#GreenBeauty Expired Skincare #3

How in the world this happened I have no clue, but I was editing a new video when I found this (fully edited) video that I filmed last summer about the expired skincare and bodycare in my arsenal. Better late than never, I suppose. It’s a long one (as usual), I talk about why I couldn’t finish products (or why I didn’t want to finish them), and I hope you enjoy! Check it out on YouTube for the full info section. xx

#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!

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

Expired #GreenBeauty Products #1

Expired GreenBeauty Products 1

First things first, I chopped my hair. Also, I’ve accumulated quite the stash of products in my collection that have expired on me and rambled about them, why I couldn’t finish them, and other thoughts on the ‘tube. Grab a cuppa, head over to YouTube to watch (for the full service of the info box), or just click play down below.

What products expire on you and which do you finish long before expiring?
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YÜLI Cell Perfecto PM

YÜLI Cell Perfecto PM

After two months of YÜLI Cell Perfecto PM and summer break, a classmate said to me, “Your skin is so much better.” (August 2013)

After three months, I had gone three weeks without foundation. (September 2013)

After five months, there was no question I was purchasing my second bottle. (December 2013)

After a year, I was pouring out the last drops of my second bottle and was so happy with how much this serum has healed my skin. (July 2014)

Rewinding backwards, my skin had gone from extreme pimply mess to scarred mess after finally realizing straight coconut oil, with all of its beautiful nourishing and anti-bacterial properties, was just not my friend (January 2013). Fabiana (Beauty Idealist) gave this the holy grail sticker after seeing icepick scars rehabilitate into normal tissue–cue the start of a steady, two-bottle long, I’ll-see-you-every-night affair.

Cell Perfecto PM + three months = three weeks without foundation. In the hot, humid summers of Taiwan and Baltimore my makeup routine consisted only of my eye makeup routine despite all tomato-face tendencies. Plus a new cheek makeup routine–I had previously sworn off any blush or bronzer because my acne scars were rosy enough, but at this point, my scars had faded to the point where I was comfortable adding in a healthy flush à la Kjaer Weis Cream Blush in Suntouched.

During this sweaty time, a face mist + three drops of Cell Perfecto PM was enough to moisturize my face at night. To be fair, given hormonal fluctuations, varied diet, varied stress (hey multiple midterms and finals), and varied products, I plopped back on the foundation weeks later in the name of hide-and-seek with the pimples.

YÜLI Cell Perfecto PM
Left to right: after 0 months of use – 10 months of use.

Cell Perfecto PM + five months = second bottle, purchased, done. While I was of course nowhere near airbrushed, perfectly Photoshopped, model skin, I was so satisfied with the results of my first bottle that it was a no-brainer for me to continue into a second bottle. While my deeper scars were still a bit deep and newer pimples had cropped up, whatever pimples I had five months ago were long gone and the rosy scars had lightened to a plushy pink. For some reason (probably starting with h and ending with -oliday eating), my right cheek was mad flush but it’s definitely not CPP’s fault–this never has aggravated my acne.

With colder weather (negative degrees in Baltimore! A revelation for this California girl!), a face mist + three drops were no longer enough to moisturize overnight–I typically layered another oil over it (usually M.E. Skin Fuel) or a cream moisturizer over/under (couldn’t decide, usually Graydon Green Cream) to make sure I wasn’t waking up feeling like I had worn a clay mask overnight.

YÜLI Cell Perfecto PM
Left to right: after 0 months of use – 10 months of use.

Cell Perfecto PM + ~a year = satisfaction. I am so happy with how far my skin has come in a year. While still my skin is nowhere near close to perfect (please read Marcella’s beautiful post on this topic), instead of my mom staring at my skin and shaking her head, “Wow Jade…what did you do to your skin…”, she’s been giving me the nod, “Your skin is so much better.” (#ChineseMumsBeBlunt)

While in January my left cheek kind of looked like a little shark went omnomnom’ing through my skin, now, it looks more like a little mouse did a bit of gentle gnawing here and there, and then a bit of hyper fang in others. So yes, still have pitted scars, but while before the texture of my scarred left cheek was actually seriously uneven, now you can tell the difference between pitted scar and healed/normal cheek. Some pitted scars have filled up, others need a bit more time and love.

