Luk Beautifood Lip Nourish Review

Australia-based Luk Beautifood creates 100% natural lip balms using real food ingredients and offers a range of 12 beautiful wearable shades.  Full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, they don’t contain any ingredients that are known endocrine disruptors, carcinogenic or linked to cancer including preservatives, phthalates, petrochemicals, synthetic colours and fragrance. Cindy Luken the founder is an entrepreneur, food scientist, product designer, chef and former biscuit baker and together with her small and dedicated team she’s been turning Luk into a cult lip brand that’s now sold at select Free People & Anthropologie stores as well as via the Luk website.

Ruby Grapefruit, Chai Shimmer, Peach Melon & Cherry Plum (left to right)

What makes these lip nourishes so unique:

Hybrid of lip balm & lipstick
Super soft and creamy
Non-drying & very moisturizing
Only made with clean food, pure plant oils, mineral pigments, food active ingredients

I used these practically as a lip balm and with the constant applying throughout the day because I loved the smooth creaminess of the texture I used these up quite quickly.  If you’re not a fan of lipsticks but also want something that is richer and more pigmented than a tinted lip balm this is a great option.

 

NEW ONLINE BEAUTY SHOP: COTANOVA (+ CODE)

*This is a sponsored post of which funds will go towards operating costs of OBL CLUB, our product testing club, and OBL”

COTANOVA is a new online organic beauty boutique offering a selection of some of the best skincare, haircare, makeup and wellness brands:

Hannes Dottir
Innersense Beauty
Rituel de Fille
Nu Evolution
Skin Owl
Vital Proteins
Be Biotin
Province Apothecary
True Moringa
and more

The founder of Cotanova, Carla Cota, was battling a variety of allergies and intolerances and discovered that the products she was using was the cause. She then found that 1000 chemicals found in beauty products are already banned in Europe, while only 11 are banned in the US and decided to embark on an entrepreneurial endeavor to offer clean nontoxic options in her own online store. I love the feminine pale pink aesthetic of the brand image and the intimate aspect of shopping at a small new shop.

DISCOUNT CODE: use code OBL saves you 20% at checkout

I used up all of the Elixir of Minerals, Seamasque & Mineral Mist byHannes Dottir over the course of 3-4 months. They’re 100% natural, cruelty-free & vegan and highlight pure & powerful Icelandic minerals, crystals & sea kelp.
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The Elixir of Minerals is a unique & highly concentrated moisturizer that feels like liquid silk. It’s quite watery, lightweight & perfect for summer.
– Organic Icelandic Sea Kelp nourishes skin with vital minerals
– Vegetable Glycerin and NaPCAhydrate and draw oxygen into skin
– Alum Crystal firms and tightens skin for lift
– Zinc Sulfate is anti-inflammatory to reduce puffiness
– Monolaurin derived from coconut is antibacterial for a clear complexion

The Seamasque I find is excellent at hydrating, calming & exfoliating. But I do find $95 is a steep price point for what it is. Ingredients are: certified organic Icelandic sea kelp, honey, alum crystal, iodine tincture, peppermint oil. In response to this, Hannes Dottir said, “We have received a lot of feedback on the masque price too. Our kelp is wild harvested by hand and dried with geothermal volcanic heat (the same that creates the mineral baths in Iceland). We’d love to make it more affordable, but can’t… afford to. In general people tend to use more than they need to. As long as the shiny part of the masque is touching your face, you’ll get the full benefits. ”
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Absolutely adored the Mineral Mist which comes in the heaviest and largest glass bottle I’ve experienced that feels so luxurious. I was not thrilled that the first ingredient being distilled water but overall I really like this product (ingredients: Distilled Water, Vegetable Glycerin, Choline, Silica, Vitamin C,Boron Citrate, NaPCA, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Citric Acid, Tincture of Iodine, Oil of Spearmint). When I’m craving something more luxurious than organic rosewater I reach for this. In reply to the first ingredient being distilled water Hannes Dottir said, “The first ingredient in mist is distilled water because it’s the purest element to carry suspended minerals. It also allows us to balance the formula for the perfect boost of hydration without being sticky. “

SHOP HERE

Rituel de Fille is a new edgy natural makeup brand that’s  99% natural and handcrafted without parabens, phthalates, synthetic dyes or synthetic fragrances. The brand image conjures up images of the otherworld, magic and enchantresses. The Ramos sisters who started the brand pay meticulous attention to every detail in product creation with the goal being to develop intense color while maintaining velvety textures.

The Inner Glow Créme Pigment is a sheer blush that can be used for both cheeks & eyes. The shade I received was Delirium which is a deep berry shade. I’m not sure why it looks so tangerine on their actual site and is described as tangerine – I found it to be much more on the red side. It provides a sheer glow with a subtle punch of pinkish red and lasts for a good part of the work day before fading. The color is buildable but as the red is a bit dramatic on my skin tone the slightest swipe suffices for me.

SHOP HERE

This skin, hair and nail supplement was Indie Beauty Expo 2017’s winner in the Wellness category so I was happy to have the opportunity to try it out. It combines the hair growth power of Biotin with a powerful herbal complex that fights hair loss from the inside out. Pumpkin seed, saw palmetto and pygeum (african tree bark) naturally lowers the hormone that’s been directly linked to hair loss and thinning. The founder Giulia Heiman is a hairstylist whose clients wanted an effective reliable product other than the generic vitamins found in drugstores. She decided to partner with an investor and work with a top-rated nutraceautical lab in New York to create a supplement that has the ability to lower Dihydrotestosterone (also known as DHT), a testosterone related hormone that naturally increases in men and women as we age.

SHOP Be Biotin at Cotanova’s online store

OBL Current Favorites: July & August 2017

It’s been far too long since I’ve done a favorites post, so this month’s post will actually include what I’ve been using and loving throughout July & August. I wasn’t able to keep up with my blog & OBL CLUB activities properly while I was working from California for a month, but no longer.

Pearl Butter just launched their range of adaptogenic superfood butter made with coconut meat and I ordered the Bliss Butter & Beauty Butter. They’re super delicious and while you can add them to smoothies, toast, basically anything you want I preferred to spoon it out of the jar since I love all things coconuty. The Beauty Butter is made of enzymatically activated pearls & grounded coconut flesh. Pearls contain conchiolin, a complex protein that increases the production of collagen. The Bliss Butter is made of 13 mood-lifting adaptogens including TCM “happiness herbs” Spirit Poria and Euphoria Longana.

Discount code OBL15 saves 15% at checkout.
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Amborella Organics makes organic seed-bearing lollipops in a variety of gourmet flavor combinations using hints of roses, sage, rosemary, lavender, lemongrass, thyme, hibiscus and marigold inside. You can plant their biodegradable stick, made from recycled paper in soil to simultaneously decompose and grow lavender, thyme, sage & more. These are addicting – my favorites were the Sage & Marshmallow and Vanilla & Hibiscus. A loop giveaway that includes all their flavors is happening on my Instagram til the end of August.

I tried Jordan Seban’s debut hair oil product last year and have been using his 2nd product Le Baume, a conditioning leave-in treatment, for the past few weeks. It’s a silicon-free and weightless formula with a bouncy consistency.  Featuring ingredients from around the world like Gotu Kola, Horsetail, Aloe Vera including L’Huile Signature oil blend & Silk Proteins this product strengthens, softens frizz, and protects hair from damage. It’s designed to be versatile – apply it in damp hair as a styling treatment, apply on dry hair as a leave-in conditioner, or apply it before heat styling as a heat protectant. I love how it doesn’t weigh down my fine hair and has a sweet yet sophisticated honeysuckle scent. I don’t blowdry my hair but I do use a curler and I apply a small pea sized amount and distribute evenly throughout my ends before styling. Apea sized amount will also tame tame flyaways. This would be perfect in a travel size version for me!

Ingredients

Aqua (Deionized Water), Carrageenan, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Organic Aloe), Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil (Organic Argan Oil), Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil (Macadamia Nut Oil), Persea Gratissima Oil (Avocado Oil), Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil (Organic Jojoba Oil), Butyrospermum Parkii Butter (Shea Butter), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil (Sweet Almond Oil), Bursera Fagaroides Wood Oil (Linaloe), Citrus Aurantium Flower Oil (Neroli), Citrus Aurantium Leaf Oil (Neroli), Citrus Reticulata Peel Oil (Petitgrain), Amyris Balsamifera Bark Oil, Copaifera Species Resin Oils, Dipterocarpus Turbinatus Balsam Oil, Santalum Album Oil (Sandalwood), Santalum Spicata Wood Oil, Silk Protein Amino Acid Blend of Sodium Pca, Sodium Lactate, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Foeniculum Vulgare Fruit Extract (Fennel), Centella Asiatica Extract (Organic Gotu Kola), Equisetum Arvense Extract (Horsetail), Geranium Maculatum Extract (Wild Geranium), Taraxacum Officinale Extract (Organic Dandelion), Hydroxyethyllcellulose*, Potassium Sorbate*, Sodium Benzoate*, Ethylhexylglycerin.*Plant Derived

The newest launch by Earthwise Beauty is the Sungod Face Mask made of an impressive & unique blend of roots, mushrooms, adaptogenic herbs, leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, and mineral-rich Celtic salt. This is not a quick fix type of mask designed to brighten or detox, but rather actually improve the health of your skin through frequent use over time with sunflowers and calendulas, wildflower pollen, turmeric root, maitake and shiitake mushrooms, flower pollen & goldenseal. As this mask is specifically designed to heal & improve skin over the long term I’m excited to see the effects after a month of diligent use. I’ve used it a few times so far and have found it to soften & brighten my skin. I’m also happy to introduce my skin to new and exciting ingredients which Earthwise Beauty always delivers, because your skin adapts very quickly with the same ingredients providing diminished effects with continued use.

Use my girl Melissa of Guide to Wellness’ code for 15% off at checkout: GUIDETOWELLNESS

Ingredients

Wildflower pollen, wildcrafted Solum fullonum (multani mitti, fuller’s earth) clay, Calendula officinalis (marigold) flower petals (organic or *), Aloe barbadensis leaf*, Helianthus annuus (sunflower) petals (organic or *), organic Plukenetia volubilis (sacha inchi) seed, Hydrastis Canadensis (goldenseal) rhizome (responsibly wildcrafted or *), Symphytum officinale (comfrey) leaf (wildcrafted or *), Punica granatum (pomegranate) fruit juice*, Grifola frondosa (maitake) mushroom (organic or *), Curcuma longa (turmeric) root Supercritical CO2 Select* extract*, Withania somnifera (ashwagandha) root (organic or *), Lentinula edodes (shiitake) mushroom (organic or *), sunstainably wildcrafted Celtic salt (France)**. 

COOLA remains one of my top suncare lines to use personally and recommend. Their SPF 50 Sport White Tea Moisturizer Sunscreen provides even stronger coverage than their usual SPF 30 products which is what I need during the summer. It’s extremely lightweight & fluid (almost runny as you an see it sliding down my angle hand in the picture) and absorbs & dries instantly. There is no white cast from this and contains 70% Certified Organic ingredients including Acai Fruit Oil, Acacia Extract , Amaranthus Caudatus Seed Extract , Chia Seed Oil, Evening Primrose Oil & more. While I enjoyed this sunscreen I do enjoy their matte formulas more than this liquid one.

See my review on their SPF 30 Daydream Primer & Rosilliance BB Cream SPF 30

Ingredients

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone (Sunscreen) 3.0% & Octinoxate (Sunscreen) 6.2%
Inactive Ingredients: Acacia Farnesiana (Acacia) Extract, Acrylates Copolymer, Amaranthus Caudatus Seed Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Caprylohydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oleosomes, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (ORGANIC Orange) Fruit Water, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Euterpe Oleracea (ORGANIC Acai) Fruit Oil, Flavor, Fragaria Vesca (ORGANIC Strawberry) Fruit Extract, Glycerin (ORGANIC), Helianthus Annuus (ORGANIC Sunflower) Seed Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Linum Usitatissimum (ORGANIC Linseed) Seed Oil, Oenothera Biennis (ORGANIC Evening Primrose) Oil, Plankton Extract, Salvia Hispanica (ORGANIC Chia) Seed Oil, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Water, Xanthan Gum.

This is my first time trying out Australian Certified Organic makeup brand Zuii Organic (their foundation is raved about constantly). They just launched a set of new Certified Organic Lip & Cheek Cremes utilizing flower & fruit colour formulation with Gardenia, Dragon Fruit, Pomegranate, Grapeseed, Bilberry and Cranberry extracts and blend of Shea Butter, Aloe Vera, Jojoba Oil & Geranium Oil to nourish. First off, to me these are much better off used as a blush cream. The formulation is not as nourishing as you need your lip products to be and unless you mix it with a clear gloss or balm this will make your lips look dry if it’s all you apply. The colors are intensely pigmented and come in a beautiful range of wearable colors. It’s nearly impossible to get the product out using your finger since it’s deep in the jar so a brush is ideal. I’m particularly in love with the pinker shades but find the nude and darker shades are great for fall and winter.

I have been wanting to try the Josh Rosebrook Tinted Nutrient Day Cream since the beginning of time and I finally purchased it! I have not tried too many of his products despite them receiving tons of social media love in the green beauty world, especially with his latest launches. The few products I HAVE tried like the Cacao Antioxidant Mask are superb and this SPF 30 cream is no different. The shade is natural (for light maybe even medium skin tones), the texture smooth, the consistency lightweight yet not overly so, blends and absorbs effortlessly, has a delicious subtle cacao scent. It ever so subtly blurs your skin but doesn’t provide any coverage if that’s what you’re looking for. It also goes well over my skincare products without feeling greasy and gives a subtle dewy glow that fades during the day. I’m so glad I took the plunge and bought it. I will even add a tiny bit of Earthwise Beauty Farizad Veil SPF 30 powder to amp up the protection factor (see my recent Earthwise Beauty line review).

