Review and Giveaway with Glossed in Brooklyn

Hello all! One of my favorite green beauties who I read regularly and I have collaborated to bring you a review, Q&A, and giveaway all in one. If you don’t know Nancy from Glossed in Brooklyn (http://glossedinbrooklyn.com/), I definitely recommend checking her out. We both share a love for YÜLI Halcyon (my review and her review) and Pratima Neem Rose Sunscreen (my review and her review), and I live vicariously through her when she reviews brands like Sunday Riley, Glossier, Drunk Elephant, and Tatcha.

Nancy and I are each reviewing a product and doing a giveaway where one lucky, lucky winner will win both products. In each of our posts, we’re answering four questions to create a mini review of our picks. Check out the Q&A below and then *enter the giveaway* at the end of the post.

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15 #GreenBeauty Favorites from 2015

15 Favorites of 2015

The cleanser with coconut oil that my skin lovesMV Organics Gentle Cream Cleanser

I put off trying this cleanser for years out of fear that the coconut oil would break me out. Until I had a mini MV Organic Skincare facial at a Credo Beauty. The cleanser is mega gentle, and although creamy, leaves no oily residue or breakouts, surprisingly.

The rosey facial oil calms my acneMV Organics Rose Plus Skin Booster

I also put off trying this for years not out of fear, but more out of “meh, rose? Overrated.” My Credo Beauty facialist and MV founder Sharon both recommended I give it a try for my acneic therefore sensitive skin and I have never been more loyal to a facial oil. You may have noticed my posting volume has been way down the past several months which I have been in grad school. Given my insane stress levels (group projects, ugh), my face should have broken out so much more given how sensitive my face is typically to stress. I’m not complaining.

The face mask that is good enough to sleep inTata Harper Resurfacing Mask Continue reading 15 #GreenBeauty Favorites from 2015

Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser

I had this interesting conversation with the derm-in-training The Green Derm a year ago about how using a hot water + wash cloth to remove an oil “cleanser” is way too much for the skin to take every day. The Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin B Cleansing Oil (review here) has been my long-standing solution for that uneasy problem (it’s too satisfying to see all of your makeup off your face and onto a cloth, and it feels hopeless trying to rinse off oil with water because of course they don’t mix)–it removes makeup and washes off with water. Easy, done.

Despite going through many (loved) bottles of the aforementioned, I could not help be tempted by the recently launched (couple months old now) Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser. I held off for months with the intention of finishing my current cleansers. When I pumped off the last bit of my favorite YÜLI Halcyon Cleanser (review here), paired with unhappy skin due to a myriad of reasons (exams/projects/hormones/dessert), the hypothesis of “I’m putting my skin under too much stress with my daily hot cloth routine!”, and the desire to try something new (oh, and NMDL deal with Citrine Beauty didn’t hurt), I jumped for the Nourishing Oil Cleanser.

From the description of the cleanser on the Tata Harper website along with the ingredients list, I had the impression that the cleanser could rinse off with water as well, and I intended to rotate it with my de Mamiel cleansing balm (review here) + tepid water + wash cloth routine to put less stress on my face as my makeup remover/first cleanse at night.

In comparison to what I remember from the ED4OLO Cleansing Oil, this oil seemed much harder to rinse off with water when used for makeup removal, slash it seemed to take longer to rinse off until I didn’t suspect I had much of the oil left on my face because it really does leave the face feeling nourished and soft. In my impatience, I sometimes used tepid water + wash cloth to remove the oil, which defeated my purpose of purchasing the oil. Alternatively I’ve also used a konjac sponge to remove the oil (favorite way of removing the ED4OLO Cleanser), or just resorted to rinsing off the cleanser in the shower (using the water pressure as my friend).

I then reviewed the directions for the cleanser and snooped more around the Tata Harper blog. A re-reading of “The Double Cleansing Method, Explained!” revealed the routine of starting with wet hands and a dry face, spreading the cleanser all over, waiting several seconds, emulsifying the formula by splashing water onto the face and massaging, and then rinsing.

Wet hands made rinsing off minutely faster, massaging the cleanser while emulsifying it instead of jumping straight into the rinse-off also made rinsing off minutely faster (and satisfying to see the gently “foaming” emulsion–see above photo). Of course, when not used for makeup removal but for a second cleanse post-makeup removal, the cleanser rinses off fairly easily since it does not have sunscreen and makeup in the way.

I am not wild about the scent, which comes off as mostly citrus to me, but using this twice in the evening and once in the morning has been very agreeable with my skin. Any makeup is easily massaged away, and as a second rinse, no film is left–just soft skin. Along with the Nourishing Oil Cleanser, at the time I actually ended up purchasing two other cleansers (if you saw in my recent haul video)–freaking out as I was about my skin and eager to try all the new things, so I did until common sense kicked in and I resorted to picking one cleanser and sticking with it, i.e. the Nourishing Oil Cleanser. The arrival of that time of the month marked the pinnacle of that bad skin bout, and this cleanser did nothing more to exacerbate the spots I had as my skin calmed down. If anything, it encouraged my skin along its healing path.

