Clay Facial Soap a loonnnng time ago, and I have repurchased it. Sarah gave me her “sniffer” sample bar at “A Night for Green Beauty” so I could shoot the new packaging! It costs $24 for a 2.25-ounce bar.}

Last fall, I had the pleasure of sampling Osmia Organics’ Black Clay Facial Soap, and it’s been listed on my favorites page ever since (do you even look at that page?).

I was drawn to it because of its acne-fighting properties, but it took me a while to actually unwrap it and use it because it was difficult for me to get over the bar soap thing.

Boy am I glad I did.

I used it religiously for a month or so until the bar was gone. It performed well, so I immediately re-ordered it, and I can’t explain how glad I am that I did.

This bar (coupled with a favorite toner that I also used during this time — review to come) saved my skin from one of the most stressful times in my life.

After going through a huge life change, my skin could have easily freaked out — emotions were high, the winter was stressful and everything was in overdrive — but not my skin.

For next entire month, while using my second (purchased!) bar of Osmia Organics’ Black Clay Facial Soap and going through a life crisis, my skin was pristine.

That is just not normal.

See, high stress, poor diet, lack of sleep and crazy emotions wreak havoc on my skin. I suffered from all of that at a crazy-elevated level during that time.

I can’t begin to explain to you how it felt to have the one thing I’ve always struggled with — acne — be under control during such a whirlwind experience.

And for that — both the actual performance against the worst of testing times and the emotional story that is attached to my time of using this soap — Osmia Organics Black Clay Facial Soap is an absolute favorite facial cleanser of mine (again, on the favorites page!) that I will never be without.

Beyond my TMI storytelling, what’s so great about this facial soap?

Behold, the gentle, effective ingredients:

Saponified oils/butters of olea europaea (olive)*, elaeis guineensis kernel (palm kernel)*, mangifera indica (mango), prunus amygdalus (sweet almond)*, cocos nucifera (coconut)*, ricinus communis (castor bean)*, persea gratissima (avocado)*, and simmondsia chinensis (jojoba)*, coconut milk*, dead sea mud, hematite (australian black) clay, proprietary blend of essential oils*, and rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) antioxidant*, GMO-free vitamin E oil

Soothing oils and butters of olive, mango, coconut and sweet almond keep your skin from feeling overly dry (like most bar soaps do) while acne-fighters jojoba oil, Dead Sea Mud, Australian Black Clay and rosemary heal and prevent breakouts.

You’ve likely heard about all the amazing benefits of Dead Sea mud (anyone want to go on a trip with me to float in the Dead Sea? Sarah?), and they’re true.

Mud from the Dead Sea is some of the most mineral- and protein-rich mud in the world, and your skin benefits from it immensely.

The minerals in the mud help to soften flaky spots and mildly exfoliates and tones the skin. Hello, vibrance!

And don’t we deserve some vibrance on our faces? And … our bodies?

I’d love to see the Black Clay Facial Soap re-formulated for body. Would you?

I’d also love to see if founder Sarah Villafranco could work her magic and offer the Black Clay Facial Soap as a liquid or gel cleanser.

Though I’m turned on to facial bars because of this, I do find them annoying for travel.

(And I’m sure TSA finds my liquids / gels bag amusing to inspect.)

So, there you have it. A favorite / repurchase / real-talk review.

Have you tried Osmia Organics’ Black Clay Facial Soap? What sort of facial cleansers do you prefer — bars, gels, creams, oils, foams? Tell me in the comments section!


August 27, 2014

natural beauty buff | garcy fry, eco diva beauty

In addition to all the founders I feature in this “natural beauty buff” series, I’m thrilled to bring you fresh beauty tips from the dear stockists who curate beautiful online (and sometimes, in-real-life) stores for us to let loose.

Many of you know, love and shop Canadian and U.S. green beauty store Eco Diva Beauty, but how well do you know co-founder Garcy Fry and the story behind this luxurious online store?

garcy fry of eco diva beauty

I had the pleasure of meeting Garcy in person at 2013′s “A Night for Green Beauty” in New York City, and was thrilled to chat with her again at this year’s event in Los Angeles.

During our quick conversation, it was lovely to hear about Eco Diva’s birth — the brainchild of Garcy’s whip-smart mother, Charlene — and how Garcy, a professional makeup artist, was leading the site’s growth.

It’s women like this (and especially these mother-daughter teams!) that excite me about the green beauty industry. If you see something missing out there, go forth and create it!

