My Favorite Discoveries of 2017

You can’t start the new year without a post on your favorite discoveries from the previous year.  I made a lot of new discoveries this past year, so it was really hard to make this post a reasonable length.

I have been into green beauty for a very long time, but we have seen an explosion of independent beauty brands over the last few years that are focused on bringing us luxury skin care that is not only effective, but made with ingredients that will not cause us any harm.  When I say luxury, I don’t necessarily mean expensive.  Yes, many green brands are expensive, but there are plenty of affordable green beauty options on the market today.  I use the word luxury to equate with high quality.  The green beauty industry is exploding, and there are so many exciting products on the market that everyone can make the switch and find products that work for them at every price point.

I discovered so many new brands this past year that it was really hard to pick favorites, but I tried to pick one in a variety of categories.  The products I will be talking about are the ones that I just discovered this year.

Before I get into my list, I want to say that my all-time favorite discovery of 2017 is the beauty box subscription.  Technically, my first dip into the beauty box subscription world was the Beauty Heroes box in November of 2016.  Since that first box, I was hooked.  I now have several subscription boxes, and I am working on a post that will be all about subscription boxes.

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So, let’s start with the first product, a morning cleanser.  I have used the Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser for years and I still do, but this year I tried out a few new ones. My favorite newly-discovered morning cleanser has to be the Yüli Skincare Halcyon Cleanser.  Yüli is a high-tech skin care company that uses organic and wild crafted plant oils and botanicals harvested from their own farm.  This cleanser uses some powerful ingredients, yet it is surprisingly gentle.

I like to gently exfoliate my face daily.  I think it is a necessary step to rid the skin of any dead skin cells or buildup and gives your skin a natural glow and brightness. There are cleansers with physical exfoliators (like finely milled seeds or grains) or enzymatic cleansers.    This cleanser uses fruit enzymes to remove surface impurities, while deeply cleaning without stripping my skin of moisture.  It contains an herbal infusion of Red Clover, Green Tea Leaf, Red Algae, Chickweed, and Sweet Olive Flower, which promote skin health due to their anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.  It contains Colloidal Peptides, which thoroughly clean the skin and enhance absorption of bioactives into skin cells.  Another powerful ingredient of this cleanser is Zeolite, a nutrient rich clay that helps unclog pores and replenish minerals and antioxidants.   It has a faint, pleasant scent.  I find that it has a high-tech, slightly medicinal, and clean smell.

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Now, I cannot do a favorite products post without mentioning the One Love Organics Vitamin B Enzyme Oil  Cleanser + Makeup Remover.  I not only love this product, but it also simplifies my life like no other product.  Whether I am doing a full-on self-care long and luxurious skin care regimen or just a quick clean and moisturize routine, this product fits into the program.  It removes every speck of makeup quickly and ever-so-easily and just rinses clean with only water!  No rubbing or scrubbing with a cloth to remove your makeup or the product required!  Some nights I may not be up for masking or layering on several products, but I ALWAYS wash my face and this product makes it a pleasure.  You can read my full review here.

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My next product would be the True Botanicals Nutrient Mist in the RENEW line.  You can read my entire review of this product on an earlier post here.   I love the scent, the list of powerful ingredients, and the way it makes my skin feel.  I also LOVE the mister on this product.  To me, it delivers the perfect amount of product in a fine, even mist.

True Botanicals was a new line for me this past year and I fell hard for the entire line.  So much so that my teenage daughter is now hooked on it as well.  It has kept all of those teenage skin issues at bay.  She has beautiful skin thanks to a combination of the CLEAR LINE and the BASICS LINE.

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When talking about my favorites from True Botanicals, I have to mention the Antioxidant Booster and the Cellular Repair Serum.  The Antioxidant Booster has some seriously potent polyphenols from apple peel and grape skins.  This booster is in powder form, so it maintains its potency.  It isn’t activated until you mix it with a liquid, which in my case is the Cellular Repair Serum.  I apply a couple of pumps of serum to the palm of my hand, and then I add a few shakes of the booster.  I mix them together and then apply to my face.  This serum absorbs quicker than any other serum I have ever used.  The combo leaves my skin so smooth, soft, and clear.

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Two other skin changing products I discovered are the Josh Rosebrook  Vital Balm Cream and the Advanced Hydration Mask.  Both of these products were new launches in 2017 and have been life-changing for me.  The first things you notice are the beautiful colors, textures, and scents of these products.  The first is a beautiful balm that turns into a rich cream when applied to your skin.

The mask is a product I use almost every day and it locks in moisture better than anything I have ever used.  It is an innovative product because you don’t remove it with water, but rather with a clean cloth which helps to reduce Transepidermal Water Loss.  Wait, WHAAAT?  What is Transepidermal Water Loss? TEWL is when water passes from the middle layer of the skin (dermis) through the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) and evaporates from the surface of your skin.   This is a process that your skin naturally regulates, but can be affected by outside conditions, like rinsing off a product with water. Your skin needs moisture and hydration to maintain a desirable level of TEWL. Moisturization refers to your skin’s ability to retain water molecules and hydration is the water content of your skin.

I apply the Advanced Hydration Mask to my face before bed and, rather than wipe it off, leave it on to work its magic while I sleep.  These two products will keep you super hydrated.  I did a complete post on both of them and you can read the comprehensive review here.  I have repurchased both of these products multiple times and plan to keep them as staples in my skin care routine.

