Entries Tagged as 'beauty secrets'

September 4, 2013

beauty secrets | guide to a night for green beauty

I’ve been looking forward to today for so many months.

To kick off New York Fashion Week in style, some of my favorite natural beauty brands are coming together to celebrate real beauty in downtown Manhattan tonight.

Major props to La Bella Figura for organizing this event all the way from Chicago. I encourage you to tweet a special “thank you” to Victoria and Karen for spearheading this effort to unite beautiful brands during one of the craziest weeks of the year — no small task!

a night for green beauty new york fashion week september 2013

If you find yourself around the Flatiron District tonight with nothing to do, please do pop in and say hello to everyone! You will leave feeling more beautiful than when you arrived.

And if you do come, prep yourself beforehand with this key knowledge about some of the founders present tonight:

La Bella Figura cofounder Victoria Fantauzzi is your go-to girl for a mixture of homemade beauty products and vitamins should you find yourself needing a boost!

Die-hard argan oil fan? Kahina Giving Beauty’s Katharine L’Heureux can probably school you a bit more in the power of this miracle oil.

Skin chef May Lindstrom will likely debut a new product tonight (you saw it here first!), and if we’re lucky, we may get to meet sweet Talia tonight, too.

S.W. Basics of Brooklyn (aka Sprout Skincare) has one of the coolest founders, Adina Grigore. She’s a no-frills, back to basics kind of girl who tells it like it is.

One Love Organics founder Suzanne LeRoux doesn’t like to get watered down with inefficiencies. Keep the pressed juice coming for Suzanne!

Got a copy of Eco-Beautiful? Bring it to the event and maybe beautiful Lina Hanson will sign it for you!

If Olie Biologique founder Linda Alixe Thompson isn’t there in person tonight, her feisty social media team better be! Her brand has one of the most upbeat personalities on Twitter. Bring your A-game and Mophies.

One of my best friends, Gina, and I will be sipping fresh organic juice (and perhaps organic wine!) while we connect with the green beauty community and the fabulous founders behind today’s most luxurious, healthy skincare and makeup brands. I hope to see you there!

Will you be at A Night for Green Beauty (#GreenBeautyNYFW)? What are you most excited about this season? Tell me in the comments, and please do tweet me @kimberlyloc if you’re in NYC — I’m here until Sunday!


August 30, 2013

beauty secrets | coconut oil for beginners

My foray into natural beauty oils started with the beloved jojoba oil.

While I recommend it to anyone who is curious about oil cleansing, it’s now joined by my other favorite multipurpose oil, coconut oil, in my recommendations for a beautiful, multipurpose oil.

If you’re new to the natural beauty space, besides reading this blog (thanks!) and the loads of other great ones out there (see my blogroll to the right), another great resource specifically for coconut oil is “Coconut Oil for Beginners.”

(Pretty straightforward name, huh?)

coconut oil for beginners

{I received a review copy of “Coconut Oil for Beginners” and read it front to back in no time! It’s a great guide to this miracle oil and includes lovely DIY hair and beauty recipes as well as foodie recipes — count me in! It retails for $9.99 paperback and $2.51 for your Kindle. Curious about my favorite coconut oil? It’s from Tropical Traditions. (Smaller size here)}

While I wouldn’t consider myself a beginner in this space (been a green beauty lover since 2007), I still enjoyed reading “Coconut Oil for Beginners” because it’s written in an easy-to-digest way.

Below, I’ll give you a taste of what’s inside of this staple book. If you love what you read, scoop it up — it’s a crazy for $2.51 for your Kindle or $9.99 paperback!

(And hey, if you subscribe to my yet-to-be-launched monthly e-newsletter, you may get another bite out of this book … I’ve got some killer coconut oil recipes to share! See the right rail of the blog for the subscribe box.)

A Shopper’s Guide to Coconut Oil

In the land of coconuts, all oil is not made the same. Just as with other nut and vegetable oils, the quality of the product depends on the extraction process and whether or not the oil is refined.

As with all produce, pesticides and other chemicals are a serious consideration that lends even more confusion to the buying process. There are several different forms of coconut oil adorning your grocer’s shelf just waiting to be chosen, but how to choose?