And while you may think “oh, there are plenty of green beauty shopping sites,” each one has a unique personality and style.

Shopping on one may not be the same as shopping on others, and I’ve enjoyed the luxurious experience of shopping Eco Diva Beauty myself. You are taken care of!

And you can only be taken care of by someone who truly knows how to take care of herself.

Below, Garcy shares her natural beauty and health rituals that keep her looking and feeling her best.

Be inspired.

Be healthy.

Be an Eco Diva.

green beauty products that garcy fry of eco diva beauty keeps on her nightstand

On Garcy’s Nightstand

Tata Harper Aromatic Bedtime Treatment

This has become a bedtime ritual for both my husband and me. It almost immediately puts my mind at ease and helps me sleep better.

Vapour Organic Beauty Lux Lip Conditoner

The last thing I do before bed is put on lip balm — I’m an addict. And I’ve been addicted since Lip Smackers were introduced to the market. I don’t know if that damage is reversible, but at least I’m eating organic lip balm now.


Now these are an essential piece on my nightstand, not because I love them, but because I love my husband. If they are not in my ears at night, then the love for my husband decreases ever so quickly.

Good Book

I need to read before bed to help turn my mind off and go to sleep. I love anything written by Khaled Hosseini and stories about life in the middle east.

Liquid Calcium Magnesium (kept in the fridge, but part of the nightly ritual)

Just recently I’ve had some troubles sleeping. I toss and turn all night long, so my naturopath suggested magnesium to help sleep better.

favorite green beauty product picks from garcy fry of eco diva beauty

In Garcy’s Purse / Beach Bag

Consonant Skincare “The Perfect Sunscreen SPF 30″

My sun-worshipping days are over, and this sunscreen helps block UVA and UVB rays without all the toxic chemicals. It’s ultra-smooth, grease-free and leaves absolutely NO white residue! And that’s why they call it perfect.

Soapwalla Deodorant Cream

This has been a staple for me for years now. I just love its creamy consistency, the fresh scent and how I can sweat my tush off and still smell dandy!

prtty peaushun lotion from eco diva beauty

PRTTY PEAUSHUN Skin Tight Body Lotion

I love to keep PRTTY PEAUSHUN in my bag and slather it on any parts of my body that are showing to give me a luminescent glow. It also helps soothe burns and is a natural bug repellant — how cool is that?!

La Bella Figura Tesoro Mediterranean Blend

In Garcy’s Bathroom

La Bella Figura Tesoro Mediterranean Blend

This summer I’ve used this oil more than anything else. I love how light it is and how well it hydrates without leaving my skin feeling greasy.

kahina giving beauty night creamKahina Giving Beauty Night Cream

This is what I call preventative medicine. Wrinkles can take a hike while I sleep, because I’m sleeping with collegan-boosting ingredients like resveratrol. This is by far the best night cream I’ve ever used. Its whipped texture is so lovely and the scent its magical, like all of Kahina’s products.

August 26, 2014

beauty secrets | 11 nontoxic, natural bronzers for a healthy glow

Though we’re slowly approaching the end of summer, who’s to say we can’t prolong our healthy glow a bit into fall?

Instead of fake-baking or spending way too much time out in the sun during the last few weeks of hot weather, it’s far easier to build a little more color into your skin with nontoxic, natural bronzers.

nontoxic makeup natural bronzers for a healthy glow

I’ve got a crazy collection of pressed bronzers, mineral bronzers, cream bronzers and liquid bronzers to choose from — but some get used more than others.

Here’s my candid take on these 11 nontoxic, natural bronzers. Here’s to a never-ending summer glow!

*Indicates press sample

Top Row:

*bareMinerals READY Bronzer in “The High Dive” ($24)

With just a touch of shimmer, bareMinerals READY Bronzer in “The High Dive” is a perfect pressed bronzer for someone looking for deep color and just a touch of fairy dust (aka mica).

I reach for this one every once in a while; it’s nice for contouring as well as for bronzing. I’m also partial to pressed bronzers. (I am messy.)

I don’t think it’s a repurchase for me, though, because I could easily go cleaner with my pressed bronzer.

If you’re sensitive to bismuth oxychloride, you’ll want to skip this one.


Mica, Lauroyl Lysine, Boron Nitride, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Polyglyceryl-2 Triisostearate, Corallina Officinalis Extract, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Alaria Esculenta Extract, Calcium Ketogluconate, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Silica, Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163).

