Entries Tagged as 'beauty'

November 26, 2014

beauty scoop | rachel’s plan bee body oil

Ask nicely and you shall receive.

Back in March, I reviewed Rachel’s Plan Bee Facial Oil, a simple, vanilla-scented face oil that’s budget-friendly and effective.

I love vanilla as much as the next gal, but I wasn’t sure how many of you would be taken by the idea of having a vanilla-scented face.

Thus the inclusion of a “Hey Rachel, wanna make this into a body oil?” at the end of my review.

It happened.

And it happened to coincide with a stunning new product redesign that makes me even happier to use and wholeheartedly recommend Rachel’s Plan Bee products.

rachel's plan bee body oil

{Rachel’s Plan Bee sent me a sample of its new Body Oil to review. It costs $24 for a 3.8-ounce amber glass pump bottle.}

Now clearly I wasn’t the only one who requested that Rachel create a luscious body oil, given the wild success of her facial oil.

Tons of other fans out there told the Queen Bee they needed this decadent oil in a pump bottle for the body, and WOW she delivered!

Rachel’s Plan Bee’s new Body Oil has the same familiar scent and feel of the facial oil, but with the addition of a few key ingredients that make for a better slip and faster-drying effect for the entire body.

rachel's plan bee body oil

Here’s the full list of both the Facial Oil and Body Oil, for easy comparison:

Body Oil Ingredients: Apricot kernel oil, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, limnanthes alba (meadowfoam) seed oil, grapeseed oil, tocopherol oil, safflower oil, vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry) seed oil, vanilla planifolia, citrus sinensis (orange) peel oil.

Facial Oil Ingredients: Apricot kernel oil, squalane (olive), grapeseed oil, alpha tocopherol (vitamin E), vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry) seed oil, vanilla planifolia, citrus sinensis (orange) peel oil

As you can see, the Body Oil includes sunflower seed oil, meadowfoam seed oil and safflower oil, which are all oils well-known for their ability to provide a beautiful texture and quick-drying effect when massaged onto the skin.

All of the carrier oils (apricot kernal oil, sunflower seed oil, meadowfoam seed oil, grapeseed oil, vitamin E and safflower oil) combine to pack a dense hydration that your skin will drink up, but without feeling overly sticky or coated.

As with all my body oils, I apply this straight out of the shower, onto damp skin, and quickly massage it in before putting on a robe and doing my hair and makeup in the morning.

I absolutely adore the scent, and it again makes for a nice base layer of fragrance, especially if you tend to use vanilla and spice scents in your daily beauty routine.

If you haven’t already found your favorite body scrub, might I suggest taking a peek at Rachel’s?

Her Body Polish collection includes my favorite, Vanilla & Spice (reviewed here, but please note the packaging has the older design!) and makes for an even better base layer to use before applying the oil. Your skin will be smooth and smell good enough to eat!

So, if you couldn’t already tell, Rachel’s Plan Bee Body Oil is a favorite of mine and a definite repurchase.

Now, let’s see if this “ask nicely and you shall receive” thing works again: I would love to see an expanded collection of body oil scents to match the scrubs and body butters in Rachel’s collection!

And one more thing, which is probably a “phase 2 or 3″ for this beauty startup: How cool would it be to see certified organic ingredients in the collection?

Beauties, we know that we will pay more for certified organic — would you pay a bit more for that in this particular collection? I don’t know how much the cost would go up with the incorporation of certified organic ingredients, but it seems like the logical next step after adding more scents and redoing the product design.

These are the things that excite me about seeing all these great new green beauty brands come to life! Evolution is cool, no?

Have you tried anything from the newly redesigned Rachel’s Plan Bee? What are your favorite products from the line? What are your thoughts on using certified organic vs. natural botanical ingredients? Tell me in the comments section!


November 24, 2014

beauty scoop | kypris antioxidant dew

It’s not often that you’ll find me waxing poetic about a skincare product that’s not an oil.

I’m obsessed with face oils and rarely let lotions, gels or traditional serums close to my mug.

But Kypris’ Antioxidant Dew is one of those rare green beauty products that’s seriously captured my attention — and earned a prominent spot in my skincare routine.

