Entries Tagged as 'beauty secrets'

July 31, 2015

beauty secrets | an introduction to safe & chic (and a discount code!)

With an impressive array of coveted clean beauty brands, Safe & Chic is one of the latest online green beauty boutiques to launch this year.

safe & chic website

Offering more than 35 brands — like 100% Pure, Dr. Alkaitis, EmerginC, Indie Lee, Kahina Giving Beauty, Vapour Beauty and W3ll People — Safe & Chic gives beauty enthusiasts an amazing number of choices when it comes to stocking their vanities with only the best in green beauty.

safe & chic website vered organics

Founder Angela Dubia’s green beauty journey is similar to ones we’ve witnessed before in this community. She established Safe & Chic after having a difficult time finding holistic cosmetics following personal health issues. Safe & Chic is built on the premise of having it all — luxurious, chic beauty products that are better for your body.

Besides building the brand around cleaner cosmetics and personal care,  Angela opts to donate $1 per item sold to the Breast Cancer Fund. In addition to giving back to the Breast Cancer Fund, Safe & Chic is now a proud member of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, another beloved organization that helps people understand more about what’s in their beauty products.

Aligned with her mission to educate beauties about the potential harmful effects of their everyday cosmetics, Safe & Chic is coming on to the green beauty scene with great information to help new-to-green shoppers feel good about how they pamper themselves.

For everyone exploring this space, though, what better way to experience green beauty than with a sale?! Safe & Chic is offering kimberlyloc.com readers 15% off through August 10 to celebrate her launch (and you get free shipping with a purchase over $50!)

Use code “kimberlyloc15” at checkout to save, and have fun snatching up some old favorites and new loves at Safe & Chic.

Here’s my picks for a healthy beauty haul:

  1. Bottega Organica Face Balance Cream in Tulsi & Vetiver
  2. Dr. Alkaitis Organic Soothing Gel
  3. Kahina Giving Beauty Eye Serum
  4. Lina Hanson Global Body Serum
  5. red flower Moroccan Rose Purifying Body Wash
  6. S.W. Basics Cream
  7. Suntegrity Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen & Primer
  8. W3ll People Narcissist Foundation Stick

Where are you shopping for green beauty goodies online? Have you heard of Safe & Chic? What brands are hard to find in online boutiques? Tell me in the comments section!

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

July 20, 2015

beauty secrets | eat pretty for glowing skin

No matter how many certified organic, DIY or luxury beauty products you pile on to your skin, if you’re not

1) sweating it out regularly with your choice of exercise;

2) managing your stress levels; and

3) feeding your body with nutrient-dense foods, you’re shortchanging yourself from that true lit-from-within glow that only comes from a healthy lifestyle.

Now, I’m not saying that you should only #eatclean and deprive yourself of things you love (hi, chips and queso), but I am saying that you should be mindful of how your body and skin look and feel when you eat certain foods (and when you miss workouts or are hyper-stressed).

For me, it’s all about congestion. When I miss regular workouts (intense yoga sessions), I can see it in my skin. I am full of blackheads and am more susceptible to cystic acne.

Case in point: I’ve been unable to practice for three weeks due to a minor neck injury, and my skin is freaking out right now. I’ve also been a bit indulgent in refined carbohydrates — which make me feel very puffy — and I can see the dullness in my skin when I don’t get all my colorful carbohydrates in.

foods for healthy skin

This nutrition–skincare connection has been an interest of mine for a while, so I was thrilled at the chance to explore it a bit deeper for an article for Mother Earth Living magazine.

I wrote this piece back in December, during the hectic holiday season, and it really helped me think through how to nourish my body and skin with the best beauty foods. It’s now live online and in print (mad respect for the print publishing cycle!), and I’m excited to share it with you today.

Enjoy this excerpt below, and special thanks to Jolene Hart and Lina Hanson for serving as expert sources in this piece. Extra special thanks to my editor and friend, author Tabitha Alterman, for assigning this piece to me.

6 Essential Beauty Nutrients for Radiant Skin

While there’s no simple formula guaranteed to deliver clear, frustration-free skin, powerhouse beauty nutrients found in our favorite whole foods can help reduce blemishes and keep skin looking youthful and radiant at any age.

“It’s not about specific foods,” says Jolene Hart, a health coach certified by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, and author of Eat Pretty: Nutrition for Beauty, Inside and Out. “It’s more about the approach.”

The approach, Hart says, is in choosing the best fresh foods that pamper our bodies while providing major skin benefits.

This means targeting nutrient-dense foods known for their ability to build collagen and elastin (which keep skin firm and supple), reduce inflammation, and protect against skin-damaging free radicals caused by ultraviolet (UV) exposure, air pollution and everyday toxin buildup.

Read the full article online, or pick up the July/August 2015 issue at bookstores and health food stores nationwide!

February 16, 2015

beauty secrets | the ultimate guide to natural hand creams

No matter how big of an oil addict you are, a stellar hand cream is a critical component of your green beauty arsenal.

During cold winter months, especially, a thick, slippery hand cream keeps your skin in top shape, delivering moisture deep into your pores and keeping it locked in for hours.

I’ve been on the great hand cream hunt for months now, and as I launch the newest post in my “ultimate guide” series, it’s awesome to note that there are, so far, zero hand creams that are on my “did not like” list.

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

So, for now, enjoy more than 10 mini-reviews of some beautiful hand creams. Surely you’ll find something you absolutely must try!

ultimate guide to hand creams

*Indicate PR sample
**Indicates sample with purchase

Natural Hand Creams I Liked and Will Repurchase

100% Pure French Lavender Hand Buttercream
$8 for 2 ounces ($4/ounce)

I’ve had very little experience with products from 100% Pure, but pretty much everything I’ve tried has made a good impression on me. The French Lavender Hand Buttercream, though, made a GREAT impression on me.

After receiving it in my monthly Petit Vour box, I was extremely taken by its clean lavender scent and slippery texture that dried to a silken finish. With a liquid base of aloe leaf juice and rose hydrosol mixed with heavy-hitting cocoa, shea and avocado butters and further cut with coconut, rosehip, pomegranate and vitamin E oils, 100% Pure Lavender Hand Buttercream keeps your hands crack- and flake-free, period.

Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Organic Rosa Centifolia Flower Water (Rose Hydrosol)*, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Butter, Cocos Nucifera (Virgin Coconut) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender Essential) Oil, Extracts of: Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Seed, Euphorbia Cerifera Cera (Candelilla Wax), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf, Origanum Vulgare (Oregano) Leaf, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Flower/Leaf, Organic Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf*, Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal), and Lonicera Caprifolium (Japanese Honeysuckle), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C) Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Oil, Geraniol**, Limonene**, Linalool** * Certified Organic, **component of natural essential oil

**Osmia Organics Linden Rose Hand Cream
$24 for 1.7 ounces ($14.12/ounce)

In my eyes, Osmia Organics can do no wrong. And founder Sarah Villafranco really hit it out of the park with her Linden Rose Hand Cream.

I tried a small sample of this hand cream with one of my big orders (I adore Osmia’s Spot Treatment, body oils, body soaps and black clay facial soap … see how I say OO can do no wrong?), and after using it just twice I was hooked. It’s one of the more expensive picks in my favorites / repurchase list here, but for good reason. Osmia Organics uses only the best of the best organic ingredients, as evidenced below.

Aloe leaf juice, shea butter, sweet almond oil, sunflower oil and grapeseed oil give this natural hand cream its wonderful base while extracts of organic and wild-harvested essentials oil of rose otto and linden blossom CO2 scent this concoction with a soft rose and honey smell that’s subtle and calming.

Aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter*, prunus amygdalus (sweet almond) oil*, glyceryl stearate, helianthus anuus (sunflower) oil*, lactobacillus ferment, glycerin*, palm stearic acid, vitis vinifera (grapeseed) oil*, hydrolyzed oats, cetearyl alcohol, sodium stearoyl lactylate, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) CO2 extract*, proprietary blend of organic and wild-harvested essential oils and extracts

Primavera Hand & Nail Cream in Ginger Lime
$18 for 1.7 ounces ($10.59/ounce)

A favorite hand cream of mine since 2012, Primavera’s Hand & Nail Cream in Ginger Lime is lightly scented, extremely fast-drying and the perfect size for your bag, desktop and carry-on beauty booty.

