Entries Tagged as 'beauty'

November 25, 2015

you can go shopping. i’m going to the beach.

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. To give you the abbreviated version:

The only things left to do this week? Pack my bags, pop over to St. Louis with my boyfriend for a family dinner and then put myself on a plane to the beach for my actual (30th!) birthday — which is on Black Friday!

beach vacation

So, while you’re scooping up the fantastic Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, I’ll be scooping up ceviche and downing margaritas by the beach in one of these little numbers.


Speaking of numbers, there’s a number of fantastic deals awaiting you this week. What will you be getting me?

November 25-26
$20 off $95+

The Choosy Chick
November 27–30
15% off everything in the boutique plus free shipping on U.S. orders over $40.

One Love Organics
November 28–December 1
25% off everything excluding gift cards
CODE: merryolo25

November 30

20% off site-wide

Rachel’s Plan Bee
November 24–27
Free gifts with purchase with $49+ purchase and $100+ purchase
CODES: FREEGIFT49 and FREEGIFT100 (put in comment section)

November 24-30
15% Off Orders of $250+
20% Off Orders of $500+
25% Off Orders of $1000+

Spirit Beauty Lounge
November 20-30
Free gift bundle ($40 value) with $100+ purchase

S.W. Basics
November 27–30
30% off site-wide

November 27
40% off W3ll People Expressionist Mascara

Have a safe and wonderful holiday weekend! Treat yo’self, but don’t get too wrapped up in the chaos.

November 24, 2015

beauty secrets | the ultimate guide to natural face cleansers

When it comes to natural face cleansers, I have a pretty straightforward philosophy. To complete my daily and weekly routines, I need:

  • A non-foaming/cream for gentle morning cleanses (usually with a konjac sponge) or for when my skin is extremely dry or irritated
  • A light foaming/gel cleanser for double cleansing after oil cleansing at night
  • A thick gel cleanser to use with my Clarisonic 1-2 times a week or as needed

While I tend to splurge on facial oils and antioxidant treatments, my budget for face cleansers is much more conservative. Spending more than $25 on a cleanser (which doesn’t stay on your face very long) simply pains me.

So, it’s out of line for my skincare philosophy (and budget) to spend more than that on a cleanser. While I have marked a few repurchases below that cost more than my $25 preference, you’ll see that many of my tried-and-true favorites cost way less than $25 (and are easily accessible at your local health food store or even Target!).

These are the ones I constantly recommend to friends, family and readers who are interested in cleaning up their beauty routines, and these are the ones I purchase for myself.

*Indicates press sample. Yes, I do buy my own products, and yes, free stuff gets the same level of criticism as stuff I paid for myself!

(Bookmark for later reading: The Ultimate Guide to Natural Deodorants; The Ultimate Guide to Natural Hand Creams; The Ultimate Guide to Natural MascarasThe Ultimate Guide to Natural Shampoos ; The Ultimate Guide to Natural Sunscreens)

ultimate guide to natural face cleansers

Non-Foaming / Cream Cleansers I Will Repurchase & Recommend

*Acure Organics Sensitive Facial Cleanser
$9.99 for 4 ounces

Designed for dry and sensitive skin, Acure Organics Sensitive Facial Cleanser delivers a relaxing, soothing blend of organic argan oil, coconut oil, olive oil, vitamin E  and pumpkin seed oil to hydrate and gently cleanse the skin. Probiotics give fussy skin additional nutrients and balance.

Acure Organics pretty much always blows me away with its affordable, certified organic, cruelty-free products. This cream cleanser is also scent-free, which makes it perfect for those who have truly sensitive skin or are experiencing reactions or irritation from switching up their products too much (ahem). The texture is of medium creaminess — very easy to spread, but not runny at all. I love using this with a konjac sponge in the morning.

INGREDIENTS: Organic Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower, Organic Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Berry, Organic Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry), Organic Rosa Canina (Rosehips), Organic Punica Granatum (Pomegranate), Fair Trade Organic (Rooibos), Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (from Coconut), Glyceryl Stearate SE (Vegetable), Organic Virgin Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Oil), Stearyl Dihydroxypropyldimomium Oligosaccharides (from Sugar), Vegetable Glycerin, Glyceryl Oleate (Fatty Acid), Decyl Glucoside (Sugar Soap), Disodium Cocoglucoside Citrate (from Coconut), Phenethyl Alcohol (Fatty Alcohol), Glyceryl Caprylate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate (Lactic Acid Salt), Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Sclerotium Gum (Sugar Gum), Organic Agania Spinosa (Argan Oil) , Organic Olea Europea (Olive Oil), D-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (Natural Vitamin E), Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Seed Oil, Marrubium Vulgare (White Horehound) Stem Cell Culture, Echinacea Stem Cell Culture, Fermented Resveratrol Extract (Probiotic), Organic Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil, Ubiquinone (CoQ10), Olea Europea (Olive Leaf) Extract, Organic Curcubita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Stem Cells, Paeonia Lactiflora Leaf Cell Extract, Glycerophosphoinositol Lysine (from Sunflower).

*Blissoma Solutions Fresh Mild Rice Facial Cleanser
$31.99 for 4 ounces

Need hydration and blemish-blasting? This cleanser is for you. Blissoma Solutions Mild Rice Facial Cleanser’s smart combination of moisturizing oils (sunflower oil, coconut oil, apricot kernal oil, hemp oil) and acne-busting ingredients (willowbark extract, lavender, frankincense and rosemary) makes it ideal for transition skin — or skin that just can’t decide its classification. Litsea cubeba and palmarosa tone the skin while providing additional antiseptic to keep your pores clean.

This cleanser has exfoliating power thanks to little brown rice “scrubbers,” but is gentle enough to use everyday. I’d definitely classify this as a cleanser (versus an exfoliator) because it’s at a lower intensity.

Read the original review for full ingredients and additional information.

*Brittanie’s Thyme Organic Citrus Facial Cleanser
$14.95 for 4 ounces

This gentle, soap-free formula cleanses and treats skin with nourishing aloe and vegetable glycerin to help maintain the skin’s acid mantle. Jojoba oil adds additional moisture while witch hazel, grapefruit and rosemary deep clean and prevent breakouts. I love that this cleanser is certified USDA organic yet extremely affordable and, bottom line, effective. That’s green beauty done right.

Ingredients: **Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, *Vegetable Glycerin, *Simmondia Chinesis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, *Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Bark/Leaf/Twig Extract, Cyamopsis Tetragonoloba (Guar) Gum, *Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, *Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Peel Extract, *Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Peel Extract, *Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Extract, *Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit)Peel Oil, *Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Ascorbic Acid, *Lactic Acid, Water, *Citric Acid

*frank body Creamy Face Cleanser
$19.95 for 6.08 ounces

Everything about the Frank Body line is so well-done — and that includes this Creamy Face Cleanser. This creamy cleanser is made with charcoal and targets impurities while nourishing your skin with coconut, grapeseed and sweet almond oils. I love that it’s fragrance-free, yet full of wonderful oils, butters and extracts that cocoon the skin with every little cleansing massage. That includes herbs such as marshmallow root and echinacea, which help cool, soothe, and softening the skin while.

INGREDIENTS: Water (Aqua), Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate (Natural Surfactant), Cetearyl Olivate*, Cetearyl Alcohol*, Glycerin*, Sorbitan Olivate*, Coffea Arabica Seed Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Pogostemon Cablin Oil (Patchouli), Althaea Officinalis Root Extract (Marshmallow), Echinacea Angustifolia Extract, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Salicylic Acid*, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Xanthan Gum*, Citric Acid*, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol (Natural), Charcoal Powder)
* Naturally derived

*Josh Rosebrook Moisturizing Cleanser
$50 for 4 ounces

This is the ultimate sensitive skin cleanser. Josh Rosebrook’s Moisturizing Cleanser is slippery and gentle, keeping your skin’s acid mantle balanced while kindly cleansing away the day. The aloe base makes this cleanser extremely moisturizing, while ingredients such as African black soap, honey and white willow bark work to keep acne at bay. Organic oils of olive, jojoba, evening primrose, sunflower, sea buckthorn and offer a powerhouse of hydration.

This is one of those cleansers that’s out of my typical price range, but I love it so much and reserve it for when my skin needs some extra TLC. I like to massage this into my skin — using it with a konjac sponge will cause you to lose too much product to absorption.

INGREDIENTS: Vitamin-Infused Aloe Gel, Organic African Black Soap, Organic Honey, Vegetable Glycerin, White Willow Bark, Sea Minerals And Grape Seed Extracts, Lemon Juice, Organic Pectin, Organic Oils Of: Olive, Jojoba, Sesame, Evening Primrose, Meadowfoam, Sunflower, Apricot, Almond, and Seabuckthorn, Organic Herbal Infusions Of: Calendula Flowers, Bilberry, Slippery Elm, Fennel Seed, Chickweed, Skullcap, Ginkgo Leaf, Hawthorn Berry, Green Tea, Marshmallow Root, St. John’s Wort and Alfalfa, Certified Organic Xanthan Gum & Potassium Sorbate, Natural Plant Sourced Vitamins A, C & E, Vinegar, Organic Essential Oils Of: Rosemary, Ylang Ylang, Litsea Cubeba And Vanilla Bean

*In Fiore Treate Cleansing Emulsion
$58 for 4.2 ounces

In Fiore’s Treate Cleansing Emulsion is just that — a treat — to use. This decadent, milky emulsion is made with always-soothing aloe vera, rose water and nine herbal infusions. It has the subtlest hint of jasmine blossoms. It’s absolutely divine layered atop your favorite cleansing oil for a deep, moisturizing cleanse (In Fiore makes an amazing oil cleanser that smells heavily of heavenly jasmine!). Echinacea, dandelion and burdock root get down to business on your face — the business of detoxifying skin of impurities and preventing breakouts. This cleanser is way more expensive than what I prefer to pay, but like I said, it’s definitely a treat to use and feels oh-so-soft on the skin. I’d repurchase this with the In Fiore cleansing oil for a very luxurious few months of cleansing with the 4-2-4 method.

