My Personal Organic Beauty Favorites

If you’re curious about what my favorites are out of the products I’ve tried over the past few years this post is for you! These are what we would say in French my “coups de coeur”, which literally means a blow to the heart in English. If you’d like to learn more about these products I’ve reviewed a good majority of them in previous blog posts – simply keyword search in the search box at the top of your screen. I’ve tried to stick to one top pick for each product type but sometimes chose 2 max 3 if they are equally my top faves. This is a very personal list of the products I have resonated most with, not just in terms of how well they work for my own particular skin or hair but how they make me feel through their texture, scent, packaging, design, brand image, ethos etc.

FAVORITE OIL CLEANSER: Whamisa Organic Fowers Oil Cleanser – cleansing oils are straightforward, I mean you can technically put olive oil on your face and it becomes a cleansing oil. But you will not have smelled anything like this oil cleanser before.

FAVORITE GEL CLEANSER: SIBU Polishing Facial Cleanser & ALEAVIA Prebiotic Cleanser

FAVORITE MILK CLEANSER: OSEA Cleansing Milk

FAVORITE FACE WASH: Earthwise Beauty Marshmallow Suds & Sally B Skin Yummies Tamanu Luxury Facial cleanser (95% Organic) – I have loved the texture and scent of these 2 the most

FAVORITE TONER: Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich Toner – this is like an essence and toner in one and it provides the best hydration.

FAVORITE MIST: Annmarie Gianni Neroli Mist  – mists are pretty straightforward, this one goes beyond its function as a mist and helps to improve my mood because I love its particular neroli scent so much.

FAVORITE SERUM: Earthwise Beauty Carrot-A-Day Serum & OSEA Hyaluronic Sea Serum

FAVORITE MOISTURIZER: Odacité Oleosomes Time Delivery Release Creme & Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Moisturizer – I love the texture, ingredients and packaging of these 2 moisturizers the most though I have tried many a superb moisturizer.

FAVORITE FACE OIL: Max and Me Oils Enchanted & Earthwise Beauty Ferns & Moss & Earthwise Beauty Ruby– I know all the oils I use are working hard to improve my skin but I really see and notice the difference when I use these.

Updated in 2019: A few very luxurious green beauty face oils I fell in love with are African Botanics Fleurs d’Afrique Intensive & 5Yina Lucent Beauty Oil. Both are outrageously expensive but they have such an amazing effect on the skin with a complex, unique blend of ingredients not found elsewhere.

FAVORITE PIMPLE TREATMENT: OSEA Black Cumin & Cajeput Serum Concentrate & OSEA Essential Corrective Complex – because it works for my breakouts

FAVORITE ANTI-AGING (for those who need serious skin treatment type skincare or have mature skin): Marie Veronique’s line & Fitglow Beauty’s Vita-Active line (fyi these are pricey lines)

FAVORITE MASKS: May Lindstrom The Honey Mud – I haven’t encountered a more luxurious mud mask than this and it ALMOST takes away my chocolate cravings. (Update 2019: May has discontinued this mask for the time being)

Malaya Organics Advanced Repair Mask – Neem Honey Herbal Complex – This mask stood out from the years of masking I have under my belt. Yarrow, Plantain, Collodial Silver, blue tansy, and so many other exquisite ingredients. This gem is totally underhyped.

FAVORITE MATCHA SKINCARE: Odacité Ceremony Cleanser & Plant Apothecary Matcha Antioxidant Face Mask

FAVORITE VITAMIN C PRODUCT: Sally B Skin Yummies Antioxidant Boost – it works to brighten and even my skin tone, it`s over 65% ascorbic acid and it’s affordable

FAVORITE POWDER EXFOLIATOR: French Girl Organics Face Polish – Rose petals are the first ingredient and that’s why it’s my favorite although there are obviously tons of effective powder exfoliators with cool star ingredients out there.

Plant Apothecary Rice & Clean is another favorite powder exfoliator that is super affordable (and available at certain Target stores).

FAVORITE BRIGHTENING MASK: Laurel Organics Brighten Mask – this mask has never once NOT brightened my skin like crazy

FAVORITE EXFOLIATING MASK: OSEA Vitamin C Probiotic Polish (also brightening) & Earthwise Beauty Blackstsrap Molasses Mask

FAVORITE HYDRATING MASK: Odacité Deep Hydration Mask – it literally transforms the texture of my skin when used overnight as a sleeping mask.

 

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FAVORITE HAIR OIL: Prim Botanicals Hair Oil – hair oils are pretty straightforward but this one has a scent I fell hard for.

FAVORITE HAIR SERUM/HEAT PROTECTANT: EvolvH WonderBalm. The texture is unbelievable and works better than Shu Uemura and a bunch of other high end hair serums I have bought in the past. If I apply about 6 pumps into damp hair and let it dry my hair dries much smoother and with less frizz without even being weighed down. (I’ve heard from 1 fellow green beauty lover that this did not work for her so just be aware that it does not work for everyone)

FAVORITE SHAMPOO: Evolvh UltraShine Shampoo. I love the scent of this shampoo, the texture when I squeeze the product on my hands, the way it lathers. (affiliate code OBL saves at Evolvh)

FAVORITE CONDITIONER: John Masters Organics Lavender and Avocado Intensive Conditioner. I feel like my hair likes this formula the most and I see a more noticeable difference when using this one.

FAVORITE HAIR MASK: John Masters Organics Repair Hair Mask for Damaged Hair with Honey & Hibiscus. This truly works on making my super dry hair softer and hydrated.

FAVORITE DEODORANT: Ursa Major No B.S. Deodorant & Vapour Beauty AER. Besides working effectively, the formula is not overly dry and the packaging is elegant.

FAVORITE LIP BALM: Cocokind MyMatcha Stick – I love that it is simple, jumbo, has matcha, the packaging is black, it is super moisturizing and smells of coconut.

F A V O R I T E   M A K E U P

FAVORITE FOUNDATION: Fitglow Beauty Vita Active Foundation and for full coverage NU EVOLUTION. These are completely pure high-quality formulas.

FAVORITE BLUSH: INIKA Pink Tickle Blush, NU Evolution Blush in Soho & Flushed. Magnetic, velvety and vibrant shades of pink that I adore.

FAVORITE EYESHADOW: NU EVOLUTION – best pigmentation, velvety finish and longest lasting

FAVORITE LIPSTICK: Vapour Beauty Siren Lipstick – I’m personally not a fan of lispticks (I’m a lip gloss girl all the way) because they make me look older but my favorite formula is the Vapour Beauty’s lip siren because it’s the creamiest that doesn’t seem to accentuate my lip lines (note the dark shades are not as god)

FAVORITE CONCEALER: Fitglow Beauty Conceal+ & NU Evolution Camouflage Creme

FAVORITE LIP GLOSS: Fitglow Beauty Lip Serum in Bliss – a targeted lip treatment and lip gloss in one that actually plumps my lips. Bliss is also the prettiest color that looks the best on me

FAVORITE MASCARA: Australian certified organic makeup brand INIKA’s Long Lash Vegan Mascara is one of the best mascaras I’ve tried. I also love the affordable W3LL People Expressionist Mascara.

 

FAVORITE BB CREAM: COOLA Mineral Face SPF 30 Matte Tint  (please note this is not a clean brand though they choose to place many organic ingredients in their products)- I use serum/moisturizer/few drops of oil as my morning skincare and a lot of BB creams leave me looking a little too greasy. This matte one helps me avoid  that plus it goes on so velvety smooth and i don’t need to layer sunscreen after my moisturizer.

FAVORITE PRIMER: COOLA Daydream Primer SPF 30 & Juice Beauty Illuminating Primer (these do contain dimethicone last I checked)

S P F

Earth Mama Organics Lady Face Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 40 is a new 2019 launch and by far the best tinted sunscreen stick that is truly clean and organic. It conceals like makeup with a very natural tint and isn’t at all greasy. Highly affordable at under $15.

Raw Elements Sunscreen has been my go-to spf brand since I began my organic beauty journey. I prefer this for body rather than face.

CODES TO HELP YOU SAVE

SIBU BEAUTY: ORGANICBEAUTY30
Aleavia Skincare: ORGANICBEAUTYLOVER
NU Evolution (affiliate): ORGANICBEAUTYLOVER 
Earthwise Beauty (affiliate): OBL
Odacité: OBL
Raw Elements Sunscreen: OBL

 

 

 

 

PetCube Bites Interactive Treat Camera Review

If you’re a dog (or cat) owner who wants to be able to see what your fur baby is up to while you’re away and remotely talk to and play with him/her all from your phone, the PetCube is worth looking into. Before I even became a new dog owner I knew I wanted to have a device like this because my cousin had bought one for her dogs over Christmas and loves it. This device has been so useful as a new puppy owner, I could not imagine not having it. Here are all the impressive features of the PetCube Bites:

Fling treats varying distances up to 6 feet
Toss treats automatically at scheduled times
Stream in 1080p HD video with 138° wide angle view
138° wide angle view
3x digital zoom
2-way audio to hear & speak
Night vision with infrared LED
Sound and motion alerts

I hate having to leave Rufus alone especially because he’s a young puppy and needs constant love and attention. With the PetCube I just tap the app and am able to see exactly what he’s doing. The camera and sound work very well and I haven’t had any issues whatsoever. It’s probably actually me who has separation anxiety from my furry child because I have this need to be able to see him at all times when I’m away from him. I try not to speak to him too much unless I know I’m coming home soon because I don’t want to torture him. If I’m running late on feeding him dinner I can throw him some treats with the app so he doesn’t get too hungry/unhappy. Instead of treats I fill up the container with his normal dog food so he doesn’t get too spoiled and used to treats as food.

The night vision also works well and I don’t have any complaints with this feature. There’s been a few occasions where I’ve had to leave him alone all day (the worst!) and I set up the motion alerts so anytime he moved I would get a notification on my phone and be able to go into the app to see what he’s up to. This way I’m not constantly and mindlessly checking up on him every second of the day.

Petcube Bites camera

Design wise, this device is very sleek and modern looking and comes in three colors: silver, black and rose gold. It has a no-skid surface on the bottom so it won’t move around much or tip easily and comes with a wall-mounting kit if you prefer to mount it on the wall. It was a lot thinner and lighter than I initially thought it would be so that was a pleasant surprise.

Use code OBL for $15 off at the PetCube site. Free worldwide shipping

The current PetCube devices will be phased out later this summer to make way for Generation 2 devcies which will be priced much higher so now is the right time to grab these.

PetCube Website

Petcube Bites treat camera specifications

 

 

 

HOW I PAID OFF $60,000 OF DEBT IN 2 YEARS

Student debt is just THE ABSOLUTE WORST – the emotional and mental burden of having this huge number looming over your head, wondering if and when it will ever get paid off is always in the back of your mind. I dreamed of becoming a serial hacker so I could hack into the systems and magically delete that number to zero- we’ve seen it happen in TV shows so it must be possible. I had about a dozen government and private loans with various interest rates when I graduated from the University of Southern California and I knew that I wanted to start paying them off as fast as I could once I landed a job. I even read blogs and websites dishing advice on how to pay off debt and personal success stories- not just to learn tips but also to keep me motivated throughout those dark months. If you want to pay down your debt quickly you need to be prepared to live down to the bare minimum, exercise a ton of self-control and go HAM. Aka Beast Mode but for debt. Friends and loved ones are going to suffer too but if they love you they’ll be waiting for you on the other side. It is no walk in the park, but it will be worth it.

