#GreenBeauty Expired Skincare #3

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

My Mama’s Green Beauty Picks

Mama's Green Beauty Picks

In honor of Mother’s Day, I bring you my mama’s picks from the green beauty world. She was slightly resistant to greening her routine at first since she long developed her own groove, but graciously opened up to my obsession with healthy beauty. What started with me pushing products onto her to try has turned into her purchasing them herself or requesting suggestions from me. I’m a proud mama hen of a mama hen.

La Bella Figura | Découverte Under Eye Repair Serum
It makes my eyes look nice. My eyes look less baggy. Also, the smell is really good and even though it is an oil, it doesn’t feel oily because the skin absorbs it in. I think it definitely tightens up the skin around my eye and makes the skin tone better. I really see a difference.

Laurel Whole Plant Organics | Healing Balm 

Remember, my neck, it’s very sensitive; I get allergic reactions. It can get very itchy and red, but this healing balm repairs my skin. I haven’t had [reactions] for a long time. So I love this one. Also sometimes I use the leftover from my neck on my face after I apply the Antioxidant Serum because sometimes my face is sometimes a little itchy, just a very little amount. (Ed. note: she’s repurchased this probably three times by now)
Laurel Whole Plant Organics | Antioxidant Serum 
It’s an oil but it doesn’t make skin oily (Ed. note: this is especially important to her because she uses powder foundation, and powder foundation on an oily face looks no bueno). It smells really good. It makes me feel good because it’s made up of plants. (Ed. note: she’s on her first repurchase of this)
It cleanses your face pretty well and removes makeup too. Sometimes, when I wash my face, every other day, I put a little of the scrub in while I’m washing. (Ed. note: when Whole Foods has this on sale, she buys them in bulk)
I like to use it to wash my [makeup off] even though it’s expensive. (*laughs) (Ed. note: I left a sample of this at time, and to my delight, she went out on her own and purchased it. And then used it on her face as a makeup remover to my dismay. Oh well. At least she found a way to enjoy it.)
Josh Rosebrook | Hair Spray Firm Hold
If I tease my hair and spray it, it holds hair in place really well. (Ed. note: my mom is a huge hairspray snob and she uses hairspray all the time to keep hair out of her face and in a neat bun. Before this one, she used the same brand for years and years and years, so this is actually a big deal.)
Usually when you wear sunscreen under makeup, the makeup really does not look very good. Usually sunscreen is very greasy. But this one is not. It wears really nicely under makeup because it’s very smooth and silky. (Ed. note: she buys this one in bulk too.)
Disclaimer: I queried my mom and she graciously provided answers. Only editing was for grammar and editorial notes. All products purchased by her, images screenshotted from each respective brand’s website. Image of the two of us was from A Night From Green Beauty last summer in Los Angeles. Affiliate links are included.


A Birthday Giveaway of Fave #GreenBeauty Skincare

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

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

Here are the goods:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go wild and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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


The Skincare Tag

Thank you Marcella from Naturally Marcy for tagging me! Hope you enjoy~

My skin is the king.

Dry, acne-prone


Oils. I love facial and body oils so much. I love how concentrated they can be and the nourishing benefits they can have! Never thought I would ever say this before I got into green beauty–I used to be all over oil-free.

For facial oils, I love YÜLI Skincare’s Cell Perfecto PM for night and M.E. Skin Fuel for mornings. The Cell Perfecto PM has drastically faded my acne scars and M.E. Skin Fuel fuels my skin with moisture and good-enough-to-eat ingredients (pomegranate, broccoli, um yum?). I like Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organic’s Vitamin C Serum as an extra when I need an extra layer of moisture–it makes my face super soft and smells relaxingly of roses.

For body oils, I love Osmia Organic’s Sunset and Flower body oils. Sunset smells sultry and delicious, Flower like a fresh flower field. Lina Hanson’s Global Body Serum (see post here) also smells deliciously of citrus and vanilla. And they all are fabulous at moisturizing.