Ingredients

Active Ingredient: 12% Non Nano, Uncoated, Micronized Zinc Oxide 
*Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, *Shea Butter, *Evening Primrose Oil, *Hemp Seed Oil, *Jojoba Oil, *Borage Seed Oil, *Almond Oil, *Grape Seed Oil, *Sesame Oil, *Avocado Oil, *Olive Oil, *Sea Buckthorn Oil, *Broccoli Oil, *Calendula, *Bilberry, *Chamomile, *Burdock, *Rosemary, *Fennel, *Dandelion, *Rose Hips, *Catnip, *Chickweed, *Neem, *Skullcap, *Ginkgo Leaf, *Linden Flower, *Hawthorn Berry, *Green Tea, *Flax, *Nettle, *Sage, *Marshmallow Root, *Cayenne, *Ginseng, *Peppermint, *St. John’s Wort, *Alfalfa, *Vitamin E, ‡Candelilla Wax, *Guar Gum, *Gum Arabic, §Xanthan Gum, §Potassium Sorbate, *Benzoin Resin, †Carrot Seed Oil. 

Dr. Dana Stern M.D., a New York dermatologist, recently launched a new high-performance safer line of nail polishes with sophisticated clean packaging and is the first & only dermatologist-developed line on the market. If you’re an organic beauty lover you know that conventional nail polishes contain harmful chemicals & carcinogens commonly found in car paint (but also that long-wearing nail polish can truly never be nontoxic if you’re a purist). The Dr. Dana line is Leaping Bunny certified, cruelty-free & 9-free (doesn’t contain formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde resin, camphor, xylene, ethyl tosylamide, parabens, and triphenyl phosphate). Her new shades are named after inspirational women and part of the proceeds goes to a charity chosen by each of these women. I’m not a huge nail person but what I love about these polishes are that:

Clean white aesthetic of the packaging
9-Free of the 9 most common toxins found in nail polish
Uses a proprietary bioactive, Phyto Crystal Complex, taken from the sap of a unique French evergreen tree, whih is harvested once annually (reinforces delicate nail cells & reduces nail breakage, peeling, and brittleness)
Vibrant shades with a high shine factor

Soleil Toujours is a luxury suncare line sold via their site & Net-a-Porter and they recently came out with their newest product, the Perpetual Radiance Eye Glow + Illuminator SPF 15. Providing 100% mineral broad spectrum SPF 15 along with antioxidant-rich nourishment & a luminous glow to dark under eye circles, this 53% Organic product is one-of-a-kind. I don’t see many eye products that offer SPF protection when it’s actually super important since this skin is so thin & shows signs of aging first. It also has some unique ingredients like:

  • Myristoyl Pentapeptide-11 helps maintain & restore skin elasticity, reduce wrinkle depth, preserving and encourage smooth, younger looking skin.
  • Glycosaminoclycans, (GAGs) are essential to the epidermal & dermal cells metabolism and keeping the collagen and elastin of the skin in good condition. GAGs are important in the reaction of copper peptides to help repair wrinkles and scarring. Known as the water reserve of the viable epidermis and dermis, these carbohydrates are dependent on fluid intake

  • Pro-Coll- One®  contains a highly purified fraction of HRGPs glycopeptides obtained from soya. Helps smooth and reduce wrinkle depth.

  • Pichia Resveratrol Ferment Extract – Significantly downregulates cyclooxygenase, a key indicator of inflammation. Inflammation contributes to physical signs of aging. Also upregulates collagen IV, which over time promotes elasticity and produces a micro-lifting of the skin.

  • Cooling ZAMAK applicator stimulates cell function and feels sensational against tired and stressed eyes.

  • Organic Jojoba and Sunflower seed oils act as natural conditioners allowing skin to feel supple, reversing tightness in the eye area.

  • EcoSunComplex®, our power packed natural formulation composed of Red Algae, Vitamin C Ester, Vitamin E and Bisabolol, acts as a natural SPF booster, reduces UV-induced DNA damage, prevents loss of firmness, increases skin smoothness, and decreases wrinkle depth.

This packaging is utterly luxurious with a heavy feel, gold accents & unique wand applicator. I find that more product than you need comes out with 1 pump and I like to use the gold applicator to gently slide it across the entire under eye area and lid that pat it with my pinkie finger. If you use too much it will clump and separate. The product itself has pink undertones and provides a light reflective glow while subtle correcting dark circles.  It also works as a great primer underneath undereye concealer.

This seems to turning into a post of new product launches by now. These are the newest additions to the Swedish-inspired American-made organic lipcare line Henné Organics. The 87% Organic lip tints are flawlessly formulated and are nourishing, have the perfect consistency and provide a subtle sheen with sheer color that’s buildable. Intrigue looks like a deep red but it really just brings out the natural color of your lips- think your lips but better. The coral shade adds a sheer tangerine punch. I was able to find a new home for these products for basically the cost of shipping in the OBL Marketplace after I used them. The lip exfoliators may be the most luxurious ones I’ve tried from the packaging to the consistency & ingredients. The sugar is not too coarse yet not too fine and the careful composition of coconut oil, beeswax and shea butter makes this lip exfoliator dense & buttery. Everyone has her own preference but rather than a lip exfoliator that is too oily or too dry I find that I enjoy a buttery formulation the most. The Rose Diamonds Lip Exfoliator is on sale in the Marketplace for $15 with free shipping (normally $24). Get it here.

Lip Tint Ingredients

ORGANIC COCOS NUCIFERA (COCONUT) OIL, ORGANIC RICINUS COMMUNIS (CASTOR) SEED OIL, ORGANIC SIMMONDSIA CHINENSIS (JOJOBA) SEED OIL, ORGANIC CERA ALBA (BEESWAX), ORGANIC PERSEA AMERICANA (AVOCADO) OIL, EUPHORBIA CERIFERA (CANDELILLA) WAX, MICA, TITANIUM DIOXIDE, IRON OXIDE, TOCOPHEROL (VITAMIN E). 
87% ORGANIC

Lip Exfoliator Ingredients

ORGANIC SUCROSE (SUGAR), ORGANIC COCOS NUCIFERA (COCONUT) OIL, ORGANIC CERA ALBA (BEESWAX), ORGANIC SIMMONDSIA CHINENSIS (JOJOBA) SEED OIL, ORGANIC RUBUS IDAEUS (RASPBERRY) FRUIT SEED, ORGANIC BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII (SHEA BUTTER) FRUIT, ORGANIC BERRY FLAVORS, ORGANIC VANILLA FLAVOR, ORGANIC VACCINIUM CORYMBOSUM (BLUEBERRY) FRUIT SEED, TOCOPHEROL (VITAMIN E). 
96.5% ORGANIC

Illinois-based Pressed Vibrance is one of the few companies I have had the pleasure of connecting with via a real phone conversation (which is usually difficult but I happened to be in the US at the time). And it makes all the difference as speaking with the founder gives you an insight into the brand, the products and the passion behind it in a way that scrolling down a webpage cannot. After founder Eric Cooper nearly lost his life, he created Pressed Vibrance out of necessity. In order to battle his autoimmune disease & save his own life Eric poured himself into the study of nutrigenomics, which is based on science & mathematical equations to activate certain expressions and turn on and off specific genes, and created custom blends of cold-pressed juices to turn off his autoimmune disease and completely recover. Through Pressed Vibrance he’s been able to bring his passion for an ultra-wellness lifestyle to his local community for many years and just recently launched his website a few months ago to share it with the rest of the country.

At Pressed Vibrance, they know who their suppliers are personally, have been to their farms, seen their manufacturing processes and know if anything has been outsourced. They do not carry any inventory and make everything to order by hand- it does not get any fresher than this.  Knowing that athletes & local hockey players use their products for recovery, I knew the products would be a special experience for my non-athletic body. I received their Organic Bath Salts in Nourish, Renew & Balance and the Rejuvenate Moisturizing Body Scrub to try and loved my experience.

The Organic Bath Salts are $3 each and are made with magnesium-rich Epsom (detoxification of the body, reduction of inflammation, and soothed headaches and menstrual cramps), solar dried Dead Sea salt (increase circulation, alleviate muscle cramps and stiffness in joints, and ease arthritis or back pain) and essential oils. Many of us are magnesium deficient which leads to fatigue, headaches & muscle cramps so this is an excellent way for your body to get more of the vitamins it needs while indulging in a self-pampering bath.

The Rejuvenate Body Scrub should actually be named Rejuvenate Butter Body Scrub because it feels like you’re spreading a rich exfoliating butter across your body. The first ingredient is Organic Shea Butter & Sweet Almond Oil rather than Sugar, which is the third ingredient. It also contains a 4th ingredient I haven’t seen before called Chufa Powder which I found is the flavor behind horchata. I also learned that Chufa was such an esteemed ingredient in the early centuries of civilization that the ancient Egyptians included it as one of their choice foods in their tombs. It lends the body scrub a rich nutty scent that is perfect for fall.

Nearly 85% organic the new Brighten Up Vitamin C Serum by Ursa Major has been my go-to serum this past month. It’s lightweight, fast-absorbing, smells citrusy and contains Ascorbic acid polypeptide, a super-stable, water-soluble form of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an ingredient that I always strive to add more to in my skincare routine, which isn’t always possible since I am continuously trying out new products, so I was very glad that their newest launch focused on this ingredient,

Brightens and evens out skin tone
Provides instant hydration without greasiness
Improves skin’s firmness and elasticity
Soothes inflammation and irritation
Protects against free radical damage
Highly stable, long-lasting formula
100% naturally-derived and toxin-free
Works for all skin types

I’ve been getting more into lip exfoliation as part of my skincare regimen because they leave my lips baby soft and less prone to flakiness & dryness. This Bambu Earth one is made of organic sunflower oil, organic cocoa butter and pure essential oils and come in a variety of flavors. The sugar content in this is quite high compared to oil & butter content, which provides a more intense exfoliating effect if this is what you’re looking for. Started in 2009, Bambu Earth takes a holistic approach to skincare using sustainable, ethical and local ingredients to make their natural products in small batches. I really like the vibes of this small down-to-earth brand started by a husband-wife duo and the integrity behind what they do. The packaging of the line looks rather unisex so perfect for Father’s Day coming up! Check out their line here.

The Acure Organics Dry Oil Body Spray is actually a product I’ve been loving for the past few years but they came out with brand new packaging for it. It’s a dry oil with a coconut scent that’s to die for and absorbs instantly. A few quick sprays and rubs and I’m good  to go.

 

New 2017 Wellness & Supplement Launches

Each of these cost $3! Brandless is a new online organic grocery store based in San Fran & Minneapolis that just launched in Jul 2017. I think this is a phenomenal concept and am very excited to have discovered them by chance through Instagram.  They carry a wide selection of the food and household products that we use everyday and every item costs only $3. So how do they do this? Brandless works directly with suppliers, eliminating the hidden BrandTax that you pay for a national brand at major retailers. According to their research you’re paying 40% more for products of comparable quality as theirs & sometimes up to 370% more for beauty products. Their goal is to eliminate these markups and bring you  products that meet their rigorous standards and are made under the highest standards of safety, quality, and social ethics such as certified Global Food Safety (GFSI) or Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). Their food selection is entirely non-GMO and over 50% Organic – and where it matters fkosher, gluten free, no added sugar. Their beauty selection, which they’ve told me they’re working on expanding, is cruelty-free and does not contain any of the 400 harmful ingredients they’ve banned. They personally taste, try & sometimes even create hundreds of formulations for taste, quality & safety then create packaging that limits waste and makes sense. Simple & genius.

My personal experience: Using code hello3 that they’re currently offering I paid only $3 for shipping at checkout and received all my items quickly in a massive box with each item very securely wrapped and packaged. I was at first a bit skeptical because well everything was $3 each but I was pleasantly surprised by the taste and quality of each item.

Grade A Maple Syrup: Organic & 100% Pure. I use maple syrup as a natural sweetener and avoid regular sugar as much as I can. Thank you Amy of Bondenavant for inspiring me to go sugar free! This maple syrup is delicious and I add it to my latte every morning.

Quinoa: Organic. Comes out tasting delicious, fluffy & soft.

Teriyaki Sauce & Marinade: Organic and made without artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. This is a light liquid-like sauce that works both as a sauce & as a marinade. I didn’t find that it had a strong teriyaki taste and would have liked it to have more of a sweet note but I still enjoy adding this to my dishes.

Brown Basmati Rice: Organic, Gluten Free & 100% Whole Grain. This also comes out perfectly fluffy & delicious.

No matter how many products you use and I recommend to you it will never replace the importance of nourishing your beauty from within. After I tried HUM for the first time a few months ago I knew I needed to discover more from the line. First on my list was the insanely delicious Raw Greens Coconut Pinapple Tropical Fusion blend made with GREEN SUPERFOODS (Organic Wheat Grass, Barley Grass, Chlorella, spiralina) ADAPTOGENS (licorice root extract, rhodiola rosea root, ginseng root, ashwagandha root extract, FIBER (flax seed, inulin, apple pectin), FRUITS & VEGGIES (kale, blueberry, spinach, broccoli, beet root, carrot). It’s delicious even if you add it simply to water. I also like adding it to my smoothies for added sweetness an nutritional oomph.

Limited Edition Arctic Berry is made from wild Lingonberry Seeds which is only available through HUM. Studies show it significantly improves skin density, elasticity and hydration. Yes please. (This one is pricier at $60). Turn Back Time is made of Turmeric and Phyto-polyphenols to help your body protect itself from UV rays and fight off free radicals. The Hair Sweet Hair I got off of Sephora.com and don’t see it available on the HUM site. It’s made of biotin, zinc, PABA (helps maintain hair color), folic acid and fo-ti (root used in Chinese medicine for healthy hair). Love that these are in gummy form and taste like candy but better.