It takes advantage of the featherlight, moisturizing properties of jojoba, sweet almond, avocado and macadamia oils and adds a punch of hydration with shea butter.

I’ve gone through about five tubes of this and am sad that my local spa no longer carries the line.

Water (Aqua), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil* org, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil* org, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Polyglyceryl-3 Stearate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)* org, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil* org, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil* org, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter* org, Fragrance (Parfum), Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Zingiber Officianale (Ginger) Root Oil* org, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract* org, Cera Alba*org, Tocopherol, Xanthan Gum, Lactic Acid, Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate, Alcohol* org

*The Soap & Paper Factory Shea Butter Hand Cream in Jasmine
$18 for 2.3 ounces ($7.83/ounce)

Soap & Paper Factory is one of those old-school clean beauty brands that’s been in my go-to arsenal since I started this journey to better beauty products back in 2007. While I haven’t talked about S&PF much on the blog, I couldn’t not mention its Shea Butter Hand Cream in Jasmine because, um, I’m kimberlyloc and you KNOW how much I adore jasmine.

With its whimsical, colorful packaging and short ingredients list, Soap & Paper Factory Shea Butter Hand Cream in Jasmine easily earns a spot on the repurchase list.

As with most of the hand creams on this list, it combines aloe leaf juice, coconut oil, shea butter and cocoa butter for an incredibly moisturizing base, but it also adds beautiful beeswax, borage oil and meadowfoam oil to keep it light and whipped while adding additional hydration.

Purified Water, Organic Babadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Oil), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Cacao (Cocoa Butter), Beeswax, Borago Officinalis (Borage Oil), Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam Oil), Natural Fragrance & Essesntial Oil Blend (Phthalate Free), Sodium Levulinate(Preservative)

*Vineyard Hill Naturals Natural Hand Cream in Milk & Honey
$6.99 for 2 ounces ($3.50/ounce)

At $3.50 an ounce, Vineyard Hill Naturals Natural Hand Cream in Milk & Honey is a steal! The soft, comforting scent of milk and honey is only slightly sweet and is something of a lullaby to your hands and nose before bed.

Sunflower oil, aloe leaf juice, shea butter and sweet almond combine with milk proteins and honey to deliver a hand cream with the perfect consistency and fast drying time. The 2-ounce squeeze bottle is the perfect size for your bag, and again, at $6.99 and easily available online or at Walgreens, it’s a no-brainer hand cream for the price and nice ingredients list.

Purified Water, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil (Sunflower), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Capric Caprylic Triglycerides, Polysorbate-60, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Dimethicone, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter (Shea), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Peel Wax (Orange), Cetyl Ricinoleate, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil (Sweet Almond), Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract (Lavender), Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Sorbitol, Hydrolyzed Milk Protein, Honey, Beeswax, Sodium PCA, Vitis Vinifera Seed Extract (Orange), Stearic Acid, Olea Europaea Oil (Olive), Tocopherol Acetate, Xanthane Gum, Sodium Alginate, Phenoxyethanol, Ethyl Hexyl Glycerin, Fragrance, Essential Oils

*The Wonder Seed Hemp Hand Cream in Spring Lavender
$12.95 for 2.4 ounces ($5.40/ounce)

Probably the most interesting ingredients list of the bunch, The Wonder Seed Hemp Hand Cream in Spring Lavender is an insta-favorite for me thanks to the ultra-hydrating powers of hemp seed oil, which I’ve sung the praises of so many times before on the blog.

Hemp seed is just one of those underrated oils that I wish more brands would use because it’s exceptionally rich in essential omega fatty acids and protective proteins.

The Wonder Seed has based its entire company around this miraculous oil, and I cannot be more grateful for the random occasion that introduced me to this brand. A quick look at the first few ingredients in this natural hand cream show just how committed The Wonder Seed is to hemp seed oil: it’s ingredient No. 2 in this product, followed by hydrating heavyhitters grapeseed oil, aloe vera, jojoba oil, coconut oil, squalene and borage oil.

This hand cream feels a bit runnier when you squeeze it out, but is so spreadable, silky and fast-drying. You will want to hold my hand after I apply this, promise.

Purified Water (Aqua), Virgin Organic Hemp Seed Oil, Grape Essential Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Organic Aloe Vera, Gingko Herbal Extract, Glycerin (Vegetable), Soluble Natural Plant Collagen, Organic Lavender Essential Oil, Jojoba Oil, Cetyl Alcohol (Coconut Oil Based), Soybean Oil (Non-GMO), Mandarin White Oil, Coconut Oil, Ginseng Extract, Stearyl Alcohol (Vegetable Based), Geranium Oil, Chamomile Oil, Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract, Beta Carotene, Organic Green Tea Extract, Potassium Stearate (Natural Plant Based), Hyaluronic Acid (Natural Plant Based), Carnauba Wax, Squalane (Olive Oil Based), Borage Seed Oil, Vegetable Glyceryl Stearate (Natural Plant Based), Behenic Acid (Natural Plant Based), Lauric Oil Extract, Nutmeg Oil Extract, Citrus Extract, Sea Salt

Natural Hand Creams I Liked But Will Not Repurchase

*Andalou Naturals Hand Cream in Lavender Shea
$8.95 for 3.4 ounces ($2.63/ounce)

Made with shea, cocoa and mango butters as well as sunflower, sweet almond, tamanu and evening primrose oils, Andalou Naturals’ Hand Cream in Lavender Shea (reviewed here) is a thick and creamy hand cream that feels lovely and works well.

So then why is it in my “will not repurchase” list?! I’d repurchase it if I were in a pinch, as Andalou Naturals is easily accessible via Whole Foods, Natural Grocers and other great health food stores, but it wouldn’t be my top pick hand cream compared to the ones listed in my repurchase list above.

There’s something to be said for stellar ingredients, strong sustainability values and affordable pricing, so that’s why this natural hand cream goes in this section.

Aloe Barbadensis Juice*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil*, Stearic Acid, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*†, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa)* and Mangifera Indica (Mango) Butters, Fruit Stem Cells (Malus Domestsica, Solar Vitis) and BioActive 8 Berry Complex*, Vegetable Glycerin, Calophyllum Tacamahaca (Tamanu) Oil, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Allantoin, Lavandula Officinalis (Lavender) Extract*, Hibiscus Sabdariffa and Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Extracts*†, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil*, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Oil, Cyamopsis Tetragonolobus (Guar) Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenethyl Alcohol, Lavandula Officinalis (Lavender) Oil*

*Beauty Without Cruelty Hand & Body Lotion in Sweet Lavender
$12.95 for 16 ounces ($0.81/ounce)

Made with organic sunflower oil, aloe vera leaf juice, jojoba oil, shea butter and flax seed oil, Beauty Without Cruelty’s Hand & Body Lotion in Sweet Lavender is a fine choice for an all-over hand and body treat, but like the Jason cream mentioned below, it’s not exactly travel-friendly and is designed as more of a body lotion than a hand cream. Size matters!

But when it comes to the product itself, it feels wonderful on the skin and contains an impressive number of organic ingredients, especially at just 81 cents per ounce. It’s just not one of those that I would seek out and order special online compared to the ones I listed above that I love, but this is definitely a great choice if you’re interested in exploring the various options out there (and another one that’s also available at Walgreens!).

Purified water, glycerin, Helianthus annuus (sunflower) oil*, glyceryl stearate, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, Carthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed oil, Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice*, stearic acid, Lavandula hybrida (lavandin) oil*, Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil*, Butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter*, Linum usitatissimum (flax) seed oil*, Prunus amygdalus (sweet almond) oil*, Aleurites moluccana (kukui) nut oil, Calendula officinalis (calendula)extract*, Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) extract*, Rosa damascena (rose) extract, Citrus aurantium (orange blossom) extract, Anthemis nobilis (chamomile) extract*, Arnica montana (arnica) extract*, allantoin, panthenol, sodium pca, ascorbic acid, tocopherol, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, soy lecithin, phenoxyethanol, ethyl hexyl glycerin, benzyl alcohol.

