Entries Tagged as 'skin'

April 11, 2014

natural beauty buff | karen ries, hana organic skincare

Karen Ries of HANA Organic Skincare has set a new standard for the natural beauty buff series.

Basically everything that she has shared with us is local to her (she hails from the Pacific Northwest), and though I cocked my head at the inclusion of heavy cream in her list, of course she mentioned how to use it in your green beauty treatments!

karen ries hana organic skincare natural beauty buff

Karen created HANA Organic Skincare in 2011 and is committed to fresh products that are handmade in small batches.

As a certified herbalist, Karen understands how to choose potent, medicinal herbs for use in her collection.

She obviously also understands how to treat herself; between the inclusion of heavy cream, spiced chai and Theo Chocolate (a favorite of mine!), Karen’s picks had me drooling and, subsequently, craving/needing a bath.

karen ries hana organic skincare natural beauty buff

Her picks have inspired me to think about the food and beauty companies that are local to me and how I can continue to support them in everything I do.

As always, I’ve starred the items below that I also use and love!

Read my reviews of HANA Organic Skincare products!

HANA Organic Skincare Eye Oil

I really love oils for my skin, and I especially wanted to make something uncomplicated and gentle for the eye area. There are few ingredients involved, but they blend nicely to smooth your skin. I apply once in the morning and at night.

Dragonfly Chai

In my humble opinion, the best chai in the world! Handcrafted from a microbrewery in Portland that uses organic fair trade teas. In addition to improving digestion, chai enhances the immune system, fights inflammation and has antioxidant properties. I especially like to sip on their Spicy Black Tea when I’m relaxing in the bath.

Twin Brook Creamery Heavy Organic Cream

Besides tasting incredible in a Dragonfly chai, this local cream works wonders when added to *HANA Organic Skincare’s Lavender Grains. The addition of cream to the grains makes this a moisturizing, rejuvenating and gentle face mask. Plus the packaging is as simple as you can get, the cows aren’t fed any antibiotics or hormones and I love reusing the bottles as flower vases when I’m finished.

China Rain, from Tenzing MoMo

This apothecary store has been in Pike Place Market for more than 37 years, and their China Rain has been my absolute favorite body scent since 1987! The blend of essential and base oils create their fresh, floral scent.

*Theo Chocolate

Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and major health benefits. I snack on Theo’s dark chocolate which is made in their Seattle facility (the first organic and fair trade chocolate factory in the country).


These unique glass candle votives are hand blown at their Seattle studio. The founder’s story is truly inspiring as are her charitable donations (each sale donates to various causes). I have a few scattered around the house, but I keep this one to light by the bathtub when I want to unwind.

April 10, 2014

beauty scoop | meow meow tweet face exfoliant

When it comes to a good face scrub, I can go either way on pre-mixed or dry formulas.

Typically, I like to exfoliate a couple times a week during my shower, so pre-mixed makes sense, but for evening spa nights when I’m really taking my time, a powder, mix-it-yourself scrub is fun to whip up and apply.

One powder face scrub I’ve been using lately is Meow Meow Tweet’s Face Exfoliant, which is made with just four simple ingredients.

meow meow tweet face exfoliant

{Meow Meow Tweet sent me a sample of its Face Exfoliant. It costs $20 for a 2-ounce glass jar.}

Seriously, just four ingredients.

Oats, chamomile flowers, black walnut hull and kelp make up this natural face scrub and create an earthy aromatic experience that you will either love or hate depending on your nose’s preferences.

I personally find the scent soothing and intriguing; it reminds me of — bear with me — a pet store … but not in a gross way. In an oddly comforting way.

(I swear I was a cat in a previous life.)

meow meow tweet face exfoliant

It’s definitely the oats and black walnut hull that dominate the scent profile of Meow Meow Tweet’s Face Exfoliant.

If you’re not an earthy / herbal scent kind of person, this probably isn’t for you.

If you’ve got a nice collection of essential oils, you might consider adding a few drops of your favorite to your mix to soften the scent (I like rose).

Beyond the scent, which I know is very personal for everyone, the texture of Meow Meow Tweet’s Face Exfoliant is extremely gentle.

The natural oats and walnuts don’t overstimulate your skin, yet are enough to reawaken your glow and prep your skin for your favorite toner and face oil.

To get a massage-like effect during your scrub down with Meow Meow Tweet’s Face Exfoliant, mix it up with your favorite carrier oil (jojoba and coconut are two of my favorites) to give it a bit more slip and lasting power compared to water.