I’ve been trying out 3 of Ancient Nutrition’s newest product launches, which are organic versions of existing products: Organic Bone Broth Collagen Vanilla, Organic Bone Broth Protein Turmeric Spice & Organic Bone Broth Protein Dark Chocolate. As the name suggests, Ancient Nutrition aims to bring us back to the traditions and nutritional principles that were honored by our ancestors and was created by Dr. Josh Axe: natural medicine doctor, chiropractor, clinical nutritionist and bestselling author of Eat Dirt. With wellness experts are now positioning bone broth as the latest miracle product, it looks like it’s here to stay. My favorite is the Bone Broth Collagen Vanilla because it combines both the benefits of Bone Broth & Collagen:

Support healthy joint function and mobility
Support collagen biosynthesis, a vital factor in maintaining healthy-looking skin
Help protect against the effects of aging by protecting against free radical damage to cells
Help the body cope with stress and promote a calming, relaxing state of mind
Promote more restful sleep

The vanilla adds a subtle sweet flavor to the savory bone broth and goes great in smoothies or as a drink on its own. I tried a sample of the Pure version and I really enjoyed it as a hot savory drink when I was suffering from the cold sent from hell this summer. The Bone Broth Protein has 20g of protein and comes in a wide variety of sweet & savory flavors. I chose the Turmeric Spice because it’s one of my favorite superfoods at the moment and is excellent for cooking use. When I get tired of having it as a drink I add it to any savory dish I’m making, even salads, and it makes it taste (even more) delicious. Get ready for a giveaway for any 1 product from their line in the near future!

Care Of Vitamins is a brand new supplement company (launched Nov 2016) that delivers a 30-pack of customized daily vitamins to your doorstep each month, at a price that beats the grocery store. It’s perfect for those who don’t know which vitamins to choose and hate opening up 5 different bottles of vitamins everyday, basically taking out all the hassles that surround incorporating vitamins into your life. You first take a survey wth your basic info, goals, lifestyle & thoughts on Eastern medicine and Care Of will recommend a set of vitamins and why you need them. You can edit your selection of vitamins or the dosage if you’d like.

I was recommended: Astaxanthin, Rhodiola 2, Vitamin D 2 & Magnesium and have been taking them for a month now. I’m generally in excellent health and recently even healed myself of my sleep issues (nocturia & insomnia) and believe that supplements along with good diet & exercise are the reason. Asthaxanthin was chosen because I marked that I was concerned with my skin (duh!), Rhodiola because I had said I was feeling burned out (working and blogging isn’t easy!), Vitamin D because I live in cold weather (Switzerland), and Magnesium because good sleep was a concern. I’d say they were pretty spot on! You also get a price breakdown for each vitamin per month and my total came out to $30/month (this will vary depending on what selection of vitamins you get). While the packaging is a tad wasteful, I find it useful for people who travel a lot because you can take exactly the number of packets you need depending on the number of days you’re traveing and still get your vitamins away from home.

 

Lanzarote & Seaside Hotel Los Jameos Playa

With volcanic landscapes of colored soils, craters, unusual rock formations and gently sloping mountain that evoke complete awe and fascination, Lanzarote may very well be the most interesting island I’ve been to.  I may never step foot on Mars in my lifetime, but I think Lanzarote comes pretty darn close to it.

El Golfo – a green lagoon and the ocean separated by volcanic sand

I stayed at the Seaside Los Jameos Playa, a resort conveniently located 5 minutes from the airport and considered among the best places to stay on the island. With so many different activities on site there’s something to please everyone. When you walk into the lobby you’ll notice the decor is inspired by Spanish and  Hispano-Arabic traditions which integrate Mudejar, Andalusian, Galician and Castilian influences. Step further into the resort and you’ll find the pool and lush garden leading to even more activities like archery, petanque, mini golf and more.

The view from the balcony over Los Pocillos beach

Sunset views with organic skincare by COOLA & Earthwise Beauty’s Farizad’s Veil

The wine here is very special and unlike any I’ve tasted before because it’s grown in volcanic soil. They’re placed in these human-made depressions that are shallow enough to capture sunlight and trapped water from the volcanic soil. The artisan wines are then sold in bodegas run by the vintners themselves. The best one I visited out of 3 was El Grifo which dates back to 1775 and is the oldest one on the island.

Wine tasting at El Grifo is a must even if you’re not a wine lover.

The pool while packed during the day is empty and romantic during the evenings. It’s perfect for a quiet solo dip surrounded by the lush greenery and twinkling lights.

The spa has:

Finnish sauna, Steam bath, Biosauna & Unisex Sauna
Relaxation area with sun loungers
Multi-sensory showers
Scottish shower with light therapy
Plunge pool with flower petals
Foot baths with scented salts

The resort also has 3 bars: poolbar, piano bar and Bar Belingo. The lobby and piano bar had live music playing every evening which added immensely to the experience.

Overall I loved my stay Los Jameos. It’s a super fun, activity-filled family-friendly hotel with so much to discover daily. The staff are warm and friendly and seem to genuinely enjoy their work despite the hotel being so large and filled to capacity. While the island of Lanzarote is rather small and quiet, the Los Jameos universe is vast and energetic.

Papagayo beach on the right side

Papagayo beach on the left side

Playa Famara

Caleton blanco beach with clean white sand, volcanic rocks and shallow water

OBL CURRENT FAVORITES: May 2017

In this OBL Current Favorite’s post I have a hodgepodge mix of products I’m currently using and enjoying. I tried Au Naturale for the first time, a brand that I’ve seen all over Instagram, and fell in love with their concealer. As you may know, NU Evolution is my favorite, because it’s so rich and creamy and provides long lasting full coverage. Au Naturale’s might well be in 2nd place not because it works any less well but just because it doesn’t feel as nourishing & hydrating to the skin. It still performs superbly. The blush in the shade Sweetheart is just beautiful and the formula is super creamy & pigmented. I also tried Honeybelle, an LA brand making affordable organic products, for the first time and have been using their organic rosewater toner to hydrate my skin. The bottle is beautiful and the rest of the line looks worth trying out.

EVOLVh Luxury Organic Haircare

I’ve tried EVOLVh before and love their UltraRepair Hair Conditioning Mask. Lately I’ve been using their travel kit and have found the performance & cleanness of the products up to my standards. All products from their haircare line are vegan & at least 90% organic. I found their UltraShine Conditioner to leave my hair moisturized and the Leave-in Conditioner lightweight & perfect as a temporary defrizzer as well as a heat protectant.

Supplements

From left to right: Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Greens (Take 20% off their regular Collagen Powder at Cotanova online shop with code OBL), Sun Potion Reishi, SIBU Sea Buckthorn, The Beauty Chef GLOW Inner Beauty Powder, HUM Red Carpet & BE Biotin (also available for 20% at cotanova with code OBL). (This is a discount code not an affiliate one.)

Marin Bee Honey Butter

Though I’m a fan of body oils, I appreciate a lightweight body moisturizer during the warmer months. This creamy moisturizer has a subtle sweet honey scent and is made of 95% naturally derived ingredients such as coconut oil, shea butter jojoba & Californa Wildflower Honey . Marin Bee is also  the current OBL CLUB product testing campaign that’s running now.

Ingredients

Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Emulsifying Wax NF, Vegetable Glycerin, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Cetyl Alcohol**, Isopropyl Jojobate, Beeswax, Jojoba Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate SE**, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Jojoba Esters, California Wildflower Honey, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil*, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract*, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexlglycerin, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Peel Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Xanthan Gum, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Panthenol (Vitamin B5)

*certified organic  **plant derived

Raw Elements Sunscreen

I’ve been using Raw Elements since the beginning of my nontoxic switch and have tried every product from their line. It’s safe to say I’ll be a fan for life and I even have my friends & family using their products as well. The ingredients lists are some of the cleanest you’ll find on the market and products are made entirely of certified organic tea extracts, butters & oils and non-nano zinc oxide. I prefer the tins to the tubes but each have  their pros and cons. The sticks are great for hands-free application and comes in both a tinted and non-tinted version. You’ll find that in the colder months they are more difficult to apply and can tug at your skin. The tins are emollient no matter what time of year it is, but the tinted version is perhaps too dark if you’re fair skinned and the non-tinted may leave a white cast if you’re tanner. The lip balms have a strong herbal scent that I’m not a big fan of but they provide spf to protect your lips. Note that due to the spf it will alter the color of your lips. All their products stay on well with re-application needed every few hours.

IDIL BOTANCALS Celestine Azulene Rich Facial Oil

First off, I love the sleek white, gold & glass packaging and light blue hue of the oil. For some reason I’m drawn to its blue-colored hue – I think it’s a common phenomenon. This product is actually designed for acne-prone, oily and combination skin and it is indeed a very lightweight fast-absorbing oil. Even with my dry skin I still enjoy its moisturizing and calming properties. Blue tansy which comes from the Chamomile family is excellent at soothing inflammation & balancing sebum production. IDIL Botanicals is a Swiss brand that’s also sold at Content Beauty which ships worldwide free.

Ingredients

Organic Camellia Oil*, virgin cold pressed Grape Seed Oil, organic Sweet Almond Oil*, Squalene Oil derived from Olive Oil, organic Vitamin E – derived from NON GMO organic Sunflower Oil*, organic and wild crafted Blue Yarrow Oil**, organic and wild crafted Blue Tansy Leaf Oil**, natural German Blue Chamomile Oil*, organic Rose Otto Oil* * Certified organically grown ** Organically wild-crafted

Ursa Major No B.S. Deodorant

This deodorant is free of fragrance and baking soda, so perfect for those with sensitive armpits. I’ve never been afflicted with armpit rashes or sensitivity to natural deodorants so I can’t say if this won’t cause any reaction if you do. I did find the ingredients to be excellent and the performance on par with my standards.

Ingredients

organic aloe leaf juice, propanediol, sodium stearate, tapioca starch, saccharomyces ferment, silica, kaolin clay, glyceryl caprylate, micro-crystalline cellulose, glycerin, glyceryl undecylenate, shea butter, tocopheryl acetate, cellulose gum, hops extract, royal jelly extract, lemon peel extract, marigold flower extract, matricaria flower extract, ginseng root extract.

Raw Elements, which is a sunscreen brand, just came out with their newest skincare launches – a body scrub & face tonic. The scrub has Pacific Hawaiian sea salt & raw sugarcane and a lot of oil content so it’s moisturizing as well as exfoliating. It also has a very strong tea tree smell which was surprising as I was hoping for a more tropical scent to match the brand’s beachy vibes. The skin tonic also has a strong medicinal tea tree scent and is made of aloe, organic prickly pear cactus and arctic red algae as well as essential oils of bergamot, juniper, sage, tea tree and ylang ylang. I have to remember to cover my eyes with my hands when using this because it can seriously burn.

As always I’m enjoying my weekly skincare rituals of May Lindstrom’s The Honey Mud & The Problem Solver. I’m now even mixing the 2 together to use as a single mask. I tried a sample of the Youth Dew and I didn’t really find it to be as unique as the rest of the products from her line. The Clean Dirt I wanted very much to be able to use but it caused my skin to breakout immediately.

Have you heard of these adaptogenic coconut butters that are basically unicorn food in a jar yet?! If not you should definitely look into Pearl Butter! This doesn’t really belong in my current favorites post since I’m eagerly waiting for my order to arrive in the mail, but I’m way too excited. You can take 15% off with code OBL15, an exclusive discount code the founder Katie gave me just for you guys! Pearl Butter website

 

A few other products I’ve been using and enjoying are these mineral mud masks by Atmosphere Essentials (more on these on my Instagram in the near future) and I was also recently introduced to Ananda Soul, an ethically & sustainably produced jewelry line from Bali. Pictured below is their Inner Guidance necklace made of Prehnite & Gold Vermeil. Their pieces are made with 925 sterling silver (certified recycled), 22kt Gold vermeil & the finest quality precious gemstones. The line is inspired by the founder’s current home Bali, her love for yoga & spirituality and her travels and seeks to empower women of all ages & backgrounds. 10% of proceeds goes to a charity that the founder personally runs workshops for training mothers of street children how to produce some her pieces, which allows them to place their kids in school. I’ll be launching a giveaway with them the 2nd week of June so stay tuned on my Instagram.

You can take 20% off on the Vital Proteins & Be Biotin featured in this blog post or anything carried at at online organic beauty shop Cotanova. Use discount code OBL at checkout (not an affiliate code).

 

 

HUM Nutrition Review + giveaway

HUM Nutrition is a super high quality supplement line exclusively sold at SEPHORA and their website and they recently gave me the opportunity to try 3 of their products: RED CARPET, DAILY CLEANSE & OMG!. The first things that popped out at me, and which lends to their strong brand recognition, were their bright colorful labels & catchy names. One of the first things a friend of mine asked me after she saw my Instagram stories showing the products was to let her know if I think they’re worth the price. So in case this is the first thing you’re thinking of too, my answer is yes, BUT only for the supplements that you actually need.

To be honest I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to review supplements. As a beauty blogger i’m testing out a variety of products all at once, and as one follower pointed out, bloggers can’t really know the effects of 1 product if they’re using 10 skincare products at once. So I was wondering with supplements how would you really know if you’re experiencing positive effects from the supplements or because you increased the number of your weekly yoga workouts or because you rotated in new skincare products – fact is you can’t unless you cut out all these other variables. So it’s all based on perception, but everyone’s reality IS their perception anyways.

So about HUM, HUM Nutrition sets themselves apart from other nutrition companies by offering a personalized approach using a revolutionary profiling methodology and leaders in the field of nutrition. You take a short online quiz and are then suggested a regimen of products that meet your health & beauty goals.  HUM products are 100% natural, pure, premium quality, sustainably sourced, non GMO and gluten free. Personally, I’m not religious about supplements. I buy them when I feel like buying them and take them when I feel like taking them but I don’t stick to it everyday all year round. With the HUM supplements I committed myself to taking them everyday to see if I really noticed results.

