Entries Tagged as 'beauty'

April 1, 2015

beauty scoop | skinnyskinny organic anti-acne treatment

A while back, I updated my “faves” page to reflect all of the ultimate repurchases I’ve curated over my five years of blogging.

You’ll notice that the “acne treatments” section is the largest of the bunch, and I cannot tell you how ecstatic that makes me.

I’ve finally found some wonderful, effective, natural products that truly work at gently treating and preventing breakouts, and I’m thrilled to detail one of my latest additions to the repurchase list here: skinnyskinny’s Organic Anti-Acne Treatment.

skinnyskinny organic anti-acne treatment

{I purchased SkinnySkinny’s Organic Anti-Acne Treatment from my local spa after my facialist used it on my skin during a treatment. It costs $24 for a 1-ounce glass bottle.}

During a recent facial at my beloved local spa, my friend and aesthetician Kristin applied skinnyskinny’s Organic Anti-Acne Treatment onto my skin, and I immediately had that same comforting “ahhhhh” sensation that I felt when I first used another favorite acne treatment on my skin.

That’s basically how I measure up every single acne treatment. Seriously. Does my skin have some sort of crave / response to it? It must be working. Scientific, I know.

In all seriousness, though, the cooling and calming effect it had on my skin and senses was noticeable.

The familiar scents of old favorites tea tree and lavender combine with antiseptic niaouli oil (a new one to me!) and anti-inflammatory thyme oil for a simply powerful acne-killing blend — all in a base of antibacterial, antioxidant-rich babassu oil.

That makes skinnyskinny’s Organic Anti-Acne Treatment appropriate to spread all over the skin as a preventative treatment as well as for use as a spot treatment.

I go both routes, dabbing it onto spots and, when I’m feeling congested or know that zits are in my future (ahem, mother nature), spread a thin layer onto my skin after moisturizing with a simple carrier oil like marula, argan or jojoba.

Here’s the full ingredients list:

Babassu Oil*, Niaouli Oil*, Thyme Oil*, Tea Tree Oil*, Helichrysum Oil*, and Lavender Oil*
* certified organic

As mentioned in the intro to this post, this is just one of many acne treatment faves. I’ve written an in-depth review of another one that I absolutely love (and know you do, too!), but consider both of these must-haves for very different reasons.

skinnyskinny can be used all over the face because of the babassu oil dilution. It’s also packaged in a larger bottle, but it’s not a roll-on; if you spot-treat, you’re likely going to be using a cotton swab.

skinnyskinny is also substantially less expensive, as you get more product, so you don’t feel guilty about using it all over your face (and it’s intended to be used that way!).

Is it just as effective as this one? Yes, though I will say that it takes a bit longer for it to treat breakouts, but it is quite gentle and can be used more in the preventative process.

The former is better for those “OMG please get rid of this volcano on my face” times we have — and it indeed zaps them quickly.

My beloved, holy grail acne treatment that I’ve pretty much never quit talking about since it gave me stellar results in 2012 is different from both of these in that it’s more for those painful cysts that crumble your soul.

Spot treatments and serums just don’t do the same for me, so that’s why I’m adamant at having all three of these in an acne-prevention arsenal. Prevention, pimple-killing and cyst-zapping all require different slayers!

So with that, I absolutely stand by the addition of skinnyskinny’s Organic Anti-Acne Treatment onto my “faves” page and repurchase list.

I’m impressed with the concentrated yet calming and, of course, effectiveness of this product to prevent and gently treat breakouts.

skinnyskinny, you rock!

What natural acne prevention products are in your arsenal? What different types of breakouts do you battle? What’s on your ultimate acne treatment repurchase list? Tell me in the comments section!

March 30, 2015

beauty scoop | me & the girls bar beleza multi-use beauty bar

This past month, I had four weekends of back-to-back travel — some for quick jaunts to see friends and one big trip for work — and I had to seriously up my packing game.

You guys, I did carry-on only every single trip.

Now I won’t say that this is all because I figured out how to pare down my TSA-approved beauty bag, but it did make a difference not having to lug additional beauty oils in a checked bag!

One easy swap I made was leaving behind my travel-sized jojoba oil (for oil cleansing) and replacing it with Me & The Girls Bar Beleza Multi-Use Beauty Bar.

This little tube of cupuacu and cocoa butter is a game changer for all you jetsetting oil cleansers out there!

me and the girls bar beleza multi use beauty bar

{Me & The Girls sent me a sample of Bar Beleza to review. It costs $42 for a 1.5-ounce twist-up stick.}

Me & The Girls Bar Beleza Multi-Use Beauty Bar can be used as a light face balm, but I find it the most powerful and absolutely essential in my beauty routine as a travel-sized balm-to-oil cleanser.