*Living Nature Summer Bronze Pressed Powder ($50 NZD)

Living Nature’s Summer Bronze Pressed Powder has been my summer staple. I adore the packaging and whimsical swirl design of the pressed powder, and while it has shimmer as well (thanks to mica), it’s extremely subtle.

This pressed bronzer powder also comes with a mini brush, which makes it excellent for travel.

This is definitely a repurchase for me. Here’s a list of stockists in the United States.

If you’re sensitive to talc, you’ll want to skip this one. (But you should also read Living Nature’s take on talc.)


Talc (CI 77718), Mica (CI 77019), Squalane, Titanium dioxide (CI 77891), Zinc stearate, Zea mays (corn) starch, Iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492), Magnesium stearate, Hydrated silica, Iron oxide (CI 77499), Tocopherol acetate (vitamin E), Olea europea (olive) fruit oil, Glycine soja (soybean) oil, Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil**, Sorbic acid. **Certified organic

Mineral Fusion Bronzer Duo in “Luster” ($29.99)

I’ve had Mineral Fusion’s Bronzer Duo in “Luster” for quite a while, and it’s an oldie-plus-goodie that gives you two nice options in one: a darker, less-shimmery bronzer that’s great for contouring and a golden, more-shimmery bronzer that’s perfect for getting that sun-kissed look.

I haven’t reached for this one as often this summer because I’ve been so distracted by my Living Nature bronzer, but I love that Mineral Fusion is cruelty-free, gluten-free, talc-free, fragrance-free and free of artificial colors.

Plus, this line is readily available at Whole Foods, so it’s much more accessible to me than Living Nature, and it’s a cleaner option than the bareMinerals bronzer listed above. This is an easy repurchase.


Mica, Zinc Stearate, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf Extract, Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos Red Tea) Leaf Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Extract, Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract, Lauroyl Lysine. MAY CONTAIN (+/-): Iron Oxide (CI 77491, 77492, 77499).

Middle Row

*Alima Pure Matte Contour Powder in “Sombra” ($18)

This is the one true contouring powder in my collection, but Alima Pure’s Matte Contour Powder in “Sombra” is the perfect shade of deep tan that I love using it to even out my sometimes-spotty summer glow.

As I mentioned above, though, I’m partial to pressed powders, so it’s a chore for me to use mineral anything (though I’ve gotten a lot better with mineral foundations).

For mineral bronzers and contouring powders, I have to be extra precise in my application, so this is one that I save for weekend when I have more time to apply and perfect my makeup.

I’m just not into mineral makeup unless it’s foundation and some blushes, though, so I wouldn’t repurchase this mineral bronzer (unless someone wants to teach me their mineral makeup ways).

Choose this one if you want something simple and clean with a very fine touch of shimmer.


Mica (CI 77019). May contain: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499).

*Jing Ai Sierra Glow Duo Bronzer in “Halo Sunset” ($28)

I’ve had Jing Ai’s Sierra Glow Duo Bronzer in “Halo Sunset” (which seems to be discontinued?!) for a long time, but I only reach for it when I want a very daring shimmer — and that’s usually for summer nights.

One side of the duo is a darker, more matte pressed powder that’s great for contouring and evening out your summer color.

The other side of the duo is shimmer city, but can be applied quite tastefully and looks sexy on the shoulders and chest. Just apply sparingly and build, build, build!

Because this color seems to be discontinued, it’s not a repurchase for me.

If you’re avoiding phenoxyethanol, this isn’t the bronzer for you.


Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Dimethicone, Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Zea Mays, (Corn) Starch, Zinc Stearate, Tapicoa Starch, Zinc Oxide, Red 7 Lake (CI 15850), Phenoxyethanol, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate (In Shade Pink Only), Caprylyl Glycol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sorbic Acid, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract*, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract*, Tin, Oxide (In Shade Pink Only), Tocopherol

*Simple Beauty Minerals Bronzer in “Glimmer Bronze” ($16)

If you’re looking for high-impact, party-girl shimmer, you need Simple Beauty Minerals’ “Glimmer Bronze.”

Holy wow does this mineral bronzer give you a glimmer. This one is definitely a nighttime-only bronzer and looks sexy on shoulders and chest as well. As with the bronzer above, apply sparingly and blend, blend, blend!