THE DAILY CLEANSE

The Daily Cleanse is what I would recommend you to get if you’re wanting to try HUM and don’t know which to start with.  I think the first step should be to rid your body of toxins so that everything else you take can really get to work. You take 2 capsules before you eat anything so I would take this as soon as I got up with a big glass of water. If I was running late for work, with a sip of coffee before dashing out the door.  Highlights of the Daily Cleanse include:

Cleanses your skin, liver, bowel, kidneys and lungs
Organic Algae
Cleansing Minerals
15 Detox Herbs

The Science Behind it

Studies have shown the anti-inflammatory properties of ALA, making it a vital antioxidant that protects the body’s cells and aids in energy production.  “α-Lipoic acid has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties: an experimental study in rats with carrageenan-induced acute and cotton pellet-induced chronic inflammations.” Br J Nutr. 2011. The American Cancer Society notes that milk thistle is said to detoxify and protect the liver, strengthen the spleen and gallbladder. Further, research has looked into silymarin, a key extract of milk thistle, as a potent antioxidant.

Effects I Experienced

I noticed 2 effects: practically zero zits/pimples and regular use of the bathroom. I’m someone who gets zits regularly along my chin/jawline and occasionally on my cheek. While I was taking this supplement I noticed I didn’t have any zits appearing on my face and the flesh colored nearly invisible bumps subsided. I also had great movement down there. Some people experienced allergic hive reactions when taking this product so take caution.

OMG! Omega The Great

This fish oil supplement supports even skin tone, a healthy heart, brain & body and really does contain very high quality fish oil. I took 2 giant pills with food per day and would also recommend this product from their line, which is more potent than what you’d find in the supermarket. Its higlights:

Ultra pure fish oil
Ideal ratio of the actives EPA & DHA
High amounts in only two pills
No fishy aftertaste

The Science Behind It

Many studies suggest that the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, found in the fatty layers of cold-water fish can keep your heart and body healthy by reducing overall inflammation. Our supplements are derived from the highest quality of sustainably sourced small fish, ensuring the purest and most nutrient-rich standards. Research connects the fatty acids in fish oil to healthy hair and skin function. According to research at the University of Manchester, the properties in fish oil have been proven to protect the skin from damaging sun rays by stimulating the production of healthy skin cells. And the benefit of fish oil extends beyond hair and skin. Research from the American Heart Association has shown that the omega-3 found in fish oil can also reduce the risk of heart disease while lowering the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increasing levels of good cholesterol in the body (HDL). Sources: Pilkington Suzanne, et al. “Randomized controlled trial of oral omega-3 PUFA in solar-simulated radiation-induced suppression of human cutaneous immune responses.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 97 (2013): 646-52. “Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.” American Heart Association. May 2014

Effects I Experienced

This is really hard to say. I use a lot of great skincare products, mask multiple times weekly, eat a healthy diet, drink lots of water etc. so I can’t claim that this vitamin gave me glowing skin. I did read reviews by people saying that this is the one product that helped clear their cystic acne, hormonal acne and breakouts. What I can say is if you’re looking for a quality fish oil that is designed to work more quickly than supermarket fish oil out of sheer potency, why not give this a try.

RED CARPET

Red Carpet is the number 1 selling supplement at SEPHORA and is designed to give you glowing skin & shiny hair in 6 weeks. It’s a Vitamin E- focused product (from sunflower oil) with ALA (from Black Currant Seed Oil) and its highlights include:

Rich in plant-based omegas
Vegetarian formula
Hydrates hair + skin cells

The Science Behind It

Black Currant Seed Oil is an excellent source of GLA (gamma-linoleic acid) and ALA (alpha linolenic acid). According to University of Maryland Medical Center, GLA stimulates healthy skin and hair growth, and is a strong anti-inflammatory. ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid, also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, known to prevent heart disease and stiff joints. Sunflower seed oil contains Vitamin E and fatty acids that promote shiny hair and glowing skin. As an antioxidant, Vitamin E neutralizes free radicals that damage collagen and dry the skin. According to the University Maryland Medical Center, a healthy dose of Vitamin E can prevent premature aging and damage. Research suggests that Vitamin E improves capillary growth, which increases follicle circulation and moisture for fuller hair that is free split ends. Sources: “Vitamin E.” University of Maryland Medical Center. January 2012. Beoy LA, et al. “Effects of tocotrienol supplementation on hair growth in human volunteers.” Pub Med. NCBI. NLM. NIH. December 2010. “Gamma-linoenic-acid.” Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide. University of Maryland Medical Center. July 2011. “Black Currant.” WebMD.

Effects I Experienced

My hair does look healthier and air dries with less frizz but, again, how can I really know it’s because of the supplements or because I increased the number of overnight oil treatments or because I switched in a new shampoo/conditioner. One thing I feel like I DID notice that I feel I can say is because of these supplements, is that despite my use of top-tier organic skincare products, I will still have seriously haggard looking dull skin at about 1am before doing my nighttime skincare routine and going to bed. When I was younger my skin looked plump, fresh, vibrant no matter how late it was and no matter how little sleep I got, but now it totally shows on my face in the wee hours of the night. After about a month of taking these supplements I felt like when I’d go look in the mirror at midnight or 1am before going to bed I was starting to look more like my old self in that my skin didn’t look as zombie like anymore. Even if my eyes look tired, my skin didn’t look as sunken in, dry & dull.

GIVEAWAY FOR 2 WINNERS

Enter on my Instagram post here. Ends Mon May 15, 2017!

Details:

2 winners will receive a @humnutrition supplement of their choice! Simply:
– Follow @humnutrition & me
– Tag friends (each tag is an entry)
Bonus: For 10 extra entries repost with #oblhum.

Natural & Organic Foundations

Makeup is such a tricky area in green beauty and when it comes to foundation, with everyone having different preferences, skin types & a hard time color matching, it can be the most difficult item in green makeup to purchase. I’m sharing my thoughts today on my entire current collection of natural & organic foundations, BB creams & primers.  Plus I created a chart for easier reference. To not make this post overly long I won’t go into the characteristics such as coverage, finish & consistency which I’ve covered for each product in the below chart. Instead I’ll talk more about my personal experience.

Read more

EARTHWISE BEAUTY & AVA’S WORK DIARY

Earthwise Beauty has evolved significantly over this past year alone if you see my first blog post from 2016 here, but as always you will find meticulous sourcing practices, top quality quality ingredients & innovative formulations. Besides many exciting new product launches (Cistus & Moonlight Face Mist, Nap in the Meadows Face Serum, Passion Eye Serum, Pacific Northwest Body Oil, Ruby Facial Oil, Farizad’s Veil), Earthwise has also upgraded their labels to higher quality scratch-free ones that are durable. This is a brand that obsesses over every aspect and detail of their products and one that you can wholeheartedly trust that they will only bring you the best products & ingredients. I’m also super excited that Earthwise Beauty is participating in an OBL CLUB product testing campaign so you might be the lucky members who’ll test & review an Earthwise product!

The founder of Earthwise Beauty, Ava Zhan, is also sharing her work diary with OBL readers so you can see what it’s like to be in her shoes for a day. To read the first installment of my new series “Diary of a Ladyboss” scroll down to the end of this post.

Affiliate code OBL saves 15% at checkout always.

Ruby Facial Oil

The first product I’ll be highlighting in this post is their newest facial oil, Ruby that just launched in Mar 2017. This is a lightweight powerfully hydrating oil perfect for daytime use and designed to be paired with their Farizad’s Veil SPF powder & the warmer months in general. Perfect for all skin types & quick absorbing, the oil has a subtle resinous & fruity scent and is made of sun-protective buriti & pequi oils, wrinkle-reducing and sun-damage-correcting raspberry, buriti, rosehip & primrose), noncomedogenic oils particularly recommended for skin types prone to congestion (milk thistle, guava, rosehip, cranberry). sunflower-derived vitamin E. Turmeric CO2 extract and whole-plant celery CO2 to reduce inflammation. I find this oil lightweight but not too lightweight for even the driest skin types and it leaves no orange tint. I add a few drops on top of my moisturizer and before applying makeup. I also like using a tiny amount as a hair defrizzer because it absorbs quickly into my hair without leaving it looking greasy. Ava also mentions in an Instagram post that this oil is perfect for hair as well as skin.

You can also order this facial oil with a raw ruby gem sourced from India.  Ruby enhances personal power, charisma, and confidence, aids in creative output and enhances leadership qualities, and corresponds to the heart chakra.

Ingredients

Organic Psidium guajava (guava) seed oil (India), organic Silybum marianum (milk thistle) seed oil, Vacinnium macrocarpon (cranberry) oil*, organic whole-fruit Rosa canina (rosehip) oil, Plukenetia volubilis (sacha inchi) seed oil*, Rubus ideaus (raspberry) seed oil*, organic pequi fruit oil, wildcrafted Moringa oleifera seed oil, blue tamanu oil* (India), organic buriti fruit oil, turmeric supercritical CO2 Select extract* (India), vitamin E (from certified non-GMO sunflowers), organic primrose seed CO2 Total extract, organic celery CO2 Total, wildcrafted mimosa flower absolute (artisanally extracted in Grasse, France).*Certified organic.

 

Carrot-a-Day Face and Eye Serum Sensitive (NEW Formula)

Carrot-a-Day is Earthwise’s all time bestseller and they came out with a new formulation for sensitive skin. The original one would cause reactions for some people and as a brand who truly listens to their customers’ needs they created a gentler formula for sensitive skin types. They use a milder natural preservative and have taken out carbomer though the original has less than .5%. The original version has a thicker aloe base while the Sensitive version is suspended in a semi-liquid, instantly absorbent cold-press aloe juice that has just a touch of thickness with natural xanthan gum.

The serum is great for dry, aging & acneic skin and contains anti-inflammatory German blue chamomile, helichrysum (3 types: Corsican (the first choice for pain reduction, including painful acne breakouts), Croatian, and Albanian) which is one of the top essential oils forspot reduction & wrinkle reversal (and is also used in wound and burn healing by medical aromatherapists). Because it’s semi-liquid it can replace your toner and it has a rather strong herbal carrot scent. I’ve used both the original and now sensitive versions and found that they both hydrate, firm & refresh my skin. I apply a few pumps and spread across my face and wait for it to dry. It provides an instant cooling effect and once dry my skin feels slightly more taut/firm.

Ingredients
Cold-press aloe barbadensis juice*, carrot seed oil*, natural non-GMO tocopherol (vit. E from sunflowers), Italian everlasting oil*, German blue chamomile oil*, spearmint oil*, naturally derived Polysorbate 20, potassium sorbate (natural preservative, food grade), xanthan gum, rosemary extract, ascorbic acid (vit. C), citric acid.

Nap in the Meadow Face Serum

Earthwise’s other serum which I believe launched last year provides deep hydration, strong anti-inflammatory action, anti-oxidants, anti-aging benefits, issue repairing effects, and sunburn and sun damage repair. The super light blue shade of this product is instantly calming and its name, like many of Earthwise’s products, is highly evocative. The sensorial product yearns to transport you to a peaceful meadow where you lie down, feel the warm sunshine on your face and see the clear blue skies as you drift off into blissful slumber.

This serum is very lightweight and liquid-like but its ingredients are so fresh and potent that most noticeably I feel it increasing my blood circulation seconds after I apply. My face feels slightly heated and I can tell it’s working its magic. It contains Turmeric CO2 supercritical extract, anti-inflammatory, Yarrow Oil, German Blue Chamomile Oil,  Elderberry extract to delay skin aging and reverse UV damage. and Galbanum which is an essential oil made from galbanum resin, an ancient wound-healing agent. I apply 1 or 2 pumps and apply all over my face with circular massage motions. The one downside of these liquid like serums is that you can easily use up the product quickly so I suggest using just 1 max 2 pumps for each use.

Ingredients

Aloe leaf juice*, elderberry fruit extract, turmeric CO2 Total supercritical extract, polysorbate 20 (naturally derived), lavender oil (* and †), yarrow oil*, Italian everlasting oil†, German blue chamomile oil*, potassium sorbate (natural preservative), organic geranium bourbon oil, geranium rose oil*, copaiba balsam resin†, galbanum oil*, xanthan gum, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), wildflower essences†.

Ambrosia del Cerrado Liquid Moisturizer

Perfect for the warmer months, Ambrosia del Cerrado is a liquid moisturizer (toner-moisturizer cross) and has a unique consistency different from both the Nap in the Meadow and Carrot-A-Day. It’s like a bouncy viscous liquid and comes in a dropper bottle so you feel like you’re applying golden dewdrops to your skin. The aloe-based formula is great for oily, combo, acneic & dry skin and most noticeably contains hand-extracted pequi fruit oil from the cerrado savanna in Brazil (rich in vitamin C, betacarotene, vitamins B1 and B2), Buriti oil from Brazil (anti-aging results & improves the appearance of brown spots and scars), Moringa pod oil (wide range of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients).

I’ve tried the Ambrosia del Cerrado a year ago and again this year and found that it leaves my dry skin feeling refreshed, supple & hydrated. This product does not contain any essential oils for those of you who are looking for essential oil-free skincare products.

Ingredients
Aloe barbadensis whole-leaf cold-press juice*, sustainably wildcrafted cold-press unrefined Caryocar braziliensis (pequi) fruit oil, sustainably wildcrafted cold-press unrefined Mauritia flexuosa (buriti) fruit oil, sustainably wildcrafted cold-press unrefined Moringa oleifera seed oil, polysorbate 20 (naturally derived), potassium sorbate (natural preservative), natural non-GMO tocopherol (vit. E from sunflowers), xanthan gum, ascorbic acid (vit. C), citric acid.