Looking at my right cheek, there are literally scars from month 5 that I cannot find present day. There is also a very red scar from month 5 that is normal skin color now with just one little scar dot reminding me: don’t pick it. Just don’t.

As far as redness goes, there are a lot of things that can contribute to it (temperature, diet, stress), but it was hitting 100 degrees on a daily basis this past summer and I was the least rosy I’ve been since the epic breakout (and it’s just been getting better and better since).

YÜLI Cell Perfecto PM

To be honest, since I was always applying this at night in the near dark, I never noticed the sediments until looking at other people’s reviews and then one morning when I sleepily and accidentally reached for this instead of M.E. Skin Fuel, I was like whoa hello. Don’t be alarmed–the sediments (which I didn’t feel at all in my first bottle and barely felt in my second) are time released into the serum to maintain the potency over time.

If the price is tripping you up, consider this: this is actually one of the more affordable brightening, scar-healing serums on the green beauty market especially considering its impressive roster. Looking at the ingredients list, I can’t even. Its fellow coworkers nowadays run from $95 for 0.64oz to $155 for 1oz.
A look at some of the delicious ingredients…
Scar-healers: Tamanu oil (visually decreased scar appearance in 6-week study), Sea Buckthorn oil, Helichrysum extract (scientifically validated to be antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory), Rooibos extract (good antibacterial and antioxidant activity, so also a good defense against acne…and it’s a tea!!! I love tea!)
Mark-lighteners: Bearberry extract (containing arbutin, which depigments in a less melanotoxic way than hydroquinone), Liquorice extract (inhibits the actors of skin pigmentation and depigments), L-ascorbic acid (interrupts the pigmentation process)
Anti-aging: Gotu Kola extract (fights off sugar-induced wrinkles), Reishi extract (good antioxidant activity)

 

YÜLI Cell Perfecto PM
Top: quick healing in 2010 – 2011, pre-green
Bottom: slower healing from nasty breakout, August – October 2012, post-green and pre-CPP

The question must be asked: could my skin have healed just as fast without Cell Perfecto PM? Looking back at a less-severe breakout in 2010 before I had gone green, my skin took about year to heal from breakouts, to very red post-acne marks, to pink post-acne marks. So I know my skin does have pretty good regenerative powers.

But after my nasty breakout, the difference spanning three months without Cell Perfecto PM was definitely less than the difference spanning three months using Cell Perfecto PM (looking back, the Dr. Alkaitis regimen also put me in a good place acne-wise and scar-wise before I started using Cell Perfecto PM).

A final word: this is not a product with overnight results (as evidenced by my use of two bottles and I would totally go for a third). Cell Perfecto PM helped take my damaged skin to an exponentially better place in terms of red scars and physical scars over time. So, depending on your initial skin condition, patience may be required.

Have you tried this product? If so, what are your thoughts? If not, what do you use to heal post-acne marks?

Ingredients: Bioregenerating Botanical Infusion (Botanical Glycosides, Sea Minerals Complex), S. chinensis (Jojoba) oil*, M. integrifolia (Macadamia) oil*, O. ficus-indica (Indian Fig) seed oil*, C. inophyllum (Tamanu) oil*, H. rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) oil*, A. uva-ursi (Bearberry) extract*, H. italicum (Helichrysum)* extract, G. glabra (Liquorice) extract*, C. asiatica (Gotu Kola) extract*, Renew Minerals Complex (Methysulfonylmethane (MSM)* Derived from Pine Lignin, Phytosterols derived from Flax), A. linearis (Rooibos) extract*, B. carterii (Frankincense) extract*, D. carota (Carrot) seed extract^^, G. lucidum (Reishi) extract*, L-arginine, L-ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), L-Gluconic Acid (Derived from Kombucha Tea Ferment)

* Organic
^^ Wildcrafted

Disclaimer: I’ve purchased this product myself from YÜLI Skincare–twice. Nowadays, it’s also available on Spirit Beauty Lounge. I am not being compensated in any way for my words. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Photos have not been retouched in any sort of way and were all taken with a Canon PowerShot SD 1100 on a macro setting in order to capture more detail. The only editing I have done is cropping and collaging in order to save space. Let this also be sort of a PSA to listen to your skin and be kind to it. It took a long time for me to heal my skin and I never want to put my skin in such a state again.