And it doesn’t fall into any of the product categories mentioned.

kypris antioxidant dew

{Kypris gave me a sample of its Antioxidant Dew to experience and review. It costs $60 for a 1.69-ounce glass dropper bottle.}

Appropriately called a “dew,” Kypris Antioxidant Dew is a milky, lightweight moisturizer designed to be used as 1) your sole daily moisturizer or 2) your moisturizing base in a multi-layered approach to natural skincare.

The closest thing I can compare Kypris Antioxidant Dew to is a slippery, runny serum, but when I think “serum,” I usually think “sticky,” and Kypris Antioxidant Dew is definitely not.

Its base of glycerine and aloe give it a watery consistency and allows it to dry to an even, light finish that’s neither tightening nor sticky. It’s just refreshed and quenched skin that remains after use.

kypris antioxidant dew

Some have described Kypris Antioxidant Dew as a gel, and that too is misleading.

For those of you familiar with the texture of Dr. Alkaitis Soothing Gel, Kypris feels extremely different despite the fact that both products use aloe vera in their respective bases.

The key difference, I’d say, is that Dr. Alkaitis uses aloe and witch hazel in its base, which gives the Soothing Gel a tightening effect, whereas Kypris’ base of aloe and glycerine is much more hydrating and less toning.

kypris antioxidant dew

With that said, both products are part of my routine and serve completely different purposes.

As mentioned earlier, Kypris Antioxidant Dew is an amazing product to mix and layer (preferably with other Kypris oils and serums), and I love using just three dots of Antioxidant Dew with 2-3 drops of my facial oil (I’m a fan of Kypris’ Beauty Elixir II — review to come!) to treat my skin and prep it for makeup.

After speaking with Kypris founder Chase Polan (who is a wealth of knowledge and good energy!) on several occasions about how to use Kypris to the fullest, I learned that most of us overindulge way too much in our beloved serums and oils.

It was only after talking with Chase and having her demonstrate how to make a beautiful Kypris emulsion of Antioxidant Dew and Beauty Elixir I (another gorgeous oil from the line!) did I realize how little you really need — of any beauty product — if you choose smart formulations and products that are easy to layer and blend.

For example, the old Kim would have used a whole pipette of Antioxidant Dew (what’s that, like 10-15 little dots?!) and then topped off my face with 5-6 drops of expensive oil.

And then complain about how expensive my beauty habit was.

Friends, it doesn’t have to be like this. Sustainability in beauty goes farther than ingredients and packaging. It extends to sustainability in use and sustainable marketing and formulations.

Oh how I appreciate a skincare founder (and, ahem, business woman) who encourages mindful use of her creations!

It is this very direction that makes me rethink seemingly expensive pricing for so many of the gorgeous oils on the market.

You can make them last longer if you actually follow the 2-3 drop recommendation and, if you feel you need more moisture, cut them with an effective dew / serum / whatever you want to call it.

My skin has been loving the Kypris Antioxidant Dew + Beauty Elixir II combination, and though I’ve had to move on to more product testing, I am anxiously awaiting getting back to this part of my soon-to-be established skincare routine.

Here’s everything inside Kypris Antioxidant Dew:

Love, water/aqua, algae extract, glycerin, Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, Prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil, oat beta glucan, squalane, sodium hyaluronate, sodium PCA, wheat amino acids, Symphytum officinale (comfrey) extract, panthenol, hydroxyproline, Rosa damascena (rose) flower water, Butyrospermum parkii (shea) nut butter, phospholipids, superoxide dismutase, Borago officinalis (borage) seed oil, retinyl palmitate, tocopheryl acetate, ascorbyl palmitate, Calophyllum inophyllum (foraha) nut oil, Urtica dioica (nettle) leaf extract, Rosa centifolia (rose) flower extract, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, Helianthus annuus(sunflower) seed oil, undecylenoyl glycine, Triticum vulgare (wheat germ) oil, lecithin, capryloyl glycine, xanthan gum, Lonicera caprifolium (honeysuckle) flower extract, Lonicera japonica (honeysuckle) flower extract

The only things I’d like to call out for discussion is the inclusion of retinyl palmitate in a product that’s recommended for day and night as well as the use of Japanese honeysuckle as a natural preservative.

