#GreenBeauty Empties #3

I’ve¬†been accumulating empty products from body oils to hydrating serums to cleansers for the past several months, and have put them together in one video of mini-reviews to share with you. To see the products mentioned, any relevant posts, and what makeup I was wearing, head on over to YouTube to see the full description box (along with individual timings for each product–I know I talk a lot). If you like the video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe, and if you’ve tried any of the products mentioned, please do let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Organic Bath Co. Body Scrub in Stress Less

Organic Bath Co Scrub
Organic Bath Co Scrub (close-up)

During the school year, my shower was my break from my nightly homework session. In an attempt to sleep as early as possible and therefore finish my work as soon as possible, I would shower furiously fast. Shampoo my hair, condition my hair, wash my body, quickly scrub down 2-3x a week, hop out, oil up, and get back to the grind.

Having come home for the summer break, I was showering a glorious two hours before my school average when I had a simple revelation. I didn’t have any buggy code or listening exam studying to rush back to. I could take my sweet time. And I did (with the water turned off, of course. No water in Cali ūüôĀ ).

How much more pleasant it is to scrub off excess dead skin cells and give your body a nice rub-down in slow motion. It’s like satisfying the whole days’ worth of itches.

When I get lazy or absent-minded and skip a week or two of scrubbing, without fail, I notice the familiar scales building up on my legs. Oil up as I like, the scales will stubbornly stay unless I scrub down, and Organic Bath Co’s body scrubs do the job.

The ingredients list is wonderfully simple. Sugar (fair trade) + moisturizing oils + fragrance from essential oils. It’s brilliant–the sugar (with your hands’ help of course) rub away dead skin cells while the oils (sweet almond, apricot kernel, and sunflower oil) stay behind to moisturize your gams. The sugar is pretty coarse (not to the point of causing distress or inflammation though), and if you store your scrub in the shower like I do (though do your best to not drip water inside), the texture becomes a bit clumpy–nothing a stir with the included wooden spoon (adorable, isn’t it?) or a recycled ice cream spoon doesn’t fix.

In the winter, I usually layer on an oil or butter post-shower for extra moisture, but in the summer, my scrub session also does double duty as my body moisturizing and softening session. In all the seasons, I like to scrub before shaving, as the oil leftover leaves behind a protective layer, making my shave smoother and usually less irritating. I also like to scrub before I self-tan to make sure I don’t have any dry skin patches lingering to funk up my tan.

Now whether this scrub helped me to stress less? I’d like to think somewhat so during my 5-10 minutes under the showerhead, but stress is kind of a monster. While the exact composition of the scent is under wraps, I mostly get lavender from Stress Less. Lavender is usually the essential oil suggested for calming down, and it certainly didn’t hurt. Scent-wise, I may prefer the coffee-minty Java Jolt and minty RefreshMint, the other two scents that I own–I never thought coffee and mint would be a combination, let alone thought I was a minty person.

I suppose in a way the product, being a body scrub, has helped me stress less. Sure, you could rush through the process, but I like it so much better done slow and mindfully. Now, when I start grad school in the fall? We’ll see if I will keep up my turtle pace, but it’ll depend on how buggy my code gets…

Have you tried this scrub before? What are your thoughts? If not, what is your go-to for sloughing off your scaly gams?

Ingredients:¬†Fair Trade Certified‚ĄĘ Sucrose (Sugar)*, Prunus Amygdatus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil*, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot Kernel) Oil*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil*, Essential Oil Fragrance*. ¬†*Certified Organic Ingredient

Disclaimer: While I was initially gifted two scrubs by the kind Gianne of Organic Bath, I purchased Stress Less, the scrub pictured above, myself from Organic Bath’s website. Since my purchase last fall/winter, Organic Bath updated their branding, so my tub, as cute as it is, will look a little different than its updated counterpart.

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#GreenBeauty Empties #2

It’s getting serious when you’re starting a count, right? Keeping up the motivation from the #GreenSurvivor Challenge and finishing up my products. Lots of favorites and essentials in this one, including Y√úLI Halcyon, Osmia Organics Active Gel Toner, and more. Also hints for the next post to come. Watch it below or head on over to YouTube!

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My Mama’s Green Beauty Picks

Mama's Green Beauty Picks

In honor of Mother’s Day, I bring you my mama’s picks from the green beauty world. She was slightly resistant to greening her routine at first since she long developed her own groove, but graciously opened up to my obsession with healthy beauty. What started with me pushing products onto her to try has turned into her purchasing them herself or requesting suggestions from me. I’m a proud mama hen of a mama hen.

La Bella Figura | Découverte Under Eye Repair Serum
It makes my eyes look nice. My eyes look less baggy. Also, the smell is really good and even though it is an oil, it doesn’t feel oily because the skin absorbs it in. I think it definitely tightens up the skin around my eye and makes the skin tone better. I really see a difference.