Coconut Oil Buying Tip

When the term organic is applied to coconut oil, it only guarantees that the coconut palm or the oil itself wasn’t treated with any fertilizers, pesticides, or solvents that aren’t organic as defined by that country’s certifying organization. It doesn’t mean that the oil hasn’t been refined or hydrogenated.

Refined Versus Unrefined Coconut Oil

Let’s start with the two broadest categories, refined and unrefined, and then break it down further from there. There’s not only a difference in the processing of refined and unrefined oil, but also a significant difference in taste.

Unrefined Coconut Oil

This type of oil is exactly what the name implies: It’s left in the natural state after it’s pressed. You may recognize this type better by its more common name: virgin coconut oil.

Virgin oils are generally going to have a richer, nuttier flavor, and they will maintain the full nutritional value because they haven’t been subjected to heat that can kill the delicate enzymes.

Unrefined coconut oil has a shelf life of up to two years and a relatively high smoke point (the point at which taste and nutritional value degrade) of 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Refined Coconut Oil

There are several reasons why coconut oil may be refined.

First and foremost, refining removes impurities or chemicals that may have been used during the extraction process.

The second reason for refining coconut oil is that it increases the smoke point so you can cook with it at higher temperatures without it burning and degrading.

Finally, refined oils don’t carry much coconut flavor, if any, so refining makes the coconut oil a more versatile product.

Refining isn’t always bad; there are modern ways to do it using steam or diatomaceous earth (a soft sedimentary rock used as a filtration aid) to cleanse and purify the oil.

Do your research before purchasing a refined coconut oil, so you know what you’re getting!

Other Processes that Affect Nutritional Values

If you’re using virgin or unrefined coconut oil, none of the following terms will be an issue, but if you want to use a refined oil for, say, frying foods without imparting a coconut flavor, then you need to be aware of the following processes in order to make an informed choice.

Refined, Bleached, and Deodorized (RBD)

Although this sounds like something that you’d do to your gym shoes after a long run, it’s actually a common practice with fats and oils. Many oils go rancid quickly or are extracted with chemicals that can be harmful.

Also, if the oil has gone rancid, a deodorizing process will be used to mask the smell. As you can probably guess, this process isn’t exactly good for you or the oil.

Hydrogenated Coconut Oil

In an attempt to increase the melting point, refined, saturated fats such as the ones found in coconut oil are combined with hydrogen particles to make them more saturated and thus more shelf stable.

Hydrogenated coconut oil is used when you need a more solid product, such as when making cake icing. This process threw coconut oil under the bus with the rest of the unhealthy fats back in the 1960s because hydrogenation causes the formation of trans fats, the bad boys that cause heart disease and other potentially deadly disorders.

Avoid hydrogenated fats, if you can.

Fractionated Coconut Oil

Sometimes the medium-chain triglycerides are separated out of coconut oil for specific purposes.

Generally, fractionation is done for medical, cosmetic, dietary, or industrial needs. The triglycerides can be used as a nutrient in specific situations, so most likely you’re not going to encounter this at the grocery store unless you’re at a specialty athletic store.

Excerpted with Permission, Rockridge Press

Do you use coconut oil? If not, what oils do you prefer? Tell me in the comments section!


August 16, 2013

beauty secrets | green beauty blogger skincare tag

Oh how I love to play tag — especially when the only running involved is me going back and forth to my bathroom vanity to scoop up my favorite products to share with you!

Thanks to Lilly of Genuine Glow for tagging me in this green beauty blogger tell-all post. What a fun way to get a little more intimate on the interwebs (and maybe answer some questions that you may have had but never asked).


Describe your skin care routine in 5 words.

kimberlyloc face oils oil up and beauty begins

{I found this photo on Flickr and layered my skin care philosophy on top of it. Feel free to share it! Original photo by Beth Day / Courtesy Flickr}

“Oil up and beauty begins.”

What’s your skin type?

kimberlyloc vml black and white photo

{This photo is from 2010, back when I worked at a digital agency in Kansas City. I love the shades of black and gray and how creamy my skin looks! Not to mention the mysterious mood it created when my hair could cover my eyes.}

  • Very oily T-zone, slightly oily cheeks. Dry feet, hands and elbows. Soft body skin.
  • Acne-prone (hairline, sides of cheeks, chin)
  • Yellow undertones thanks to Chinese and Vietnamese heritage
  • Redness around the nostrils thanks to broken capillaries and Scottish-ness (gotta blame something on my dad?)
  • Bags under eyes due to night-owl tendencies
  • Very few signs of wrinkles (thanks, Mom!)