We’ve had the Japanese honeysuckle discussion here before (and you can find more info here and here), so I’d like to focus more on the topic of  retinyl palmitate in a daytime-use product.

The EWG recommends avoiding sunscreens and other skincare and lip balms that contain vitamin A, retinyl palmitate and retinol, as an FDA study suggested that retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A, may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions when used in the presence of sunlight.

But then you can hop on over to Paula’s site where she explains that top derms criticized the study and, in the end, suggest that beauties be mindful about using sunscreen and limiting excessive sun exposure when using products with retinyl palmitate.

This is generally the stance I take with vitamin A derivatives and daily use. If you’re concerned about retinyl palmitate in Kypris Antioxidant Dew, but love the texture of this moisturizer and want to keep it in your routine, then just use it at night and instead mix your daily oils with a balm or whipped shea butter for additional moisture.

What’s your take on retinyl palmitate? Have you tried anything from Kypris? Do you blend or layer any of your beauty products? Tell me in the comments section!


November 19, 2014

beauty scoop | odacite pure elements facial serum concentrates

Lately, I’ve been enjoying playing beauty alchemist at home with my abundance of botanical elixirs, mixing and matching potions to enhance simple DIY solutions or add a touch of extra healing power to some of my existing favorites.

This mixologist mannerism was brought upon by two things: The idea of smartly layering and combining products thanks to the tip of a favorite brand founder and the introduction of Odacite’s Facial Serum Concentrates into my life.

odacite facial serum concentrates

{Odacite sent me samples of its Facial Serum Concentrates in Blueberry Jasmine, Peach Cypress and Black Cumin + Cajeput. Each serum concentrate varies in cost; the Blueberry Jasmine skin booster costs $44 for a 0.17-ounce dropper bottle. The Peach Cypress skin booster costs $34 for a 0.17-ounce glass dropper bottle. The Black Cumin + Cajeput skin booster costs $27 for a 0.17-ounce dropper bottle.}

As part of Odacite’s “Pure Elements” collection, these 0.17-ounce glass dropper bottle serum concentrates are available in 18 specially targeted formulations that are designed to be used on their own for intense treatment or mindfully mixed into your current skincare products.

Each of Odacite’s serum concentrates packs a potent dose of vitamins, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories all based on your skin’s needs.

Skin looking lackluster? There’s a serum concentrate for that.

Skin feeling imbalanced? There’s a serum concentrate for that.

Skin getting fussy? There’s a serum concentrate for that.

By now you can probably guess which serums I chose to test in their full-size, one-month treatment sizes:

  1. Blueberry Jasmine because I must have all the jasmine things and am approaching the last year of my 20s and need to get my anti-aging, antioxidants on;
  2. Peach Cypress because I’m combination/oily and need some balance in my life;
  3. and Black Cumin + Cajeput because despite turning yet another year older, I still deal with acne breakouts on a regular basis.

The first set of Odacite’s Facial Serum Concentrates I tested and finished were the Peach Cypress and Black Cumin + Cajeput based on my skin type and persistent acne issues.

I used 2-3 drops of the Odacite Peach Cypress Facial Serum Concentrate in the morning, mixed into my daily face oil, to encourage my skin to start off in balance for the day.

The light serum didn’t add any bulk to my already-nutrient-packed daily oil, yet seemed to help my skin feel plumper and healthier. The combination of skin-loving sea buckthorn oil (I need more of this oil in my life!) with naturally astringent cypress and grapefruit kept my skin feeling hydrated yet never over-oiled.

With that said, I think this skin booster is more on my “nice to have, but do not absolutely need” list, as I didn’t see mind-blowing results with it. It was just a nice booster to my normal daily facial oil.

Here’s what’s inside Odacite Peach Cypress Facial Serum Concentrate:

Highest-grade cold-pressed certified virgin Peach (Prunus persica) kernel oil, Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) oil, Cypress, Pink grapefruit, Lavender, Bisabolol, Ylang ylang (Cupressus Semper- virens, Citrus paradisi, Lavandula angustifolia, Vanillosmosis erythropappa, Cananga odorata) essential oils. Certified GMO-free Vitamin E (Tocopherols) oil.