INGREDIENTS: Water (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Rosa Damascena Flower Hydrosol, Organic Sugar Cane Alcohol**, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oil, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Oil, Glycerin, Xanthan Gum, Jasminum Officinale Flower Extract, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract, Humulus Lupulus (Hops) Flower Extract, Echinacea Angustifolia Root Extract, Plantago Major (Plantain) Leaf Extract, Taraxacum Officinale (Dandelion) Leaf/Root Extract, Fucus Vesiculosus Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Aroma*, Limonene*, Linalool*, Geraniol*, Eugenol*, Benzyl Benzoate*, Citronellol*, Farnesol*. *Naturally occurs in essential oils **Sustainable alcohol made from the fermentation of organically grown sugar cane 

Juice Beauty Cleansing Milk
$22 for 6.75 ounces

I’m drawn to Juice Beauty’s Cleansing Milk during my morning shower. It’s creamy and feels almost like a moisturizer as I massage it onto my face, and it rinses away easily while leaving a light balmy layer of protection on my skin.

I’ve used it at night before — just to test it against a layer of everyday makeup — and while it could cut through a bit of it, I wouldn’t recommend it as your sole cleanser for makeup removal. However, for that easy morning cleanse, this is a lovely, affordable option in a functional plastic pump container. This is another one that I enjoy using with a konjac sponge.

Read the full review for full ingredients and additional information.

*Lyeska Facial Cleanser
$42 for 4.4 ounces

This gentle, milky, creamy facial cleanser combines Siberian cedar nut oil with a blend of apple, burdock root and calendula to cleanse without stripping, all while tackling inflammation and healing fussy skin. The texture of this cleanser is a dream: not too thick and lotion like; not too runny. It’s like a souped-up serum that’s easy to spread and massage into the skin, leaving it soft, smooth and radiant.

I like that it uses cold-pressed Siberian cedar nut, which is rich in antioxidants, vitamin E and essential fatty acids. The entire formulation of Lyeska’s Facial Cleanser is spot-on for fussy skin types: there’s enough moisture to keep it from leaving your skin feeling tight, but packed with beneficial extracts to keep skin breakout-free. The key one that gets my attention? Burdock root extract. Its antiseptic properties are excellent at taming acneic skin. It also helps treat skin issues such as rosacea and eczema, inhibits the growth of bacteria, reduces inflammation and heals wounds.

INGREDIENTS: Organic Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Pinus Sibirica (Cedar) Nut Oil, Glycerin, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Lactobacillus Ferment, Water, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, PCA, Organic Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract, Organic Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract, Organic Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Oil, Citrus Junos (Yuzu) Flower Oil, Organic Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Oil, Schizandra Sphenanthera (Schisandra) Fruit Extract, Citrus Sinensis (Blood Orange) Peel Oil, Organic Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, P-Anisic Acid, Sclerotium Gum, Xanthan Gum

*Mad Hippie Cream Cleanser
$15.99 for 4 ounces

Mad Hippie is one of those brands that constantly blows my mind. Awesome packaging. Awesome ingredients. Awesome pricepoint. I am constantly recommending this line and this cleanser to those looking for an easy transition into nontoxic beauty, and for good reason: Mad Hippie is the real deal!

The Cream Cleanser is lovely to use with a konjac sponge in the morning. The formula is thick and creamy, but easy to spread and feels almost like a light lotion on the skin (thicker than Acure Organics mentioned above). This is thanks to sesame oil, coconut oil derivatives and shea butter — not too heavy, not too creamy, but just right. Mad Hippie’s Cream Cleanser is housed in a glass pump bottle, making it easy to recycle or reuse (major bonus points!).

INGREDIENTS: Deionized Water, Sesame Oil (Sesamum Indicum), Caprylic/capric Triglycerides, Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii), Cetearyl Glucoside, Carrageenan Gum, Vegetable Glycerin, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium PCA, Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis Leaf), Jojoba (Simmondsia Chinensis), Squalene, Organic Macadamia Oil (Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil), Organic Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia Chinesis), Yeast Extract, Glucosamine HCL, Vitamin E (Tocopheryl), Sodium Hyaluronate, Algae Extract, Orchid Extract (Orchis Mascula), Titanium Dioxide

*River Veda Carefree Cleansing Milk
$34 NZD for 3.4 ounces

Thick, creamy and comforting, this cleansing milk pairs perfectly with a konjac sponge for a fresh morning cleanse. Organic evening primrose and jojoba oils replenish the skin  while orange essential oil lifts the spirits. I love the feeling of this cleanser on my skin — it’s the perfect balance of creamy and indulgent, yet moves about very easily and rinses off like a dream.

INGREDIENTS: Rose Damascena organic flower hydrosol*, Vegetable Glycerin organic*, Aloe Vera (aloe barbadensis) organic juice*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (derived solely from coconut), Evening Primrose (Oenothera Biennis) organic cold pressed oil*, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Glycerol Monostearate, Shea Nut Butter organic (Butyrospermum Parkii)*, Natural Vitamin E (Tocopherol), Benzyl Alcohol Dehydroacetic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Xanthan Gum, Sweet Orange (Citrus Aurantium Dulcis) Essential Oil , Lemon peel (Citrus Limonum) Essential Oil 

*True Nature Botanicals Pacific Exfoliating Cleanser
$48 for 4 ounces

One of the most gentle daily exfoliating cleansers on the market, True Nature Botanicals’ Pacific Exfoliating Cleanser takes advantage of Actifolate, a patented fungal extract that combines peptides with polysaccharides derived from cell wall components of the Mucor Miehei mushroom. This creates this cleanser’s signature irritation-free, intense exfoliation that feels finer than sand and leaves your skin feeling buffed and clean. Chamomile powder and manuka honey aid in calming and smoothing the skin with every wash.

This is another one that’s on the pricey side, but if your skin needs regular, gentle exfoliation, you can easily just use this and skip the separate exfoliator.

INGREDIENTS: Camellia sinensis (green & white tea)*, phaseolus angularis (adzuki bean) powder*, Actifoliate® [glycerin, water, mucor miehei extract, glucosamine HCI, urea], glycerin (vegetable glycerin)*, aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) juice*, phenethyl alcohol**, xanthan gum, honey (manuka honey)*, colloidal oat flour*, ascophyllum nodosum (kelp) powder*, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) oleoresin*, matricaria recutita (chamomile flower) powder, ethylhexylglycerin**, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) essential oil*, pelargonium graveolens (rose geranium) essential oil  // *organic; **paraben-free anti-microbial agents; % organic ingredients: 92%

*The Wonder Seed Hemp Facial Cleanser, English Daisy
$14.95 for 3.4 ounces

You know that sweet compliment I gave Mad Hippie and Acure Organics ? Same goes for The Wonder Seed. This is yet another line that sources high-quality ingredients yet keeps its prices within reach, making it perfect for those new to green and figuring out their favorites as well as those who are budget-conscious or have different philosophies when it comes to what they will spend on certain skincare items.

The Wonder Seed’s star ingredient is hemp seed oil (yes, hemp seed is the wonder seed!), which means that this everything in this line is incredibly moisturizing, including its facial cleanser. The texture of this face wash is a bit more dense compared to Mad Hippie; I would say it’s a similar texture to that of Acure Organics’ Cream Cleanser, though a bit slicker. It works well with a konjac sponge and leaves skin feeling hydrated without any films or residue.

If you’re sensitive to scents, do know that the English Daisy scent in this cleanser is present — though to my significant other and me, it smells more like a minty scent (I spy peppermint extract toward the end of the formulat). It’s not overpowering, but it’s definitely detectable.

INGREDIENTS: Purified Water (Aqua), Virgin Organic Hemp Seed Oil, English Daisy Essential Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Organic Aloe Vera, Organic Green Tea Extract, Glycerin (Vegetable), Behenic Acid, Organic Cucumber Extract, Cetyl Alcohol (Coconut Oil Based), Sweet Birch Extract, Hyaluronic Acid (Natural Plant Based), Borage Seed Oil, Hydroxyethylcellulose (Coconut Oil Based), Cellulose, Coconut Oil, Echinacea Extract, Licorice Root Extract, Xanthan Gum, Magnesium Cocoate (Coconut Oil Based), Dextrin, Potassium Stearate (Natural Plant Based), Peppermint Extract, Lauric Oil Extract, Centaurea Cyanus Extract, Nutmeg Oil Extract, Sea Salt

Non-Foaming / Cream Cleansers I Will Not Repurchase

Eminence Coconut Milk Cleanser
$36 for 8.4 ounces

This is a great summertime cleanser thanks to the healing coconut milk (and that summertime coconut smell that most of us love!) and calendula oil. However, I’m not sold on it for year-round mostly because of the coconut scent. Everything else about it is just fine — the ingredients are clean (it even includes salicylic acid for us acne-prone types) and the pump packaging is ideal. I just can’t do this particular scent on my face every day of the year.

Read the full review for full ingredients and additional information.

*Fig + Yarrow Cleansing Nectar
$30 for 4 ounces

A change in its marketing would put Fig + Yarrow’s Cleansing Nectar into the positive for me. Presented as a washless cleanser and toner for gentle exfoliation, the Cleansing Nectar is under-performs in the cleansing department but excels in the toning department. Call me old-fashioned, but when I think cleanser, I think gel/foam/cream + water. I get the multipurpose idea behind this product, but just didn’t feel very clean using it as a cleanser.

After cleansing with a different product and using the Cleansing Nectar as a toner, my skin and I felt happy. Perhaps look for this on an ultimate guide to toners instead.

INGREDIENTS: Aloe barbadensis (aloe) leaf water*, Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower water*, Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) leaf extract*, Salix nigra (willow) bark extract, Malus domesticus (apple) cider vinegar*†, Lactobacillis ferment, Calendula officinalis (marigold) extract*, Ginkgo biloba extract*, Camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract*, Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract*; manuka honey (active 16+)*†, salt of the Dead Sea, Sodium benzoate, Potassium sorbate, essential oils of: Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary), Lavandula angustifolia (lavender)*, Anthemis nobilis (chamomile), Cistus ladanifer (rockrose), Salvia sclarea (clary sage), Aniba rosaeodora (rosewood). *certified organic, †virgin

*Marula Pure Marula Cleansing Lotion
$38 for 4.23 ounces

From a formulation standpoint, this cleansing lotion was just fine. It was the delivery that put Marula Pure Marula Cleansing Lotion on my “no thanks” list.

I had to use several pumps of this cleansing lotion to get a quarter-sized amount on my palm. Perhaps I’m overdoing it, but we’re talking about 6-7 pumps; the spout of the pump is a bit puny, so I have to be aware of how much product I actually use. I’ve already explained to you that I’m conservative when it comes to the price of my cleansers, so I’m not sure this one is worth the $38 price tag. It’s a fine product and isn’t excessively expensive by any means, but I think there are some better buys out there that are loaded with even more exciting ingredients.