The twist-up packaging and large applicator size (about an inch wide) makes it fun and easy to roll over the face, going up and down the T-zone and then circling it into the cheeks.

The firm cupuacu and cocoa butter formula melts slowly into the warmth of your skin, but doesn’t drip down your face at all the way some oil cleansers and carrier oils can when you’re doing more traditional oil cleanses.

me and the girls bar beleza multi use beauty bar

You’re then able to massage the thin layer of butters and oils into your skin to dissolve makeup and prep your skin for a fresh cleanse — all without taking up any space in your precious quart-sized, TSA-approved baggie.

Here’s the full ingredients list:

Theobroma Grandiflorum (Cupuacu Seed Butter)*, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa Butter)*, Calophyllum Inophyllum (Tamanu Oil)*, Organic Cocos Nucifera (Virgin Coconut Oil)*, Vitamin E – Tocopherol

*99% NOP-certified organic ingredients

The short, sweet ingredients list is compatible with both my skin and my oil cleansing skin care philosophy, but of course I do know there are many of you out there who are sensitive to coconut oil.

Perhaps Me & The Girls will consider making a version of Bar Beleza sans coconut oil (and maybe replace it with beeswax or, to keep it vegan-friendly, caranuba wax?). Just a thought!

Another thought: Because I only use my Bar Beleza for makeup removal — and choose to apply it straight from the applicator to my skin — it’s worth noting that it can get a bit grubby (because, um, it’s removing my makeup!).

If you truly want to take advantage of it as a multi-use bar (for moisturizing your face or even using on your lips), I would recommend applying it to clean hands and then massaging your face. If you’re very particular, you can also swipe the top of it with alcohol after each use.

I’ll be getting more use out of my beloved Bar Beleza this week, as I pack up for another round of jet-setting. You can bet I’m going to strive for another carry-on only trip (thanks, Me & The Girls!).

Do you pack your cleansing oils into your TSA liquids baggie? What do you always take on the plane? What do you leave behind? Have you tried Bar Beleza? Tell me in the comments section!

March 25, 2015

beauty scoop | beessential mechanic’s and gardener’s soap

Marketed as a soap for the greasy mechanic, gardener or man in your life, Beessential Mechanic’s and Gardener’s Soap is truly fit for anyone who could use a little extra full-body exfoliation.

beessential mechanic's and gardener's soap

Beesential sent me a sample of its Mechanic’s and Gardener’s Soap to review. It costs $5.99 for a 5-ounce bar.}

Thanks to the power of coffee grinds, Beessential Mechanic’s and Gardener’s Soap delivers an exhilarating scrub that’s especially ticklish on your feet and preps the skin for whatever moisture you choose to drench your skin.

Here’s the full ingredients list:

Saponified Oils of: Coconut, Olive, Palm, Shea Butter, Beeswax, Coffee, Cocoa Powder and Coffee Essential Oil.

Because of the intense color of coffee grinds, Beessential Mechanic’s and Gardener’s Soap does leave your shower with a tinge of brownish-caramel coloring. If you’re a bit of a neat freak, beware.

The color runoff collects in the built-in soap dish of the shower, so you may be wiping that off a little more than usual when you use this soap.

It doesn’t stain, though, and it doesn’t affect anything on your skin — anyone who has ever used a coffee body scrub knows how much of a mess it can be! Oh the things we do for soft, exfoliated skin.

I enjoyed using this soap after weeks of travel where I just wasn’t great about exfoliating. It left my skin feeling invigorated and clean without stripping moisture.

The texture, though, can feel a bit scratchy if you aren’t used to heavy-duty exfoliating soaps. This definitely isn’t one to use on your face!

While I enjoyed using this soap, it’s not a must-have for me because I do prefer to exfoliate using body scrubs and polishes. It is, though, a nice one to have on hand for travel, as it’s a solid and can help you keep up your exfoliation game while on the road.

And of course, if you do have a greasy mechanic in your life, he or she may just love how scrubby this soap is!

How do you clean up coffee scrub residue in your shower? Do you prefer exfoliating soaps or body scrubs and polishes? Where are all my greasy mechanic readers? Tell me what you know in the comments section.

March 23, 2015

beauty scoop | organic essence organic confidence relentless all-day deodorant

Not satisfied with the natural deodorants you’re using that come in a traditional plastic roll-on applicator?