While Meow Meow Tweet’s Face Exfoliant isn’t one that I’ll repurchase (scent is a big draw for me), I do like the idea of having a more rugged skincare product in my arsenal.

I could see myself tossing this into my bag for some sort of outdoorsy weekend trip; it would definitely fit in on a campground or for a break during a very long hike.

What, you don’t exfoliate when you go hiking?

I’ll be bringing you a few more Meow Meow Tweet reviews soon — there’s a standout product in the collection that I’m extremely smitten with and can’t wait to share with you!

What do you look for in a face exfoliator? Have you tried anything from Meow Meow Tweet? Tell me in the comments section!




April 9, 2014

beauty scoop | shea terra organics tamanu & licorice clarifying face wash

As much as I love a luxury beauty experience, I must admit that I’m a bit more frugal when it comes to skincare products that don’t remain on my skin for very long.

Face washes fall into this category.

Though my definition of frugal may differ from yours, I find that a natural face wash that costs less than $20 is a great deal.

And when it contains certified-organic, good-for-acne-prone-skin ingredients like Shea Terra Organics’ Tamanu & Licorice Clarifying Face Wash does, it’s a downright steal!

shea terra organics tamanu & licorice clarifying face wash

{I purchased Shea Terra Organics’ Tamanu & Licorice Clarifying Face Wash online for $18. It comes in a 4-ounce glass pump bottle.}

I’ve been using Shea Terra Organics’ Tamanu & Licorice Clarifying Face Wash for about three months.

It serves as my evening face wash post-oil cleansing, and I’ve been happy with the gel texture, gentle suds and acne protection that it offers.

shea terra organics tamanu & licorice clarifying face wash

One full pump is more than enough to fully cleanse your skin; you really just need about half a pump (unless you have a really big face?).

The light yellow gel has specks of (what I believe is) licorice root and foams up easily when mixed with water thanks to the addition of electro salts that mix with organic sunflower oil, organic coconut cream oil and organic tamanu oil.

Here’s the full ingredients list:

Certified organic sunflower oil, certified organic coconut cream oil, certified organic tamanu oil, potassium hydroxide (electro-salts), citric acid, licorice root

I purchased Shea Terra Organics Tamanu & Licorice Clarifying Face Wash not because I was in desperate need of a face wash, but because I was drawn to the fact that it contains tamanu oil.

As an acne-prone 28-year-old, I’ve had wild success with green beauty products that contain tamanu oil (a favorite right here).

Shea Terra sources its tamanu oil from the island of Madagascar (and has been doing so for a decade!).

Tamanu oil is known for its antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, making it perfect for keeping breakouts at bay. It also encourages new cell growth, leading to smoother-looking skin.

Not to be outdone by tamanu oil, licorice root, the other star ingredient in Shea Terra’s natural face wash, also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe irritated skin and reduce blemish-induced inflammation.

Shea Terra Organics Tamanu & Licorice Clarifying Face Wash is definitely one of my favorite natural face washes on the market. It satisfies my desire for a gel cleanser and appeals to the frugal face wash-buying girl in me.

After using it for the past quarter, I know for sure it’s a repurchase as I”ve had some consistently lovely, clear skin throughout 2014.

It’s not often that I can say that, and I’m a little nervous to switch to testing a new cleanser because of my satisfaction with this.

(Though, of course, I do have a bar soap facial cleanser that I’m excited to share with you next week! You either love or hate a bar soap facial cleanser, amIright?)

How much are you willing to spend on a face wash? What are some of your favorites? Have you tried anything from Shea Terra Organics? Tell me in the comments section!


April 8, 2014

beauty scoop | ora’s amazing herbal lip balm

With so many clean, green lip balms on the market, it takes more than the usual combination of beeswax and shea butter to get my attention.

Unconventional flavor combinations attracted me to Ora’s Amazing Herbal Lip Balm.

Basil Rosemary, Chai Spice and Earl Grey stand apart from the usual berry-flavored suspects and deliver an infusion of goodness and protection to your pout.

ora's amazing herbal lip balm

{Ora’s Amazing Herbal sent me three lip balms to review. Each 0.15-ounce tube of balm retails for $3.99.}

Ora’s handcrafted lip balms have a dense feel, meaning the product doesn’t carelessly slide around on your lips. However, the balm has enough slip to it that it’s easy to apply.

Take it from a bona fide lip balm addict — not all balms’ textures are created with as much love and care!

Herbal infusions  — think calendula, comfrey, chickweed, St. John’s Wort, burdock, the works! — aid in relieving chapped and irritated lips while pushing the ingredients envelope.