Read the full review for full ingredients and additional information.

*Meow Meow Tweet Face Cleanser
$25 for 3.8 ounces

Though it’s described as a cream cleanser, Meow Meow Tweet’s Face Cleanser is more watery and slippery, making it very difficult to effectively apply and massage into the skin. It’s better described as “an oil cleanser that rinses off” but without the oily consistency because of the witch hazel (ingredient No. 2). The thinness of it makes the essential oils in the formula a bit too strong for my skin. I would love to see this cleanser bulked up a bit for a better consistency to use either in my hands or with a konjac sponge. When I used it, I lost a lot of product because of the watery texture.

INGREDIENTS: *helianthus annuus (sunflower) oil, hammamelis virginiana (witch hazel) distillate, *vegetable glycerin, castile soap [aqua (water), *potassium cocoate, *potassium sunflowerate, *potassium ricinoleate, potassium citrate, citric acid, *rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract], *simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil, *ricinus communis (castor) oil, leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate, citrus bergamia (bergamot, bergaptene free), *juniperus communis (juniper), *ocimum basilicum (basil), *sunflower lecithin   *certified organic ingredient

*Narynda Skincare Cleanser
£12.50 (~$18.90) for 3.38 ounces

Though extremely gentle and soothing, Narynda’s Skincare Cleanser’s milky, runny texture wasn’t quite to my liking. When applied to a konjac sponge and then massage over my face, I could keep the formula from running, but if I cleansed just with hands, the cleanser liked to run down my arm. The formula itself, as I said, is very gentle, and would be lovely for someone with dry skin or as the morning cleanse, but it just didn’t sit well with me in the texture department.

INGREDIENTS: Prunus Persica (Peach) Kernel Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Aqua (Water), Sucrose Palmitate, Sucrose Laurate, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate, Limonene, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil (Chamomile), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Flower Oil (Sweet Orange), Linalool, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender Oil), Calcium Gluconate, Geraniol, Farnesol, Citral

*Nonie of Beverly Hills AHA! Skin Cleanser
$25.99 for 7 ounces

With a mix of citrus oils, grapefruit seed extract and apple cider vinegar, Nonie of Beveryly Hills’ cleanser was a bit too tingly for my skin. Though it’s in a base of coconut and almond oil and has a lovely, lotion-like texture, I found the citrus oils a bit too irritating on my facial skin. I’d use this with a konjac sponge to get a good morning cleanse, but decided to instead focus more of the cleanse on my T-zone and under the chin, which seems to be able to handle the natural alpha hydroxy acids a little better than my cheeks.

INGREDIENTS: Distilled Water, Hamamelis Water, Coconut Oil, Coconut Emulsifier, Almond Oil, Citrus Mix of Lemon, Grapefruit, Orange, Bergamot & Neroli Oils; Vitamin E, Grapefruit Seed Extract & Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.

Foaming Cleansers / Gels I Will Repurchase & Recommend

Acure Organics Superfruit + Chlorella Growth Factor Facial Cleansing Gel
$9.99 for 4 ounces

Designed for combination to oily skin, Acure Organics’ Facial Cleansing Gel gently washes away the day’s grime and helps remove any additional makeup that your first cleanse left behind. Antioxidant-rich acai, blackberry, rosehips and pomegranate make this affordable cleanser an obvious repurchase — there’s a lot of clean, botanical ingredients packed into these four ounces! I love that this is a true gel formula (not slippery or watery), and if you’re a cleansing brush kind of person, you can easily use this with your device of choice.

INGREDIENTS: Organic Curoxidant™ Superfruit Blend (Organic Euterpe oleracea (Acai) Berry, Organic Rubus fruticosus (Blackberry), Organic Rosa canina (Rosehips), Organic Punica granatum (Pomegranate), Organic Calendula oficinalis (Calendula), Organic Matricaria recutita (Chamomile), Fair Trade Certified™ Organic Aspalanthus linearis (Rooibos) , Lauryl Glucoside (vegetable derived), Decyl Glucoside (sugar soap), Fair Trade Certified™ Organic Olea europaea (Olive oil), Organic Chlorella pyrenoidosa (Chlorella Growth Factor), Glucono Delta Lactone (Fermented sugar), Marrubium vulgare (White horehound) stem cell culture, Echinacea stem cell culture, Fermented Resveratrol Extract (Probiotic), Organic argania spinosa (Argan) oil, Ubiquinone (CoQ10), Olea europea (Olive leaf) extract, Potassium Sorbate (Food grade preservative), Citrus Limon (Lemon) Essential Oil, Citric Acid.

*Dr. Alkaitis Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser
$65 for 4 ounces

Inside a base of castile soap, Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser packs a complex blend of organic oils, herbs and extracts to refresh, repair and treat the skin. Though the price is way higher than the amount I typically like to spend on cleansers, it’s one that I like to treat myself to from time to time.

Read the full review for a full list of ingredients and additional information.

*Hum Honey Face Wash
$20 for 4.5 ounces

Handcrafted in Minnesota from raw clover honey, vegetable glycerin and organic castile soap, Hum’s Honey Face Wash is one that I have been reaching for again and again. Remember that whole “be careful with castile soap” thing? Hum gets it right by balancing sudsy, cleansing castile soap with a generous amount of raw honey to keep this cleanser equal parts moisturizing and cleansing. Dare I say it may be one of my favorite affordable cleansers to date. Be on the lookout for a full standalone review to come.

INGREDIENTS: Raw Clover Honey, Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Castile Soap

*Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Cleanser
$22 for 6.75 ounces

Anything that’s labeled as a blemish-clearing product gets attention from me, and Juice Beauty’s Blemish Clearing Cleanser delivers. Extremely affordable and easily accessible, this cleanser deep cleans thanks to organic lemon, cherry and aloe juices. Your skin is never left feeling stripped or tight, and your breakouts calm a bit with regular use. The pump top bottle is also extremely convenient.

INGREDIENTS: Organic juices of citrus medica limonum (organic lemon juice)*, prunus avium (organic sweet cherry juice)*, vitis vinifera (organic white grape juice)*, aloe barbadensis (organic aloe juice)*, decyl glucoside, vegetable glycerin, sodium hydroxide, gluconolactone, sclerotium gum, xanthan gum, lysolecithin, pullulan, sodium benzoate, sodium levulinate, organic botanical extracts of salvia officinalis (organic sage leaf extract)*, taraxacum officinale (dandelion leaf extract), melissa officinalis (lemon balm leaf extract), algae extract, tocopherol (Vitamin E), retinyl palmitate (Vitamin A), citrus aurantifolia (lime oil), tetrasodium glutamate diacetate, sodium anisate, citric acid, litsea cubeba (may chang), citrus aurantium amara (organic bitter orange)* and cananga odorata (organic ylang ylang)* pure essential oils

Kelly Teegarden The Secret Anti Aging Facial Cleanser
$22 for 6 ounces

This scentless, weightless cleanser combines organic aloe vera juice, fruit extracts, and plant oils for a gentle, moisturizing wash that lightly foams and leaves the skin feeling soft and clean. The formula includes medicinal herbs such as spikenard, Spanish marjoram and meadowsweet flower to help combat inflammation and deep clean the skin. I’m taken by just how gentle yet effective this formula is. It’s easy to use both morning and night if you just want one cleanser.

INGREDIENTS: Aloe Barbadensis (ORGANIC Aloe Vera Leaf Juice) (and) Purified Water (Aqua), Sodium Hydroxypropylsulfonate Lauryl-Glucoside Crosspolymer (Coconut), Decyl Glucoside (Plant Derived), Pure Glycerin (Vegetable Derived), Sodium Levulinate (Natural Preservative), Sodium Anisate (Natural Preservative), Sclerotium Gum, Persea Gratissima (ORGANIC Avocado) Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernal (Argan Oil), Xanthan Gum (Natural Thickener), Capryl Hydroxamic Acid (Naturally Derived Preservative), Caprylyl Glycol (Naturally Derived Preservative), Sorbic Acid (Natural Preservative), Alcohol, Lavendula Angustifolia (ORGANIC Lavender Oil), Lavandula Burnati Hybrida (ORGANIC Lavandin Oil), Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon Peel Oil), Citrus Reticulata (Mandarin or Tangerine Peel Oil), Thymus Mastichina (Spanish Marjoram), Nardostachys Jatamansi (Spikenard), Cucumis Sativus (ORGANIC Cucumber Fruit Extract), Spiraea Ulmaria (Meadowsweet Flower Extract), Lycium Barbarum (Goji Berry Fruit Extract), Cocos Nucifera (ORGANIC Coconut Oil), Beta Glucan, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane), Pyrus Malus (Apple Fruit Extract), Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon Fruit Extract).

*m-61 Power Cleanse Pore-Purifying Glycolic Face Cleanser
$34 for 8.4 ounces

While it’s not the most botanically based cleanser on the list, m-61’s Power Cleanse Pore-Purifying Glycolic Face Cleanser gets a spot on my repurchase list because of how relatively clean it is (no ingredient scores higher than “4” on the EWG Skin Deep Database) and how fantastically effective it is at deep cleaning acne-prone skin. This intense glycolic-based face cleanser is free of synthetic fragrances and includes tea tree and vitamin B5 to help treat acne and soothe irritation. The star ingredient, glycolic acid, works well my my combo-oily acne-prone skin to remove dead surface skin cells and deep clean, both treating and preventing breakouts. I like to use this cleanser the week before and week of my period to keep my hormonal acne in check.

INGREDIENTS: Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycolic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Cocamidopropylamine Oxide, Ethoxydiglycol, Polyquaternium-10, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Phytic Acid, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Panthenol, Glycerin, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate

*Mukti Balancing Foaming Cleanser
$36.62 for 200 ml

With just two pumps, Mukti’s Balancing Foaming Cleanser, a gel that creates a very gentle lather, cleanses your skin and keeps it in balance. After a wash, the skin is never tight, thanks to an extremely hydrating base of aloe leaf juice and calming ingredients such as calendula and chamomile. This cleanser is lovely to use both morning and night. It’s gentle enough for a quick morning cleanse in the shower (which I usually reserve for cream cleansers), and strong enough to use after makeup removal at night (which is when I usually use my foaming or gel cleansers).

This is the perfect hybrid cleanser for combination/oily skin, and it has a slight citrus smell thanks to pink grapefruit and mandarin.