Can’t get over the thought of having to dip your fingers into a tub of creamy deodorant and massage it into your pits every day?

Enter Organic Essence Organic Confidence Relentless All-Day Deodorant (phew, what a name!).

It’s like a push pop for your pits. And doesn’t that smell fun?!

organic essence deodorant

{Organic Essence sent me samples of its Organic Confidence Relentess All-Day Deodorant for review. A 2.2-ounce compostable paper tube costs between $9.99 and $16.99 depending on scent.}

Powered by the usual baking soda, virgin coconut oil and essential oils, Organic Essence’s Organic Confidence Relentless All-Day Deodorant brings the natural deodorant packaging game to the next level.

You get a wonderfully effective natural deodorant housed in a beautifully designed, fully compostable (or recyclable) paper tube that makes it easy to roll on and fun to squeeze up product as you go.

Available in seven comforting and stink-fighting scents, Organic Essence’s Organic Confidence Relentless All-Day Deodorant has something for everyone, including the green men in your life.

organic essence deodorant

I had the pleasure of testing the Lavender and the Lemon Tea Tree Mint scents (both $9.99), which were fresh, vibrant and calming.

Each worked exceptionally well at keeping me stink-free, including during intense yoga sessions and a couple bike rides.

Here’s the full ingredients for both the Lavender and the Lemon Tea Tree Mint scents:

Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Maranta Arundinacea (Arrowroot) Root Powder*,
Cera Flava (Beeswax)*, Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda), Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract*

*Certified Organic by Global Culture

Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Maranta Arundinacea (Arrowroot) Root Powder*,
Cera Alba (Beeswax)*, Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract*, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil*, Leptospermum Petersonii(Lemon­­­Tea Tree) Oil*

*Certified Organic by Global Culture

Other scents available include:

  • Coco-van, which is a brilliant-sounding combination of coconut and vanilla bourbon ($11.99)
  • Jasmine Blossom with Ylang Ylang ($16.99)
  • Natural, which is said to have a mild coconut aroma that fades for fragrance-free results ($9.99)
  • Rose Petal, made with rose otto and palmarose essential oils ($16.99)
  • Wood Spice, made of organic essential oils of orange, clove and patchouli ($9.99)

Of course, I have my eyes set on the Jasmine Blossom when it’s time to restock my deodorant supply — I’m feeling very fortunate to have found such amazing nontoxic deodorant options that truly work!

Organic Essence natural deodorants stand out to me a bit more because they contain no preservatives, artificial colors, petrochemicals and are hexane-free. These USDA certified organic deodorants are the real deal!

With so many great, effective deodorants available, it comes down to ingredients, packaging and price when it’s time to repurchase.

Organic Essence is definitely on my repurchase list, as I appreciate the high-quality ingredients, fair pricing and smart packaging that means I spend less time massaging in deodorant cream.

However, that’s not to say that you are completely free of touching deodorant when you use Organic Essence.

After rolling the deodorant onto your pits, if the temperature is warm enough, the coconut-based formula melts a little easier. This means that you will have a bit of buildup along the opening of the applicator.

If you’re like me, will wipe all around the edges to remove it and, to not be wasteful, smear it into your pits. You could just wipe it down with a tissue if you are serious about not having to touch your deodorant and then wash the sticky feeling away, but why waste (especially if you are used to touching it anyway).

You’ll also find that as you get through the deodorant and have to really practice your “push pop” skills, application becomes a bit messier and the deodorant may not apply as easily.

Toward the end of my tube, I resorted to pushing product up, smearing it onto my pits and massaging it in because the paper applicator had lost its round shape (it was definitely more of a flattened oblong shape).

Still, that didn’t really bother me because all my other favorite deodorants are creams in jars and touching deodorant isn’t a big deal.

I’d repurchase this one to have a “normal” applicator deodorant on hand just because, and to minimize the use of plastic where possible. It’s nice to be able to recycle with my other paper goods or compost (OK look, I don’t compost, but my mom does) when it’s all done.

Have you tried Organic Essence’s Organic Confidence Relentless All-Day Deodorant? What features are important to you in a natural deodorant (besides, um, it working)? Are you sick of massaging deodorant cream into your pits? Tell me in the comments section!

March 11, 2015

beauty scoop | josh rosebrook oculus formula

When it comes to treating our facial skin, green beauties love a great face oil.

But many of us stick to traditional eye creams when we’re adding in extra nourishment to our delicate undereye area.