Eating healthy, stressing less, exercising often, more sleep, and leaving those blemishes alone! I find my skin goes from not blemishy to very blemishy very quickly as soon I as up the snacks, the stress, and start going to bed regularly at 2. But when I’m on that yoga mat more mornings than not. drinking those green smoothies, chilling out, and sleeping, blemishes don’t even stand a chance. But when I am naughty and pop pimples, I do like the Dr. Alkaitis Soothing Gel (see post here) to help with the healing afterwards.

I also love a weekly (or bi-weekly) mask treatment to ward off spots. May Lindstrom’s The Problem Solver and YÜLI Skincare’s Pure are kicking blemishes off of my face like pros. The Problem Solver is spicier, more warming (like you actually feel a warming sensation), and takes more time (45 min). Pure is gentler, takes less time (10-15 min). Both are clay-based, leave my face soft, and suck the life out of blemishes.


Hail to the not necessary. I used to have face wipes on hand for a quick midday makeup removal, but I so much more enjoy my proper cleansing routine. I feel like green beauty does cleansers so well that face wipes are just not needed. Even if you’re feeling lazy, you can almost DIY a “face wipe” with a cleansing oil like the Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin B Cleansing Oil (see post here) on a cotton round followed by a splash of water. But if you’re into real cleaning, I love the oil to remove makeup, followed either by YÜLI’s Halcyon (super gentle and floral) or May Lindstrom’s newly released The Honey Mud (chocolate honey).

Hail to the absolutely yay. I love toners. They’re great for that extra boost of moisture pre-moisturizing, post-makeup, or in the middle of the day.

Simple: Heritage Store Rosewater & Glycerin Spray (see post here)
Astringent: Vered Botanicals Herb-Infused Toner (see post here and here)
Acne-Prone: YÜLI Skincare Panacea Elixir (see post here)
Oily: Pai Orange and Rice Bioaffinity Toner
Extra moisture: YÜLI Skincare Cocoon Elixir (see post here)

Taking high-end to mean quality–both. I think in general skincare should come before makeup, because you should take care of your skin before you start adding extra color to it. I banned myself from blush and bronzer until my cheeks healed from redness and acne, and now, I am having a ball experimenting with color.

Well, my mom and my sister thought I was crazy when I brought One Love Organics Skin Savior Balm home and told them it was a cleanser and a moisturizer. Then when I broke out they were like, “Well obviously because you were using a cleanser as your moisturizer!” (True story: I did actually mix up a cleanser and moisturizer once, was breaking out for a month, and did not realize my mistake until my mom pointed it out to me)

Quick, someone find me the jojoba oil! Makeup remover, face moisturizer, body moisturizer, you name it.

I can sum it all up with a bit of Kant: treat humanity as an ends, not a means.

You are a part of humanity, so treat yourself, and therefore your skin with respect. You may want to try all sorts of awesome products, but resist! Don’t use your skin as a means. Listen to your skin and see what it needs first. Protect your skin! With sunscreen (or a wide-brimmed hat) and gloves in the winter. Keep dirty hands away from your face–blemishes don’t need anymore reasons to pop up!

I have had a lot of fun reading everybody else’s skincare tags, and I’d love to read yours, reader! I’d also love to read Garcy’s from Eco Diva Beauty and Asti’s from Skjonnhet.

A liquid, a powder, and a gel…

Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, right? I personally like the one about pandas and commas, but I also really like these three very different and beautiful cleansers. I’m cheating a bit with the Vered Organic Botanicals Herb-Infused Toner, but that’s because this sensually-smelling toner moonlights as a cleanser (you can read about it from Fig+Sage). A botanical plethora of essential oils and herbs is infused into grape alcohol, distilled water, and vegetable glycerin to make a non-drying, refreshing step as a cleanser or a toner. While I liked the simplicity of this as my sole cleanser, my finicky face likes this more as a toner. The toner can be swiped on with cotton pads or slapped on with bare hands, and I rather like both methods. After applying, I leave the remaining moisture and slather on my face oil, which mixes beautifully and feels wonderfully soft and hydrating.

The Clean Dirt from May Lindstrom Skin is a whole ‘nother beast. You can see the powder-to-mousse action from Beauty by Britanie, skjonnhet, kimberlyloc, and the woman herself which is terribly good fun. The concoction also brings Christmas cookies to mind thanks to its clays and warming spices that come together to purify and exfoliate the skin. For that reason, I would definitely dub this as the strongest out of the trio, and my usage ranges from once in a while to two times a week as to not terrify my breakout-happy skin. Sometimes I leave it for an extra minute or two as a mask before washing off, and every time I go to bed with soft skin and visions of sugar plums dancing in my head.

