Entries Tagged as 'skin'

November 19, 2014

beauty scoop | odacite pure elements facial serum concentrates

Lately, I’ve been enjoying playing beauty alchemist at home with my abundance of botanical elixirs, mixing and matching potions to enhance simple DIY solutions or add a touch of extra healing power to some of my existing favorites.

This mixologist mannerism was brought upon by two things: The idea of smartly layering and combining products thanks to the tip of a favorite brand founder and the introduction of Odacite’s Facial Serum Concentrates into my life.

odacite facial serum concentrates

{Odacite sent me samples of its Facial Serum Concentrates in Blueberry Jasmine, Peach Cypress and Black Cumin + Cajeput. Each serum concentrate varies in cost; the Blueberry Jasmine skin booster costs $44 for a 0.17-ounce dropper bottle. The Peach Cypress skin booster costs $34 for a 0.17-ounce glass dropper bottle. The Black Cumin + Cajeput skin booster costs $27 for a 0.17-ounce dropper bottle.}

As part of Odacite’s “Pure Elements” collection, these 0.17-ounce glass dropper bottle serum concentrates are available in 18 specially targeted formulations that are designed to be used on their own for intense treatment or mindfully mixed into your current skincare products.

Each of Odacite’s serum concentrates packs a potent dose of vitamins, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories all based on your skin’s needs.

Skin looking lackluster? There’s a serum concentrate for that.

Skin feeling imbalanced? There’s a serum concentrate for that.

Skin getting fussy? There’s a serum concentrate for that.

By now you can probably guess which serums I chose to test in their full-size, one-month treatment sizes:

  1. Blueberry Jasmine because I must have all the jasmine things and am approaching the last year of my 20s and need to get my anti-aging, antioxidants on;
  2. Peach Cypress because I’m combination/oily and need some balance in my life;
  3. and Black Cumin + Cajeput because despite turning yet another year older, I still deal with acne breakouts on a regular basis.

The first set of Odacite’s Facial Serum Concentrates I tested and finished were the Peach Cypress and Black Cumin + Cajeput based on my skin type and persistent acne issues.

I used 2-3 drops of the Odacite Peach Cypress Facial Serum Concentrate in the morning, mixed into my daily face oil, to encourage my skin to start off in balance for the day.

The light serum didn’t add any bulk to my already-nutrient-packed daily oil, yet seemed to help my skin feel plumper and healthier. The combination of skin-loving sea buckthorn oil (I need more of this oil in my life!) with naturally astringent cypress and grapefruit kept my skin feeling hydrated yet never over-oiled.

With that said, I think this skin booster is more on my “nice to have, but do not absolutely need” list, as I didn’t see mind-blowing results with it. It was just a nice booster to my normal daily facial oil.

Here’s what’s inside Odacite Peach Cypress Facial Serum Concentrate:

Highest-grade cold-pressed certified virgin Peach (Prunus persica) kernel oil, Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) oil, Cypress, Pink grapefruit, Lavender, Bisabolol, Ylang ylang (Cupressus Semper- virens, Citrus paradisi, Lavandula angustifolia, Vanillosmosis erythropappa, Cananga odorata) essential oils. Certified GMO-free Vitamin E (Tocopherols) oil.

In the evenings, I used the Black Cumin + Cajeput Facial Serum Concentrate. Again, I would mix it in to my regular nighttime oil, but I would also spot-treat with this powerful skin booster and even do an intense all-over treatment (i.e. I wouldn’t mix it in with anything) and WOW is this one a winner!

Odacite says its Black Cumin + Cajeput Facial Serum Concentrate is formulated to absorb deep into pores to help clear and smooth the complexion, and they weren’t lying.

I found that the noted purifying properties of black cumin oil really did help control the spread of breakouts. Case in point: I tested this during a crazy stressful time that resulted in tons of tiny red pimples along my hairline and even further into my hair area near my temples.

After deep-treating my skin with this oil alone, those little suckers cleared up faster than usual, and I didn’t experience any additional breakouts after that time.

Sold and sold.

Odaciate explains that cajeput gets to the source of your problematic skin with its potent antiseptic properties to helping to prevent further breakouts.