A few of us, though, are rollerball eye serum converts — myself included — and Josh Rosebrook’s Oculus Formula is easily rising to the top of my must-have eye serums list.

josh rosebrook oculus formula

{Josh Rosebrook sent me a sample of the new Oculus Formula for review. It costs $70 for a 1/3-ounce rollerball of serum.}

Josh Rosebrook’s Oculus Formula is designed to brighten, protect and firm the skin around your eyes with its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory rich ingredients.

Josh is something of a wizard when it comes to combining just the right herbs, oils and extracts to get a texture, scent and (most importantly) effectiveness in a skincare product that you just want to use. He bases the formula in beautiful camelina, hemp seed, sunflower, coconut, grapeseed and almond oils.

  • Camelina oil is extremely high in essential fatty acids and reparative vitamin E, delivering moisture and suppleness to the skin.
  • Hemp seed oil, one of my personal favorites, is rich in antioxidants and is extremely protective and moisturizing. You get that luscious texture without feeling coated or thick.
  • Sunflower oil, yet another underrated oil that does so much good for the skin, is loaded with even more vitamin E as well as vitamins A and C, all of which help prevent free radicals from damaging your skin.
  • Coconut oil, which I know many of you have a love/hate relationship with, packs in the moisture and anti-bacterial benefits. If you’re sensitive to coconut oil, be sure to sample, sample, sample to see how blends like this one work for your skin.
  • Grapeseed oil, one of my favorite oils from the beginning of my journey into green beauty (right up there with jojoba oil!), is also packed with antioxidants, such as vitamin C, and is lightweight enough so as not to feel clogging to the thin eye area.
  • Almond oil helps calm skin allergies and inflammation (hello, eye de-puffer!) and can even help lighten the appearance of dark circles.

josh rosebrook oculus formula

Here’s everything else inside Oculus Formula:

Organic oils of: camelina, hemp seed, sunflower, coconut, grapeseed and almond; organic herbal infusions of: eyebright, echinacea flower, alfalfa, skullcap, calendula flowers, blueberry, slipper elm, rosemary leaf, chickweed, fennel seed, neem leaf and sunflower seed; organic essential oils of: rose, geranium, lavender, blue chamomile and carrot seed.

Leave it to Josh to include thoughtful herbal infusions in his eye serum. I’m always so taken by the beautiful ingredients he uses not just for the sake of saying he uses something that sounds exotic, but for the way he figures out how to source and combine.

He chooses combinations of extracts known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (to complement the luscious carrier oils) so that puffy, red or sallow eye skin is calmed, soothed and brightened.

The herbal infusions help neutralize free-radicals and rev up your skin’s collagen production to firm and tone the skin. We’re talking echinacea, calendula, skullcap and slippery elm for calming and soothing; alfalfa, fennel and chickweed for firming and brightening; eyebright for collagen stimulation; and bilberry for brightening and plumping.

But let’s all remember that the first step to having a fresh face and un-puffy eyes is getting enough SLEEP! (I’m guilty of sleeping too little sometimes.)

And the next step is eating healthy, nutrient-dense foods and hydrating with water and beneficial herbal teas!

So there’s no doubt that the ingredients in Josh Rosebrook’s Oculus Formula are top-notch, beautiful and shown to be effective. But let’s talk about the actual experience of using this rollerball serum.

First, the packaging is clear and subtle, allowing you to see not only the beautiful golden coloring of the serum, but also to note how far you are from being empty after continual use.

While violet Miron glass is all the rage right now from a packaging perspective, there’s something to be said about the functional view of a product. I personally like knowing how far I have left to go so I know when it’s time to reorder.

The other thing about this particular rollerball is the use of a metal ball vs. a plastic ball to roll on product.

While likely making the packaging more expensive, the experience and feeling of a cool (or even chilled!) metal rollerball on your eyes at night or first thing in the morning can really amplify your experience with this product.

I also appreciate minimal styling and design, and the entire Josh Rosebook line is so subtle, sleek and gender-neutral. The clean appearance makes it friendly to guys’ dopp kits — and makes it easy for me to get my beau to try a few things from my green beauty stash (more on this later if you’re interested?).

From a texture perspective, Josh Rosebrook’s Oculus Formula is medium-light thickness.

You feel like you’re getting a nice, moisturizing eye treatment, yet it doesn’t just sit atop the skin. I can use this eye serum in the morning before I apply makeup (I wait maybe one minute for it to sink in), but I can also load this on during airplane travel to keep my peepers bright and hydrated in dry cabin air. I will have to say that it’s probably the fastest-drying eye serum I’ve tried so far that is actually an oil (and not a water/oil serum with a different texture — more on those later).