Marshmallow Suds Face Cleanser

One of my favorite cleansers is the Earthwise Marshmallow Suds Face Cleanser which is especially great for sensitive & dry skin types. A blend of oils and herbal extracts, this cleanser has a unique silky, viscous, creamy consistency and a beautiful white shade that almost symbolizes purity. It lathers well and feels deeply nourishing & soothing with marshmallow root, healing calendula petals, and anti-inflammatory chamomile flowers. I remove all my makeup before using this cleanser because I’d rather use a wipe or oil cleanser to remove makeup so the powerful ingredients of this cleanser can better penetrate my skin.

Ingredients
Herbal infusion {distilled water, Althaea officinalis (marshmallow) root*, Calendula officinalis petals*, Matricaria recutita (chamomile) buds*}, water, Cocos nucifera (coconut) oil*†, cold-press Prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil*, Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) esters*, Aloe barbadensis juice*, vegetable glycerin (from non-GMO soy)*, Olea europaea (olive) oil*†, potassium hydroxide (but none remains in final product, after saponifying oils into soap and glycerin), Cannabis sativa (hemp) oil*, natural ECOCERT preservative {glycerin, Leuconostoc (radish root) ferment filtrate, Lonicera japonica flower extract, Lonicera caprifolium extract, Populus tremuloides bark extract, gluconolactone}, guar gum, glucono-lactone (from non-GMO corn), Melissa officinalis oil*, Matricaria recutita (German blue chamomile) oil*, organic Tanacetum annuum (Moroccan chamomile) oil, Anthemis nobilis (Roman chamomile) oil*, citric acid, non-GMO tocopherol (vit. E).

Blackstrap Molasses Face Mask

I still consider the Blackstrap Molasses one of the most powerful and effective masks I have tried. I have had a number of people try this mask with me and they also were surprised by its effects.  If you want immediate noticeable effects this mask is one to try – it resurfaces, brightens, smoothes & clarifies skin. It also detoxifies, firms and provides powerful anti-aging benefits. The shiny black Hungarian Moor Mud & Moroccan Rhassoul Laval Red Lava Clay base looks as if someone literally scooped up the mud and clay from Hungary and Morocco, placed it in this jar and handed it to you, completely fresh & unadulterated.

Ingredients
Maris limus (Hungarian Moor mud), Moroccan Rhassoul red lava clay, Kaolinite (kaolin clay), Saccharum officinarum (unsulphured blackstrap molasses from Paraguay)*†, Rosa damascena hydrosol/distillate* (Bulgaria), Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) distillate* (14% alcohol; double distilled), cold-press unrefined organic Pentaclethra macroloba (pracaxi) pod oil (Brazil), L-ascorbic acid (active vit. C), natural ECOCERT-approved (for use in certified organic cosmetics) preservative {glycerin, Leuconostoc (radish root) ferment filtrate, Lonicera japonica (honeysuckle) flower extract, Lonicera caprifolium (honeysuckle) extract, Populus tremuloides bark extract, gluconolactone}, unrefined Daucus carota (carrot) seed oil*, Pelargonium graveolens (geranium) oil*.

Cistus & Moonlight Face Mist

Cistus & Moonlight Face Mist is another new mysterious creation. So what is Cistus? Cistus essential oil is known to be great for skin firmness and comes from a variety of rock rose that grows in the wilderness of Spain and Portugal. It has a sweet resinous honey like scent and helps with minimizing pores, skin firmness, fighting acne and more. The sourcing of this ingredient is unique in that Ava does not purchase it from a supplier’s website but directly from a person in Portugal’s countryside who distills these plants. She then adds a touch of aloe juice and enhances it with a variety of gem & wildflower essences such as Rainbow Moonstone Gem Essence, (regulates hormones & mood swings), Mangano calcite gem essence (heals emotional wounds), Clear quartz gem essence (clears toxic energies & lifts the mind),  Alaskan monkshood flower essence (helps with fears & clarity of one’s purpose), and Pacific Northwest pink phlox flower essence (enhances one’s innate gentleness and sweetness).

I apply a few spritzes of this and enjoy the unique multifacted scent of the cistus. It’s undoubtedly quite different from your average hydrosol as it contains the vibrations and energies of different flowers & gems to provide not only a skin enhancing effect but also a mind/body/spirituality one.

Ingredients
Wildcrafted Cistus ladanifer hydrosol, cold-press aloe barabensis juice*, potassium sorbate (natural food-grade preservative), rainbow moonstone gem essence and other gem essences, wildflower essences.

Passion Eye Serum

Passion Eye Serum

While not included in the OBL CLUB product testing campaign, i had the opportunity to try a sample of Earthwise’s new eye serum last winter.  This essential oil-free formula is made from unrefined oils & butters that are highly nourishing, hydrating & firming.  If you’re looking for a far from average potent eye product that is made of powerful hard-to-find ingredients the Passion Eye Serum is made of amaranth oil (source of squalene and linoleic acid) , green coffee oil (treats puffiness and dark circles), of whole-fruit (not just the seeds) rosehip oil, premium grade whole-fruit (not just the seeds) passionfruit oil, seabuckthorn berry CO2 extract, murumuru butter, andiroba oil & Brazil nut oil.

The reason Amaranth Oil was selected to be the first and main ingredient of this eye product is because it’s very high in proteins (13%), linoleic acid (49%; key for youthful, wrinkle-free, and acne-free skin and in squalene (8–12%). I found it to be super rich and nourishing, instantly smoothing out fine lines and plumping up the haggard looking skin under my eyes. I used this oil only at night as it did sting my eyes if it got in.

Ingredients
Organic cold-press unrefined amaranth (Amaranthus hypochondriacus) oil, organic cold-press unrefined green coffee (Coffea) bean oil, organic cold-press unrefined andiroba (Carapa guianensis) oil, cold-press unrefined brazil nut oil*, organic cold-press unrefined murumuru (Astrocaryum murumuru) butter, cold-press unrefined passionfruit (Passiflora edulis) oil*, organic cold-press unrefined rare whole-fruit rosehip (Rosa canina) oil, wildcrafted seabuckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) berry CO2 Total supercritical extract, cold-press unrefined tamanu (Calophyllum inophyllum) oil* (India), gem essences.

If you’d like a deeper look into how Earthwise sources their ingredients and develops their formulas head to the founder Ava’s blog here. In her latest blog post how some suppliers do not have a system for monitoring inventory freshness & how those with little experience may not even know what some plant oils should look and smell like, and how to check whether their sample is fresh, unrefined, unbleached, and unadulterated. It’s very insightful and shows you how important it is to trust who you purchase from and that their values align with yours.

Affiliate code OBL saves 15% at checkout on their website

DIARY OF A LADYBOSS
FEATURING AVA ZHAN

a weekday in the beautiful Pacific Northwest

 

6:15 Am waking up, getting my older son ready for kindergarten, getting breakfast ready for everyone

 

7:45 Am dropping Roman off at a distant school

 

8:15-9 Am on phone calls on the road, sometimes with friends, often with our freelance designer and printer representative

 

9 am I’m in a meeting with employees: prioritizing projects for the day, reviewing long-term projects, and periodically all kinds of financial reviews with our finance specialists.

 

10 am -2 pmWorking on new product formulas, making batches of currently sold products, making flower and gem essences, sometimes getting to wander the meadows to check on various wildflowers or to infuse batches of products in a shady and hidden spot in our ponderosa pine forest, but also advising customers on best product options for their skin type, corresponding with marketing partners, and lots of art direction (reviewing the work of our photographer, graphic designer, and printers, and working closely with these artists to arrive at visuals and packaging that we all love and that communicate who we are), searching for new artisanal ingredients and print materials suppliers and testing their samples upon arrival.

 

2-3 pm I’m holding private flower essence consultations, flower essence certification course progress (homework assignments, client case studies etc.), making custom essence blends.

 

The work day has ended
Late afternoons and evenings are primarily family time, but sometimes I harvest wild herbs with the help of family members or employees, drying and processing herbs, and also attend to our own “starter” garden. Late evenings is when I read books on herbalism, essential oils and their safety, flower and gem essence healing, and natural perfumery.
Ava

ORGANIC BEAUTY LOVER CURRENT FAVORITES

I usually focus on one brand in each blog post but this time I’m switching things up with my first Current Faves post. I’ll highlight a variety of products that I’m currently using and loving.

Odacité EYE CONTOUR SERUM & PIMPLE SERUM

I add a few drops of this around my eye contour before bed when this area is looking particularly shriveled and I wake up to smooth & hydrated sleepy eyes  I love using products specifically formulated for the eye area even though much of it IS marketing. I appreciate that eye products are specifically formulated for the super fragile eye area and are richer than average. The pimple serum I’ve been using to spot treat small zits that I get around that time of the month and I feel that it helps clear up my skin quickly without leaving any acne marks left behind.

Eye Contour Serum Ingredients:

Highest-grade cold-pressed certified virgin wildcrafted Baobab (Adansonia digitata) seed oil, Sarsaparilla, Palmarosa, Lavender, Neroli, Roman chamomile, Sandalwood, Geranium, Bisabolol (Hemidesmus indicus, Cymbopogon martinii, Lavandula angustifolia, Citrus aurantium, Anthemis nobilis, Santalum spicatum, Pelargonium graveolens, Vanillomopsis erythropappa) essential oils, Certified GMO free Vitamin E (Tocopherols) oil.

Pimple Serum Ingredients:

Highest-grade cold-pressed certified virgin organic Black Cumin (Nigella sativa) oil, Certified organic Cajeput (Melaleuca minor) essential oil, Certified GMO-free Vitamin E (Toco- pherols) oil.

Discount code OBL saves 10% at checkout

100% PURE GEMMED LUMINIZER

The new gemmed luminizers in Moonstone Glow & Rose Gold from 100% Pure are absolutely beautiful. I like them way better than rms Living Luminizer. Instead of adding oily mica to your face this luminizer brings so many beneficial ingredients to your skin, including actual gemstones (search for gemstone if you’re curious about why I like gemstones and gemstone-infused skincare) AND a gorgeous tint to your skin. This will be great for the summer months when my skin goes from dry to the oily side. Moonstone is my favorite out of the 2 new shades though I’ve been leaning towards Rose Gold more as summer approaches.

Affiliate code OBL5 saves 5% in the entire store at checkout til Apr 21.

Ingredients

Oryza Sativa (Rice) Starch, Silica, Persea Gratissima Oil (Avocado Butter), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Extracts of Punica Granatum (Pomegranate), Vaccinium Macrocarpon Fruit (Cranberry), Fragaria Vesca Fruit (Strawberry), Rubus Idaeus Fruit (Raspberry), Prunus Serotina Fruit (Cherry), Prunus Armeniaca Fruit (Apricot), Prunus Persica Fruit (Peach) and Vitis Vinifera Fruit, (Cabernet Grapes) and Matricaria Chamomilla Leaf (Chamomile), Punca Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Lycium Chinese Fruit (Goji Berry) Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Mica (natural shimmery mineral), Labradorite (Natural Mineral Stone), Moonstone (Natural Mineral Stone), Australian Opal (Natural Mineral Stone), Pyrite (Natural Mineral Stone), Sunstone (Natural Mineral Stone), May Contain Iron Oxides.

MAY LINDSTROM HONEY MUD CLEANSING MASK

I’ve been using this honey mask almost everyday after removing makeup and cleansing, so I have 3 cleansing steps most days now. This honey mask is so moisturizing that I feel like I’m also using a hydrating mask at the same time. Raw honey, white halloysite clay, Collodial Silver, Cacao aboslute oil & macadamia nut oil envelope your skin & infuse it with enzymes and nourishment. It has a silken pudding-like texture that I have not found in any other mask product. May’s products will undoubtedly make you fall in love with taking care of your skin.

KAIA NATURALS DETOX DEODORANT

I’ve been using this deodorant for almost a month now, switching between the Cold-Pressed Rose & Juicy Bamboo versions, and though it took me a while to get used to the wet texture, i must say i really enjoy it now. This is a 99% natural & vegan dedorant with no baking soda – instead it has activated charcoal to draw out toxins & natural fermentation technology to fight odor-causing bacteria. Deodorants are a hit and miss for people so what works for 1 person may cause an adverse reaction for another. I used this on a day where I had a 5am workout, had to take an hour plane ride to a meeting and sit in an office all day without being able to take a shower in between and I had no stench at the end of the day. This deodorant is an everyday product & it’s designed to detox your armpits in 30 days  so I do recommend you give this a try if you are having difficulty switching to a natural deodorant. They have a travel size version for just $9.50 but note that the print on the packaging fades off quickly unlike the full size deodorant.

100% PURE BLOOD ORANGE CLEANSING BALM

This new cleansing balm is an excellent way of removing makeup, dirt & grime if you have super dry skin. My skin becomes parched during the winter/spring months and this balm cleanses effectively while hydrating my skin. I take a pea sized amount, spread it all over my face, let it sink in for a minute or 2 and then wipe of with a cloth. The texture reminds me greatly of more solid Vaseline. If you’ve tried the EVE LOM cult cleansing balm, which is super emollient and mushy, this is more dense.

Ingredients

Persea Gratissima (Organic Avocado) Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Organic Coconut) Oil, Olea Europaea (Organic Olive) Leaf Oil, Olea Europaea (Organic Olive) Oil, Cera Alba (Organic Beeswax), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Blood Orange Essential Oil) Fruit, Polyglyceryl-3 Palmitate (Derived from Coconuts)

FITGLOW BEAUTY VEGAN BRUSHES

The picture above has 3 of their newest products but I have not used the other 2 enough yet to give a full opinion. The brushes, however, I’ve gotten well acquainted with and they are so soft & luxurious. The vegan teddy round brush pictured above blends makeup effortlessly is great for applying mineral powders like foundation, blushes & bronzer.