Another thing to note is that cajeput is a star ingredient in our beloved Osmia Organics Spot Treatment (reviewed here) that works so well for many of you.

If you haven’t tried Odacite Black Cumin + Cajeput Facial Serum Concentrate and react well to the Osmia Organics Spot Treatment, you MUST add it to your wish list. It’s absolutely on my repurchase list.

Here’s what’s inside Odacite Black Cumin + Cajeput Facial Serum Concentrate:

Highest-grade cold-pressed certified virgin organic Black Cumin (Nigella sativa) oil, Certified organic Cajeput (Melaleuca minor) essential oil, Certified GMO-free Vitamin E (Toco- pherols) oil.

Now that it’s winter in Kansas City (did you know winter comes a month early here?), I’m adding heavier oils into my routine but don’t like to completely shun my lighter-weight oils, especially when it comes to pre-makeup skin treatment and priming.

Currently in the mornings, I’m adding Odacite Blueberry Jasmine Facial Serum Concentrate to a particularly smelly facial oil I’m testing.

As a part of the “Age-Defying” collection of Odacite’s Facial Serum Concentrates, Blueberry Jasmine is prized for its ability to liven up the skin’s cell energy. Jasmine coupled with blueberry offers the skin a burst of free radical-fighting defense thanks to a healthy helping of antioxidants.

Jasmine is also said to help heal burns and promote new cell growth on topical level; from an aromatherapy lens, it’s absolutely divine at calming the nervous system and promoting a sense of happiness and beauty with every sniff.

If you’re an Odacite fan like me and own “A Summer in Hossegor,” you MUST blend it with that beauty. Blueberry on blueberry love is just beautiful, and your skin will thank you.

Here’s what’s inside Odacite Blueberry Jasmine Facial Serum Concentrate:

Highest-grade cold-pressed certified organic Vaccinium corymbosum (Blueberry*) seed oil, Jasminum sambac (jasmine) flower oil, Litsea cubeda fruit oil, Acacia decurrens (mimosa) flower extract, Certified organic Ylang-Ylang (Cananga odorata) oil, Certified GMO-free Vitamin E (Tocopherols) oil.

The most expensive of the three Odacite skin boosters I tested, Blueberry Jasmine is well worth the price and experience. You’re getting very expensive, effective ingredients without a huge base of a cheaper carrier oil (see what the first two ingredients are?!) and an instant shot of radiance every morning. Approve and repurchase!

Besides these three skin boosters that I had the privilege to test out in full sizes, I’m intrigued by more from the age-defying collection of concentrates (this turning 29 thing is starting to mess with me).

Specifically, the Wild Carrot Facial Serum Concentrate, loaded with antioxidants, is screaming my name. Acai Rose Facial Serum Concentrate is singing the same siren song, with its ultra-strength of antioxidants and superfood, acai, doing a little youth dance before my credit card.

I’ll be sure to update this post as I test out more of these full-sized serum concentrates (they last a month, which is a great testing time and low cost commitment for these potent oils!).

If you have similar skin to mine (combo/oily and acne-prone), Odacite has some nice little sets of skin boosters at a discounted price that you can experience, too.

The Combination + Pimple Prone duo includes the Black Cumin + Cajeput I raved about earlier as well as Jojoba + Lavender, which is designed to unclog pores but is a simple DIY.

The Oily + Pimple Prone set also has the Black Cumin + Cajeput, but with the addition of Grapeseed + Grapefruit, formulated to clear existing acne but another simple DIY depending on if you keep grapeseed oil on hand for oil cleansing and grapefruit essential oil in your collection for…whatever you would use grapefruit EO for in your daily life (sniffing to make your happy despite how stupid cold it is?!).

What Odacite Facial Serum Concentrates have you tried, or which ones appeal to you? What is your experience with mixing various oils and serums for a customized treatment? Tell me in the comments section!