How many times have you picked up a lip balm that costs less than $5 and seen such thoughtful ingredients packed into the tube?

I also appreciate that Ora’s Herbal Lip Balms are unsweetened, which keeps me from wanting to lick my lips too much.

They are instead subtly scented with therapeutic essential oils and spices.

While I chose to try Basil Rosemary, Chai Spice and Earl Grey, Ora’s Amazing Herbal also offers lip balms in Berry-Lime, Clove, Minty Cocoa, Vanilla and Unscented.

Here’s what’s in each of my Ora’s Herbal Lip Balm picks:

Ora’s Herbal Lip Balm in Basil Rosemary

Beeswax, Grapeseed Oil Infused With Organic Calendula, Organic Comfrey, Organic Plantain, Organic Chickweed, Organic St. John’s Wort, Organic Burdock and Organic Thyme, Organic Coconut Oil, Vitamin E, Essential Oils Of Basil and Rosemary

Ora’s Herbal Lip Balm in Chai Spice

Beeswax, Grapeseed Oil Infused With Organic Calendula, Organic Comfrey, Organic Plantain, Organic Chickweed, Organic St. John’s Wort, Organic Burdock And Organic Thyme, Organic Coconut Oil, Vitamin E, Essential Oils and Spices Of Cinnamon, Cardamom, Clove, and Ginger

Ora’s Herbal Lip Balm in Earl Grey

Beeswax, Grapeseed Oil Infused With Organic Calendula, Organic Comfrey, Organic Plantain, Organic Chickweed, Organic St. John’s Wort, Organic Burdock And Organic Thyme, Organic Coconut Oil, Vitamin E, Essential Oils Of Bergamot and Mandarin Orange

Ora’s Amazing Herbal doesn’t test on animals and the lip balms are also gluten-free (because I mean, you are going to naturally lick your lips from time to time.)

So, will I repurchase these lip balms? You betcha! I love the soft, pastel packaging as much as I love the healing product inside.

Currently, Ora’s Amazing Herbal appears to be available online only. Wholesaling is available — which of my favorite retailers is going to pick up this special line?!

Have you heard of Ora’s Amazing Herbal? What do you look for in a lip balm? Tell me in the comments section!


March 31, 2014

beauty scoop | aroma m beauty camellia body and bath oil

There’s just something about camellia oil that makes my heart swoon.

And Maria McElroy of Aroma M Beauty figured out the perfect cocktail of floral essential oils to combine with camellia oil to capture a flirtatious yet sophisticated bath and body oil that may make your heart swoon, too.

aroma m beauty camellia bath body oil

{Aroma M Beauty sent me a small sample of its Camellia Body/Bath Oil. It retails for $60 for a 100 ml bottle. Photo Courtesy Aroma M Beauty}

Jasmine, geranium, frankincense, neroli and Moroccan rose oils dance together in this bottle of heaven and charge you with a feeling of freshness and aromatic bliss.

As much as I go on about loving the scent of jasmine, it does have more to offer than just a pretty smell.

Jasmine oil is also known for its ability to help reduce wrinkles and fine lines and soothe the skin. It also is said to offer a naturally calming effect to the nervous system, so imagine the goodness of using it head to toe in this lovely body oil.

Pairing jasmine with geranium oil, another favorite of mine, was strategic as well: Geranium oil helps stimulate circulation and reduce stress. Can you see how this is also wonderful as a bath oil?

The addition of frankincense and neroli offer antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, keeping skin toned and free of blemishes while smoothing and healing any irritated areas. Moroccan rose oil furthers these properties and ups the sexy factor with the exotic, deeply complex scent of roses.

The carrier oils — camellia, grapeseed and golden jojoba — keep this body oil light yet ultra thirst-quenching, leaving your skin with a dewy sheen without the overly saturated feeling that some body oils can leave.

Camellia oil is something of a gem in that its hypoallergenic while remaining deeply nourishing. Grapeseed and golden jojoba oils mix in to offer additional layers of antioxidants and protection. Expect a glow!

Aroma M Beauty’s Camellia Body and Bath Oil is absolutely on my repurchase list.

With an ingredients list comprised of all my favorite essential oils and a base of exotic camellia with oldies but goodies grapeseed and jojoba, how could I not want it?

I may even be as bold to say that this could be a signature scent for me!

Have you tried anything from Aroma M Beauty? What are your favorite essential oils and carrier oils? Tell me in the comments section!


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