While there are those being of the opinion that one shouldn’t splurge for cleansers since you wash them off anyways and probably a large subset of that group who think that this cleanser is a bit exorbitant, I initially thought this cleanser was a great deal. The size, 4 oz, for $64 is quite on par with other cleansers I have enjoyed (in comparison, YÜLI Halcyon is 3.4 oz for $52 and Dr. Alkaitis is 4 oz for $56).

The price is fine, however, the recommended usage is what makes the cleanser feel pricy. I typically used the suggested two pumps for morning cleanse/2nd cleanse and three to five pumps to remove makeup. Add that all up, and I neared the end of the cleanser after about a month. That is alarming. Given, five pumps is very generous and whenever I put my palms together in preparation for massaging my face, I lost a little to the carpet (for science!). While I love using a generous portion of the cleanser to cleanse my face–the more oil (to a point) you have, the easier it is to massage–you probably can get away with an average of 2 pumps per cleanse.

Great performance and happy skin aside, a look at the ingredients list will easily tell you why Caroline Hirons places this cleanser not on the makeup removing list, but the second cleanse list. Rosa Canina seed oil, at the very top of the list, is fancy for rosehip oil, which as you may know, is a whole well-lauded product from Pai Skincare all unto itself as a greener source of vitamin A (anti-aging, helps heal scarring).

Sacha Inchi, also known as the Inca peanut, has about the same level of omega-3 fatty acids as flax and twice the level of omega-6 (basically mega awesome for the skin in terms of healing, guarding against the sun, strengthens the skin’s barrier, etc.).

Camellia Oleifera seed oil’s fatty acid content is similar to olive oil–it is massively high (~80%) in oleic acid. Oleic acid has been getting a bad rap for being a non-ideal oil for acneic types (*raises hand)–in high levels, it has been demonstrated to disrupt the skin barrier and hurry along TEWL (transepidermic water loss). But here’s another point of view: camellia oleifera has been shown to be able to penetrate the skin and decrease barrier resistance, making way for other things (the study was for drugs, but here it is probably beautiful extracts and nourishment).

The secret to rinsing oil off with water–a seemingly impossible feat–is this combination of emulsifying agents: Shea Butter Ethyl Ester and Polyglyceryl-4 Oleate. These two allow the oils to mix with water, and thus rinse off. Bonus: they’re also emollients that soften the skin.

Besides the fact that this oil cleanser can wash off with water, eliminating the use of a wash cloth (a timesaver when exhausted), the medley of extracts drew me in. Alfalfa, arnica, calendula, comfrey, borage, elderberry (Sambucus Nigra), meadowsweet–kind of beautiful, right? The common themes linking them together are their potential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

tl;dr Sort of the more expensive dupe for the ED4OLO oil cleanser that is slightly harder to wash off. However, just as happy skin due to luscious oils and extracts–if purchase again, probably would reserve for second cleanse.

Have you used this cleanser? What are your thoughts? If not, what’s your favorite cleanser these days?

Note: By hot water, I mean tepid/warm water before anyone starts yelling broken capillaries.

Ingredients: Rosa Canina Seed oil*, Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Shea Butter Ethyl Esters, Polyglyceryl-4 Oleate, Prunus armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Olea europea (Olive) Oil*, Argania spinosa (Argan) Kernel oil*, Plukenetia (Sacha Inchi) Volubilis, Jojoba Esters, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Aroma**, Medicago sativa (Alfalfa) Extract*, Arnica montana (Arnica) Leaves and flowers*, Calendula officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract*, Symphytum officinale (Comfrey) Leaves*, Borago officinalis (Borage) Leaf Extract*, Spiraea Ulmaria (Meadowsweet) flower Extract*, Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract *Ingredients from organic farming ** Clinical grade essential oils blend

Disclaimer: I purchased this product myself from Citrine Beauty. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not being compensated for my words.

Additional Sources:

Adorjan, Barbara, and Gerhard Buchbauer. “Biological Properties of Essential Oils: An Updated Review.” Flavour Fragr. J. Flavour and Fragrance Journal 25.6 (2010): 407-26. Web.

Feás, Xesús, et al. “Triacylglyceride, Antioxidant And Antimicrobial Features Of Virgin Camellia Oleifera, C. Reticulata And C. Sasanqua Oils.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) 18.4 (2013): 4573-4587. MEDLINE. Web. 9 June 2015.

Mack Correa, Mary Catherine, et al. “Molecular Interactions Of Plant Oil Components With Stratum Corneum Lipids Correlate With Clinical Measures Of Skin Barrier Function.” Experimental Dermatology 23.1 (2014): 39-44. Academic Search Complete. Web. 9 June 2015.