November 18, 2014

beauty scoop | laurel whole plant organics balance facial serum

With 26 beneficial active ingredients, Laurel Whole Plant Organics “Balance” Facial Serum isn’t exactly what you’d think of as a “minimalist beauty product,” but I’d dare to say that if you’re looking for a gorgeous, effective facial oil that provides moisture without skimping on acne defense, this could be the one that replaces every other face oil in your collection.

laurel whole plant organics balance facial serum

{Laurel Whole Plant Organics sent me a sample of its Balance Facial Serum for review. It costs $68 for a 30 ml glass dropper bottle.}

Formulated with the needs of oily, combination and breakout-prone skin in mind, Laurel Whole Plant Organics Balance Facial Serum promotes healing, refreshment and detoxification of the skin.

Founder Laurel Shaffer does this by incorporating powerful herbs and botanical extracts known for their therapeutic properties on the skin. A gentle base of jojoba and macadamia nut oils provide both slip and balance to the skin while a shot of rosehip seed oil cuts the moisture, providing a dry finish and silky feel to the skin.

Rosehip seed oil is fast becoming one of my favorites for priming the skin for makeup. It’s high in trans retinoic acid, which the body converts to vitamin A and aids in skin healing and overall cell turnover.

In addition to this super oil, Laurel Whole Plant Organics Balance Facial Serum contains red raspberry oil for natural sun protection (though I’m still a fan of mineral sun protection) as well as tamanu oil, a favorite of mine for speeding acne flare-ups through to recovery.

laurel whole plant organics balance facial serum

Here’s everything else inside Laurel Whole Plant Organics Balance Facial Serum:

Jojoba Oil˚, Macadamia Nut Oil˚, Rosehip Seed Oil˚, Sesame Oil˚, Red Raspberry Seed Oil˚, Almond Oil˚, Tamanu Oil˚, Cranberry Seed Oil˚, Sea Buckthorn Oil˚, Rosemary Extract˚; in-house biodynamic proprietary blend of Passionflower˚, Licorice˚, Calendula˚, Chamomile˚, Echinacea˚, Yarrow˚, Baical Skullcap˚, Gotu Kola˚, Comfrey˚, Astragalus˚, Nettle˚, Lavender˚, Orange Peel˚; essential oils of Lavender˚, Rosewood˚, Helichrysum˚, Clary Sage˚ ˚signifies certified organic ingredient

Other ingredients to note are helichrysum, which is included for its balancing and astringent properties; lavender, an all-time favorite anti-inflamatory and calming ingredient; calendula and chamomile, also famous for their soothing qualities; passionflower, known for its anti-inflammatory properties; and rosewood, another wonderful antiseptic.

laurel whole plant organics balance facial serum

I’d also like to point out that Laurel Whole Plant Organics Balance Facial Serum contains the skin care superstar herbs burdock and dandelion.

I’ve dabbled in burdock supplements off and on for seven years and love seeing its inclusion in luxury green skincare. Burdock leaf has mild antibacterial properties and mega blood cleansing benefits when taken internally.

Same goes for dandelion, which is rich in skin-loving vitamins and minerals and thought to help detoxify the liver (and thus, detoxify the skin).

I’m currently indulging in regular servings of dandelion tea to keep my current good skin-situation intact. A little topical application via Laurel Whole Plant Organics Balance Facial Serum literally seals the (skin) deal!

I used this facial serum religiously for about four weeks several months ago (this review has been in the works for a while!), and as I begin to pare down my skincare arsenal (more on that later), this is one that definitely makes the cut.

Laurel Whole Plant Organics Balance Facial Serum is an oil I like to use when my skin is in relatively good condition but could use just a little bit extra love in the skin defense department. I don’t use it on active breakout duty, but instead post-acne drama as my skin is re-establishing its balance and preparing for another cycle of hormonal defense.

Have you tried Laurel Whole Plant Organics Balance Facial Serum or anything else from the line? What oils do you use at different times of the month? What are the keepers in your skincare arsenal? Tell me in the comments section!


November 7, 2014

beauty scoop | dr. alkaitis organic soothing gel

While I don’t really have texture issues when it comes to what I eat, I am quite picky about the texture of my beauty products.

Runny, soupy beans? Fine. Jiggy gelatin? Cool.

Sticky serums and gels? Not so much.

That was the expectation I had going into testing Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Soothing Gel, but I was pleasantly surprised.