The Dr. Alkaitis Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser is the most classic cleanser of the bunch, as I’ve mentioned before, with healthy foaming action and a gel-like texture. This combined with the Vered toner and Vered Therapeutic Balancing Face Oil (not pictured) have been a pimple-fighting powerhouse these past couple of months. I have been seeing less and less breakouts each month and am liking the downwards trend very much. But that’s a story for another time…In the meantime, have you tried any of these cleansers? What are your favorites?

Note: When it comes to makeup removal, all of these can to some degree, but removing makeup separately before cleansing always results in no makeup residue once it comes to toning. Also, none of these should be getting friendly with the eyes.

Feeding my skin with Dr. Alkaitis

When it comes to green skincare, I had my start with a balm.

I rubbed that balm of pure plant oils in between my fingers and onto my face, watched my makeup melt away, and I was like, “Wow…awesome…” And then I wiped the residue away with a warm washcloth and I was like, “Wow…even more awesome…” And then I moisturized with it. My mom and my sister were incredulous, “How can you moisturize and cleanse with the same product?!” With the power of organic plant oils, that’s how…

Unfortunately while I liked the balm, my face didn’t get along with it. (My mom and my sister blamed it on the double-duty cleansing and moisturizing–false!!) The same thing happened with coconut oil (though I’m sure I didn’t get a pure enough form), and at this point my face was screaming unhappiness in the form of face-wide breakouts.

That was when I began cleansing with pure, raw honey, after removing makeup with jojoba oil and a warm washcloth. I followed with argan oil for moisturizing. My face calmed down within the next couple months, but it was still a bit traumatized, breaking out, and starting to get drier from the winter weather. After coming back from this last winter break, I decided it was time to put away my DIY fairy and put my face in the hands of Dr. Alkaitis.


I was drawn to Dr. Alkaitis for several reasons. Did you know he was a prodigy violinist before going into science? Hello, fellow musician! And how he did not set out to create an organic skincare line, but in order to create the best skincare line, he had to make it organic? Win! And talk about winning, they’ve won various awards, many of which concerning problematic/acneic skin? Also their motto:
If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin™
It is now three months since purchasing the Trial and Travel kit, and first of all, this lasted me much longer than 7-12 days. The trial-size Cleanser and Soothing Gel ran out after about 2 months with constant use, and I’m still going on the Treatment Oil. Second, I have already purchased some of the full sizes. This should give you an idea of what is about to follow.

Before diving into the products, I emailed the Alkaitis team for recommendations for my combo, acne-prone skin, and I will interweave their suggestions (indented) along with my experience.

1). In the morning and at night use our Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser. It cleans the skin gently, deeply and thoroughly. It removes old skin cells and leaves the skin moist, soft and refreshed.

Put a little on your middle finger, scoop up some water and gently massage your face until foam avoiding the eye area, rinse with lukewarm water and dab dry.

The smell. The smell. I fell in love at first sniff. And then with the cleansing power. Two pumps dispenses just enough for a gentle foaming massage, and my face feels clean but not dry after rinsing. The foaming does not come from the usual, harsh sulfates that are used in conventional foamy face washes, but from an organic castile base including olive, shea, and coconut oil. Some reviews on Spirit Beauty Lounge claim this can remove makeup (excluding eye makeup). I’ve tried it, and while I find it removes some makeup, there is definitely leftover residue, so I prefer removing makeup with sweet almond oil beforehand at night.
I was also drawn to this cleanser because of something Spirit Demerson (of SBL) said herself in a comment on Anna’s Morning Routine on No More Dirty Looks:
After my summer breakout fiasco, I was not sure if my skin could tolerate the coconut oil in RMS Beauty. This comment gave me a little hope, and ever since I’ve been using this cleanser in tandem with RMS, I have had no makeup-related breakouts.
While usage is recommended for day and night, I prefer using this only at night, as my skin has been on the drier side since winter hit. (For morning, I was using my Konjac sponge until it tore, *tear. Now, I splash with water and wipe with Vered Botanicals Herb-Infused Toner.)