Maurer, Natalie E., Beatriz Hatta-Sakoda, Gloria Pascual-Chagman, and Luis E. Rodriguez-Saona. “Characterization and Authentication of a Novel Vegetable Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Sacha Inchi (Plukenetia Volubilis L.) Oil.” Food Chemistry 134.2 (2012): 1173-180. Web.

Mccusker, Meagen M., and Jane M. Grant-Kels. “Healing Fats of the Skin: The Structural and Immunologic Roles of the ω-6 and ω-3 Fatty Acids.” Clinics in Dermatology 28.4 (2010): 440-51. Web.
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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’s very sensitive; I get allergic reactions. It can get very itchy and red, but this healing balm repairs my skin. I haven’t 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’s an oil but it doesn’t 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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March – April 2015 #GreenBeauty Haul

GreenBeauty Haul


I ran out of all of my second cleansers, so I went shopping and bought more than just cleansers. Head on over to the ‘tube (search “Nephriticus”) or watch it right here for a chatty summary and some mini-reviews. Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of the products I picked up or if there is anything you’d like to see featured on the blog!

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Organic Bath Rice Bran Cleansing Beauty Oil

Two absolutely necessary staples of my life are rice and a good cuppa green tea. A close third, since going green, is a good cleansing oil. Recently fulfilling that role is Organic Bath’s newly released Rice Bran Cleansing Beauty Oil.

My history with cleansing oils ranges from the very simple one-ingredient oils to my favorite Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Cleansing Oil. I’ve used coconut oil (skin did not like), jojoba oil (skin liked), and sweet almond oil (skin liked) which were all great at removing makeup when paired with a warm, damp muslin cloth. I repurchased jojoba oil and sweet almond oil multiple times because they were simple yet effective–they each have moisturizing benefits, easily remove makeup, and got along with my skin. I’ve also repurchased the ED4OLO oil at least four or five times by now (and that’s not even including my sister, who’s also hooked). It’s got more frills than jojoba or sweet almond (maybe even throw in a tutu skirt)–having a tropical pineapple scent and the ability to be washed off by water–no cloth needed.

The Rice Bran Cleansing Beauty Oil stands somewhere in the middle. You’ll need a washcloth to gently massage off the oil and grime, but it’s definitely fancier than your average jojoba or sweet almond oil. When I first saw the ingredients list, I zoomed in on the manuka essential oil and the sweet orange essential oil. Manuka essential oil has super strong antimicrobial effects–studies have been done on its antimicrobial activity against staph (excellent, by the way) and various oral bacteria (manuka was the strongest out of tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender, and rosemary). Sweet orange essential oil has also been proven in studies to not only have strong antimicrobial effects against microorganisms , but also to potentially have an anxiety-reducing effect when smelled. It also happens to be anti-inflammatory. For someone who thinks about acne on a daily basis like me, this is poetry.

But to be honest, as Gianne told me, the inspiration for this oil was Asian culture. She loves their usage of rice bran oil and camellia seed oil, which were the second things I zoomed in on. Grapeseed and sweet almond oil are typically recommended as single-ingredient oil cleansers or makeup removers, and they have their own perks (antioxidants, moisturizing), but camellia seed oil and rice bran oil are pretty special. Camellia seed oil, or green tea seed oil, has good whitening and antioxidation, anti-permeability, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anticancer properties thanks to high levels of catechin, polyphenols, saponin and squalene. Rice bran oil also contains squalene, fatty acids, and antioxidants which means hydration, protection from free radical damage, and encouragement for the skin to naturally regenerate itself.

On nights where I’m exhausted, I’ve been flying for a day, or I can’t be bothered to use a washcloth and wash my face and the washcloth afterwards, I will still reach for the ED4OLO oil because it is quick, convenient, and my face still loves it. But on other nights when I’m ready to give my face some loving, or something is getting ready to erupt on my face, I reach for this one and give my face a good 5-minute lymphatic massage, Into the Gloss style. The ingredients are lovely, and by lovely I mean a great combination of moisturizing + anti-acne, and I want them to spend a little longer time on my face before I wipe them off with a damp cloth.

Pre-final packaging and release, I found the oil a bit strong on the orange scent (it takes a delicate balance to cover up the apparently stinky manuka essential oil), but Gianne of Organic Bath wanted it to have a soft and uplifting scent, so she adjusted it just a little bit. And she hit the spot–I think it’s perfect. And I just started eating oranges a year ago after turning up my nose at them because I used to think they were smelly (sad true story. Also my parents broke to me and my sister that what we thought was “orange” in Chinese actually meant “mandarin” and the word for “orange” sounds pretty close to the one for “bug”…). But it’s more than just a scent. As she said:

“My hope is to scent everything softly and exquisitely. But I want each scent to have a purpose. I love that the organic Sweet Orange essential oil is known to be uplifting as well as anti-inflammatory.  My hope is that I can sneakily hook my family and friends onto cleaner, greener beauty options..and a lot of that will do with things not smelling too ‘earthy crunchy’.”