CORA ORGANIC NON-TOXIC TAMPONS

You’ve probably seen these on my Instagram from the giveaway I did a while back. Tampons contain dioxins, which are byproducts of the bleaching process involved in the manufacturing process and are deemed “Highly toxic & a known human Carcinogen” by the World Health Organization. Each tampon contains a small amount but the cumulative effect of using tampons increases your risk for disease.

They can also contain polyester, adhesives, polyethylene (PET), polypropylene and propylene glycol (PEG), contaminants linked to ▶Infertility▶Cancer▶ Birth Defects as well as GMO’s.? Toxins that enter your vagina can end up in your bloodstream as the vaginal walls are highly permeable.

ABOUT CORA.
CORA makes 100% Certified Organic Tampons that are biodegradable & hypoallergenic (available at Targets nationwide). I found them to be just as absorbent as regular tampons. The application is not as comfortable due to the applicator stick but it’s minor. They’re also part of an incredible social program – for all tampons sold each month they purchase the equivalent in natural, sustainable pads from local partners in India. This employs women in rural villages & urban slums in India to produce biodegradable natural pads which are then distributed to girls in local schools who wouldn’t be able to afford them otherwise. .

WHAMISA DEEP RICH TONER

This toner stands out in the world of toners because it’s a cross between an essence and a toner. I have a brand review of Whamisa here that includes this product but had to include it in this top 10 favorites list. It has a viscous bouncy like liquid texture that deeply hydrates my skin and dries quickly.

Ingredients

*Aloe Maculata Leaf Extract, *Chrysanthemum Morifolium Flower Extract, *Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, *Lactobacillus/Chrysanthemum Sinense Flower Ferment Filtrate, *Lactobacillus/Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Ferment Filtrate, *Lactobacillus/ Taraxacum Officinale (Dandelion) Rhizome/Root Ferment Filtrate, Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, *Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, *Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, *Helichrysum Arenarium Flower Extract, *Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Extract, *Glycerin, ***Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, ***Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, ***Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, Lithospermum Erythrorhizon Root Extract, Xanthan Gum, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil, **Fragrance, d-Limonene, Linalol 

100% PURE BB CREAM

This is a love it or hate it type BB cream because it’s so thick and I love it. It gives you a dewy luminous look, has cool pink undertones & blurs imperfections. I’ve shared more of my thoughts in a previous foundations post.

active ingredients: 8.7 % Zinc Oxide 4.6 % Titanium Dioxide other ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe Juice) Leaf Extract*, Centaurea Cyanus Flower Water / Centaurea Cyanus (Cornflower) Flower Water, (Non-Nano) Zinc Oxide, Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride (Derived from Coconut Oil), Sorbitan Sesquioleate (Derived from Sugar) Titanium Dioxide, Vegetable Glycerin, Stearic Acid (Derived from Coconut), Hydrated Silica, Leuconostoc / Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Magnesium Stearate (Derived from Salt), Mica (Mineral), Sodium Phytate (Sodium Salt from Plant Seeds), Xanthan Gum (Non GMO), Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil / Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter / Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Vaccinium Myrtillus Seed Oil / Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Seed Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia Oil / Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract / Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Prunus Avium Seed Oil / Prunus Avium (Sweet Cherry) Seed Oil, Prunus Cerasus Seed Oil / Prunus Cerasus (Bitter Cherry) Seed Oil, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Fruit Extract, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil / Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Rubus Idaeus Seed Oil/ Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Seed Oil, Tocopherol (Derived from Rice Bran-Non GMO), Benzyl Alcohol (Plant derived), Dehydroacetic Acid, Potassium Sorbate (Salt of Sorbic Acid), Sorbic Acid (Derived from Sugar) May contain: Titianium Dioxide, Iron Oxides

MAX AND ME SWEET SERENITY MASK & WASH

Max and Me is a high-vibrational eco-luxury skincare line from Austria and this mask if one of my favorite products from their line. It’s designed for stressed-out, irritated, dull and thirsty skin and to treat difficult skin issues. This line is up there with May Lindstrom as one of those brands that make you deeply fall in love with your skin ritual. The creamy clay & honey blend can be used as a face wash or as a mask and I prefer to use it as a mask because well it’s $240. I add a little bit of water & mix to turn it into a paste and then apply all over my face for about 30 minutes. I’m always left with brighter clearer skin without fail.

Ingredients

White Kaolin Clay, Leptospermum Scoparium Mel (Raw Manuka Honey), Butyrospermum Parkii Butter1, Garcinia Mangostana Pericarp Powder1, Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil1, Cranberry Seed Oil1, Theobroma Cacao Seed Powder1, Cocos Nucifera Oil1, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil1, Tocopherol, Prinsepia Utilis Seed Oil1, Glycine Soja Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil1, Punica Granatum Seed Oil1, Nigella Sativa Seed Oil1, Gardenia Tahitensis Flower Extract, Helichrysum Angustifolium Flower Oil1, Santalum Album Oil2, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil1, Leptospermum Scoparium Oil3, Citrus Aurantium Flower Extract1, Pelargonium Graveolens Oil1, Pogostemon Cablin Leaf Oil1, Cananga Odorata Flower Oil1, Lavandula Angustifolia Herb Oil2, Cymbopogon Martinii Herb Oil1, Linalool4, Geraniol4, Citronellol4, Limonene4, Alcohol, Farnesol4, Benzyl Benzoate4, Propolis Cera, Benzyl Salicylate4, Citral4, Eugenol4.

SHEA BRAND REVIEW (+ COUPON CODE)

This post was kindly sponsored by SHEA BRAND whose funds will help with operational costs of running OBL CLUB.

SHEA BRAND is a Brooklyn-based company offering 100% Certified Organic Shea Butters in 4 different blends that nourish, protect & soften skin. Their Shea butter is sustainably extracted from the kernels of African Shea Trees and then hand-whipped to perfection, enriched with Vitamin E, and imbued with essential oils. Before I talk about the benefits of shea butter, here is why I love their products:

The hand-whipped texture is fluffy, soft, yet dense for intense nourishment
It comes in these beautifully designed tins
It’s so easy to scoop out of the tin unlike regular shea butter
They come in 4 luscious blends: Original, Lavender, Rose Absolute, Texas Cedar and Bergamot
Because it’s so dense a little goes a long way

My 2 favorites are the Rose, which contains Hungarian Rose Absolute & is their richest blend, and  the Lavender because it has such a calming scent that’s perfect for calming my senses.  The Woodland Fog also has a calming effect with its subtle pine scent that makes you feel like you’re in a forest. The Original has no scent but has an SPF of 5.

Shea butter is a wonder ingredient and I’ve long been using it to nourish my hands & body before going to bed even before getting into green beauty. It’s full of all-natural Vitamin A, E, Oleic Acid & Stearic Acid and helps with blemishes and wrinkles, stretch mark prevention during pregnancy, muscle fatigue, dermatitis, and radiation treatments for certain medical problems.  According to a study by The National Center for Biotechnology Information, shea nuts and shea fat (shea butter) constitute a significant source of anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor promoting compounds. And a study by the American Journal of Life Sciences claims that shea butter boosts collagen production, demonstrating anti-aging properties.

Use coupon code ORGANICBEAUTYLOVER for 20% off at checkout. Prices start at $11

 

5 Top Nutritionists on the supplements they use

Find out what supplements the experts trust

I asked 5 top nutritionists (and a naturopath doctor) in New York & London what supplements they use themselves for beauty. Here’s what they shared with me:

Andrea Moss, New York

I’ve found the following supplements really help with supple, glowy skin:

  • High quality fish oil (omega 3 fatty acids do wonders for fighting free radicals and reducing inflammation in the skin and throughout the body). I use Metagenics brand.
  •  Nutrient 950 from Thorne is a great high-quality multivitamin
  • Probiotics (healthy gut flora leads to healthy skin)
  • Biotin (I’ll take this for a few months at a time if/when I feel my hair or nails need a strengthening boost).

As for brands, I use Metagenics UltraFlora Spectrum probiotics. If I’m traveling and need to stock up quickly, I’ll purchase Renew Life brand probiotics (they’re a great option and available in many health food stores, unlike Metagenics which needs to be purchased online). For biotin I like Life Extension or Jarrow.

One final note is that for reducing overall inflammation in the body (which can absolutely contribute to wrinkles, rashes, and other skin issues) I like Meriva by Thorne. It’s a very high potency curcumin (tumeric) supplement that does wonders for everything from reducing joint pain to reducing risk of dementia.

Andrea is a certified holistic nutrition coach through Columbia University’s Teachers College, in partnership with The Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She studied directly with Dr Annemarie Colbin in her intensive 9-month Food Therapy program, at the Natural Gourmet Institute, learning how to use food as natural medicine. Andrea and her team work with individual clients, run group holistic health programs, and present lectures on various health and wellness topics throughout the country. Website

Jo Travers, London

The only supplement I take is vitamin D – because our sunlight in the UK is so patchy and vitamin D is not in very many foods, it’s difficult for the body to produce enough. About 1 in 5 of people in the UK have low vitamin D status. But I’m not sure that it could be considered a beauty supplement. It does play a role in reducing inflammation and cell growth, but it’s primary function is to aid calcium absorption for strong bones.

Jo Travers is a dietitian registered with the Health & Care Professions Council with a First Class BSc (Hons) degree in Human Nutrition & Dietetics, and she is a spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association. Her experience in the field includes time working in three NHS Trusts; and five years in private practice. She is also the author of The Low-Fad Diet. Click to buy The Low-Fad Diet from Amazon. Website

Lorraine Kearney, New York

The supplements I believe that is important to consume is turmeric. The active form of turmeric is curcumin, but this form is not absorbed by the body until it is paired with piperine (black pepper). When choosing a supplement it is important to purchase one that is made with 95% curcumin with 5% bioPerine.

Turmeric is known as a great anti-inflammatory. Taking this supplement can decrease pain associated with chronic disease and arthritis. My father has arthritis on his right foot and experienced a lot of pain and inflammation to the point where he found it difficult to walk or play golf. I purchased this supplement for him and within 2 weeks his pain has subsided and he was able to go back to his normal activities.

Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant that protects our bodies from free radicals and also improves the functioning of the bodies own antioxidant enzymes. Studies have shown in cancer research that this powerful herb can reduce tumor growth and prevent the spread of some cancers. Turmeric can cross the blood brain barrier and clear a buildup of plaque called Amyloid plaque that can cause Alzheimer’s Disease and can improve brian health.

Originally from Galway, Ireland, Lorraine is a passionate nutritionist located in New York City. Over the past decade she has worked diligently to follow her dreams in the food and health industry while also giving back to the community. By volunteering her time and expertise at various charities such as, The Wounded Warrior Project, God’s Love We Deliver, The Food Bank of New York, The Children’s Storefront and March Nutrition Month, She’s an active member of The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, as well as the New York Road Runner’s. Website

Caroline Hansen, London

Omega-3, vitamin D, vitamin A, iodine, and selenium are supplements that I routinely take every single day due to difficulty getting these from food (and because I work on the basis of DNA-personalisation, I know that I have a higher than normal requirement for many of them!); the others are on an as-needed basis

Caroline is a nutritional therapist and genetic nutritionist, specialising in wellness, weight management, and fitness. She uses clients’ unique DNA to unlock the blueprint for brilliant health that’s coded within their genes. Caroline went to DipNT Nutritional Therapy (College of Naturopathic Medicine), is the Director & Founder, Clinical Nutrigenomics Working Group and aLecturer, Functional Sports Nutrition, CNELM (Middlesex University) MSc Personalised Nutrition. Website

 

Renee Bosi, Doctor of Naturopathy, New York

 I focus on anti aging supports like coq10, ala, phytoceramides, and turmeric. I throw other herbs in periodically but these are my basics. I focus on an overall physical anti aging which I feel trickles down to my skin.

Many of my vitamins B are Natrol. Ceramides are Health Genesis. I’m not a stickler for a particular brand but tend to go through phases with brands i buy from. I take turmeric in a blend I make myself and drink in coffee or almond milk. My recipe is:

Turmeric
Cacao powder
Maca root
Cinnamon
Wheat grass and alfalfa powder

I mix a bit in my coffee, oatmeal, or tea. the blend changes with my mood. Sometimes I add matcha. Sometimes pearl powder.

Renee is a doctor of naturopathy and has been in private practice for over 10 years. She has also worked as a social worker for more than 22 years and has made it her life work to combine both in a successful practice. Over the years her expertise in the natural health and beauty industry has led to the formulation of Lexi organics. www.lexihaircare.com

The OBL Community Shares What They Use

@itsthebib I’m a registered dietitian nutritionist, and all I take are algae oil for omega-3s from Deva and a vegan vitamin D. You should check with an MD or registered dietitian before taking anything–not all supplements are for everyone, and some can be harmful. The best thing to take for “beauty” is a varied diet abundantly rich in fruits and vegetables. There is no substitute for that! If you are concerned about deficiencies, check with an MD or RD.


@alchemy_apothecary I am a training physician and this is a contentious topic among those in my profession! I really would make sure that you share all the supplements you take with your doctor because a lot can interact with other medications you may be prescribed (two examples that come to mind are St. John’s Wort and vit C). Also be wary of fat soluble vitamins (vit A, D, E, K) as they are readily absorbed and can cause toxicity. That said, I do take supplements like acai and spirulina from @organicburst because I don’t eat the most varied diet when I’m busy. I also love their matcha. I would also take a probiotic but I don’t have a recommendation at the moment. If you eat yogurt you really get a lot there. Many people are vit D deficient, but it’s best to get a blood test from your doctor before starting to take it every day.