I think I could get away with justifying a repurchase on this because I’d use it more on my arms and chest than my face. And my arms and chest don’t require as much attention as my face does.


Mica; titanium dioxide; magnesium stearate; oxides; may contain: ultramarine blue; chromium green.

Bottom Row:

*Purely You Minerals Purely Bronze Bronzer ($7)

Purely You Minerals makes some beautiful, budget-friendly mineral makeup — a full size of this bronzer is $7!

As with basically all of this, yes, it has mica, but it’s extremely subtle — this makes for a great contouring mineral bronzer that imparts just a small shimmer.

I’m most impressed with the minimalist ingredients list (OK, and again, the crazy-inexpensive price!).

While the price is attractive, again, loose mineral bronzers aren’t really my thing. But if they ever become my thing, I’m buying this one.


Mica, Titanium dioxide, Magnesium Stearate, Zinc stearate, Iron oxide

Christopher Drummond Beauty Sol Bronzer ($35)

While I’ve had this Christopher Drummond bronzer sample (it was a gift with purchase at a Vegas skincare and makeup boutique), I’ll admit it’s not one I reach for that often.

The color is gorgeous (deep, Brazilian tan) and the shimmer is abundant (hello, mica), but there’s just something about the application of it that doesn’t work for me. Call it user error, but I find it a bit streaky and just difficult to control.

Again, I’m not really a loose minerals kind-of-gal, but I haven’t had this issue with the other loose mineral bronzers. It’s just not meant to be, Christopher.

So, obviously, not a repurchase for me.


Sericite, Mica, Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide*, May Contain: Ultramarine Blue, Ferric Ferrocyanide. *This formulation does contain minimal amounts of Titanium Dioxide to maintain the quality of the product.

RMS Beauty Buriti Bronzer ($28)

I was late to the Buriti Bronzer game, but finally gave in and shelled out for it — and I’m glad I did!

Though I typically don’t do cream blushes or bronzers (I’m oily), I’ve been slowly warming up to them this summer, and I’ve found that this formulation, consisting of coconut oil, beeswax, jojoba oil and buriti oil doesn’t slip around too much on my face and adds a warm, believable glow to my face.

The coloring isn’t severe at all, and it blends very well with my cream blushes and atop a cream foundation (if I’m wearing one).

You’ll want to avoid this bronzer, though, if you’re vegan (beeswax!) or if your skin is sensitive to coconut oil.

I’d repurchase this. It’s basically foolproof. Dab on, blend a bit and go.


*Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil,*Cera Alba (Beeswax), *Simmondsia Chinesis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, *Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, * Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit (Buriti) Oil, Tocopherol(non-GMO), *Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, and may contain: [+/- Titanium Dioxide CI 77891, Iron Oxides CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499, Mica CI 77019

Dr. Hauschka Translucent Bronzing Tint (formerly called Bronze Concentrate) ($39.95)

Dr. Hauschka’s Translucent Bronzing Tint is my No. 1 pick for a year-round bronzer.

You can easily use this on bare skin that just needs a little evening-out and you won’t be left with thick patches of shimmer anywhere — seriously, this is shimmer-free yet offers every bit of sexiness minus the mica.

My favorite thing about the Translucent Bronze Concentrate, though, is how easily it can be mixed with your daily liquid foundation. I like to add half a pump to my foundation and blend it into my skin, watching how I slowly transform into a subtly darker version of myself.

Another reason this is my favorite is because it has beneficial skincare ingredients — anthyllis and witch hazel — packed inside, helping tone and firm the skin.

In case I wasn’t clear — YES! This is a repurchase.

You’ll want to avoid this if you’re vegan (beeswax).


Water (Aqua), Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Alcohol, Anthyllis Vulneraria Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Bark/Leaf Extract, Lysolecithin, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Fragrance (Parfum), Citral*, Linalool*, Farnesol*, Benzyl Benzoate*, Limonene*, Citronellol*, Geraniol*, Benzyl Salicylate*, Coumarin*, Eugenol*, Cetearyl Alcohol, Algin, Silica, Arachis Hypogaea (Peanut) Oil, Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex (CI 75810), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499)

Have you tried any of these bronzers and contouring powders? What are your favorites? Tell me in the comments section!


August 22, 2014

beauty secrets | how clean are these 15 nail polishes in my collection?

I have a confession to make: I’m a nail polish junkie (as evidenced by my ridiculous nail polish collection).

