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.

Continue reading Review and Giveaway with Glossed in Brooklyn

Winter Essentials Tag: Osmia Organics and Flight Skincare

Last winter, I was tearing my hair out trying to keep my face from feeling dry and tight. I was layering oils on oils, oils on creams, creams on oils, the whole shebang (which, fun fact, I just learned refers to #! in the computer science world). I was spritzing my face constantly throughout the day but feeling dry again within 15 minutes.

This winter, even when it dropped to negative degrees, I only felt that way once or twice. Once or twice vs. the entire winter? Huge improvement.

The lovely Ru from Short Small Sweet tagged me for my winter essentials, and here they are: Osmia Organics’ Active Gel Toner and Flight Skincare’s Floating Hydration Serum.

Don’t be fooled by the seemingly small size of AGT–the first time I used it, I pumped all the way down, getting a handful of gel, and later on in my routine when I put on foundation, it pilled (making those gross eraser-like marks). I sent out an SOS to Osmia Organics’ founder Sarah on Twitter, and she said she only uses a dab each time. The amount shown in the picture below requires like 1/5 of the pump, and that + a damp face/toner is more than enough.

AGT goes on after I cleanse and before I moisturize. I give it 30-60 seconds to set (per bottle instructions), and then proceed with my oil + serum concoction of the day. When fall started to kick in, I didn’t feel the drying effects at all, except for the one day I neglected to apply this. When winter started to kick in, I still wasn’t feeling it, until that one negative degree day, but then again, at that point, you should just start wearing ski masks because weather is weather.

First on the ingredients list is aloe, followed by a beautiful list of extracts, a preservative that’s NOT phenoxyethanol (it can be done!)niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid has been getting a lot of love for its hydration superpowers–it’s featured in Tata Harper’s well-loved toner, it was even used as a selling point in a conventional setting powder. It’s naturally produced in the deepest layers of our skin, and supplementing with more hyaluronic acid encourages the skin to retain moisture and to stay supple.

Niacinamide, or vitamin B3, while less popular than hylaluronic acid but by no means less cool, has been reported to improve barrier function and decrease the signs of photoaging (hyperpigmentation, fine lines). It is, quote, effective at alleviating dry skin conditions, and indeed it has been for me. Score!

The extracts include rose of jericho, white tea, and oat beta glucan. Rose of jericho is super, super cool because its plant is able to survive extreme dehydration through a process only found in two plants (itself being one) called trehalose accumulation. So it knows how to keep itself hydrated. On top of these hydrating ingredients are the calming white teaaloe, calendula, and smoothing oat beta glucan (sorry gluten-free folks).

I picked and started using Flight Skincare’s Floating Hydration Serum on a whim and then fell full in love with it. I am so into oils–I love the texture, I love the colors, I love how my skin loves it. But when I need an extra boost of hydration, an aloe-rich serum has been my favorite cherry on top. To supplement AGT, I began mixing half a dropper of FHS with an oil. 
Technically, the directions say to use a full dropper for your entire face and neck, which I did try, and while it kept my face feeling hydrated throughout a day of cross-country flying (can’t use enough exclamation points to express that this never happens!!!), it can feel like a lot of serum for not enough face in my opinion, and it takes time for it to sink in all the way, and I love oils, so I preferred mixing with oil to get the best of both worlds.
In the winter of either California or Baltimore, this gave my face a serious glow of hydration. Not a grease glow, but a healthy glow and my face just felt marvelously hydrated.
What drew me initially wasn’t the aloe (which is well known for its hydrating, anti-inflammatory, burn-healing properties), but the various extracts: pomegranate, wild yam (um, YUM), and green tea
Pomegranate extract is antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory, and has strong free radical scavenging activity, which is great for strengthening the skin and fighting off the signs of aging by protecting from cellular damage. There was even a study done on Asian males where it was shown pomegranate extract can have pretty good control over melanin activity (hyperpigmentation, begone!).
Wild yam extract excited me because I’ve never seen it in a product before–it’s apparently like ascorbic acid (basically the very effective vitamin C which sometimes can be irritating)’s little sister. In a study done comparing free radical scavenging activity, wild yam extract trails ascorbic acid on the efficacy chart by an average of 20%. Not a huge deal for me, because it contains phytosterols which has been effective in blocking the reduced synthesis of collagen after exposure to UV rays as well as stimulating further collagen production (yay!). 
I mentioned green tea extract in my review of the #ED4OLO Vitamin C Serum (here), so I will briefly recap here: it boosts vitamin C in being more effective and it itself is a great source of antioxidants.
After giving this a shoutout in my #GreenSurvivor Challenge video (watch it here if you haven’t yet!), the lovely Kym from Flight Skincare posted about the vitamin C-rich lilly pilly extract on Instagram (see it here), and I couldn’t believe I had glossed over it on the ingredients list initially (probably blinded by hearts in eyes by the time I got to the middle of the list). Turns out this Aussie plant is really high in vitamin C (so woot–that green tea’s got something to boost)–one study cites the number as high as 174mg AAE/g (ascorbic acid equivalents per gram) in lilly pilly extract. For comparison, Google says there’s about 55mg in a small orange. 
Now the crazy hydration–I’m guessing it’s coming from the combination of humectants (aloe, vegetable glycerine, honey, floral waters) and squalene, an occlusive. Vegetable glycerine is a humectant, so it binds/attracts moisture to the the skin. It’s also tacky, so I’m thinking it’s partially what gives the serum it’s main tacky texture. Honey is also a well-known humectant that is often used as a moisturizing mask or even a cleanser (reminds me of my old DIY days). Add to that the occlusive squalene, which forms a barrier on the skin preventing water loss, and you get seriously hydrated skin.
Special mention goes to mimosa oil (which just reminds me of that scene in The Incredibles where he’s on the plane and is sipping a mimosa), which besides having the effect of making everyone thirsty for brunch, smells floral + woody and may have calming properties on the skin.