What’s your favorite skin care product?

Plant oils! I use them to cleanse, moisturize and treat my skin from head to toe.

I have coconut oil, argan oil, marula oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, rosehip oil, tamanu oil and several beautiful blends on-hand at all times.

If I could bathe in a deep tub of exotic oils, I would. (Can somebody please set that up for me?)

Top blemish zapper?

zum rub frankincense and myrrh kimberlyloc acne treatment

Zum Rub in Frankincense & Myrrh, hands down. When a natural product that costs less than $10 at the health food store makes my cystic acne go away, I sing its praises forever. (Buy it on Amazon for a bit more.)

Face wipes: Yay or Nay?

Yay, but only on Tuesdays and Thursdays after yoga class. It’s a convenience thing. I also use the wipes to scrub down my mat after class.

I know face wipes aren’t exactly environmentally friendly, but I’m not perfect. I need to be able to wash up after class in a very small bathroom filled with several yogis and not monopolize the sink.

Toner: Yay or Nay?

Yay, as long as the toner is alcohol-free!

I always use a toner or hydrosol to prep my skin before apply my face oils so that my skin is a bit damp and ready to receive the moisture.

I also like to spritz my face once I’m finished with my makeup application, and I freshen up with a toner a little bit throughout the day to stay glowing.

High-end skin care or high-end make-up?

I believe in investing in high-quality, clean skincare that allows your own natural beauty to shine through. Whether it’s a high-end, high-price brand or a budget-friendly miracle product, what matters most is that it’s beneficial for your skin and allows you to spend less time in front of the mirror covering imperfections.

I prefer to use makeup to enhance my features, and I can spend more time perfecting the glorious cat eye when I don’t have to worry about covering recurring breakouts, redness and inflammation.

I’m prone to all of these issues, but when I eat clean, do yoga, keep my stress levels low and am diligent with my skincare routine, I experience these issues less. There have even been weeks where I’ve felt confident enough to walk out of the house without foundation or concealer! That’s the power of effective skincare.

What’s the most unusual skin care product you’ve tried?

I’ve tried a bee venom mask twice. It’s in my queue for review, but I need to give it another go-round to collect my thoughts on it. It’s … interesting.

You’re in a pharmacy and can only pick up one item — what is it?

beauty blogger kimberlyloc nail polish collection

{Yes, this is my real nail polish collection. Yes, I like nail polish.}

Nail polish! (Most pharmacies don’t stock the skin care products I covet — I buy my oils at Whole Foods or online.)

We all know that there’s no such thing as a natural nail polish. I prefer 3- or 5-free polishes, and many of my favorite mainstream nail polish brands (like OPI) are up to this standard. They just don’t advertise it the way so-called “natural” brands do because it’s not a core value for their target market.

I pick and choose my battles when it comes to clean beauty. Nail polish battles cannot be won.

Tell us your top skincare tips.

1. Stay hydrated inside and out. If you aren’t constantly getting up to pee, you need to drink more! If your coworkers aren’t giving you side eyes for spraying your face and patting on oil mid-morning and mid-afternoon, you need to freak them out a little more!

2. Don’t pick! I am a constant offender in this department. I’ve prolonged a breakout for days because of this annoying little tendency. Just leave it alone! Keep your healing breakouts moisturized (Zum Rub, I’m telling ya!) to avoid the crusty feeling (yeap, I went there).

3. Treat yourself to a mask. I typically get professional facials every quarter, but I’ve been lax on it because there are so many amazing masks on the market that you can do at home. I make Sunday my spa day and treat myself, but sometimes I’ll give myself a mask mid-week if it’s been tough or if I feel like my skin needs a boost.

4. Work out. Whatever it is that you like to do — run, swim, bike, yoga, sports — do something that makes your heart beat faster and your skin sweat like crazy. Exercise is the ultimate body detox, and I can see the effects on my skin when I skip yoga for prolonged periods of time. My breakouts increase and my pores appear larger. Get moving!