@bonnita_s . I take evening primrose oil and salmon oil… great for overall beauty health- hair, skin, nails and hormonal balance. I take this internally and add a bit of primrose oil to my night time skincare routine for glowing skin. I take an evening primrose oil supplement and a salmon oil supplement from Our local pharmacy in South Africa called Dischem and these supplements are their gold house brand.


thesarahjeanne @mdlogichealth is amazing. They are very high quality, made in NY. Formulated by top NY physicians. The krill oil and the ceramides make my skin feel soooo hydrated and soft. They are coming out with a collagen powder soon with biotin in it.


@theracingfamily My favorite supplement line is Procaps Laboratories. They offer high quality supplements, and produce all of their products in a solar powered facility. I currently take their Astaxanthin, Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), Resveratrol, CoQ10, Multi-Vitamin and Hair Skin & Nails supplements.


@neemasnutrition Zinc – all day every day! Majorly helps the skin – especially those with acne (most sufferers are zinc deficient). Fish oils too.


@rifahkhaan I am doctor from India…. Well I suffered acne for a long time… I take vit e for skin and it is miraculous for skin….. I also took biotin for hair…. It works….. Besides this I use joJoba oil during my night time skincare routine it has really decreased the oiliness of my skin…. One more key for bright skin is a lots and lots of water….. As for supplements please consult a doctor before taking them as they can cause toxicity


@strengthfromchrist  Liquid chlorophyll for bright & clear skin; powdered Chaga mushroom extract for antioxidants & collagen hydrolosate for collagen production, clear skin and strong nails & hair.  Maca root powder for hormone balance. It helps with breakouts, dull and dry skin, tiredness and period cramping.


@anna.mee.ra The majority of us lack vitamin d, and I live in sunny San Diego! I asked my doctor to check my levels since I was always so tired and sure enough I was low (and sunburnt when they tested my blood!) the pure encapsulations vitamin d3 in liquid format has transformed my life!


@_cordymichelle_I love my orange dream greens powder by @amazinggrass in water or coconut water first thing in the morning, @neocell Derma Matrix in my morning coffee or smoothie, and Apex Energetics Resvero-XL twice a day.


@jenniferpilonGarlic oil, vitamin C, turmeric, probiotics, omegas & of course a multivitamin. In order to have good skin you have to take care of your body from inside first?


@yo_pearlypie These are the supplements that make me feel like a rockstar ? Dr. Hagiwara’s organic green magma powder mixed with Vital Proteins collagen peptides in the morning, New Chapter every woman’s one daily multi, New Chapter holy basil force, Organic India – Joy, Green Pasture’s fermented cod liver oil, Jarrow Formulas Fem dophilius, I’ve also been taking Reserveage Keratin booster with biotin & resveratrol and have noticed a major boost in my hair! At night I take Rainbow light Magnesium + Calcium as well as Organic India’s Turmeric & Triphala. Of course everyone is different & it is smart to talk to a doctor for any contraindications – with the help of these supplements, a mostly fabulous diet, fresh air & a lot of yoga I feel excellent & never find myself in the doc’s office!

To see what 70 other organic beauty lovers said, click here.

BELLA AURA SKINCARE REVIEW

This post was kindly sponsored by Bella Aura, whose funds will help with running OBL CLUB, a product testing platform for organic beauty lovers.

Bella Aura combines Swiss skincare technology & ancient Berber skincare traditions in a focused line of 5 superior beauty elixirs. All 5 products are a serum-moisturizer cross with a unique emulsion consistency and was created because the ingredients featured in each of Bella Aura’s products helped the founder’s own severe skin issues improve. Yasmine Jones, the creator of the line, was suffering from deteriorating skin & acne scars after going through a traumatic experience with her mother’s battle against leukemia. After spending thousands on skincare products and consulting with skincare specialists, she found nothing was working to improve her skin. It was during a trip to Morocco that she would meet a prominent chemist/herbalist who believed that his oils would help her skin and after months of trying them, would begin to see her skin improving. The only issue was that she wanted the products to work faster so she collaborated with a renowned chemist & scientist to combine these oils with advanced active ingredients – and thus began Bella Aura.

What makes them unique according to founder Yasmine Jones:

“Stronger Hydration properties than Glycerin or Hyaluronic acid
Key ingredients that play a vital role in the regeneration of fibroblasts cells
Stronger Antioxidant activity than Vitamin C, E and Coenzymes Q10
Activation & Strengthening of the Proteasome
Powerhouse of 8 vitamins, B complex, Omega3-6-9 Fatty acids, Amino acids, L-glutamine, Niacinamide, Hydroxytyrosol, Ferulic acid, Antioxidants, Keratin, 100Minerals and list goes on and on
We seek the world’s most pristine Natural elixirs to provide Maximum radiance to your skin
We work with leading Skincare innovators to develop natural, rejuvenating solutions for all Skin Types & Tones”

The brand strives to offer its customers the highest quality – they guarantee their products are 100% premium and natural, with seeds cold-pressed in high standard production facility & neroli essential oil farmed & gathered directly at their production facilities in Morocco. I feel this is a great line to try particularly for those who want something more hydrating then regular face creams but don’t like face oils.

Antioxidant Booster

I had the opportunity to try all 5 products from the line, but if I were to recommend 1 or 2 products they would be the Antioxidant Booster & Night Cellular Renewal. The Antioxidant Booster product works to:

Reduce the formation of a wide range of Reactive Oxidative Stress (ROS)
Prevents oxidative cell damage even in low doses
Effectively inhibits the formation of free radicals

Antioxidants is something you should be adding more of to your skincare routine. Our very own medical esthetician Antonella also included it in her top suggestions in her “Skin First” interview on OBL. This, like the rest of Bella Aura’s products, is a lightweight emulsion and has a unique consistency that they got just right. I applied this every morning before heading outside for work.

Ingredients

Water/Aqua/Eau, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Melissa Officinalis (Balm Mint) Leaf Extract, Disodium Rutinyl Disulfate, Hordeum Distichon (Barley) Extract, Polyglyceryl-6 Distearate, Jojoba Esters, Polyglyceryl-3 Beeswax, Cetyl Alcohol, Propanediol, Cereus Grandiflorus (Cactus)Extract, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Peel Oil, Nigella Sativa Seed Oil, Cellulose, Xanthan gum, Gellan Gum, Hydroxyactophenone, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, 1,2 Hexanediol

Night Cellular Renewal

Another favorite of mine was the Night Cellular Renewal which is high in Vitamin E-C-A-B complex- K-F-D, omega 3-6-9 fatty acids, minerals and nutrients to nourish & renew skin. What it does:

Improves skin hydration, firmness, elasticity and helps retain a superior moisture barrier against external elements
Helps restore your skin’s ability to reach its ideal cellular renewal during sleep when cells are at their most efficient at healing
Activates liver X receptor (LXR) in human primary Keratinocytes (in vivo study)
Activates the key enzymes of epidermal lipid synthesis (in vivo study)

I noticed a number of interesting ingredients like glutamine (antioxidant), cistus extract (toning & firming), and gynostemma pehtaphyllum (prolongs cell life). After cleansing, misting & applying serum I would apply the Night Cellular Renewal, sometimes mixed with a vitamin C powder, followed by facial oils.  This product is designed to really help mature skin and wrinkles of which I have neither, but I appreciated that it was working at a cellular level while I slept. This, like their other products, provide a serious boost of hydration and leaves your skin feeling soft & supple.

Ingredients

Water, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Cereus Grandiflorus (Cactus) Extract, Propanediol, Glycerin, Polyglyceryl-6 Distearate, Joboba Esters, Polyglyceriyl-3, Beeswax, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Peel Oil, Nigella Sativa Seed Oil, Cetyl, Alcohol, Cellulose, Glutamine, Decyl Glucoside, Phenethyl Alcohol, Cistus Incanus, Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Gynostemma Pentaphyllum Leaf/Stem Extract, Hydroxyacetophenone, Xanthan Gum, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, 1,2-Hexanediol

Instant Lifting Eye Contour

Runner up to my first 2 favorites is the Instant Lifting Eye Contour. It works to lift, firm & brighten the eye area as well as significantly reduce the appearance of dark circles, puffiness, crow’s feet, dryness and uneven texture. As someone who avoids using eye oils during the day because it tends to seep into my eyes and cause a lot of irritation,  I was very happy to be able to use a product that didn’t cause any irritation. This instantly made my tired eye area look smoother, hydrated and healthier looking in the morning. i don’t usually suffer from puffy eyes but if I’m especially tired I’ll wake up to puffiness and it would go away after applying this product and brighten the skin.

The Instant Lifting Eye Contour contains the active ingredients Olive Leaf Extract (which contains Oleuropein), Jujube and Levan. Olive Leaf Extract helps to strengthen the Proteasome, which improves skin cells’ natural reprocessing procedure & reduce the damage in your skin. Jujube Extract comes from an Asian fruit and helps strengthen the skin’s anti-oxidative defence system and protects against cellular protein decline while delivering vitamins A,B2 and C & minerals to your skin.

Ingredients

 Water, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Melissa Officinalis (Balm Mint) Leaf extract, Disodium Rutinyl Disulfate, Hordeum Distichon (Barley) Extract, Polyglyceryl-6, Distearate, Jojoba Esters, Polyglyceryl-3 Beeswax, Cetyl Alcohol, Propanediol, Cereus, Grandiflorus (Cactus)Extract, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Peel Oil, Nigella, Sativa Seed Oil, Cellulose, Xanthan gum, Gellan Gum, Hydroxyactophenone, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, 1,2 Hexanediol

Daily Repair Moisturizer

The main focus of this moisturizer is to provide deep long-lasting hydration.  It contains the line’s signature Kamilah blend and also has some notable ingredients like daisy flower extract (skin brightening), olive leaf extract (protective) and aveena strigosa seed extract (water-retaining) . I used this as a daytime moisturizer underneath my sunscreen and would sometimes even take it to work for a touch up in the afternoon. I’m an absolute fan of the scent of neroli and find it to be so calming whenever I use it, day or night. This product also doesn’t contain a bunch of essential oils so you don’t need to worry about it photosensitizing skin or causing skin cell death if that’s your concern. The Daily Moisturizer, of course, does its job of providing the skin with lasting hydration.

Ingredients

Water/Aqua/Eau, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Tocopherol, Glycerin, Avena Strigosa Seed Extract, Lecithin, Polyglyceryl-6 Distearate, Jojoba Esters, Polyglyceryl-3 Beeswax, Cetyl Alcohol, Bellis Perennis (Daisy) Flower Extract, Propanediol, Cereus Grandiflorus (Cactus) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Peel Oil, Nigella Sativa Seed Oil, Cellulose, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Xanthan Gum, Hydroxyacetophenone, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, 1,2 Hexanediol

Gentle Purifying Cleanser

This cleanser has the same emulsion consistency as the rest of the products in the line and does not foam or lather, but rather gentle removes impurities, dirt & grime. With a cleansing cloth it can also effectively remove makeup. The cleanser is loaded with Vitamin E, vitamin B complex & vitamin C, essential fatty acids, Omega 3,6 and 9 and minerals like potassium, calcium, selenium, zinc, iron, magnesium, beta- carotene and amino acids. If you didn’t know this was a cleanser you’d think it was another moisturizer type product. It doesn’t leave your skin feeling stripped or dry and very much hydrates it so your skin feels refreshed, cleansed obviously and moisturized. It comes in a huge bottle so you’re getting a lot of product and my only complaint would be that not enough product is dispensed with each pump. I like to use a big dollop of cleanser but it dispenses the same amount as the other skincare products.

Ingredients

Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Diethylhexyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate, Cereus Grandiflorus (Cactus) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Peel Oil, Nigella Sativa Seed Oil, Hydroxyacetophenone, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, 1,2 Hexanediol

Goodbeing Subscription Box May 2017

I loved the May Goodbeing box I received and had to whip up a quick post about it. As I’ve previously said about this sub box:

Goodbeing is a discovery box with 4-5 trial size products delivered monthly to your door featuring

Healthy beauty products
Non-toxic cosmetics
Natural wellness
Sustainable, toxin-free living goods.

This is one of the most popular natural beauty subscription boxes and for good reason. For $21 you receive a diverse assortment of products that you’re bound to love. Why? Because when you sign up you take quite an extensive survey designed to figure out what products you’d actually want and use from your box. What’s also great about this comopany is that you can pay monthly as you go and you don’t need to commit for a lengthy period of time.

This month I received:

3 HUM Nutrition Raw Greens Packets
Organic Beauty Now’s Daily Conditioner
Good Medicine Beauty Lab’s Youth Nectar Honey Dew
Wildcraft Makeup Remover
Honeybee Gardens Lipstick

So it was a diverse mix of nutrition, makeup, haircare & skincare. I previously reviewed a few of HUM’s supplements so I was very excited for the opportunity to try one of their newest products along with brands I haven’t tried before like wildcraft & Honeybee Gardens. The box also came with a card full of member only discount codes on all these brands and more.

wildcraft: take $5 off your purchase with code 05GOOD
Good Medicine Beauty Lab: Take 20% off with code GOOD04
HUM Nutrition: $10 off your order of $29+ wit code GOOD04
Honeybee Gardens: Taek 15% off with code 05GOOD
Organic Beauty Now: Take 30% off with code 05GOOD

To sign up for Goodbeing use my referral link here.

 

SKIN FIRST WITH SEPI BAKHTIAR OF SEPI SPA

Image from VoyageLA

Welcome to the April edition of SKIN FIRST! This is a monthly series of interviews with skin professionals (who also love organic beauty) to help you achieve your best skin possible. This month features pro esthetician Sepi Bakhtiar of Sepi Spa, a boutique spa offering a full array of skincare services using natural & organic products in Santa Monica. And she’s a believer in wearing SPF everyday no matter what!

Tell us a little about yourself and how you started your career in skincare.