I cut out all monthly recurring subscriptions

Aside from the basic necessities like my cell phone subscription, I cut out ALL monthly automatic charges like my VPN service (this hid my IP address so I could access US websites from abroad), HULU, etc.

I allowed myself a set amount of spending money each month

Instead of looking at where my money was going each month, I simply and brutally allowed myself $100 in spending money – this meant no eating out, hardly any shopping, no Starbucks, no cold-pressed juices, no nothing. I either packed my lunch to work or skipped lunch entirely if I forgot to pack. That’s the sad truth. I didn’t go shopping for clothes, cut my own hair and stuck to the rule of $100 per month. It became my monthly personal challenge and sometimes I even spent less than $100. I explained to friends and my partner what I was doing and why I needed to do it. The people who truly care about you will understand.

I put as much of my paycheck as possible towards loans

Each time I received my pay I immediately transferred everything I could minus my basic living expenses towards my loans (around $3000 to $4000 a month). That way it simply was not possible for me to even spend money, because it was already out of my bank account. And I watched as these huge lump sums made my debt number go lower and lower at warp speed.

I paid off my highest interest loans first

Some of my loans had a 10% interest rate, which means if a loan was $10,000 then it was increasing by $100 each month or $1200 each year. Compared to other loans that had a 2% interest rate, it was obvious that the high interest ones needed to be obliterated first. That’s why the last months of paying off my debt I was able to coast and live it up more while also putting more money to my savings. Everyone needs to have a FUCK OFF FUND by the way.


It was quite simple really and it can be summed up in one word – SACRIFICE. But obviously, in order to pay off debt successfully, you need to have a well-paying job. Earning $2k a month is not a good foundation for paying off a disgusting amount of debt. I was also living in cheap housing provided by relatives so if your home is taking up a large chunk of your paycheck you need to think about moving to a more affordable place to live. Whatever it takes.

NEW juice beauty and edible beauty product reviews

The Juice Beauty Prebiotix Gel Moisturizer and Signal Peptides products along with Edible Beauty Australia’s boosters are some of the new and exciting launches of 2019 that I got to try recently. I’ve used these for the past two to three months and am sharing all the “juicy” details.

Prebiotix Gel Moisturizer

The Prebiotix Gel Moisturizer ($52) boasts an ingredients list full of antioxidant-rich, organic ingredients and a bio-fermented complex containing high-performance prebiotic ingredients to help balance the microbiome. What you’ll immediately notice about this moisturizer is its beautiful light blue shade and how lightweight and thin the consistency is.

  • A proprietary prebiotic blend including viola flower, chia & coconut extract acts as a protective layer on the skin, locking in moisture for a more radiant, hydrated and balanced appearance
  • Boosts skin luminescence appearance with fermented kumaru known for its ability to absorb ultra- violet light and reflect back visible light
  • Helps soothe distressed skin with linseed
  • Fermented American bamboo smooths skin
  • Hydrates and moisturizes skin with organic antioxidant-rich jojoba & prickly pear
  • Fights free radical attack with an antioxidant juice base of organic grape & apple and organic aloe rich in Vitamin E
  • Calming aroma with essential oils lavender, clary sage & juniper

Even with dry skin like mine, this moisturizer felt amply hydrating and my skin seemed to soak it all in. It feels perfectl smooth and silky and since it actually feels much like a thick serum to me I was able to layer on heavier oils and balms guilt free. I will say the one ingredient I do not like that’s all the way at the end of the ingredients list is bismuth chloride oxide, which I’m not sure why they needed to include. I emailed Juice Beauty customer service asking them and they replied that they chose it because it helps brighten the skin, blurs imperfections and minimizes the appearance of lines, wrinkles, dark circles. Still, this is one of those ingredients I’m iffy about because it goes through so many refinement processes to make it safe for cosmetic use that contamination is a risk. So I don’t think this is a really necessary ingredient.

The scent of lavender and juniper is very subtle and is simultaneously calming and uplifting. I appreciate this concept of skincare that feeds the good bacteria on your skin and thus creating a stronger or repaired barrier, just the same as I appreciate skincare concepts like high-vibrational, CBD and gemstone-infused.

Ingredients:  (organic aloe juice/jus d’aloès bio)*, (organic apple juice/jus de pomme bio)*, (organic white grape juice/jus de raisin blanc bio)*, glycerin (organic/bio)*, olus oil†, sodium PCA†, lactobacillus ferment, (organic rice bran extract/extrait de son de riz bio)*, bentonite, coconut alkanes, (jojoba seed oil/huile de graines de jojoba), sodium hyaluronate†, glyceryl stearate SE,  (kumaru seed ferment filtrate/graine de kumaru fermentée filtrée), hydrolyzed viola tricolor extract, (organic shea butter/beurre de karate bio)*, (organic coconut oil/huile de noix de coco bio)*, lactobacillus, (coconut fruit extract/extrait de noix de coco), lactobacillus ferment lysate, (chia extract/extrait de chia), bamboo leaf ferment filtrate/feuille de bambou fermentée filtrée),  (prickly pear stem extract/extrait de cactus nopal), hydrolyzed linseed extract, propanediol†, xanthan gum, carrageenan, biosaccharide gum-1, coco-caprylate/caprate, sodium lauroyl lactylate†, hydrogenated lecithin, panthenol (Vitamin B5), potassium sorbate, melia azadirachta leaf extract, (eggplant fruit extract/extrait d’aubergine), (basil flower extract/extrait de fleurs de basilic), (turmeric root extract/extrait de racine de curcuma), citric acid, bismuth chloride oxide, lavandula angustifolia extract, triethyl citrate†, (orange peel oil/huile de peau d’orange), (juniper oil/huile de genévrier), (clary sage oil/huile de sauge sclarée).
*certified organic ingredient / ingrédient certifié bio †plant-derived / origine végétale

Juice Beauty Signal Peptides Firming Serum 

Another new launch as part of their Signal Peptides line, this product is notably interesting because it’s a micro-serum. This is the first time I’ve come across a micro-serum, which has a unique micro-emulsion technology (10x smaller than standard emulsion droplets) that facilitates delivery of active ingredients to the skin. It’s actually formulated for people over the age of 40 and focuses on restoring the appearance of firmness and skin elasticity with certified organic ingredients and firming peptides. Their custom blend of sunflower-derived plant lipids combined with rice peptides and pterostilbene-rich wild blueberry extract work to boost hydration, renew the skin’s surface and protect from external aggressors.

I love how supple this serum makes my skin feel once applied. It has an immediate softening and hydrating effect and it doesn’t just sit over the skin but properly absorbs. The reason I say this with confidence is because I’ve never had a pilling problem with this serum and it never feels like it’s just sitting on top of my skin and drying into a layer. Not that color is at all important in skincare (or is it?) but the creamy white shade of this serum makes me feel like I’m applying a milk serum onto my skin.

Ingredients: Aloe barbadensis (organic aloe juice/jus d’aloès bio)*, glycerin (organic/bio)*, coconut alkanes, caprylic/capric triglyceride†, squalane†, polyglyceryl-10 mono/dioleate†, dicaprylyl maleate, cetyl alcohol, olea europaea (organic olive fruit oil/huile d’olive bio)*, butyrospermum parkii (organic shea butter/beurre de karate bio)*, hydrolyzed rice bran extract, phosphatidylglycerol†, polyglyceryl-3 oleate†, glycine soja sterols, vaccinium angustifolium (blueberry extract/extrait de myrtille), linum usitatissimum (linseed extract/extrait de graine de lin), helianthus annuus (sunflower seed oil/huile de graines de tournesol), hyaluronic acid†, tocopherol (Vitamin E/vitamine E), glyceryl cocoate†, coco-caprylate/caprate†, cetearyl olivate†, sorbitan olivate†, cetyl hydroxyethylcellulose, xanthan gum, caprylyl glycol†, squalene†, gluconolactone†, leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate, sodium benzoate, triethyl citrate†, citrus aurantium bergamia (bergamot oil/huile de bergamote), citrus aurantium dulcis (sweet orange oil/huile d’orange douce)
* = Certified organic ingredient
† = plant derived/origine végétale

Juice Beauty Signal Peptides Firming Eye Balm

Similar to the Signal Peptides Firming Serum, the eye balm also features sunflower-derived lipids combined with rice peptides and pterostilbene-rich wild blueberry extract but with paracress extract. It’s also in a base of organic coconut oil and sunflower seed oil which may not fare well with some of you. You may also be thinking $80 for an eye balm in a pretty standard base is a LOT- and it is. So while I do love the consistency and texture of this balm I do not believe it is worth the price as it’s also a small amount of product that you receive. But I do want to say that this balm has an amazing consistency that makes it feel luscious, velvety and smooth. It’s not at all greasy or overly rich/heavy and moisturizes well.

Cocos nucifera (organic coconut oil/huile de noix de coco bio)*, helianthus annuus (organic sunflower seed oil/huile de graines de tournesol bio)*, vegetable oil, copernicia cerifera (organic carnauba wax/cire de carnauba bio)*, butyrospermum parkii (organic shea butter/beurre de karité bio)*, glycerin†, hydroxystearic/linolenic/oleic polyglycerides†, euphorbia cerifera (candelilla wax/cire de candelilla), caprylic/capric triglyceride†, bismuth chloride oxide, spilanthes acmella (paracress flower extract/extrait de fleur de cresson de para), hydrolyzed rice bran extract, phosphatidylglycerol†, vaccinium angustifolium (blueberry extract/extrait de myrtille), tocopherol (Vitamin E/vitamine E), squalene†.
*certified organic ingredient / ingrediént certifié bio †plant derived / origine végétale

Edible Beauty Australia Boosters

Edible Beauty, which is a natural skincare line from Australia, launched their skin boosters this year and they’re an entire product category on their own. It’s not designed to replace any skincare step but rather “boost” it. They blended nourishing botanical, food and seaweed extracts (some of which are Australian yay) to create these serum-like products designed for use after cleansing and toning. I tried all three: Turmeric Latte, Probiotic Radiance and Deep Sea Collagen and all three have the same exact consistency and texture. I’ve seen this described as thick but to me it felt like a normal serum, neither thin nor thick. More than anything these provide intense hydration for the skin, so perfect for dry and parched skin. The probiotic one naturally helps optimize the health of your skin’s microbiome and barrier, the turmeric one helps clear and calm skin, and the deep sea collagen is designed to plump and hydrate. Each one boasts some pretty interesting ingredients:

Turmeric Latte 

Turmeric Extract is rich in curcumin, a potent antioxidant which has been used as an ancient beauty ritual for lightening and brightening the skin. Curcumin also inhibits acne causing bacteria on the skin and has been shown to be 36 times stronger than azelaic acid, an irritating chemical used in acne treatments. Its anti-inflammatory properties also mean that turmeric can soothe painful cystic breakouts and calm redness.