*Beesentials Relaxing Lavender Hand & Body Cream with Bergamot
$12.99 for 6 ounces ($2.16/ounce)

With a gorgeous formulation and even more admirable company ethos, Beesential’s Relaxing Lavender Hand & Body Cream with Bergamot is a thicker hand and body cream made with nourishing cupuacu butter, shea butter, squalene, olive oil, honey, propolis, beeswax and silk protein. Impressive, right? I enjoy using this hand cream before bed, but usually like it on my feet even more.

It’s not an absolute favorite of mine because I like my hand creams a bit thinner and silkier. I find that this hand cream take a bit more time to work in to ensure it disappears into the skin, but I admit it would be an excellent cream for severely chapped skin.

Another thing to note is that the scent profile of Beesentials’ hand creams (I’ve tried this one, the Cucumber & Green Tea and the Original Honey Unscented) leaves you wanting more. It’s extremely faint, but allows the smell of beeswax and propolis so come through. If you’re a fan of those scents, this might be for you!

Cupuacu Butter, Shea Butter, Squalene, Olive Oil, Cetearyl Olivate, Honey, Propolis Extract (Bee-Derived), Isotearyl Isotearate (Vegetable Derived), Oleyl Oleate (Vegetable Derived), Silk Protein, Beeswax, Cetyl Palmitate, Sorbitan Palmitate, Sorbitan Olivate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol (Paraben-Formaldehyde Free Preservative) and Xanthan Gum.

*Jane Iredale HandDrink Hand Cream SPF 15
$29 for 2.03 ounces ($14.29/ounce)

As a bona fide Jane Iredale addict, it pains me to put the HandDrink Hand Cream SPF 15 in the “like but won’t repurchase” category, but it just comes down to economics for me. It’s really hard for me to justify spending $29 for a hand cream that doesn’t smell particularly great (it doesn’t really have a scent at all, TBH) but does boast SPF, which is extremely difficult to find in a hand cream.

We all know that sun protection is important for our skin — and many of us are cognizant of the fact that our hands tend to be the body part that gives away our age — thus the interest in a moisturizing + protecting hand cream to maintain a youthful appearance.

As we approach warmer weather and I begin researching great green SPF options, this one may come up again because there’s only ever been one other SPF-laden hand cream I’ve tried (and has, sadly, been discontinued), so it might just be that this is what it costs to get a clean, everyday hand cream with SPF in it. We shall see…

Zinc Oxide 2.75%, Titanium Dioxide 1.25%, Aqua/Water/Eau, Coconut Alkanes (and) Polysilicone 11, Cyclopentasiloxane, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Glycerin, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Raphanus Sativus (Radish) Root Extract, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Pectin, Chlorella Vulgaris/Lupinus Albus Protein Ferment, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Fruit Extract, Sodium Ascorbate, Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Tocopherol, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract (and) Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid

*Jason Smoothing Coconut Hand & Body Lotion
$9.30 for 8 ounces ($1.16/ounce)

If Jason made this Smoothing Coconut Hand & Body Lotion in a smaller size that helped it feel more like a toss-in-my-bag hand cream it would be a repurchase for me, but the 8-ounce packaging lends it more to the body lotion category.

With that said, I’d likely put this on the repurchase list for body lotions, but it’s very seldom that I use them (I’m a body oil girl, as you all know) so better to critique it here. The coconut scent is out of this world, and the use of coconut oil, castor seed oil and shea butter give it a great thickness and slip that isn’t too chunky and isn’t too runny.

I do wish the ingredients list packed some more beautiful oils and butters in it, but at $1.16 per ounce, you can see that Jason is striving for affordable naturals here, and that’s to be commended.

Aqua (Purified Water), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil(1), Stearic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Xanthan Gum, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Punica Granatum Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Allyl Caproate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Citric Acid, Ethyl Butyrate, Isoamyl Butyrate, Vanillin, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, D-Limonene

*Nature’s Gate Herbal Blend Hand Cream in Orchid
$6.99 for 3 ounces ($2.33/ounce)

The only reason Nature’s Gate Herbal Blend Hand Cream in Orchid is on the “like but won’t repurchase” list is for the scent alone. Orchid just isn’t my thing, I guess. It doesn’t smell bad, per se, but it just doesn’t have any personality at all.

I would repurchase Nature’s Gate Herbal Blend Hand Cream based on its formulation, ingredients and price, but would opt for the safer Rose option or venture into the Cherry Blossom territory to get the scent experience I’m looking to enjoy when I apply hand cream throughout the day.

So, back to the ingredients. Organic safflower oil, organic shea butter and organic sunflower oil team up with sweet almond oil and dimethicone for a creamy, slippery hand cream that feels soft and dries quickly. As pointed out, yes, this hand cream containers dimethicone (the ingredient that gives cosmetics their slip), but that doesn’t bother me in a hand cream (I limit it a bit in my facial cosmetics).

Water, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil*, Glycerin, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Wheat Straw Glycosides, Cetearyl Alcohol, Fragrance**, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Dimethicone, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil*, Sorbitan Stearate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Orchis Mascula (Orchid) Flower Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Black Tea) Leaf Extract*, Ocimum Sanctum (Tulsi / Holy Basil) Leaf Extract, Spirulina Maxima Extract*, Tocopheryl Acetate, Allantoin, Xanthan Gum, Alcohol*, Sodium Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Glyceryl Undecylenate.

*Odylique by Essential Care Lemon Butter Hand Smoothie
$25 for 2 ounces ($12.50/ounce)

A lovely light lemon scent greets you as you smother Odylique by Essential Care Lemon Butter Hand Smoothie into your hands, and this has been my daily use hand cream for quite some time post-testing phase.

There’s only a few reasons why it doesn’t make it into the repurchase list for me: 1) It’s expensive for a hand cream that I don’t absolutely adore; and 2) It’s a bit too runny for me. It would be great to thicken it up just a pinch so that it has the same slip and slide but dries quicker. I find myself having to dab off excess with every use, even when I’m extremely light-handed in my application.

Coconut, avocado and sunflower oils give Odylique by Essential Care Lemon Butter Hand Smoothie its slip while cocoa butter offers a bit of texture. I’d love to see an additional butter or wax in here (mango? beeswax?) to thicken it up a bit more and then re-evaluate. Despite these critiques, I’ll finish my tube and enjoy the silky hands it leaves me after I dab off the extra layer.

Aqua, Cocos nucifera oil*, Theobroma cacao seed butter*, Persea gratissima oil*, Helianthus annuus seed oil*, Glycerine**, Cetearyl alcohol, Hippophae rhamnoides fruit extract*, Aloe barbadensis leaf juice powder*, Rosmarinus officinalis leaf extract*, Cetearyl glucoside, Citrus limon peel oil*, Cymbopogon citratus oil*, Pelargonium graveolens oil*, Vanilla planifolia bean extract*, Lactic acid, Sodium anisate, Sodium lauroyl lactylate, Sodium levulinate, Xanthan gum, citral*, geraniol*, limonene* & linalool* (in the essential oils)

February 4, 2015

beauty secrets | natural perfumes for the floral, spice and woods lover

In what seems like a never-ending quest to find the best of the best in various clean beauty product categories (see my “ultimate guides” if you’re unfamiliar), one product category is even more subjective than natural deodorants and natural mascaras: natural perfumes.

So instead of creating an “ultimate guide,” I instead decided to round up my personal favorite scents in the three major scent profiles that appeal to me: floral, spice and wood.

If you are also drawn to these types of notes, you’ll find this list helpful. If you’re drawn more to the scents of citrus, greens, earth and rich dessert, my picks may not work with your senses. But, I would love to know your favorites within those particular scent profiles!


To get an idea of the various scent profiles out there, here’s a quick cheat sheet to identifying fragrance profiles and notes:


  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Lime
  • Orange


  • Cocoa
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla


  • Dirt
  • Leather
  • Smoke


  • Gardenia
  • Jasmine
  • Lavender
  • Lillies
  • Peonies
  • Roses
  • Tuberose
  • Ylang Ylang


  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Peach
  • Pineapple


  • Basil
  • Grass
  • Moss


  • Black pepper
  • Cardamom
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Rum


  • Cedarwood
  • Sandalwood

Notes That Appeal to Me

  • Jasmine
  • Lavender
  • Rose
  • Tuberose
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Black Pepper
  • Rum
  • Sandalwood
  • Vanilla
  • Cocoa

That’s not to say these are the only fragrances I wear; it does mean, however, that most perfumes that strike my fancy have these scents as more dominant notes.

