Entries Tagged as 'beauty'

October 29, 2014

beauty scoop | moon valley organics moon melt lotion bar

I don’t review lotions often on the blog, and it’s for good reason:

I’m lazy.

Not about the actual writing and photographing (though lately, ahem, I’ve been a bit behind — sometimes I have to take breaks), but about the actual application of body lotion.

See, to me, slapping on a face / body / hair / eye / whatever body part oil is so much easier than massaging in a body lotion.

But lotion bar? Now that’s something new, and Moon Valley Organics is convincing me that it’s unwise to write off all things lotion-related.

moon valley organics moon melt lotion bar

{Moon Valley Organics sent me a sample of its Moon Melt Lotion Bar. It costs $10.99 for a 1.9-ounce lotion bar housed in reusable tin.}

First of all, you can’t hold the moon in your hands with many other lotions and lotion bars.

But that’s the first step in using Moon Valley Organics’ Moon Melt Lotion Bar. Don’t you love it already?

The heat from your hands melts just the right amount of this safflower oil- and beeswax-based lotion bar onto your skin.

From there, you can rub your hands together and apply any excess lotion bar to other dry areas.

I will admit that Moon Valley Organics’ Moon Melt Lotion Bar feels a bit greasy at first, but as you massage it into your hands and share the moon love on other spots that need a little moisture (knees, feet and elbows for me), the greasy feeling quickly dries to a soft finish and leaves behind a soft scent of lemon and vanilla.

moon valley organics moon melt lotion bar

Here’s everything this moon is made of:

Moon Valley Organic Calendula and Organic Comfrey infused Organic Safflower oil, Organic Beeswax, Organic Vanilla Flavoring, Organic Lemon essential oil and Natural Vitamin E from sunflowers

I appreciate the simple yet effective ingredients list (calendula and comfrey? yes please!) and the fact that Moon Valley Organics’ Moon Melt Lotion Bar is certified USDA organic.

Furthermore, it’s packaged in a beautiful white tin with a gorgeous embossed moon and subtle branding — I’ll be keeping this tin to store all sorts of random goodies!

The actual cardboard box the tin arrives in is also made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled content and features beautiful design and elegant copywriting.

If you’re a branding freak like me (sorry, this is what I do for a living) you pick up and appreciate these little details!

To tie all this goodness together — organic ingredients, beautiful branding, sustainable packaging — Moon Valley Organics’ Moon Melt Lotion Bar is also affordable.

At $10.99, it’s accessible (whether you call it a splurge or a bargain depends on your own financial situation), and I’ve seen it in my local Natural Grocers / Vitamin Cottage, so it’s likely physically accessible to you, too (but check the store locator to be sure!).

But, ingredients, branding, packaging AND price aside, when it comes to repurchasing decisions, it all comes down to two things: Does it work? Will I actually use it?

For Moon Valley Organics’ Moon Melt Lotion Bar and me, it’s a yes. This is one of those fantastic products for travel, your bedside table, your everyday bag, your office beauty stash — all of the factors above add up to a stellar lotion bar that is fun and easy to use and does the job: Delivering healing hydration to chronically dry skin.

Have you tried anything from Moon Valley Organics? What are your thoughts on lotions vs. lotion bars vs. body oils vs. other means of moisturizing? Tell me in the comments section!



October 28, 2014

beauty scoop | dr. alkaitis organic nourishing treatment oil

While I’m all about multipurpose products, I don’t typically think of my precious facial oils as the types of oils I’d slather on from head-to-toe.

It’s not that I don’t want to bathe in most of my facial oils; it’s just that most of my facial oils come in 1-ounce dropper bottles that cost at least $100 a pop.

With Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Nourishing Treatment Oil, though, I have the luxury of being able to truly go from head to toe in it, and at $90 for a 4-ounce bottle, it’s a bit easier to justify said oil baths.

dr alkaitis organic nourishing treatment oil

{Dr. Alkaitis sent me a sample of its Organic Nourishing Treatment Oil to review. The travel set, which includes the Treatment Oil, costs $55. A full-sized treatment oil costs $90 for a 4-ounce bottle.}

Designed to be enjoyed on the face, body and hair (truly head-to-toe!), Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Nourishing Treatment Oil is a thicker oil made from a base of virgin cold pressed organic jojoba oil, St. John’s Wort and Andean Mountain rosehip seed oil.