I seriously love that she wants each scent to have a purpose–that’s one of the things that I love about green beauty–how scents are seen not only as something nice for the nose, but also something purposeful for the skin and body.

Before final packaging, I was using maybe a generous 70% full dropper to massage the day from my face, and now with the pump, the equivalent is about 5-6 pumps, which sounds like a lot, but the pumps are a little miserly and it is worth it. Paired with gentle hands, the oil glides smoothly over the face without sinking in too early (so no tugging on the face) and easily takes off all of my makeup.

I took a break from my foundations with coconut oil at about the same time I switched to this, and the combination has left my skin really, really happy (sorry rms and Kjaer Weis–more on this later). When I came home for summer break three weeks ago, upon reuniting with friends and family, one of the first things many have said has been, “Your skin looks so much clearer!” (*beams and rainbow eyes) Granted, nothing stopped my hormonal visitors (also it was around my sister’s birthday and ice cream was involved), but they were fewer and less severe than they usually are.

tl;dr Beautiful balance of moisturizing + anti-acne ingredients with a purposeful, anti-inflammatory, citrusy scent. Washcloth needed. Helps bring out happy skin. Great when paired with massage.

What is your current fave for removing makeup? Think you’ll be trying out the new kid oil on the block? And for fun, do you try to sneak friends and family onto green beauty via scents that aren’t too earthy crunchy?

Ingredients: Organic Oryza sativa (Rice Bran) Oil, Organic Camellia oleifera (Camellia Seed) Oil, Organic Vitis vinifera (Grapeseed) Oil, Organic Prunus dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Organic Manuka Essential Oil, Organic (Sweet Orange) Essential Oil.

Disclaimer: Gianne from Organic Bath kindly sent this product to me five weeks ago in the last week of April and I have been using it every night since minus maybe 3-4 nights. Quote taken in its unadulterated form from our email correspondence with her permission. I am not being compensated in any way for my words. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Additional Sources
Feás, Xesús, et al. “Triacylglyceride, Antioxidant And Antimicrobial Features Of Virgin Camellia Oleifera, C. Reticulata And C. Sasanqua Oils.” Molecules 18.4 (2013): 4573-4587. Academic Search Complete. Web. 7 June 2014.

Goes, Tiago, Costa, et al. “Effect Of Sweet Orange Aroma On Experimental Anxiety In Humans.” Journal Of Alternative & Complementary Medicine 18.8 (2012): 798-804. CINAHL Plus with Full Text. Web. 4 June 2014.

Neng-guo, Tao, Liu Yue-jin, and Zhang Miao-ling. “Chemical Composition And Antimicrobial Activities Of Essential Oil From The Peel Of Bingtang Sweet Orange ( Citrus Sinensis Osbeck).” International Journal Of Food Science & Technology 44.7 (2009): 1281-1285. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 June 2014.

Song, Chi-Youn, Eui-Hwa Nam, Seol-Hee Park, and Cheol-Yong Hwang. “In Vitro Efficacy of the Essential Oil from Leptospermum Scoparium (manuka) on Antimicrobial Susceptibility and Biofilm Formation in Staphylococcus Pseudintermedius Isolates from Dogs.” Veterinary Dermatology 24.4 (2013): 404-E87. Web.

Takarada, K., R. Kimizuka, N. Takahashi, K. Honma, K. Okuda, and T. Kato. “A Comparison of the Antibacterial Efficacies of Essential Oils against Oral Pathogens.” Oral Microbiology and Immunology 19.1 (2004): 61-64. Web.

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R.L. Linden & Co. Spring Releases and a Q&A

I’m sure many of you know R.L. Linden & Co. for their lovely La Balmba Rosa Healing Rose Balm (delightfully light and good-smelling moisture for the lips) and the Thousand Petal Beautifying Mist (garden of flowers for your face). Excitingly, the minis of their Travel Set (available since winter 2013-ish I think) are soon to be available for purchase in full sizes.

I will save a full review for when I get my hands on some of the full-sizes, but I thought I would at least share some quick thoughts on several of the newbies based off of my sample sizes and a short Q&A with which the founders of R.L. Linden & Co. kindly indulged me.

If you already like cleansing with honey (and if you haven’t tried, highly recommend), if you like chocolate, and if you don’t like harsh exfoliants, I think you will enjoy The Bee Charmer. It’s like chocolate honey but with a thinner consistency and with a delightful kick: gently exfoliating poppy seeds. It can also be used as a mask, but I saved it as a second cleanse after removing my makeup. What’s great is that it has the anti-bad properties of the honey combined with the antioxidants of chocolate.

