Entries Tagged as 'skin'

August 28, 2014

beauty scoop | osmia organics black clay facial soap

When it comes to washing my face, I’m just going to say it: I’m not into bar soaps.

I like a good gel or foam or cleansing oil, but a bar soap? It just feels blah.

But Osmia Organics changed my perception of facial bar soaps with its Black Clay Facial Soap.

Bring on the (Osmia) facial bar soaps.

osmia organics black clay facial soap

{Osmia Organics sent me a sample of its Black Clay Facial Soap a loonnnng time ago, and I have repurchased it. Sarah gave me her “sniffer” sample bar at “A Night for Green Beauty” so I could shoot the new packaging! It costs $24 for a 2.25-ounce bar.}

Last fall, I had the pleasure of sampling Osmia Organics’ Black Clay Facial Soap, and it’s been listed on my favorites page ever since (do you even look at that page?).

I was drawn to it because of its acne-fighting properties, but it took me a while to actually unwrap it and use it because it was difficult for me to get over the bar soap thing.

Boy am I glad I did.

I used it religiously for a month or so until the bar was gone. It performed well, so I immediately re-ordered it, and I can’t explain how glad I am that I did.

This bar (coupled with a favorite toner that I also used during this time — review to come) saved my skin from one of the most stressful times in my life.

After going through a huge life change, my skin could have easily freaked out — emotions were high, the winter was stressful and everything was in overdrive — but not my skin.

For next entire month, while using my second (purchased!) bar of Osmia Organics’ Black Clay Facial Soap and going through a life crisis, my skin was pristine.

That is just not normal.

See, high stress, poor diet, lack of sleep and crazy emotions wreak havoc on my skin. I suffered from all of that at a crazy-elevated level during that time.

I can’t begin to explain to you how it felt to have the one thing I’ve always struggled with — acne — be under control during such a whirlwind experience.

And for that — both the actual performance against the worst of testing times and the emotional story that is attached to my time of using this soap — Osmia Organics Black Clay Facial Soap is an absolute favorite facial cleanser of mine (again, on the favorites page!) that I will never be without.

Beyond my TMI storytelling, what’s so great about this facial soap?

Behold, the gentle, effective ingredients:

Saponified oils/butters of olea europaea (olive)*, elaeis guineensis kernel (palm kernel)*, mangifera indica (mango), prunus amygdalus (sweet almond)*, cocos nucifera (coconut)*, ricinus communis (castor bean)*, persea gratissima (avocado)*, and simmondsia chinensis (jojoba)*, coconut milk*, dead sea mud, hematite (australian black) clay, proprietary blend of essential oils*, and rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) antioxidant*, GMO-free vitamin E oil

Soothing oils and butters of olive, mango, coconut and sweet almond keep your skin from feeling overly dry (like most bar soaps do) while acne-fighters jojoba oil, Dead Sea Mud, Australian Black Clay and rosemary heal and prevent breakouts.

You’ve likely heard about all the amazing benefits of Dead Sea mud (anyone want to go on a trip with me to float in the Dead Sea? Sarah?), and they’re true.

Mud from the Dead Sea is some of the most mineral- and protein-rich mud in the world, and your skin benefits from it immensely.

The minerals in the mud help to soften flaky spots and mildly exfoliates and tones the skin. Hello, vibrance!

And don’t we deserve some vibrance on our faces? And … our bodies?

I’d love to see the Black Clay Facial Soap re-formulated for body. Would you?

I’d also love to see if founder Sarah Villafranco could work her magic and offer the Black Clay Facial Soap as a liquid or gel cleanser.

Though I’m turned on to facial bars because of this, I do find them annoying for travel.

(And I’m sure TSA finds my liquids / gels bag amusing to inspect.)

So, there you have it. A favorite / repurchase / real-talk review.

Have you tried Osmia Organics’ Black Clay Facial Soap? What sort of facial cleansers do you prefer — bars, gels, creams, oils, foams? Tell me in the comments section!


