August 13, 2014

beauty scoop | lovefresh natural cream deodorant

When I first started natural deodorants, I’d always keep a toxic backup stick on standby for important outings (weddings, on-air spots, yoga class, etc.).

Since testing and reviewing more than 20 natural deodorants, I’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t for my naturally smelly-girl body, and I’m excited to add another trusted formula to the “will repurchase” list: LOVEFRESH Natural Cream Deodorant.

And yes, I tossed the toxic-stick ages ago.

lovefresh natural cream deodorant

{LOVEFRESH sent me samples of its natural cream deodorants to review. A 2-ounce tub costs $15 and a 4-ounce tub costs $25.}

LOVEFRESH is a Toronto-based natural beauty brand that boasts effective formulas and pretty packaging (look at those chic fonts and whimsical designs on the deodorant lids!).

In addition to this presentation, the ingredients LOVEFRESH chose for their natural deodorants — Moroccan Rose, Lavender Tea Tree and Sweet Orange Patchouli — keep your pits fresh, clean and slightly sweet…but not sickly sweet.

As you may be able to tell from the picture above, I tested (and finished!) the LOVEFRESH Moroccan Rose Absolute natural deodorant first.

I never thought I’d want my underarms to smell like roses, but it was a very nice morning ritual and made me feel ultra-feminine and sexy while doing the most un-sexy act of smearing my armpits with cream.

As dainty as rose sounds, it did an amazing job at keeping me stink-free. I put LOVEFRESH Moroccan Rose Absolute natural deodorant through stressful days and nights at work and my regular Ashtanga practice.


Here’s what’s in LOVEFRESH Natural Cream Deodorant:

Fair Trade Shea Butter, Coconut Oil*, Kaolin Clay, Sodium Bicarbonate (aluminum-free), Emulsifying Wax (coconut derived) and natural organic essential oils*.

This blend of ingredients isn’t anything too crazy when it comes to natural deodorants (a few of the usual suspects here), but the texture this combination yields is nothing short of lovely.

Somewhere in between that of Schmidt’s natural deodorant (hard) and Meow Meow Tweet’s natural deodorant (whipped), LOVEFRESH’s natural deodorant is a true cream with enough body to it that it’s almost like massaging in moisturizer (thanks, shea butter!).

I have an inkling that this generous helping of shea butter combined with coconut oil is what keeps the baking soda in check, as I experienced zero irritation with this natural deodorant.

(I’ve complained before about my sensitivity to baking soda. This is the ingredient that kills the stank, but it can also be a bit harsh on your skin!)

However, every body is different, so always experiment a bit and pay attention to how your skin reacts to any beauty product you try!

lovefresh natural cream deodorant

I’m currently using the Lavender Tea Tree scent (above), and this was the only natural deodorant I packed with me on my trip to Los Angeles last weekend for “A Night for Green Beauty,” which is always a crazy whirl of excitement, emotions and — you guessed it — sweat.

I smelled just fine the entire time.

In addition to my regular Ashtanga yoga practice, I’ve also taken up Bikram yoga (I enjoy self-torture, obviously) and LOVEFRESH natural deodorant has worked extra hard to keep me from stinking in a 105-degree room with other (kinda stinky) people.

If that doesn’t have you convinced, then I give up. It just works, and if you can get over the application process, you’ll find yourself with smell-good pits and deodorant tubs so pretty you’ll want to display them in your bathroom.

So, to recap, yes, LOVEFRESH makes the “yes it works and yes I will repurchase it” list.


LOVEFRESH ships to the U.S. and Canada, too, so when it’s time to pick up a few new Canadian green beauty products, LOVEFRESH will definitely be in my shopping cart.

Have you tried anything from LOVEFRESH? What other natural deodorants should I try? Tell me what you know in the comments section!



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!


August 11, 2014

beauty scoop | corpa flora beaute divine camellia facial cleansing oil

My personal breakthrough moment in green beauty happened several years ago when, fed up with my oily, acneic skin, I decided to give oil cleansing a try.