INGREDIENTS: Aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, Brachychiton acerfolius (Flame Tree), Tasmannia lanceolata (Mountain Pepper Leaf), Fucus vesiculosus (Bladderwrack), Calendula officinalis (Calendula), Chamomilla recutita (Chamomile), Ginkgo Biloba leaf, Equisetum arvense (Horsetail), Urtica dioica (Nettle), Trifolium pratense (Red Clover), Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary), Salvia officinalis (Sage), Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) extracts*, cocoglucoside, glyceryl caprylate, xanthan gum. Essential oils of Citrus aurantifolia (Lime)*, Citrus grandis (Pink Grapefruit)*, Citrus amara (Petitgrain)*, Citrus nobilis (Mandarin)* & Rosa Centifolia (Rose) absolute.
*Certified organic by the Organic Food Chain (OFC). Organically produced 93% of product.

*skinnyskinny The Cleanser Organic Face Wash
$25 for 4 ounces

I absolutely adore this cleanser. Its scent, packaging, cleansing action and price make it a home run in my book. Seriously, when I heard that my spa may not carry it anymore, I nearly had a cow (I hate having to order a bunch of stuff online if I can easily pop into a local store and buy it there instead!). The Cleanser’s beautiful blend of active, certified organic ingredients cleanse, calm and nourish the skin. The chamomile is extremely soothing, and I like that this formula contains extra virgin olive oil (an ingredient that tends to go in and out of vogue in green skincare, but to me, is a classic).

INGREDIENTS: Distilled water, coconut oil*, vegetable glycerin, extra-virgin olive oil*, potassium hydroxide (none remains in finished product), castor oil*, jojoba oil*, aloe vera*, lavender essential oil*, chamomile essential oil*, rosemary extract* *certified organic

*SMB Essentials Lotus Moon Amaranth Gentle Cleanse
$34.95 for 6 ounces

I finished the travel size of this cleanser so quickly thanks to its perfect gel texture and easy squeeze-tube packaging. The full size is packaged in a pump, and SMB Essentials is a perfect example of what’s on the inside really counting. I don’t find the packaging and design to be anything quite beautiful, but the ingredients and performance are fantastic for getting that nice, gel lather that’s compatible with a konjac sponge or fingers.

Though Amaranth Gentle Cleanse is formulated for normal to dry skin, I found that my combo/oily skin responded very well to it and did not feel stripped or unclean with regular use.

INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water), Sodium Laurylglucosides, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate, Sodium Cocoyl Hydrolyzed Amaranth Protein, Nymphaea Coerulea (Blue Lotus) Flower Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Zeolite, Citrus Grandis (Pink Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil*, Boswellia Carterii (Frankincense) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Santalum Austrocaledonicum (Sandalwood) Oil, Glycerin, Sodium Decylglucosides, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate. *Organic

Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash
$28 for 8 ounces

This foaming gel cleanser gives my skin a thorough cleanse and my senses a happy, brightening effect. Yes, my senses. Made with cedar, spearmint and lime, Ursa Major’s Fantastic Face Wash makes you feel invigorated without overly stimulating your skin or your mind. The spearmint top notes of this wash give a bit of tingle without setting your face on fire the way many minty washes can. The inclusion of rosemary, vetiver and lavender gives this face wash amazing depth in both scent and treatment. There’s some fantastic skin-brightening, deep-cleansing and mind-calming effects in this cleanser that I recommend for both men and women. Also, because the gel is nice and dense, a dime-sized amount is all you need for a perfect wash.

INGREDIENTS (*denotes organic): Aloe vera leaf juice (Aloe barbadensis)*, Lauryl glucoside, Coco-glucoside, Sodium cocoyl glutamate, Sodium lauroamphoacetate, Inulin, Glyceryl laurate, Sodium lauroyl glutamate, Xylitylglucoside, Anhydroxlitol, Xylitol, Rice seed extract (oryza sativa)*, Sugar Cane extract (saccharum officinarum), White tea leaf extract (camellia sinensis)*, Lemon extract (citrus medica limonum), Orange fruit extract (citrus aurantium dulcis), Apple fruit extract (pyrus malus), Green tea leaf extract (camellia sinensis), Black spruce needle oil (picea mariana), Fir needle oil (pseudotsuga menziesii), Rosemary leaf/flower water (rosmarinus officinalis), Lavender flower water (lavandula angustifolia), Pink grapefruit peel oil (citrus paradisi), Lime peel oil (citrus aurantifolia), Owyhee leaf oil (artemisia ludoviciana), Cedar wood oil (juniperus virginiana), Tanacetum anuum flower oil (tanacetum anuum)*, Spikenard root (nardostachys chinensis), Vetivert root oil (vetiveria zizanioiedes), Speramint leaf oil (mentha spicata), Sodium phytate, PCA glyceryl oleate, Citric acid, Gluconolactone, Sodium benzoate

*Yes To Bluberries Age Refresh Foaming Facial Cleanser
$9.99 for 5 ounces

This is a great budget buy and extremely accessible (think drugstores and mass retailers). I like that the pump releases an instant burst of foam — and gentle foam at that. Many ready-foam cleansers (and gels) that I’ve tried are extremely stripping, even for my oily skin, but Yes To Blueberries’ Age Refresh Foaming Facial Cleanser is not.

Though it’s marketed for maturing skin, it’s quite nice for any skin type because of how gentle it is. It’s enriched with chamomile and glycerin for additional moisture (important if you like to use foaming cleansers in the winter — more moisture, please!). Organic blueberry extract and vitamin E are included for their antioxidant benefits.

INGREDIENTS: Water (Aqua), Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine,Glycerin, Glyceryl Oleate, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Caprylate, Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry) Fruit Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Tocopheryl Acetate,Glyceryl Undecylenate, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid,Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum). 

*Yours Truly Organics Take It Away Gel Cleanser
£29.99 for 3.38 ounces

This was my go-to cleanser for use with my Clarisonic Mia. Yours Truly Organics’ Take it Away Gel Cleanser had a dense gel texture that took well to the brush head, keeping a nice, thick layer of protection between the sonic speed bristles and my skin. When used with just hands and water, it’s difficult to really massage this cleanser in, so I recommend using it with a brush head or a konjac sponge.

INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water), Lauryl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Decyl Glucoside, Polyglyceryl-4 Laurate/Sebacate, Polyglyceryl-6 Caprylate/Caprate, Glycerin**, Glyceryl Laurate, PCA Glyceryl Oleate, Sodium Chloride, Shea Butter Polyglyceryl-6 Esters, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Oil*, Xanthan Gum, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Powder*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Dehydroacetic Acid, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Bixa Orellana Seed Extract, Tocopherol, Limonene***, Benzyl Alcohol, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil*. * Ingredients from organic farming ** Made using organic ingredients *** Component of natural essential oil 99% of the total ingredients are from natural origin 29% of the total ingredients are from organic farming

Foaming Cleansers / Gels I Will Not Repurchase

100% Pure Jasmine Green Tea Cleanser
$28 for 6 ounces

With its instant burst of foaming goodness, 100% Pure’s Jasmine Green Tea Cleanser gently washes away the day without drying the skin — a tough feat for a true foaming cleanser. This is because 100% Pure’s cleanser leaves out harsh detergents and instead uses a mild coconut cleanser infused with lavender honey, green tea, berries and jasmine. For a jasmine addict like me, though, this cleanser really doesn’t smell like anything at all. But that can be good for those of you with sensitive noses and skin! Instead, it’s basically scentless save for a mild green tea scent. Though this is made for normal to dry skin, it’s basically fine for any skin type (including my combo/oily skin). It’s not on my repurchase list because, well, I kinda bought it because I wanted a jasmine cleanser. Also, it contains Japanese Honeysuckle extract as a preservative, so if you’re avoiding that ingredient, be aware.

INGREDIENTS: Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe Juice) Leaf Extract*, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water (Organic Rose Hydrosol)*, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Juice, Sodium Cocoate (Saponified Coconut Oil), Extracts of Camellia Sinensis (Organic Green Tea) Leaf*, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root and Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) Flower, Jasminum Officinale Oil (Jasmine Essential Oil), Extracts of Symphytum Officinale (Comfrey) Leaf, Centaurea Cyanus (Cornflower) Flower, Echinacea Purpurea (Echinacea), Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail), Hyssopus Officinalis (Hyssop), Lonicera Caprifolium Flower and Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle), Benzyl Alcohol**, Benzyl Benzoate**, Linalool**   * Certified Organic ** Component of Natural Essential Oil

*derma e Purifying Gel Cleanser
$15.50 for 6 ounces

Fragrance- and sulfate-free, this gel cleanser would be perfect if it had a few more moisturizing ingredients. Post-cleanse, my face is a little bit dry (but not completely tight and uncomfortable). The base of aloe vera helps with this, but the formulation is missing key oils (like olive or sunflower) that can help keep skin feeling soft.

INGREDIENTS: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Glycerin, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Cellulose Gum, Charcoal Powder, Fucus Vesiculosus (Bladderwrack) Extract, Undaria Pinnatifida (Wakame, Kimarine®) Extract, Epilobium Angustifolium (Canadian Willowherb™) Extract, Organic Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract* (.1%), Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin.

Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash
$6.50 for 8.5 ounces

Designed for oily and acne-prone skin, Desert Essence’s Thoroughly Clean Face Wash contains old faithful tea tree and lavender to treat and prevent breakouts while offering a nice lather in a base of castile soap. Be very mindful of how your skin feels with this wash, as the castile soap can be a bit stripping without additional moisturizing ingredients (your skin should not feel tight after cleansing!).

I like to use this cleanser during hotter, more humid months when my combo/oily face is a bit more on the oily side. I haven’t repurchased this in years, so I’ve moved it to this section to reflect my updated thoughts.

Read the full review for a full list of ingredients and additional information.

*Sara Ross Blemish Therapy Cleanser
$15 for 4 ounces

Made with raw honey, glycerin and an infusion of cherry oil with calendula, ginger, roses and enzymes, this gentle gel cleanser targets acne but keeps the skin from feeling stripped. I wanted to love this cleanser — the low foam was extremely gentle and deep-cleaning — but the herbs and other ingredients left a bit of an after-scent and after-taste if I got it on my lips. Call it user error if you will, but I just couldn’t handle the herbal after effects.

INGREDIENTS: Ingredients: Glycerin, Sulfosuccinate, Organic Cherry oil/ Organic Coconut oil infusion (Cherry oil, Ginger, Rose, Calendula), polysorbate 20, Organic Raw Honey, Papain, Bromelain, Essential oils of Blood Orange, Sandalwood, Jasmine, Juniper, Cedar wood, Tea Tree, Rosewood, and Lavender.