Natural Perfumes That Work For My Nose

Not to be confused with what’s newly updated on my “favorites” page, this is a sampling of natural perfumes from various brands that got the “ooh, that smells good and I’ll wear it” approval from me based on the types of scents I like.

Typically, I like to have a small arsenal of go-to scents in my natural perfume collection, with just two or so earning the “signature scent” status. I like to switch up my daytime and evening scents, though I do love having that one go-to scent that I can wear to the office and refresh before happy hour or dinner.

Perfumes that earn the go-to honor from me are ones that make me feel beautiful, smell good (obviously) and capture the positive attention of the people I’m constantly around, including my coworkers and significant other.

But, to narrow it down even more, the natural perfumes that eventually make it onto my favorites, ultimate repurchase list have to do one thing: last.

While I know because natural perfumes don’t contain the harmful phthalates and synthetics that prolong lab-created scents in conventional perfumes, I — like many of you — desire a scent that will keep for more than an hour or two.

That helps a select few rise to the top, and they are typically alcohol-based one that have the spray function as traditional perfumes do, and which get way more use out of me than rollerballs that can feel a bit clumsy to use. (Does anyone else feel that way?)

*Aroma M Camellia Perfume

The ultimate floral bouquet, Aroma M’s Camellia Perfume brings together all the major players — jasmine, gardenia, neroli, geranium and rose — and then cuts it with frankincense. See why it got my attention? I reserve this perfume for evenings, as it’s a bit heavier, and it only takes a bit to last all night. That’s saying a lot of a cleaner perfume!

*Esscentual Alchemy Little Black Dress

Talk about the perfect name for an elegant, classy natural perfume great for day and night! Little Black Dress by Esscentual Alchemy features jasmine, ylang ylang, sandalwood, palisander rosewood, ginger, bergamot, civetta, rose, black elder and lily. What. A. Masterpiece!

Honores des Pres Vamp a NY

Feminine and sophisticated, Honores des Pres’ Vamp a NY is hands down my favorite scent of the bunch — and surprisingly doesn’t contain notes of jasmine. Instead, I’ve fallen head over heels for the head notes of tuberose and rum (tuberose is my secret obsession that you don’t see me write about much) and a soft heart of bourbon vanilla to keep it playful without seeming juvenile. THIS is the perfume I wear that has made countless coworkers stop me mid-sentence and say “You smell GOOD!”

**Lurk RSW005 (also available in eau de toilette!)

The ultimate minimalist perfume with depth, Lurk RSW005 brings together notes of warm sandalwood and earthy rose in a perfume oil that wears well all day despite its oil-based formula (though it’s now also available in a spray which I have yet to try!). The rose is subtle and not overly feminine at all. Non-rose lovers may be converted by this perfume. I know I was!

**Osmia Organics Posso

Probably the most unique scent in my current collection, Posso by Osmia Organics is strikingly more grounding and woodsy than its floral-heavy sisters. Base notes of violet leaf and frankincense ground your senses while Bulgarian rose absolute flirts with your senses. Lemon balm and grapefruit cut through those two scent profiles, brightening everything up without making the scent feel like a perky head cheerleader. And finally, Virginia cedarwood brings it all together with a sense of calm and cozy.

**StillLife Wild Heart

Rose. Geranium. Jasmine. Wood. This is basically kimberlyloc in a rollerball, and after sampling a small vial of this romantic blend, I purchased a full size to roll on throughout the day. If Wild Heart becomes available in a spray (and in a body wash and a body oil and a body lotion and anything else I can sink myself in), I’d easily scoop all those up, too. I like how pared-down it is, yet its scent offers depth thanks to a slice of wood and a pop of geranium.

**Strange Invisibles Fair Verona

Jasmine lovers: Make a point to try Fair Verona. Made with jasmine blossoms and touches of bergamot, grapefruit, sandalwood, and mimosa absolute, this luxury natural perfume has the depth of my favorite flower cut with happy citrus that makes my heart burst. I’m hanging on to what’s left of my small sample-with-purchase vial and will soon secure my first full-size purchase so that Fair Verona gets her special space on my perfume plate.

*True Nature Botanicals Noble Floral

I’ve mentioned before that tuberose is my secret floral obsession, but when it’s paired with jasmine and classic rose, I can’t help but want to yell it to the world that there’s a winner on our hands here, and it’s True Nature Botanicals’ Noble Floral Solid Perfume. But I restrain myself because while solid pefumes are charming (and True Nature Botanicals’ heavyweight, luxe packaging is absolutely stellar), I find that solid perfumes just don’t last on me. Instead, they’re lovely base layers for additional perfume oils and eventual eau de toilettes or parfums. TNB, do you hear me?! I would love to see an expansion of this scent, as it takes the best flowers and packs it into one ultra-feminine scent.

*Indicates press sample

**Indicates sample with purchase

***Indicates I had a press sample and then bought it myself

November 28, 2014

shopping guide | green beauty discounts & deals

All right, beauty enthusiasts, it’s that time of year again: Some of our favorite green beauty brands are offering up major discounts and deals.

Now’s the time to stock up on your favorites and choose healthy, gorgeous green beauty gifts for your loved ones.

I’ve rounded up some of the best deals I could find via the millions of emails and social media posts that have been popping up over the past 24 hours. Enjoy, and spend wisely!

black friday beauty codes cyber monday beauty deals

{The first time I ever set foot in ABC Carpet and Home in New York, I made my friend Carolyn wait as I shopped for, oh, two hours. She was not impressed with me, but took this photo anyway!}

100% Pure

  • Free Black Tea Mascara with purchase $75 or more (11/26- 12/1)
  • Free shipping on all orders
  • Code: PUREFRIDAY (November 26-November 29)

Abe’s Market

  • 10% off sitewide
  • Valid on Black Friday
  • 15% off orders $30 or more
  • Valid Sunday, November 30:
  • Cyber Monday
  • $5 off orders of $30 or more. Code: CYBERMONDAY5
  • $10 off orders of $50 or more. Code: CYBERMONDAY10
  • $25 off orders of $100 or more. Code: CYBERMONDAY25

African Botanics

  • 20% off
  • Valid through December 8
  • Code: thankyou20

Alima Pure

  • Free gift with purchase and free U.S. shipping on orders $65+ — no code needed 11/27 to 12/1.
  • 10% off with code MONDAYMONDAY on Cyber Monday


  • Receive a free Chi Flat Iron with your order of $200 or more
  • Coupon Code:  BFCHI
  • Valid Dates: 11/27/14 – 12/3/14
  • 10% off orders
  • CODE: GivingTen


  • From 9am EST to 11:59pm EST on Black Friday, receive 15% off all orders over $50, complimentary shipping, plus an extra special custom made Rose and Cardamom candle as our gift to you.
  • On Saturday BeauTeaBar turns ONE YEAR OLD! All orders over $25 on this day will receive a complementary #likeaboss nail polish.


  • $15 off $75, $35 off $150, and $65 off $250
  • DATE: 11.24-12.09
  • Cyber Monday: Get a free gift with any purchase


  • Free standard shipping
  • Code: THANKFUL
  • Valid through 12/1


  • Free Birchbox for every $60 you spend on subscriptions
  • Code: BOXME (11/28-11/30).
  • 25% off full-sized products when you spend $35
  • Code: FRIDAY25 (11/28-11/30).

The Choosy Chick

  • Spend $100 or more and get a $20 gift card and free shipping
  • Valid on Black Friday


  • Save 20% off all orders of $75 or more
  • Code: GRATITUDE.
  • Free shipping on all U.S. orders.

The Detox Market

  • Black Friday through December 3
  • $10 off $100 code: THANKS10
  • $30 off $200 code: THANKS30
  • $60 off $300 + gift w/ purchase code: THANKS60
  • Starts November 25th and goes until December 3rd.