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In Fiore is another beautiful brand that I discovered in 2017.  It is really difficult to pick a favorite product from the ones I have tried.  Each product truly embodies the art of luxury skin care rituals.  The textures, scents, and effectiveness of these products are truly outstanding.  If I had to narrow it down to favorites,  it would be the ones I pick up the most often, the Veloutée Complexe and the Fleur Vibrante Face Balm Concentre.   The Veloutée Complexe is a balm for eyes and lips.  It comes in a beautiful antique gold-colored compact.  I would love to have at least 3 more of these beauties.  One for my purse, one for my car, and one for my bedside table.  It has a light rose and jasmine scent.  This balm is not waxy, so it glides on smoothly and absorbs beautifully whether I am applying it to my eyes or my lips.  I tend to apply it more often to my lips because it just feels so good and it is perfect for winter lip care.

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The other In Fiore product I reach for the most is the Fleur Vibrante Face Balm Concentre.  This face balm is so exquisite.  It smells like a beautiful perfume.  It is made with luxurious skin perfecting botanical oils, extracts, and flower essences.  It melts on contact and absorbs into my skin better than most balms I have tried.  It is buttery soft and luscious on my skin.  It replenishes moisture and seals in my serums.  This balm won’t end up on your pillowcase!  This product is expensive, but you only need a tiny amount, so the pot will last you quite a while.  Did you know that In Fiore’s founder, Julie Elliot, consulted on the cult favorite Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum?  She has some beautiful products credited to her name.

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My favorite eye cream discovery is the Tata Harper Boosted Eye Contouring Mask.  I put off buying this for such a long time mainly due to the high price tag, but also because I wasn’t sure what an “eye mask” would do for me.  I regret that decision immensely.  I consider this just a super amped-up eye cream.  This is exactly what my delicate, aging eye area needs.  It is a thick, rich cream that helps reduce puffiness and makes my eyes look less tired.  It leaves them feeling super moisturized.  I apply this morning and night and it works beautifully under makeup without any pilling.

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My last discovery for 2017 that I will mention is the True Botanicals Hair Care.  It was love at first site for the Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner.  You can read my entire post on these two products here.  This set continues to be one of my all time favorite shampoos and conditioners!  The packaging is gorgeous, the delivery system is spot on, the scent is divine, and the way my hair looks when I use them is amazing!

So, now that I have shared all of my favorite discoveries with you, comment below and tell my what some of your favorite discoveries of 2017!

 

Pure Attraction with Magnetic Lashes

Love Light Cosmetics, Love Lash Magnetic False Eyelashes

I love false eyelashes! Big bold ones you see on celebrities walking down the red carpet or even on the Kardashians going to the gym.  They just make the eyes, which we know are the windows to the soul, POP!  The sad thing is, I cannot apply them to myself if my life depended on it.  Seriously.  I have even taken makeup classes to learn how to apply them.  They never seem to attach properly and stay put.  I always make a mess and end up losing half of my natural lashes in the process.  I have accepted that I am falsies-challenged.  Now, I am not the type to wear false eyelashes all the time.  I would just like to wear them for special occasions or date night with my husband.  Not too much to ask, right?

I had heard about magnetic lashes coming to the market for a while, but had not come across them until the holiday season.  I was perusing the Credo Beauty Store website and there they were….just calling to me!  The Love Light Cosmetic, Love Lashes!

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I purchased the single pair in Abundant.  In my usual fashion, upon arrival, I opened them up and attempted to apply them without reading any directions.  The excitement, you know? Big mistake.  After many failed attempts and much frustration, I decided to read the instructions, which happen to be printed right there on the box…duh!  Clearly they had people like me in mind when they decided to do that.  Thanks, Love Light Cosmetics!  Within a few seconds, I had applied false eyelashes AND I had done it correctly!

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It was super easy, but the lashes looked a little weird.  I realized that they don’t curve as well as other false eyelashes, probably due to the placement and weight of the magnets.  Now, this may only be for the shape of my eyes.  I have rather small eyes, so it may work better for those of you with bigger eyes.  I am hoping that if I keep working with them, I can get them to bend more to my lash line.

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For Christmas, my girlfriend gave me the Harmony set which contains 2 sets of lashes, the Abundant and the Zen. The Zen are a shorter set, more like a half lash, that works great on just the outer half of the eye.  These were perfect!  They literally take a few seconds to apply and VOILA!  Instant eye-opening drama!

So, here are a few tips that I had to figure out the hard way.  First of all, you have to use your fingers.  NO TWEEZERS.  The magnets attach to the metal and you cannot apply them.  Common sense, I know, but worth stating.  Also, curl your lashes prior to applying them because you won’t be able to once they are on.  The whole metal magnet thing again.  They come separated nicely in their beautiful white boxes that are magnetized.  I use my tweezers to pull them out and then my fingers to apply them.  There is a top and bottom lash for each eye.  The bottom lash has a white dot on the band so you can easily identify it.  I put on the top lash and line it up where I want it, then, as I am gently pushing it down into my lash line so it stays flush, I open really wide and place the bottom lash underneath my lash line as close as I can get it.  I close my eyes and you can feel the magnets connect.  It is that easy!  One and done!

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Now to remove them, you have to grasp them with your thumb and your index finger and gently slide your fingers in opposite directions.  This allows the magnets to disengage and they separate.  It could not be easier!  There is no mess and I don’t lose any natural lashes from the traditional tugging or glue.  Genius!

You don’t see the magnets once they are attached and there isn’t a obvious band.  They lay right on your lashes and look very natural.  Plus, no glue mess or band that needs to be blended with eyeliner.