This ultra-luscious golden-hued base is infused with Dr. Alkaitis’ signature thoughtful herbal blend that targets dryness, redness and itchiness.

Wildcrafted herbs such as Indian madder, country sarsaparilla, country mallow, China root, costus, white sandalwood, cuscus grass, eagle wood, nut and bermuda Grasses and ashwagandha work together with organically grown Amazon root, liquorice and tumeric to deliver an incredible dose of antioxidants to troubled skin, soothing inflammation and calming the mind with its dusty, herbal scent that’s perfect for men or women.

Here’s the full ingredients list:

Into a base of virgin cold pressed organic oils (organic Jojoba*, St. John’s Wort* and Andean Mountain Rose Hip seed* oils), the following organic and wild-crafted herbals are blended:

Indian Madderº, Country Sarsaparillaº, Amazon root* and Liquorice*. Country Mallowº, Turmeric*, China rootº, Costusº, and White Sandalwoodº. Cuscus Grassº, Olive*, Eagle Woodº, Nut Grassº, Bermuda Grassº and Ashwagandhaº. Also added are natural vitamin E complex (D- alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocopherols) and 100% pure Essential Oils.

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

dr alkaitis organic nourishing treatment oil

In the hair, Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Nourishing Treatment Oil imparts gloss and shine while gently addressing any irritation you may experience on your scalp.

(If you’re seriously acne-prone like me, you know what a literal pain it is to deal with breakouts in your scalp. This stuff moves those little suckers along nicely and without much drama.)

On the face, Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Nourishing Treatment Oil drenches the skin in a lavish cocoon of moisture. If you’re oily like me, you need to go light on the application — this is a thick oil — but during transition weather and dead-of-winter, this is an amazing choice for keeping dryness and tightness at ease without over-oiling your face and clogging your pores.

I like to use Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Nourishing Treatment Oil on cooler nights, and sometimes I’ll layer it over a light cream if I’m looking for mega moisture.

What’s great about this truly multipurpose oil is that as I’m layering it onto my face and pulling it down my neck and onto my chest, I can keep the party going onto my arms, stomach and legs, as a couple pumps can cover a lot of ground.

However, I am generous with this oil on my body (as I am with all of my body oils) but mostly because I don’t feel so bad using so much because of the generous sizing in relation to its cost.

(And because I know that I don’t need as much on my face.)

While I’m sure all of you beauties out there are diligent about moisturizing everything, it’s probably safe to say you don’t always go from head-to-toe with one oil or lotion.

Which leads me to thinking … how do you deal with all the scent confusion? With Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Nourishing Treatment Oil, you can have one signature scent for bedtime, head to toe, that’s actually quite soothing for bedtime.

It’s an especially beautiful pick for autumn and winter, as the herbal-woody scent evokes a cool-weather coziness that puts me at ease.

Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Nourishing Treatment Oil is a repurchase for me. I’ll keep it stored with my body oil collection, as that will be my first and foremost use for it, but several cooler months out of the year, it will see some play on my face as it adjusts to cooling temperatures.

If you’re into body oils with unique scents, you’ll want Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Nourishing Treatment Oil in your arsenal!

(And if you’re not sure it’s quite right for you, or you are new to Dr. Alkaitis, the Travel Set is a smart place to start — that’s what I did!)

Have you tried Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Nourishing Treatment Oil? Do you use it primarily for hair, face or body? What scents are you drawn to during autumn and winter? Tell me in the comments section!


October 24, 2014

beauty secrets | how to gracefully grow out a pixie cut

It’s no secret that I’m growing out my pixie cut (as evidenced by Instagram selfies and #tbt posts to longer hair days).

While I adored my pixie cut, it began to bore me just a bit. There’s less hair to fuss with (bonus!) but, also, there’s less hair to play with, and wearing headbands and clips just got a bit old to me.

In January 2014, I decided I would start the “painful” growing out process, but as documented below, you’ll see that it really wasn’t horrible at all.

Thanks to my talented stylist, who kept my hair shaped-up and mullet-free, there wasn’t a month that went by where my hair was awkward or unmanageable.

(Yes, you have to continue getting the back trimmed every four to six weeks while the front grows out! Listen to your stylist.)

Check out the timeline below, and then read on to learn what I did to encourage my pixie to grow into a pixie-bob and now, finally, a short bob.