Lastly, let’s talk irritation.

Some of you have mentioned that with eye serums — rollerball, droppers, or otherwise — you experience mild irritation to the sensitive eye area. This is likely due to the use of eye-unfriendly essential oils, extremely sensitive skin or some combination of the two.

While the eye serums I’ve tried and reviewed have never caused irritation to my eyes, I do appreciate that Oculus Formula is basically scent-free and contains very subtle essential oils of rose, geranium, lavender, blue chamomile and carrot seed.

If you have sensitivities to any of these EOs, remember to sample, sample, sample and be very mindful of how you apply the serum.

As one of the most-reached-for products in my beauty arsenal, I can confidently say that this is a repurchase for me.

I’ve loved many eye serums, but I’m just very taken by the thoughtful ingredients list, combining carrier oils, herbal extracts and non-irritating essential oils, into a slim, sleek, metal rollerball eye serum treatment. The price tag may seem high, but compared to many eye creams and serums on the green beauty market, it’s fairly priced and so very artfully created.

What eye serums do you use? Or are you more of an eye cream person? What do you look for in an eye treatment? Tell me in the comments section!

Beauty link party on TLV Birdie Blog

March 3, 2015

beauty secrets | skin cleanse by adina grigore

If the books No More Dirty Looks and Eat Pretty had a baby in 2015, it would likely be named Skin Cleanse and read like a whip-smart older sister who knows just how to get you to pay attention and finally use all those raw natural beauty ingredients you’ve been hoarding.

I had the pleasure of finishing up S.W. Basics (formerly Sprout Skincare) founder Adina Grigore’s first book, Skin Cleanse, this week, and came away inspired to continue to pare down my beauty products (kinda hard when you’re a product reviewer) and learn just what simple beauty ingredients work best for my skin.

skin cleanse by adina grigore

{If you’ve read either of the former books mentioned above (and you should, they are natural beauty bookshelf staples for me!), then you’ll want to add the latter to your library — she fits right in perfectly!}

While reading Skin Cleanse, I easily drew comparisons to the two books mentioned above because of the emphasis Adina put on the crucial things we’ve learned from both NMDL and EP: The beauty industry’s lack of regulation doesn’t help us much, and we need to clean up our diets if we want our faces to be clean and clear, too.

But the way in which Adina outlines these concepts feels fresh. While most of us probably consider ourselves “deeper green” beauty babes than perhaps the “lighter green” target of this book, I still found myself feeling sheepish at the things Adina calls out in Skin Cleanse and inspired by the challenges and ideas she presents.

“If you are a frequent product swapper and you’re having skin problems, then it becomes almost impossible to know what’s causing the problem.”

::Every green beauty blogger hangs her head in shame::

But don’t get me wrong. Adina doesn’t come at natural beauty skin cleansing with a shame-angle (shame-gle?). Instead, she points out what everyone else won’t say because they’re likely 1) selling you something or 2) clueless.

See where I get the “big sister who’s telling you like it is” motif?

Here’s big sis dropping some more knowledge:

In addition to the often-recommended suggestion of keeping a food journal to identify items that may be triggering reactions on your skin or in your body (and to open your eyes to everything you’re actually consuming), Adina also recommends keeping a skincare product journal to get an accurate picture of everything you’re putting on your body in a day.

Even for us green beauty junkies, the list is overwhelming. (Remember this post?) It’s a bit embarrassing to see how many lotions, oils, creams, serums, cleansers, wipes — the list goes on — we use to attempt to maintain great skin.

It’s also a bit maddening to know that despite using all these magic potions (natural or not!), most of us are still left with something to desire in our skin.

This is where Skin Cleanse — and the actual skin cleanse process — gets really good. Adina reveals three levels of skin cleansing that you try in an effort to reset your skin’s dependency on a billion products and slowly add in only the good, simple skincare that your skin may be craving.

Level 1: Supplement is for “beauty junkies who just want a little extra natural nourishment.”

Level 2: Eliminate & Nourish is for “experiment lovers with nagging skin ailments.”

Level 3: Detoxify is for “courageous truth-seekers, the super-sensitive and Skin Cleanse converts.”

Though I consider myself a “deeper green” beauty who gets the ins and outs of products, ingredients and labels, the levels presented more so take into account your deep dependencies on products — natch or not.

This is what got me. I may have the most clean, beautiful skincare collection you’ve ever dreamed of … but I only have one face, and there’s no way I need 17 face cleansers and 32 face oils to get the simple job of cleansing, hydrating and protecting done.