In the evenings, I used the Black Cumin + Cajeput Facial Serum Concentrate. Again, I would mix it in to my regular nighttime oil, but I would also spot-treat with this powerful skin booster and even do an intense all-over treatment (i.e. I wouldn’t mix it in with anything) and WOW is this one a winner!

Odacite says its Black Cumin + Cajeput Facial Serum Concentrate is formulated to absorb deep into pores to help clear and smooth the complexion, and they weren’t lying.

I found that the noted purifying properties of black cumin oil really did help control the spread of breakouts. Case in point: I tested this during a crazy stressful time that resulted in tons of tiny red pimples along my hairline and even further into my hair area near my temples.

After deep-treating my skin with this oil alone, those little suckers cleared up faster than usual, and I didn’t experience any additional breakouts after that time.

Sold and sold.

Odaciate explains that cajeput gets to the source of your problematic skin with its potent antiseptic properties to helping to prevent further breakouts.

Another thing to note is that cajeput is a star ingredient in our beloved Osmia Organics Spot Treatment (reviewed here) that works so well for many of you.

If you haven’t tried Odacite Black Cumin + Cajeput Facial Serum Concentrate and react well to the Osmia Organics Spot Treatment, you MUST add it to your wish list. It’s absolutely on my repurchase list.

Here’s what’s inside Odacite Black Cumin + Cajeput Facial Serum Concentrate:

Highest-grade cold-pressed certified virgin organic Black Cumin (Nigella sativa) oil, Certified organic Cajeput (Melaleuca minor) essential oil, Certified GMO-free Vitamin E (Toco- pherols) oil.

Now that it’s winter in Kansas City (did you know winter comes a month early here?), I’m adding heavier oils into my routine but don’t like to completely shun my lighter-weight oils, especially when it comes to pre-makeup skin treatment and priming.

Currently in the mornings, I’m adding Odacite Blueberry Jasmine Facial Serum Concentrate to a particularly smelly facial oil I’m testing.

As a part of the “Age-Defying” collection of Odacite’s Facial Serum Concentrates, Blueberry Jasmine is prized for its ability to liven up the skin’s cell energy. Jasmine coupled with blueberry offers the skin a burst of free radical-fighting defense thanks to a healthy helping of antioxidants.

Jasmine is also said to help heal burns and promote new cell growth on topical level; from an aromatherapy lens, it’s absolutely divine at calming the nervous system and promoting a sense of happiness and beauty with every sniff.

If you’re an Odacite fan like me and own “A Summer in Hossegor,” you MUST blend it with that beauty. Blueberry on blueberry love is just beautiful, and your skin will thank you.

Here’s what’s inside Odacite Blueberry Jasmine Facial Serum Concentrate:

Highest-grade cold-pressed certified organic Vaccinium corymbosum (Blueberry*) seed oil, Jasminum sambac (jasmine) flower oil, Litsea cubeda fruit oil, Acacia decurrens (mimosa) flower extract, Certified organic Ylang-Ylang (Cananga odorata) oil, Certified GMO-free Vitamin E (Tocopherols) oil.

The most expensive of the three Odacite skin boosters I tested, Blueberry Jasmine is well worth the price and experience. You’re getting very expensive, effective ingredients without a huge base of a cheaper carrier oil (see what the first two ingredients are?!) and an instant shot of radiance every morning. Approve and repurchase!

Besides these three skin boosters that I had the privilege to test out in full sizes, I’m intrigued by more from the age-defying collection of concentrates (this turning 29 thing is starting to mess with me).

Specifically, the Wild Carrot Facial Serum Concentrate, loaded with antioxidants, is screaming my name. Acai Rose Facial Serum Concentrate is singing the same siren song, with its ultra-strength of antioxidants and superfood, acai, doing a little youth dance before my credit card.

I’ll be sure to update this post as I test out more of these full-sized serum concentrates (they last a month, which is a great testing time and low cost commitment for these potent oils!).