(Hint: Patience is a big part of the prescription for gracefully growing out a pixie cut.)

how to grow out a pixie cut

First, let’s just be real here: There are no quick fixes, magic pills or herbal concoctions that will make your hair grow rapidly.

Yes, there are things you can do to keep your hair healthy and strong, but nothing is going to transform you into Rapunzel overnight.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I will say that I integrated a few natural approaches to encourage my hair to break less and stay strong.

Hair Growth Supplements

best hair supplements | growing out a pixie cut

In addition to my regular supply of daily supplements (more on that in a different post), I integrated various hair growth supplements into my routine to 1) make me feel like I was an active participant in this months-long journey and 2) see what worked for my lifestyle.

Here’s what I tried — and please remember, I’m not a medical professional. If you’re interested in supplementing your diet for whatever reason, remember to clue in your doctor. What works for me may not work for you, and may not even be safe for you, depending on your circumstances. Be smart!

*Indicates press sample

Pre-natal Vitamins (not pictured)

Almost every woman who’s gone through pregnancy raves about how her pre-natal vitamins made her hair and nails grow.

While these claims are unproven, as I took pre-natal gummies during this pixie-growing-out experience, I did notice that my nails grew faster and peeled less. As for my hair? Couldn’t really tell.

As far as my body goes (after speaking with my doc), I had no problem taking pre-natals to jumpstart this process in the beginning, but opted to discontinue taking them for social reasons (i.e. when a guy snoops through your medicine cabinet and sees pre-natal gummies, it tends to cause anxiety).

B Complex Gummies (red gummies)

B-complex vitamins are known for their ability to nourish hair follicle cells, prevent hair loss and keep the hair flexible.

I chose to experiment with this supplement next because it seemed that focusing on these healthy-hair vitamins could be key to strengthening my hair during the growing-out process (because with a pixie cut, you do tend to heat-style every day).

This was probably my favorite supplement because 1) it’s in gummy form, which makes it easier to take (yes, I am a child) and 2) it only required one gummy a day, which felt very manageable given the additional daily supplements I take.

*Glow Beauty Vitamin Bubbles (green bubbles)

Of all the gummy-like supplements I took, these tasted the best, and were just damn-fun to take.

Unlike their gummy counterparts, these vitamin “bubbles” were alive with citrus flavor that burst into your mouth as you bit into it. Think Gushers.

In addition to the hair-healthy B vitamins, these also contain beauty ingredients such as grape seed oil, collagen and evening primrose oil, which also contribute to skin health.

Though I loved these supplements, the catch is that you have to take three daily to get the full dosage, and quite frankly, they’re expensive. I’d recommend these if you’re just not good with taking supplements — even gummies.

Country Life High Potency Biotin (small white capsules)

If you’re eating a well-balanced diet and already taking a host of supplements (such as a multivitamin), adding just plain-old biotin to the supplement collection is probably the easiest thing to do to support hair growth.

This is what I’m currently taking, and the high-potency of this gives me some wiggle room in case I forget to take it one some days. Once I finish this bottle, I may go back to my B Complex gummies, but at one pill a day, it’s not too much of a hassle to get down.

*Hair Essentials Daily Supplement (larger beige capsules)

Though it’s loaded with all the right hair-growth herbs, vitamins and minerals, this supplement got moved to the back of the supplement collection because it required three capsules daily and the pill size was bigger than I liked.

If this is the only supplement you’re taking, then three capsules shouldn’t be a big deal. But when it came down to my daily pill cocktail, adding in these three put me at a total of 10 daily. I realistically just couldn’t keep up with this regimen.

Hair Oil Treatments

hair oils to grow out a pixie cut

Besides internal support for hair growth, I also looked to various nourishing hair oils to protect my hair during the growing-out process.

Before I ever went pixie, I regularly massaged my scalp and hair with plant oil to stimulate blood flow and promote relaxation.

Regular scalp massages with organic hair oils also provided my heat-styled hair some much-needed moisture and balancing effects, as I have naturally oily hair that’s over-heated and constantly overcompensating (read: greaseball).

These are a just few of the hair oils in my collection.

Keep in mind that you can use any organic plant oil to perform these massages — it’s all personal preference and addressing your hair’s needs (i.e. dry hair may need a thicker oil, like coconut oil, to deeply moisturize, while oily hair like mine can get away with light oils like sesame and jojoba).

*Indicates press sample

*Badger Argan Botanical Hair Oil

Though this one is marketed for dry and damaged hair, I found that it was just the perfect consistency and weight for my fine, oily hair.

