Entries Tagged as 'beauty secrets'

August 31, 2016

dedicated | an introduction to boxwalla

This post is kindly brought to you by Boxwalla, who compensated me for this sponsored post. All product descriptions, tips and opinions are my own!

While material things aren’t the key to happiness, if you’re anything like me, you know there’s a few categories of goodies that make life sweeter:

  • Good eats
  • Clean beauty
  • Smart reads
  • Intriguing films

This universal desire for feeding the mind and body is exactly what Boxwalla, a bimonthly subscription box concept, taps into with its exploratory boxes that help you discover artists and markers from around the world.

In addition to curating green beauty box collections, Boxwalla also shares tastes of food, books and film, making it a master hub for all things beautiful and interesting.

Today, we’ll deep dive into the green beauty boxes.

boxwalla wandering woman beauty box

{Boxwalla sent me its June 2016 “The Wandering Woman” green beauty box to experience. Subscriptions costs $49.95.}

I’ve experienced three green beauty Boxwallas (the first one I tried was in January 2016!) and have been impressed with the evolution, specifically in curating very in-demand-yet-indie brands.

With an eye toward stunning products and an ear toward solid storytelling, Boxwalla’s June (above) and August (below) “Wandering Woman” boxes give depth to seemingly simple beauty products.

For summer 2016, Boxwalla introduced subscribers to “The Wandering Woman” and her collection of clean beauty travel-must haves and exotic ingredients sourced from around the world.

boxwalla wandering woman beauty box

{Boxwalla sent me its August 2016 “The Wandering Woman II” green beauty box. Subscriptions cost $49.95.}

In June, Boxwalla tells stories of The Wandering Woman’s travels to find special ingredients from Italy (Gressa Skincare), Sweden (Henne Organics) and Morocco (Rachel’s Plan Bee).

In August, the Wandering Woman continues her travels to Korea (Biodara Skincare), West Africa (Moss Skincare) and Brazil (Odacite) in search of natural beauty wonders.

It is this thoughtful curation and creative storytelling that makes your bi-monthly Boxwalla a joy to unbox.

“We like to fill boxes with things that MUST be experienced.” —Boxwalla

But beyond this immersion into an exotic wonderland, when it comes down to it, I’m most taken by the eclectic, generous combination of products I’ve had on my to-try list.

For example, Moss and Biodara are two I’ve seen around for a while but hadn’t yet tried for myself. It was to my delight to find these two brands in the August box.

When it comes to generous sizing, I was thrilled to get full sizes of my favorite body scrub from Rachel’s Plan Bee and a beautiful lip polish from Henne Organics. These two products alone cost $44 — and is only half of what’s inside the $49.95 Boxwalla!

When these products are taken out of the Boxwalla, the box itself isn’t destined for the recycling bin. Because of its nice, sturdy construction, it’s a lovely item for storing odds and ends or reusing as a gift box.

And, as we gear up for gifting season (I know, right?), Boxwalla has announced its October green beauty box concept: Ancient Secrets from the East.

I’m anxious to see what will find its way into this collection — The Wandering Woman I and II have set the bar high (so high that they both sold out!).

Wander on over to Boxwalla to sign up for the October green beauty box or to learn more!

Have you tried Boxwalla? Do you have food, book or film subscription boxes too? Is anyone else freaking out that it’s almost gift-giving season? Tell me what you know in the comments!

This post is kindly brought to you by Boxwalla, who compensated me for this sponsored post. All product descriptions, tips and opinions are my own!





August 24, 2016

beauty secrets | why your skin doesn’t need microbeads

The #BanTheBead movement is making its way across our polyethylene-infused waters.

Members of the United Kingdom Parliament (MPs) are calling for a ban on the scrubby stuff found in our everyday skincare products.

But that doesn’t mean your skin will forever be without exfoliation. This week, I shared with BBC Newsbeat several natural alternatives to microbeads — and they can all be found in your kitchen.

Head over to BBC Newsbeat to read the story and get my tips.

uk ban on microbeads

{Image Courtesy BBC Newsbeat}

If you’re curious and want to learn more, watch this great video from “The Story of Stuff Project.”

And of course, if you’re looking for a great, natural scrub, you can always check out my “Ultimate Guide to Natural Face Scrubs” for recommendations.

Do you create DIY face scrubs? What are your favorite physical scrubs? Do you prefer fruit acid exfoliation instead? Tell me in the comments!

August 5, 2016

dedicated | an introduction to the green goddess shop beauty box

This post is kindly brought to you by The Green Goddess Beauty Shop, who compensated me for this sponsored post. All product descriptions, tips and opinions are my own!

Regardless of whether you’ve been using natural beauty products for years or are just now transitioning, the green beauty scene can be a bit overwhelming.

With brands and products are launching left and right, it can be a big upfront investment to try something new.

Thankfully, there’s a wide variety of green beauty subscription boxes that offer interesting, effective products to test before committing to a full size.