Laurel Whole Plant Organics | Healing Balm 

Remember, my neck, it‚Äôs very sensitive; I get allergic reactions. It can get very itchy and red, but this¬†healing balm repairs my skin. I haven‚Äôt had [reactions] for a long time. So I love this one. Also sometimes I use the leftover from my neck on my face after I apply the Antioxidant Serum because sometimes my face is sometimes a little itchy, just a very little amount. (Ed. note: she’s repurchased this probably three times by now)
Laurel Whole Plant Organics | Antioxidant Serum 
It‚Äôs an oil but it doesn‚Äôt make skin oily (Ed. note: this is especially important to her because she uses powder foundation, and powder foundation on an oily face looks no bueno). It smells really good. It makes me feel good because it’s made up of plants. (Ed. note: she’s on her first repurchase of this)
It cleanses your face pretty well and removes makeup too. Sometimes, when I wash my face, every other day, I put a little of the scrub in while I’m washing. (Ed. note: when Whole Foods has this on sale, she buys them in bulk)
I like to use it to wash my [makeup off] even though it’s expensive. (*laughs) (Ed. note: I left a sample of this at time, and to my delight, she went out on her own and purchased it. And then used it on her face as a makeup remover to my dismay. Oh well. At least she found a way to enjoy it.)
Josh Rosebrook | Hair Spray Firm Hold
If I tease my hair and spray it, it holds hair in place really well. (Ed. note: my mom is a huge hairspray snob and she uses hairspray all the time to keep hair out of her face and in a neat bun. Before this one, she used the same brand for years and years and years, so this is actually a big deal.)
Usually when you wear sunscreen under makeup, the makeup really does not look very good. Usually sunscreen is very greasy. But this one is not. It wears really nicely under makeup because it’s very smooth and silky. (Ed. note: she buys this one in bulk too.)
Disclaimer: I queried my mom and she graciously provided answers. Only editing was for grammar and editorial notes. All products purchased by her, images screenshotted from each respective brand’s website. Image of the two of us was from A Night From Green Beauty last summer in Los Angeles. Affiliate links are included.

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NSF Organic Products from Saint Francis Organics

St. Francis Organics

In a world where the terms “natural” and “organic” are tossed around like hacky sacks, I’ll applaud those who go through organic certification. It’s not an easy process. There’s apparently no process in place that is appropriate for color cosmetics (see rms beauty’s FAQ). It can be costly for smaller businesses, and while an “organically certified” product doesn’t automatically mean “purest product ever that will absolutely work with my skin”, it can be, in my opinion, a pretty good heuristic when looking for a healthy, green product.

That being said, Saint Francis Organics is in the process of being certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) and have launched several new products in line with the NSF Organic regulations. This means if the phrase “contains organic ingredients” is used, then the product must contain at least 70% organic content.

A word that summarizes all of the products I tried: non-stripping. Two words: incredibly non-stripping.

The shampoo, body wash, and hand soap are all incredibly non-stripping and foam very gently. My hair, body, and hands never feel dry after a wash–rather, they are always left feeling very soft. That being said, it’s almost the kind of soft where you are not sure if you have rinsed anything off. I end up using more of the body wash than I do with my Dr. Bronner’s because even though the texture of the wash is quite thick, a little does not go too far. As for the shampoo, my hair has been well-nourished for the past month, though my roots tends to look and feel slightly greasy the morning after a shower. I do sweat very easily and thus can have a pretty oily scalp–so perhaps this shampoo is better geared towards those with very dry scalps (my hair loves the Acure shampoo geared towards drier hair, so perhaps this is for those who think that even that shampoo is not moisturizing enough). The body lotion is solid–it sinks in fast and lightly moisturizes my hands, not on the same level as Weleda’s intensely moisturizing Skin Food but light enough where I can moisturize my hands without worrying about having greasy hands for the next several minutes.

St. Francis Shampoo Label

The star ingredient replacing the villainous foaming sulfates in the shampoo and body/hand soaps? Soapberry fruit extract. It’s a saponin, a natural surfactant, i.e. a naturally occurring compound that doesn’t undergo any chemical modification to get its scrubby-scrubby on. Indeed, there is a bit of foaming action, but again, it is very gentle–nothing like the huge bubbles you will get from conventional hand washes, and that is fine. In a study investigating soapberry’s foaming properties in comparison with SLS, it was found that while SLS removed 90% of sebum, crude saponins removed 60% (shows how stripping SLS can be!). Overall, the saponins from soapberries were concluded to have excellent foaming properties and to be an effective preservative against the bacteria that causes staph infection.

In addition to this alternative foamy character, there is a nice array of extracts and moisturizing ingredients in each product, including rice, green tea, cucumber, avocado, and mango extract as well as shea butter, olive oil, sunflower seed oil, and sweet almond oil. That’ll be antioxidants, cooling effects, and extra moisture on the side, thank you very much. And at the top of each list: aloe vera. This makes sense–altogether, the moisturizing ingredients in combination with the gently foaming soapberry extract result in very gently foaming formulations that moisturize as they clean.