*Yes to Tomatoes Clear Skin Detoxifying Charcoal Cleanser
$9.99 for 5 ounces

This paraben-free detoxifying cleanser is formulated with charcoal to draw out impurities and has a dose of tomato extract for a shot of antioxidants. Jojoba spheres help gently exfoliate, and salicylic acid deep cleans pores and prevents future breakouts. However, it’s not on my repurchase list for two reasons: 1) I’m not a fan of the slippery texture and 2) I can’t handle the scent, which is somewhat perfumed (fragrance is on the ingredients list). This could be a real winner if the scent were more subtle.

INGREDIENTS: Active ingredient: Salicylic Acid 1%; Inactive Ingredients: Water, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Propanediol, Glycerin, Xanthan Gum, Glyceryl Caprylate,Polylactic Acid, Charcoal Powder, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit/Leaf/Stem Extract*, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract*, Cucurbita Pepo(Pumpkin), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract*,Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos Tea) Extract*, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Glyceryl Undecylenate, Iron Oxides (CI 77499), Alcohol, Fragrance. *Certified Organic Ingredient


November 23, 2015

beauty secrets | an introduction to beauty heroes subscription box

This post is kindly brought to you by Beauty Heroes, who compensated me for this sponsored post. All opinions are my own!

While I’m no stranger to beauty subscription box services, there’s something different about Beauty Heroes, the monthly nontoxic beauty subscription box service founded by longtime spa director Jeannie Jarnot.

What’s different? Well, besides containing some of the most-coveted healthy beauty brands on the market today, the Beauty Heroes box delivers a full size “hero” product (for skin, body, sun or hair) as well as a fun, sample size “sidekick” product from the same line.

This means that green beauty junkies and clean-curious converts alike get a chance each month to slow down and fully experience the goodness of some of the most sought-after healthy beauty brands each month.

beauty heroes subscription

{Beauty Heroes sent me a 3-month trial subscription to sample and review.}

Been curious about Josh Rosebrook’s haircare? If you got the November Beauty Heroes box, you got to experience the new full size Balance Shampoo and Conditioner plus the sidekick Hairspray.

Wondering about the whole 4-2-4 cleansing method? I shrieked with delight when I opened my October Beauty Heroes box to find the full size In Fiore Treat Gentle Cleansing Emulsion and Lustra Illuminating Cleansing Essence.

Thinking about trying Kahina Giving Beauty, but don’t know where to start? The September Beauty Heroes box included the often-raved about Eye Serum as well as the lightweight Facial Lotion.

As a beauty blogger, I’d tried two out of three of these brands (and count Josh and Kahina as staples in my beauty routine). While it was great to have some extras in my stash, I was still unsure about the whole full-size subscription service for someone like me. You know, who gets a ton of products each week and feels a little overwhelmed by it all #bbloggerproblems

Yes, I know I am an anomaly here. But stick with me.

When I got my October box and saw In Fiore, a line I’d seen before but had never tried, I truly “got” what it meant to have a Beauty Heroes subscription. What an amazing surprise to see that, in a $39 subscription box, I got products valued at nearly $100 to thoroughly test before deciding whether I wanted to repurchase.

In Fiore is one of those lines that has sort of a cult status. To me, it’s been difficult to find a lot of in-depth reviews on the line. That means I’m less likely (and you probably are, too) to take the plunge on a purchase. And where I live, there aren’t places I can go to for sampling in person.

That’s the problem Beauty Heroes solves.

But, what if my Beauty Heroes products of the month just don’t do it for me? Beauty Heroes addresses that problem, too. If a customer doesn’t love a product, Beauty Heroes refunds the purchase. Jeannie tells me that she gets maybe one customer a month who emails her about a product not working out.

That number is so low because Beauty Heroes works with each brand’s top-selling product, so it’s usually something that the brand knows to be one of its best. In addition, Beauty Heroes documents client concerns and allergies. Before the monthly renewal, emails customers that have a concern that relates to the upcoming product so they can skip a month if necessary.

The attention to trends, efficacy and client detail is absolutely superb and why I’m excited to share more about Beauty Heroes with you.

This is a subscription box that I’d recommend to anyone who’s after the latest and greatest in natural skincare, but who wants to take time truly testing and experiencing a product and brand.

beauty heroes gift subscription

It would make a fantastic gift to yourself or someone you love who has been dabbling in clean beauty and is ready to go to the next level. Speaking of levels, Beauty Heroes offers many subscription tiers:

If you choose to give the gift of Beauty Heroes, all you need is the recipient’s email address — it’s that easy! You can also include a personal message and set the exact date you want the recipient to receive their gift email.

And … inside scoop … if you’re giving a subscription to a facial serum addict who must have the best of the best this holiday season, you’re going to want to sign her up for the December Beauty Heroes box.


It’s one of the most-talked about facial serums of the year, and its Beauty Heroes release is probably going to break the green beauty Internet. And flood your Instagram feed. Get in on it!

I’m excited to see what’s in store for Beauty Heroes in 2016. This is a subscription box with a truly intriguing business plan behind it — from the fun superhero branding, stellar pricing and thoughtful brand and product curation.

Have you gotten your subscription? What do you think of it? What are you gifting for the holidays this year?

In the words of Jeannie and Beauty Heroes — Hero On!

This post is kindly brought to you by Beauty Heroes, who compensated me for this sponsored post. All opinions are my own!

November 10, 2015

beauty scoop | schmidt’s natural stick deodorant

When it comes to natural deodorants, I have a large list of favorites that work perfectly fine for smelly, sweaty people like me.

But when it comes to natural deodorants in stick form, my recommendations are a little more slim. Many natural stick deodorants suffer epic fails because of formulations that just don’t work in this type of packaging: Think crumbling messes, difficult application and the like.

Leave it to Schmidt’s to figure out the best way to package an effective natural deodorant in this convenient way — perhaps this will get more people to make the switch.

schmidt's natural stick deodorant

{Schmidt’s sent me a sample of its stick deodorant to review. It costs $8.99 for a 2.65-ounce stick.}

Available in five different scents (I like Bergamot + Lime), Schmidt’s Natural Stick Deodorant provides the ultimate protection against odor thanks to its fantastic formula made with arrowroot powder, coconut oil, candelilla wax, shea butter, baking soda and more.

In stick form, this formula glides on relatively easily — except, as with any natural deodorants in cooler weather, may take a bit of warming against the skin to get a more even glide to help soften the oils, waxes and butters that tend to harden.

Here’s the full ingredients list for the Bergamot + Lime:

Maranta arundinacea (arrowroot) powder, Cocos Nucifera (coconut) Oil, Euphorbia Cerifera (candelilla) Wax, Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), Triglyceride (fractionated coconut oil), Citrus bergamia (bergamot) essential oil, Citrus aurantifolia (lime) essential oil, Tocopherol (vitamin E), Camellia sinensis (Green Tea) Extract

When using Schmidt’s stick deodorant, I still like to even out the application with my fingers and wipe off any excess that forms around the lip of the applicator.

So, that makes this not totally finger-free for me, but we’re coming a far way from the daily deodorant massage. But, I prefer Schmidt’s stick to the jar formula, which is very hard and takes some handling to get it to spread.

Once it’s applied, the feeling is slightly sticky, but not uncomfortable. It takes about 10 minutes to truly set, so I apply my deodorant before I begin doing my hair and makeup; I get dressed last. I haven’t noticed any major sensitivity with this deodorant — just do not overapply!

Overall, this deodorant is an absolute repurchase for me. I love that I have a reliable, natural stick deodorant to recommend to friends who are slowly cleaning up their personal care routine. Deodorant is always the most difficult transition, but having something as familiar as stick packaging makes it all the better!

Have you tried Schmidt’s Natural Stick Deodorant? When did you transition to natural deodorant? What are your favorites? Tell me in the comments section.

November 4, 2015

beauty secrets | the ultimate guide to natural body oils

I’ve got a thing for oils. Seriously — I’m typically covered in them from head to toe (hair oils, face oils and body oils).

This new installment in the “ultimate guides” series is an ode to body oils. It’s set up differently than previous ultimate guides, though. This guide clues you in to the oils I’ve had great experiences with, and whose scents and pricepoints span a diverse spectrum. You can view my absolute favorite body oils on my faves page; this guide serves as a wider list that has a variety of scents.

That’s because my personal body oil philosophy is centered around scent. While I’m not rolling deep in the dough, I will pony up for body oils that have incredible, complex scent profiles — and last. I love layering my fragrances, and a body oil can truly carry the scent.

I’m also very intrigued by body oils that offer an arotherapeutic benefit. Invigorating scents, like mints and spices, get me going in the dreary days of winter, while bright citrus aromas pep me up as winter turns to spring.

Flowers are necessary for me year-round, so I’ll always be drawn to them (and that’s why I wanted to create my own body oil that combines florals, citrus and spice — best of everything I love!).

Here’s to finding your favorite body oils! Dry, itchy skin be damned.

*Indicates press sample. Yes, I do buy my own products, and yes, free stuff gets the same level of criticism as stuff I paid for myself!

(Bookmark for later reading: The Ultimate Guide to Natural Deodorants; The Ultimate Guide to Natural Face Cleansers; The Ultimate Guide to Natural Hand Creams; The Ultimate Guide to Natural MascarasThe Ultimate Guide to Natural Shampoos ; The Ultimate Guide to Natural Sunscreens)

kimberlyloc x rachel's plan bee body oil

{My mom is not easily swayed by packaging and fluffy language. It was a relief to get her approval on my limited edition body oil!}

Best Body Oils $25 or Less

*Eliah Sahil Almond & Sandalwood Organic Body Oil ($20 for 100 ml / 3.38 ounces)

Made with just two ingredients (almond oil and sandalwood oil) this body oil absorbs quickly and softly scents your skin with sandalwood and fresh almonds. Your skin is left feeling soft and smooth — never greasy. This oil is also easy to repurpose as a hair oil. I’m not fond of the applicator (it has one of those stopper tops like essential oils have), because it takes forever to get the oil out … and I like to slather this stuff on!

INGREDIENTS: Prunus Dulcis (Almond oil), Santalum Album (Sandalwood oil)

Meow Meow Tweet Frankincense & Flowers Body Oil ($22 for 112 ml / 3.8 ounces)

I love the way this oil smells — calming and lightly floral. It’s made with organic sunflower, hempseed, jojoba and coconut oils and blended with frankincense, geranium and palmarosa oils. These ingredients help nourish, tone and heal skin. This is another body oil that can also be repurposed — as a facial oil! It has a lockable pump applicator, which I prefer.