Additional Sources:

Davis, Erica C., and Valerie D. Callender. “Postinflammatory Hyperpigmentation A Review Of The Epidemiology, Clinical Features, And Treatment Options In Skin Of Color.” Journal Of Clinical & Aesthetic Dermatology 3.7 (2010): 20-31. Academic Search Complete. Web. 6 Jan. 2015.

Dweck, A. C., and T. Meadows. “Tamanu (Calophyllum Inophyllum ) – The African, Asian, Polynesian And Pacific Panacea.” International Journal Of Cosmetic Science 24.6 (2002): 341-348. Academic Search Complete. Web. 6 Jan. 2015.

Greene, M.d. Richard S., Ph.d. Donald T. Downing, M.d. Peter E. Pochi, and M.d. John S. Strauss. “Anatomical Variation In The Amount And Composition Of Human Skin Surface Lipid.” Journal of Investigative Dermatology 54.3 (1970): 240-47. Web.

Kozarski, Maja S., Anita S. Klaus, and Miomir P. Nikšić. “Extract From Wild Strain Of Mushroom Ganoderma Lucidum As Natural Antioxidant.” Matica Srpska Proceedings For Natural Sciences / Zbornik Matice Srpske Za Prirodne Nauke 121.(2011): 289-297. Academic Search Complete. Web. 6 Jan. 2015.

Maguire, L. S., et al. “Fatty Acid Profile, Tocopherol, Squalene And Phytosterol Content Of Walnuts, Almonds, Peanuts, Hazelnuts And The Macadamia Nut.” International Journal Of Food Sciences & Nutrition 55.3 (2004): 171-178. SPORTDiscus with Full Text. Web. 7 Sept. 2014.

Maramaldi, Giada, et al. “Anti-Inflammaging And Antiglycation Activity Of A Novel Botanical Ingredient From African Biodiversity (Centevita).” Clinical, Cosmetic & Investigational Dermatology 7.(2014): 1-8. Academic Search Complete. Web. 6 Jan. 2015.

Sharma, Richa1, and Namrita1, namrita.lall@up.ac.za Lall. “Antibacterial, Antioxidant Activities And Cytotoxicity Of Plants Against Propionibacterium Acnes.” South African Journal Of Science 110.11/12 (2014): 58-65. OmniFile Full Text Mega (H.W. Wilson). Web. 6 Jan. 2015.

Upadhyay, N.k., R. Kumar, S.k. Mandotra, R.n. Meena, M.s. Siddiqui, R.c. Sawhney, and A. Gupta. “Safety and Healing Efficacy of Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae Rhamnoides L.) Seed Oil on Burn Wounds in Rats.” Food and Chemical Toxicology 47.6 (2009): 1146-153. Web.

Viegas, Daniel Antunes, Ana Palmeira-De-Oliveira, Lígia Salgueiro, José Martinez-De-Oliveira, and Rita Palmeira-De-Oliveira. “Helichrysum Italicum: From Traditional Use to Scientific Data.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 151.1 (2014): 54-65. Web.

Wertz, P. W. “Human Synthetic Sebum Formulation And Stability Under Conditions Of Use And Storage.” International Journal Of Cosmetic Science 31.1 (2009): 21-25. Academic Search Complete. Web. 7 Sept. 2014.

Wille, J J, and A. Kydonieus. “Palmitoleic Acid Isomer (C16:1delta6) in Human Skin Sebum Is Effective against Gram-positive Bacteria.” Skin Pharmacology and Physiology 16.3 (2003): 176-87. Web.

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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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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.

 

The Going Green Tag

I was tagged by the lovely Kasey from Plein Vanity and sister duo Jennifer and Kathryne from Unsullied to do the Going Green Tag. As Kasey says, this tag was started by Rachel from All Natural Aspirations in her attempt to learn more about other bloggers’ experiences of “going green”. I never made an introductory post when I started blogging on how my green journey began, so thanks for tagging, ladies!