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Now, I want to be clear about one thing.  I have used drug store eyelashes, but the most experience I have had with false eyelashes is with the Battington Lashes, usually  professionally applied at Citrine Beauty Store by one of their makeup artists during an event.  These are not the same product.  The Battington lashes are silk and most of their styles are 3D.  They are beautiful lashes that add glamour and drama.  I know some people wear false eyelashes frequently, but to me, these are special occasion lashes. If you are good at applying false eyelashes, I highly recommend them.  The Love Lashes are synthetic, so they don’t have quite the same look.  They do, however, have unprecedented ease of application that even a falsie-challenged person like myself can master in seconds!  They also look natural while adding fullness and length to your own lashes.  They are more of what I would consider an everyday lash, if you are the type to wear false eyelashes more frequently.  Who knows, I may just start wearing falsies everyday, even to workout!

If you want to check out the Love Lash false eyelashes, you can click here.

Changing My Foundation

Liquid Foundation Reviews

This summer I decided to try out some liquid foundations. It is really hot in Arizona and I like to keep my makeup as light as possible since I will probably sweat most of it off by the end of the day.   I have been extremely happy with my go-to foundations, which have been the Kjaer Weiss Foundation (I wear like porcelain) and Vapour Atmosphere Luminous Foundation (I wear 115).  My love of these tried-and-true products doesn’t stop my compulsion to try new green beauty options.  I was able to order some trial kits online and, while I was traveling this summer, I picked up some foundation samples of product lines that are not sold at my local green beauty store, Citrine Natural Beauty.  It is so hard to buy foundation online without testing out the colors on your skin.

Let’s start with what I look for in a foundation.  First and foremost, it must have clean ingredients.  I don’t want anything that is a known skin irritant, hormone disruptor or toxic ingredient in my foundation.  I feel it is counter-intuitive to apply something to my face to help me feel and look better on the surface while it is harming my body on the inside.  Vanity is not worth risking my health, and there are so many gorgeous products on the market today that have clean ingredients that I don’t have to put my self at risk.   A list of the ingredients I like to avoid can be found here.

Next, it needs to be lightweight.  My skin needs to breath.  I wear foundation to even out my skin and to give me a more polished look.  I don’t like a heavily, made up look.  So, these are the products I tried out…

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The first brand I purchased was Crunchi.  After using up the sample kit, I wrote a full review that you can read here.  Since writing this post, I have purchased a full-size bottle of foundation, primer, and also the CRUNCHI foundation brush.  They are currently selling a foundation sample pack, rather than the trial kit that I had purchased.  The pack contains a sample of their 4 most popular shades.  It appears to be a smaller sample than what I received and it doesn’t contain a sample of the primer, but it should be enough for you to color match and get an idea of how the product works for your skin.

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Next I purchased an INIKA trial kit in light.  INIKA is an award winning Australian brand of certified organic products that uses Australian botanicals and pure minerals to create high performance makeup that also nurtures your skin.  INIKA has one of the highest safety ratings by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database.  They have a slew of certifications to verify that they are organic, safe, cruelty free and vegan.  If there is a certification out there, they probably have it.

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One of the many great things about INIKA is that it comes in several formulas to meet a variety of needs.  Whether you like a liquid, baked or loose powder formula, or a multitasking BB cream, they have you covered!  Couldn’t resist the pun, sorry!

INIKA Liquid Foundation with Hyaluronic Acid

INIKA BB Cream

INIKA Baked Mineral Foundation

INIKA Loose Mineral Foundation Powder with SPF 25

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The trial kits contain 2 shades of mineral foundation powders, 2 Liquid Foundation and Organic Pure Primer. This foundation is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and is a combination of moisturizer and makeup. Made with coconut oil, apricot kernal oil and jojoba, it is very hydrating without being oily or heavy.   It not only blends flawlessly to give you a beautiful, natural coverage, but also hydrates your skin at the same time thanks to the addition of hyaluronic acid.  I found this foundation to be just the right amount of coverage that also let my skin breath and look natural.  I also feel it is quite buildable, for if I was going out and wanted a little more coverage or had a red spot that needed some extra foundation.  It has a thicker consistency than the CRUNCHI, but not  by much.  The primer is very similar to the CRUNCHI primer (think SMASHBOX Photo Finish primer) but has the additon of hyaluronic acid.  BONUS!

I tried out the powder formulas and I was surprised at how easy they were to use and how well they blended into my skin.  I prefer a liquid or cream foundation, so I didn’t spend a lot of time with them, but if you like powder formulas, you need to check these out.  If you like a heavier finish, I bet applying this over a liquid foundation would be beautiful with the added bonus of the SPF.  I wish the trial kit came with a sample of the BB Cream because I know that it has to be amazing!  When I finish up the bottle of CRUNCHI, I will definitely purchase a bottle of INIKA.  One can never have too much hyaluronic acid in their routine!

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Another liquid foundation I picked up was Gressa Minimalist Corrective Serum Foundation.  This is probably my favorite of all the foundations I tried.  This is truly food for your skin in makeup form!  It covers my skin beautifully and makes it look flawless without feeling heavy or thick.  Literally, flawless!  It is a liquid to velvet finish that just melts into my skin.  It is made with broccoli seed oil, barberry extract, sea buckthorn, vitamin C, coenzyme Q10 and a proprietary blend of powerhouse botanicals to balance your skin and make it more radiant.  Food for your skin!

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Now, after that declaration, I have a confession to make.  This foundation was a little tricky to work with and took some trial and error to get the hang of it.  When the sales girl was making the sample, she spilled more than she planned into the tiny sample container.  She told me that the amount she put in there would last me weeks!  I scoffed in disbelief!  It was one of those tiny sample containers that you get all the time.  The first time I used it, I dipped my large foundation brush into the sample and started dabbing it on my face.  