5. When you find something that works, stick with it. Being a beauty blogger means that I’m constantly adding new products to my skincare rotation; however, I have my staples that I go to when my skin needs to get back to a balance (coconut oil, jojoba oil and Zum Rub are my absolutes). A minimalistic approach to skincare can really help as long as the edited selection of products you use actually do something for your skin

I’d love to know the skincare secrets of some of my favorite bloggers. 312 Beauty, Neimans Idealist and Seed to Serum, care to share?

So, do we have anything in common? Did anything I shared surprise you? Tell me in the comments section!


July 30, 2013

beauty secrets | natural beauty product staples, part 2

So you know that whole “If you were stuck on a deserted island…” thing people like to ask?

Well, if I were stuck on a deserted island, I’d grab my makeup bag (which is one item!) that happens to contain these five green makeup staples that I’d happily repurchase if said island happened to have all my favorite green beauty products in stock.

Because if we’re going to play make believe, we might as well dream big, right?

Don’t forget to check out part 1 of my natural beauty product staples if you missed it!

kimberlyloc natural beauty green makeup staples part 2

1. RMS “Un” Cover-up

I’m on my second pot of this coconut oil-based concealer, which means I’m officially sold on it. Skeptical of its consistency and slip at first, I’ve since learned how to properly apply RMS “Un” Cover-up in #22 to my blemishes, undereyes and redness (gotta sheer it out with warm fingers!). The little glass pots last a long time, so it’s really no big deal to shell out $36 for it; it won’t dry out like traditional stick concealers!

*2. Tarte Clean Slate 360° Creaseless 12-Hr Smoothing Eye Primer

My oily eyelids don’t stand a chance against Tarte’s Clean Slate 360° Creaseless 12-Hr Smoothing Eye Primer. It replaces my former love, Urban Decay’s Primer Potion, which was loaded with parabens. It does contain bismuth oxychloride (found in some mineral makeups), which can be irritating to some people’s skin, so do a patch test if you’ve experienced sensitivity to bismuth oxychloride. If you’re fine, then this is the primer to use to prep your lids for serious (or just daily) eye shadow. I’ve never creased while using this primer!

3. ILIA Tinted Lip Conditioners

I own three different ILIA Tinted Lip Conditioners and am pining for more! I just reordered “Bang Bang,” which is a perfect, sheer red, and have “Arabian Knights” and “Nobody’s Baby” on my to-buy list. These lippies give great color to your lips, but are also just so soft and kissable that you really don’t need a lip balm base before applying.

4. Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler

I’ll always be a Shu Uemura eyelash curler girl. My gold lash curler makes mornings feel a little bit more glamorous, and Shu has never failed to make my stick-straight Asian lashes curl up and greet the day.

5. Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner

If you are a clutz with traditional liquid eyeliner (ya know, the kind you have to keep dipping back into the pot), then you’re like me and need to use a marker-style eyeliner that is easier to handle. I got my first Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner in a monthly Birchbox and have repurchased the classic black liner three times. I’ve also added olive greennavy blue and purple to my collection. It’s the only eyeliner I wear!

*OK, so maybe I won’t need this on the deserted island, but in case I find some eyeshadow, I need to be prepared!

What are your staple green cosmetics? Tell me in the comments section!


June 25, 2013

beauty secrets | what to carry in your yoga bag

I’ve been practicing Ashtanga yoga for nearly a year and a half now. While I go on hiatus every once in a while (looking at you, Kansas City and New York Fashion Weeks), I’m typically a devoted Tuesday-and-Thursday practitioner at the best yoga studio in my lovely city.

Yoga is something I truly believes keeps me balanced on so many levels. In addition to the physical benefits of the difficult Ashtanga practice (this ain’t your “lay around and breathe peacefully practice,” y’all), Ashtanga has been instrumental in keeping me emotionally sane.

Knowing I have a little bit of time — three hours a week — to be completely unplugged and focused on my own well-being keeps me happy. As much as an exaggeration as it may seem, I also feel that Ashtanga has helped with my acne. Sweating out toxins in an 85-degree room twice a week has done wonders for my skin.