Pictured: Some cute succulents I picked up at Union Market, DC.

What started it all off for you?
It was a mixture of my on-and-off trench warfare with acne and a growing interest in makeup. In my acne-ful middle school and high school years, my makeup was eyeliner, mascara, eye concealer, done. Sometimes I would use concealer on my face, but a lot of the times I would forgo it (common conversation with myself: “Nah, you don’t need concealer today, that acne scar totally gives your face character”).

In the spring of my freshman year of college, I discovered the wonders of shopping online at Sephora and Asian BB cream. I started experimenting around and started breaking out more. I read that mineral foundation was acne-friendly, so I tried some BareMinerals, kept on breaking out, read that bismuth oxychloride was a skin irritant, aaand returned that in a blink of an eye.

In a flurry of fate, one of the order-with-samples was Josie Maran’s Argan Oil, the Birchbox of that month was the Earth Day Box, and I stumbled upon No More Dirty Looks. I played with the argan oil, checked out the mostly green products from the Birchbox (Juice Beauty, Egyptian Magic, not bad), read No More Dirty Looks, checked the back of my Philosophy Purity cleanser, and dropped it in horror after reading so many ingredient offenders that were poisoning me.

Pictured: No More Dirty Looks, Kindle edition. This book changed everything.

What was the first thing to go? (Ingredient or product)
Face cleanser/moisturizer. My first #greenbeauty products were One Love Organics Skin Savior and coconut oil, and I was so intrigued by products that could be a cleanser and a moisturizer at the same time. To be honest, I broke out even worse for a couple months after switching over, and it wasn’t until I changed to a simpler double-cleansing (jojoba, then honey), ACV-toning, and argan-moisturizing that my skin started to respond positively. Then I discovered Dr. Alkaitis, Vered Botanicals, yoga, eating green, and the rest is history. I’m not sure exactly what freaked my skin out at that time, but I’m attributing it to not double cleansing (*cringe), possibly not pure enough coconut oil (*double cringe), or possibly a sensitivity to coconut oil (*sad).

What are you/did you struggle to let go of?
Luckily, I wasn’t so attached to my skincare and makeup at the time, so I plunged into the world of #greenbeauty with absolute glee. I kind of did what NMDL advised not to do: freak out and throw everything away. Just knowing that there were inefficient or even harmful chemicals in my skincare and makeup repulsed me. I couldn’t put the products on my face after knowing what was inside them.

What has been your best find or change? (i.e. a green product or a tip that you’re really glad you’ve found/learnt)
Face oils!!! After years of oil-free brainwashing, I am now such a lover of face oils. The good ones give an instant glow, moisturize effectively, signal overreactive sebaceous glands to calm down, will often have great ingredients that are anti-inflammatory, omega fatty acids, and/or antioxidants. Also, their ingredients include some of my favorite foods: broccoli (similar feel as silicone), blueberry (antioxidants), raspberry (more antioxidants), and more.

Pictured from left to right: A couple of good face oils, including de Mamiel’s Spring Facial Oil (flower essences and moisturizing oils, smells just like Spring), YÜLI M.E. Skin Fuel (truly anti-inflammatory fuel for the skin, recently reviewed here), ED4OLO Active Moisture Vitamin C Serum (super moisturizing, reviewed here), MUN No. 1 Aknari Nighttime Dream Youth Serum (have yet to open this, but enjoyed the sample of it I ordered from Spirit Beauty Lounge)

What has been the worst thing about going green? What has been the hardest to transition or find an adequate green replacement of?
A lot of people say mascara, and this is where I have to thank my silly straight Asian lashes–even conventional mascaras never really worked for me. People also say deodorant, and this is where I have to thank my sweat glands–even that “prescriptive-strength anti-perspirant” deodorant didn’t work on me (can’t stop the sweat–stay tuned for a deo post). I think out of all of my products, it’s taken the longest time to find a mascara that works for me, period. The best part is that so many green beauty brands have been coming out with great mascaras made of natural ingredients and free of nasty preservatives, like rms beauty (defining is goooood stuff), W3ll People (@chinoisechic has good things to say about this one), and Alima Pure (tried it on my sis and looks good on her).