Licorice Root contains the active ingredient, glabridin that interrupts the enzymes that activate melanin production, making it a natural skin whitening agent. It prevents future hyperpigmentation while improving existing dark spots on your skin. Licorice Root is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, reducing swelling and redness for a clear and calm complexion.

Snow Mushroom known as the “beauty mushroom” the Tremella mushroom has been used for centuries as a youth-preserving mushroom due to its unique polysaccharide and antioxidant profile.  Polysaccharides found in the mushroom have remarkable water retaining properties, with the ability to hold nearly five times more water than hyaluronic acid. Tremella’s polysaccharides also stimulate the production of superoxide dismutase (SOD), one of the most important “super antioxidant” enzymes in the body. SOD helps to protect and regenerate the skin as well as effectively prevent wrinkling and sagging of the skin. It has shown to be effective in preventing oxidative damage to skin cells as well as increasing the body’s production of its own powerful free-radical defence mechanisms.

Ingredients:Aqua, OrganicTremella Fuciformis, (Snow Mushroom), Organic Glycerin, Curcuma longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Organic Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root, Organic Calitris Glaucophyll (White Cypress) Leaf, Acacia Senegal, Xanthan Gum. Rumex Occidentalis Extract, p-Anlsic Acid, Glyceryl Caprylate, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Oil, Ascorbic Acid.

Probiotic Radiance

Lactobacillus Bulgaricus Ferment Filtrate, restore skin PH and acid mantle reducing skin sensitivity and strengthening the skin barrier. This probiotic strain also attacks bacteria which sit on the skin’s surface causing blemishes.

Wildcrafted Emu Bush, native to the Australian Northern Territory, it contains potent antioxidants including chloregenic acid which protects the skin from break down and ageing along with phenolic acids which have an antioxidant action stronger than that of vitamin E. This makes this wildcrafted extract effective at skin restoration and repair.

Birch Leaf, is a powerhouse ingredient for calming and treating sensitive and irritated skin. It is prized for its ability to reduce inflammation, purify and hydrate skin. It contains 17 amino acids, minerals, enzymes, proteins, antioxidants and vitamins, all of which are beneficial for your skin.

Ingredients: Aqua, Glycerin, Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf, Acacia Senegal, Xanthan
Gum, Lactobacillus Bulgaricus Ferment Filtrate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Organic Betula Alba (Birch Leaf), p-Anisic Acid, Glyceryt Capry1ate, Organic Eremophila longifolia (Emu Bush), Organic Achillea Millefolium (Yarrow), Phospholipids, Sodium Hyaluronate, Propanediol.

Deep Sea Collagen Elixir

Seaweed Collagen, has been shown to reduce wrinkle depth and improve overall skin appearance. It increases the expression of the longevity-boosting and anti-ageing protein (SIRT1). Seaweed Collagen also prevents the breakdown of hyaluronic acid in skin cells and in doing so preserves the extracellular matrix, which is a dominant means of defence against visible ageing and the weakening of dermal thickness.

Seaweed Leaf, harnesses the unique power of ocean plants to survive extreme conditions and often adapt to changing environments, providing them with the ability to revitalise and renew the skin. Seaweed Leaf is rich in vitamins and amino acids which reinforce the skin cell membranes, protecting against free radical attacks, which accelerate ageing. The extract can also ‘re-organise’ the cell membrane structure to reverse cell damage and restore the skin to its natural state, combating sagging and loose skin.

Purslane (Portulaca) Extract, works to repair and regenerate the skin on a cellular level. Purslane protects skin cellular DNA from age-related dysfunction, thereby maintaining the cells’ repair function and strengthening the skin with its natural antioxidant compounds. It contains a high amount of glutathione, which is a natural antioxidant system, along with hydrating Omega-3 fatty acids.

Ingredients: Aqua, Glycerin. Undaria Pinnatifida (Seaweed Collagen), Acacia Senegal, Xanthan Gum, Organic Litchi Chinensis (Lychee), Organic Panicum Miliaceum (Millet) Seed, Ulva Lactuca (Seaweed Leaf}, Organic Portulaca Oleracea Extract, p -Anisic Acid, Glyceryl Caprylate

 

New Hope Blogger Box Review

When I attended the Natural Product Expo this spring I also joined the New Hope Influencer Coop, a community of natural lifestyle influencers and health experts who support the mission to bring more health to more people in partnership with New Hope Network. They sent this beautiful box full of innovative natural health, food and beauty products that I normally would have never heard about (except the beauty ones of course). Here’s what was inside:

  • Ancient inGRAINed Snack Co – Ka-Pop Dairy-Free Cheddar Popped Chips (@KaPopSnacks; @KaPop_Snacks)
  • BFree Foods – Stone Baked Pita Breads (@BFreeUSA; @BFreeFoods)
  • Big Island Coffee Roasters – Espresso Bites (@bigislandcoffeeroasters)
  • Curaleaf – Lemongrass and Menthol Lotion (@CuraleafHemp)
  • Earth Mama Angel Baby – Baby Face Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick SPF 40 (@earthmamaorganics; @earthmama)
  • Elma Farms – POSHI Marinated Vegetable Snack (@eatposhi; @healthyposhi)
  • Goddess Garden – SPF 30 Everyday Natural Mineral Sunscreen Lotion for Sensitive Skin (@goddessgarden)
  • Jenny’s Gourmet Foods LLC – Greenjoy Cacao & Greens Pressed Salad Bar (@greenjoylife; @AuntDottiesKayco)
  • Life’s Grape – Vine-Dried Grapes (@lifes_grape; @LifesGrapeSnacks)
  • MARS Food North America – Seeds of Change Quinoa & Brown Rice with Garlic (@SeedsofChange)
  • R.W. Garcia Co. – Organic Bar-B-Q Corn Chips (@rwgarciasnacks)
  • Serenity Tea Sips, LLC – Bergamot and Jasmine Tea (@SerenityTeaSips)
  • Smart Baking Company – Gluten Free Smart Cakes Raspberry Cream (@SmartBaking; @smartbakingcompany)
  • Sun Chlorella USA – Sun Chlorella “A” Granules (@sunchlorellausa; @SunChlorella)
  • Tango Advanced Nutrition – AllerPhase (@puretango; @AllerPhase)
  • The Little Potato Company – Garlic Parsley Microwavable Potatoes (@LittlePotatoCo)
  • Wakunaga of America – Kyo-Dophilus Kids (@KyolicAGE)

F O O D S

The Ancient inGRAINed Snack Co and their Ka-Pop Dairy-Free Cheddar Popped Chips had to be my favorite food product in there though almost everything was delicious. For being dairy-free they tasted even better than regular cheddar popped chips. There was such an intense crunch to each of the chips and so much flavor I would definitely purchase these again.

The Little Potato Company’s Garlic Parsley Microwavable Potatos were easy and convenient to make for dinner and packed a garlic punch in each bite. They were a tad on the salty side for me.

The Smart Baking Company’s Gluten Free Smart Cakes Raspberry Cream were cute little cakes in a cup, but I did find the texture to be a little too dry and the taste much too sweet for my palette. Otherwise I love the concept and the fact that they’re gluten free!

The Sun Chlorella come in individual packets and in granule form, but once you pour them in water they begin to dissolve. I usually can’t stand the taste of chlorella on its own in water, but this one did not have a strong taste.

Seeds of Change Quinoa & Brown Rice with Garlic was super delicious – I included this in a dinner and it took my dish to the next level. Perfect texture and amount of seasoning has been added to this.

Greenjoy Cacao & Greens Pressed Salad Bar reminded me a lot of the Fruit Rollups I used to eat as a kid. I love the concept of greens that could almost pass as a candy snack. It tastes super natural and isn’t overly sweet.

Big Island Coffee Roasters Coffee Bites actually tasted like chocolate too me even though it isn’t! It’s coffee with some natural sweetener and has a very strong taste to it. It’s quite sweet and has a tinge of bitterness from the coffee.

POSHI Marinated Vegetable Snack was a total surprise. I thought these were dry snacks but they come in their natural state and are marinated in ingredients that help preserve them. Super healthy and a great option for people who don’t like to eat vegetables.

 P E R S O N A L   C A R E

I’ve been using the Goddess Garden SPF 30 Everyday Natural Mineral Sunscreen Lotion for Sensitive Skin that says “Sheer” on it and while it isn’t exactly sheer (there is a bit of a white tint) it doesn’t leave a strong white cast like some others do. It’s perfectly smooth, hydrating and lightweight and feels very much like a true lotion. It’s got a subtle lavender scent.

I got a little jar sample of the Curaleaf Lemongrass and Menthol Lotion and didn’t expect such a tiny amount would work so well. You can feel the cooling effect immediately and it stays for a good few hours, so it’s definitely something to try on areas of aches and pains for immediate relief.

Earth Mama Angel Baby Baby Face Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick SPF 40 comes in a small cylindrical push-up container and contains only natural and safe ingredients along with zinc oxide for spf protection. I found it to be a very emollient and rich sunscreen (great for dry skin). It does leave a white cast.

 

Daily Harvest Organic Smoothies & Meals Review + Coupon Code

I’m so excited I got to try Daily Harvest and share them with you, including a coupon code! Their concept is refreshingly simple:

  1. Nourishing fruits and vegetables frozen within hours of harvest to lock in the nourishing goodness of peak season ripeness. For instance, Blueberries have 200% more vitamin C when frozen vs fresh after 3 days and Cauliflower has 50% more antioxidants frozen vs fresh after 3 days.
  2. Pre-made and pre-chopped frozen recipes delivered to your doorstep. It’s so convenient not having to shop for the individual ingredients, chop all the fruit and veggies and clean up the mess. All you have to do is add your milk base and throw it into a blender.
  3. A wide variety of OPTIONS: SmoothieSoupsHarvest BowlsLattesOat Bowls & Chia Bowls
  4. FLEXIBLE subscription based service that can be paused for any period of time you wish
  5. ORGANIC ingredients!

Affiliate code OBL gives 3 bowls free (roughly a 35% discount on your order). DAILY HARVEST WEBSITE

They have an endless number of options and varieties and you can actually filter according to your “Likes & Dislikes,” “Key Benefits”, or “Dietary Needs.” I selected my cups based on Anti-Inflammatory benefits, which produced 30 results, and received the below 6 to test out:

Blueberry+Hemp
Dragonfruit+Lychee
Ginger+Greens
Carrot+Coconut Soup
Blueberry Majik Chia Bowl
Beet+Avocado Poke
Dragonfruit + Lychee Cup

I loved the ingredients in this cup since I don’t eat too much dragonfruit or lychee. I did find it to be a bit bland on the taste but my boyfriend loved it. If you find it isn’t as sweet as you’d like you can add an all natural sweetener to it!