Want something a little fancier than jojoba or coconut oil to remove your makeup? Your Eyes Only is coconut oil + jojoba oil + essential oil of bourbon vanilla. I used this, as per the name, to remove eye makeup leftover from oil cleansing with the de Mamiel Restorative Cleansing Balm or the Aurelia Miracle Cleanser. I would take a pump or two on a cotton round, hold it on an eye for a couple seconds, and then gently wipe my eye makeup away. This was the first product from their set of new releases I got hooked on, but unfortunately I have stopped using it because after some time of using this and wearing Kjaer Weis eyeshadow, my eyelids got severely dry and one eyelid developed a strange dry patch. They have since healed after abstaining from both products, but I am still hesitant to try both products again. *tear

Think you know jojoba oil? Think again with Time After Time. My small sample lasted a week, and every night after application, my face was instantly so smooth and nourished thanks to a super-infused jojoba oil combined with meadowfoam seed oil, rosehip seed oil, squalene (from olives), and tamanu oil (a healing killer punch for the long-term). The scent is also really calming and non-offensive. This is probably the first product I want to purchase in full-size, followed by The Bee Charmer.

Their Ironwood Perfume isn’t a new launch, but yo, Palo Santo is a hot scent. To me, it’s like perfect mix of spicy and sweet that works equally well in the blizzardy winter as well as on the sweltering beach.

I had a couple of questions mostly regarding ingredient choices in the new releases that Robin and Lynn were so kind to answer for me. I hope they are helpful for you!

1. The poppy seeds in the Bee Charmer are a delight and unique touch—exfoliants like walnut shells are much more common (but also criticized for potentially causing micro-tears in the skin), but I’ve never come across a brand incorporating poppy seeds before. What inspired this choice and how does the skin benefit from this?

The idea was to lightly and gently exfoliate; poppy seeds are a great choice for that purpose. Their round shape is ideal because they roll over the skin effortlessly while encouraging product to spread evenly over the face.

2. Love eating honey, love eating chocolate, and love that you included both in the Bee Charmer. There’s lots of literature on how ingesting sugar can cause inflammation in the body and thus acne, and I’ve recently read in a couple places that it can be potentially dangerous to apply sugary products to the face as it can be bad for acne (luckily, my skin has only been having happy days since using Bee Charmer, so I’m not good proof of this idea). What are your thoughts on this and how can chocolate be good for the face?

It is first good to note that we recognize that every person’s skin has its own preferences. So, its important to pay attention and know what makes yours happy versus what makes it freak out. It is also worth noting that not all chocolate is created equal. The chocolate that we use is absolutely artisan crafted with minimal processing and only two ingredients – Organic Cacao and Organic Cane Sugar. We know and love the makers, Robbie and Anna of Ritual Chocolate, and we know that the love that they have for their craft translates to us when we use It in ours. In The Bee Charmer, the use of chocolate leaves the skin feeling nourished, conditioned and really soft due to the theobromine content of the cacao and the naturally occurring cocoa butter. The theobrimine acts as a vasodilator, which means that it opens up blood vessels and encourages fresh new blood flow. The sugar content of both the honey and the chocolate offer wonderful humectant qualities, retaining the skin’s moisture and act as a pre-biotic to encourage a healthy balance of surface microbes.

3. I fell hard for Time After Time and I wasn’t expecting to. I thought I knew jojoba oil, but the blend in the jojoba (calendula, comfrey, marshmallow, licorice, elderflower, linden flower, rose petals) along with the accompanying oils and essential oils (meadow foam, rose hip, olive squalene, tamanu, frankincense, helichrysm, fir) is just beautiful. Instant face softener. How did you come up with this amazing combination?

Thank you – we are so grateful to know that it has had such a positive effect for you. This blend, like all others that we create, has come from lots of time and trial and error. We have a hard time NOT infusing oils; there are just so many incredible healing herbs to use! The addition of these plants absolutely adds to the efficacy of this serum. We felt very strongly about using meadowfoam for its highly nourishing and moisturizing content and rosehip for its antioxidant and vitamin C properties. Each oil was chosen for its specific therapeutic benefits. And the essential oil blend is not the usual floral notes, but after two or three uses, people get hooked!

4. Your Eyes Only was another unexpected love. I didn’t realize my need for it until I ran out and noticed the panda eyes that my balm cleanser constantly left behind (even after removing a full face of makeup well). I’m a little paranoid about coconut oil on my whole face so I reserve use only to my eyes, which unfortunately can’t smell the vanilla. I’ve used coconut oil and jojoba oil respectively to remove eye makeup, and they both do a good job—great idea to put them together! But what does the essential oil of bourbon vanilla do?

This is one product that is definitely a silent hero. To address your concern about the coconut oil, it is such an amazing oil for so many skin types. For some, however, it doesn’t work. In those people, it is most likely the high lauric acid content that is irritating. We use fractionated coconut oil in this formulation, which has most, if not all, of the lauric acid removed. Not to mention, its liquid at room temperature, so it’s much easier to apply than the solid stuff. Jojoba oil is great because it helps to moisturize the delicate skin around the eyes. We wanted to include a faint scent and vanilla is so warm and comforting, that’s the kind of nourishing one needs when dealing with a sensitive area.