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It is a thin, rather oily formula and I quickly learned that it was WAY too much foundation!  It took multiple tries before I was able to appreciate this amazing foundation.  It feels like a serum going on so it may feel a little oily at first, especially if you apply too much like I did.  Once you figure out the correct amount to apply and blend it into your skin, you will see that it melts into your skin like a beautiful serum and leaves your skin FLAWLESS, literally!  I later purchased a bottle of it. I apply 2 tiny drops from the glass dropper onto my foundation brush and that is enough to convert my face to a flawless canvas.  Now you probably think flawless canvas means heavy-looking and peeling foundation.  Quite the opposite!  This formula melts into your skin just like a serum, yet lasts all day, and leaves you skin with a natural finish.  Once I mastered the application, I was hooked! I look forward to trying more products from GRESSA.

If you aren’t sure what color to purchase, you can check out the sample packs available at Integrity Botanicals here.

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I picked up a sample of Sappho New Paradigm Liquid Foundation. I let the sales girl chose the colors that best matched my skin.  I came home with the #4 and #5, which both turned out to have yellow undertones, which my skin does not have.  I have worn  both several times and I don’t feel I can give it a fair review because I wasn’t happy with the color match.  I will tell you that I found this formula to be thicker than the other formulas that I tried and it gives more coverage on first application.  It is rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients, so this would be a great choice if you prefer a medium to full coverage foundation. It blends easily and doesn’t feel heavy, but again I don’t feel I can give a full review since I didn’t give it a fair testing.  I only wore it 3 times and gave up because I wasn’t happy with the shade.

I currently have the CRUNCHI and the GRESSA foundations in rotation.  Once I finish up the CRUNCHI, I will get the INIKA Liquid Foundation, primer and probably the BB Cream as well.

 

 

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If you have tried any of these foundations, I would love to hear your feedback!

 

Taming the Curls with Innersense

Innersense Organic Beauty Hair Products

My hair is naturally wavy.  That sounds like a great thing, right?  Well,  the reality is that it isn’t that pretty, perfect kind of wavy that looks like you just spent the day at the beach.  It is an uneven, wavy, curly, frizzy mess.  I blow dry my hair almost every day because  I don’t want to look like little orphan Annie.   Not that she isn’t super cute, but it is not a good look for me.  Arizona is super hot in the summer months and so the thought of having to spend 20-25 minutes with a hot blow dryer is quite depressing.  Finding a way to avoid it is a dream come true!  If you follow my blog, you know that I have serious issues with dirty hair, so skipping washings is not an option for me.  I pray for products to ease my hair care routine.  Did I mention that I have thick hair that retains water really well?  Blow drying is a long and exhausting process for me.

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I discovered a time-saving miracle product that I have to share with you.  But first, the prequel to that. I received the Innersense Hydrating HairbathHydrating Cream  Conditioner and the Sweet Spirit Leave-In Conditioner in one of my Beauty Hero boxes.  I really loved the set, but it was a little heavy for my hair.  I have normal hair, so I think this works better for those who have dry or damaged hair.   It is a really moisturizing set and that is not what my hair needs.  I love the smell, feel and texture of this product, so I wasn’t ready to give up on this brand.

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I purchased the Pure Harmony Hairbath Shampoo and Pure Inspiration Daily Conditioner to see if they were a better fit for my hair.  The hairbath is made with natural plant extracts to clean my hair without stripping it of its natural moisture and shine.   It is made with Coconut and Palm Oils for a gentle cleanse.  It also has Pumpkin Seed, Orange Flower, Lotus Flower and Cranberry Seed Oils as well as Rooibos Tea for its amazing antioxidant properties.  The conditioner is lightweight, yet hydrating.  It turns out the Pure Harmony line is perfect for my hair type.  Innersense also makes a Color Awakening line for color treated hair.  They really do have all of your hair care needs covered!

 

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So, are you still interested in the time-saving miracle product that has allowed me to skip the blow drying without sacrificing clean hair?  Well, it is the Quiet Calm Curl Control!  This product is definitely a game changer!  I can use it if I want to blow dry my hair straight or if …YAAASSS, I want to skip the hot, blow dryer and still not scare any small children!!  I put a dime size amount of this product in my wet hair and it makes the curls and waves look more even and completely frizz free.  I can spend a few minutes blow drying the front section (crown) of my hair because,  I failed to mention that I have multiple (yes multiple)  cowlicks.  But once that 1-2 minute process is done, I can leave the rest of my hair to dry naturally and I get a more even looking curl/wave with plenty of body and NO frizz.  On these hot days, it is truly a life saver!  This styling product uses organic Shea butter, rice bran oil and oat kernel extract to protect your curls or smooth your hair during a blow dry.  The orange flower oil and Frangipani extract (plumeria flower) calm and quiet your curls to give you the soft bounce you want without the frizz.  Many products that calm and manage curls make your hair stiff and crunchy as well as weighing it down.  The Quiet Calm Curl Control makes your hair soft, shiny and tames your curls without weighing them down.  I can use this if I want my hair straight or curly, and my hair is easy to manage, shiny, full of body and free of frizz.  You only need a small amount, so this bottle will last a long time!