It should be noted that the preservative in the Body Lotion is honeysuckle extract–so for those of you concerned with the potentially paraben-like effects of honeysuckle, beware. As for scents, all of the formulations are very non-offensive and the scents come from oils, such as lemon oil or peppermint oil, which is great (it kills me when candle makers say that you can’t possibly scent a product with essential oils alone–lies!).

The prices for each product are projected to be quite affordable, with the shampoo (12oz) in the $15-17 range, body wash $11-13 (12oz), and hand soap $8-10 (8oz), to name a few. For reference, that places the shampoo as more expensive than your average Acure shampoo, but less expensive than your Yarok or beloved Rahua.
tl;dr¬†Not foregoing my Acure shampoo or Dr. Bronner’s soap, but will applaud SFO for seeking organic certification and utilizing an SLS-alternative in very gentle and non-stripping formulations.

What are your thoughts on organic certification? Do you feel it is necessary? If so, in the spirit of brotherhood, check out SFO’s IndieGoGo campaign page, should you so please: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/saint-francis-organics

Disclaimer: I typically review products that are nearly empty. However, this is a time-sensitive review as Saint Francis Organics’ IndieGoGo campaign to support the launch of their new NSF Organic products ends on November 8, 2014. SFO kindly provided these samples to me for review. I am not being compensated in any way for my words. All thoughts and opinions are my own. The image of the shampoo label and pricing were kindly provided.

Ingredients:
Peppermint/Vanilla Body Lotion: *Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera Gel), Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Sodium Stearyl Lactylate, *Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, *Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract (and) *Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract (and) *Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Fruit Extract (and) *Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract, *Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, *Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, *Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), *Tapioca Starch, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), *Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, *Vanilla (Botanical), Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract (and) Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Guar Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid.

Peppermint/Vanilla Hand/Body Wash: *Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera Gel), Decyl Glucoside, Glycerin, *Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), *Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil,*Sapindus Mukorossi Fruit Extract,*Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract (and) *Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract (and) *Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Fruit Extract (and) *Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract, *Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, *Vanilla (Botanical), Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Potassium Sorbate, Glyceryl Caprylate (and) Glyceryl Undecylenate, Citric Acid.

Lemon Shampoo: *Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera Gel), Decyl Glucoside, Coco Glucoside, *Sapindus Mukorossi Fruit Extract, *Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, *Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract (and) *Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract (and) *Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Fruit Extract (and) *Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract, Glycerin, Panthenol (Vitamin B-5), *Citrus Limonum (Lemon) Oil, GuarHydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Potassium Sorbate, Glyceryl Caprylate (and) Glyceryl Undecylenate, Citric Acid.

Lavender Hand/Body Wash: *Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera Gel), Decyl Glucoside, Glycerin, *Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), *Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, *Sapindus Mukorossi Fruit Extract,*Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract (and)  *Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract (and) *Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Fruit Extract (and) *Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract, *Citrus Sinensis (Orange) Oil, *Citrus Bergamia (Bergamot) Oil, *Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Potassium Sorbate, Glyceryl Caprylate (and) Glyceryl Undecylenate, Citric Acid.

* Certified Organic

Additional Sources:

Chao-Hsun, Yang, et al. “Foam Properties, Detergent Abilities And Long-Term Preservative Efficacy Of The Saponins From Saoindus Mukorossi.” Journal Of Food & Drug Analysis 18.3 (2010): 155-160. Academic Search Complete. Web. 28 Oct. 2014.

Fevola, Michael J.1, ct¬ēauthor@allured.com, et al. “Sustainability: Trends In Polymers And Surfactants For Hair Care.” Cosmetics & Toiletries 127.1 (2012): 34-40. Applied Science & Technology Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 28 Oct. 2014.

Montgomery, Katherine. “All In A Lather: Herbal Soap Plants.” Herbarist 76 (2010): 34-38. Academic Search Complete. Web. 28 Oct. 2014.
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A Trip to Strange Invisible Perfumes

Strange Invisible Perfumes had always been one of those brands I had seen and passed over on Spirit Beauty Lounge and NuboNau because 1) I was not really into perfumes, 2) I was not really into perfumes at such a price, 3) I was not really into perfumes at such a price when I hadn’t the faintest clue what they smelled like on my skin.

So it was a blessing to banter with SIP at A Night for Green Beauty, get recommendations from a handsome Australian fellow, and walk around smelling like an intoxicating jasmine flower sipping mimosas. By the end of the night, a 15ml Fair Verona was purchased and in my bag of swag.

Having perfumed myself out the night before, I wasn’t expecting to spend too much time at their brick-and-mortar store in Venice¬†the morning after–just to take a peek around their apothecary and gaze lovingly at their beautiful perfumes. And then my mother and I spent most of the morning and afternoon talking with Patrick, getting my mum perfume matched, and falling over their beautifully curated apothecary.

Of course I had to spritz some Fair Verona upon coming in. *swoon. Love this so much.