tl;dr Hydration heroes: a gel toner after cleansing and before moisturizing delivering hydration to the deepest levels of the skin + a milky serum with a great combination of humectants and and an occlusive. Absolute winter essentials.

Have you tried any of these products? What are your thoughts? If not, what were your winter essentials been?

Also, since we are in an awkward time transitioning over to spring (finally!), I want to hear either your winter essentials or tell me in couple weeks (or months) what your spring essentials are Naturally Marcy, Plein Vanity, Green Beauty Babe, and Let’s Talk about Green.

Disclaimer: I purchased AGT from Osmia Organics and was sent the Floating Hydration Serum graciously from Flight Skincare along with my order of their cleansers after a shipping mishap. I am not being compensated in any way for my words. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Osmia AGT ingredients: aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, glycerin*, camellia sinensis (white tea) extract*, calendula officinalis extract*, lactobacillus/oat ferment extract filtrate, niacinamide (vitamin B3), lactobacillus ferment, selaginella lepidophylla (rose of jericho) extract, hyaluronic acid, sclerotium rolfsii gum, [gluconolactone (and) sodium benzoate], sodium bicarbonate, proprietary blend of organic and wild-harvested essential oils

*=CERTIFIED ORGANIC, 81.2% certified organic ingredients

Flight FHS ingredients: Aqua, Aloe Barbadensis( Aloe Vera) Leaf Gel,Vegetable Glycerine,* Citrus aurantium (Neroli ) Water,Jasminum nudiflorum (Jasmine) Water, Sorbitol, Squalene (Olives)*(Honey),*Punica granatum (Pomegranate) extract, Dioscorea villosa (Wild Yam) extract, Syzigium australe (Lilly Pilly) extract,* Camelia synensis (Green Tea) extract, Citrus aurantium (Orange) Water, Limnanthes alba (Meadowfoam),Zanthomonas campestris (Xanthan) Gum, Hydroxyethylcellulose( Plant derived amino acid), Parfum (Vanilla & Almond), Albizia julibrissin Durazz (Mimosa) Oil,

* Certified Organic ** Wild Harvested

Additional Sources:

Bissett, D. L., et al. “Topical Niacinamide Reduces Yellowing, Wrinkling, Red Blotchiness, And Hyperpigmented Spots In Aging Facial Skin.” International Journal Of Cosmetic Science 26.5 (2004): 231-238. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

Dweck, Anthony C. “The Wild Yam – Review of Dioscorea Species.” Personal Care Magazine 3.3 (2002): 7-9. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

Grether-Beck, S., K. Mühlberg, H. Brenden, and J. Krutmann. “Topische Applikation Von Vitaminen, Phytosterolen Und Ceramiden.” Der Hautarzt 59.7 (2008): 557-62. Web.

Mohammed, D., P. J. Matts, J. Hadgraft, and M. E. Lane. “In Vitro-In Vivo Correlation in Skin Permeation.” Pharmaceutical Research 31.2 (2014): 394-400. ProQuest Central. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

Mohammed, D., J.m. Crowther, P.j. Matts, J. Hadgraft, and M.e. Lane. “Influence of Niacinamide Containing Formulations on the Molecular and Biophysical Properties of the Stratum Corneum.” International Journal of Pharmaceutics 441.1-2 (2013): 192-201. Web.