Dr. Hauschka

  • Receive a free cleansing cream with all orders over $50 from Black Friday through Cyber Monday

Fig & Flower

  • BOGO 40% off (local residents, in-store only)
  • Valid on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday
  • 20% off
  • Valid through Cyber Monday

Indie Lee

  • Orders $65 or more, receive a sample-sized trio of the CoQ-10 Toner, Squalene Facial Oil and Lavender Chamomile Moisturizing Oil.
  • Code CYBERINDIE from 11/28 to 12/1.

Integrity Botanicals

  • Receive 20% off all orders over $100
  • Code: BLACK20
  • 15% off all orders under $100
  • Code: BLACK15.
  • All U.S. orders over $50 receive free shipping.
  • Valid through Cyber Monday at  11:59pm PST

John Masters Organics

  • 25% off sitewide
  • Code: HOLIDAY14
  • Valid through Cyber Monday

Jordan Samuel Skin

  • 30% off sitewide
  • Code: PEACE30
  • Valid Black Friday through Cyber Monday

Juice Beauty

  • Free Green Apple Nutrient Eye Cream with any $50 purchase and free shipping.
  • Code: BFS14
  • Valid Black Friday and Small Business Saturday
  • Free Full Size Green Apple SPF 15 Moisturizer ($38 value) with any $40 purchase and plus free shipping.
  • Code: SS14
  • Valid Small Business Saturday


  • Travel Essentials Set – $29 (over 50% off, a $73 value)
  • Jurlique Anti-Aging Set – $89 (50% off, a $179 value)
  • Daily Radiance Set – $96 (over 50% off, a $209 value)
  • $15 off any $50 purchase on Cyber Monday
  • $50 off any $150 purchase on Cyber Monday
  • $100 off any $300 purchase on Cyber Monday

Laurel Whole Plant Organics

  • 20% off on Friday 11/28
  • Code: THANKFUL20
  • 11/28 Friday midnight until 12/1
  • 15% off
  • Code: THANKFUL15

Marie Natie

  • 30% off sitewide
  • Code: GOBBLE

Meow Meow Tweet

  • 15% off sitewide
  • Code: TURTLEDOVES until 11/30 at 11:59pm EST.

Nourish Organic

  • 50% off all orders on Black Friday (11/28/14)
  • Code: GREEN50
  • 25% all orders on Cyber Monday and throughout Cyber Week
  • Code: CYBER25

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics

  • 20% off sitewide 11/28-12/1.

Olie Biologique

  • 30% off
  • Code THANKS30

Ora’s Amazing Herbal

  • Free shipping and 20% off

The Organic Pharmacy

  • 20% off VIP shopping event
  • Valid 11/28-11/30

Osmia Organics

  • 15% off Cyber Monday
  • Code OOHolidays


  • 20% off and free shipping on orders over $35 through 12/1 9 a.m. MST
  • Code: NOVSALE

Priti NYC

  • 40% off sitewide on Black Friday

Rachel’s Plan Bee

  • Free shipping and free gift with purchase (travel size samples of facial + body oil plus a lip balm)
  • No code needed
  • Valid Black Friday 12-midnight CST

Saffron Rouge

  • 20% off 5 bestselling brands for 5 days.
  • Visit Saffron Rouge site every day beginning on Black Friday for daily sale reveals.

Sibu Beauty

  • 60% off sitewide and free shipping on orders over $50
  • Code: SIBU60
  • Valid through Cyber Monday

Sigma Beauty

  • Free standard shipping on international + U.S. orders on 11/27  – 11/28 11:59pm PST
  • Code: BF2014
  • 20% off sitewide on Cyber Monday 12am PST-11:59pm PST
  • Code: CM2014

Splurge Skincare

  • 20% off and free shipping
  • Valid on Black Friday


  • 20% off
  • Valid through December 8
  • Code: FF2014

Tarte Cosmetics

  • 25% off
  • Code: FRIDAY
  • Valid through Small Business Saturday

Vapour Organic Beauty

  • 30%
  • Code: V30
  • Valid through Small Business Saturday


  • 30% off sitewide
  • Valid Black Friday through Small Business Saturday

Yes To

  • 35% off sitewide and free shipping through Small Business Saturday at 11:59pm EST
  • Code: SAYYES.
  • 40% off on Black Friday
  • Code: BRIGHT ends Black Friday 11:59pm EST
  • 35% off Saturday and Sunday
  • Code: HOLIDAY35 ends Small Business Saturday at 11:59pm EST


  • Buy 12 trio sets for $20 (a $30 value) and get free shipping through Cyber Monday.

October 31, 2014

beauty secrets | my current beauty routine

As a beauty blogger, I’m constantly testing new products on my skin — which is both a blessing and a curse.

I’m thankful that, on the one hand, I don’t have very reactive skin, so I can switch up my products a lot without too many repercussions.

However, I long for the day when I figure out a stable, beautiful routine that truly works for me.

I don’t think I’ll ever have one single routine, though, as my skin’s needs change with the seasons as well as week to week (thanks, hormones!), but I thought it would be fun to introduce a new monthly (we’ll see…) series documenting my current beauty routine, comprised of old favorites, links to previous reviews and insights into what I’m testing, along with preliminary results and thoughts.

Here’s what I’ve been using lately:

Morning Routine

Face Care

kimberlyloc's current beauty routine: cleansers

I like to use a cream cleanser in the morning, given my skin should be clean and makeup-free if I did my job the night before. Cream cleansers are also important for me during transition weather time, as my typically oily skin can get dry patches, and that extra little bit of creamy moisture starts my skin off right in the morning.

I’m currently finishing up Marula: The Leakey Collection Pure Marula Cleansing Lotion (reviewed here) and will be on to trialing Brittanie’s Thyme Organic Citrus Facial Cleanser going into November.

Regardless of which cream cleanser I use in the morning (I’m also a fan of Juice Beauty’s Cream Cleanser, reviewed here), I like to apply them to my face using a konjac sponge, and the current on in my shower is the French green clay one from The Konjac Sponge Company.

I’ve been using konjac sponges for quite some time now, but haven’t mentioned them much on the blog. I think they’re lovely in the morning — a nice little gentle exfoliation action combined with a gentle cream cleanser is just a perfect way to ease into the day.

The Konjac Sponge Company was the first brand of konjac sponges I tried, but there are lots of great options out there. The key is to find a konjac sponge that feels right against your skin — you don’t want anything too abrasive, and you want one that softens easily.

Body Care

kimberlyloc's current beauty routine: body washes

I usually have some sort of soap and body wash in my shower at all times, but right now, I’m relying on two body washes to get me through my morning routine.

Some mornings, I reach for Stop The Water While Using Me! All Natural Orange Wild Herbs Shower Gel. I like uplifting scents in the morning — think citrus, mint, coffee — and this one fits the bill. It produces a nice lather without stripping my skin, and I like the gentle reminder to conserve water — cool packaging and brand philosophy!

The other body wash currently in my shower is Sunevenus Blue Lotus Body Wash. I will be the first to admit that the packaging on this body wash is kinda wonky. The oversized bottle towers over my other shower goodies, and the mystical colors on the bottle are odd.

But. Oh my gosh. This shower gel has me sold! It’s a pretty blue, thanks to blue lotus, and it delivers a delightful tingle that’s very welcome in the early morning.

kimberlyloc's current beauty routine: body scrubs

Because I use a loofah to apply my shower gels and, when I’m using them, bar soaps, I don’t always use an additional body exfoliant. But when I need that extra bit of skin sloughing, my shower is decked out with 10 (yes, you read that right) body scrubs.

I just finished a tub of Flo + Theo Wild Mint Body Polish (see what I mean about the invigorating scents?!) and will be working my way through Organic Bath Co. Java Jolt Organic Sugar & Coffee Scrub and SubLime Organic Body Scrub.

If I choose to use a body scrub in the shower, I usually don’t follow up with a body oil, as there’s usually some residual oil on my skin that provides sufficient moisture. But as I don’t use a body scrub every day, it’s imperative to slap on body oil post-shower.

kimberlyloc's current beauty routine: body oils

I have an expansive body oil collection, and I usually reach for one based on scent and mood, but lately, I’ve been loving three very different body oils.