The beautiful perfume table. In the back is their carefully curated apothecary…

Fun fact: Patrick is a jazz pianist and Mozart greets you when you walk into the store.

Beautiful wall of giant, standard, and mini perfumes.

Truth: This is one of the very few places (probably the only!) where you can see May Lindstrom, Y√úLI Skincare, AND Vered Botanicals in the same place. I mentally blew kisses at some favorites (ML Problem Solver, Y√úLI Halcyon, Y√úLI Cocoon, Y√úLI M.E. Skin Fuel, Y√úLI Pure, Vered Herb-Infused Toner, and Vered Therapeutic Balancing Oil) and peeked at a few I haven’t tried yet. I tried some of Y√úLI’s Cellular Lip Conditioner on the back of my hand (have heard great things about this), looked at Vered’s masks, looked at May Lindstrom’s Honey Mud and thank goodness I was full or I could have eaten it, and tried to smell Y√úLI’s Mr. Incredible but I couldn’t find a tester.

 

Hello Alexis Smart Flower Remedies in the flesh! I have only started getting into flower remedies (partly inspired by Katey Denno’s story and trip) and attempted taking Ganesh last semester in an effort to enhance confidence, but I didn’t take it as consistently as I should have (my fault).

Amala is another line I have seen and tried samples-with-orders of via Spirit Beauty Lounge, but haven’t purchased. As Patrick told me, Amala is a spa line that actually uses the essential oils that SIP extracts which makes it very easy for them to carry Amala in their store. In addition, they have great clinical results and several dedicated lines such as one to brighten, another to purify, and another to rejuvenate.
Marble & Milkweed on the other hand, as Patrick told me, are totally opposite of Amala. They are very simple, but very organic, natural, and made in small batches in NY. Patrick particularly pointed out their woodsy toner (which I tried a spritz of–it’s super woodsy) and sang praise for the cleansing grains.
I was happy to see a recent love, Odacité, in full force. I have been loving their Pure Elements line, lusting after their Private Collection, and enjoying their cleanser, exfoliant, and toners.

 

Red Flower is another brand I have heard much about for their aromatherapy but have never tried. Patrick loves the rose serum and told us a bit about the arctic berry that is featured in several of their products. It is obtained from the arctic tundra and has an abundance of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and biomedical functions¬†due to their growing conditions (sun and frost all the time!). We tried some of the rose serum on the back of our hands, which was lovely and quite rosy, and took a peek at the arctic berry cloud milk cream–it can be used for face and body, and has a soft, light texture.

 

For fun, I asked Patrick if he could perfume-match my mum, who at first dothly protested she was not a perfume wearer, but then gracefully acquiesced (can you tell I am watching the Tudors). After listening to her general likes and dislikes (respectfully and generally, simple scents and heavy scents), Patrick had her try many of the perfumes on paper, a couple spritzes of each. They were all very strong at first, so he had her smell one first, set the paper aside, and reset her olfactories with coffee beans, before trying another one.

While my mum tried out perfumes, I romped around the store (which is very rompable) and tried out the body lotions on my parched legs (curse you, dry California!). They felt very nourishing and had more subtle scents than the perfumes–I pretty much liked them all.

Despite her initial protest, in the end, she had good fun. While she ranked her top 3 favorites, I asked Patrick, “So what does biodynamic and hydro-distilled mean anyhow?”

He told me, “Well, I’ll tell you about three things that set SIP apart, and they are the terms biodynamic, wildcrafted, and hydro-distilled.”

Biodynamic: Rotate the fields based on the season and don’t force the land to grow something that’s out of season
Wildcrafted: Don’t introduce new plants where they are not meant to grow–instead, get ingredients from the source, in their natural environment
Hydro-distilled: The plant is lightly simmered in water, forming a hydrosol and leaving an additional layer of essential oils at the top. These essential oils are then scooped up

There are three ways of typically extracting essential oils and those are: steaming, pressing, and hydro-distillation. Steaming is inexpensive, pressing is damaging to the plant, and hydro-distillation is more expensive, but the best way to go about it. It is gentle and captures the “the complete aromatic profile of the plant, including the fine aroma chemicals that cannot be captured with steam distillation”, according to SIP’s website¬†(source and further evidence here). What’s great is that SIP uses the hydrosols leftover from the hydro-distillation process in their other products, such as their body lotions and (don’t tell anyone) their possibly upcoming toner (?!).

My mum’s favorites:
1. Aquarian Rose
2. Epic Gardenia
3. L’invisible

My favorites:
1111111111. Fair Verona (or as Patrick says it, Favorana)

My mom ended up purchasing a mini of her top #1, Aquarian Rose, a very elegant rose which I think suits her well, and Patrick graciously gave her a tiny samples of her #2 and #3 (which are slowly becoming my #2 and #3 as well). She asked Patrick a couple of questions while he rung us up.