But as with any activity that causes you to sweat it all out, you want to be proactive about cleaning it up! Today I’m giving you a peek into my yoga bag, with an emphasis on the products I use to make sure my face and mat stay clean post-workout.


what to carry in your yoga bag

1. Manduka PROLite Mat

Once I decided Ashtanga yoga and I were in it for the long haul, I decided to upgrade from my mass retailer mat to the Manduka PROLite Mat. It took a bit of researching and back and forth (there’s a big debate between Manduka and Jade mats), but I opted for Manduka because 1) it’s the mat my instructors, who I adore, use and 2) it has a lifetime guarantee.

2. Yellow Box Flip Flops

I’ve loved Yellow Box shoes since I was in high school. I don’t know what that says about me, nearly 10 years post-graduation, but if you like something, you like something! I’m partial to my Yellow Box flippies because of the squishy texture that awaits my well-stretched toes after class. I keep my polka dotted ones in my bag so I’m never left stranded barefoot or worse, in high heels and yoga pants (Yeap, that has happened before. Lesson learned.)

3. Beach Towel

Instead of buying a special yoga mat towel, I tote a beach towel with me during warm-weather workouts to provide an additional sweat barrier to my mat. In the cooler months, I just carry a hand towel in my bag for face blotting, but in Kansas City summers, no mat is safe from sweat. I use my beach towel in the back 1/3 of my mat for back bends, shoulder stands and other instances when my sweaty body has to lay on my mat.

4. Homemade Mat Cleaner

Speaking of a sweaty mat, I’ve made it a best practice to clean mine immediately after class. One thing I keep in my bag at all times is a homemade concoction of lavender oil, tea tree oil, vodka and water. After class, I head to the bathroom to wash up, and am sure to spray down my mat with this natural antifungal cocktail.

5. Lululemon Flyaway Tamer Headband

I picked up this headband at Lululemon back when my hair was longer. It hasn’t worked as well with my shorter mop for some reason, but with longer hair, it helped keep my strands in place throughout class. I will say, though, that every once in a while it would pop off (though it has little gripper things on the inside), but I preferred this flat headband especially for head-to-the-floor poses such as Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C and D, where a traditional headband can hurt the head too much.

6. Flat Bow Traditional Headband

Though a traditional headband doesn’t work in Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C and D (I remove it in these poses), it’s still the best bet for keeping short hair in its place during the rest of practice. I find it a bit funny to wear such a girlish headband (yes, mine has a flat bow and is a dusty rose color) during class, but it’s just something I had laying around, so might as well put it to good use!

7. Yogi Wipes

Aw, my dear Yogi Wipes! While I’m not too keen on well-marketed “yoga wipes,” (see the DIY above), I did enjoy my small sample of Yogi Wipes I received (about five individually packets) — but not for my face. These are intended as face wipes, but I found them to be a bit drying and sting my face upon application. The wipe size is huge, though, and makes for a wonderful mat wipe, which is how I used the rest of my samples. I wouldn’t buy these on my own mostly because a DIY mat cleaning solution is a no-brainer, but if you’re looking for convenience, you may want to check them out.

8. Kaia Juicy Bamboo Facial Cleansing Cloths

Instead of bringing a separate facial cleanser with me for post-class, when it’s a bit crowded in the bathroom, I instead opt for these Kaia bamboo cleansing clothes. They’re extremely gentle and offer a refreshing cleanse thanks to citrus oils. Yes, I know that citrus oils are a no-no for daytime because of photosensitivity issues, but these cloths are perfectly fine for 7:30 p.m. and a quick jaunt home. I’ve never had any issues and love the quick, no-nonsense cleanse these offer post-workout. I received these as a sample from Fresh Faced, which seems to no longer carry the line, but you can easily find them at Kaia’s on website, too.

9. Assorted Deodorants

I’m not offering any specific deodorant review here as most of you are likely familiar with my search for a great natural deodorant. That said, I keep a stash of several random deodorants in my bag so that I know I’m never without it (that’s happened before pre-class and it was awful!). One of the many tests that all natural deodorants I review go through is the Ashtanga test, so at some point in time, any deodorant I’m using ends up in the bag!

Do you practice yoga? If so, what staples — beauty or otherwise — are in your yoga bag? Share with me in the comments section!




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