INGREDIENTS: *Helianthus annuus (sunflower) oil, *cannabis sativa (hempseed) oil, *simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil, *cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, *boswellia serrata (frankincense) essential oil, *cymbopogon martinii (palmarosa) essential oil, *pelargonium graveolens (geranium) essential oil. *certified organic ingredient

Best Body Oils $50 or Less

*Etta + Billie Clary Sage Black Pepper Bath + Body Oil ($35 for 4 ounces)

This body oil has such an intriguing scent! It’s uplifting thanks to clary sage, which is known for its ability to help combat stress, and zesty black pepper, which adds a touch of spice. This oil has a dropper top applicator, which is a bit annoying to use, but keeps me from using too much while still being able to get enough into my hands at once. This is the perfect unisex scent for the entire family. Boys, time to get your body oil on.

INGREDIENTS: Limnanthes alba (Meadowfoam) seed oil, Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) seed oil*, Prunus amygdalus dulcis (Sweet Almond) oil*, Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) seed oil*, Salvia sclarea (Clary Sage) oil, Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender) oil*, Piper nigrum (Black Pepper) oil, Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) extract, Non-GMO Tocopherol (Vitamin E) *Certified Organic 

*Eu2Be Brasil Enrich + Radiate Oil ($50 for 4 ounces)

This small-batch blend of 15 anti-inflammatory oils, including avocado, passiflora and broccoli seed. It also features oils from the Amazonian babassu and buriti palm, which make this body oil extremely moisturizing and thick, yet fast-drying and fast-absorbing. It’s an especially luxurious treat after a long bath (and works well as a bath oil). It has a press-top applicator which makes it easy to travel with (and put a piece of tape over to secure during travel!).

INGREDIENTS: Ingredients: Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Dicaprylyl Ether, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Oryza Sativa (Rice Bran) Oil, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Seed Oil, Mauritia Flexuosa (Buriti) Seed Oil, Passiflora Edulis (Maracuja) Seed Oil, Orbignya Oleifera (Babassu) Seed Oil, Canarium Indicum (Nangai) Oil, Copaifera Officinalis (Balsam Copaiba) Resin, Bertholletia Excelsa (Brazil Nut) Seed Oil, Calophyllum Tacamahaca (Tamanu) Seed Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Fragrance

kimberlyloc x Rachel’s Plan Bee Limited Edition Body Oil ($36 for 112 ml / 3.8 ounces)

Addicted to jasmine? Me too. In collaboration with Rachel’s Plan Bee, I created this Limited Edition Body Oil to celebrate my love for the “King of Flowers.” It features originally undiluted jasmine grande and jasmine sambac (which is why the scent lasts so long!) to feed my floral addiction. Layers of toasted nuts (hi, organic apricot kernel oil), comforting spices and creamy vanilla soothe your sense. A taste of citrus softens the sweetness, and Moroccan rose adds fresh familiarity to tie it all together. It has a long and narrow pump top applicator that makes it easy to get as much oil as you like, but it’s a bit messy to travel with. I decant mine into a smaller screw-top bottle.

INGREDIENTS: Prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil*, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, limnanthes alba (meadowfoam) seed oil, vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil, tocopherol (mixed)**, jasminum grandiflorum (jasmine grande) flower oil, jasminum sambac (jasmine sambac) flower oil, rosa damascena (rose) absolute, vanilla planifolia, citrus sinensis (sweet orange) oil*, caprylic capric triglycerides.  *certified organic **non-gmo

*LoveCraft Therapy Sexi Minx ($30 for 4 ounces)

Made with apricot kernel oil, rose, jasmine, ylang ylang and cocoa, Etsy brand LoveCraftTherapy’s Sexi Minx Oil is a must-have for the cocoa-floral-obsessed who’s on a budget. The scent is quite similar to “The Good Stuff,” but with a lighter take on cocoa and a bit more floral coming through in the notes. Made by a budding aromatherapist, LoveCraftTherapy is one you’ll want to watch — founder Hyde Walker has a knack for creating sexy scents! Just imagine soaking into the most decadent aromas of cocoa and flowers, but coming out not smelling like a gift shop, but like a sweet goddess. Yeah. I like it. The oil is packaged with a screw-top lid.

INGREDIENTS: Apricot Kernel Oil, Rose, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, Cocoa Absolute

*Rachel’s Plan Bee Body Oil ($29 for 112 ml / 3.8 ounces)

Love vanilla? So does Rachel. Her original body oil, now made with certified organic ingredients, will have you smelling sweet and feeling your softest from head to toe. THIS is the body oil that made me realize I had to collaborate with Rachel. The base of this oil — organic apricot kernel, organic sunflower seed, meadowfoam, grapeseed, organic cranberry seed and vitamin E — is second to none when it comes to moisturizing extremely dry skin without leaving greasy residue. It has the same pump top bottle as the “k oil” mentioned above.

INGREDIENTS: Apricot kernel oil*, sunflower seed oil*, meadowfoam seed oil, grapeseed oil, tocopherol (mixed)**, cranberry seed oil*, vanilla planifolia, citrus sinensis (sweet orange) oil*   *certified organic **non-gmo

*Stop The Water While Using Me! All Natural Almond Fig Body Oil ($45)

The mouthwatering scent of fresh figs and almonds makes this body oil absolutely irresistible. I love the softly sweet and nutty scent year-round. Besides scent, this body oils boasts an impressive ingredients list, including babassu and walnut oils as well as organic apricot kernel, sesame seed, sweet almond, sunflower seed, rice bran and black currant seed oils. It features the preferred lockable-top applicator.

INGREDIENTS: Walnut seed oil, organic orbignya oleifera seed oil, isoamyl laureate, organic sesame seed oil, organic apricot kernel oil, organic sweet almond oil, organic jojoba seed oil, octyldodoecanol, passiflora edulis seed oil, sunflower seed oil, rice bran oil, black currant seed oil, tocopherol, euterpe oleracea fruit oil, organic maurita flexuosa fruit oil, sunflower seed oil, cadriospermum halicacabum flower extract, organic fig extract, sunflower seed oil unsaponifiables, rosemary leaf extract, alcohol dent.**, perfume (fragrance), limonene**

** From natural essential oils

*Organic Bath Co. RefreshMint Body Oil ($45 for 100 ml / 3.4 ounces)

Minty and delicious! I love layering this oil with my cocoa-infused products (hello, mint chocolate chip) or using it straight for a softly invigorating, moisturizing oil. Jojoba oil combines with camellia seed oil, grapeseed oil, evening primrose oil and sweet almond oil to make up the lightweight, moisturizing base. While Organic Bath Co. doesn’t list its entire essential oil blend (“essential oil fragrance blend” in the ingredients list below), it’s noted that organic peppermint oil is responsible for the energizing, uplifting aroma. It has a lockable pump applicator.

INGREDIENTS: Simmondsia chinensis (Golden Jojoba) Oil*, Camellia oleifera (Camellia Seed) Oil*, Vitis vinifera (Grapeseed) Oil*, Oenothera biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil*, Prunus dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil*, Essential Oil Fragrance Blend*.  *Certified Organic Ingredient 

Best Body Oils $75 or Less

*African Botanics Marula Firming Botanical Body Oil ($70 for 106 ml/ 3.5 ounces)

This body oil is perfect for a heavy-handed girl like me. I tend to get more product than necessary in pretty much any situation (ahem, ice cream), but with this body oil, even at six pumps per leg, I’m never left overly drenched in oil. My skin eats up the fast-absorbing formula and is gently coated in this gorgeous light cream and tea scent that is pleasant for day or evening. It has a pump applicator with lid.

INGREDIENTS: Sclerocarya Birrea (Marula Seed Oil)**, Vitis Vinifera (Grape Seed Oil)**, Aspalathus linearis (Green Rooibos Tea extract), Cyclopia (Honeybush extract).   ** Certified Organic

Lina Hanson Global Body Serum ($63 for 100 ml / 3.4 ounces)

This body serum combines 10 of the world’s most beautiful oils into a sleek black pump jar that begs you to slather it from head to toe after every morning shower. And — small detail — it smells just like a Creamsicle! I’m completely taken by the yummy orange-vanilla scent (which, actually, is pink grapefruit and vanilla!). I reserve this oil for daytime use, though I think it would be perfectly appropriate for summer evenings. It has a lockable pump applicator.

INGREDIENTS: Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil*, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil*, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Nut Oil*, Bertholletia Excelsia (Brazil) Nut Oil, Cucurbita Maxima (Pumpkin) Seed Oil*, Camellia Oleifera (Camellia) Seed Oil*, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Oil, Vanilla Planifolia (Vanilla) Oil, Citrus Junos (Yuzu) Oil. *Certified Organic

Malaya Citrus & Bloom Organic Moisturizing Body Oil ($68 for 4 ounces)

Of course I like this oil: It combines citrus and florals, including grapefruit, neroli, rose and jasmine. The soft scent is uplifting as well as soothing — the neroli really shines through in this blend. Nothing is overpowering at all, so for those who are bit shy to scent, this is a great introduction to some complex yet delicate fragrances. Rich with vitamins and antioxidants, this formula feels dense when poured into the hands, but applies beautifully as a thin, non-greasy moisturizer. It features a pourable, open mouth with screw-off lid.

INGREDIENTS: Jojoba Oil*, Sweet Almond Oil*, Sunflower Oil*, Safflower Oil*, Argan Oil*, Avocado Oil*, Rosehips Oil*, Herbal extracts – [Arnica Flower*, Plantain Leaf*, Calendula Flower*, Chamomile Flower*, Yarrow Leaf and Flower*, Lavender Flower*, Elder Flower*], Proprietary blend of Essential Oils and Absolutes *^ including – Bulgarian Rose Absolute*, Neroli Oil*, Jasmine Absolute*, Grapefruit Oil*, Vitamin E Tocopherols (GMO Free).

Osmia Organics Body Oils ($75 for 7.5 ounces)

If anybody knows scent, it’s Osmia Organics (the brand name plays off the parts of some words that relate to the sense of smell!). The line features a well-edited collection of moisturizing oils that soften and lightly scent the skin with the most creative fragrances. My favorites include Sunset (light jasmine and vanilla) and Light (lemongrass and ylang ylang). Osmia doesn’t list out its exact essential oil and extracts blended into each product, but does a great job of highlighting the notes in each description. The large size features a long neck pump top.