The worst thing about going green is watching other people continuing to use non-green products in ignorance. I think the absolute worst thing is when I’m watching a YouTube beauty favorites video, and the YouTuber says, “I don’t know what is in this product, but I love it so much!” (Though it was really funny when one YouTuber was commenting how Philosophy’s Purity cleanser wasn’t very pure, which I agreed with, but not because of the parabens or such, but because of various plant oils that I thought were actually decent. Awkward.) Of course, it is a completely personal choice to go green or not go green at all, and I just have to learn to accept that everyone has different opinions, tastes, and comfort levels. Or I can just slyly give green beauty gifts out for special occasions (and guess what. 100% satisfaction rate so far–booyah).

Pictured from left to right: Kjaer Weis Mascara (lovely rosey scent and nicely defines lashes for a natural look), rms beauty Defining Mascara (really packs on the definition and makes it look like I have eyelashes), Juice Beauty Lash Defining Mascara (also nicely defines and is layerable for a natural look, recently reviewed here)

Anything else to add? Any tips or tricks to pass on?
Be informed. You don’t have to go green, but as the consumer, you should at least know what is being absorbed into your bloodstream. There are so many great resources (No More Dirty Looks), lots of #greenbbloggers, lots of passionate green beauty store owners (Spirit Beauty Lounge, Follain, Clementine Fields, Eco Diva Beauty, Content Beauty, just to name a few), and lots of fabulous green beauty brands with inspiring stories who are committed to bringing healthy beauty to the world.

Being informed will also help you if you are an acne-sufferer like me. I think the knowledge is so empowering–instead of resorting to super full-coverage makeup or using drying and potentially harmful acne treatments, you yourself can try to pinpoint what is causing the acne–is it diet, stress, a product, hormones? You’re not helpless! Of course, if it gets really bad, see a derm, but you have the power to not only heal your skin but also make it as healthy and happy as possible.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about how I went green! Now, I would love to hear Marcella’s (Naturally Marcy), Asti’s (Skjonnhet), Kathy’s (Beauty Palette), and your story of how you went green. 

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YÜLI M.E. Skin Fuel

Majeure essentielle, the namesake of YÜLI Skincare’s M.E. Skin Fuel, translates to “most essential” in French. This is a very appropriate name for a “multivitamin optimizer” facial serum packed with antioxidants in a moisturizing base of jojoba oil, argan oil, and apricot kernel oil.

In my Liebster Award post (link here), I called this my “dream breakfast plus flowers” due to the inclusion of antioxidant-rich pomegranate oil, red raspberry oil, broccoli seed oil, and indian fig seed oil (aka prickly pear or barbary). Each “contain[s] high levels of anti-oxidants that fight free radicals and skin aging” (source here). Served on the side of these yummies are antimicrobial helichrysum (source here), soothing jasmine (source here), and anti-inflammatory dandelion (source here).

Besides being loaded with antioxidants, red raspberry oil is also high in vitamin A and essential fatty acids (source here) and broccoli seed oil hydrates and calms inflammation, while providing greaseless hydration and a smooth finish, thanks to its similar performance as silicone (source here and here).  Prickly pear is the “next pomegranate” thanks to its high level of betalins, aka high antioxidants and anti-inflammation (source here). Another anti-inflammatory ingredient, black cumin oil, is anti-everything bad (fungal, viral, bacterial, inflammation) and nourishes in the face of blemishes (source here).

True to its ingredients, this serum felt nourishing and left my skin soft with a dewy glow when applied after a spritz of toner post-cleansing. I found it moisturizing enough in the summer alone, but I found I needed an extra layer of moisture (usually cream moisturizer, but sometimes May Lindstrom’s Blue Cocoon) in the winter. I smell a sort of peppery-jasmine-ness, but Green Derm has said that the jasmine extract in this serum is unlike any other jasmine. Reviews on Spirit Beauty Lounge rave about its jasmine-honey scent (best part–YÜLI didn’t add any extra essential oils for fragrance. Smelling good without trying. Nice).