August 27, 2014

natural beauty buff | garcy fry, eco diva beauty

In addition to all the founders I feature in this “natural beauty buff” series, I’m thrilled to bring you fresh beauty tips from the dear stockists who curate beautiful online (and sometimes, in-real-life) stores for us to let loose.

Many of you know, love and shop Canadian and U.S. green beauty store Eco Diva Beauty, but how well do you know co-founder Garcy Fry and the story behind this luxurious online store?

garcy fry of eco diva beauty

I had the pleasure of meeting Garcy in person at 2013′s “A Night for Green Beauty” in New York City, and was thrilled to chat with her again at this year’s event in Los Angeles.

During our quick conversation, it was lovely to hear about Eco Diva’s birth — the brainchild of Garcy’s whip-smart mother, Charlene — and how Garcy, a professional makeup artist, was leading the site’s growth.

It’s women like this (and especially these mother-daughter teams!) that excite me about the green beauty industry. If you see something missing out there, go forth and create it!

And while you may think “oh, there are plenty of green beauty shopping sites,” each one has a unique personality and style.

Shopping on one may not be the same as shopping on others, and I’ve enjoyed the luxurious experience of shopping Eco Diva Beauty myself. You are taken care of!

And you can only be taken care of by someone who truly knows how to take care of herself.

Below, Garcy shares her natural beauty and health rituals that keep her looking and feeling her best.

Be inspired.

Be healthy.

Be an Eco Diva.

green beauty products that garcy fry of eco diva beauty keeps on her nightstand

On Garcy’s Nightstand

Tata Harper Aromatic Bedtime Treatment

This has become a bedtime ritual for both my husband and me. It almost immediately puts my mind at ease and helps me sleep better.

Vapour Organic Beauty Lux Lip Conditoner

The last thing I do before bed is put on lip balm — I’m an addict. And I’ve been addicted since Lip Smackers were introduced to the market. I don’t know if that damage is reversible, but at least I’m eating organic lip balm now.


Now these are an essential piece on my nightstand, not because I love them, but because I love my husband. If they are not in my ears at night, then the love for my husband decreases ever so quickly.

Good Book

I need to read before bed to help turn my mind off and go to sleep. I love anything written by Khaled Hosseini and stories about life in the middle east.

Liquid Calcium Magnesium (kept in the fridge, but part of the nightly ritual)

Just recently I’ve had some troubles sleeping. I toss and turn all night long, so my naturopath suggested magnesium to help sleep better.

favorite green beauty product picks from garcy fry of eco diva beauty

In Garcy’s Purse / Beach Bag

Consonant Skincare “The Perfect Sunscreen SPF 30″

My sun-worshipping days are over, and this sunscreen helps block UVA and UVB rays without all the toxic chemicals. It’s ultra-smooth, grease-free and leaves absolutely NO white residue! And that’s why they call it perfect.

Soapwalla Deodorant Cream

This has been a staple for me for years now. I just love its creamy consistency, the fresh scent and how I can sweat my tush off and still smell dandy!

prtty peaushun lotion from eco diva beauty

PRTTY PEAUSHUN Skin Tight Body Lotion

I love to keep PRTTY PEAUSHUN in my bag and slather it on any parts of my body that are showing to give me a luminescent glow. It also helps soothe burns and is a natural bug repellant — how cool is that?!

La Bella Figura Tesoro Mediterranean Blend

In Garcy’s Bathroom

La Bella Figura Tesoro Mediterranean Blend

This summer I’ve used this oil more than anything else. I love how light it is and how well it hydrates without leaving my skin feeling greasy.

kahina giving beauty night creamKahina Giving Beauty Night Cream

This is what I call preventative medicine. Wrinkles can take a hike while I sleep, because I’m sleeping with collegan-boosting ingredients like resveratrol. This is by far the best night cream I’ve ever used. Its whipped texture is so lovely and the scent its magical, like all of Kahina’s products.

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.


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