Entries Tagged as 'skin'

March 25, 2015

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

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

beessential mechanic's and gardener's soap

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

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

Here’s the full ingredients list:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 23, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

organic essence deodorant

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

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

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

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

organic essence deodorant

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

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

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

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

*Certified Organic by Global Culture

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

*Certified Organic by Global Culture

Other scents available include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 11, 2015

beauty scoop | josh rosebrook oculus formula

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

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

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

josh rosebrook oculus formula

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

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

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

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

josh rosebrook oculus formula

Here’s everything else inside Oculus Formula:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lastly, let’s talk irritation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beauty link party on TLV Birdie Blog

February 25, 2015

beauty scoop | waxelene lip tube

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

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

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

Time to get real, y’all!

waxelene lip tube

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hello, grossed-out looks from strangers and friends!

waxelene lip tube

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


February 23, 2015

beauty scoop | kypris beauty elixir II healing bouquet

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

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

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

kypris beauty elixir II healing bouquet

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

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

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

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

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

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

kypris beauty elixir II healing bouquet

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

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

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

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

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

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

kypris beauty elixir II healing bouquet

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

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

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

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

Here’s the full ingredients list:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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 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)

January 19, 2015

beauty scoop | arya essentials face oil

“Ayurveda intrigues and inspires me; the simplicity of it and how you can draw everything you need from nature. This natural healing science — over 5,000 years old — is native to India and full of recipes passed on from generation to generation.”

— Shadoh Punnapuzha, founder, Arya Essentials

One of my favorite pampering memories is visiting an Ayurvedic Center at an island spa.

Though I haven’t exactly been able to replicate that experience here in the Midwest, I can come pretty close in theory when I use Arya Essentials’ Face Oil.

arya essentials face oil

{Arya Essentials sent me a sample of its Face Oil. It costs $92 for a 30 ml bottle. Photo Courtesy Arya Essentials}

With a potent blend of essential oils and high-performance natural ingredients such as amla, brahmi and tulsi, Arya Essentials’ Face Oil is formulated to boost collagen production, prevent aging and reduce visible signs of wrinkles.

The scent is different than what you may typically expect from an Ayurvedic line. Instead of the heavy spices and savory scents that you’ve come to associate with Ayurveda, Arya Essentials’ Face Oil dresses your skin in a powdery soft, floral scent thanks to sandalwood, ylang ylang and geranium.

This is a bit of a big deal to me, as Ayurvedic skincare is commonly characterized by heavy-duty scents (think neem and basil), but Arya Essentials’ Face Oil manages to deliver both the standout, traditional ingredients while offering a light, feminine scent that’s pleasant enough to pass for a soft perfume.

The texture is what we’ve all come to expect from luxury facial oils: Lightweight, fast-drying and soft to the touch.

I can get by with 3-4 drops applied to a properly toned / misted face. The thoughtful ingredient blend allows for an even application and slip, making this face oil one that you don’t have to pile on to get that well-hydrated feel.

arya essentials face oil

Speaking of incredible ingredients, let’s get down to it:

Amla, also known as Indian gooseberry, is known for its high vitamin C content and powerful rejuvenating properties. There’s even been talks of amla berries having potential cancer-fighting benefits (though more likely when eaten, not slathered on the face).

Amla also has anti-inflammatory and astringent properties, making it an ideal ingredient for Pitta skin like mine.

In addition to amla, Arya Essentials Face Oil contains brahmi, another widely respected Ayurvedic herb celebrated for its ability to brighten and soothe the skin. Brahmi also boasts detoxifying properties, gently toning and calming troubled skin.

Tulsi, or Holy Basil, is yet another popular plant rich in skin-saving antioxidants that purify and add radiance to dull skin. It’s highly regarded as a heavyhitter when it comes to antioxidant content and antibacterial, anti-viral and immune-enhancing properties.

With these three superstar Ayurvedic ingredients going to work in a base of argan, jojoba and sweet almond oils, my highly hormonal, Pitta skin could not be happier drinking up the years-old promise of Ayurvedic skincare.

Here’s the full ingredients list:

Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Centella Asiatica (Brahmi) Oil, Rosa Rubiginosa (Rose Hip Seed) Oil, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Oil, Phyllanthus Emblica (Amla) Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Ocimum Sanctum (Tulsi) Oil, Azadirachta Indica (Neem) Oil, Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Oil

I will point out, though, that none of these ingredients are listed as certified organic, which is disappointing given the high cost of this face oil.

While I respect the thoughtful blend, I always wonder what it would take to source organics — and how that affects price. I would love to see Arya Essentials reformulate to add more certified organic ingredients!

Besides that detail, I’d say Arya Essentials Face Oil is a winner. It’s got all the good-for-Pitta-skin ingredients packed away in a lightweight, mixed carrier oil base that’s easy on the nose for those who don’t like spicy or herbal scents on their faces.