This serum didn’t exacerbate blemishes, though it didn’t prevent them either (not like it could stop me from eating sweets or stressing out–work in progress). Whenever I did have blemishes, this helped in the process of healing them, thanks to all of its anti-inflammatory properties, I’m sure. Overall, I think this is a solid oil with really star ingredients that has kept my skin healthy and well-fueled for whatever came my way.

tl;dr Contains delicious and drool-inducing antioxidants, is nourishing and anti-inflammatory, leaves a smooth finish, heals in the face of blemishes. Liquid Courage is next on my to-try list…

Have you used this facial serum? What are your thoughts? If not, what facial serum are you loving right now?

Ingredients: S. chinensis (Jojoba) oil*, A. spinosa (Argan) oil*, P. armeniaca (Apricot Kernel) oil*, N. Sativa (Black Cumin) oil*, P. granatum (Pomegranate) oil*, R. idaeus (Red Raspberry) seed oil*, B. oleracea (Broccoli) seed oil*, O. ficus-indica (Indian Fig) seed oil*, H. rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) oil*, T. officinale (Dandelion) infused in jojoba oil*, Supercritical extracts of H. rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) seed and fruit*, H. italicum (Helichrysum)* extract, N. Caerulea (Blue Lotus) extract^^, J. grandiflorum (Jasmine) extract*

*  Organic
^^ Wildcrafted

Disclaimer: I purchased this serum myself from yuliskincare.com, though Spirit Beauty Lounge now stocks YÜLI–hooray! All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Liebster Award and Nominations

Back in November, Isabel from frivolous girl (or @vackert on instagram) graciously nominated me for a Liebster award. Thank you Isabel! I am honored!

The rules are: Answer ten questions the blogger has for you and then nominate ten other bloggers with less then 200 followers with your own ten questions.

The Questions

1. What’s your morning routine? (Skincare-/Food-wise)

Once I finally get out of bed (it takes some convincing), I begin with 10-20 min of yoga to stretch and then wash my face with two pumps (very small pumps) YÜLI Skincare’s Halycon, a clear gel cleanser that leaves my face soft and refreshed. I then spray YÜLI’s Panacea Elixir over my face, and moisturize with three drops of YÜLI’s M.E. Skin Fuel. This peppery-smelling (acne-fighting black cumin, yeah!) formula is basically my dream breakfast plus flowers: pomegranate, red raspberry, dandelion, jasmine, and on. In the summer, I would stop here, but since winter has come, I have been then applying two pumps of Pai’s Geranium and Thistle moisturizer. I had been unsure of this moisturizer because I was doubtful of cream moisturizers since falling in love with oils and was worried about breaking myself out from overmoisturizing (the evils of simultaneously dry and acenic skin). But since just realizing that I need to moisturize extra in this weather and it will be okay, I’ve been embracing cream moisturizers again. If I have extra time, I’ll apply some Osmia Organics Spot Treatment to any spots, but I’ll always finish with Consonant’s The Perfect Sunscreen which has SPF 30 and a nice tint to start off my makeup. When I’m feeling extra dry and matte (which is often this winter), I’ll sneak in a pump of Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin C Serum with the sunscreen.

Food depends on where I am. Over the winter break, my sister and I added maca powder, spirulina powder, cocoa powder, and pumpkin seeds to this coconut flour pancake recipe (link here) to make awesome green-colored pancakes that horrified our dad (but tasted awesome with maple syrup!). When I’m at school, I tend to have green smoothies or oatmeal for breakfast. My classic green smoothie: 1 cup almond milk, a bunch of kale (or spinach or chard), 1/2 avocado, 1 banana, bit of spirulina or wheatgrass, good bunch of chia seeds. For oatmeal, I’ll add honey, chia seeds or whatever nuts I have on hand. On the weekend, I fry up eggs with green onions, salt, and pepper (my dad’s secret recipe) and have that with quinoa or rice with kimchi.

2. Favorite natural hair product? What brand and why?

Acure Moroccan Argan Oil + Argan Stem Cell shampoo and conditioner. When I had long hair, this duo left it super soft and clean, but not oily. I could go every other day without washing my hair (with the help of dry shampoo). Acure Organics is also very affordable and accessible from my local Whole Foods, which I appreciate.