“Is the goal to be carried in department stores? These perfumes are pretty expensive compared to the ones you find in department stores. Why is that?”

No, he told us. Department stores want a lot of markup, and that is not feasible for SIP especially if they want to preserve integrity–which is what the founder wants to do. They are not willing to stoop to inexpensive distilling processes. The perfumes are indeed expensive, but honestly there isn’t much mark-up.

While SIP is still not the most budget-friendly of products, I walked away impressed with the level of integrity in their apothecary and in their own line of perfumes, body lotions, and body washes. They are very selective with what they carry, and I have no doubt their perfumes are a top-notch product which ingredients that are not going to confuse my hormones, unlike the perfumes you can easily find for cheaper in the department stores today. Patrick was charming and a joy to chat with–if you’re ever in Venice, LA, I absolutely recommend a walk to Strange Invisible Perfumes.

If a physical visit is not feasible, Spirit Beauty Lounge offers samples of their perfumes, via samples-with-orders or in their sample pack. When I smelled all of the perfumes at ANFGB, my initial reaction was these are all beautiful (and have beautiful colors), but they are way too strong for me. The other Aussie fellow at the SIP table recommended I try it on my skin, walk around a bit, and then make my judgement. I couldn’t stop sniffing my wrist (and asking other people to sniff too) that whole night. Try it on your skin and consider the processes by which it came about before turning up your nose at the price (and then begin to weep for your wallet).

tl;dr All thoughts and opinions are my own, except for paraphrased content from Patrick and my mum. I have attempted to preserve content gathered from Patrick as best as I could. I was not compensated in any manner for my words.

Have you visited Strange Invisible Perfumes in Venice? If not, would you, and what would you pick up?

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Summer Body Oils: #ED4OLO & Kahina

Is it ever too hot for body oils? If you get in the shower sweating and get out still sweating, maybe. But even though it’s been consistently hitting over 100 degrees over here in California, my legs are thirsty year round. Two body oils that have me feeling my skin all day long and smelling really, really delicious: Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin C Body Oil and Kahina Giving Beauty Fez Body Serum.

The #ED4OLO body oil has the same delicious tropical scent as the cleansing oil that makes my sister say, “This smells soooooo good” every time she uses it (once by mistake, she grabbed the body oil instead of the cleansing oil to remove makeup–oops! Don’t do that). I’m not a pineapple person (cannot eat food that I have consciously put pineapple in) but I absolutely love the smell of the oil cleanser, so I was so glad to hear they made a body oil with the same scent.

The ingredients read brightening meets moisturizing: the green tea seed oil and vitamin C ester¬†that I love from the Vitamin C serum, the papaya seed oil from the Vitamin B Oil Cleanser, plus moisturizing shea oil, shea butter, sunflower seed oil, and olive oil. While I can’t say my legs look brighter, when I use this and Chocolate Sun’s Cocoa Lite, I kind of feel like a glowing golden goddess the next day (and then I pull on my jeans/long skirt/appropriate clothing for work. At least I know I’m glowing).

The moisture part is serious though. It doesn’t beat my occasionally scaly calves (though this + regular exfoliation does the trick), but when I do get to bare my legs, I can’t stop touching them. Or smelling them, when I go in for a forward bend midday.

I’m guessing the thickish texture comes from the combination of shea oil + shea butter and green tea seed oil + vitamin C ester. Shea oil has 16 different fatty acids, and typically around 50% of some like oleic acid and stearic acid (hooray, anti-inflammation!). Green tea seed oil holds in moisture, boosts the effectiveness of vitamin C, and is also rich in fatty acids. What probably is also helping to keep my skin so soft is papaya’s exfoliating effects.

Despite the thicker texture, when massaged into the skin (preferably damp from the shower), it sinks in so well–seriously moisturizing my skin and not leaving an oily feel.

While #ED4OLO has a sweet pineapple-y scent, Fez is so beautifully spicy (bonus: scent is “I love the way you smell”-deeeeep-sniff-boy-approved). Fez’s ingredients also include sunflower seed oil and olive fruit oil plus a couple extras: their classic argan oil of course, coconut nut oil, watermelon seed oil, and a beautiful concoction of essential oils like rose, bergamot, cumin, sandalwood, pink grapefruit, neroli.

Watermelon seed oil and sunflower seed oil are both high (~40%-70%) in linoleic fatty acid–fun fact: low linoleic acid => decreased epidermal barrier function, aka the skin can’t properly protect itself from inflammation when it is low in linoleic acid. Adding these oils to the body then, I’m thinking, has the potential to help the skin’s anti-inflammatory reaction.

This combination results in a slightly thinner texture than the ED4OLO oil (fits the “serum” name), but it is still equally as moisturizing. The grounding, comforting scent lasts from one night to practically the next night. When I’m feeling a bit heavy digestive-wise, worn out, or sweetened-out, I reach for Fez. It’s something about those warm spices and warm-things-make-you-digest-and-feel-better.