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Now I will share with you another game changing product from Innersense Organic Beauty, the Harmonic Healing Oil.  This product came as the side kick in the same Beauty Heroes box.  When I first got it, I used it in my daughter’s hair rather than my own hair. Oils tend to weigh my hair down, so I was hesitant to use it on myself.  My oldest daughter has very long, thick curly hair.  She is 14 years old and (knock on wood), unlike all of her friends, she doesn’t spend hours fixing, straightening and styling her hair.  She loves her curls and just washes and goes.  One of the my greatest successes…instilling confidence in my kids!  Yay me!  The first time I used it on her hair, she was rushing off to school and said her hair was too “poofy”.  She asked me to do something to tame it a little bit. Her hair just needed a little smoothing to tame the “poof”.  I grabbed the bottle of Harmonic Healing Oil,  put 1 pump in the palm of my hand, rubbed them together, then ran my hands through her hair and rushed her out the door.

The next morning she asked me to put more of that “magic oil” in her hair.  It took her curly hair, that is sometimes a little too “poofy” for her taste, and made it into more soft, even curls.  I also started adding a tiny bit of this to my hair on the days that I skip the blow dry.  I cannot tell you much of a time saver this has been for me!  Not to mention how great it is not to have to endure the long, hot blow dry every day!

This little bottle of magic oil is made with healing oils and flower essences.  It contains certified organic oils and is rich in vitamins, proteins and antioxidants.  It is ideal for hair, scalp and dry skin.  It is a multiuse product with amazing healing properties.  My daughter now uses both of my bottles of  Quiet Calm Curl Control and Harmonic Healing Oil.  Luckily, the bottles have plenty of product for both of us to share!

The line of Innersense Organic Hair Products has been hair changing for both my daughter and me.  Before the end of this post, I have to also mention that the line is the lowest price of any luxury, green beauty, hair care line that I have used.  I also have to call attention to their gorgeous packaging!  They make some styling products that I have not tried yet, but hope to use soon.

So whether your hair is straight or curly, colored or natural, Innersence Organic Beauty has a hair product that is bound to make all of your hair dreams come true!  These hair care products are on permanent rotation in our house!  If you try any of their many, fabulous products, let me know about your experience.  If you sign up for their newsletter, you get $20 off your first purchase.  Here is to taming the curl and no more BAD HAIR DAYS!

Getting My Vitamins with One Love Organics

I have  professed my love of the One Love Organics Vitamin C Body Polish.  If you missed it, you can check out my entire review here.   I just finished my first bottle of Vitamin B Enzyme Oil Cleanser + Makeup Remover and the love fest continues!  This oil cleanser is everything I want in a face cleanser and so much more.   Whether I am in a hurry and just want a quick makeup remover and face wash or I am having a self-care moment and indulging in a skin care ritual, this cleansing oil checks all the boxes for me.

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Some days I just want to quickly remove my makeup and wash the grime of the day away and this is the product I grab.  This delicious cleanser contains a special Vitamin B complex that helps detoxify and tone my skin.  The fruit enzyme, papain, helps exfoliate and remove all traces of makeup, dirt and oil that have accumulated throughout the day.  The pumpkin oil, which is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids, helps keep my skin radiant while Vitamin E helps protect against environmental damage.

I have used many oil cleansers to remove makeup or as the first step in a double cleanse ritual.  For me, OLO has created the perfect product.  When I use a cleansing oil, I want it to remove my makeup completely and this does it for me.  Many oil cleansers just don’t rinse clean enough for me. This breaks up all the oils in my makeup and rinses completely clean.  I don’t end up with those raccoon eyes when I finish that require multiple swipes of a cloth to remove.   No tugging of the delicate eye area required!  It contains sunflower oil which helps my skin retain its moisture, so I am left with a super clean face that doesn’t feel dry or tight.

On those nights when I want a more involved skin care ritual, I like to clean my face with the Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil first.  Once all the makeup is removed, I can enjoy  the amazing oils and botanicals found in the many cleansers and cleansing balms I have so I can indulge in a double cleanse.  My skin is clean and ready to absorb my serums and face oils.

A few weeks ago, I had a hydrafacial.  A hydrafacial uses patented technology to cleanse, extract and hydrate your skin.  Afterward, my esthetician was so excited to show me the “dirty water canister” that held what was removed from my face.  After a little prodding, I agreed to look at it with her.  Did I really NEED to see it?  She was so excited to show me that I couldn’t refuse her.  She was so surprised at what she found.  She said the water is usually really dirty (black) and there are a lot of things floating in it.  Really disgusting right?  My water was not dirty and only had dead skin floating in it!  She said she had never seen water that clean before!  She couldn’t believe it.  I told her she hasn’t treated anyone who uses the most luxurious and effective green beauty products before!

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If you have used any of the One Love Organics products, you know about that delicious pineapple scent.  It is a fun and enticing scent made of proprietary natural ingredients.  You can read about their certification on my previous body scrub post here.

So, if you are like me and want your skin to feel super clean AND well hydrated, try the One Love Organics Vitamin B Enzyme Cleanser + Makeup Remover!

Do you have any favorite OLO products?  If you have tried any of them, please let me know your favorites!

Use this code for $5 off your next OLO purchase!

 

A Truly Botanical Experience

I purchased a skincare trial kit from True Botanicals so I could dip my toe in rather than take the full plunge.  It is a great way to try out a line without spending a lot of money and the sizes are large enough for you to get a few weeks’ worth of product and get a real feel for them.  True Botanicals is a luxury skincare line, so I wanted to try it before making the investment.  The hair care line is a staple for me, so I know the quality is top notch.  You can read my full review of the shampoo and conditioner  here.

