Entries Tagged as 'skin'

August 19, 2014

beauty scoop | dr. alkaitis organic purifying facial cleanser

With its addictive herbal scent and low-foaming action, Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser didn’t last long around here — and that’s a good thing.

Unlike many cleansers I test, Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser made it to “empties” status, and I’m a bit sad that it’s gone.

dr. alkaitis organic purifying facial cleanser

{Dr. Alkaitis sent me a sample of its Organics Purifying Facial Cleanser. A full-size bottle costs $65 for 4 ounces, or a two-month supply according to the brand.}

This gentle, castile soap-based cleanser hooked me with its slippery-but-not-too-slippery texture that made it easy to apply and rinse.

Most castile soap-based cleansers I’ve tried are way too watery; I typically end up wasting product, but not with Dr. Alkaitis Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser.

Instead, this organic face cleanser is thickened up just a bit with aloe vera gel and then pumped full of nutrients via Dr. Alkaitis’ own “Organic Herbal Skin Complex,” which adds major skin-healing benefits to this seemingly simple cleanser.

dr. alkaitis organic purifying facial cleanser

Here’s the full ingredients list:

Added into Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Castile Cleansing Base (compounded from virgin, cold pressed organic Olive*, organic Shea*, Organic Jojoba*, organic Coconut*, organic Sesame*, organic Castor* and organic Borage* oils), the following ingredients are added: Organic Aloe Vera Gel *, Organic Herbal Skin Repair Complex (made up of Chamomile*, Plantain*, Black Elder*, Greater Nettle*, Myrrhº, Bitter Orange*, Rosemary*, Marsh Mallow*, Benzoinº, Marigold*, True Lavender*, Sea Wrackº and Atlantic Seaweedº), Vegetable Glycerin, Citrus seed extract, Natural vitamin A complex, Natural vitamin C complex, Natural vitamin E complex (D-alpha, beta, gamma, delta tocopherols), 100% pure Essential Oils.

* – Signifies certified organically grown.
º – Signifies ethically wild-crafted.

My oily, acne-prone skin responded well to the ingredients in this cleanser.

During the time I tested it, I had a few active breakouts and with regular use of this (in addition to my trusty Zum Rub), my skin seemed to heal a bit faster and my face looked a bit calmer.

I will admit, though, that my personal skincare philosophy doesn’t have me spending lots of money on cleansers.

Because they stay on your skin for a short period time (rinsing money down the drain!), it’s difficult for me to swallow the idea of paying $65 (or, hell, more than $25) for a cleanser that doesn’t do some sort of double duty (I’m thinking one that can also be used as a mask or mixed in with a mask).

But, because my skin was so compatible with Dr. Alkaitis Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser, I could see myself repurchasing the travel kit (which is where this cute sample came from) and using it while I’m away from home, which is usually stressful on my skin.

What’s your facial cleanser budget? Have you tried this cleanser? What do you like from Dr. Alkaitis’ line? Tell me in the comments section!


August 18, 2014

beauty secrets | four natural after-sun treatments to cool sunburned skin

I know all of you are keeping cool in the shade during the sun’s strongest hours (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.), or you’re wearing a great natural sunscreen to protect yourself from frying.


For those of us who still manage to get a bit burnt (ahem, me on the Fourth of July), there’s plenty of great natural after-sun lotions and gels to help our skin cool down and heal a bit faster.

Here’s the four I keep stashed in my fridge.

*Indicates PR sample

natural after sun skin care aloe vera and lotion

Aubrey After Sun with CoQ10 and Pomegranate*

Aubrey’s After Sun with CoQ10 and Pomegranate is a medium-texture lotion loaded with CoQ10 to support collagen post-sun exposure.

Organic pomegranate provides a shot of healing antioxidants while baobab oil softens the skin.

It dries quickly and leaves a faint floral-fruit scent.

Here’s what’s inside Aubrey After Sun with CoQ10 and Pomegranate:

Aqua, aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, cetyl alcohol, alcohol denat. (38b, lavender*), butyrospermum parkii*, glycerin, simmondsia chinensis seed oil*, rosa rubiginosa (Rosa Mosqueta®) seed oil*, ubiquinone, adansonia digitata seed oil, glyceryl linolenate, glyceryl linoleate, citrus grandis extract, punica granatum seed oil*, citrus medica limonum peel oil*, tussilago farfara leaf extract, equisetum hyemale extract, tocopheryl acetate, hamamelis virginiana water, ascorbic acid, glycine soja oil, daucus carota sativa root extract, beta-carotene. *Organic

Lily of the Desert 99% Aloe Vera Gelly

Lily of the Desert’s Aloe Gelly is a simple aloe vera after-sun treatment that simply works.

The cool gel feels amazing on warm skin and doesn’t get sticky like some aloe vera after-sun treatments.