Busted by big sis.

I took a stab at Level 2, which involved detoxing my skin by going sans makeup and sans products for just one day. One day, and my anxiety levels crept up so high. What’s a product junkie to do?

Well, for one, whip up some of the fun DIY skincare recipes Adina provides in the book.

And for two, well, spend time doing other stuff that doesn’t take as long as my 10-step green beauty blogger regimen.

  • Did I miss some of my favorite green beauty products? Yes.
  • Did I fully embrace the “less is more” approach and enjoy becoming re-introduced to the happy, glowing skin that I’ve been bad-mouthing off and on for years? Yes.
  • Am I getting excited to finish out a lot of my products and use more pared-down, simple ingredients like shea butter and aloe vera going forward? Yes.

While I’ve always stocked some favorite carrier oils and items like apple cider vinegar and honey in my skincare arsenal, Skin Cleanse reminds me to actually use these things and not get carried away by the latest, greatest facial oil (which likely uses my favorite carrier oil, jojoba, in some fashion) or toner (which likely has a base of apple cider vinegar) that I could probably whip up myself.

That’s not to say that absolutely everything can be DIY’ed, nor do I have the desire to go completely DIY in my skincare, but instead it’s a reminder to not overthink some things in my skincare philosophy.

  • Do I really need a fancy oil cleanser? Nope, just use your favorite carrier oil.
  • Do I really need a crazy cream to keep my skin hydrated all winter? Nope, shea butter is probably just fine.

This book helps me re-confirm where I want to spend my money and my time in my skincare regimen, and it also gives a gentle wake-up call that the beauty industry (yes, even our precious green beauty industry) is still driven by sales.

And that leads me to this collection of small but mighty ideas, which I’ve been discussing with a few close blogger friends lately:

  • Use what you love.
  • Use what makes you feel good.
  • Use what works.
  • Don’t follow all the hype.

It doesn’t have to be an entire collection of expensive, fancy products. It doesn’t have to be an entire collection of every organic skincare ingredient in the bulk bins at Whole Foods.

Instead, like with fashion, the best skincare collection is a mix of your favorite high- and low-end pieces that work with your skin’s personal style. You define the high, and you define the low. Your skin will tell you what it needs. It’s your job to listen to it.

I would also suggest listening to what Adina preaches in Skin Cleanse. You don’t have to make big changes all at once, but even us “deeper green” and “medium green” beauties could use some reminders when it comes to how we’re approaching our skincare.

I’m thankful to have Skin Cleanse on my bookshelf, right next to Eat Pretty and No More Dirty Looks, for when I need a few gentle reminders (and some skin cleansing inspiration!).

Have you checked out Skin Cleanse yet? What are your green beauty addictions? What’s your take on DIY? What are some of your staples? Tell me everything in the comments section!


February 25, 2015

beauty scoop | waxelene lip tube

As much as some people like to chalk me up to being a glamorous, attracted-to-expensive-products green beauty blogger, you dear readers know me better than that.

You know that I like to review the best of the best, be it expensive or frugally priced products, and you also know that I have no shame for getting a bit TMI on here for how I treat everyday skin issues and nuisances.

Today’s post gets into the un-glam side of being a human, and details just how I love to use Waxelene, probably the most un-exciting product to those of you used to exotic ingredients and fancy packaging.

Time to get real, y’all!

waxelene lip tube

{Waxelene sent me a sample of its Lip Tube to review. It costs $3.99 for a 1-ounce tube.}

Dubbed “The Petroleum Jelly Alternative,” Waxelene is a lovely all-purpose, American-made moisturizer made of organic soy oil, beeswax, organic rosemary oil and natural vitamin E from soybeans.

That’s it. No fancy carrier oils or nasty petroleum-derived ingredients. Just four simple yet oh-so-effective ingredients that work hard to keep your lips and skin lubricated and protected from the elements.

Now clearly, I have the “Lip Tube” on showcase today, but besides using it to coat my lips during brutal, cold windy days, my other absolutely favorite way to use Waxelene’s Lip Tube is to keep my dry, itchy, irritated nose in check as the weather fluctuates and drives my skin into overdrive.

So, basically, I’m saying that I like to put Waxelene onto my pinky or, if I’m feeling fancy, onto a cotton swab, and stick it in my nose.

Hello, relief to my dry, flaky, about-to-bleed nose!

Hello, grossed-out looks from strangers and friends!

waxelene lip tube

The Waxelene Lip Tube distributes the perfectly sized strip of product to fit inside my nose and keep it moist and protected. I don’t know about you, but I’m prone to nosebleeds and extreme irritation during crazy weather patterns, dry air and drops in pressure.