But, after sharing a picture of a fresh mani/pedi the other day and feeling good about using three- and five-free polishes, a dear IG follower got me thinking about just how clean some nail polish brands really are.

3-free and 5-free nontoxic nail polishes

So, I thought I’d dedicate a post to getting YOUR candid feedback on 1) which nail polish brands you choose to keep in your collection, and 2) which ones aren’t worth your time or money.

Though I only have a few brands of three-free polishes in my collection, the bulk of my collection is China Glaze (three-free), OPI (three-free) and Zoya (five-free).

My obsession with China Glaze and OPI run deep, as these are the brands I used long before going green and caring about the numbers three and five.

I share this point of view that, hey, nail polish just isn’t natural, so if I’m going to use it, I’m going to use what I like.

But I also prefer to support smaller companies and niche brands that are showing me who they really are (ya know, some faces behind a brand name!) and the causes they support.

Maybe I’m just sucker for new nail polish to add to my collection.

Here’s the categories the 15 different brands in my collection file into — I suppose I’m in the right direction.


  • Butter London
  • China Glaze
  • Essie
  • OPI
  • Sephora by OPI


  • AILA
  • Chanel
  • Lakur
  • LVX
  • Mineral Fusion
  • NCLA
  • Sheswai
  • Sparitual
  • Treat Collection
  • Zoya

So, questions for you to answer in the comments section:

Do you go three-free or five free? What about cruelty-free? What brands do you prefer (because, ya know, even some drugstore brands are three- or five-free!)?


August 19, 2014

beauty scoop | dr. alkaitis organic purifying facial cleanser

With its addictive herbal scent and low-foaming action, Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser didn’t last long around here — and that’s a good thing.

Unlike many cleansers I test, Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser made it to “empties” status, and I’m a bit sad that it’s gone.

dr. alkaitis organic purifying facial cleanser

{Dr. Alkaitis sent me a sample of its Organics Purifying Facial Cleanser. A full-size bottle costs $65 for 4 ounces, or a two-month supply according to the brand.}

This gentle, castile soap-based cleanser hooked me with its slippery-but-not-too-slippery texture that made it easy to apply and rinse.

Most castile soap-based cleansers I’ve tried are way too watery; I typically end up wasting product, but not with Dr. Alkaitis Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser.

Instead, this organic face cleanser is thickened up just a bit with aloe vera gel and then pumped full of nutrients via Dr. Alkaitis’ own “Organic Herbal Skin Complex,” which adds major skin-healing benefits to this seemingly simple cleanser.

dr. alkaitis organic purifying facial cleanser

Here’s the full ingredients list:

Added into Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Castile Cleansing Base (compounded from virgin, cold pressed organic Olive*, organic Shea*, Organic Jojoba*, organic Coconut*, organic Sesame*, organic Castor* and organic Borage* oils), the following ingredients are added: Organic Aloe Vera Gel *, Organic Herbal Skin Repair Complex (made up of Chamomile*, Plantain*, Black Elder*, Greater Nettle*, Myrrhº, Bitter Orange*, Rosemary*, Marsh Mallow*, Benzoinº, Marigold*, True Lavender*, Sea Wrackº and Atlantic Seaweedº), Vegetable Glycerin, Citrus seed extract, Natural vitamin A complex, Natural vitamin C complex, Natural vitamin E complex (D-alpha, beta, gamma, delta tocopherols), 100% pure Essential Oils.

* – Signifies certified organically grown.
º – Signifies ethically wild-crafted.

My oily, acne-prone skin responded well to the ingredients in this cleanser.

During the time I tested it, I had a few active breakouts and with regular use of this (in addition to my trusty Zum Rub), my skin seemed to heal a bit faster and my face looked a bit calmer.

I will admit, though, that my personal skincare philosophy doesn’t have me spending lots of money on cleansers.

Because they stay on your skin for a short period time (rinsing money down the drain!), it’s difficult for me to swallow the idea of paying $65 (or, hell, more than $25) for a cleanser that doesn’t do some sort of double duty (I’m thinking one that can also be used as a mask or mixed in with a mask).

But, because my skin was so compatible with Dr. Alkaitis Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser, I could see myself repurchasing the travel kit (which is where this cute sample came from) and using it while I’m away from home, which is usually stressful on my skin.

What’s your facial cleanser budget? Have you tried this cleanser? What do you like from Dr. Alkaitis’ line? Tell me in the comments section!


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