If you’re avoiding phenoxyethanol in your skincare, though, you’ll need to pass on this one.

Here’s what’s inside Lily of the Desert 99% Aloe Vera Gelly:

Organic aloe vera barbadensis leaf juice (gel), carbomer (thickener), certified organic aloe vera juice (gel) concentrate, organic aloe vera barbadensis leaf polysaccharides (aloesorb™), tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), retinyl palmitate (vitamin A), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), disodium EDTA (preservative), caprylyl glycol (emollient), phenoxyethanol (preservative), sorbic acid (preservative).

Shea Terra Organics African Aloe Topical Gel*

A cleaner (and more expensive) option than the Lily of the Desert aloe vera mentioned above, Shea Terra Organics’ African Aloe Topical Gel is housed in a neat pump jar made of protective amber-colored glass.

Shea Terra says this aloe, sourced from the Cape of South Africa, is known to be the most active aloe in the world, meaning its healing properties are more rapid and intense.

Shea Terra Organics African Aloe Topical Gel has that traditional slippery feel to it and is dense enough that it takes just a little to treat the affected areas.

If I had to choose one to repurchase from this collection, it would be this one!

Here’s what’s inside Shea Terra Organics African Aloe Topical Gel:

Cape Aloe 99%, xanthum gum (natural thickener), potassium sorbate (mild preservative), sodium benzoate (mild preservative)

Coola Environmental Repair Plus Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion*

With its impressive ingredients list, including agave, aloe vera, lavender oil, rosemary extract and sunflower oil, COOLA’s Environmental Repair Plus Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion does a thorough job of soothing and moisturizing skin.

The thoughtful addition of agave ensures proper hydration and collagen synthesis in addition to sunburn relief.

Old pal aloe vera keeps moisture packed into the skin while lavender and rosemary calm and renew (not to mention make this natural after-sun lotion smell incredible!).

Here’s what’s inside Coola Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion:

Water/aqua/eau, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice*, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Caprylic/capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Glucoside, Saccharomyces/agave Americana Leaf Ferment Filtrate*, Cetyl Palmitate, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Oil*, Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Reticulata (Mandarin Red) Peel Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Cedrus Atlantica (Cedar) Wood Oil, Xanthan Gum, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract*, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol.

What natural after-sun treatments have you been using? Have you tried any of these? Tell me in the comments section!


August 15, 2014

beauty scoop | rachel’s plan bee body polish

In a perfect world, every body scrub would have just the right amount of exfoliating power, ultra-hydrating oils and tantalizing scents to keep me digging to the bottom of the tub day in and day out.

Rachel’s Plan Bee Body Polish must have come from this perfect world, because of the nine (!!!) body scrubs in my shower right now, these are the two that I keep scooping my hands into and applying from head to toe every week.

rachel's plan bee body polish

{Rachel’s Plan Bee sent me samples of its Coconut Beach Body Polish and Vanilla Spice Body Polish. Each body polish costs $16 for a 7-ounce plastic tub.}

Rachel’s Plan Bee Body Polishes boast a whipped consistency yet feel substantial in your hands thanks to the uber-moisturizing base of shea butter, sugar and clay.

It’s one of those rare body scrubs that isn’t totally drenched in oils (you know, the ones that coat your skin with a thick layer of oil that gets stuck under your nails if you scratch yourself).

Instead, it imparts just the right amount of long-lasting oil on your skin after you’ve rinsed off the scrub, and while your tub will be a bit slippery, it’s still not as slippery as some scrubs can leave your tub. This is likely thanks to the addition of clays such as kaolin and Moroccan lava which absorb excess oil.

Some body scrubs can also feel super-chunky because of the size of the sugar crystals used; Rachel’s Plan Bee Body Polish uses very fine sugar to give your body an even, sandy exfoliating experience.

rachel's plan bee coconut beach body polish

{Photo Courtesy Rachel’s Plan Bee}

I typically exfoliate my body once or twice a week, usually on days when I shave my legs (TMI?) to really help open up my pores and prevent in-grown hairs and bumps.

Plus, I just love how extra soft and luxe my skin feels post-shave and post-exfoliation.

While I always apply body oil while my skin is still damp post-shower, I find that I really don’t need to after I’ve exfoliated with Rachel’s Plan Bee Body Polish. It’s just a nice extra if I want some additional moisture, but for the most part, this takes care of my hydration needs.

Now that’s what I call a perfect flippin’ body scrub.

Rachel’s Plan Bee sent me two different scrubs to try. Both scents — Coconut Beach and Vanilla & Spice — were absolutely lovely, but according to which one is closer to being empty, I liked the Vanilla & Spice Body Polish better!

rachel's plan bee vanilla and spice body polish

{Photo Courtesy Rachel’s Plan Bee}

If my memory serves me correctly, the Vanilla & Spice was a limited release, made with the most intoxicating vanilla aroma. Here’s to hoping Rachel makes it again soon — or even adds it to her permanent collection of body polishes.