Sorry to get so detailed here, but I get scabs in my nose sometimes from these weather conditions, and it’s awful! Waxelene has been a savior to my nostrils, and is the only thing that nurses them back to health in a timely manner.

I also have a backup stash of Waxelene Flip Tube, which is a larger tube designed more for use as a hand cream or larger-surface-area moisturizer, but this isn’t my favorite use for this wonder jelly.

(It’s also available in a big ol’ jar, in case you’re a mega fan!)

As a hand cream, it’s just blah to me — no real scent and a little too greasy — but as a lip balm and nose skin treatment? Sold!

I’ll keep my flip tube in reserve for things like knee scrapes and body scab treatments, but it’s the Lip Tube that’s truly versatile and portable to me.

While I love scented lip balms and enjoy interesting flavor and scent combinations, sometimes it’s just nice to have a very simple, classic lip balm that delivers heavy-duty hydration and protection without any fuss.

It’s an even bigger bonus to have a product that doubles as a spot treatment for pesky, unglamorous winter skin issues.

That, to me, is what makes Waxelene Lip Tube a winner and a repurchase.

Have you tried Waxelene? What do you use it for? What sizes do you prefer? Tell me in the comments section!


February 23, 2015

beauty scoop | kypris beauty elixir II healing bouquet

With its natural essential oil blend of geranium, jasmine, patchouli and lavender, it’s easy, on the surface, to see why Kypris’ Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet has been one of my go-to facial oils since I began testing it in September 2014.

It’s a well-documented fact that floral scents grab my attention, and when they’re blended with stellar carrier oils and skin-saving actives such as CoQ10 and vitamin C, they get used on the regular.

This is because in addition to smelling good and looking pretty, my fussy skin deserves natural products formulated with ingredients that work hard to keep it calm, plump and happy.

kypris beauty elixir II healing bouquet

{KYPRIS sent me a sample of Beauty Elixir II Healing Bouquet to sample and review. It costs $200 for a 1.69-ounce glass dropper bottle.}

Described as “flower power for combination skin,” Kypris Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet is packed with antioxidant-rich, American-made, fermented-from-yeast Kaneka CoQ10, which is said to be bio-identical to the CoQ10 produced by the body.

While this little tidbit about Kypris’ ingredients didn’t really speak to me at first (CoQ10 is CoQ10, right?), it became more interesting to me when I learned that many CoQ10 ingredients are processed from bacteria or tobacco derivatives.

Yeast fermentation is said to yield the most effective, biologically active form of CoQ10, and Kaneka CoQ10 is GMO-free, allergen-free and Kosher certified.

The inclusion of this ingredient alone reflects how thoughtful Kypris founder Chase Polan is in her formulations — and we haven’t even gotten to the additional abundantly beautiful, natural ingredients in Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet that make it a standout oil in my beauty cabinet.

Yes, I have a beauty cabinet. In my kitchen. Be jealous of my Midwestern space. Do not judge.

kypris beauty elixir II healing bouquet

Kypris Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet also boasts fat-soluble tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, a stable vitamin C ester that, paired with the vitamin E-rich carrier oils in this formulation, encourages collagen production, reduces inflammation and can help fade acne scarring.

(This is the same form of vitamin C used in Odacite’s An Autumn on the World and Yuli’s Liquid Courage.)

As I continue to research the ingredients and results I want from my skincare, it’s become more and more crucial to me to prioritize stable vitamin C, paired with vitamin E, in my oils and serums.

Vitamin C provides potent protection, shielding skin from damaging free radicals. Vitamin E enhances the antioxidant effects of vitamin C when both are applied to the skin.

One additional ingredient that I’d love to see in Kypris Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet is ferulic acid, another potent plant antioxidant known for its ability to enhance the effects of both vitamins C and E — as dramatic as doubling the natural UV protection of both vitamins.

UPDATED: See tweet below for Kypris’ response about ferulic acid.

kypris beauty elixir II healing bouquet

Besides these heavy-hitting ingredients, Kypris Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet contains stearyl glycyrrhetinate, an isolate from licorice that helps diminish irritation, reduce flakiness and restore suppleness to dry, fussy skin.

This blends well with the ultra-moisturizing carrier oils we know and love, especially vitamin A- and E-rich baobab oil, linoleic-rich kukui nut oil and skin-healing tamanu oil, a favorite for my acne-prone skin.