INGREDIENTS: Caprylic/capric triglyceride (fractionated coconut oil), simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil*, aleurites molaccana (kukui) oil, prunus amygdalus (sweet almond) oil*, rosa rubiginosa (rosehips) seed oil*, cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil*, persea gratissima (avocado) oil*, borago officinalis (borage) seed oil*, oenothera biennis (evening primrose) oil*, hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn berry) CO2 extract*, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) CO2 extract*, and a proprietary blend of organic and wild-harvested essential oils and CO2 extracts

*Saison Body Oils ($59 for 150 ml / 5.3 ounces)

Available in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter scents, Saison’s Body Oils combine camellia seed, jojoba, safflower and grapeseed oils for a luxurious blend that leaves a sexy sheen. I’m partial to the spring and autumn scents, but have been impressed with the collection’s ode to the scents of each season. Each body oil uses the same base but a different blend of essential oils to create the signature scent; unfortunately, Saison doesn’t list these ingredients, but I was able to get the notes from them to help you navigate. The oils feature plastic pump tops and lids.

  • Spring // Floral: Rosy notes blended with Lavender and Ylang Ylang
  • Summer // Citrus: Lemony notes paired with Bergamont
  • Autumn // Herbal: A special blend of herbal notes with hints of Lavender
  • Winter // Spicy Citrus: Spicy Juniper notes paired with Bergamont

INGREDIENTS: Camellia Sinensis (Organic Green Tea) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Organic Jojoba) Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Organic Safflower) Oil, Fragrance (made from pure essential oils), Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Organic Rosemary) Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E) Oil

*Tammy Fender Bulgarian Lavender Body Oil ($65 for 8 ounces)

A seemingly simple, one-note body oil, Tammy Fender’s Bulgarian Lavender Body Oil is something of a dream for minimalist beauties who love lavender but want top-notch carrier oils for moisture and suppleness. The luxe, clear, medium viscosity oil moisturizes thirsty skin while filling your senses with the powerful aromatherapeutic effects of Bulgarian lavender. Bulgarian lavender has a full, rich, heady scent compared to other types of lavender. The beautiful floral scent smells truly like fresh-cut lavender and is so multidimensional, making it outstanding in a one-note body oil. It has a long and narrow pump top applicator.

INGREDIENTS: Glycine Soja (Soybean Oil), *Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower Seed) Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grapeseed) Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, *Rosa Mosqueta (Rose Hip Seed) Oil, Essential Oils of Lavendula Angustifloria (Pure Bulgarian Lavender). *Certified Organic

Best Body Oils $100 or Less

Kahina Giving Beauty Fez Body Serum ($98 for 200 ml)

Just the thought of Fez body oil takes me to a state of bliss. I am so taken by this spicy, warming, exotic body oil — it’s got an air of mystery to it that keeps me coming back for more. Rose and orange blossoms combine with citrus and spice for a scent so complex and different, you’ll be sniffing yourself every hour. Patchouli, sandalwood and ylang ylang offer grounding and a touch of sweetness, making Fez the ultimate layering oil no matter what scent profile you love most. As with all Kahina products, organic argan oil is the star (and first ingredient) in this blend. It has a lockable pump applicator.

Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Nut Oil, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Seed Oil, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Neroli) Flower Oil, Citrus Bergamia (Bergamot) Peel Oil, Citrus Paradisi (Pink Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Flower Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Leaf/Flower Oil, Backhousia Citriodora (Lemon Myrtle) Leaf Oil, Santalum Spicatum (Sandalwood) Wood Oil, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Bud Oil, Cuminum Cyminum (Cumin) Seed Oil, Pogostemon Cablin (Patchouli) Leaf Oil, Vetiveria Zizanioides (Vetiver) Root Oil, Bisabolol, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Phenethyl Alcohol. *EcoCert Organic

*KYPRIS Inflorescence Body Elixir ($95 for 100 ml / 3.4 ounces)

This gorgeous body oil, delicately scented with beautiful neroli, provides serious care for the rest of your skin. KYPRIS’ oil is loaded with clinically proven actives and 12 potent botanicals. I love the KYPRIS includes wildcrafted-from-Arizona prickly pear seed oil in its body oil formula; this magical ingredient works wonders on our faces, so why not spread the love from head to toe? The formula dries quickly yet leaves skin feeling nourished and looking supple. Use this as a wonderful base layer for your citrus or floral perfumes. The oil bottle features a pourable, open mouth with screw-off lid.

INGREDIENTS: Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Moringa Oleifera (Moringa) Seed Oil, Calophyllum Inophylum (Tamanu) Seed Oil, Opuntia Engelmanii (Prickly Pear) Seed Oil, Trichilia Emetica (Mafura) Seed Butter, Iris Pallida (Sweet Iris) Leaf Cell Extract, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Oil, Citrus Sinesis (Orange) Peel Extract, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Tocopherol (Non GMO), Citric Acid.

*Laurel Whole Plant Organics California Body Oil ($80 for 100 ml / 3.4 ounces)

The combination of floral, woody and earthy scents in this body oil makes for an interesting aroma that’s feminine yet grounded — and perfect for every day. I find that it doesn’t compete with my daily natural perfume (typically a floral-based scent), and the light, sheer formula glides onto my skin and leaves it with the prettiest sheen. Wins all around for scent, formulation, luxurious ingredients and beautiful packaging. It has a lockable pump applicator.

INGREDIENTS: Avocado Oil˚, Rosehip Seed Oil˚, Sunflower Seed Oil˚, Safflower Oil˚, Tamanu Oil˚, Red Raspberry Seed Oil˚, Rosemary˚; essential oil blend of Rose˚, Sandalwood˚, Vetiver˚, Scotch Pine˚, Cedar˚; flower and gem essences˚ ˚signifies certified organic ingredient

Skin & Bones Luxurious Moisturizer ($76 for 100 ml / 3.4 ounces)

I can’t tell you how sexy, earthy yet fresh this scent is — you won’t be able to stop smelling yourself. An intoxicating, interesting mix of ylang ylang, rosewood, lemon, grapefruit, cedarwood, sandalwood, jasmine, myrrh and frankincense gives this body oil its mysterious, sexy scent. Quite honestly, I think it could work well on men and women. This is like the CK One of natural body oils. (And I loved CK One, damnit!) It has a lockable pump applicator.

INGREDIENTS: Jojoba oil, ylang ylang, rosewood, lemon, grapefruit, cedarwood, sandalwood, jasmine, myrrh and frankincense essential oils.

Best Body Oils Over $100

*Bottega Organica Peppermint & Chili Pepper Body Contour Formula ($125 for 50 ml / 1.7 ounces)

It’s getting hot in here! This body oil/gel is made with two key ingredients sure to warm you up this winter. Pure organic chili peppers increase blood flow while peppermint stimulates the skin and senses. I love using this oil on dreary Monday mornings when I could use a little pick-me-up after a long, hot shower. Of course, be mindful about washing your hands after applying this oil — chili peppers and peppermint work well on the body, but not in your eyes. The oil’s bottle features a pump top with lid.

INGREDIENTS: Olea europaea (olive) fruit oil bo, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter *,capsicum frutescens (chili pepper *) fruit extract, cera alba (beeswax *), peppermint (mentha piperita) oil , limonene eo, prunus armeniaca (apricot *) fruit extract, salvia officinalis (sage *) extract, daucus carota sativa (carrot *) root extract, salvia haenkei (prawn sage bo) extract, linalool eo.    * certified organic herbs flowers and fruits (bo) harvested by Bottega Organica (eo) natural component of essential oil

May Lindstrom Skin The Good Stuff Radiance Oil ($110 for 100 ml / 3.4 ounces)

May lovingly calls her products “skin treats,” and with one sniff, you’ll understand why. This body oil has an amazing layered, balanced cocoa scent, complete with hints of lavender, rose and ylang ylang that complement each other beautifully. The amber-gold oil has a bit of shimmer to it, thanks to mica, yet it’s barely noticeable and doesn’t leave that odd mica residue on your palms after application. It has a lockable pump applicator.

INGREDIENTS: Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Macadamia Nut Oil, Organic Olive Oil, Organic Plum Kernel Oil, Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Sea Buckthorn Oil, Organic Cocoa Absolute Oil, Organic Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil, Organic Rose Absolute Essential Oil,  Organic Lavender Essential Oil, Mica

November 2, 2015

beauty scoop | laurel whole plant organics eye balm

Tis the season for balms.

It’s no secret that Laurel Whole Plant Organics makes delicious, standout face balms (that inspire spreadsheet work!). But an eye balm, too?

Yeap. And it’s the most decadent, cushy creation to ease itchy, puffy, transition skin.

laurel whole plant organics eye balm

{Laurel Whole Plant Organics sent me a sample size of its Eye Balm with a recent order. A full size, 10ml jar costs $60.}

Made with 24 beneficial active ingredients, Laurel Whole Plant Organic’s Eye Balm takes down puffiness while offering a mega dose of moisture and protection to the delicate, dry eye area.

As a contact lens-wearer, I tend to get a little irritation around my eyes (and especially around this time of year with allergies and changes in air temperature and humidity). In the past, the skin around my eyes has even gotten flaky and peely from weather-related trauma and rubbing.

I’m defending my eyes this season with this rich eye balm. It’s reserved mostly for evening use, but as the weather gets colder and the air gets drier, my skin will be able to handle using it during the day.

It sets the eye area up for an effortless concealer application (just glides on!); however, don’t be heavy handed so you can avoid having too much slip. A very thin layer is all you need to coat and protect the skin and allow the powerful herbs and fast-absorbing oils to do their magic.

If you have extremely dry skin, or are need of an extra shot of moisture, this balm layers beautifully under an eye oil (Laurel makes one of those, too, and of course I absolutely recommend this one as well).

laurel whole plant organics eye balm

Shea butter, beeswax, jojoba, borage, rosehip, almond, grapeseed, cranberry seed and pomegranate seed oils make up the dense, moisturizing base. While it seems like a LOT of moisture, I’ve never once experienced milia or clogging in the delicate eye area.

  • Grapeseed is high in vitamins C, D and E as well as beta-carotene.
  • Borage seed oil (a favorite of mine to take internally to help with acne) helps refuce inflammation and delivers essential fatty acids to the skin.
  • Cranberry seed oil firms and prevents sun damage thanks to its high antioxidant content.