5. Any hints for a release date for these lovelies? I can’t wait to see them in full-size!

We don’t have a set date yet, but our working hard to get them out in the next month or two. Right now we are working on finalizing new label designs, once we have a set date we will let you know! (Ed. Note: “next month or two” from March, aka around now. Word on the street is that they’ll be out in mid/late-May/soon/if you follow them on Instagram they’re working on labels!)

Are you as excited as I am? Which do you think you’ll purchase first (if not all of them)?

tl;dr The Bee Charmer: honey, chocolate, poppy seed cleanser. Your Eyes Only: coconut oil, jojoba oil, vanilla scented makeup remover. Time After Time: beautiful blend of face-smoothing ingredients. Ironwood Perfume: super hot perfume. Especially can’t wait to purchase Time After Time…

Ingredients: See the Travel Set for a list of the ingredients for the spring releases.

Disclaimer: I formatted the answers (deleted spaces, underlined products), but otherwise they are here in unadulterated form. I purchased Your Eyes Only (along with a repurchase of the Thousand Petal mist) from lindenbeauty.com but was generously provided with samples of The Bee Charmer, Time After Time, and the Ironwood perfume. All the same, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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YÜLI Halcyon

“Halcyon days like boats drifting along slow-moving rivers; spring evenings full of a plaintive melancholy that made the past beautiful and bitter, bidding them look back and see that the loves of other summers long gone were dead with the forgotten waltzes of their years.”
The Beautiful and the Damned, by Scott F. Fitzgerald
As far as I’m concerned, YÜLI’s Halcyon Cleanser is magic.

The first time I used this, I made the mistake of having too wet hands and a too wet face. The result: I felt like I was massaging a very pleasantly-smelling water over my face. Use this with a damp face and/or lightly wet hands, key words: damp or lightly wet, not dripping. This way, you’ll get the gentlest foaming action you’ve ever seen from a gel–and yet it’s powerful enough to dislodge whiteheads that are ready to go. Was that too visual? #sorrynotsorry. But time and time after again, when I’m breaking out, I go back to this one, because it’s gentle, leaves my face the softest, and combined with a light massage, somehow clears out surface acne–be it instantaneously or gradually over time. It’s the best and strangest thing ever. Also, the light, floral scent is so refreshing day or night. And like all YÜLI products, it’s a product of the ingredients which were chosen for efficacy, not for scent (#coolwithouttrying).
With such a gentle formula, you wouldn’t expect it to be able to remove makeup, but it can. YÜLI has a blog post demonstration of how Halcyon can remove makeup; I’ve tried it, and it works. One reader I talked to once said that she even uses this to remove eye makeup, which I also tried with some success (though fair warning, the instructions say to avoid the eye area). The reasons why I don’t use it to remove makeup are because I feel more comfortable removing my makeup with a balm or oil cleanser first and I want to make the most out of these beautiful ingredients. The plus side of using this as a second cleanse is that I can be rest assured that if my first cleanse didn’t get all my makeup, this will mop up. At night, I typically use three pumps (a little extra just in case for makeup) after a balm or oil cleanser, and in the morning, two, alone–and my skin has loved this from last fall up until now as the flowers are finally coming out for spring.
Amazing performance aside, just from the ingredients, you know this cleanser is something special. I’m thinking the floral scent and part of the gentleness come from the hydrosol blend, herbal infusion, and aloe which all top the list. As Mountain Rose Herbs puts it, a hydrosol contains all of the essence of the plant in every drop, just like essential oils but in milder form. In vitro studies have proven helichrysum italicum to be anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, and many, many studies have been done on lavandula angustifolia (fancy for lavender) on its antimicrobial powers and calming effects (and all of these properties are in every drop of the hydrosol!). The herbal infusion of green tea leaf, red algae, chickweed, and sweet olive flower together are antimicrobial, cooling and drawing, and full of antioxidants and minerals.
Other cool ingredients include peptides, zeolite, vitamin C ester, and biodynamic fruit enzymes. While many other cleansers use sulfates (goodness forbid) or castile soap for foaming action, here the peptides derived from Amaranth protein are the source of the very gentle foaming action that washes away nasties from your skin that also, being peptides, help to heal and repair the skin. Friendliest foaming ever? Zeolite is this weird clay that absorbs nasties (just don’t inhale it as a powder–cancer warnings), vitamin C ester is a very skin-friendly form of vitamin C (hey brightening), and fruit enzymes mean gentle exfoliation. All in all, a really special and different list of ingredients that together clean and heal the skin.
tl;dr There’s a reason why Kathy of Beauty Palette has multiples of this on backup–it’s good. Gentlest foaming action, light floral scent, soft and clearer skin afterwards (literally can massage away surface whiteheads). Can remove makeup, but I prefer it as a second cleanse. Unique ingredients: foaming peptides and hydrosol blend.
Have you used this cleanser? What are your thoughts? If not, what is your current favorite cleanser?
Ingredients: H. italicum/L. angustifolia hydrosol blend*, herbal infusion of (T.pratense*, C. sinensis*, S. media, Z. officinale*, O. fragans), D-aloe barbadensis,vegetable glycerine, sodium cocoyl isethionate (vegetable source), peptides derived from Amaranth protein, jojoba ester*, Rhodophyta (Red Algae) ferment, G.lucidum (Reishi) tincture*, zeolite, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), vitamin C ester, biodynamic fruit enzymes, petitgrain sur fleurs oil*, bergamot (bergaptene-free) oil*, collidal silver
* Organic
^ Wildcrafted
Disclaimer: I purchased the 100ml size myself and the 30ml size was a sample-with-order with a separate order–both from yuliskincare.com (though now you can find it at Spirit Beauty Lounge!). I know I have a lot of love for this brand and its products, but honest to goodness, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Additional Sources
Herold, Lauren. “Chickweed: A Stellar Herb.” Journal Of The American Herbalists Guild 10.1 (2011): 31-33. CINAHL Plus with Full Text. Web. 3 May 2014.
Hsin-Hsueh, Lee, Lin Chi-Ting, and Yang Ling-Ling. “Neuroprotection And Free Radical Scavenging Effects Of Osmanthus Fragrans.” Journal Of Biomedical Science 14.6 (2007): 819-827. Academic Search Complete. Web. 3 May 2014.
Viegas, Daniel Antunes, et al. Helichrysum italicum: From traditional use to scientific data, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 151, Issue 1, 10 January 2014, Pages 54-65, ISSN 0378-8741, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2013.11.005.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S037887411300799X)
Vlaisavljevic, Sanja, et al. “Trifolium Pratense L. As A Potential Natural Antioxidant.” Molecules 19.1 (2014): 713-725. Academic Search Complete. Web. 3 May 2014.