Grapeseed oil, an oldie but goodie that oily, acneic skin tends to respond well to, forms the base of this oil, along with beta carotene- and linoleic acid-rich sunflower oil.

Another oil high in linoleic acid, pumpkin seed oil, makes an appearance in Kypris Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet, Pumpkin seed oil is one of those curious oils that I want to explore more, as it’s also rich in vitamins A and C, zinc, and other trace minerals and vitamins that are extremely beneficial to the skin.

Here’s the full ingredients list:

Love, Helianthus annuus (Sunflower Seed) Oil, Cocos nucifera (Virgin Coconut) Oil, Vitis vinifera (Grape Seed) Oil, Adansonia digitata (baobab) Oil, Aleurites moloccans (Kukui) Oil, Calophyllum inophyllum (Tamanu) Oil, Curcubita pepo (Pumpkin Seed) Oil, Ubiquinone (CoQ10), Opuntia engelmannii (Prickly Pear Seed) Oil, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Extract, Hippophae rhamonides (Seabuckthorn Berry) Extract, Punica granatum (Pomegranite Seed) Extract, Rubus occidentalis (Black Raspberry Seed) Oil, Vaccinium macrocarpon (Cranberry Seed) Oil, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate (From Licorice), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C Ester), Rosamarinus officinalis (Rosemary Leaf) Extract, Non-GMO Mixed Tocopherols, 100% Natural Essential Oil Blend (Geranium, Jasmine, Patchouli, Lavender)

As you can see, virgin coconut oil is the second ingredient in Kypris Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet. Many of you have said you are sensitive to coconut oil, sharing stories of horrible breakouts and reserving it instead for use in your hair and on your body.

Personally, I have never had issues with using coconut oil on my face (and I am oily / acne-prone), but could it be because I typically use organic, virgin coconut oil? This interesting post (from a brand, but with sited sources) notes that virgin coconut oil is indeed non-comedogenic and instead highly antiseptic.

The bottom line, though, is to trust and know your skin and when in doubt, sample, sample, sample before buying. Which leads me to the next part of this review: Price.

There’s no way around it, but yes, I agree that Kypris Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet is expensive. It’s $200 for a 1.69-ounce glass dropper bottle, which comes out to about $118 per ounce.

When put into that context, though, it’s more in line with the pricing of Yuli and Marie Veronique, and highlights how pricey Odacite’s beautiful “Autumn on the World” serum ($149 for half an ounce!) is.

While a $200 skincare investment is huge, I challenge you to keep in mind quality, sizing and thoughtfulness in formulation.

  • Is certified organic important to you?
  • Do wildcrafted ingredients speak to you?
  • Do packaging and design make your heart sing?
  • Do you want to have an intimate experience with your skincare ritual?

All of the brands mentioned above have one of more of these properties, and it really does come down to personal preference, what your skin needs and what your budget can handle.

I appreciate the bigger sizing of Kypris Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet, and I especially adore the rituals involved in the Kypris line.

As mentioned in a previous post, Kypris Antioxidant Dew was a game-changer for me. While it’s become a staple in my skincare ritual, getting mixed with whatever facial oil of the month I’m testing, I especially enjoy mixing it with my Healing Bouquet.

This is because not only do I know for sure that they’ve been formulated to work together in harmony, but I also appreciate that this smart combination helps me stretch my precious bottle of Healing Bouquet.

This oil, after six weeks of testing, kept my skin looking and feeling beautiful, but the biggest draw to me is that after the initial testing phase and moving on to other face oils, I found myself truly missing Healing Bouquet.

Besides knowing that it’s loaded with extremely active and beautiful ingredients, this face oil is one that I constantly wanted to use because my jasmine addiction is real. As superficial as it may sound, if something doesn’t smell good, I’m just not going to use it.

And that’s money wasted, no matter how amazing the ingredients lineup is or how beautifully it’s packaged. It has to smell good. And it has to work.

There’s no question to me that Kypris Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet does what it says it will do: “calm, soothe, and inspire radiant, supple skin for those with combination or inflamed, fussy skin due to blemishes or overexposure to the environment.” I’ve never had a breakout or reaction from using this — and it’s been in and out of rotation for five months and drastic weather changes.

And there’s also no question to me that it smells good. If you’re truly a die-hard jasmine fan, at least get a trial size of Kypris Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet to experience. You won’t be disappointed.

And if you are, you can send it to me. Surely there’s something in my beauty cabinet I can swap you for it.

Have you tried anything from Kypris? What active ingredients do you look for in your skincare? Where do you save on green beauty, and where do you splurge? Tell me in the comments section!


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