Jojoba and argan are two of my favorite oils, and when they come together in one — with some baobab, sunflower and essential oils mixed in — it makes for a delightful hair treat that smells creamy, citrusy and floral all in one.

*Kumari Luxury Oil Therapy

A bit of a thicker oil thanks to its coconut oil base, Kumari Luxury Hair Oil incorporates time-tested ingredients such as turmeric, licorice, saffron and Indian sarsaparilla.

Needless to say, it has an exotic, warm scent that evoked memories of being pampered at an Ayurvedic spa. I reach for this one during cooler temperatures, as its beautiful spices offer just the right amount of stimulation to make me feel warmed from the outside in.

*Zweena Argan Rose Lustrous Hair Elixir

Leave it to Zweena to complete my rose wardrobe. This hair elixir is just gorgeous — who wouldn’t want hair that smells like roses ? — and harnesses the nourishing power of argan and avocado oils to protect and moisturize the hair and scalp.

Avocado oil is one of those underrated oils that is an absolute powerhouse for hair. It’s high in vitamin E and can prevent breakage with regular use. It’s not a light oil, though (you’ll notice it at the end of Zweena’s ingredients list, cut with lighter oils like argan and meadowfoam), but incorporating it into a blend like this allows your hair to get a healthy dose of moisture.

So, here we are, nine months after I decided to grow out my pixie cut.

It’s in a good spot — short bob that can mostly go up into a baby ponytail with some hair hanging down — yet I can’t really credit any one of these things to the nice growth I’ve seen.

That’s clearly not the answer you want to read, but it’s true. Patience, regular trims and some experimentation with B vitamins will make the time pass faster.

If you notice growth in your nails, it’s likely that your hair is also growing a bit faster, but the only way to really know is to take a picture every single day … and let’s just be real here, if you’re like me and can’t be bothered to take three hair vitamins a day, you probably aren’t going to set up a daily photo shoot, either.

Bottom line: Know your body. Know what’s normal and above average for you. Do some research. Trust your hair to a stellar stylist.

What have you done to help your hair or nails grow? Have you ever had a pixie cut? Share your hair growth tips and stories in the comments section!


October 20, 2014

beauty scoop | jacq’s organics lavender love soap bar

With every change in seasons, my skin gets a bit finicky — dry patches, itchy spots, the works.

Exfoliation becomes a bigger priority, and not just for my face: We’re talking total body scrubbing.

I like to keep it as efficient as possible by incorporating a gently exfoliating soap into my routine.

Enter Jacq’s Organics Lavender Love Soap Bar.

jacq's organics lavender love soap bar

{Jacq’s Organics sent me a sample of its Lavender Love Soap Bar to review. It costs $10 for a 5-ounce bar.}

Made with a stunningly beautiful combination of French lavender essential oil, aloe and colloidal oatmeal in a base of creamy coconut oil, cocoa butter and shea butter, Jacq’s Organics Lavender Love Soap Bar is the ultimate transition weather soap.

Its gentle, milled oatmeal provide the perfect scrub, exfoliating the skin and giving it a bit of a massage with every use. Coconut oil, cocoa butter and shea butter pack moisture like whoa and create the best creamy bubbles — such a soothing sight to see!

In addition to the soothing sights, the soothing scent of fresh lavender calms the senses and skin. I never used to be a big lavender fan, but as I’ve gotten deeper into the green beauty community and discovered better brands using better quality lavender, my scent perception has changed. I’m a believer in the power of lavender!

jacq's organics lavender love soap bar

Here’s everything inside Jacq’s Organics Lavender Love Soap Bar:

Saponification of Cocos nucifera (Coconut) oil, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, *Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice, Sucrose (Sugar), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Prunus Dulcis (Almond) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Meal and Vitamin E.**Certified Organic

Barbara, founder of Jacq’s Organics, chose each of the ingredients in her Lavender Love Soap Bar for very specific purposes:

  • Oatmeal offers exfoliation as well as a soothing effect to reactive and inflamed skin.
  • Aloe Vera juice moisturizes, calms and heals angry skin while boosting suppleness.
  • Lavender oil promotes relaxation while fighting bacteria and microbes.
  • Cocoa butter encourages collagen growth and plumps the skin, improving elasticity and softness.
  • Shea butter soothes, softens and improves elasticity all without clogging pores.