What’s been your experience with Ayurveda? Have you tried Arya Essentials? What are your favorite Eastern herbs and ingredients? Tell me in the comments section!


January 14, 2015

beauty scoop | tatcha luminous deep hydration firming serum

In the green beauty world, we throw around the world “serum” to encompass anything from sticky, tacky-feeling serum-gels to bona fide face oils cleverly called “super serums.”

According to the beauty encyclopedia in my head, serums are lightweight, gel-like substances packed with highly active ingredients designed to address particular skin issues.

The feel of TATCHA’s Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum fits the encyclopedia definition above, with a perfect, non-sticky, gel consistency that’s featherlight and quick-drying, making it easy to layer your creams or plant oils atop if you so choose.

All of the active ingredients, though, are up for debate.

tatcha luminous deep hydration firming serum

{TATCHA sent me a sample of its Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum to review. It costs $95 for a 1-ounce plastic pump jar. Photo Courtesy TATCHA}

TATCHA describes its Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum as a deeply hydrating blend of Okinawa red algae and hyaluronic acid designed to nourish skin that needs a shot of moisture and a bit of glow.

In true TATCHA fashion, this serum is packed with 23-karat gold flecks that gives skin a lit-from-within look without adding heavy shimmer or glitter to the face. You can see the light flecks and shimmer in the photo below.

I enjoy using TATCHA’s Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum as a base layer in my skincare (after washing and toning) and then layering on oils and creams if necessary. If you have oily skin like me, you will find that this serum slicks on very easily and dries almost instantly.

It won’t goo up the way some sticky serums do, and you can easily blend it with your favorite facial oils if you don’t want apply layer by layer of beauty products. It just takes one pump to cover the whole face. Try one and a half pumps to include your neck.

If you’re able to, TATCHA’s Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum is an absolute gem to blend with the brand’s Gold Camellia Beauty Oil. Can you just imagine the gold glow you will have with these two products combined?!

It also blends well with other beautiful, lightweight oils, and the scent is somewhat neutral so it won’t compete. It smells a bit like rice and a flower petal, but isn’t exactly floral. It’s just a very baby-soft scent.

tatcha luminous deep hydration firming serum

As part of the “Water” collection, TATCHA Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum harnesses the power of Okinawan red algae and hyaluronic acid to soothe and firm skin while injecting moisture.

TATCHA also takes advantage of green beauty favorites such as silk extract, olive squalene, camellia extract and royal jelly extract, all known for their ability to soften and soothe skin.

My concern with this product, though, is that a lot of that good stuff is further down on the ingredients list.

Here’s the full ingredients list:

Water, Glycerin, Propanediol, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Alcohol, Methyl Gluceth-20, Polyglyceryl-10 Eicosanedioate/Tetradecanedioate, Carrageenan (Algae Extract), Fragrance (All Natural), Inositol (Rice Extract), Polyglyceryl-10 Myristate, Titanium Dioxide, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sericin (Silk Extract), Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate (Licorice Extract), Silica, Hydrogenated Lecithin (Soy Origin), Squalane (Olive Origin), Sodium Dilauramidoglutamide Lysine, Camellia Sinensis Leaf (Green Tea) Extract, Royal Jelly Extract, Algae Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Gold, Sodium Bicarbonate, Xanthan Gum Crosspolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Butelyne Glycol, HDI/Trimethylol, Hexyllactone Crosspolymere, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite

I will be the first to note that the ingredients list looks intimidating, but a quick run through the EWG Skin Deep Database reveals that most of these ingredients score in the 0-2 range, with the exception of phenoxyethanol (4), which a lot of you avoid anyway.

And, as you can see, TATCHA is formulated without parabens, mineral oils, synthetic fragrances, sulfate detergents, urea, DEA, TEA or phthalates.

I’ve mentioned this in previous reviews of products that contain it, but the inclusion of alcohol (ingredient No. 5) is what gives me the most pause, as it’s known to be very drying to the skin — and the inclusion of it is higher up on the list.

With that said, my skin has never felt tight, itchy or dry using TATCHA Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum. It’s the long-term effects of using alcohol-laden skincare that’s always up for discussion.

I would love to hear more from you (and from TATCHA!) about the reasoning behind using and/or avoiding alcohol in your beauty routines. Is it absolutely necessary when it comes to formulating? What are the alternatives?

Because of these hesitations, TATCHA Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum isn’t on my repurchase list. I’ll definitely be watching this brand to see how it develops even more and if any reformulation is in the works.

You can also check out more of my TATCHA reviews here.

In the meantime, I invite you to tell me more about alcohol in skincare and active ingredients in skincare. What are your totally off-limits ingredients? What’s your POV on alcohol in serums and other skincare treatment products? Tell me in the comments section!


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