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I ordered the Renew line because let’s face it, I need to be renewed!  When it arrived, my first thought was that the bottles were a little small.  My brain immediately went to the expression…”WARNING: items may appear larger than they actually are!”  But, as it turns out, they lasted a little over 2 weeks.  I felt it was an enough product to get a feel for the line and know if it worked for me.

Let’s start with the brand.  True Botanicals was founded by Hillary Peterson.  With a story that we hear often, after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, she started looking more closely at the ingredients in her personal care products.  She spent eight years studying the effects and healing powers of botanicals and consulted with world leaders in green chemistry and sustainability.  She wanted a luxury skincare line that was effective without harming our skin, health, or environment.  She later partnered with Christina Mace-Turner, who has used her strong tech background to bring the company to the next level.

 One thing that makes the line different from other green beauty brands is that they have conducted Independent Scientific Clinical Studies with their products to show their efficacy.  They have tested their Renew, Pure Radiance Oil and Renew, Cellular Repair Serum against the cult favorite, Crème de la Mer.  I confess that, at one time, I subscribed to the hype of Crème de la Mer.  I am proud to say that I am a more educated consumer now and know that inside that fancy white glass jar is just glorified Vaseline with a hefty price tag.

The randomized, comparative, double blind trials showed that True Botanicals Renew, Pure Radiance Face Oil out performed Crème de la Mer in all categories:

  • Reduced fine lines and wrinkles
  • Increased facial hydration
  • Reduced facial pore size
  • Increased facial elasticity
  • Increased facial smoothness (when used in combination with the Renew, Cellular Repair Serum)

The True Botanicals Clear Collection was used in an Independent Clinical Study along with Proactiv+ and showed not only a consistent reduction in acne lesions over time, but also significantly reduced skin dryness.  The study also proved that the Proactiv+ worked initially, but had a decrease in impact over time.  Having spent part of my career as a Clinical Research RN, I love when the claim is backed by scientific studies!  You can read about the study here.

True Botanicals is also the first skincare company to have its entire product line MADE SAFE™ certified.  MADE SAFE™ is a nonprofit organization that certifies that a product is made with safe, nontoxic ingredients.  It is the most comprehensive product safety evaluation available to us.  You can check out their website to learn more here.

The packaging is sleek, high tech and beautiful.   The products are separated into several collections to tackle a variety of skin conditions.  If you have a skin issue, they have a solution!

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BASICS is their newest collection aimed at prevention.  It is targeted toward those who don’t have any skin issues yet and want to keep it that way.  I started my 14-year-old daughter on this line a few months ago.  She absolutely loves using it and her skin looks amazing.   My husband asked me a few weeks ago, true story, “I thought teenagers were supposed to have acne and bad skin.  Why does Emily’s skin look so good?”  I am not exaggerating when I tell you, I have found myself looking at her across a room or in the car and thinking how amazing her skin looks.  She literally glows.  Now for a teenager, that is pretty amazing.  She uses the Basics Cleanser, Face Oil and the Clear Toner. I used to be able to give her my green beauty cast offs, but she won’t take them anymore.  She doesn’t want to use anything else.  I wish I could pass out samples to all her friends, particularly the teenage boys!

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RENEW is for the consumer looking to tackle the causes of aging at the cellular level.  This is ME!  This line contains super concentrated, bio-active ingredients to fight the signs of aging.

CLEAR is formulated for acne-prone skin.  It goes against what most people expect from acne treatments.  This line destroys acne-inducing bacteria while balancing your skin and keeping it hydrated.

CALM was created for rosacea-prone skin.  It also helps over-exfoliated or inflamed skin with potent soothing ingredients.

So, let’s talk about the trial kit.  I bought the Renew Trial kit that comes with a Hydrating Cleanser, Nutrient Mist, Pure Radiance Oil, and Cellular Repair Serum.

The RENEW line has a clean, fresh scent.  The Hydrating Cleanser is gentle and intended to clean, but not strip the skin of moisture.  The star ingredients are Green and White Tea, Aloe Vera, and Camelia Oil.  Green and White Tea are chosen as the base because they are packed with antioxidants and polyphenols, for toning, soothing, and inhibiting organisms that attack collagen and elastase.

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I love the smell of this cleanser, but the whole time I was using it during the trial period I kept thinking it needed the addition of an oil cleanser!   For me, this cleanser alone feels a little slimy and my face doesn’t feel completely clean when I am done. This is totally a preference for me.  I know the potent ingredients in this cleanser are ridding my face of all dirt, grime, pollution, etc. and the feeling I am getting is just a well-hydrated face, but using this alone didn’t work for me.  During the dryer, winter months, it will probably be perfect alone, but not long after I finished this trial kit, they released the True Botanicals PRE CLEANSE OIL.   I think they were reading my mind!

Also in the kit is the Nutrient Mist.  I love this stuff!  Made with Green and White Tea, Algae Extract, and Kombucha, it hydrates, balances, and soothes my skin.  This mist is a spritz of cool, refreshing hydration.  It is loaded with antioxidants to help decelerate the aging process, plump the skin.  It contains polyphenols which protect the skin from oxidative stress.  The spray mechanism on this mist is perfection.  Sometimes mists spray really hard and fast.  You know the ones that make you flinch when you spray them.  Sometimes the spray is too wide and they get all in your hair or the spray diameter is too narrow and you end up having to spray about 10 times to cover your whole face.  This one sprays a fine mist with the perfect diameter.  Maybe I am a total nerd and spend too much time thinking about these things, but I think it is important.  The spray mechanism is not a game changer, but definitely a bonus.