Jacq’s Organics Lavender Love Soap Bar is a winner in my book! I love the energizing feeling of the scrubby colloidal oatmeal combined with the relaxing scent of lavender — it’s the perfect soap to ease into your Monday.

Have you tried any soaps from Jacq’s Organics? How do you help your skin transition from season to season? Tell me in the comments section!


October 17, 2014

beauty scoop | mun no. 1 aknari brightening youth serum

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to simplify my life.

Rest more.
Slow down.

I’ve been applying this a bit to my approach to beauty, and I’d have to say that one oil that speaks to me in this quest to find balance and simplicity is Mun No. 1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum.

Mun No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum

{I purchased Mun No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum from Munemi herself during “A Night for Green Beauty” in Los Angeles. It costs $95 for a 0.68-ounce glass pump bottle.}

kimberlyloc and munemi

{From left: Munemi, kimberlyloc.com reader Mimi and I get a quick picture after I purchased No. 1 Aknari from Munemi herself!}

Made with three well-known, rockstar oils, Mun No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum captures the best of green beauty in one beautiful, violet pump bottle, yet doesn’t underwhelm even the most discerning green beauty connoisseur.

Mun No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum, created by internationally known makeup artist Munemi Imai, combines Ecocert-certified prickly pear oil, argan oil and rose oil in a blend you’ve never seen — or smelled — before.

At first glance, you may think, “OK, I can just DIY this.” And sure, you could mix up prickly pear, argan and rose oil and call it a day.

But your day wouldn’t smell this good. I promise you.

Mun No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum

That’s because Munemi sources the extremely fragrant, grandiose Bulgarian rose oil for her blend, making it rich in liquid rejuvenation and radiance. One whiff of Mun No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum will put your bouquet of fresh-cut flowers on your desk to shame.

As someone who used to turn her nose up to rose-scented products (seriously — all the ones I’d sniffed before smelled cheap), I’ve come around to this beloved, classic scent, and it’s going to be hard to top Mun No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum if you’re a die-hard rose lover.

In addition to the seductive scent of Bulgarian rose, Mun No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum brings anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich argan and prickly pear oils into the mix to plump, nourish and soften your skin.

When I find myself wanting something a little simpler in my skincare, yet with an aromatic treat for my senses, Mun No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum is an easy pick because it contains these two simple yet effective oils.

Argan oil, our treasured “liquid gold” of green beauty, helps neutralize free radicals and is perfect for daytime and evening use.

Prickly pear seed oil, which smells too nutty to me on its own, blends beautifully with argan and rose while providing an extra-large helping of vitamin E and essential fatty acids for skin protection.

If you’re somewhat new to green beauty and ready to take the plunge into your first luxury blend, Mun No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum would be a great place to start. It’s not intimidating, as there are only three ingredients, but it’s way more special than your everyday DIY.

From the packaging to the founder story (which I’ll be bringing you a little bit closer to soon!), Mun No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum can easily be your little treat that you indulge in without feeling like you’ve spent an absolute fortune on your skincare.

At $95 for a 0.68-ounce pump bottle that’s designed to last about 3-4 months, I’d say it’s within reach to those who are serious about exploring what luxury green beauty has to offer.

As for how I’m approaching Mun No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum in my own skincare routine? I reserve it as my go-to oil for when I want a simpler yet beautifully scented serum that will put me in a dreamy mood as I massage it in. I typically use it during the day, but sometimes incorporate it into my evening skincare cocktail when my skin is in good condition.

This is only because when I’m broken out (which Mun No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum has not made me do!), I tend to create a skincare cocktail that has a lot of competing fragrances (frankincense, myrrh, tea tree, lavender, etc.). It would be a shame to dilute the truly therapeutic experience of rose with all that other stuff!

As a result, I can probably make my bottle of Mun No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum last a little bit longer — unless, of course, I start slathering it on my body because it smells that good!

Munemi, please make this into a body oil for us? Please?!

So, my final verdict: Yes, I would repurchase Mun No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum. It’s beautiful, simple and elegant.

Are you ready to try some Mun No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum for yourself? Munemi has generously offered kimberlyloc.com readers 15% their purchase! Enter code “kimberlylocmun” at checkout, and tell me how you like this oil!

Have you tried Mun No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum? What are your thoughts on rose? How scented do you like your facial oils to be? Tell me in the comments section!


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