The first one that I’m more than halfway finished with is the new body oil from Rachel’s Plan Bee. If you’re a vanilla fan, you need this in your life. I find it comforting and ultra luscious on the skin. If you tend to wear vanilla or spice fragrances, this is a nice base for them — it won’t compete, but just compliment and help extend the life of your (hopefully natural!) fragrance.

If I’m not in the mood for vanilla, I reach for Tammy Fender’s Bulgarian Lavender Body Oil. It’s combination of lavender and rose makes for a stellar scent that’s deep, complex and soothing. This is one to relax to in the evening bath as well — such a versatile and beautiful oil.

The other oil that I’ll be mourning the loss of very soon is Kahina Giving Beauty’s Fez Body Serum. I’ve been loving this oil since late summer, and it’s down to the last few pumps. At “A Night for Green Beauty” in LA earlier this year, I sat next to Kahina founder Katharine L’Heureux at brunch and raved to her how I’d been living in Fez — the serum, not the city!

I’m about to be homeless, you guys.

I ran through this oil like nothing else because of its unique, spicy and cool scent and gorgeous appearance atop my vanity.

Though vastly different, these three oils have one thing in common: They are each packaged in convenient pump bottles that makes application easy.

Want to be heavy handed? Pump away! Want to control how much oil you use? Pump gently.

The bottom line is, you’re in control when there’s a pump bottle applicator. More body oils should be packaged this way.

Face Care

kimberlyloc's current beauty routine: daytime beauty oils

Out of the shower, I like to lightly spritz my face with a multitasking toner that offers both hydration and acne-fighting properties.

For me, this is May Lindstrom Skin’s The Jasmine Garden. I just finished another bottle of it (I think this is bottle three or four!) and have been missing its heady jasmine scent and powerful antibacterial properties (see my review here).

I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that for the past two weeks without it, my skin has been a bit of a hot mess. I’m re-ordering this once I get my skincare wish list together (gonna have some major hauls for November, as it’s my birthday month!).

While my face is still damp with jasmine beautifulness, I pat in Dr. Alkaitis’ Soothing Gel. I had a small travel-sized sample of this several months ago, and before it was almost out, I immediately repurchased the full size because it’s that good for my oily, acne-prone skin. This gel gently tightens, balances and — duh — soothes the skin, bringing it back to its normal levels after a hot shower. It dries quickly, leaving the skin ready for the next layers of skincare goodies.

Which leads me to my current daily skin cocktail. I’ve been loving KYPRIS Beauty’s Antioxidant Dew and Beauty Elixir II Healing Bouquet mixed together with a couple drops of one of Odacite’s skin boosters — Blueberry Jasmine Serum Concentrate on dry mornings, or Peach Cypress Serum Concentrate on regular days.

KYPRIS is one of those lines that really “gets it” when it comes to sustainability all around. I love that the line is all about experimentation — mixing up your own special blends — and encourages you to use just a few drops of each precious moisturizer to get your skin glowing.

I combine 2-3 drops of Antioxidant Dew with 2-3 drops of Healing Bouquet, which is way less than I usually use with other facial oils, yet it delivers so much more: A lightweight oil and dewy moisturizer that spreads easily across the skin. The addition of 1-2 drops of the Odacite booster of choice ensures I get an additional shot of whatever my skin my need that day.

I’ll be moving on from this regimen soon (I have so many other facial oils to test!), but it’s been one of my favorites by far, and I could see myself becoming a KYPRIS girl for life. Look for standalone reviews of these items very soon!

Now that it’s fall transition weather, an eye cream or oil is becoming more and more necessary, including during the day. I prefer to use a creamy formula during the day (instead of an oil), under makeup, and an eye oil at night. For my daytime eye treatment, I pat in half a pump of Kahina Giving Beauty’s Eye Serum under each eye. I like how lightweight it is, and the fact that I bought this from Katharine herself makes me happy to use it every morning. It’s not exactly a cream — more of a gel — but it’s not an oil, either.

Finally, the body part that’s been taking fall transition the worst lately is my lips! I’m chapped city over here, and I’ve been constantly reapplying a niche lip balm from Tinder & Sea on my kisser to keep it from getting cracked. (Tinder & Sea is so niche that there isn’t even a website yet!)

Skincare & Beauty at the Office

My coworker Amy seems to have my office beauty routine memorized (“Is it already time to mist your face?”. The only thing I tend to do during the day is mist my face, reapply lip balm and lip color and, sometimes, pat in some facial oil if I’m feeling dry or lackluster.

I keep about five hydrating facial mists on my desk, but the one I constantly reach for right now (typically in the early afternoon) is Josh Rosebrook’s Hydrating Accelerator. OMG. It’s got this light, marshmallow scent to it, and the mist is so fine and perfect, it truly is an early afternoon pick-me-up for my skin.

My office lip balm of choice (OK, I have five of them on my desk) is Moon Valley Organics’ Herbal Lip Balm in Vanilla. It’s creamy and smooth and just nice to be addicted to.

If I pat in additional facial oil during the day, it’s usually just onto my cheeks, and it’s usually Zweena’s Argan Rose Rejuvenating Face Serum (review here). This is just one of those simple and beautiful face oils that isn’t likely to offend my coworkers’ noses (because, c’mon, it’s rose!).

Evening Routine

Face Care

kimberlyloc's current beauty routine: evening cleansing and makeup removal

At night, it’s all about gently removing makeup and prepping my skin for slumber and repair.

While there’s a lot of great oil cleansers on the market, I’m pretty much sold on using a pure plant oil to break down makeup. Coconut oil and jojoba oil are my go-to’s, but I have tested some very lovely oil cleansers over the past month or so.

One that sticks out to me is Province Apothecary’s Moisturizing Cleanser + Makeup Remover. I ran through my sample of this cleansing oil quite quickly thanks to its beautiful combination of sunflower, jojoba, avocado and evening primrose oils that offered great slip and superb strength against even the stubbornest of makeup.

Another makeup remover that makes a little more sense for travel (compared to packing along a bottle of jojoba or coconut oils) is Me & The Girls Bar Beleza Multi-Use Beauty Bar. It truly is a multi-purpose beauty bar (think makeup remover, lip balm and moisturizing balm all in one), but I choose to use it as my travel makeup remover because I do just drag this bar across my makeup’d face and get to massaging.

After removing my makeup via oil cleansing, I then double cleanse with a nice gel cleanser and my Clarisonic Mia 2. I never used to be a Clarisonic girl, and I’m not saying I live and breathe by the thing, but I use it maybe three times a week or after heavy makeup days to really get my skin clean.

When I’m using the Clarisonic (with the acne brush head), I couple it with Yours Truly Organics Take It Away! Gel Cleanser. This is the best gel cleanser to use with the Clarisonic because it’s extra thick and provides a nice layer of product between your skin and the gentle brush head.

It’s not one I like to use on its own, as the thickness of the gel is a bit cumbersome applied with just hands — but with a skin brush? Perfection. I’m down to the last few pumps of this cleanser and will need to find an American stockist for it stat!

Once these last few pumps are done, I’ll move over to using my California Naturel Gentle Cleansing Gel with the Clarisonic. It works OK with the skin brush, but I feel like I have to use extra product to ensure there’s a good buffer of gel between my skin and the brush. This is one of those gel cleansers, though, that has enough slip to it to use when I’m washing my face with just my hands. See, every product has its place!

After cleansing, it’s time to tone again. Like I mentioned before, I’m out of my beloved May Lindstrom Skin The Jasmine Garden, so I’ve been subbing in a DIY tonic made at my hometown spa that contains witch hazel, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, turmeric oil and pine oil. It was also supposed to have aloe vera in it, but my facialist left it out — so I actually added it back in by mixing in some Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Herbal Toner (because I wasn’t really using it as-is anyway).

I like this as my evening toner because, well, to be honest the scent of ACV isn’t quite what I like first thing out of the shower. Plus, as I’m looking for acne prevention and repair at night, I know that my skin responds well to witch hazel. I don’t see this tonic replacing my MLS mist by any means, but for now, it will do.