Ingredients:
organic strawberries, organic lychee, organic peaches (ascorbic acid and citric acid added to prevent oxidation), organic pineapple, organic bananas, organic dragon fruit (pitaya), organic golden flax seed, red beets, hemp seed

Carrot Coconut Soup

I added some water to a microwavable bowl and poured the frozen ingredients in. Then I microwaved for 3 minutes and stirred it as I waited for it to cool down. It’s a super flavorful Indian soup, and very light, so don’t expect that incredibly rich curry soups you have at Indian restaurants. The veggie ingredients tasted extremely fresh!

Ingredients:
organic carrots, organic coconut milk (organic coconut, water), organic tomato paste (organic tomato paste, citric acid), organic spinach, organic cauliflower, organic green bell peppers, organic red bell peppers, ginger, himalayan pink sea salt, organic madras curry blend (organic turmeric, organic coriander, organic cumin, organic fenugreek, organic mustard seed, organic black pepper, organic ginger, organic cinnamon, organic chili pepper, organic allspice), organic cilantro, garlic, green onions, organic peppercorns, galangal

This works as a subscription based service and you can choose from the below 4 options:

Weekly: 9 cups per week
Weekly: 12 cups per week
Weekly: 24 cups per week
Monthly: 24 cups per months

The important thing to note is that you can pause your subscription for any period of time you wish. So if you feel like Bimonthly deliveries are more your jam then you can manually tailor the deliveries to fit your needs.

What I Learned From Living in Switzerland (personal)

Hi loves and thank you for coming on here and wanting to hear me share my thoughts. I recently went through a major life transition moving from Switzerland to California and felt like I needed to simply WRITE (aka verbal vomit) in order to process everything that’s happened. As many of you guys know I basically spent all my 20s living in Europe- a little in Paris (Rue de la Convention), a little in St Gallen (Blumenaustrasse), a little in Zurich (Thujastrasse- I can’t believe I’m remembering the street names), a little in Lugano and mostly in Geneva – and I became a Swiss citizen. I basically left for Switzerland in 2010 and I moved to the US last summer. I met my first love while studying abroad and it was a whirlwind all-consuming type of romance that many people dream of. A lot of people search for this kind of love all their lives and I feel lucky to have experienced it (fyi he now hates me). But one of the many important lessons I learned while living in Switzerland was, love is not enough.

Also I have to warn you that there probably won’t be much structure to this blog post and it will be long. When I first moved abroad I was insanely young and not emotionally and mentally equipped for expat life. Had I been 30 and moved there I may have stayed my entire life. As a fresh graduate I was hungry to start my career but nobody there knew what USC was or cared that I had interned at major Fortune 500 companies. I struggled a lot with this and started off as an intern in marketing before landing a real job. Not being able to have the career I really wanted and that I had worked so hard for throughout high school and college was a huge source of unhappiness for me. I did end up landing a coveted marketing job at a Swiss company while working at a job that I didn’t like and it was my saving grace. Without it, my relationship would have never lasted as long as it did because I would have grown so unhappy I’d have left a lot sooner. My ex was also a student for much of this time and I did a lot of the financial supporting. Another lesson: don’t spend all your money on a guy if he isn’t treating you like you’re the best thing in the world.

I had no knowledge of French and studied my butt off, actively watched Swiss & French news and TV shows (Fais Pas Ci Fais Pas Ca was one of my faves), read the Swiss newspaper, and devoured anything and everything French that I could in order to become fluent – this was how I got the job that I wanted and interviewed successfully in French for a position that required fluency. There were so many days I felt like it would be an impossible feat to learn a whole foreign language and I would break down and cry at night from despair. My lesson from overcoming this challenge: even if you think something is impossible (I literally felt it was IMPOSSIBLE for me to learn French and all the British people I knew who’ve lived in Geneva their entire lives and couldn’t even hold a conversation in French was proof), NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE if you set your mind to it. Where there is a will there is a way, as some wise man once said.

I found that making friends was difficult. I had friends come in and out of my life except for a few because Geneva is an international hub with people often working on assignment for 1 or 2 years for large companies or NGO’s. Making friends with the Swiss is even more challenging because they tend to be cold and closed off, especially to foreigners. The friends and people they have in their lives are those they have known much of their lives in their small communities and they don’t feel any need to introduce new people into their close circle. I had some cool coworkers though despite the work environment being disgustingly sexist and inappropriate at times. I did meet many very interesting, driven and accomplished people, most of the time older and wiser than me, who each played a little role in shaping me into the person I am today. Instead of being unhappy that I was having a hard time making deep friendships like the ones I had in California, I needed to shift my attitude towards thinking that each person who came into my life, no matter how brief, was someone I could learn from and share experiences with, and that each person is on their own journey in life and I could, in turn, help make a brief, positive impact in their lives.

For a few years I loved my relationship, my life, my job and my ability to travel around Europe on the cheap many weekends. Who wouldn’t love going to Corsica one weekend, Spain the next and Mykonos the next- after a while all the places start looking similar (though I will never get tired of Paris, Barcelona and Greece). I probably annoyed a lot of people with those obnoxious travel photos and hotel collaborations if you scroll down my Instagram feed. Maybe after about 6 years, I became tired of similar looking villages in neighboring France, similar looking ski resort towns in Switzerland, the same Easyjet destinations every year with no new interesting cities being added for me to get to. I loved how everything in Switzerland is so orderly and structured – almost to a fault – and the landscape was beautiful everywhere you went. I couldn’t stand how exorbitantly expensive everything was ($9 for a Starbucks latte, restaurant meals on average over $100 for 2 people, $22 for OPI nail polish before my nontoxic switch) and I never shopped in Switzerland (I’d buy things to go to my California home and then bring everything back whenever I visited), how mind-numbingly boring Geneva became after a few years (if you come from a small town Geneva will seem exciting), the complete lack of authentic Mexican food (tacos are life) and the depressing grey weather 8 to 9 months of the year. This is my spoiled background though coming from one of the world’s greatest and sunniest cities. There are so many people from third world countries who would risk their lives to be able to escape to a life of peace and security in Switzerland. Before I left Geneva I befriended a gay couple in their 50s, who were from Portugal and Colombia originally, and I asked them if they were happy just living out the rest of their lives in Switzerland and their answer still stays with me today. They said that after a while they just became used to life in Switzerland, they now enjoyed the quiet peacefulness of life there, and they would visit their favorite cities multiple times a year (Barcelona and Tel Aviv). I knew I didn’t want that.

My ex was the perfect boyfriend during the first year, making the effort to be understanding of my difficulty transitioning to Swiss life, encouraging & supportive, and taking me on trips to London, Rome, and Cyprus. Certain things happened to him that he deep down probably blamed me for because it was easier than blaming himself. He also wasn’t emotionally ready for the unique struggles that come with being an international couple in which one has to adjust to a new country and culture. He soon became indifferent and resentful whenever I was having a hard time and quick to anger, which led me to become unhappy even though I had created a wonderful life for myself. This small part of myself that was unhappy ate away at me. This is the reality that you don’t see behind those perfectly edited little Instagram squares. Flying off to beautiful destinations in Europe (a few times a year) and back to LA (twice a year) was all I looked forward to throughout the year as a way to escape the humdrum of my day-to-day life feeling invisible. I felt like a robot simply going through the motions. I felt like my life revolved around my ex and his aspirations, and I was just there to provide support for all his needs. Something felt wrong- I should have felt more happy in this life or at least some kind of mild state of contentness on a daily basis. I almost started a family and I began to ask myself could I raise a family here? With this man? Would I be happy growing old here? The answer I got was always a very hesitant maybe and no. I knew I would forever regret it if I didn’t DO something and moved back to LA to see if the grass was greener on the other side. The way in which I handled my relationship towards the end wasn’t good and I drove my ex away through my behavior instead of communicating how I felt inside. Next time I know that if for whatever reason I’m unhappy I should communicate it early because eventually my actions will hurt my partner.

I eventually needed to decide whether I would ignore this part of me and continue to live this Swiss life until the end of my days, possibly forever being partially unhappy I never got to live a life in LA or being with someone who didn’t treat me well… or to search for what my heart really craved – to be in sunny Southern California with my friends and family nearby. I’m sure I could have eventually made peace with living abroad forever if I chose the former and 9 months later, I still grapple with the ghosts of my former life and the what-ifs. But imagine all the experiences I would have missed out on over the past year had I not decided to move back and all the ways I wouldn’t have grown emotionally by upheaving my very quiet very quaint Swiss life. By moving back, I was able to find myself again, re-discover who I am, and also have the opportunity to re-invent myself. That is the beauty of new beginnings and new chapters in life. I am truly in my element here and I have a sense of self-confidence that I didn’t in Switzerland. I’ve also come back with nearly 10 years of unique life and travel experiences and language skills. I often think of how lucky I am to have lived what I have lived and what very few Americans ever get to experience. I will always be grateful for my ex for coming into my life when he did. Thank you, next.

It hasn’t been as easy as I thought it would be adjusting back to US life. When I first arrived I actually got hired immediately into working at Max Azria Group, but I didn’t feel happy working there and left. I remember one of the graphic designers who flew in from Mexico asked me why I would move back from Switzerland when the salaries are so high there (thanks dude). I forget what I answered back, but I probably said something like it was super boring there most of the time and not everyone earns very high salaries. One of my colleagues who helped hire me had spent many years working in Shanghai, loved it there, moved back to the US for this job and felt unhappy being back. Though it wasn’t easy adjusting back for me either, I felt happy and excited to be in LA. After all, so many Europeans I met over the years would ask me incredulously why on earth I would choose to be in Switzerland when I could be in LA. It’s not like I’m from Little Prairie, Arkansas. I just made up that city. Other ways it’s been strange for me being back…I definitely feel culture shock when I go outside of my bubble of family and friends in LA to other states and I see the “real” America. My mentality has shifted to being more Swiss after all these years and I get overwhelmed by how big this country is and there are just..so..many..people..and I feel the very same thing that used to piss me off when Europeans used to say this to me – there is a lack of culture/history in the US (don’t hate me!). Moving back to Trump’s America is also very different from when I used to visit Obama’s America. I get little bouts of culture shock just from society being so different. They were stronger at first, but now that it’s getting closer to a year since I moved back, they’re not as intense. Everyone’s lives have changed..marriage, kids, jobs..and my parents are so much older looking. After the first few months here I actually wanted to run back immediately to Switzerland and to what felt familiar. But ultimately, I feel deep down inside that I will be happier growing old here surrounded by my loved ones, sunshine, beaches, traffic, tacos and poor air quality. I also met a wonderful man who is sweet, caring, mature, generous and above all, kind and patient – the two qualities I need most in a partner. Without him I think I might have been too weak and moved back to Switzerland.

What I learned is that you need to live your truth. If you’re not happy in any way, seek change and don’t just stay stuck there because you’re scared of the unknown. There are no right or wrong decisions, only decisions that you can learn and grow from. The people who truly love you will stick by you no matter what you choose. And if they don’t, they are not worth keeping around. If you feel like you’re  going to regret not doing something, then you HAVE TO DO IT.