 

de Mamiel Restorative Cleansing Balm

After downing two bottles of the ED4OLO Cleansing Oil (yeah, that good, see past review here) over the fall semester, I nabbed de Mamiel’s Restorative Cleansing Balm in the 100ml size from Shen Beauty just before returning home from school for winter break. I hadn’t used a cleansing balm since my first #greenbeauty purchase two summers ago (which the skin, sadly, did not like), but a combination of an interest in Annee de Mamiel’s philosophy and background, Megan from Seed to Serum’s post on de Mamiel’s new Botaniques line, and the harsh winter had me itching for a second try at balms.

And thank goodness because it was worth it. This is a beautiful, beautiful balm. Whether in the #polarvortex of the East Coast or in dry California, this remained buttery soft in spite of whatever weather. Thanks to a mix of flower essences and essential oils (Honey Myrtle, Fragonia, Chamomile, Rose Geranium), the balm smells beautifully floral–not in any way overwhelming, but truly restorative. It’s the best kind of calming scent to breathe in at the end of the day, almost making your insides feel more beautiful (I can just imagine my olfactory nerves turning to each other, “Hey, you’re looking good today!”).

Paired with Aurelia’s softest of the softest bamboo muslin cloths (obsessed), this melts away all traces of makeup and grime from a dry face. I was always a bit heavy-handed since I loved smearing this balm over my face, but a marble-sized amount is a perfect amount to remove face and eye makeup. I used this as my first cleansing step to remove makeup pretty much exclusively for the whole (and very long) winter. While I always followed up with a second cleanser (YÜLI’s Halycon, R.L. Linden & Co.’s Bee Charmer), this always left my skin as the description puts it, “satin-soft, glowing, and calm”. When experimentations with other first step cleansers left my face less than happy, I always came back to this one. While of course this balm can’t yank a sweet bun from my fingers (over my dead body), I felt cleansing with this helped to improve the condition of my skin. No mysterious widespread breakouts–just happy, balanced, healthy, well-cleansed skin.

The secret? A good amount of oils and butters topped with anti-all-the-bad-things and therapeutic manuka honey and skin-harmonizing probiotics (yes, even applied topically, not just orally!). The oil roster includes: fatty-acid rich but non-greasy camellia oil, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial calendula oil, deeply moisturizing and squalene-containing rice bran oil, restorative and healing borage oil, antioxidant-and-oleic-acid-rich marula oil, nourishing baobab oil, anti-inflammatory-and-ageing and moisturizing moringa oil, impurity-puller castor oil.

If you thought the oils were beautiful, take a look at the butters: moisturizing kukui nut, vitamin-rich and moisturizing mango, fatty-acid rich and anti-bad murumuru (isn’t that the most fun name ever), and fat-rich and nourishing cocoa.

tl;dr Beautiful, buttery-soft balm with moisturizing, cleansing, anti-bacterial/fungal/all-bad-things, anti-inflammatory ingredients that make you feel pretty. Oh, also removes makeup perfectly as the first step in cleansing. Would repurchase, but the weather’s finally looking up and I’ve got fresh bottles of ED4OLO to get through thanks to a past NMDL Friday Deal.

