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

Sales of Thanksgiving

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As I’m marking each email with a #greenbeauty sale that arrives in my inbox, I am almost a bit hesitant to share them with you as I did last year in a big post of savings as a different kind of message is cropping up.

As a fellow consumer, I completely understand that you have probably been saving up for these sales in order to stock up on your favorite products, to try new products, to buy gifts for your friends and loved ones, and so on. Me too (well, sort of–I have been noticing a scary trend in my budget that I tend to spend more on green beauty than my groceries each month). Yesterday alone, I clicked the “checkout” button three times to get in on sales and avoid any out-of-stock issues. Continue reading Sales of Thanksgiving

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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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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A Birthday Giveaway of Fave #GreenBeauty Skincare

Today is my birthday, and I want to take a brief break from problem sets and feeling slightly sick from strong kombucha to share a gift with one of you.

I resolved in 2014 to curb my impulsive habits by sampling before jumping into full-size. No regrets. Lots of sampling, but no regrets. I spared myself from throwing money at things that were nice but not fantastic, and I threw my money at things I knew worked well with my skin and were gold. So I’ve compiled a set of sample and travel-size skincare products that I’ve enjoyed for you to try. If you don’t like any, well, then you know. And if you like them, you can take the plunge.

Here are the goods:

S.W. Basics Vegan Cocoa Lip Balm
I obsessively hoard lip balm and have one in every room and bag because if my lips are dry, my whole body is dry/I am dying/can’t handle. Admittedly, this is not the best lip balm in the world (that goes to Tata Harper Lip Treatments, swoon), but it’s a solid. And every now and then they have $1 sales so I get them in bulk for me and to share.

A sample sachet of Kahina Giving Beauty Eye Serum
This is something I discovered via a sample-with-order from Pemberley Jones and it is good. It’s light, it’s cooling, I bought the full-size for my mom and should’ve gotten another one for myself–cue *hearts in eyes.

YÜLI Jet Set Kit
I spent my Spirit Beauty Lounge points on you! Included is a bag made exclusively for SBL and YÜLI by fashion designer and Project Runway star Melissa Fleis, a travel size Halcyon Cleanser and sample sizes of M.E. Skin Fuel and Cocoon Elixir. First of all, the bag. Guys, it’s chic. I want to keep it. If I had to choose between Panacea and Cocoon, Cocoon is my favorite. Back when I was interning over the summer in a dehydrated office, this visibly calmed down redness and hydrated my skin for hours (full review here). While M.E. Skin Fuel couldn’t prevent my hormonal breakouts (understandable), it worked well with my skin, left my skin feeling soft with every application, and has a really delicious list of ingredients (full review here). Halcyon–oh Halcyon. I recently repurchased the full size and I don’t regret it–it’s my favorite second-step cleanser after removing makeup. Those gently foaming peptides, how soft it leaves my skin, how good my skin looks when I use it–yep. It’s a winner (full review here).

A sample tube of Dr. Alkaitis Soothing Gel
Every time I make an order from SBL, I always include this. It’s my go-to whenever I’m naughty and pop a pimple or need an aftershave and don’t want ingrown hairs. In the pimple case, I usually squeeze some onto a Q-tip and hold it over the broken skin until liquid stops seeping out in to make sure bacteria doesn’t spread and to encourage healing (always works). In the aftershave case, I just massage a little into where I’ve shaved and 1) it soothes any tenderness, 2) I haven’t had an ingrown hair after using this (full review here).

Two sample sachets of Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask
I love this mask. I purchased and used up the full-size version of the limited edition Resurfacing Mask with Wild Plum. After my first facial earlier this year, my esthetician informed me that the cause of some of my pimples was not enough exfoliation. With regular use (once a week), I noticed less pimples and increasingly softer skin. Bonus: it’s a clear mask, so feel free to answer the door wearing this or slap it on during a flight.

A USDA Organic lollipop
Once of these comes with every SBL order and I’ve racked up a collection. Girl can’t eat all the lollipops, so here’s one for you. And it’s USDA Organic.

This giveaway starts now and ends 12:00am October 16, 2014, Pacific time. It is open to the U.S. only–I apologize, my lovely international friends, but this is an unsponsored giveaway, shipping is my responsibility (unless you are willing to negotiate), and I am a poor undergraduate student applying to be a poor graduate student.

Go wild and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: As noted above, this is an unsponsored giveaway. Everything mentioned above has been either purchased with SBL points or selected as a sample-with-order with previous SBL orders. I want to keep everything mentioned above for myself. Affiliate links are included in this post.

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