Parveen, Rashida, Naveed Akhtar, and Tariq Mahmood. “Topical Microemulsion Containing Punica Granatum Extract: Its Control Over Skin Erythema And Melanin In Healthy Asian Subjects.” Advances In Dermatology & Allergology / Postepy Dermatologii I Alergologii 31.6 (2014): 351-355. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

Roy, Anitha, et al. “In Vitro Antioxidant And Free Radical Scavenging Activity Of The Ethanolic Extract Of Dioscorea Villosa (Wild Yam) Tubers.” Drug Invention Today 3.9 (2011): 214-215. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

Scott Danos, C. “Bruise Amelioration And Skin Benefits From Glycerin And Natural Triglyceride.” Cosmetics & Toiletries 129.6 (2014): 50-56. OmniFile Full Text Mega (H.W. Wilson). Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

Vázquez-Ortíz, F. A., and E. M. Vatenzuela-Soto. “HPLC Determination Of Trehalose In Selaginella Lepidophylla Plants.” Journal Of Liquid Chromatography & Related Technologies 27.12 (2004): 1937-1946. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

Vuong, Quan V., Sathira Hirun, Tiffany L.K. Chuen, Chloe D. Goldsmith, Michael C. Bowyer, Anita C. Chalmers, Phoebe A. Phillips, and Christopher J. Scarlett. “Physicochemical Composition, Antioxidant and Anti-proliferative Capacity of a Lilly Pilly (Syzygium Paniculatum) Extract.” Journal of Herbal Medicine 4.3 (2014): 134-40. Web.

Tweet

14 Favorites from 2014

Happy 2015, all! While there were some favorites from 2013 that remained stapes throughout 2014 (YÜLI Halcyon and #ED4OLO Cleansing Oil, looking at you, reviews here and here), there were also many delightful new discoveries in 2014, including new friends, new shops, and new products. Let’s take a look:


Oils that keep my skin healthy and hydrated – tie between YÜLI and Roiel
YÜLI’s Liquid Courage is like a healthy shot of vitamins for my face. There is at least a month straight in the fall where I was using this that is legendarily burned into my mind where I had exceptionally clear and healthy skin. Roiel Cosmetics’ Marula Oil has been wonderful as a heavier oil as the weather has sunk into winter. (YÜLI: Spirit Beauty Lounge, YÜLI; Roiel: Roiel Cosmetics)

Quick and delightful treatment for post-acne marks – Odacite
Here is another legendary several weeks burned into my mind where one day, I had some pretty red post-acne marks (popping may have been involved) and a week or two later, I was squinting in the mirror wondering, “Where did they go?” Pa+G Serum Concentrate, you rock. (The Detox Market, Odacite)

Extraordinary eye-depuffing gel – SkinOwl
I yearned for Eye+ months after this was applied on me during skin prep at the W3ll People Launch at Beauty Cirque (recap here). When I finally got my hands on it (birthday present from mum, as requested from me, thanks mum!), I thought, “Why did I wait so long?!” The cooling sensation feels incroyable and these puffy eyes that see many a late night are nearly instantly depuffed upon application. (Pemberley Jones, SkinOwl)

Intoxicating perfumes that won’t alter my hormones – tie between Strange Invisible Perfumes and Lotus Wei
This was the year I got into perfumes. On a whim, I asked the fellows at the SIP table at #ANFG to perfume match me to something jasmine-y (May Lindstrom’s Jasmine Garden got me hooked)–they sprayed Fair Verona on me and I walked around for the rest of the night telling people to smell me and then bought the perfume (my visit to their flagship store recapped here). Another one that’s really grown on me (just as it’s run out, too) is Lotus Wei’s Infinite Love Perfume. Small but mighty, I never fail to get comments on it whenever I wear it out, from girls and guys. Intoxicating, I tell you. (SIP: Spirit Beauty Lounge, Integrity Botanicals, SIP; LW: The Detox Market)

Highlighters that give my eyes a glow and make my cheekbones pop – tie between Kjaer Weis and La Bella Figura
Move over, Living Luminizer, there’s new boys in town. Kjaer Weis’s Radiance highlighter is gorgeous. It’s the most obviously sparkly highlighter I’ve used, but it makes my eyes sparkle and cheekbones pop like no other. For something a little more subtler (think twinkles when lights shine) plus a little sensory experience, I’ve enjoyed La Bella Figura’s Brazilian Denise highlighter, whose rose flower wax sometimes has been dabbing it on my wrists as a perfume. (KW: The Detox Market, Spirit Beauty Lounge, Eco Diva Beauty; LBF: The Detox Market, La Bella Figura, Eco Diva Beauty)