Currently, Rachel’s Plan Bee offers body polishes in the following scents:

  • Original (Citrus and vanilla)
  • Lavender Spirit (Lavender, vanilla and chamomile)
  • LIMITED EDITION: Lavender Mojito (Lime, mint, sugar and lavender)
  • Mint For You (Peppermint, spearmint and eucalyptus)
  • Coconut Beach (Orange, vanilla and chamomile)
  • Citrus Breeze (Lemon, vanilla and chamomile)

Here’s what’s inside Rachel’s Plan Bee Coconut Beach Body Polish:

Sucrose, Grapeseed Oil, Shea Butter, Apricot Kernel Oil, White Kaolin, Moroccan Lava Clay, Beeswax, Alpha Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Citrus sinensis (Orange) Peel Oil, Vanilla planifolia, Anthemis nobilis (Chamomile Roman) Flower Oil, Sunflower seed oil with natural and organic flavorings, Glyceryl Monocaprylate (and) Glyceryl Monoundecylenate*    *100% Vegetable derived natural preservative

I’m looking forward to restocking Rachel’s Plan Bee Body Polishes (even though I have several others in my shower, I know). Citrus Breeze and Lavender Mojito look like they could be winning scents!

Why must I always be attracted to the limited edition runs of everything?!

At $16 a pop, I can easily try all the different scents Rachel makes without blowing my skincare budget. This is one of the most fairly priced, fun lines around. On the repurchase and recommend list for sure!

Have you tried anything from Rachel’s Plan Bee? What do you look for in a good body scrub? What scents are you drawn to? Tell me in the comments section.


August 14, 2014

beauty scoop | laurel whole plant organics facial balm restore nightly

While I rely on my own senses to make decisions on green beauty products, there’s something about getting a little compliment from someone you admire that helps seal the deal on whether you’ll use something again.

And someone I admire told me my skin felt and smelled good after I applied Laurel Whole Plant Organics’ Facial Balm: Restore Nightly.

I’ll let your mind wander now.

Laurel Whole Plant Organics' Restore Nightly Facial Balm

{Laurel Whole Plant Organics sent me a small sample of its Restore Nightly Facial Balm. It costs $88 for a 30 ml Miron glass jar.}

But it wasn’t after just one application that I was sold (or complimented!) on Laurel Whole Plant Organics’ Facial Balm: Restore Nightly.

I integrated the balm into my evening skincare regimen post-toner (remember this one?!) on some of the cooler nights this season and couldn’t get over how well the balm melted into my skin and kept my oil production in check while drenching my skin in botanical moisture.

And while most of you know I’m biased toward face oils and face balms, there’s still a texture perfection that must be reached with these products.

Some balms can be a bit too hard and take some coaxing to melt down and apply. Laurel Whole Plant Organics’ Facial Balm: Restore Nightly has just the right firmness on the surface and buttery softness once you break into it .

While Laurel Whole Plant Organics’ Facial Balm: Restore Nightly is designed for those with dry or mature skin, it worked well on my oily, acne-prone skin. If you have the same skin type as me, you can just use less of this balm and extend the life of it a bit!

I’m attracted to Laurel Whole Plant Organics’ Facial Balm: Restore Nightly not only because of its amazing texture, but also because of its grounding, light floral-green scent derived from sandalwood, rose and myrrh (you know I’m a huge fan of myrrh!).

Here’s everything that’s inside Laurel Whole Plant Organics’ Facial Balm: Restore Nightly:

Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Shea Butter, Organic Rosehip Seed Oil, Organic Borage Seed Oil, Organic Almond Oil, Organic Evening Primrose Oil, Organic Tamanu Oil, Organic Sea Buckthorn Oil, Organic Beeswax, Organic Pomegranate Oil, Organic Rosemary, in-house biodynamic proprietary blend of Organic Gotu Kola, Organic Calendula, Organic Comfrey, Organic Nettle, Organic Chamomile, Organic Licorice, Organic Red Clover, Organic Lemon Balm, Organic Astragalus, Organic Yarrow, Organic Elderflower, and Organic Horsetail; and essential oils of Organic Rose, Organic Sandalwood, and Organic Myrrh

And then, upon further inspection of the ingredients list, I really understand why my skin adores this balm: Look at all those natural acne-fighting and skin-calming ingredients!

Jojoba oil, the first plant oil I began using as I switched to green beauty products several years ago, works so well with my oily, acne-prone skin. It’s light and balancing and incredible at coaxing out impurities.

Rosehip oil offers a shot of vitamin A while borage oil — which I also take internally as a supplement to keep my skin clear — fights inflammation, typical of acne sufferers (or at least me).