This gel has been an absolute winner for my skincare routine during the past few months, and it’s already earned a repurchase and a spot on my top shelf.

dr. alkaitis organic soothing gel review

{Dr. Alkaitis sent me a small sample of its Organic Soothing Gel. I repurchased the full size before I ran out of my sample! It costs $65 for a full 4-ounce bottle, which lasts about two months. It’s also available in the handy Travel Kit, which costs $55 and allows you to try the whole line in a generous sampling of product.}

Designed to calm fussy skin’s that been bugged by waxing and shaving or more inflammatory conditions such as acne, eczema and rosacea, Dr. Alkaitis Organic Soothing Gel gently restores balance with its combination of aloe vera, witch hazel and beneficial organic and wildcrafted herbs.

Soothing star ingredients wild chamomile, French lavender, myrrh and seaweed heal the skin while also providing a light, beautiful scent.

The combination of these ingredients and more make for a runny base that’s easy to slick onto skin and that dries easily. It’s not sticky or gummy at all (I’ve found that some serums have this consistency, which I absolutely despise, as it makes layering product a pain.).

One full pump is enough for my face and neck, though sometimes I like to add an additional half pump to bring it down my neck a bit further. I will usually brush my teeth while the Soothing Gel is drying and then layer on my oils and balms as needed.

dr. alkaitis organic soothing gel review

Also, it’s great to note that this is one of those products that, because it’s so runny, can easily be conserved even more by layering it onto a properly toned (aka slightly damp) face, as you can maximize the product by sliding it all over your face.

Those who are extremely oily (I would say I’m combination/oily in the winter) can probably even get away with using this just in the T-zone to help tone and purify the oil that typically takes up residence there.

As with the entire Dr. Alkaitis line, the ingredients sourced are not there for vanity reasons; the herbs and plants chosen for each formulation are there to perform a task, and the resulting scent of these combinations of herbs is a wild green medicinal that may not be to everyone’s liking.

I, however, have become quite taken with the gorgeous green aroma, as it’s an unexpected departure from my typical floral, girly skincare products (that also have high performance behind them, don’t get me wrong!).

I’d say that the Soothing Gel, however, has a lighter smell than the rest of the line, as it’s cut with organic grape alcohol, which really thins out the typically heavy smell associated with Dr. Alkaitis.

Here’s the ingredients that make up the light, airy, green scent in Dr. Alkaitis’ Soothing Gel:

Into our base of Organic Aloe Vera Gel* and Witch Hazelº the following organic and wild-crafted herbals are blended: organically grown grape alcohol* (from the fermentation of organically grown grains). Greater Nettle*, Wild Chamomileº, Myrrhº, European Elder*, Sweet Weed*, and French Lavender*. Curacao Orange*, Benzoinº, Rosemary*, Olibanumº, Wild Fennelº, Balm Mint*, Sea Oakº, Atlantic Kelpº and Red Seaweedº. Also added are natural vitamin B and vitamin C complexes and 100% pure essential oils. * – Signifies certified organically grown; º – Signifies ethically wild-crafted.

Since using Dr. Alkaitis Soothing Gel, I’ve noticed that my pores appear a bit more tightened (they are still there, let’s not get crazy) and I’ve had an easier time extracting blackheads. I really think this gel is helping to deep clean everything and loosen up the clogged pores.

I’ve also noticed that since I began using this gel, my skin doesn’t feel extremely dry right out of the shower. I’ve become a bit reliant on toners and mists, and while this is what I’d call a toning gel, it feels as though it’s helping my skin regulate itself and not scream for moisture, yet not overproduce oil.

To have “normal” skin would be a dream come true!

The only thing that I want to call out for discussion about Dr. Alkaitis Soothing Gel is its inclusion of organically grown grape alcohol.

There’s a lot of conflicting opinions out there (see Paula, FutureDerm, Paula again, Dr. Oz blog and Truth in Aging) about the long-term effects of alcohol on the skin — is this something you avoid? Is there such a thing as “good” and “bad” alcohols for your skin (we all know what tequila does for your skin…)?

Also, I’m hoping for a thoughtful comment back from Trish and gang on this one!