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The Cellular Repair Serum is a thick bright orange serum packed with Ceramides and some proprietary blends of bio actives that deliver high concentrations of free-radical fighting ingredients.  This serum is one of the few that I have used that I feel just soaks into my skin rather than sitting on top of it.  I apply it right after the mist and massage it in my skin and it is absorbed quickly.  The color is beautiful and the smell is that clean fresh scent.  Love this serum!

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Last in the trial kit was the Pure Radiance Oil.  I love face oils because they nourish the skin and help improve the barrier function that our skin was designed to do.  They absorb directly into your skin and work their magic.  This antioxidant powerhouse is the combination of many oils and extracts, but some of the star ingredients are Chia, Kiwi and Papaya Seed Oils, Passion Fruit Oil, Algae Extract, and Astaxanthin.  I have learned that Astaxanthin helps protect your skin from sun damage, which is a big plus for someone living in the very sunny state of Arizona.

The Pure Radiance Oil also smells clean and fresh.  You only need a few drops and it will make your skin feel so nourished and hydrated without feeling greasy.  This oil absorbs really well into your skin especially if you apply it while your face is still damp from your face mist.

So, when my trial was done, I was hooked.  I knew I would be purchasing more from this brand and it would be one of my favorite green beauty skincare lines.  I was in Northern California this summer and was able to stop into the shop located in Mill Valley.  I did not repurchase the Pure Radiance Oil because I had made a stop at Gargiulo Vineyards and picked up a new bottle of Vintner’s Daughter   a few days before.  Once that is gone, I will definitely purchase a bottle of the Pure Radiance Oil.  Along with the products for my daughter, I purchased a full-size Cleanser, Mist, Serum, and Pre Cleanse Oil.  I also purchased the Vitamin C Booster.  This was a new product for me and it is amazing too.  It is a very potent formula that comes in powder form.  The glass vial has a shaker top so I just sprinkle a little bit into my serum and apply it to my face at night.  I love this combination.

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Adding the Pre Cleanse Oil prior to using the cleanser has made this regimen exactly what I was looking for in my skincare routine.  It gives me that extra feeling of clean by removing the majority of my makeup prior to using the Cleanser.

True Botanicals is a brand I have fallen in love with and my skin is loving it!  I feel the founders set out on a mission to create a safe, nontoxic and effective luxury skincare line and they have achieved that goal.  I have my eye on a few other products in their line that I hope to purchase soon.  They just released the Antioxidant Booster, which is the first skincare product to feature apple peel.  I know this will be added to my collection very soon!

I also want to try the Deep Repair Eye Serum.  So many goodies to explore!  Have you tried any of the True Botanicals line?  Did you know that they have free samples?  If you sign up for their newsletter, you get $20 off your first purchase.  If you have any favorites, let me know!

Take $20 your first order over $40 use code JOINUS20

Your Body Deserves a Good Exfoliation

I am a big believer in exfoliation.  I use a gentle exfoliating cleanser on my face every morning and do a deeper exfoliation every 1-2 weeks.  But what about the body?  Doesn’t the body deserve a good exfoliation as well?  Of course it does!  Exfoliating our bodies has the same benefits as exfoliating our faces.  Skin cells on our body shed just like those on our face.  The turnover process slows as we get older, so a body scrub helps to sluff off that dead skin to reveal healthier skin underneath.  The physical action of the body scrub also helps increase circulation and helps with lymph node drainage due to the increased circulation to the skin’s surface.  Removing the dead skin also allows the new skin underneath to more readily absorb your luscious skin care products, as well as helps prevent ingrown hairs.

 

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Body scrubs are usually made up of larger exfoliating particles than a facial exfoliator because the skin isn’t quite as delicate on your body.  They can consist of salt, sugar, crushed nuts, shells, coffee beans or seeds.  They can also contain chemical exfoliants like glycolic acid, salicylic acid or alpha hydroxy acid, which can help smooth, firm or improve the appearance of blemishes or redness.  The exfoliating particles are usually mixed with a variety of carrier oils and essential oils.  You are not only exfoliating your body, but hydrating it as well.  Just check the label and make sure it doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients that are on this list.

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The big dilemma isn’t “to scrub or not to scrub, ” it is choosing sugar or salt. Both have their benefits.  Sugar scrubs tend to be more gentle, as the granules are round and even. It is less drying and dissolves more easily in water.  Salt granules are more jagged and uneven so it gives you a stronger exfoliation.  Salt has the added benefit of adding trace minerals that can help promote relaxation and improve circulation.  Neither should be used if you have any open wounds on your body.  If you have a cut and use a salt scrub, you quickly learn the meaning of “rubbing salt in your wounds.”  You will also find different consistencies in body scrubs.  Some scrubs just contain oils and exfoliants, while others add emulsifiers to make them more of a blended consistency.  All of them work to rid your skin of rough, dry areas and nourish it, as well.

So now that we have covered the reasons why we should use body scrubs, let’s talk about some body scrubs that I love.  I probably use a body scrub every 3-4 days.  I have made my own body scrubs for years.  It is super easy to do and you can customize it to your liking.  I will put a basic recipe at the end of this post that you can use to create your own special blend if you prefer a DIY option.