A bottle of jojoba oil and some purged pores later, I deemed myself a convert once my skin settled into a less-congested, moisture-balanced state.

I’ve been loving on facials oils ever since, and while I keep a large bottle of jojoba stocked at all times, I enjoy exploring more complex oil cleansing treatments that combine several beneficial oils and emulsifiers.

One of my recent discoveries and new favorites is Corpa Flora’s Beaute Divine Camellia Cleansing Oil.

corpa flora beaute divine camellia facial cleansing oil

{Canadian boutique and spa Glam Goes Green sent me a sample of Corpa Flora’s Camellia Facial Cleansing Oil to review. It costs $37 USD for a 4-ounce glass pump bottle. Sample size pictured.}

Corpa Flora combines camellia oil with sunflower seed oil, rosehip extract, cypress oil, lemon myrtle oil and rosemary leaf extract into its Beaute Divine Camellia Facial Cleansing Oil to create a cleansing oil that melts away makeup and unplugs clogs pores without irritating the eyes or skin.

It has a cheery lemon-citrus smell that’s not too lemon-y thanks to being cut with rosemary. Overall, it’s a pleasant, clean scent that’s not overpowering.

The facial cleansing oil glides onto the skin as any other straight carrier oil does, and though it combines several oils and extract, remains lightweight and slippery enough to massage into skin without much effort or tugging.

What sets Corpa Flora’s Beaute Divine Camellia Facial Cleansing Oil apart from straight carrier oils is the fact that it contains Polyglyceryl-4 Oleate, a safe emulsifying ingredient that causes the cleansing oil to become somewhat milky when mixed with water.

For those new to oil cleansing, this is a nice, comforting texture that makes you feel as if you are still using a somewhat traditional cleansing method.

corpa flora beaute divine camellia facial cleansing oil

I, however, don’t really care for or require emulsifying agents in my cleansing oils because I’ve been oil cleansing for years and am used to it. But it is a nice touch.

So when I use Corpa Flora Beaute’s Divine Camellia Facial Cleansing Oil, I skip the whole “splash your face with water to get a milky emulsion going” part and instead continue to massage my face to ensure all my makeup and sunscreen is removed and then go through about three rounds of hot compress-wiping to remove everything.

I then do a second cleanse with a more traditional (but still green!) foaming cleanser or soap.

Here’s everything that’s inside Corpa Flora Beaute’s Divine Camellia Facial Cleansing Oil:

Helianthus Annuus(Sunflower) Seed Oil *, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Camellia Sinensis (Camellia) Seed Oil*, Polyglyceryl-4 Oleate**, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Extract* Cupressus Sempervirens (Cypress) Oil,* Backhousia Citriodora (Lemon Myrtle) Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract (and) Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*. * Organic 74.5% ** PEG-free emulsifier ECOCERT certified.

Overall,  I enjoyed using Corpa Flora’s Beaute Divine Camellia Facial Cleansing Oil during the past month. It came with me on several trips (love these great sample sizes!), and I’d repurchase it again to enjoy the lovely scent and texture.

Have you tried anything from Corpa Flora? What do you look for in an oil cleanser? Do you prefer straight oils for cleansing or blends like this? Tell me in the comments section!


July 28, 2014

natural beauty buff | barbara jacques, jacq’s organics

When you declare something the “must-have” product of the summer, it only makes sense to go a bit deeper and explore the beauty routine behind the person who created said it-item of the summer.

And that’s what brings Barbara Jacques, founder of Jacq’s Organics and creator of my favorite summertime face oil, onto the blog today.

barbara jacques jacqs organics natural beauty buff

Beautiful Barbara founded Jacq’s Organics the same year that she gave birth to her first child — and after learning she had an ovarian tumor.

Like many green beauty founders who followed a similar path to green beauty after a health issue, Barbara wanted to take control of her own skincare and soon fell in love with the process of creating eco-chic, socially responsible and family-friendly skincare.