UPDATED: Trish has commented! Please do engage with her in the comments section below.

trish alkaitis

What are your thoughts on Dr. Alkaitis Soothing Gel? What else do you like from the line? What are your thoughts on alcohol in skincare? Tell me in the comments section!


October 31, 2014

beauty secrets | my current beauty routine

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

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

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

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

Here’s what I’ve been using lately:

Morning Routine

Face Care

kimberlyloc's current beauty routine: cleansers

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

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

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

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

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

Body Care

kimberlyloc's current beauty routine: body washes

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

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

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

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

kimberlyloc's current beauty routine: body scrubs

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

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

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

kimberlyloc's current beauty routine: body oils

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

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

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

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

I’m about to be homeless, you guys.

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

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

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

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

Face Care

kimberlyloc's current beauty routine: daytime beauty oils

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Skincare & Beauty at the Office

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

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

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

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

Evening Routine

Face Care

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


October 30, 2014

natural beauty buff | munemi imai, mun beauty

It’s no secret that fashion and beauty insiders flock to the experts when it comes to skincare and makeup secrets — and for a big beauty industry, it’s the seasoned makeup artists who are regarded as the top resources to reveal the beauty secrets of the stars.

But Munemi Imai, founder of cult hit Mun Beauty, offers so much more than her years of experience as an international makeup artist.

She offers deep insight as a green beauty product formulator herself, combining the best ingredients into a simple yet chic beauty oil that’s earned a place on my top shelf.

And she also offers proof in the pudding: LOOK at her skin. I’ll do whatever she tells me to do.

natural beauty buff munemi imai mun beauty

Munemi’s story is one that’s similar for a lot of us.

During a brief illness at one point in her career, she discovered the beauty of natural ingredients in everything that’s important to our well-being: The food we eat and the personal care products we use daily.

Inspired to take control of her health and own a deeper beauty, Munemi created Mun Beauty to harness the beauty of prickly pear seed oil, argan oil and rose oil to launch her line and is taking her time to expand the line — her companion toner launches this month, and I couldn’t be more excited to get my hands on it.

Besides Munemi’s new toner, I’m excited to try a few of the other beauty items she mentions below as staples in her beauty care routine.

A lot of them are familiar to me, but there are some gems below that are worth looking into — because again, of all the beauty aficionados out there, the ones that rise above the rest are those like Munemi who bring years of experience and depth to table.

natural beauty buff munemi imai mun beauty

As usual, I’ve starred the items I also use and love!

Healthway African Healing Clay TLC Tub

This organic South African green clay does a wonderful job on detoxing skin. You can mix with water and keep them moist as instructed, or I like to mix with honey instead.

*Manuka Honey

I like it both eating and putting on my face as a mask. I’d often mix with clay and a few essential oils for extra nourishing.

MUN No.11 Anarose Rejuvenating Rose Toner (available mid-November)

This is our brand new product. It’s the perfect synergy with No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum. It has a rosewater base with hydrating and anti-aging ingredients such as prickly pear stem extract, goji berry extract and hyaluronic acid. Rose, jasmine and daisy flower extracts work together for skin softness and radiance. I can’t wait for the launch date!

*MUN No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum

I just believe in this. I have fewer fine lines than four years ago, and it keeps my skin looking youthful. It’s so pure and so clean, but it’s powerful. It’s great for both morning and night. I use it as a makeup primer on models and celebrity clients all the time. Before I launched this, I thought to myself, “Even if the business doesn’t take off, at least I am set for myself.” {Editor’s Note: Read my full review of this serum!}

Illuminare Concealing Mineral Foundation SPF 20

I got introduced to this from Miranda Kerr when we worked together. When I want extra coverage — and in sunnier weather — I like to use this one. It gives a great coverage and is easy to spread, blend and layer.

*rms beauty “Un” Coverup 44

I use this as shading on the temples to under my cheekbones to give a little contour.

*Herbal Magic Roll-On Deodorant Herbal Scent

This is a clean, natural, safe and effective deodorant choice. I like the roll-on applicator, too. {Editor’s Note: See my “ultimate guide to natural deodorants” to get my take on this deodorant and many others!}

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