There are many brands that I have tried because I collect them, like all other skin care products.    I use both types and I enjoy salt and sugar scrubs equally.  All the scrubs I have listed are clean of any toxins or unhealthy ingredients. Here are some of my favorites:

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One Love Organics Vitamin C Body Polish is my most recent body scrub acquisition and one that has quickly become one of my favorites.  You open the jar and suddenly you are transported to the tropics.  It smells like a delicious, fruity pineapple drink.  It has the same scent as another one of my favorite OLO product, the Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil.  The smell is so unique that I quickly checked the label and did a little research to confirm that it was all natural.  It is stronger than any other green beauty product that I have used and it took me by surprise.  The label lists “Parfume/Fragrance”  which ordinarily has me running for the hills.  After doing some research, I quickly learned that with OLO, the use of the vague “perfume/fragrance” does not contain anything synthetic or toxic.  Here is a direct response from their website:

We only use ECOCERT certified blends of 100% natural origin. One Love Organics uses a proprietary blend of ingredients found in nature including therapeutic essential oils, fruit and plant extracts and oils to compose our wonderful and healthy fragrances. Our natural fragrances are free of phthalates, parabens, sulfates, chemical sunscreens, petrochemicals, formaldehyde donors, peg’s, dea/tea and 1,4 dioxanes. ECOCERT expressly prohibits synthetic perfumes and our products proudly bear the ECOCERT seal.

This body scrub is made with raw, organic sugar.  The oils used are sunflower seed and shea oil.  It contains an ultra concentrated form of Vitamin C to brighten the skin.  This polish is in a thicker, blended form and actually foams up a tiny bit when applied.  It feels amazing on my skin and due to the thicker, cohesive blend of the product,  you feel that every drop is working on doing magical things to your skin…exfoliating, brightening, hydrating.  I have come to love this OLO scent and this scrub is one of my favorites.

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Indie Lee Coconut Citrus Body Scrub is  another sugar scrub that is more of a gelatinous consistency.  It has a light, luscious scent of lemongrass and coconut that turns your bath into a tropical retreat.  It is super gentle (it can even be used on your lips) and it leaves my skin feeling smooth, hydrated and smelling delicious.  Because of the consistency of this scrub, it washes off easily and doesn’t leave your skin feeling too oily.  This scrub is a mix of coconut, jojoba, lemon balm, lemongrass and vanilla.  Seriously, you may be tempted to eat it!

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Tata Harper Smoothing Body Scrub is another sugar scrub with a gelatinous texture.  I received this as a Christmas gift from my wonderful husband.  My first experience with it was at one of the Tata Harper Master Classes and it is a true luxury.  What makes this scrub different is that along with organic cane sugar, it also contains 4 other biodegradable exfoliants:  pink Himalayan and Hawaiian sea salts, cranberry fibers and apricot seed powder.  It has a light, heavenly scent of Calendula and Jasmine that truly gives you that spa felling at home.  It doesn’t hurt that the package is gorgeous!

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100% Pure Body Scrubs have been part of my skincare routine the longest.  I discovered them many years ago and continue to keep them in rotation.  They are made with potent antioxidants, vitamins, fruit acids and nutrient rich plant oils that leave your skin silky smooth.  They come in either sugar or salt depending on the scent you choose.  I am currently using the Blood Orange which is a sugar scrub.  It is super hydrating and nourishing using powerful antioxidants like Pomegranate, Acai, Grapeseed and Apricot Oils and smells like a Tuscan orchard.

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Osmia Organics Himalayan Body Buff is a very special treat.  It has an amazing scent reminiscent of rosemary, lavender, pine and citrus.  It is a salt scrub made with Himalayan Pink salt and a special Osmia oil blend made up of coconut oil and organic jojoba, kukui, avocado, almond, hemp, borage, rosehip, sea buckthorn, berry and evening primrose oils.  This oil smells so amazing and is incredibly moisturizing.  You can tell from the photo that the jar is empty.  It will be replenished very soon!  For an extra special treat, apply this scrub to your body before you get in the shower, rinse it off, then apply one of the Osmia Organics Body Mousses when you get out.  I have the Rosemary, Lavender and the Sandlewood and they are each a delight to the senses!  You can read my post on this ritual here and you can thank me later!

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Another noteworthy salt scrub is the Prim Botanicals,  The Debauchery Detox Body Scrub.  I received this scrub in an Art of Organics subscription box and it was definitely the highlight of that month’s box.  If you like the smell of coffee, you will love this scrub!  It has Hawaiian Black Lava Salt, epsom salt, activated charcoal, organic Philippine Baroko Coffee and eucalyptus to help release toxins and Amazonian, Andiroba and Pracaxi oils to nourish your skin.  It really helps wake me up and get energized in my morning shower.  What is better than having your coffee IN the shower?  Just be aware that the coffee grounds can be a bit messy.

Whichever scrub you use, make sure you apply it to dry skin to get the most benefit, then just rinse off in the shower or tub!

Homemade Sugar Body Scrub

Clean Glass Jar

3 parts Course Sugar (Turbinado)

1 part oil (I use a combo of Almond, Avocado and Jojoba)

15-20 drops Essential Oil (my go to mix is Grapefruit, Lemongrass and Lavender)

Optional Add-Ins like zest, dried flowers or herbs (I love rosemary and lemon)

Mix all together in jar and use a scooper to dole out some goodness.

Homemade Salt Body Scrub

1 Part Course Sea Salt

1 Part Oil

Essential Oils or other add-ins of your choice

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Get creative and make a blend full of scents and oils that appeal to you!

Next time you are in the shower or bath, take a few extra minutes and give your body the love it deserves!  Rid yourself of dead skin and clean your pores,  while moisturizing your skin.  Have you ever made your own body scrub?  Leave a comment, as I would love to know your favorite combinations!

Just a little side-note, since October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month) is right around the corner…when applying your body scrub or body oil, it is a great time to complete your  breast exam.  Just saying’!