How am I doing now you ask? I have had my dark days when I wasn’t sure if I made the right choice. But I’m so happy with all the new experiences I get to have by being here in the States. Despite its many, many problems, the US is without a doubt the best country ever and Americans are the best people to be around (except the crazies). It’s actually the small interactions I have with friendly strangers that uplift me, as crazy as that sounds. In Swiss society, you don’t do small talk with strangers..it isn’t normal and if you do try to strike up a tiny convo with someone on the public transportation, the grocery store, in line at the coffee shop..they will think you’re weird or straight up legit mentally ill. But I may not be so crazy after all because a study found that small talk with strangers makes you happier. I don’t have my dream job yet (not sure what that even is yet), but I have some really cool ongoing gigs with various companies aside from my blog. Most recently, I’ve been working as a speaker for a billion dollar medical tech company which has been super sweet. Life has given me so many blessings I don’t even deserve and I need to tell myself…Andrea, you’re doing just fine.

My Experience with Lucky Vitamin’s Membership Program




This post was sponsored by LuckyVitamin. All thoughts are my own

a b o u t  l u c k y  v i t a m i n

LuckyVitamin is a family-owned online health products store dedicated to helping people lead healthier lives through a vast array of 35,000+ products, a team of health experts and strong company values. This hugely successful corporation offers brands that believe in fair trade initiatives and helping to develop better trading conditions in developing countries by promoting sustainability and gives back to local communities and charitable organizations.

Their main categories are natural & organic, vitamins, supplements, pet, baby, household, personal care/beauty, foods, gluten free, paleo, keto and more. I found that they carry a TON of natural & organic brands including:

-Badger Balm
-Cocokind
-Goddess Garden
-Dr. Hauschka
-Herbivore Botanicals
-John Masters Organics
-Meow Meow Tweet
-S.W. Basics
-Yarok
-Clove and Hallow
-Indigo Wild
-Derma E
-Plant Apothecary
-ACURE

I personally ordered items to get a feel for how the site is and I noticed that:

– Face oils were 20% off
– They have a “Clearance” section that had over 1000 products in the beauty category.
-Shipping took about a week

m e m b e r s h i p  b e n e f i t s

They recently launched LuckyVitamin+ an annual membership program that comes out to about $4 per month ($49.95 per year).

LV+ Member benefits include:

  • Stackable 10% Savings on Everything

They have monthly sales, flash sales and buy-1-get-1 free deals going on all the time (a couple that they have going on now are spring cleaning sale and 20% off Derma E products) so you can save even more by adding this combinable discount. If there’s certain vitamins and food items that you need on an ongoing basis then you can autoship them (a feature available to all customers) and save 5-10% making your savings 15-20% at the bare minimum automatically.

  • Free Shipping on Orders $25+

Regular customers get free shipping on orders of $49 but LV+ members only need to order a minimum of $25.

  • Personal Certified Wellness Consultant

This is my favorite part about the membership. If you want to take charge of your health or become more knowledgeable this is a really interesting feature to take advantage of. After logging in to my account I went to my Membership and clicked on “Schedule a Call” and was able to schedule for any time that I wanted and got an immediate confirmation with whom I’d be speaking with.

The box will say,

“Wellness Consultants

All LV+ Members have the option to get 1:1 access to a personal Wellness Consultant. Your Wellness Consultant will provide professional product and lifestyle advice, personalized outreach and checkpoints tailored to your wellness goals, plus fast and expert service on orders with follow up care.”

I spoke with Matthew and he was very knowledgeable about my health-related questions and sent me a follow up email with information and links to products. He said to email or call anytime I had questions and I felt like he genuinely loved advising and assisting.

Benefits of the wellness consultant include:
-A Personal point of contact
-Professional product guidance and advice on orders from a Nutritionist
-Fast response time for email questions about products and orders
-Expert customer service and follow up care
-Direct phone support with less waiting time than Customer Service
  • Exclusive LV+ Samples and Gifts
  • LV+ Community Forum and Members Only Content

Check out LV+ here.

Best and Worst Sunscreen Guide

best worst sunscreens
worst sunscreens

It’s that time of the year that I receive an influx of sunscreen questions so I thought I would share the best and worst sunscreens including my personal favorites. Last summer the Environmental Working Group found that nearly 70% of the 650 sunscreens they tested were harmful or ineffective. They offered inferior sun protection or contained harmful ingredients like oxybenzone, a hormone disruptor, or retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A that may harm skin.

Most sunscreens are filled with these toxins:

-Oxybenzone, which is linked to hormone disruption and cell damage that may lead to skin cancer.
-Retinyl palmitate, which has now been proven to be a carcinogen.
-Octyl-methoxycinnamate causes oxidation damage of the skin, which means aging
-Butyl-Methdiebenzoylmethane, releases free radicals into the body.
-Benzophenone 2 (BP2), decreases the function of the thyroid, in a population that is already seriously suffering from hypothyroidism (under active).

Some facts to help you move in the right direction:

-The common sunscreen additive vitamin A speeds development of skin cancer. Studies by federal government scientists indicate that it may trigger development of skin tumors and lesions when used on skin in the presence of sunlight. Avoid vitamin A or retinyl palmitate, which is also called retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate and retinol.

–. Sunscreen ingredients soak through skin and can be detected in people’s blood, urine and even mothers’ breast milk. Several commonly used ingredients appear to block or mimic hormones, and others cause allergic reactions on sensitive skin.

– You don’t need anything higher than SPF 50. Higher SPF ratings don’t necessarily offer greater protection from UV-related skin damage, especially UVA damage, and may lead users to apply too little thinking they’re getting a lot of protection or spend too much time in the sun. The FDA has proposed banning them

-Majority of people don’t apply enough sunscreen and don’t reapply enough times then complained of getting burned

-Spray sunscreens can be inhaled and the EWG does not recommend them

These are EWG’s worst sunscreens followed by the best.

EWG’s WORST SUNSCREENS

Banana Boat Kids Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100
Coppertone Kids Sunscreen Continuous AccuSpray, SPF 70
Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
Coppertone Water Babies Foaming Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 70
Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen, SPF 60+
Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen, SPF 60+
Equate Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70
Up & Up Sport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50
Panama Jack Sport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 85

EWG’s Best Face Moisturizers with SPF

Juice Beauty Oil Free Moisturizer SPF 30
Juice Beauty Tinted Mineral Moisturizer SPF 30
Soleil Toujours Daily UV Defense Mineral Sunscreen Moisturizer, SPF 20
Kari Gran Three Sixty Five SPF 28
Supergoop! Daily Correct CC Cream, Fair/Light, SPF 40

Goddess Garden Organics Face the Day Daily Moisturizer, SPF 30
MyChelle Dermaceuticals Replenishing Solar Defense, SPF 30
Raw Elements USA Daily Lifestyle, SPF 30 (affiliate code OBL saves at rawelementsusa.com)
W3LL PEOPLE Bio Tint Multi-Action Moisturizer, Fair, SPF 30
Marie Veronique Everyday Coverage Tinted Sunscreen, Extra Light Tint, SPF 30
Babo Botanicals Daily Sheer Sunscreen Lotion, Fragrance Free, SPF 40
Raw Elements USA Tinted Facial Moisturizer, SPF 30
Badger Damascus Rose Face Sunscreen, Sheer Tint, SPF 25
 

EWG’s Best Beach and Sport Sunscreens

Raw Elements USA Face + Body, SPF 30
Badger Kids Sunscreen Cream, Tangerine & Vanilla, SPF 30
Badger Tinted Sunscreen Cream, Unscented, SPF 30
Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen Stick, Tinted Sport, SPF 50
C’est Moi Gentle Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
COOLA Suncare Sport Mineral Sunscreen Stick, SPF 50
Goddess Garden Organics Everyday Natural Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
Juice Beauty Sport Sunscreen, SPF 30
Suntegrity Skincare Natural Mineral Sunscreen For Body, SPF 30
 
Check out the entire list here
 

EWG’s Best Scoring Sunscreens for Kids

All Good Kid’s Sunscreen, SPF 30
Badger Kids Sunscreen Cream, Tangerine & Vanilla, SPF 30
Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, Baby, SPF 50
California Baby Calendula Sunscreen, SPF 30+
COOLA Suncare Baby Mineral Sunscreen Stick, SPF 50
Goddess Garden Organics Kids Sport Natural Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
Kiss My Face Organics Kids Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30
 

h o w  E W G  r a t e s  s u n s c r e e n s

The organization rates each sunscreen on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being safe and 10 being dangerous. It grades each product on five criteria:

  1. Health hazards (such as if it has an ingredient that’s considered dangerous)
  2. UVB protection
  3. UVA protection
  4. The ratio of UVA absorbance to SPF
  5. How long-lasting the sunscreen is

MY PERSONAL FAVORITES

best natural tinted face sunscreens
Find out all about the best tinted face sunscreens in my blog post here
best reef safe sunscreens
earth mama organic sunscreen
Earth Mama Organics LadyFace Mineral Sunscreen Stick
Read my full Earth Mama Organics Review here
View this post on Instagram

2/3 of sunscreens are still INEFFECTIVE or harmful according to the EWG’s 2019 Sunscreen Report (Head to the Highlight “Research” to learn more). I really wanted to give love to this totally underhyped sunscreen product by @earthmamaorganics that deserves all the praise – it’s neither greasy nor tugs the skin (watch me apply the medium/dark one in my stories)! It's a Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Stick that has a truly clean formula & is third-party certified the NSF/ANSI 305 organic standard (meaning it has 70% or more certified organic ingredients, and the remaining 30% of ingredients must be on the NSF allowed list.) . What I love about it is: – Very natural looking tint that isn't too dark. – I don't need to blend it much because it matches my skin tone perfectly -Does not feel greasy at all . – Goes on perfectly smooth without tugging the skin -provides great coverage . – Stick applicator allows for easy hands free application & re-application (remember you need to re-apply spf every 2 hours) . . They now offer FREE Shipping on all orders no minimum purchase. . Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 22% Inactive Ingredients:Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Cera Alba (Beeswax)*, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Tocopherol, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter*, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice*, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract* *Organic . . #ad #spf #sunscreen #earthmamaorganics #earthmamasunscreen #sun #vitamind

A post shared by Organic Beauty Blogger (@organicbeautylover) on

earthwise beauty spf powder
Earthwise Beauty Farizad’s Veil Sun Reflector

Earthwise Beauty Farizad’s Veil SPF Powder

Earthwise Beauty’s SPF Powder is made of the highest-grade, minimally processed non-nano and uncoated zinc oxide (particle size 325 nm), which is the safest, and most reliable sunscreen ingredient available today. Titanium dioxide is the other option but it doesn’t provide full spectrum protection. The 2nd ingredient is pure powdered aloe leaves making this a mask in itself. These leaves are moisturizing, skin damage preventing & correcting as well as cooling & soothing. Precious Indian Pink Champaca Flowers, Madagascar geranium leaves, and a delicate frankincense from Oman lends it its scent.