As evidenced in her various products (and scrumptious scents!), Barbara fuses her creative energy into Jacq’s Organics, leaving us with choices such as Lemongrass Shea Butter soap, Sweet Orange toner, Carrot Con Leche face serum and Green Tea and Acai Berries lip balm.

Learn more about how Barbara captures this creativity to bring it to Jacq’s Organics as she shares what green beauty and lifestyle products she keeps on her nightstand.

barbara jacques jacqs organics natural beauty buff

I’ve decided to share the items on my nightstand. I am not a morning person and my 3-year-old toddler has not gotten the memo yet.

On any given night, I’m in bed by 10 p.m. or 11 p.m., but over the past couple of years, I’ve been known to suffer from insomnia from time to time.

So the collection of items on my nightstand either helps to induce sleep or aids my insomnia problem. Let’s get started with my new favorite find.

Maya Water Facial Mist – Energizing Norwegian Thermal Water

I just discovered this amazing face mist that’s made with just water and nitrogen. Not to sound like a walking spokesperson, but it’s packed with active ingredients including calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and more. It’s non-scented but it’s something about the cool, hard spray that makes you feel like you just washed your face with the freshest, cleanest water from Norway.

I use it on my face and even in my hair right before heading to bed or on the way out. I’ve also starting carrying this in my yoga bag and for a quick face misting after. And it’s perfect on hot summer beach days.

Jacq’s Organics Lavender Love Body Oil/Shea Cream

I use these not just to help induce sleep and wind down, but when my 3-year-old decides to take over my bed when it’s her bedtime. It’s the perfect remedy for getting her to sleep quickly. I just rub a little bit oil or cream on her feet and tummy, read her a story and she’s out.

True Grace Candles in Stem Ginger

I discovered True Grace candles at the cutest apothecary/art gallery boutique in South Miami called The Archive-Gallery. I was looking for a Father’s Day gift for my husband and stumbled upon this delightfully intoxicating candle that has notes of ginger, lemongrass, citrus, pepper and more. I seriously carry this candle everywhere around the house because the scent is so soothing.

I told myself I was buying the candle for him, but I loved it so much I kept it for myself. As a frequent headache and migraine sufferer, the light scent of the ginger and lemongrass is extremely soothing. I’m obsessed with the blend and the cute tin container.

Jacq’s Organics Green Tea & Acai Berries Lip Balm

I have dry, chapped lips and the humidity in South Florida doesn’t help. So, I have a stash of lip balms almost everywhere including in my purse, in my car, in random jackets, little change purses, the back pocket of jeans and even in my daughter’s baby bag. The cocoa butter also helps with the hyper-pigmentation for my lips.

21 Drops #06 Passion

This little gem is also one of my fave new finds. The scent is #06 Passion; it’s a masculine blend and I don’t use it often, but I when I do use it, I like to put the oil on my wrist, behind my knees, on my neck and behind my ears.

Glass of water

For staying hydrated — and I enjoy the taste of water.

My Nexus phone

My phone is attached to my hip.

My Samsung Tablet

This little device is perfect for insomnia, including, but not limited to: Reading, checking emails, tweeting, strolling on Instagram, catching up on blog posts, note-taking, creating a music list and even the occasional kids’ games to distract the kiddo for a couple minutes.


Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with an idea, or realized you forget to do a task from the day before? And then go back to sleep, wake up the next morning and forget the idea or whatever it was that woke you up in the middle of the night? The nightstand notebook is for random thoughts, creative recipe ideas, forgotten to-do list items and even the ideas and quotes that come to mind.

Traditional Japanese Morning Star Vanilla Incense

I discovered this brand of incense a few of years ago on a visit to Epcot at Disney. The sweet vanilla scent makes for a seriously soothing, therapeutic wind down after a long day. I like to burn the incense while taking a bath, cleaning, unplugging from social media or even just listening to R&B or jazz playing in the background while doing nothing.