I follow my toner with Dr. Alkaitis Soothing Gel (I just love that stuff!) and then create my evening skin cocktail. Enter KYPRIS once again.

kimberlyloc's current beauty routine: evening beauty oils and serums

This time, it’s a combination of Moonlight Catalyst and Clearing Serum with a shot of Odacite’s Black Cumin + Cajeput serum booster. Sometimes I like to add in a few drops of an additional oil, but because there’s some competing scents from the Clearing Serum and Black Cumin + Cajeput booster, I keep it simple with unscented Roiel Cosmetics Marula Oil.

I think it’s so important to keep a very simple and beautiful oil stocked as well as an unscented, minimal, single carrier oil stocked for times like these when you want to play alchemist and do a little mixing. This is becoming more and more the norm for me, and as much as I love my wildly scented blends, it’s nice too have a streamlined oil that can do the trick without too many bells and whistles.

After my skincare cocktail has fully absorbed, if it’s extra cool or a bit dry, I’ll dab in a dime-sized dollop of Le Beurre Shop Ultra Rich Shea Butter Face Cream, mainly to my cheeks and nostril area, which tend to get dry patches. I’ll also pat it into my decolletage area and rub any excess all over my hands and arms.

This is a relatively scentless shea butter mix (cut with grapeseed, jojoba and vitamin E) that doesn’t clog my pores and is just thick enough for fall and winter. In the spring and summer, this gets very little use!

My eyes get a bit of Kahina Giving Beauty Eye Serum again, or, depending on my mood, my Zweena Argan Ultra-Nourish Eye Serum (review here). If my hands still feel like they need a bit of moisture, I’ll add give them a shot of my favorite hand cream before getting into bed, and I’ll also reapply that niche lip balm. I don’t usually re-moisturize the other parts of my body before bed, but that may change as it gets colder here in the Midwest.

So, OK, I’ve mentioned more than 30 products here (hi Laurel, here’s a 30+ product girl!). And you know what? I use them and love them all, and this isn’t even all of them that get touched regularly.

These are just the ones that have been in rotation recently, and as we go into a new month and a new round of product testing, this will shift.

I’ll check in with you again at the end of the month to detail what I’ve been using, and hopefully you will see some in-depth reviews of the products I mentioned here very soon!

And, I’m for real here, I do look forward to the day when I can document my streamlined routine of things that I love and work well for me.

Switching products all the time can be rough on the skin and the psyche, and as a blogger, for me to tell you these detailed things makes me feel like I’m having to choose favorites among children.

I love green beauty brands and everything they stand for, and I hope to continue uncovering the best ones that work for me!

What products stood out to you in my routine? Which ones would you like to see in-depth, detailed reviews of first? Which ones do you also use? Tell me in the comments section!


May 29, 2014

beauty secrets | the ultimate guide to natural mascaras

Recently, I’ve had several people ask me about my favorite natural mascaras, so I figured it was time to finally reveal the notes I’ve been keeping in my Gmail drafts (yes, that’s how I roll) and share my ultimate guide to natural mascaras to date.

This will be an ever-growing post, so bookmark this baby to see the various natural mascaras I’ve tried, reviewed and repurchased.

A Note About My Eyes: I’ve said this before, but I have short, stick-straight, half-Asian eyelashes that point straight down. My Shu Uemura eyelash curler is my best friend, and I’m after a mascara that can 1) lengthen; 2) thicken; 3) hold a curl; and 4) not smudge on my oily skin.

Another Note: This little asterisk* indicates I received the natural mascara as a PR sample. So, yes, free stuff as well as paid-for-on-my-own stuff gets honest feedback around here!

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

Natural Mascaras I Will Not Repurchase

natural mascaras kimberlyloc will not repurchase

100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara

While it didn’t smudge (hallelujah!), 100% Pure’s Fruit Pigmented Mascara felt too dry and flaked off on me after a few hours. It’s extremely natural looking, too, meaning no real length or thickness added. If your lashes are already beautiful, then 1) I hate you and 2) you may want to try this (who knows if it will flake on you).

*Alima Pure Natural Definition Mascara

Alima Pure’s Natural Definition Mascara smudges within a few hours of applying. The lengthening power is nice, but the black spots are not.

Benecos Maximum Volume Mascara

Benecos’ Maximum Volume Mascara hass an extremely wet formula, which leads to crazy smudging within an hour of applying — even if I’m patient and let it dry completely before doing my daily acrobatics workout (this is a joke). For the hour that it’s not smudging, it lengthens my lashes but doesn’t do much to hold a curl or thicken. This is very common for Asian lashes — we need drier formulas that don’t weigh us back down. Any wet-formula mascara is going to be an epic fail for us.

*Dr. Hauschka Mascara

Another natural mascara that’s easily available at my local Whole Foods, Dr. Hauschka’s Mascara smudges on me and offers zero lift or va-va-voom factor.

*Dusty Girls Natural Mineral Mascara

This mascara delivers the “your lashes but better” look, but didn’t do much for holding a curl or thickening my lashes. It also smeared a bit by the end of the work day.

Geri G Plush Mascara

I wanted to love this mascara. It fattened up my lashes a bit, offering volume and length, but unfortunately, it budged on my by the end of the work day.

*Honeybee Naturals Truly Natural Mascara

I tried Honeybee Naturals a looooong time ago (back in my magazine editor days, circa 2008-ish), so unless there’s been a new formulation since then, this baby smudged on me, too.

Ilia Beauty Mascara in Nightfall

Ilia Beauty Mascara in Nightfall is the newest mascara in my collection (see it in this Instagram), and while I’m impressed with how long-lasting it is and appreciate that it doesn’t clump or smudge, I wish it thickened my lashes and held a curl a bit better. I have to re-curl my lashes a few hours after applying this to re-lock the shape. I will say that it has a better-than-natural look about it, so this could be an option for those days when your eye makeup is a little more subtle and you’re really doing up your lips. I could see myself possibly repurchasing this, but for $26, I’d expect it to meet all my needs.

*Jing Ai Eye Paint Mascara

I can’t tell if Donna from Jing Ai still sells her Eye Paint Mascara (I saw it for sale on a different site, but not Jing Ai’s), but alas, this super-inky natural mascara smudged like crazy on me and offered very little volume.

Josie Maran GOGO Instant Natural Volume Argan Mascara

I wanted to love this natural mascara because, I mean, it’s Josie Maran, just look at her, and it’s readily available at my local Sephora, but also it smudges like whoa on my oily skin.

*Odylique By Essential Care Mascara

While this mascara didn’t smudge on me, it didn’t do anything at all for my naturally straight, downward-pointing lashes. After applying it to freshly curled lashes, it actually weighed them down and didn’t help at all in the volumizing department. This is more of a “your-lashes-but-kind-of-darker” mascara. When I’m going for a no-makeup, natural look, I just skip mascara and only curl my lashes. Less work.

Physician’s Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin FakeOut Mascara

Like its sister formula below, this natural mascara from Physician’s Fornula isn’t too bad overall, but it dries out very quickly and flakes a bit. Too bad because this could have been a winner (especially at such an affordable price). Oh the balance between being a not-too-wet and not-too-dry mascara!

Physician’s Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Jumbo Lash Mascara

You can read my in-depth review of this natural mascara, but the short version is that this budget-friendly natural mascara from Physician’s Formulas is clumpy and smudges by the end of the day. It’s not too bad overall (to last all day without smudging is quite a feat!), but it’s not a repurchase for me.

*Pür Minerals Big Blink Mascara

This natural mascara from Pür Minerals lengthens and doesn’t smudge, but it doesn’t fatten up my lashes unless it’s doing so by making them extremely clumpy.

RMS Beauty Mascara

I’m a bit on the fence when it comes to RMS Beauty’s Mascara. It didn’t flake or smudge, but it didn’t give me that “Wow!” look; it’s just a nice, clean, natural-looking mascara that’s comparable to Ilia Beauty’s. Quite honestly, I guess I could just copy and paste my Ilia review and stick it here (I mean, even the packaging is quite similar!). I just expect a bit more from a $28 natural mascara. I’m going to keep it in my arsenal and continue to play with it, perhaps even layering it over or under Ilia’s to see if I can create a texture and hold that I like.