I typically apply both of these Osmia-style–I hop out from the shower, barely towel off just so I’m not super dripping water on the floor, massage 1-2 pumps of either oil over my damp body, and brush my teeth in the nude while the moisture sinks in. It means I can use less oil for more surface area and get more moisture for my buck. If my calves are a still bit parched in the morning, applying the oils dry is okay–oil : surface area will be more, but greasiness, never. Just massage well.

tl;dr Both body oils leave the skin super soft and moisturized (however, regular body exfoliation is still recommended). What separates the two? Scent. Got a sweet tooth? Try ED4OLO (available from One Love Organics). Feeling spicy? Go for Kahina (available from Spirit Beauty Lounge).

Have you tried either of these body oils? Have a favorite? If not, what are you using to moisturize your body?

Disclaimer: Elizabeth Dehn x One Love Organics kindly sent me the Vitamin C body oil before its launch. I purchased the Kahina Body Serum myself from Spirit Beauty Lounge at the end of March. I am not being compensated in any way for my words. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Ingredients for ED4OLO: organic butyrospermum parkii (shea) oil, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, organic helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, hydrogenated olive oil (and) olive oil (olea europeaea) (and) olive oil unsaponifiables, carica papaya (papaya) seed oil, organic camellia sinensis (green tea) seed oil, ascorbyl palmitate (vitamin c-ester), tocopherol (vitamin e), proprietary natural & organic fragrance

Ingredients for Kahina: argania spinosa (argan) oil (36%)*, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil*, caprylic/capric triglyceride, cocos nucifera (coconut) nut oil*, citrullus lanatus (watermelon) seed oil*, rosa damascena (rose) flower oil*, citrus aurantium amara (neroli) flower oil*, citrus bergamia (bergamot) peel oil*, citrus paradisi (pink grapefruit) peel oil*, cananga odorata (ylang ylang) flower oil*, pelargonium graveolens (geranium) leaf/flower oil*, backhousia citriodora (lemon myrtle) leaf oil*, santalum spicatum (sandalwood) wood oil*, eugenia caryophyllus (clove) bud oil*, cuminum cyminum (cumin) seed oil*, pogostemon cablin (patchouli) leaf oil*, vetiveria zizanioides (vetiver) root oil*, bisabolol, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract*, phenethyl alcohol.

*Certified Organic
100% from natural origin, 83.27% Organic

This product is gluten-free and vegan.

Additional Sources:

Honfo, Fernande G., et al. “Characteristics Of Traditionally Processed Shea Kernels And Butter.” International Journal Of Food Science & Technology 48.8 (2013): 1714-1721. Academic Search Complete. Web. 3 Aug. 2014.

Moaddabdoost Baboli, Zahra, and Ali Safe Kordi. “Characteristics And Composition Of Watermelon Seed Oil And Solvent Extraction Parameters Effects.” Journal Of The American Oil Chemists’ Society (JAOCS) 87.6 (2010): 667-671. Business Source Complete. Web. 4 Aug. 2014.

Okullo, J. B. L., et al. “PHYSICO-CHEMICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF SHEA BUTTER (Vitellaria Paradoxa C.F. Gaertn.) OIL FROM THE SHEA DISTRICTS OF UGANDA.” African Journal Of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition & Development 10.1 (2010): 1-15. Academic Search Complete. Web. 3 Aug. 2014.

Pappas, Apostolos. “The Relationship of Diet and Acne.” Dermato-Endocrinology 1.5 (2009): 262-67. Web.

Picardo, Mauro, Monica Ottaviani, Emanuela Camera, and Arianna Mastrofrancesco. “Sebaceous Gland Lipids.” Dermato-Endocrinology 1.2 (2009): 68-71. Web.

Raziq, S., et al. “Characterization Of Seed Oils From Different Varieties Of Watermelon [Citrullus Lanatus (Thunb.)] From Pakistan.” Grasas Y Aceites 63.4 (2012): 365-372. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Aug. 2014.
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Osmia Organics Body Oils in Flower and Sunset

Before Osmia Organics Body Oils, I would towel off completely after a shower, immediately put on clothes, and then strategically move my clothing around so I could moisturize my scaly legs with coconut oil or jojoba oil. Now, I am totally comfortable with dripping nude for a couple minutes post-shower so I can slather one of these lovelies all over my body. It’s in the instructions, and it’s kind of brilliant. Lotions are essentially waters + oils, right? So, why not skip the preservatives you need to keep water fresh in a product and DIY your lotion on the spot by using the leftover moisture from a shower and adding a body oil?

The texture of these are very light, so applying on a wet body is preferable for a smooth glide and plus you’ll end up using less product. Applying on a dry body works, but you don’t get the same glide and you’ll need more product to get the same moisturized after-effect. Either way, the oil absorbs pretty fast–within a couple minutes (which I usually spend on moisturizing my face), I am ready for clothes. The morning after in the summer,¬†my skin is nice and soft and not in the least oily. But the morning after in the winter, my legs still feel a bit parched, but I’m¬†hiding them in jeans anyways, so I don’t mind.