3. Do you or have you ever done your own facial mask? What ingredients did/do you use?
I have. I used to DIY my masks and everything else a lot, but at the time, I was so fed up with my acne, I went a bit overboard and masked much too often. I did oatmeal-honey-milk masks, Aztec-Indian-Clay-honey masks, I’d wipe my face with a tomato, nightly honey masks, yeah…honestly much prefer leaving the process of formulating and mixing in the hands of professionals, though DIY is a lot of fun.

4. What’s your favorite beauty food/meal? And why?

I love making juices!! When my mom first got our juicer and started making juices, I did not enjoy them. Then after getting into green beauty, realizing how the diet affects the skin, and getting into green smoothies, I really got into juicing. First, juices are delicious. Second, I love seeing all of those beautiful, colorful fruit and veggies going into my belly and thinking how happy they are making my body and my face. My usual juice: two apples, bunch of carrots, some handfuls of kale, couple stalks of celery (obviously, I am very measured and scientific).

5. What is your preferred exercise?
Yoga! I love how relaxing it is and how it stretches out my body. I don’t like running and being super active. Why put in so much effort when I can get the same body results as running? ;D Yeah, I know, I should do some cardio (or Tara Stiles’ cardio yoga routine).

6. Do you believe in the law of attraction? Share a story of something like it happening to you.
Background from Google: law of attraction is the idea that like attracts like, as in think positively and positive things will happen to you. I am initially a bit skeptical, because it does sound like the confirmation bias, i.e. you will favor information that confirms your beliefs. I suppose it makes sense, because if you have a positive outlook, you will pay more attention to positive things, hopefully, and then probably feel more positive. I don’t have any specific stories, but I know when I start off the day on the wrong foot and feel negative, I tend to only notice the bad things, whereas when I start the day well and feel positive, I tend to notice the good things.

7. Is there any website/blog/app you always turn to for inspiration for healthy ways/recipes?
No More Dirty Looks! Since moving out of dorms into apartments, I’ve been getting more and more into healthy recipes, but don’t have one singular source of inspiration.

8. If you had the chance to move anywhere in the world and work, would you take the chance? And where would you move?
New York! New York is my dream; I am just so in love with New York. But anywhere in the world? Maybe somewhere in Europe. I always thought Europeans were so dapper.

9. What’s your favorite natural product that you always fall back to?

How do I pick a favorite child?? Based on repurchases and the product makes me feel when it is nearly empty: Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Oil Cleanser (repurchased once, easy makeup removal with phenomenal scent), YÜLI Skincare Cell Perfecto PM (repurchased once, goodbye acne scars!), YÜLI Skincare Panacea Elixir (repurchased twice, refreshing anti-blemish spray), Kjaer Weis Mascara (repurchased once, lovely rosey scent plus lovely lashes).

10. Is it important to you to buy organic or recycled clothing?
I want it to be important, but this has not become a priority in my life yet. My love for organic has spread from beauty products to food, so maybe clothing is next on the list.

The Nominations

In no particular order, with love and admiration,
1. Marcella from Naturally Marcy
2. Asti from Skjonnhet
3. Coco Beaute
4. Green Derm
5. Brenda from The Wanderlusting Beauty
6. Alasdair from Something Seed Oil
7. Kathy from Beauty Palette
8. Vivi from Eco Beauty Secrets
9. Neiman’s Idealist
10. Gem from Buff Beauty

My Questions

1. What is your nighttime skincare routine?
2. What do you do to relax or unwind from stress?

3. How did you get into green beauty?
4. A recent good read? If not a read, a recent good TV show or movie?
5. You can only eat one thing for the rest of your life. What is it?
6. What is your favorite face oil?
7. All-time green beauty favorites?
8. Your skin is freaking out. What do you do?
9. What is something new (product, brand, experience, anything) you want to try soon?
10. Something(s) (product, experience, anything) essential to you for every day?

I hope you’ll oblige me, my nominees! But even if you are not a nominee, please feel free to answer any of the questions in the comments. I would love to hear your thoughts!