July 23, 2014

beauty scoop | dr. alkaitis organic beautifying mask

With a quick scan through my beauty cabinet, you’ll find that my treatment masks are divided into three sections: Exfoliating masks; strong clay-based acne-busting masks; and soothing, healing masks.

The first two sections are heavily populated while the third — the soothing, healing masks section — has just a handful in it. The latest addition? Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Beautifying Mask.

dr alkaitis organic beautifying mask

{Dr. Alkaitis sent me a sample of its new Organic Beautifying Mask to review. It costs $65 for a 1.7-ounce jar, which is enough for 25 mask applications. Photo Courtesy Dr. Alkaitis}

Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Beautifying Mask marks my first experience with the popular organic skin care line made with edible living ingredients.

I’ve been in awe of the brand for quite a while and jumped at the chance to experience the Organic Beautifying Mask, the newest offering and fifth mask in the collection.

(There’s also the Universal Mask; Flower Mask; Exfoliating Enzyme Mask; and Cellular Repair Mask.)

Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Beautifying Mask has a top spot in my “soothing, healing masks” section thanks to the fact that even though this mask harnesses the power of organic, wildcrafted Montmorillonite clay, it’s not drying and doesn’t tighten the skin in an uncomfortable way as it dries or after it’s washed off the way that some clay masks do.

dr alkaitis organic beautifying mask

With that said, it’s important to remember to keep Dr. Alkaitis’ masks moist as the ingredients work their magic; this means spritzing your face with a hydrosol or using an additional liquid, such as honey or yogurt, after blending the dry powder mask with water.

I’ve tried Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Beautifying Mask mixed with just water (as seen in the selfie below — sorry for the poor indoor lighting, but it was and evening treatment!) as well as with manuka honey, and I’ve enjoyed both treatments.

Mixed with manuka honey, the mask feels as though it’s getting deeper into my pores and flushing everything out, but still without drying anything out.

Mixed with just water, the mask is lightweight and never tight, and upon rinsing off, it makes my skin feel so incredibly soft that I could almost get away without a mist and moisturizer.

dr alkaitis organic beautifying mask

I choose to use this mask (and my other “soothing, healing masks”) during weeks when my skin is coming off of crazy breakouts yet may not be in absolutely perfect condition; for me, that’s usually toward the beginning or middle of my cycle, after the PMS zits have somewhat subsided yet I’m still prone to a few spots here and there.

Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Beautifying Mask is a perfect choice during this time of the month in hot, humid months, as “healing and soothing” doesn’t always means “epic hydration” — I don’t need a heavy, moisturizing mask in Kansas City humidity, but I do need something to calm my skin and restore some balance.

So, what’s inside Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Beautifying Mask that manages to calm, hydrate and free the skin of impurities?

Organic Oat Buds*, Magical Forest Mushroom Complex (consisting of Snow *, Tuckahoe*, Hedgehog*, and Immortality* Mushrooms), Raw Cacao*, Camu Camu*, Coconut Extract*, Montmorillonite** | *Signifies certified organically grown; **Signifies ethically wild-crafted

According to Dr. Alkaitis, Chinese women have used snow mushroom as a beauty treatment for centuries (I’m not sure my Chinese grandfather was really into beauty treatments, or else I’d want to ask him about this).

It’s because snow mushroom is said to increase moisture retention in the skin and help smooth the appearance of fine lines.

I would imagine that snow mushroom, combined with soothing, antioxidant-rich raw cacao, accounts of a lot of the healing powers in this mask while Montmorillonite clay does a bit of work to draw out impurities — just the balance I need for finicky, hormonal skin!

And because I’m always after a bit of balance, Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Beautifying Mask is one I’ll keep stocked — it’s an understated treat to use at about $2.60 per mask (seriously, a little goes a long way and you can get 25 masks out of this jar!).

I’m looking forward to sharing more about Dr. Alkaitis with you soon. It’s a stellar brand with some pretty smart ingredients.

Have you tried anything from Dr. Alkaitis? What categories do your masks fall into? Tell me in the comments section!


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