2). In the morning and evening after cleansing, apply our Organic Soothing Gel, it is a moisturizing gel that leaves your skin soft, supple and refreshed. It is an antibacterial tonic, good for sensitive skin and inflammatory conditions such as acne, eczema and rosacea.

In the palm of your hand dispense a dime-size amount apply over entire face, using only your fingertips. Massage gently for full absorption.

This product replaced the tea tree or lavender essential oil I had been previously using to spot-treat acne. The Soothing Gel is, as its name suggests, soothing and cooling, as it is comprised of various herbs in a base of aloe and witch hazel, both of which are anti-inflammatory and moisturizing.  Thus, the Soothing Gel can function as a moisturizer for oiler skin types, which will be me this summer, but we will see if I can part with my beloved facial oils. Since I am currently drier, I enjoy it more as a gentle, light, moisturizing acne treatment, upon which I layer a facial oil. One pump is enough for my face and is quietly effective without the irritation I sometimes get from tea tree and lavender.
The Soothing Gel is also recommended for use on just-shaven areas, and let me tell you, I’ve had nights where I’ve forgotten my shaving cream (aka my hair conditioner) but I had to shave, and then I shaved but it wasn’t the best job. Normally, I just suck it up and deal with the tenderness that follows, but the Soothing Gel eliminates any necessary woman-ing up. After a light application upon the just-shaven area, I’m good to go and I’ve already forgotten that I forgot my shaving cream.

3). Before bed  after the cleansing and the gel you did earlier, apply our Organic Nourishing Treatment Oil. As the day wears on your face gets oily and we apply the Ayurvedic philosophy “Oil cuts Oil.” But that’s not the only reason you have to use the treatment oil, there are other ones, This oil will have both a therapeutic effect on your skin and will bring unbalanced skin into balance, it absorbs quickly and holds moisture which is very important and I’ll tell you why, it will soften the sebum that causes the acne and in the morning you will be able to wash some of it off.

This oil. I love this oil. I had only played with single ingredient facial oils like jojoba and argan before, so this was my first blend. It is so beautiful. It’s a rich golden color, and smells like a dream when I’m patting it onto my face. This is a bit of a heavier oil in comparison to argan, so I give it a little more time to sink in before heading to bed or putting on sunscreen during the daytime. This makes my face feel so moisturized, plump, and soft. And the ingredients are awesome, including Rosehip oil, St. Johns Wort, turmeric, otherwise known as healing, also healing, and extra healing.


Using these products together have resulted in really wonderful results for my face. The small bumpy patches of irritation on my cheeks–diminished. The acne scars littered across my cheeks–lightened and healed significantly.  My forehead barely breaks out. While I can still count on hormonal acne visitors each month, they heal within a week. My skin texture is smoother and my redness has decreased. I am more confident about only spot-concealing instead of going for full coverage. I’ve even had a couple no-makeup days! Only a couple months ago, I was too embarrassed to go outside my room after removing my makeup, so I cannot tell you how glad this makes me.

Of course, I must mention that these results did not happen overnight and my skin is still far from perfect. This was a gradual process and of course what you put on your face only goes so far–diet plays a role as well (I admit…I still eat bacon). I also had a month of dabbling where I tried adding in some of the creams for extra moisture, but I came to the conclusion that my skin does not yet require the power packed in those lovelies (but maybe I will in 10 years or so). The eye creme, also very powerful, is also very lovely, and I know I don’t need it, but I will use it until I run out of the sample. I will just say that my eyes are practically never puffy anymore, and I often opt out of under-eye concealer because my dark circles are not as dark anymore.

As far as full-size purchasing goes, I am gradually decanting the full-size Cleanser and Soothing Gel into my trial-size bottles for convenience. The only reason I have not purchased the full-size Nourishing Treatment Oil is because there are so many great oils out there that I want to try…however, I know what to come back to if my face misbehaves again.