The latest box on my radar is from The Green Goddess Shop, a natural beauty boutique based in South Bend, Indiana.

the green goddess shop beauty box

Newly launched in summer 2016 by Aubrey Sousley, The Green Goddess Beauty Shop is an online green beauty retailer that also offers a $20 subscription box filled with 4-5 different natural beauty samples to experience every month.

“My journey into the green beauty world was a natural process. I started simply enough with buying organic food and then began implementing green products into every aspect of my life.” —Aubrey Sousley

The box caught my attention because of its healthy mix of established clean beauty brands and indie, up-and-coming lines.

For example, my August box features samples from Shamanuti, Evelyn Iona, Lillian Eve and Ellovi. I’ve only experienced one of these brands, so I was thrilled to get a taste of the other three.

And isn’t new product discovery the whole point of trying subscription boxes?

When you’re able to get generous samples from truly new-to-you brands and products, you get that twinge of excitement that has you ready to explore a brand you otherwise might have never discovered.

the green goddess shop beauty box

The Green Goddess Beauty Shop’s monthly box hits the mark there, but it also gives back in two other important ways.

First, $1 from every purchase is donated to The Global Fund for Women, a nonprofit organization that supports women’s human rights initiatives.

Second, The Green Goddess Beauty Shop offers 20 percent off featured products in its online shop. That’s a pretty generous discount — especially when you’ve found a new favorite!

Aubrey sources new lines for the shop based both on her personal taste and the brand’s overall mission.

“We put together a box that tells a story through products,” Aubrey says. “The August box is all about beginnings — products that you start with.”

Here’s to a new beginning — a lovely new obsession with The Green Goddess Beauty Box!

What are your favorite subscription boxes? How do you choose which box is right for you? Tell me in the comments!

This post is kindly brought to you by The Green Goddess Beauty Shop, who compensated me for this sponsored post. All product descriptions, tips and opinions are my own!

June 29, 2016

beauty secrets | flower therapy for the skin & mind

A reflection of overall health, our skin often reacts to heightened stress levels. This can result in exacerbated conditions — both physical and emotional.

But what if there were a natural solution that could help calm both mind and body?

Beautiful and healing, flowers offer a bouquet of benefits to our skin and psyche. Florals — and their extracts — have been staples in homemade medicine cabinets for millennia.


This is the topic of my July / August 2016 article for Mother Earth Living, on newsstands now. The piece features a few insights from flower essence and aromatherapy experts Katie Hess of Lotus Wei and Hope Gillerman of Hope Gillerman Organics.

Check out the full piece online (and don’t forget to read this and this, which is all packaged together in print but broken apart online) or pick up the beautiful magazine for the full experience!

How do you use flower essences and aromatherapy in your everyday routine? What have you tried from Lotus Wei and Hope Gillerman Organics? Anybody still read print magazines? If so, which ones? Tell me in the comments!

March 18, 2016

my approach to evening skincare products

As a follow-up to my post about morning skincare products, I thought it’d be useful to see the slight differences in how I treat my skin at night.

My evening skincare routine is a little more indulgent than the morning routine (though I’m sure many of you are thinking holy shit that’s a lot of products for both times of day!). Please humor me. There’s a method to my madness.

For evening skincare, I use a mix of products designed to hydrate, nourish, moisturize and plump my skin as I drift off to sleep. I believe nighttime moisture leads to supple morning skin, and I’m not afraid to layer skincare treatments to target anything I’m trying to address (usually acne and flakes, fun huh?).

While this post isn’t meant to deliver product reviews, you can easily see some picks from these categories on my favorites page.

evening skincare routine products

My Evening Skincare Routine

Oil or Balm Cleansers

For makeup removal and an indulgent facial massage, look no further than a single carrier oil or simple balm. There’s a billion to choose from, so it depends on your preference and skin sensitivity, but the point is that you don’t need fancy, overly marketing makeup removers to get the job done.

Secret: Before I went clean beauty, I used simple baby oil (mineral oil) to remove my makeup. I made the switch to jojoba oil (same effect, only cleaner) and never looked back.

When it comes to balms vs. cleansers, it’s a matter of preference in texture. I like them both, but balms travel better. Oils tend to have a better slip for a great facial massage, but balms feel cushiony and comforting, especially when you’re feeling dry and flaky. You can easily alternate balms and oils by season, or keep a little bit of each on hand to satisfy your changing cravings.

The point is, you don’t need anything fancy here, but for aromatherapeutic effects, you can try more complex cleansing balms that incorporate more scents and interesting ingredients. I remove my balm or oil with a hot, black (the color is important!) wash cloth and move on to the next step.

Find my cleansing oil and multipurpose cleansing balm reviews in the archives.

Gel Cleansers

While in the morning I prefer a gentle cream cleanser to wash away light sweat and oil, at night, I prefer a gentle gel cleanser with a light foam to remove any remaining traces of makeup post-oil cleanse.