Softest kabuki brush that makes putting on foundation a joy – W3ll People
After Shirley Pinkson applied the Altruist mineral foundation using this brush at the W3ll People Launch at Beauty Cirque, I was like, boom, need to have this. I semi-liked Altruist before, but after this I really liked Altruist. Awesome brushes, i.e. incredibly soft kabuki brushes, make a difference. (The Detox Market, Spirit Beauty Lounge, Eco Diva Beauty, Integrity Botanicals)

The nail polish I won’t take off – Aila x BeauTeaBar
I’m not allowed to wear nail polish on my fingernails because of piano. Or rather, if I wear nail polish, other pianists will severely judge me for being flippant/not-serious/ridiculously whimsical. So after lessons finished for the semester, I doused my fingernails and toenails in this. Now, several weeks later, it’s slowly chipping off but I don’t want to take it off completely…the rose gold is gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. And I shine like a diamond. (BeauTeaBar)

Revolutionary serum foundation that dries to a powdery finish – Gressa Skin
I’ve had this annoying problem with foundations where after application, my skin looks dry–like it seems like there are flakes on my skin but I’m not always feeling as dry as I look. (Now that I think about it, sounds like pilling.) I don’t get that with Gressa’s Corrective Serum Foundation. Also I don’t break out with this, which before only happened with mineral foundations. And it dries to a powdery finish even though it starts out like a serum. What? Yeah. For reference, I wear shade 03. (Gressa Skin)

Go-to blemish eradicator – Indie Lee
Go to bed looking like you have pink chicken pox, wake up, wash it off, and blemishes will have shrunken down. I ran out of the Blemish Lotion before #ANFGB, bantered with the delightful Indie Lee at #ANFGB, thought about buying it there, didn’t, severely regretted it, and caved in and bought another several months later with no regrets. (Follain, Indie Lee)

Delicious, buttery cleansing balm with a sensory experience – de Mamiel
Softer than butter, smells like a bouquet of flowers, works perfectly with a massage to wipe away makeup, and makes my skin happy. Restorative Cleansing Balm: wins all around. (Seed to Serum)

Best-smelling and volume-inducing dry shampoo – One Love Organics
Because second-day hair actually smells pretty bad. Healthy Locks dry shampoo gives my gravity-loving Asian hair some grit and volume while also a nice smell. (Integrity Botanicals, Eco Diva Beauty, One Love Organics)

The gel that scares away dry skin – Osmia
Active Gel Toner is, I think, exactly what my skin needed last winter, instead of futile different layering combinations of oils and moisturizers. The skin feels miles more hydrated this year. (The Detox Market, Osmia Organics)

Favorite as an SPF AND a day cream – Josh Rosebrook
This has got me hooked with its amazing scent (a common factor for all of Josh’s skincare products), its complete lack of white cast and all that makes sunscreen abominable, and its really awesome performance as a cream moisturizer. I don’t typically like cream moisturizers, but I love the Nutrient Day Cream with SPF 30. (The Detox Market, Follain, Josh Rosebrook)

What changed my mind about setting powders – Ilia
I am a sweaty person and I used to let my oil run free. Then I dotted Fade Into You over my T-zone and realized what a mistake that was. The very convenient application doesn’t hurt either. (The Detox Market, Spirit Beauty Lounge, Follain)

What were some of your favorites from 2014? See any here?

Disclaimer: Affiliate links are included. All thoughts and opinions are my own. All products were purchased by myself except for YÜLI Liquid Courage and Roiel Cosmetics Marula Oil, which were both kindly sent to me.
Tweet

Winter Empties ft. Soapwalla, Yuli, Mad Hippie

read: I have run out of a few of my favorite things and I am sad.

Soapwalla Kitchen Deodorant Cream ($12): I’ve been rotating this with Weleda’s Deodorant spray since the summer, and this is my go-to for reliably no-smell and less wet-armpit-look days. I am a really sweaty person, so believe me, it works.
Yulï Skincare Panacea Elixir ($36): I adore this. I love the smell, it’s refreshing when you hit that midday slump or you’re traveling 9 hours straight on a plane, it feels calming on my blemish-prone skin post-cleansing–nothing bad I can say about this except that I went through this in a month. *cry.
Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum ($33.99): I am eagerly waiting my repurchase of this because this stuff is awesome. It’s an antioxidant punch bowl that, in conjunction with my argan-tamanu moisturizing, has lightened up my acne scars from my crazy summer breakout to the point that, while I’m not ready to go concealer-less everyday, I was okay with going skiing barefaced last week (on the basis that I needed to be able to reapply sunscreen. And yet I still got burned. *owned by life).