Here’s the full ingredients list:

Shea Butter˚, Jojoba Oil˚, Borage Seed Oil˚, Rosehip Seed Oil˚, Almond Oil˚, Grape Seed Oil˚, Cranberry Seed Oil˚, Beeswax˚, Pomegranate Seed Oil˚, Rosemary˚; in-house biodynamic proprietary blend of Nettle˚, Bilberry˚, Rosehip Fruit˚, Chamomile˚, Licorice˚, Gotu Kola˚, Calendula˚, Comfrey˚, Fennel˚; essential oils of Lavender˚, Bergamot˚, Sandalwood˚, Myrrh˚, Helichrysum˚ ˚signifies certified organic ingredient

In true Laurel fashion, the Eye Balm includes a whole-plant blend of bilberry, fennel, licorice and nettle to reduce puffiness, inflammation, fluid retention and dark circles.

I find that when I use this eye balm at night, I wake up to a very soft undereye area that’s less puffy and discolored than normal. I’ll always have bags and circles under my eyes (go to sleep, you psycho!), but the balm does tend to lessen the appearance. Plus, the softness it imparts on my skin is unreal; when I wake up in the morning, my eyes are plump, not puffy.

Laurel’s Eye Balm is definitely a cold weather-staple in my skincare regimen. While I love my roll-on eye serums like crazy, sometimes my skin just craves a balm. This one, made by one of my favorite makers and brands, is an absolute must-have for anyone with dry skin or who experiences the transition weather madness like I do.

What transition weather skincare swaps do you make? Do you prefer oils, creams or balms for your undereye area? What have you tried from Laurel Whole Plant Organics? Tell me in the comments section.

October 23, 2015

natural beauty buff | shrankhla holecek, uma oils

Lines inspired by different cultures always intrigue me.

But many times, these lines are created by those who may not have a direct connection to the culture.

While that doesn’t lessen the beauty of a line or the thoughtfulness of the founder, I’m more deeply drawn to authenticity in creation. That’s why Shrankhla Holecek and her Ayurvedic line, Uma, catch my attention in this crowded market.

Raised in India, Shrankhla was immersed the cultural traditions of Ayurveda and holistic medicine. You don’t get more authentic than that.

When she moved to the States for business school, she found herself surrounded by misappropriations of Ayurvedic traditions. To counter this, she launched her own line of products that embody her family’s heritage and the time-honored traditions of Ayurveda.

Today, Shrankhla shares both her must-have Ayurvedic ingredients as well as her favorite packaged green beauty products.

She’s a true example of someone who knows how to balance everything this wonderful explosion of green beauty offers while remaining true to the simple staples that work.

shrankhla holecek uma oils

At peril of being labeled a FOB (fresh-off-the-boat) Indian, I need to start with three key Ayurvedic ingredients in my beauty arsenal that I simply cannot live without

I absolutely love honey — both in homemade face masks, as well as a super-powerful yet gentle cleanser. It’s highly antibacterial and great for unclogging pores without the side effects (such as drying) that most chemical face washes can have. It is also a great scar-fading agent.

Turmeric is up next for its healing, anti-inflammatory as well as antibacterial properties. Much loved in Ayurveda for its external (and internal) “repair” properties, I think turmeric doesn’t get used here nearly enough!

Finally, aloe vera is an excellent addition to your skincare regimen, and can be eaten or applied topically as a skin-calming paste. These ingredients can be found relatively easily at your local (organic!) grocer, and I recommend you try them immediately.

When it comes to store-bought product indulgences, here are a few of my faves:

shrankhla holecek, uma oils

W3LL PEOPLE Narcissist Foundation Stick

I love the buildable coverage and how easy it is to apply! I’m usually on the go, and it only takes a few moments to swipe on and blend for a natural finish. The aloe vera in the formula also leaves my skin more hydrated each time I use it.

Uma Total Rejuvenation Night Face Oil

This oil is my night time skin saver – it’s a rich but lightweight Ayurvedic formula, and loaded with essential oils of frankincense and sandalwood for faster cell turnover. It leaves my skin looking and feeling renewed each morning, and is especially helpful for fading pesky scarring and hyperpigmentation for an even skin tone.

Josie Maran Argan Infinity Lip and Cheek Creamy Oil in Endless Guava

This multipurpose lip and cheek tint leaves a subtle tinge of color — perfect for every day, when I want a natural glow without looking too made up. I dab a bit on the apples of my cheeks for a subtle, dewy look.

Suntegrity Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen and Primer SPF 30

It’s not just a sunscreen. This moisturizing primer nourishes my skin and gives it an even texture without greasy residue. Not to mention, it keeps my makeup in place all day long!

shrankhla holecek, uma oils

Rahua Voluminous Shampoo

This lightweight shampoo is perfect for summer — it infuses my hair with the right amount of moisture and nutrition without weighing it down. My hair feels bouncier every time I use it, and an added bonus is that it’s perfect for color-treated hair.

Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser

The strawberry enzymes in this cleanser leave my skin brighter with every use. I love to leave it on for an extra five minutes a few times a week for even deeper effects. The natural strawberry scent is divine, so be warned: once you apply, you may never want to rinse off.

Uma Pure Rest Wellness Oil

I don’t always get enough sleep, so when I’m ready to turn in, I want the most restful night I can get. Pure Rest is packed with potent herbs in an Ayurvedic formulation that rivals traditional sleeping aids for a deep and uninterrupted sleep that helps me restore myself physically and mentally every night.

Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil

This rapidly absorbing hair oil is perfect for dry or damaged hair. It moisturizes deeply without leaving hair greasy. With ingredients like lychee, sandalwood, and bergamot, I can’t get enough of the scent!

EVOLUÉ Resurfacing Grains

My skin is at its silkiest after I exfoliate, and these resurfacing grains strike the perfect balance between gentle and effective. My skin feels clean and smooth after each use, and it gets rid of every last trace of dead skin and leftover makeup.

Rose Water

This Ayurvedic toner (and astringent!) is alcohol-free and non-drying, so it’s perfect for restoring your skin’s balance after cleansing. My favorite brand is an Indian brand called Gulabari, but find an ethically sourced local one and you’ll be impressed with what this can do! Thayer’s Aloe Vera Toner in Rose Petal is another alternative.


October 21, 2015

beauty scoop | josh rosebrook herbal infusion oil

When green beauty newbies ask me what to use for makeup remover, I always recommend something along the lines of olive, jojoba, sunflower or grapeseed oils.

Each on its own is stellar at removing makeup and allowing enough slip for your evening facial massage, but when combined? Look out. You’ve got yourself a powerhouse oil cleanser loaded with nutrients.

And if you’re using the one made by Josh Rosebrook, you’ve also got yourself a bottle brimming with beneficial herbs and essential oils designed to soothe your skin and your senses.

josh rosebrook herbal infusion oil

{Josh Rosebrook sent me a sample of its Herbal Infusion Oil to review. It costs $44 for a 2-ounce plastic pump bottle.}

Formulated as a multi-use treatment oil, Josh Rosebrook’s Herbal Infusion Oil serves as both a makeup remover and a healing, moisturizing skin treatment for all skin types.

It takes me about 5-6 pumps to have enough oil to comfortably massage around my face and break down the #MOTD. This is about a quarter-size; the pump dispenses a very modest amount, and the bottle easily lasts a few months with nightly use.

It’s gentle enough to use everyday to remove regular daytime makeup, heavy eye makeup and even sunscreen without experiencing redness, irritation or eye discomfort.

Sometimes even the best-made oil cleansers and makeup removers that combine a variety of ingredients are just a little too much for the delicate eye area. They either pull and tug at the skin (you need enough slip!), or contain irritating ingredients that leave you with red, teary eyes.

Not this one that’s made with organic oils of olive, jojoba, sunflower, grapeseed, sesame, apricot and almond.

It also includes, in classic Josh Rosebrook style, organic herbal infusions of calendula, slippery elm, marshmallow root, bilberry, neem, alfalfa, skullcap, fennel seed, chickweed, ginkgo leaf, hawthorn berry and green tea.

josh rosebrook herbal infusion oil

Here’s the full ingredients list:

Organic oils of: olive, jojoba, grape seed, sesame, sunflower, apricot, almond, organic herbal infusions of: calendula flowers, slippery elm, marshmallow root, bilberry, neem leaf, alfalfa, skullcap, fennel seed, chickweed, ginkgo leaf, hawthorn berry and green tea, organic essential oils of: rosewood, damask rose and proprietary blend of other organic essential oils.

As mentioned before, Josh Rosebrook’s Herbal Infusion Oil contains some of my favorite, most-recommended carrier oils. Behold:

  • Olive Oil: Rich in vitamins K and E, helping to reduce dark circles and offering protectiong against photoaging.
  • Jojoba Oil: Rich in vitamin E, B-complex, copper, zinc, selenium, iodine, and chromium, all of which can help heal blemished skin
  • Grapeseed Oil: Loaded with antioxidants, vitamin E, vitamin C, Beta-Carotene and vitamin D.
  • Sesame Seed Oil: Packed with vitamin E, lecithin, minerals, proteins, and amino acids and is antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory.
  • Sunflower Seed Oil: High in essential fatty acids, including linoleic acid, as well as vitamin E and antioxidants
  • Apricot Kernel Oil: High in antioxidants and vitamins A, C and E

Josh Rosebrook’s Herbal Infusion Oil has — you guessed it — an herbal scent that’s somewhat sweet thanks to calendula flowers and marshmallow root. This comforting scent also makes the oil a lovely daily moisturizing oil, if you’re trying to pare down your products and use some truly multipurpose-yet-luxurious formulations.

I reserve this oil for cleansing only, but in a pinch (or during travel), it’s a no-brainer to use as both a cleansing oil and treatment oil. The active herbal infusions really do it all: Cleanse, detoxify and treat blemish-prone skin.

One thing that really puzzles me about this oil is its ability to feel extremely lightweight and airy, yet have enough slip and moisture to it to move freely as I’m massaging my face.

Many oils designed for cleansing and makeup removal feel thick and heavy (even some of the carrier oils on their own!). Some oils that are too light absorb way too easily — a positive for a facial oil, but not exactly what you want in a cleansing oil.

Bravo to Josh for truly perfecting the art of the multipurpose cleansing and treatment oil. This is a definite repurchase and recommend.

(You can get yours at Integrity Botanicals; The Detox Market; and Spirit Beauty Lounge.)

Have you tried Josh Rosebrook’s Herbal Infusion Oil? What carrier oils are your favorite? What do you look for in an oil cleanser? Tell me in the comments section!

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