Tarte Lights, Camera, Flashes Statement Mascara

On a whim, I decided to try this updated version of my beloved Lights, Camera, Lashes to see how Tarte could improve upon its already-winning formula. Sadly, I was disappointed not in the formula, but in the packaging of this mascara. First, the mascara tube is awkward to hold.  There’s extra material on the edges of the wand handle (the bit of fabric outside the stitching — zoom in on the picture on the Sephora product page) that makes it super-cumbersome to hold and even more annoying to brush your lashes. Second, Tarte has redesigned the brush for this mascara so that there’s a variety of shorter and longer bristles on each side, which is supposed to better deliver product without allowing it to clump, but Tarte directs you to brush the mascara on in such a way that you’re constantly rotating the wand in a basically impossible way (see complaint No. 1 about the excessive packaging design). According to Tarte, “the shorter, denser side of the brush delivers the optimal amount of mascara to volumize and coat each lash perfectly. Then the longer, firmer side lengthens and separates for maximum volume without clumping.” If you didn’t get the application motion down pat, then the mascara is rendered useless and your lashes sad and short. Instead of this mascara, try the two I mention in my repurchase list below!

Natural Mascaras I Will Repurchase

(Once I Learn To Quit Obsessing Over Trying to Find Something Better Than These)

*BareMinerals Flawless Definition Mascara

At first application, I thought BareMinerals Flawless Definition Mascara would be another “natural look” mascara. Not so. It’s extremely buildable yet doesn’t clump thanks to all the fine little lash separators in the wand. BareMinerals Flawless Definition Mascara really does lengthen and lift the lashes, and when applied in even coats, gives you that bit of thick, dramatic fullness.

*Kjaer Weis Mascara

I am beyond impressed with this mascara. After reading several different reviews, I thought it would surely flake on me and give me raccoon eyes. Wow, was I pleasantly surprised! Kjaer Weis makes one of the best eco-luxe mascaras out there. My lashes were darkened, lengthened, lightly thickened and fully defined with just two coats of this organic mascara. It never smudged or flaked on me (which is the usual with my oily skin — and oily eyelids!). It lasted all day (a typical 9-hour work day and commute) without one mishap. Though, clearly, it’s what’s on the inside that counts, I also love Kjaer Weis’ chic packaging that’s refillable — smart, smart, smart.

*Lily Lolo Black Vegan Mascara

The skeptic in me didn’t have high expectations for this natural mascara, but after so many disappointments, can you blame me? My introduction to Lily Lolo, though, has been nothing short of fantastic. The new black vegan mascara easily rivals my beloved BareMinerals and Tarte. It holds a curl, lengthens, defines and even amps up the volume of my stick-straight lashes. Even more impressive for a new-ish formula, Lily Lolo natural mascara didn’t flake on me until, oh, 10 hours of wear. That’s a crazy feat! This is a definite repurchase, and I’m looking forward to trying more from Lily Lolo makeup.

*Living Nature Thickening Mascara

With its dry formula and long, medium-thick wand, Living Nature’s Thickening Mascara is a bit unassuming — until that first swipe onto your lashes. Wiggling from root to tip, I was able to get thick, luscious lashes that weren’t over the top yet were extremely flirtatious. With just a few quick layers, I could get a subtle bend without a lash curler and have a naturally glamorous look. Many thickening formulas run the risk of giving your tarantula eyes, but not Living Nature’s; it gently coats and builds the lashes without clumping or sticking together.

Pacifica Stellar Gaze Length & Strength Mineral Mascara

To be honest, I didn’t have very high hopes for Pacifica’s Stellar Gaze Length & Strength Mineral Mascara when I got it in a recent Goodebox. However, I was pleasantly surprised. This coconut oil-infused natural mascara didn’t run or flake on me, and I found that because the formula is a bit drier, it helped hold the curl in my stick-straight lashes while defining and lengthening every last one of them. The thickness and volume of my lashes with this mascara wasn’t va-va-voom, but it wasn’t paltry, either; it’s actually pretty comparable to Tarte’s performance!

Perfekt Lash Perfection Gel

As noted in this makeup of the day post, Perfekt’s Lash Perfection Gel has a medium-sized brush that’s brilliant at coating each and every lash with the perfect amount of mascara that helps you achieve both length and thickness.

*Studio 78 Paris We Flirt Around: Double Effect Mascara

I’ve heard a lot of hype around Studio 78 Paris’ “We Flirt Around: Double Effect Mascara,” and it’s for good reason — it works! Marissa at BeauTeaBar sent me a sample to try, and while I’m always a skeptic, I was wowed by the performance of this natural mascara. It’s not too wet and not too try; this is another one that’s very comparable to Tarte and is almost a hybrid of Tarte and BareMinerals — but with way chicer packaging. It held my curl and didn’t flake or smudge on me. Hello for another win!

Tarte Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara

It was only by chance that I tried this mascara, as it was a free gift with purchase of another Tarte product, but I’m so thankful I got it. It’s a fantastic volumizing, lash-blackening mascara that is said to increase lash volume by 406 percent! I don’t do crazy math like that, but what I can report is that this mascara delivered in the va-va-voom department and didn’t flake on me at all. I may even dare to say that I like it better than my go-to Lights, Camera, Lashes, especially because the cool wooden packaging and wand are easy to hold and look nice in my cosmetics bag. Tarte, you have my heart!

Tarte Lights, Cameras, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara

I’ve repurchased Tarte’s Lights, Cameras, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara several times; it’s my go-to when I’m frustrated by the natural mascara hunt. You can see me wearing it in this makeup of the day post, but I’ll go ahead and tell you again that this is a staple because of the lengthening, curling, defining and thickening it offers.

What are some of your favorite natural mascaras? What do you look for in a great natural mascara? What picks in my “will not repurchase” list are on YOUR repurchase list? Tell me in the comments section!

May 28, 2014

beauty secrets | best pixie hair styling products, part 2

It’s been nearly a year since I chopped all my hair off into a pixie cut.

In that time, I’ve tried several styling products — some clean, some conventional — and have finally arrived upon my favorite three products for keeping my short ‘do sassy and stylish.

View what I used in the beginning and see how the pixie cut has evolved.

best pixie hair styling products

1. Pre-heat Styling Aid

I like the idea of using a heat-resistant spray, but coupled with what I actually need — a pre-heat styling aid to get my hair a bit gritty before drying and styling — I have opted to only use Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Treatment.

Nope, it’s not “natural,” but it is free of sulfates, silicones and oils.

The oil-free thing is necessary for someone like me with fine hair, so I don’t mind that bit of marketing (and you guys know that I love my hair oils — for overnight use only).

I happened upon Living Proof Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Treatment via a swag bag I received during Kansas City Fashion Week back in March and have been using my trial size daily since then. It’s a repurchase for me (unless some clean beauty brand tells me it has something amazing that mimics this stuff!).

2. Texturizing Agent

After navigating the wonderful world of creams, pomades, pastes, waxes and so forth, I finally landed on one that has the perfect strength, consistency and performance for my fine, oily strands that tend to fly away and bend in funny ones: Aveda Control Paste.

I’ve gone through two tubs of this stuff (purchased at my local Aveda salon, Xiphium, and as my favorite natural spa, Milagro Midwestern Spa & Collective, purged its Aveda inventory in favor of cleaner hair products).

While yes, Aveda is part of big beauty now and could be a lot cleaner, I find that this sticky putty keeps my fine hair under control without weighing it down or making it look greasy.

Side note: I was inspired to try Aveda Control Paste after seeing how well it held up a faux hawk on the young man behind the counter at Miette in San Francisco. Yes, I’m that girl who asks about all your beauty products when you’re just trying to sell me a sweet treat!

3. Hairspray

In my previous post about pixie cut styling picks, I mentioned Davines N°7 Crystal Fixative Lacquer.

I still like this hairspray, but have found that Aveda’s Control Force Hairspray has a better spray mechanism; it’s more evenly distributed in a fine, wide mist.

Aveda Control Force Hairspray also has a slightly better hold (they weren’t joking with that “Control Force” naming!). Anyone with a pixie cut knows that the final spray around the head is essential to locking in a style; to have a hairspray that does this without making your hair hard / crunchy / helmet-like is an instant winner!

Do any of my readers have pixie cuts? If so, tell me what you’re using and how it works for your hair type in the comments below!


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