I think one of the stand-out things about these body oils are the mass array of scents that are a result of organic essential oil blends and CO2 extracts. I have Flower and Sunset¬†in the screw-top 2oz size (there are also 7.5oz pumps) and when I first smelled them, I thought the names and scents couldn’t be matched any more perfectly. Flower smells like a field of fresh flowers, and not grandma flowers, but fresh and light thanks to some rose geranium and linden blossom. Sunset is vanilla-y, kind of sultry-ish, and warm gr√Ęce √† vanilla, jasmine, and bergamot, to name a few. I also had a sample of Night in another order a couple months back, which at first while I thought it was a bit strong, it really grew on me (don’t remember exactly what it smelled like though, but the description says it’s a mix of lavender, chamomile, and sage).

Why this rather than just plain coconut oil or jojoba oil? Well, in addition to both of those, there are some hard-hitting moisturizing oils with benefits like kukui oil, rosehips seed oil, hemp seed oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, and evening primrose oil. Kukui oil,¬†hemp seed oil,¬†avocado oil, and evening primrose oil are all moisturizing and rich in fatty acids, aka goodbye dry skin and hello anti-inflammatory effects. Rosehips seed oil is a great source of natural vitamin A (yay reduced scarring and super healing). Sweet almond oil is a great moisturizing carrier oil which I’ve used with success as a single-ingredient oil cleanser and face oil.

Random fun fact: did you know cacti can flower? The things I’ve learned from watching Korean dramas…I also know how to say “I can” in Italian–extra fun fact: “Posso” or Italian for “I can” is the name of one of my favorite perfumes from Osmia.

Have you used these body oils? What are your favorite scents? If not, what are you using to moisturize your body?

tl;dr Use with dripping, naked body for best results. Perfume (all from essential oils and CO2 extracts, yay!) + body moisturizer in one. May not be enough moisture for winter, but enough for warmer weather. Beautiful scents; gonna catch try them all.

Ingredients: caprylic/capric triglyceride (fractionated coconut oil), simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil*, aleurites molaccana (kukui) oil, prunus amygdalus (sweet almond) oil*, rosa rubiginosa (rosehips) seed oil*, cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil*, persea gratissima (avocado) oil*, borago officinalis (borage) seed oil*, oenothera biennis (evening primrose) oil*, hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn berry) CO2 extract*, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) CO2 extract*, and a proprietary blend of organic and wild-harvested essential oils and CO2 extracts

* certified organic ingredient

Disclaimer: I purchased these myself and Night came as a sample with another order I made from osmiaorganics.com. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Four Deodorants: Soapwalla, Meow Meow Tweet, Schmidt’s, Osmia Organics

 

I’ve rambled about deodorants before (one of my first posts here, Going Green Tag here), but here’s the lowdown: I’m a sweaty person. No matter the season, my pits will sweat. They always find a way. Even when I tried antiperspirants in my pre-green days. As for my hands, summer is the worst season because my piano-playing accuracy goes down and my slipping-off-notes rate goes way up. I’m a sweater.

That said, I have yet to find a green deodorant that can’t keep up with these pits. None of these are antiperspirants, so I still have to dress strategically (no gray, no tight-fitting clothing up top, layers) and I am okay with that–I am at peace with sweating out my toxins. I don’t stink, in fact with some of these, even my sweaty clothes smell pretty good. All of these are creams, and I’ve come to enjoy massaging them into my pits (lymph nodes need some loving too). The price range is from $9 – $14, which I don’t think is bad at all–a tub can last 3-6 months. My pits sometimes get sensitive if I’ve shaved them the night before and then use deo the next day–I’ve found that including them in my body moisturizing routine reduces the chance of next-day-angry-pits.

Ingredients-wise, all of these share a similar base of ingredients: a moisturizing plant oil, shea butter, baking soda, kaolin clay, starch or arrowroot powder, and essential oils. Plant oils and shea butter keep pits moisturized and calm irritated skin. Baking soda, kaolin clay, and starch/arrowroot powder absorb moisture and stench. Essential oils play two roles: a hot scent and bacteria-killer at the same time–nice.

As pictured from left to right,

Soapwalla Kitchen Deodorant Creamthe classic green deo
Greenies and non-greenies alike love this cream–it’s the one that started it all. And the nearly-empty tub pictured above is at least my third repurchase. This can get a little gritty when it dries, but nothing that quick stir through the tub with a finger can’t fix. It’s classic for a reason: it works. It’s simple. My clothes don’t always smell the best after this, but it keeps me from being smelly (that said, 15-hour airplane rides–reapply in the middle to be safe).