This is the most versatile SPF product available. You can mix it with foundation, BB cream, moisturizer, face oil, face balm or even brushed on by itself.
Ingredients
Active ingredient: non-nano uncoated zinc oxide 94% (Canada); others: aloe barbadensis leaf powder*, organic hexane-free Rosa centifolia (rose) absolute (Morocco), wildcrafted hexane-free pink champaca absolute (India), organic Pelargonium graveolens (geranium bourbon) oil (Madagascar), Pelargonium roseum (rose geranium) oil*, wildcrafted frankincense oil.
*Certifi


Available in Europe at @divinegreenbeauty & @eminessences
In AUS at @eveorganics
USA: use code OBL to save 15% at earthwisebeauty.com

I love the SPF 30 Natural BB Cream by Coola in both unscented and cucumber. It goes on matte and has this amazing texture that feels lightweight and airy. Naturisimo is an online store that carries Coola and ships worldwide free if you are outside the US.

Truly one of the cleanest sunscreen lines, Raw Elements uses 23% zinc oxide (whereas many other organic sunscreens will only use as a little as 8%-15% and still say they’re SPF 30) and their first ingredients are organic black and green tea extracts and nourishing organic butters.

-My favorite out of their line is the Tint SPF 30 Facial Moisturizer (it may be too rich for some) and then 2nd favorite is the ECO 30 in a jar.
-Their sticks are a tad too dry incuding the lip balms
-The tube is great at first but later becomes difficult to get all the remaining product out
-This line has a strong hemp scent which is a pro or con depending on your personal taste

Check out what the OBL CLUB who tested Raw Elements as part of our product testing campaign! Hit the tab labeled “SUNSCREEN”

Affiliate code OBL saves at Raw Elements. (This line is only available in the US)

Using 20% zinc oxide, natural pigments and organic active botanicals the W3ll People Bio Tint Spf 30 tinted moisturizer applies beautifully and feels great on my skin. The light shade looks very natural on me and I like that it has a pump.so it dispenses the right amount each time.

Earthwise Beauty’s Farizad¨s Veil is a sunscreen I will never not have on hand because of its amazing versatility. It adds spf protection to any product you add to it (BB cream, foundation, sunscreen that doesn’t have enough spf in it, etc.) It is pure highest-grade zinc oxide with powdered aloe leaves and Moroccan rose, Indian Pink Champaca and Madagascar Geranium Bourbon.

I have mixed it with:
-Face Oil
– BB cream
– Foundation
– Sunscreens that are lower in SPF and need extra
– Moisturizer
– Face Balm

Affiliate code OBL saves sitewide.

There are obviously tons of great sunscreens out there and many more I’ve tried that I liked but these are my personal go-to’s.

FITGLOW BEAUTY new MAKEUP & skincare

 

FITGLOW is one of the few clean luxury beauty brands that does both makeup and skincare extremely well and perhaps the only company that formulates their makeup to act more like skincare with the added benefit of makeup. Originally based in Canada the founder Anna has recently moved to Miami to start her new life with baby and hubby, while growing the brand through continuous product innovations, updated packaging and pro social media presence.

Their newest launches, which I’ll be covering in this blog (except cloud ceramide since I haven’t yet started testing this), are:

Wearing:

FITGLOW CONCEAL+
NU EVOLUTION EYESHADOW in CHIC
FITGLOW Lip Serum in BUFF
FITGLOW Lumi Firm in POP

c o n c e a l +

Let’s talk about this cream concealer first. I had heard many positive reviews about the CONCEAL+ and I can attest to its performance. It’s a drier formula and goes on feeling like it’ll be very matte but it actually provides a satin finish. The undereye looks aglow with this product. It provides heavy coverage and does have good lasting power and I haven’t seen it settle into my fine lines, though I do not have deep lines or wrinkles so can’t comment on this.  Its skin-nourishing blend of Phyto Elastin, Organic Green Tea, Vitamin K, and Licorice Root help improve the condition of skin rather just covering it up.

Ingredients: Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil *, Cera Alba (Beeswax)* , Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil*, Lauryl Laurate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Phytoelastin PF (Plant Elastin), Water, Phospholipids & Phytonadione (Vitamin K Liposome ) , Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Caffeine, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract (Green Tea Extract ) *, Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract (Licorice Root) * May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Yellow Iron Oxide, Red Iron Oxide, Black Iron Oxide, Ultramarine Violet, Chromium Oxide Green, Manganese Violet.  * Certified Organic Ingredient

l u m i  f i r m

The Lumi Firm comes in 3 shades: a regular luminizer, a bronzer and a blush. I’m wearing the blush called Pop and it is designed to liftt and firm using natural plant peptides and plant collagen to fight signs of aging & strengthen skin structure. The cream blush goes on semi-sheer and is buildable if you want more color. I find just a couple swipes looks natural.

Ingredients: Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil (Jojoba)*, Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter (Cocoa)*, Silica, Water (Aqua) & Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Seed Extract (Sweet Almond Peptides), Hexapeptide 11 (Probiotic Peptide), Mica, Cera Alba (Beeswax)*, Tocopherol Acetate (Non Gmo), Vegetable Collagen, Rosmarinus Offcinalis Leaf Extract (Rosemary)*, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil*, Iron Oxide (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499). *CERTIFIED ORGANIC

l i p  c o l o u r  s e r u m

You may know that my favorite shade ever is BLISS among the 10 Lip Colour Serums, but I got to try out the shade Buff, which I’m wearing in the photo, and love this sophisticated natural nude shade. These go beyond what your standard organic lip gloss does and uses Organic pomegranate plant sterols, Beet Extract, Vegan Collagen, and antioxidants to improve lip cell structure and health as well as plump. I notice after leaving it on, my lips look slightly plumper and fuller. The look and feel of the packaging provides the most elevated lip gloss experience ever.

Ingredients: Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil*, Vegetable Collagen, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate), Sterols Beta Vulgaris Rubra (Beet Root) Cera Alba (Beeswax)*, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter*, Curcuma longa (Turmeric) Root Powder, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil & Lecithin & Yeast Extract (Organic Plump)*, Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E) Sorbic Acid, Vanilla Extract May Contain: Titanium Dioxide (CI77891), Iron Oxides (CI77499), (CI77492), (CI77491). *CERTIFIED ORGANIC INGREDIENTS

m a k e u p  c l e a n s i n g  o i l

Cleansing oils are very straightforward. I mean you can use any oil you have in kitchen and use it to remove your makeup. Here is what makes this cleansing oil unique:

x specifically designed to remove makeup including mascara (comes right off)
x cloudberry seed oil & watermelon seed oil are the first ingredients
x it rinses off with water (no need for a face cloth) and does not emulsify
x contains cherry blossom flower extract which repairs oxidation damage and reduces inflammation

I’m very VERY impressed with this cleansing oil. I’ve tried many a cleansing oil and cleansing balm; some rinse off with water and most you must physically remove with a cloth. This is my first time using one that not only rinses off but also does not emulsify into a cream lather. Not to say that a cream lather is bad, but it requires more massaging and more time to properly remove the product. This oil just glides off the face with water along with all the makeup and grime it picked up. My mascara (2 coats) washed off effortlessly as well and I did not have residue that I needed to clean up. The scent alone of this product will get you obsessed nevermind all its other benefits. It smells like watermelon candy, just incredibly sweet and fragrant.

Ingredients: *Rubus Chamaemorus (Cloudberry) Seed Oil, *Citrullus lanatus (Watermelon) Seed Oil, *Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, *Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil & Prunus (Cherry Blossom) Serrulata Flower Extract, Camellia Oleifera, Di-PPG-2 Myreth-10 Adipate, *Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, *Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Amaranthus Squalene, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Extract. *Certified Organic Ingredients

n i g h t  l i p  s e r u m

Before anything else I have to mention this is a very highly priced product at $48, Is this product a necessity? No. You can think of it as a very fancy gift to yourself – or someone else. I think an accurate name for this product would be something like “Overnight Lip Serum Mask Anti-Aging Treatment.” You apply it before bed to allow its ingredients to get to work overnight. It features a Plant Ceramides formula that restores lip moisture barrier while protecting from water loss and Organic pomegranate Plant Sterols, Beet Extract, and Vegan Collagen to improve lip cell structure, increase lip volume and fight signs of aging.

The Pomegranate Sterols hold double its weight in water to increase hydration and lip fullness. Vegetable Micro Collagen helps with the structure and firmness of lips. Organic Rice Ceramids lock in moisture and Organic Beet extract, which is rich in phytocompounds and humectants, improve circulation, detoxification and plumpness. What do I notice with my bare eyes in the morning? Healthy looking lips.

Shop FITGLOW here and get 15% off your first order

PicoSure Laser Review (Before & After Photos)

I’ve tried laser on and off for my sun damage and brown spots, which started appearing as early as age 19 or 20 – thank you California sun! Technology is always and rapidly advancing, so laser 10 years ago isn’t the same as 5 years ago which isn’t the same as today. And getting 1 treatment versus 5 makes a difference. I tried out 3 sessions of the Picosure laser over the course of 3-4 months and wanted to share my experience and show before and after pictures to give you guys an accurate an idea of how it worked for me. Hopefully this will be helpful if laser is something you’re considering investing in!

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EVOLVh Luxury Natural Haircare Review

evolvh haircare review
evolvh haircare review
evolvh haircare review

Affiliate code OBL saves sitewide

After using Evolvh products for years I’m finally getting around to documenting my thoughts on the world wide web. A luxury natural haircare brand based out of the Bay area, Evolvh has certainly evolved a lot over the years with many new additions to their expanding line. What I appreciate about Evolvh is that instead of using ingredients that simply coat the hair to make it “look” healthy, they use ingredients that are backed by science to meet the molecular needs of strands at their very core. They are also a “no nasties” committed brand that is:

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VALENTINE’S SELF LOVE GIFT GUIDE

This is not a gift guide for others. This is a gift guide packed with sweet ideas to spoil yourself silly.

z o e silicone sonic anti-aging device
(code OBL saves $50 now til 2/14 )

Zoe’s advanced Silicone Bristles work at over 6000 pulsations per minute to gently cleanse and exfoliate the makeup, dirt, and oil that clog your pores and cause acne, while eliminating blemishes and minimizing the signs of aging. We all know now that facial massage is essential to keeping skin young and since we can’t get facials everyday, this is like an at-home facial providing:

-Provides complete facial and body sonic cleansing
-Delivers next-level micro-firming circulation massage
-Minimizes the size of pores and wrinkles
-Exfoliates without irritating your skin

Get $50 off the original Zoe (pink and hot pink) now til Valentine’s Day – specially for organic beauty lovers!