At times, I rotate in a gel cleanser with glycolic or salicylic acid if my skin is being fussy (think: PMS week). But, for the most part, I stick with a simple gel cleanser that’s light on scents and lather so my skin doesn’t feel irritated or stripped of moisture.

It’s not often, but sometimes I like to use a skincare brush with my gel cleansers, but more often than not, it’s just my hands, cleanser and water.

Need recommendations? See my “Ultimate Guide to Face Cleansers” for mini-reviews.

Acid Toners (Optional)

My acneic skin responds really, really well to acid toners, especially those made with salicylic or lactic acids. They help decongest my skin and make it more receptive to targeted treatments, serums and oils.

However, my skin can get a little annoyed if I use acid toners too frequently (think irritation and redness), so I have to be very tuned-in to how my skin is reacting. That means some nights, I may only use acid toners on my problem areas (chin and jawline — thanks, hormones) and other nights, I may skip acid altogether.

I save my stronger acids for evening use (yes, there’s such a thing as mild acid toners!), and if my skin is feeling a bit sensitive but not irritated, I’ll use a mild acid toner in its place. Options, options, options.

Find my acid toner reviews in the archives.

Hydrating Toners / Mists

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: hydrating toning mists are non-negotiable! I cannot be without this comforting ritual, and I love the way a fine, hydrating mist gets my skin ready for the moisture to come.

At night, in between moisturizing treatments (like balms and oils), I may indulge my skin in another layer of hydrating mist. The addiction is real.

Find my toner picks on my “faves” page.

Targeted Face Serums

This is where it gets fun. My definition of serum is pretty traditional, so here goes: An oil is not a serum. Gonna cause some drama here, I’m sure.

What some may call a “face serum,” I call a “face oil.” Face oils are wonderful, but they are not serums. A serum, to me, is a targeted, fast-drying, water-based treatment that can truly penetrate skin without blocking layers of skincare to come. While many face oils have targeted benefits, let’s just call an oil (no matter how beautiful the blend) an oil.

Rant over.

I like to incorporate evening face serums that have vitamin A, exfoliating enzymes or lush hydrating ingredients, depending on what I’m targeting. It’s important to not overdo it in the exfoliating enzyme department, especially if you acid tone, so that’s why serums with gentle moisture from hyaluronic acid and ceramides always get a spot in the collection, too.

Find my face serum reviews in the archives.

Creams or Balms

A great, cushiony balm is always welcome on my face at night — but I’ve also warmed up to creams quite a bit lately. I’ll choose a cream if my skin feels tight and dehydrated, and I may even layer a little bit of balm over flaky areas.

I’ll go straight balm if I want to feel cushioned and cocooned in thick goodness (and have a little time to let everything settle in). Balms tend to get more play in colder weather and targeted use in warmer weather.

Creams are seeing more play overall recently, as I’m rediscovering their magical, lightweight hydrating ways during warmer weather. Sometimes I skip creams and balms altogether and go straight from serum to facial oil. Options, I say!

Find my reviews of creams and balms in the archives.

Face Oils

At night, anything goes. I love simple, one-ingredient face oils when layering over creams or balms. It’s also important to have a high quality, one-ingredient face oil on hand when your skin is experiencing irritation. Gotta tone it all down and keep it simple.

If I’m skipping the layering step, I choose more complex ingredient blends to get the biggest bang — think facial oils that include a variety of actives, vitamins and antioxidants. I love finding interesting blends that include potent extracts. Vitamin C isn’t as important to me at night because of the lack of sun exposure (though it doesn’t hurt to use at night!).

Find my reviews of face oils in the archives.

Eye Treatments

At night, I like to indulge in eye balms and eye oils. Eye balms come into play in cold weather, and eye oils treat my peepers when it’s warm. I’m pretty consistent about using eye treatments at night (again, I’m obsessed with evening moisture and hydration), and patting in product around my eyes doesn’t feel like it’s adding too much additional time to my leisurely evening routine.

See my reviews of eye balms, eye creams and eye oils & serums in the archives.

Acne Treatments

Now here comes the glamorous part. Acne. In my 30s. Sigh. Because my breakouts tend to be hormonal (chin and jawline), I spot-treat with targeted acne balms and treatments instead of spreading unnecessary product all over my face.

My hope is that my overall routine is preventative, but when zits happen, I spot treat as much as possible to keep myself from going in for the squeeze.

See my reviews of acne-fighting products in the archives.

Lip Balms

A lip balm is a lip balm, right? Well, kind of. Except, at night, I like thicker lip balms to coat my lips so I don’t wake up dry and cracked in the morning. There’s a few lip balms that I like for both day and night, and only one or two that I absolutely must have for nighttime only.

Regardless, I keep lip balms everywhere and have a dedicated space for one on my bedside table.

Find my lip balm picks on my “faves” page.

What product categories are in your evening skincare routine? Do you acid tone at night? Tell me in the comments!

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