Ingredients: Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Oil*; Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil*; Rosehip Seed Oil*; Butyrospermun parkii (Shea) Butter; Corn Starch*+; Sodium Bicarbonate+; Kaolin Clay; Vegan Kosher Glycerin*+; a custom blend of essential oils, including: Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender)*; Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree)*; Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange); Mentha Piperita (Peppermint)*; Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergaptene-free Bergamot)*; Non-GMO Soy lecithin*+; Non-GMO Vitamin E*+.
 (*: certified organic, +: food-grade)

Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Creamthe texture of this is like a cake
The texture of this. I am obsessed. It’s literally as soft as cake batter. And it’s always as soft as cake batter, even in the dry winter of Baltimore or California. And the scent. I have it in tea tree, and seriously, tea tree has never smelled so good. My clothes smell deliciously of tea tree if and after I sweat into them.

Ingredients: *virgin coconut oil, *jojoba oil, *shea butter, *arrowroot powder, baking soda (naturally mined), kaolin clay, tea tree essential oil

*organic ingredient

Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant¬†even the clothes you sweat in will smell good
The texture of this is the exact opposite of Meow Meow Tweet’s: it’s hard. It comes with a little spatula to scoop out the cream, and you need it. Putting aside the trouble of having to scrape out the cream and being careful to warm the cream in a way that the flakes don’t fall on the ground everywhere–this smells so good. I have it in Cedarwood + Juniper (also have a Ylang Ylang + Calendula waiting for me), and like Katie from The Green Product Junkie has said–this should be made into a perfume. One day I was running late for an 8:30am class (*die) and I realized I forgot my lunch after I was halfway to school–I was wearing this and a button-up, I booked it home and back to class, and even though I was panting for the first couple of minutes of class, I smelled awesome.

Ingredients: Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), Maranta arundinacea (arrowroot) powder, Theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, Cedrus deodara (Himalayan cedar) essential oil, Tocopherol (vitamin E), Juniperus (juniper) essential oil, Humulus lupulus (hop) extract

Osmia Organics Deodorant Creamperfect size to bring along if you forgot to apply deo at home
I was “meh” about this at first–I’m not the biggest fan of lavender (blasphemy, right?), which is the biggest scent I catch from this, the first couple times I tried this I still stunk, and the price/size is a little more compared to the other three deo creams. However, I took a break from this for a couple weeks, came back, and it worked. Still predominantly lavender, but no stink at the end of the day. Also, as small as it is, this little tin is the best size to throw in your handbag in case you forget to apply deo.

Ingredients: butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter*, tapioca starch*, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil*, sodium bicarbonate, fuller’s earth clay, callophyllum inophyllum (tamanu) oil*, vegetable glycerin*, and a proprietary blend of certified organic and wild-harvested essential oils

* certified organic ingredient
91.9% certified organic ingredients
100% ingredients from nature

If you’re not into deodorant creams, I’ve recently been hearing great things about Green Body Deo, which, shockingly, comes in a stick. If you’re up for getting personal with your pits, all of these four have worked for sweaty me.

tl;dr¬†Classic: Soapwalla. Best texture: Meow Meow Tweet. Best smell: Schmidt’s. Best size: Osmia. Massaging these in my pits (one at a time, of course) keeps me from being smelly, and often makes me smell even better.

Have you tried any of these deodorants? What’s your favorite? If not, what are you using?

Disclaimer: I purchased all of these myself for use and review: Soapwalla from Eco Diva Beauty (though I’ve purchased it from Spirit Beauty Lounge before), Meow Meow Tweet from Meow Meow Tweet, Schmidt’s from Schmidt’s, and Osmia from Osmia. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Best of 2013: In the Shower

Did you catch my skincare and bodycare favorites of 2013? I’m back in record time with my in-the-shower favorites…

We used to buy Dove soap bar by the bulk, but Dr. Bronner’s Magic Pure Castille Soap is the new soap staple in the house. My sister and I have tried it in lavender (very lavender-y), rose (very rose-y and my favorite), and we just got almond (subtle-y almond-y) the other day. I love it best with a flouf/shower pouf/loofah/that fluffy thing since it foams up the soap and lets me use less soap for more surface area, but soap plus just hands is all good too. I also love it for washing out flannels/muslins that I’ve used to remove makeup as well as washing makeup brushes. Leaves my body/muslin/brushes clean and soft thanks to organic oils that cleanse but don’t strip. I’ve also just recently bought it in travel size to take along in my handbag to wash my hands on-the-go.

As for haircare, let’s just say I came home to these two conditioner bottles in one corner and three of that shampoo in another corner. This household loves Acure haircare. My sister and I both especially love the orange one, the Moroccan Argan Stem Cell + Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner the best since it leaves our hair the softest, but the Pure Mint + Echinacea Stem Cell and Lemongrass + Argan Stem Cell sets are also nice. They’re very accessible from our local Whole Foods (or mine at school), affordable, and effectively cleansing. We both are able to wash every other day without looking greasy with second-day hair (though we have help from Acure’s Dry Shampoo, which helps eliminate extra root grease).

See any of your favorites here? Stay tuned for makeup favorites of 2013…