DID YOU KNOW…..
-using the ZOE in circular motions at temples will help to relieve tension?
-you can place the tip of the ZOE under the arch of the brow, gently pressing upward and hold for 15 seconds to get an immediate lift?
-placing the ZOE tip at the nasal touch points on the side of the nose, may help relieve congestion?
=the curved side of the ZOE can be used to knead and roll at the nape of the neck to relieve tension?
-setting the ZOE to a very low pulse and using the tip with a gentle cleanser on the eyelid,  will help loosen the adhesive of false lashes to make removal a breeze?
-Estheticians are using the ZOE prior to bikini waxing to cleanse, as well as using the curved side of the ZOE after treatment to and also to gentle push the soothing product  for deeper nourishment and swift calming of the skin?                                                                                           

 

t h e  d e t o x  m a r k e t February Box feat. f i t g l o w  b e a u t y

The February Detox Box features Fitglow Beauty — one of my longtime favorites for organic skincare and makeup! If you’ve been wanting to try this high-end brand now is definitely the time because you’re getting these 3 products at nearly 70% off!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Inside you’ll find:
– The Vegan Good Lash + Mascara ($38)
– The Eye C Firm ($79)
– The Vita Active Serum ($45 size)
A

k a r m a  b a k e r organic plantbased sweets

Organic, gluten-free and vegan bakery in LA that ships nationwide! I especially love their donuts and cookies!

 

Babe Pink Silk Sleep Mask

p e r p e t u a l  s h a d e luxury eye masks

I love my Perpetual Shade Eye Mask. I’m a very light sleeper and need it to be completely blacked out for me to get decent sleep and these accomplish that. They’re very comfortable, fun and functional sleep masks. Plus Chrissy Teigen, Gigi Hadid, and Arianna Huffington wear them. Code LUV might still get you 30% off.

y o l a  m e z c a l  organic mezcal

Yola Mezcal is an organic mezcal that’s made ethically and sustainably, always, with women’s empowerment in mind. Yola Jimenez’ mezcal, made from her grandfather’s secret recipe, caught the attention of Gina Correll Aglietti and singer Lykke Li, and the three soon became partners in Yola Mezcal, a brand now offered at places like the Ace Hotel, Chateau Marmont &The Standard.

f a c i a l  a c c u p u n c t u r e  s e s s i o n  (free appointments available)

Complimentary appointments are available from February to April 2019 at Family Wellness Accupuncture’s Newport Beach (OC) location specially for organic beauty lovers!

t h e  n a u g h t y  c o o k i e vegan cookies

No photo description available.

p u r i t y organic coffee (code OBL saves 30%)

Purity Coffee has the most rigorous standards I’ve seen with coffee. They source organic beans and test all green coffee for mold, pesticides, and Ochratoxin A (which can cause kidney damage) multiple times over. Due to the quality of the coffee, the flavor notes of cocoa, English walnuts and citric fruits resonated clearly.

t o r i e & h o w a r d organic candy

Guilt-free candy that’s organic, all-natural ingredients, no additives or preservatives

g r e e n  t i d i n g s rose quartz gua sha tool

On sale at $19.99

t h e  b e a u t o o l s premium facepump (Japanese site)

EMS metal head with 24K gold gilt build, gold-plated layer of electrical conductivity and people unanimously carried by the wave length of the body, the release of ions and ion-human phase  echoes can promote the flow of particles, promote blood circulation, eliminate facial Edema makes the skin firmer.

The introduction of electrical perforation enhances the permeability of high cell membranes in a short period of time through the action of an electric field, and introduces the components of the beautyliquid into the deep layers of the skin to enhance the effect of the essence.

EMS micro-current lifting by EMS muscle movement, to help facial muscles do not usually movement “is
moving” campaign by a minor muscle contraction to lose elasticity of facial muscle meat be a fundamental recovery, pulling plastic, Eliminate puffiness and create a delicate face.

LED red light can help promote skin activation, promote collagen proliferation and restore skin elasticity.

affiliate c o d e OBL saves, as always, at:

NU EVOLUTION
Earthwise Beauty
SAINT Cosmetics
Evolvh Haircare
Living Libations

Kali Boxes Organic Tampons/Pads
Bristol and Sussex Skincare
Saiva Skincare
Raw Elements Sunscreen

Have an amazing Valentine’s Day, nay, week!

 

 

Bristol and Sussex Skincare Review


*This post was sponsored by Bristol and Sussex – all thoughts are my own

Use affiliate code OBL to save 25% sitewide

A newcomer to the green beauty scene, Bristol and Sussex doesn’t promise to cure or treat anything – instead it’s designed from a holistic standpoint to provide everything your skin needs to heal itself. It began when Dr. Brandey Dollens, who’s based in San Diego, created facial care products specially for her husband whose psoriasis was becoming severe and unresponsive to medical treatments. Within a year his psoriasis was gone and they decided to launch the products to the public. No detail has been skipped – besides vegan organic ingredients, each with EWG Scores of 1, being Leaping Bunny Certified and using ECOcert-approved preservatives, what I appreciate is that no water or fillers are used in these products. The concentration of each ingredient is the result of years of research and “less is more” when it comes to these products.

hydrate face oil

I love a squalane based oil. This one is not only squalane based but also features a high concentration of diverse omega fatty acids, vitamins C & E as well as skin balancing squalane, argan and jojoba oil, with age defying CoQ10. A liquid like oil that’s lightweight yet nourishing, the Hydrate oil has been my favorite product from the line. Our bodies naturally produce squalane but this production declines as we age. It’s been shown to be as powerful as retinol in fighting free radicals, does not leave an oily greasy feeling after applying, and feels like it’s seeping into the skin and absorbing effortlessly. I also love using this on my hair while traveling.

Ingredients: Olive Squalane**, Argan Oil*, Jojoba Oil*, Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil*, Rosehip Seed Oil*, Safflower Oil*, Castor Oil**, CoEnzymeQ10**, Vitamin C (Ascorbyl Palmitate)**, Vitamin E (Tocopherol)**, Chamomile Essential Oil*, Lavender Essential Oil*, Rosemary Essential Oil*

cleanse

This cleanser doesn’t contain any water, alcohol or harsh chemical surfectants and, instead, contains  plant derived niacinamide (B3), vitamin C, B5 and E blend along with essential oils of lavender, chamomile, and rosemary to soothe and calm skin. It comes out as a foam so there’s no need to “develop” a foam on skin. It feels airy and lightweight, but it’s a hard-working product that effectively breaks apart sunscreen and makeup. Just 1 full pump is needed – if you use more you might end up with a stripped feeling if you have dry skin like mine. At only $25 this is an affordable

*indicates organically sourced ingredient
**indicates plant derived ingredient

balance moisturizer

Most moisturizers are less than 1.7oz or 2oz while the Bristol and Sussex one is 3oz – the size is the first thing you’ll notice about this product. And just like the rest of the line, you are not paying for water, silicones or silicone derivatives which is a big plus in my book. It boasts a profile of:

Niacinamide
MSM
Sea Kelp Bioferment
Ceramides
Squalane
Hyaluronic Acid
Vitamin C, B5 & E

It feels like a hybrid gel-cream moisturizer with a lotion texture and feels very hydrating. After it dries it feels like it has not fully dried, so this might be bothersome to some. It has the same scent as the cleanser but for some reason I like it less for my moisturizer.

Ingredients: Raw Unfiltered Aloe Vera Juice*, Olive Squalane**, Argan Oil*, Jojoba Oil*, Castor Oil*, Shea Nut Oil*, Glyceryl Stearate**, Cetearyl Alcohol**, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate**, Radish Root Ferment Filtrate**, Sea Kelp Bioferment**, Ceramide NP**, Ceramide AP**, Ceramide EOP**, Phytosphingosine**, Cholesterol**, Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide)**, Vitamin C (Ascorbyl Palmitate)**, Hyaluronic Acid**, MSM**, Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil*, Rose Hip Seed Oil*, Safflower Oil*, Vitamin B5**, Vitamin E (Tocopherol)**, Lavender Essential Oil*, Chamomile Essential Oil*, Rosemary Essential Oil*, Citric Acid* (from cane sugar)

*indicates organically sourced ingredient
**indicates plant derived ingredient

Colombia’s Zuana Beach Resort

99% of the time I blog about cities in Europe, so I’m excited to have my first Latin American travel destination on the blog. I honestly never thought I’d return to South America, except maybe as a retired 60 something year old because I spent a decent amount of time there during my teens. But as fate would have it, I found myself on a plane to Panama then Cali, Colombia ..and then Santa Marta for a wedding. I was looking around for where to stay and Zuana immediately caught my eye because of the extensive number of amenities it offers. Funnily enough, I booked the standard room but then was offered a Deluxe Suite by the hotel.

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RAHUA AMAZON BEAUTY HAIRCARE REVIEW

Beyond Rahua’s shampoo and conditioner I had tried nothing else from the line until recently. They sent me a few of their highest priced items- the Hair Detox & Renewal Treatment Kit ($98) and Elixir ($175) and I was eager to see if they live up to the price tag.

THE STORY BEHIND THE BRAND

Fabian Lliguin, a renowned hairstylist and colorist in New York City was visiting the Amazon rainforest as an environmentalist, educating indigenous people about their land rights and human rights when he realized he was surrounded by women with fantastically long, lustrous hair that cascaded past their waists. For centuries the members of the tribe, who live deep within the rainforest, had relied on Rahua oil to nourish their hair and skin. He took a bottle that he was gifted back home to NYC and used it on his clients only to be amazed by the transformative results.  Rahua oil was -and is- produced by the Quechua-Shuar tribe in the same complex, ritualistic, and sustainable fashion it has been for generations. In 2008 Fabian and his wife launched Rahua together. Today, more than 500 families from the Quechua-Shuar, Achuar, and neighboring tribes work with Fabian and Anna to cultivate the rainforest grown ingredients used in the Rahua hair care and body care collections.

elixir

This bottle is made with one main ingredient –  100% pure handmade Rahua oil. It’s a luxurious, concentrated hair and scalp treatment that delivers better results than your run-of-the-mill hair oil. Sustainably harvested in the Amazon rainforest, the oil is works to revitalize and strengthen weak, damaged strands and leave hair healthy with its infusion of active antioxidants, antibacterials, and microcirculatory properties working together to balance and restore the scalp. The super-fine molecules in the oil push color pigmentation deep into the hair shaft, greatly extending color endurance. It has a little bit of Palo Santo oil to give it its woodsy fragrance.

I’ve used this as both a leave-in treatment and defrizzer as well as a scalp treatment (both overnight and in for a few hours with steam). It impressed me across all uses. This is by far the driest hair oil I have tried, meaning that it does not weigh hair down or make it look greasy. Instead, it absorbs instantly and makes your hair shine as if you sprayed on the best conventional shine spray on the market. I used to be obsessed with the Frederic Fekkai shine spray- this oil is just as good if not better. My preferred method of using the Elixir is as a scalp treatment because this is where my hair needs the most nourishment to truly be healthy (rather than a fake glow) and because each drop of this oil is precious and pricey. As you all know by now I battle frizzy and tragically damaged hair from years of balayage and sometimes overfrying. I’ve always done regular oil treatments but this oil is on a different level. I would not be able to allow myself to purchase this unless during a major sale, but it is worth it and if you can make it go a long way, even more so.

hair detox & renewal treatment kit 

This kit helps to loosen and remove synthetic product build up and environmental residue while infusing hair and scalp with much healthier plant based molecules. It comes with enough product for 2 uses. There are 2 jars each of Step 1, which is a cream detoxifying base, and 2 vials of Step 2, an oil blend of: sunflower, rahua, jojoba, argan ,sacha inchi, buriti fruit and palo santo. You mix Step 1 and Step 2 together, apply to wet or dry hair (I did on dry both times) for 20 to 30 minutes, then shampoo and condition as usual. The detoxifying base is made of Aloe, Green Tea Leaf, Molasses, Colza oil, Rosemary Leaf, Raspberry Leaf, Rahua oil, and Shea Butter.