Evening primrose oil and tamanu oil are also seasoned inflammation- and acne-fighters, and the addition of soothing ingredients such as calendula and chamomile help calm the skin as it repairs itself during your evening rest time.

Rose, myrrh, pomegranate oil and sea buckthorn oil also offer soothing, nourishing effects during the skin repair cycle.

As you can see, there’s a lot packed into this little jar of wonder — 27 beneficial active ingredients, if you want to count them!

While some people prefer more simplistic skincare with very few ingredients, there’s something to be said about a balm with the right combination of synergistic ingredients, mindfully concocted by a beautiful herbalist who knows her stuff (talking about Laurel!).

I’ll continue purchasing Laurel’s creations. This line is easily one of my absolute favorites, from packaging to product performance, and I’m excited to share thoughts on more items from her collection that have me swooning.

What do you look for in a night balm? What have you tried from Laurel Whole Plant Organics? Tell me in the comments section below!


August 12, 2014

beauty scoop | kahina giving beauty night cream

Though I’m not typically a face cream kind of gal — I gravitate toward face oils and face balms — I had a feeling Kahina Giving Beauty’s Night Cream would be the exception to my typical tastes from the moment the silky cream went from my fingers to my face.

kahina giving beauty night cream

{Kahina Giving Beauty sent me its new Kahina Night Cream to to sample and review. It costs $105 for a 50 ml Miron glass jar.}

As an oily-skinned lady, I tend to avoid night creams because they’re just too heavy for my congestion-prone skin.

But Kahina Giving Beauty’s Night Cream is something of a hybrid between a traditional night cream and the oils and balms I’ve come to love. It’s easy to spread — milky, even — yet dries to a supple sheen, never over-dewy or flat-out shiny.

During winter, I could see myself using Kahina Giving Beauty’s Night Cream during the day (which is totally fine from an ingredients standpoint — no photo-sensitivity issues here) to give my skin an extra boost of moisture without any of the heavy weight.

It layers well over a serum, and for extra moisture (again, for winter for me), you can top it off with an additional shot of argan oil or prickly pear seed oil. Talk about a powerhouse skin regimen!

kahina giving beauty night cream

So what makes Kahina Giving Beauty Night Cream a powerhouse product on its own?

Kahina’s staple, vitamin E-rich argan oil, combines with red wine grapes loaded with resveratrol and polyphenols to give Kahina Giving Beauty’s Night Cream just what it needs to help improve your skin’s texture and tone while gently firming and lifting the skin.

The soft floral scent (which should be bottled into a natural perfume!), made possible by a smart blend of lavender and lemon balm, encourages nightly relaxation of the senses and calming of the mind as the lightweight formula quickly soaks into the skin.

While I don’t yet have to deal with fine lines and wrinkles, the thoughtful ingredients packed into Kahina Giving Beauty’s Night Cream are designed to help smooth and prevent these signs of aging and can also defend the skin against environmental free radicals that can further exaggerate these signs.

kahina giving beauty night cream

Here’s everything that’s inside Kahina Giving Beauty Night Cream:

Organic aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, organic argania spinosa (argan) oil, glyceryl stearate citrate, cetearyl alcohol, glyceryl caprylate, pichia/resveratrol ferment extract, lactobacillus ferment, organic helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, propanediol, vitis vinifera (grape) juice extract, organic glycerin, water/aqua/eau, organic butyrospermum parkii (shea) nut butter, sodium hyaluronate, disodium rutinyl disulfate, hordeum distichon extract, melissa officinalis extract, cetyl esters, organic rosa damascena (rose) flower oil, organic pelargonium graveolens (geranium) leaf/flower oil, organic lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower oil, citrus aurantium (petitgrain bigarade) leaf/bud oil, bisabolol, organic tanacetum annuum flower oil, santalum spicatum (sandalwood) wood oil, organic rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, sclerotium gum, p-anisic acid, xanthan gum

As I approach 29 this fall (you have my birthday marked on your calendar, right?), I’ll remember to keep using powerful preventative organic beauty products like Kahina Giving Beauty Night Cream in hopes that my skin ages as well as that of my beautiful 62-year-old mother’s.

(My mom swears by her night creams and the proof is in her skin! She’s slowly turning on to natural products now thanks to yours truly.)

And with that, Kahina Giving Beauty Night Cream is clearly a repurchase.

At $105, it’s a luxury beauty buy, but the fact that it takes just a dime-sized dollop to spread across the whole face means it will last a long time with nightly use.

Plus, if you want to cut it with your beloved oils, as I do, you’ll extend the life of the product — and the vitality of your skin.

Do you use night creams, or do you prefer different textures such as balms and oils? What Kahina Giving Beauty products have you tried? Tell me in the comments section!


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