If you have similar skin to mine (combo/oily and acne-prone), Odacite has some nice little sets of skin boosters at a discounted price that you can experience, too.

The Combination + Pimple Prone duo includes the Black Cumin + Cajeput I raved about earlier as well as Jojoba + Lavender, which is designed to unclog pores but is a simple DIY.

The Oily + Pimple Prone set also has the Black Cumin + Cajeput, but with the addition of Grapeseed + Grapefruit, formulated to clear existing acne but another simple DIY depending on if you keep grapeseed oil on hand for oil cleansing and grapefruit essential oil in your collection for…whatever you would use grapefruit EO for in your daily life (sniffing to make your happy despite how stupid cold it is?!).

What Odacite Facial Serum Concentrates have you tried, or which ones appeal to you? What is your experience with mixing various oils and serums for a customized treatment? Tell me in the comments section!


November 18, 2014

beauty scoop | laurel whole plant organics balance facial serum

With 26 beneficial active ingredients, Laurel Whole Plant Organics “Balance” Facial Serum isn’t exactly what you’d think of as a “minimalist beauty product,” but I’d dare to say that if you’re looking for a gorgeous, effective facial oil that provides moisture without skimping on acne defense, this could be the one that replaces every other face oil in your collection.

laurel whole plant organics balance facial serum

{Laurel Whole Plant Organics sent me a sample of its Balance Facial Serum for review. It costs $68 for a 30 ml glass dropper bottle.}

Formulated with the needs of oily, combination and breakout-prone skin in mind, Laurel Whole Plant Organics Balance Facial Serum promotes healing, refreshment and detoxification of the skin.

Founder Laurel Shaffer does this by incorporating powerful herbs and botanical extracts known for their therapeutic properties on the skin. A gentle base of jojoba and macadamia nut oils provide both slip and balance to the skin while a shot of rosehip seed oil cuts the moisture, providing a dry finish and silky feel to the skin.

Rosehip seed oil is fast becoming one of my favorites for priming the skin for makeup. It’s high in trans retinoic acid, which the body converts to vitamin A and aids in skin healing and overall cell turnover.

In addition to this super oil, Laurel Whole Plant Organics Balance Facial Serum contains red raspberry oil for natural sun protection (though I’m still a fan of mineral sun protection) as well as tamanu oil, a favorite of mine for speeding acne flare-ups through to recovery.

laurel whole plant organics balance facial serum

Here’s everything else inside Laurel Whole Plant Organics Balance Facial Serum:

Jojoba Oil˚, Macadamia Nut Oil˚, Rosehip Seed Oil˚, Sesame Oil˚, Red Raspberry Seed Oil˚, Almond Oil˚, Tamanu Oil˚, Cranberry Seed Oil˚, Sea Buckthorn Oil˚, Rosemary Extract˚; in-house biodynamic proprietary blend of Passionflower˚, Licorice˚, Calendula˚, Chamomile˚, Echinacea˚, Yarrow˚, Baical Skullcap˚, Gotu Kola˚, Comfrey˚, Astragalus˚, Nettle˚, Lavender˚, Orange Peel˚; essential oils of Lavender˚, Rosewood˚, Helichrysum˚, Clary Sage˚ ˚signifies certified organic ingredient

Other ingredients to note are helichrysum, which is included for its balancing and astringent properties; lavender, an all-time favorite anti-inflamatory and calming ingredient; calendula and chamomile, also famous for their soothing qualities; passionflower, known for its anti-inflammatory properties; and rosewood, another wonderful antiseptic.

laurel whole plant organics balance facial serum

I’d also like to point out that Laurel Whole Plant Organics Balance Facial Serum contains the skin care superstar herbs burdock and dandelion.

I’ve dabbled in burdock supplements off and on for seven years and love seeing its inclusion in luxury green skincare. Burdock leaf has mild antibacterial properties and mega blood cleansing benefits when taken internally.

Same goes for dandelion, which is rich in skin-loving vitamins and minerals and thought to help detoxify the liver (and thus, detoxify the skin).