The cost of this product is nearly a hundred, making each use about $50. So you betcha I put in each use for well over the recommended time. The first time I left it in for 1 to 2 hours and also applied a warm towel continuously for about 20 minutes to let it seep into the hair follicles. Note that I applied most of the product to the scalp. The results from the first use was in a word, transformative. Not because these are the marketing words used on their website, but because I saw that it had visibly transformed my hair. My hair had dried naturally looking practically like it does after a major deep conditioning and blowout at a hair salon – incredibly light as feather, bouncy, soft and super shiny. Many of you saw these results in my stories, and if you missed it, they are saved under the Highlight “HAIR DETOX.” For 100% natural and organic ingredients, I thought yes this is the holy grail treatment. And not only does it condition and renew, but it detoxes hair from all the environmental pollutants and synthetic buildup that I’m sure has been plaguing my hair since I was born.

BUT, and there is a but, the 2nd time I used it I wasn’t impressed. It could be because I used it a different way- as an overnight mask. If I had done this both times I would definitely not be recommending this but the first time I near fell off my chair from the results. So moral of the story is, it’s better to leave the Detox Kit in max a few hours with steaming than to leave it in overnight as the results are not compounded. But I believe this product is totally worth the purchase and have resolved to get it during Black Friday to use again when the seasons change.

i n t e r v i e w  w i t h  f a b i a n  &  a n n a  o f  r a h u a

In honor of Earth Month I interviewed Fabian and Anna of Rahua on what the company is doing to help the plant.

– What is Rahua’s current carbon footprint?

Through Rahua® by Amazon Beauty®, Inc.’s environmental work with Ecoagents, the nonprofit organization created to defend and protect the untouched natural areas of the world from damage, pollution and further destruction, with a special focus on the Amazon Rainforest, we have been able to preserve 37,500 hectors of pristine and biodiverse tribal lands deep in the Amazon for perpetuity.  Ultimately, producing oxygen and offsetting the carbon footprint for every single one of our customers, retail partners and more. We are proud to say we are beyond carbon neutral and generate oxygen surplus. Beauty is Power!

– How does Rahua strive to be a greener company?

Rahua® by Amazon Beauty®, Inc. is a green beauty company committed to sustainability in so many aspects. First and foremost, our formulas are created with rainforest grown, organic, plant-derived ingredients hand-harvested by the indigenous Amazonian tribes from self-sustain forests which help them sustain ancient traditions and grow their local economies. Rahua® promises to never harvest non-regenerative rainforest ingredients. Our ingredients are “Symbiotic®,” meaning they are grown wild (not farmed) and the makers are paid above fair trade.

The plastic package we use is PET #1 which is 100% recyclable, recycled worldwide and reused to make everything from park benches, designer carpets, clothing and lots more. Our potent plant-derived, organic ingredients create high-performance, concentrated formulas which require less usage than synthetic formulas. Less consumption reduces package use dramatically. In collaboration with our environmental group, Ecoagents, Rahua created the Pink Flamingos Project, a continuous environmental clean-up effort working with locals to clean natural habitat areas of the pink flamingos and other endemic species in the Galapagos Islands where trash washes ashore from garbage buildup in the ocean.

– Does Rahua have any sustainability goals it’s working towards?

Water conservation is extremely important to our planet. Water is the source of all life and we’re talking about our precious waterways and spreading the word that we all remember to care for this pure, sacred substance. We created Rahua to help keep our waters clean. When Rahua formulas wash down the drain, the plant-powered ingredients absorb into our waters and become nutrients for all types of life. We use natural and organic ingredients because we care deeply for our planet’s health, and for our clients. We encourage everyone to conserve water as much as possible and choose the right products that won’t harm our water systems.

– What are the toughest challenges in innovating to be greener?

To be a true green company, you must count your success by how much contamination you remove from the environment per each bottle that you put out there (sell).  The process of incorporating the most up to date organic, clean and natural ingredients in your products, including registrations tests, documentations, certificates, etc. and then explaining to your clients why this new version of their favorite product is better than the previous good one that they are used to, is a challenge.

– Any new product launches you can tell us about?

Our most recent product launch is Rahua Palo Santo Oil Perfume. Rahua® was the first hair care company to incorporate this natural oil into the brand’s hair and body care products as a natural preservation, along with its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties as well as its captivating, beautiful scent.  It has become a cult favorite and Rahua signature scent.

Palo Santo has incredible benefits and for centuries the people of the Andes have been using this compelling form of tree medicine for spiritual purification, healing, energy or cleansing. Along with shamans and saints, it is believed that many who seek a stronger spiritual connection with the world use Palo Santo to protect, heal, and experience a feeling of well-being.  Our Palo Santo oil is artisanal, made through traditional processes. Rahua® only uses naturally fallen, weather-aged wood and does not harvest live trees. Above and beyond preserving existing trees, we work with local communities to plant Palo Santo seedlings and balance the loss population over-harvested in other areas.

Our Palo Santo Oil is artisanal, made through traditional processes. Rahua® only uses naturally fallen, weather-aged wood and does not harvest live trees.  Above and beyond preserving existing trees, we work with local communities to plant Palo Santo seedlings and balance the loss population over-harvested in other areas.

Rahua has now made this powerful, natural fragrance available in a perfect, purse size oil perfume. The fresh, sophisticated earthy scent, with sweet notes of citrus and gardenia enfleurage, is created with the highest quality, pure plant-derived essential oils. Housed in an elegant, sleek rectangular glass with a rollerball application, this energizing and uplifting scent cleanses “mala energía” (bad energy) and promotes positive thinking. It can be gently applied on pulse points throughout the day to bring positive energy to your wellness routine.

Check out their Earth Month video “Green Utopia” here.

Honestly Phresh Deodorant Review

This post was sponsored by Honestly Phresh- all thoughts are my own.

Southern Caifornia-based Honestly Phresh is a line of 100% natural and nontoxic deodorants with a wide variety of interesting scents and forms of application. The line is also completely baking soda free. From sea mineral to sugar mint scents and roll-ons to spray applications, they have plenty of refreshing options for you to take your pick from. The deodorants have a base of organic and Fair Trade cocoa, Shea and coconut butters and are combined with essential oils, many of which are hand-extracted from a local farm on the Big Island of Hawaii. Honestly Phresh is:

  • Baking Soda-Free & Aluminum Free
  • All-Natural Ingredients Powered by Essential Minerals
  • Superior Formulation for 24-Hour Odor Protection
  • Free from: aluminum, parabens, pthlataes, glycol, gluten, GMOs, artificial color, synthetic fragrance, and baking soda.
  • Cruelty-Free & Vegan

roll-on deodorant (sea mineral scent)

This deodorant features a magnesium-enriched formula, and seeing as half the population is magnesium deficient and need it to regulate more than 300 biochemical functions in the body, adding it to deodorant that’s used daily and worn all day long is genius. I had no issues applying this liquid formula on and loved the fresh sea mineral scent that reminded me of the ocean. This is also the lightest and most compact deodorant out of the 3 types they offer and comes in Bombay Rose, Sea Mineral, Tropical Nectar and Element. Price $7.99

Ingredients: Magnesium Chloride*, Magnesium Hydroxide, Purified Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice**, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Vegetable Glycerin, Xanthan Gum,Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Humulus Lupulus (Hops) Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Extract, Phenethyl Alcohol***

* Sourced from the Dead Sea **Certified Organic ***100% Natural per defined in ISO 9235, Natural fragrance created from natural extracts and isolates. **** A preservative that replaces parabens

pre/probiotic spray (frangipani and monoi scent)

There’s a unique concept behind this spray, which has a base of organic aloe leaf juice and organic cane alcohol and is blended with notes of gardenia & plumeria. In our diets we actually need both prebiotics and probiotics for optimal health and this formula features both, providing not only good bacteria for a healthy flora but also the fertilizer needed to feed that good bacteria. If you love Hawaiian scents this is definitely a product you’d enjoy. Unlike the other products, the sprays come in a glass bottle which makes it eco-friendly but not easily portable. I used this before heading to Universal Studios on a 90 degree day and still smelled ever so slightly like a plumeria flower come night. The other 2 scents offered are Himalayan Cedarwood and Cardamom Rose. Price $14.99

INGREDIENTS: Organic Aloe Leaf Juice, Organic Cane Alcohol,Triethyl Citrate, Lactobacillus Ferment, Alpha Glucan Oligosaccharide, Organic Glycerin, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Sodium Caproyl/Lauroyl Lactylate, Magnesium Chloride, Salvia Officinalis (Sage)Oil, Heloianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Foeniculum Vulgare (Fennel) Fruit Oil , Sclerotium Gel,Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Absolute, Gardenia Jasminoides (Gardenia) Oil, Plumeria Alba Flower Extract.

deodorant stick (sugar mint scent)

45% fair trade certified and made with a blend of prebiotics, minerals, butters and essential oils – all while remaining affordable at under $10 – the deodorant sticks are ph balanced, help good bacteria flourish, and provide 24 hour odor protection. The peppermint and peppermint oil gives it the minty kick. I didn’t exactly test out the 24 hour part as morning to night is good enough for me. I tested this one specifically to see if it would last even through a Drake concert filled with 17k people after having been applied during the day and really held up. At one point during the concert I started getting a hit of bad body odor and was afraid it might be me, but after I left the concert it was clear that it was most likely the men sitting around me who were the culprit. My only complaint with this deodorant is that it is a little drier than I’d like it to be as I’m used to slicker applications and tiny clumps of product are visible when you’re further into using the product.

 

 

A Day at Mercado Sagrado in Malibu’s Canyons

It’s experiences like Mercado Sagrado that make me feel like I belong back in California. I’m able to connect with like-minded people who want to vibrate on a higher level and who are looking to inspire and be inspired by the stories, energies and crafts of others. It’s the kind of event that feeds your soul (and tummy) through healing workshops, talks, music and food- every kind of nourishment you could dream of. The lifestyle annual fair is held in the Topanga Canyons at Paramount Ranch, and it feels like you’ve stepped into an old Western and back into nature. Stylish creatives, artists and designers bustle about in boho chic outfits and flowy dresses, live music plays in the background, and the scent of sizzling vegan food wafts through the fresh, crisp air. I only attended Sunday but next time I’m determined to go both Saturday and Sunday so I take full advantage of all the enlightening talks and workshops.

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