I’ve been a licensed esthetician for over 25 years and I’m also a certified Reiki healer. For a long time, I was a stay at home mom, but I was always interested in the beauty industry, specifically skincare. Once my kids got older, I decided to get my esthetician’s license and started working at the Peninsula hotel in Beverly Hills. After a couple years working there, I decided I needed to branch out and start my own business. And that’s how I ended up where I am today.

What’s your skincare philosophy?

Keep it simple and always adjust the skincare regime to the individual. Everyone’s skin is unique, so everyone requires different treatments and products. But in general, I believe in gentle exfoliation, hydration and moisturizing. I strongly believe in DAILY sunscreen – I can’t stress that enough. I also like to use mainly organic beauty products when I can.

What’s a big skincare mistake you see people make?

The biggest mistake I see is that most people don’t moisturize enough. Dry skin is the one of the quickest way to get wrinkles. I also meet a lot of people who do too many laser treatments. Yes, laser treatments can help tighten the skin and reduce sunspots, but doing it to frequently actually dries out your skin.

There’s some confusion around exfoliation now. Should we be doing it everyday?

You should gently exfoliate 2 times a week for the best results.

Do you believe in layering skincare and a “more is more” approach?

In general, more isn’t better when it comes to skincare. But if you’re going to layer, I prefer layering serum with a moisturizer.

A lot of people don’t cleanse their skin in the morning to keep the natural oils their face produces overnight. Do you recommend this?

Yes, I actually do this myself, so I recommend it. But only if your skin isn’t super oily. If you have oily skin, then I recommend just washing with water in the morning.

What’s your personal nighttime skincare routine?

At night I use Purity Herbs cleansing milk, then wash it off with a damp washcloth. I also use Alastin anti-aging serum and Biologique moisturizer.

3 products you can’t live without?

Purity Herbs Wonder cream
Biopelle
Biologique Crème MSR-H(anti-aging face cream)

SEPI SPA

1624 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, CA
(310) 998-1958

Max and Me Skincare Review + GIVEAWAY (2 WINNERS)

Max and Me is an eco-luxury high-vibrational skincare line hailing from Austria. using only the purest most high quality ingredients in their masterpieces The founders are a husband-wife duo who pour their love for each other and for skincare into their products from start to finish and beyond. As a Max and Me blogger I’ve had the opportunity over the past year to try several products from their exquisite line including the Enchanted & I am the Light Face Oils, Sweet Serenity Face Mask, Rescue Balm & Beauty Balm, Purity & Grace Cleanser as well as samples of their body oils. In this post I’ll be highlighting the Sweet Serenity Face Mask & Wash and the Enchanted Oil, recent winner of Best Facial Oil at Indie Beauty Expo 2016.

They’ve just released their newest product, a Limited Edition 30ml version of Sweet Serenity Face Mask & Wash, their holy grail product. It’s available for pre-order on their site. Read on to find out my thoughts AND how to enter our giveaway for 2 winners ($330 value)!

The Sweet Serenity Mask & Wash revitalizes dull, tired & irritated skin with a base of White Kaolin Clay, Manuka Honey, Shea Butter & Mangosteen powder, oils of immortelle, neroli, ylang ylang, lavender, palmarose & rose. Not only does it work to improve your skin it also helps restore your skin’s harmonious rhythm.

WHAT IT DOES:

soothes, calms & balances sensitive, irritated, flaky, thirsty skin
benefits hard to treat skin issues (acne, rosacea, couperose)
Provides optimum hydration
Brightens and evens out skin tone
Stimulates collagen
Gives a major glow
Counterbalances hyperpigmentation
Boosts skin´s self-healing abilities

HOW I USE IT:

This product is a dry slightly creamy paste and I mix it with just a few drops of water to turn it into a smooth & more creamy paste. The shade will go from dark brown to light brown. I then apply and leave it on for about half an hour and sometimes a few hours if possible. They say to use a warm towel but I wash it off with warm water and make sure to massage the product in circles into my skin for an exfoliating effect. My skin is left looking radiant, brighter and more even toned. The skin’s texture and clarity look improved.

INGREDIENTS

White Kaolin Clay, Leptospermum Scoparium Mel (Raw Manuka Honey), Butyrospermum Parkii Butter1, Garcinia Mangostana Pericarp Powder1, Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil1, Cranberry Seed Oil1, Theobroma Cacao Seed Powder1, Cocos Nucifera Oil1, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil1, Tocopherol, Prinsepia Utilis Seed Oil1, Glycine Soja Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil1, Punica Granatum Seed Oil1, Nigella Sativa Seed Oil1, Gardenia Tahitensis Flower Extract, Helichrysum Angustifolium Flower Oil1, Santalum Album Oil2, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil1, Leptospermum Scoparium Oil3, Citrus Aurantium Flower Extract1, Pelargonium Graveolens Oil1, Pogostemon Cablin Leaf Oil1, Cananga Odorata Flower Oil1, Lavandula Angustifolia Herb Oil2, Cymbopogon Martinii Herb Oil1, Linalool4, Geraniol4, Citronellol4, Limonene4, Alcohol, Farnesol4, Benzyl Benzoate4, Propolis Cera, Benzyl Salicylate4, Citral4, Eugenol4

The Enchanted Oil will surely enchant your skin & soul with its nourishing, regenerative, calming properties.  argan, marula, rosehip, pomegranate, evening primrose with essential oils of jasmine, frangipani, champaca, rose, sandalwood and lavender. It has the most lush jasmine scent, does not cause me any breakouts and leaves my dry skin looking radiant in the morning.

WHAT IT DOES

Nourishes & restores
Soothes, calms & balances
Benefits sensitive, irritated & mature skin
Resonates beautifully with the heart chakra

HOW I USE IT

I place a few drops on my fingers and then press together to “activate” the oil. Then I inhale the oil as part of my selfcare ritual so the beautiful scent will calm my mind & prepare it for sleep. I apply all over my skin massaging it gently in. I then make sure to press the oils into my skin so it can penetrate deeper.

INGREDIENTS

Argania spinosa Kernel Oil1, Rosa moschata Seed Oil1, Sclerocarya birrea Kernel Oil2, Oenothera biennis Oil1, Macadamia ternifolia Seed Oil1, Punica granatum Seed Oil1, Rosa damascena Flower Oil1, Jasminum sambac Flower Extract1, Lavendula angustifolia Herb Oil2, Santalum album Oil3, Michelia champaca Extract, Cananga odorata Flower Oil1, Plumeria alba Flower Extract, Benzyl Alcohol4, Benzyl Benzoate4, Benzyl Salicylate4, Citral4, Citronellol4, Eugenol4, Farnesol4, Geraniol4, Isoeugenol4, Limonene4, Linalool4, Tocopherol5

GIVEAWAY

Win the full size Max and Me Sweet Serenit Mask (value $240) over on my Instagram! We will have 2 winners: 1 for the full size and 1 runner up for the limited edition 30ml version!

TRIESTA ORGANICS HAIRCARE + FREE SET ($110)

This post was kindly sponsored by Triesta Organics, whose funding will help with running OBL CLUB, a product testing platform for organic beauty lovers.

Triesta Organics is a brand new haircare line that’s 100% Organic, Vegan, Cruelty-Free, Non-GMO & Gluten-free & features a Clarifying Treatment, Shampoo, Conditioner & Styling Gel – and today you’ll be able to try out the entire full-sized set (value $110) for FREE! (US only).

 

I’ve been using this set for about 7 weeks now and wanted to wait a little longer before writing my thoughts but since this special offer is for a very limited time, here goes..

CLARIFYING TREATMENT

I really appreciate that the line has a Clarifying Treatment which works to remove build up from styling products, lift away mineral deposits from hard water, and the chlorine and other chemicals that stick to hair from swimming pools. It’s like a detox treatment for your hair & scalp and is designed to clean more thoroughly than a shampoo. It’s also great as a pre- hair mask step (think of how it’s essential to exfoliate your skin before doing a face mask & exfoliate in general), helps prevent blonde hair from turning brassy and helps jumpstart your hair regimen when nothing seems to be working. As a skincare fanatic it’s easy for me to neglect my hair which actually needs a lot of help since I do a lot of balayage, I do believe that haircare needs to be switched up often because hair just like your skin adapts to the products you’re using and you see less benefits over time. So onto how I use the clarifying treatment – I apply a dime sized amount to my fingers and massage through my scalp and hair for a few minutes before rinsing it out. For me, it does lather well.

Ingredients

*aloe vitamin gel; African black soap; saponified coconut oil; *oils of: *argan, *jojoba, *babassu, *maracuja and *evening primrose; *herbal infusion of: *rosemary, *alfalfa, *nettles, *burdock root, *calendula, *linden, *catnip, *peppermint, *chamomile, *rose hips, *dandelion and *yucca; *vinegar; plant sourced kosher vegan xanthan gum & potassium sorbate; organic essential oils of: orange, litsea cubeba, bergamot, rosemary & ylang ylang.
* = Certified organic

MOISTURIZING SHAMPOO

This shampoo reminds me of Josh Rosebrook’s shampoo in terms of texture and consistency. It’s an aloe vera -based formula (promotes hair growth, rejuvenates the hair follicles & reduces thinning) with African Black Soap (natural source of vitamins A & E), evening primrose and maracuja (absorbs moisture & works with natural proteins to prevent hair breakage and stimulate healthy hair growth). Then it also contains Argan, Jojoba & Babassu whic are all rich in vitamins E and C, Omegas 3 and 9. This shampoo lathers extremely well for me, has a fresh crisp citrus scent & does its job of cleaning my hair. I haven’t had any issues of dandruff developing either.

Ingredients

*aloe vitamin gel; African black soap; saponified coconut oil; oils of: *argan, *jojoba, *babassu, *maracuja and *evening primrose; herbal infusion of: *rosemary, *alfalfa, *nettles, *burdock root, *calendula, *linden, *catnip, *peppermint, *chamomile, *rose hips, *dandelion and *yucca; plant sourced kosher vegan xanthan gum & potassium sorbate; organic essential oils of: rosemary, bergamot, orange & ylang ylang.

MOISTURIZING CONDITIONER

The conditioner is lightweight and does a decent job of conditioning my hair & leaving it soft and manageable. I’m not going to say it transforms my hair – their Hair Conditioning Masque has a more dramatic effect on my hair- but as a basic conditioner to alternate between conditioning & masks I can recommend it.  It contains Sustainable palm oil extract and vinegar to remove dirt and oil from hair while replenishing it with vitamin E and vitamin A, Gum Arabic and Guar Gum to provide calcium & prevent hair breakage and oils to nourish.

Ingredients

Vitamin infused *aloe juice; oils of: *argan, *jojoba, *babassu, *maracuja and *evening primrose; herbal infusion of: *rosemary, *alfalfa, *nettles, *burdock root, *calendula, *linden, *catnip, *peppermint, *chamomile, *rose hips, *dandelion and *yucca; sustainable palm oil extract; *vinegar; plant sourced kosher vegan xanthan gum & potassium sorbate; *gum Arabic; *guar gum; organic essential oils of: rosemary, bergamot, orange & ylang ylang.
* = Certified organic

BLOW DRY STYLING GEL

I don’t blow dry my hair ever, but this product can also be used as a heat protectant so I apply just a tiny dime sized amount through the ends of my hair before I go in with my curling iron. It’s a lightweight bouncy clear gel that also has a subtle citrus scent.  It comes in a gigantic bottle – the same size as the rest of the products from the collection – which I feel is way too much product.

Ingredients

Vitamin infused *aloe gel; *argan oil; oils of: *jojoba, *apricot, *grapeseed, *meadowfoam, *hempseed and *evening primrose; herbal infusion of: *rosemary, *alfalfa, *nettles, *burdock root, *calendula, *linden, *catnip, *ginseng, *peppermint, *chamomile, *rose hips, *dandelion and *yucca; plant sourced, kosher and vegan potassium sorbate; organic essential oils of: lavender, rose and pine needle.

This line is safe for color-treated hair.

GET THE ENTIRE FULL SIZED COLLECTION FOR FREE!

1. Head to their website and add the “Moisturizing Collection” to your cart (value $110)

2. Apply code SHINE17

3. Pay for shipping/handling (approx $16-$22)

CODE SHINE17 EXTENDED TIL APR 30, 2017!

.

 

 

Tamanu Oil Lab’s Radiant Oil Review

This post was kindly sponsored by Tamanu Oil Lab, whose funding will help run OBL CLUB. All thoughts are my own.

Known as the “Forgotten Medicinal Miracle,” Tamanu oil grows in a very small area in the South Pacific and is made from the nut of the Tamanu tree. This wonder oil naturally restore lipids in the skin, which supports natural collagen synthesis and improves skin elasticity. Tamanu has so many amazing properties:

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ILIA Beauty Review

Originally from Canada, this now LA organic makeup brand was created in 2011 with a focus on lip products, packaging design & performance. ILIA Beauty boasts an expansive line that includes face, eyes & multi-use products with each containing up to 85% certified organic ingredients. ILIA’s sleek aluminum packaging is unique and instantly recognizable while their reputation for high-performance ultra-clean products precedes them. After having tried their lipstick, I was able to put their Vivid Foundation, Multi-Use Stick & Eyeliner to the test and overall I really enjoyed all the products.

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Loverdure Natural Cosmetics Review


This post was kindly sponsored by Loverdure whose funding will help run OBL CLUB, a product testing & review platform for the green beauty community. All thoughts are my honest opinion.

Loverdure is a Bay Area-based natural skincare line offering 100% natural, mostly organic, vegan skincare products specially with sensitive skin in mind. The products are freshly hand made in small batches in their studio to ensure the highest quality. I tried out 2 face oils (which come in a beautiful unique gold double-toned glass bottle with push dropper) for nearly 7 weeks, a face soap & lip balm. Read on to learn more about Loverdure’s products and an interview with the founder herself.

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