Have you tried this balm? What are your thoughts? If not, what’s your current favorite cleanser, balm or not?

Ingredients: Camellia oleifera (camellia) oil*, Aleurites moluccans (kukui nut) butter, Calendula officinalis, Helianthus annuus (calendula) oil*, Squalene, Oryza sativa (rice bran) oil*, Borago officinalis, Tocopherol (borage) oil*, Polysorbate 20 (derived coconut oil), Cera alba (beeswax)*, Rosa damascena (rose) wax, Sclerocarya birrea (marula) oil*, Mangifera indica (mango) butter, Adansonia digitata (baobab) oil*, Moringa oleifera (moringa) oil*, Ricinus communis (castor) oil*, Astrocaryum murumuru (murumuru) butter, Theobroma cacao (cocoa) butter, Inulin, Alpha-glucan oligosaccharide, (prebiotic), Bisabol, Manuka honey, Daucus carrota (carrot seed) oil*, Melaleuca teretifolia (honey myrtle) oil, Agonis fragrans (fragonia) oil, Pelargonium graveolens roseum (rose geranium) oil*, Eriocephalus punctulatus (cape chamomile) oil, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) oil*.

Naturally occurring citral, geraniol, citronellol

Flower and Gem essence of Heart Balm – Alpine Forget-Me-Not, Alpine Willowherb, Lime Blossom, Pink Frangipani, Scots Primrose, Silk Tree and Twinflower, Rose Quartz

*Organic

Disclaimer: I purchased this from Shen Beauty over the phone, though Content Beauty also stocks this and has free international shipping. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday Wishlist: Word of Mouth

Though I’m not officially-officially participating in #NoBuyJanuary, I have been very good and have not bought any new products since the new year. Okay, I bought a texturizing spray from my local organic salon after I chopped off my hair last weekend. Okay, I also bought more Dr. Bronner’s soap after returning to my apartment after winter break. Otherwise, I have been avoiding January sales like the plague. But I could have one more facial oil–no, I must resist. And for good measure–I’ve been loving the products I have even more. But I could have one more cleanser–no!

On this wishlist are some products I have read up on recently through blogs, Twitter, and Instagram. I have banned myself from purchasing products unless I am out of its particular category, so it will likely be many months until I get on these two cleansers. But cream moisturizer–that I am almost out of. And I don’t have a blemish treatment quite like this one so…

Flight Skincare Sheer Luxury Milk Cleanser
I first got wind of this makeup-removing cleanser from Asti of Skjonnhet, who loved this for keeping her skin calm and properly hydrated. What got her attention and mine was the unique ingredients of Goat’s milk (contains vitamins A, B6, B12 and E, balances skins PH) and Quandong Seed (refreshing, high concentration of vitamin C). I am all for gentle cleansers and hey, legend has it that Cleopatra bathed in milk to keep her skin super soft. If it was good enough for Cleopatra…not to mention, I love that the founder’s Instagram is full of beautiful scenes of Australia, the beach, juices, and more. ($37 for 100ml)

Pratima Skincare Pitta Herbal Cleanser
After reading the book Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life by Dr. Claudia Welch (which I discovered through No More Dirty Looks), I was intrigued by the concept of matching one’s diet and lifestyle to one’s dosha. Pratima Skincare takes it one step further: matching one’s skincare to one’s dosha. In the two dosha quizzes I’ve taken, Pitta has been a common variable, and knowing the fiery, often stressful person I am, the Pitta Herbal Cleanser, as discovered from Tina at OurWonderLust, sounds like a lovely, calming powder-to-liquid cleanser. Ingredients include milk powder, aloe, sandalwood, lavender for a targeted solution for combination, sensitive, or blemish-prone skin (*raises hand for all three). ($20 for 2oz)

Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Cell Revitalise Day Moisturiser
Knowing how good probiotics are for the gut and therefore skin, I love the idea of probiotics in skincare. I have been enjoying Aurelia’s Miracle Cleanser for its cooling, lotion-y texture, and since I’ve been slowly getting back into cream moisturizers, I can only imagine what this moisturizer must be like. I swear I read Megan from Seed to Serum hinting at this moisturizer being a favorite of hers, but she for sure did love the Night Moisturiser. Also, jasmine-scented things are my new jam. ($65 for 60ml)

Indie Lee Blemish Lotion
The Blemish Lotion seems like the talc-free version of the non-green and well-loved Mario Badesco’s Drying Lotion. I love Osmia Organic’s Spot Treatment for how gently it heals blemishes, but according to Liz from @lizthegreenspirit, this atomizes zits. Sold. ($26 for 1oz)

Have you tried any of these products? What have you been wishing for?