As a footnote, I must also mention that the prices are very deceiving. The sizes for all of these products are actually very generous. The Cleanser is $65 for 4oz ($16.25/oz), Soothing Gel for $60 for 4oz ($15/oz), and the Nourishing Treatment Oil $80 for 4 oz ($20/oz). Just looking at the oil–twenty dollars per ounce for that powerful blend is a great deal! There are oils out there that are $100+ per ounce!

As a second footnote, while I am obsessed with the smell of these products, it may not be for everyone, as are the various herbs and essential oils, which is exactly why I started with the Trial and Travel Kit, which is also a great value and really gives you a good taste of Dr. Alkaitis.

Have you tried any Dr. Alkaitis? What are your thoughts and experiences?

All bases covered ft. Dr. Alkaitis, DeVita, Vapour, and RMS

Aaaaand we’ve got RMS Beauty up to bat with Dr. Alkaitis, DeVita, and Vapour on the bases and the pitcher is swinging and swinging and wow look at that fast ball and paPOW! RMS hits it out of the park defense is scrambling offensive is running just look at those legs run and over the home base goes Alkaitis…and DeVita…and Vapour WOW it’s a GRAAAAND SLAM!

…so, this winter has really been a struggle interesting for me. First, my face was too dry, and I experimented with layering a moisturizer on top of oils (*thumbs up), and then it was also getting a bit too rosy, and I decided to lay off the two-time-a-day tea tree oil application for pimples (*thumbs up), and then all of my cream foundations started looking flaky on me despite moisturizing (*thumbs way down) and the winter is just sucking. life. from. my. face!

With all of this fiddling around with my routine to appease my face, I was getting a bit restless, but yesterday morning was suddenly a great ray of sunshine in the murky clouds. I may have had 8am Physics section, and trudged through flying snow and sitting snow, and had to resort to wearing two layers of gloves, but things came together for my face. When they say layer your clothes, layer your skincare, they’re not kidding because it works awesome. A great base means great-looking makeup and better-looking skin for sure.

From left to right: Dr. Alkaitis Soothing Gel, Dr. Alkaitis Day Creme, DeVita Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30+

I am in love with the philosophy of Dr. Alkaitis, and even more in love with the fact that even though he didn’t set out to create an organic line, because he set out to create the best and most effective line, his products had to be organic. So I’ve been playing with his travel and trial kit, and as per a recommended routine for not oily but still acne-prone skin, I use his Soothing Gel in the mornings to soothe inflammation. Because it’s winter and it’s extra dry, as not per my recommended routine (naughty, I know), I added the tiniest amount of his Day Crème as well for extra moisture, and then layered my new favorite DeVita sunscreen over the top. It’s sunscreen, but it goes on like moisturizer. Shocking, right.

From up to down: Vapour Stratus Instant Skin Perfector in 902, Vapour Atmosphere Luminous Foundation in 115 &125, RMS Beauty ‘un’ cover-up in 11
I got the Vapour Stratus Instant Skin Perfector a bit ago, but to be honest, I’m only now truly mastering its application and appreciating its capabilities. It’s meant to be a 3-in-1 moisturizer, primer, and no-color foundation, and I find it does great on the moisturizing and priming front (unfortunately I have too many acne scars for the no-color foundation part to work). Over that, I blended Vapour’s Luminous Foundation in 115 and 125, which had been pilling or flaking on me annoyingly since it started getting cold (ironically, since it’s intended for dry skin), but with enough of the Skin Perfector, I find it behaves. Since I am pretty much out of my go-to Alima mineral foundation which I usually use for extra concealing over cream foundation, I decided to take a risk and use my RMS ‘un’ cover-up as my spot concealer over blemishes and scars (this has not been behaving for me on its own–looks super flaky and not sure if it breaks me out or not), and wow. I had read in the Spirit Beauty Lounge reviews for the RMS how someone loved layering the two (though they did RMS and then Vapour–opposite order than me), and I get it now. They somehow go really well together–the RMS gave me just enough extra coverage over the Vapour and didn’t give me flakes.
With all of my batting gear on, I successfully braced the winter winds; and thank goodness even though I only had a half day of classes and didn’t have to go outside past 3pm and just hunkered down for a restful Friday night, at least my face was ready for anything (like a DOWNTON ABBEY MARATHON!!!!!!!)