I’m currently indulging in regular servings of dandelion tea to keep my current good skin-situation intact. A little topical application via Laurel Whole Plant Organics Balance Facial Serum literally seals the (skin) deal!

I used this facial serum religiously for about four weeks several months ago (this review has been in the works for a while!), and as I begin to pare down my skincare arsenal (more on that later), this is one that definitely makes the cut.

Laurel Whole Plant Organics Balance Facial Serum is an oil I like to use when my skin is in relatively good condition but could use just a little bit extra love in the skin defense department. I don’t use it on active breakout duty, but instead post-acne drama as my skin is re-establishing its balance and preparing for another cycle of hormonal defense.

Have you tried Laurel Whole Plant Organics Balance Facial Serum or anything else from the line? What oils do you use at different times of the month? What are the keepers in your skincare arsenal? Tell me in the comments section!


November 12, 2014

beauty scoop | rms beauty lip2cheek in diabolique

Though I love lip colors as much as the next beauty addict, I’m usually sporting some sort of pink / nude / sheer red on a daily basis.

But during fall and winter, I love to be a bit more daring with my lip color choices, and that’s why adding RMS Beauty’s lip2cheek in “Diabolique” was a no-brainer for me.

kimberlyloc wears rms beauty lip2cheek in diabolique

{I purchased RMS Beauty’s lip2cheek in “Diabolique.” It costs $36 for a 0.17-ounce glass jar.}

kimberlyloc wears rms beauty lip2cheek in diabolique

This rich burgundy lip color can be as intense as you want it to be.

A thin layer easily sheers out into a berry-kissed stain; a few thin layers results in a brick-burgundy mouth that screams fall and brings out the natural auburn highlights in your hair (if you have them, that is!).

kimberlyloc wears rms beauty lip2cheek in diabolique

I apply RMS Beauty’s “Diabolique” in a couple different ways:

If I want a sheer, stained kisser, I’ll gently pat in the color with my ring finger.

If I want a layered, bold look, I’ll first gently pat in a bass layer with my ring finger and then blot. Next, I’ll take a soft lip brush and pain on two very thin layers of color (blotting in between each) to get a maximum intensity that’s both moisturizing and stunning.

Whoever says natural cosmetics can’t deliver the same color payoff as conventional cosmetics has clearly never tried RMS Beauty Diabolique!

Here’s everything inside RMS Beauty lip2cheek in Diabolique:

*Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, *Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, *Cera Alba (Beeswax), *Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, *Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, *Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, *Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil, Tocopherol (non-GMO), Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) seed Oil, Propolis Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, *Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, and may contain: [+/-Titanium Dioxide CI 77891, Iron Oxide CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499, Mica CI 77019]

If you avoid beeswax for any reason, do note that this lippie does contain beeswax in addition to coconut oil, jojoba oil and shea butter, which give it a silky smooth feel that’s actually good for your lips.

Say goodbye to intensely colored lip colors that are drying!

Besides looking fabulous on your lips this fall, RMS Beauty’s lip2cheek in “Diabolique” is also, obviously, a pretty cheek color that can be pressed in to give your face a healthy shot of warm red color.

Start small with this, as it’s highly pigmented! Just press a finger (or a brush, if you’re a germophobe) into the pot and then gently dot it onto your cheeks, pressing the color in and tapping all around your cheekbones and up onto your temples.

I am wearing Diabolique on my cheeks in these pictures, but it’s wasn’t the main focus of my review, so the color you see is quite subtle — but you can see it there, warming my face, especially in photos 1 and 3.

This was my first RMS Beauty lip2cheek purchase, but it won’t be my last. I’m impressed with the color payoff and the generous amount of product in the cute little glass jar.

Though $36 may seem steep for what looks like a standard tinted lip color, you won’t be tempted to dig your fingers in and waste product — because it’s so highly pigmented, you’ll have to be careful to use a light hand when digging in! A little goes a long way, and you want to build up the color with thin layers.

I’m thinking “Beloved” and “Smile” will be my next additions to my RMS Beauty collection … unless there’s something around the corner for the holidays?!

What RMS Beauty lip2cheek colors do you have? What is your go-to lip color for everyday? For fall and winter? Tell me in the comments section!


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