15 #GreenBeauty Favorites from 2015

15 Favorites of 2015

The cleanser with coconut oil that my skin lovesMV Organics Gentle Cream Cleanser

I put off trying this cleanser for years out of fear that the coconut oil would break me out. Until I had a mini MV Organic Skincare facial at a Credo Beauty. The cleanser is mega gentle, and although creamy, leaves no oily residue or breakouts, surprisingly.

The rosey facial oil calms my acneMV Organics Rose Plus Skin Booster

I also put off trying this for years not out of fear, but more out of “meh, rose? Overrated.” My Credo Beauty facialist and MV founder Sharon both recommended I give it a try for my acneic therefore sensitive skin and I have never been more loyal to a facial oil. You may have noticed my posting volume has been way down the past several months which I have been in grad school. Given my insane stress levels (group projects, ugh), my face should have broken out so much more given how sensitive my face is typically to stress. I’m not complaining.

The face mask that is good enough to sleep inTata Harper Resurfacing Mask Continue reading 15 #GreenBeauty Favorites from 2015

May Lindstrom The Problem Solver

One of the things I love the most about May Lindstrom’s The Problem Solver is that it gives me an excuse to treat myself for 45 minutes. That’s 45 minutes of sipping tea and reading Murakami’s insane IQ84 with a jet-black, spicy, chocolate-y, wet cookie infusion sitting on my face. Or watching my new show obsession, Scandal, as this mask tightens, warms, and sucks nasties out of my face.

Try not to snort the powder when you’re scooping it out of the jar or mixing it up with your favorite medium (water, for me. It’s simple)–it’s spicy. That’ll be the combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. Sounds more like a recipe for Christmas cookies, but this one’s not for your taste buds–these spices warm up my face within the first 15 minutes of the mask. Be careful if you’re especially sensitive to spices or sensitive to excessive warmth (definitely have heard that this is a little too spicy for some people). Luckily, my skin does not act out as a result of this “healthy inflammation” once a week and instead seems to signal to itself, “Yo, go heal yourself.”

While cinnamon and cayenne pepper stimulate blood circulation (read: makes your face feel warm, potentially red under that cookie of a mask), nutmeg and turmeric are both anti-inflammatory. All of the spices are anti-acne in some way–cinnamon is battles acne bacteria, turmeric balances sebum production, clove is antiseptic. But for goodness sake, keep this away from your eye sockets unless you want your eyes to sting excruciatingly, speaking from accidental experience.

During the 45 minutes, you may notice black specks appear on your shirt, your laptop, your desk, and it’s okay–you can just wipe them away. Or wear a towel bib if you don’t want to bother (I have done this). Along with the warm feeling, fuller’s earth clay, red moroccan rhassoul clay, and bamboo carbon charcoal powder squeeze and tighten up my face, leaving no place for nasties. The clays are rich in minerals such as calcium, silica, and iron which help to detoxify and draw out impurities, as Evan Healy, aesthetician and founder of Evan Healy skincare, says.

Rhassoul clay is super absorbent, pulling out unwanted toxins with its high concentration of minerals. Fuller’s earth clay (a mix of sodium/calcium bentonite) swells and produces an electric charge that draws out toxins and binds them to the clay–just add water. Bamboo carbon charcoal powder also helps to suck up excess oil and draw out toxins through its ability to attract and hold harmful substances (Google “bamboo carbon charcoal powder” and “adsorption” and various studies about using this powder to remove phenol and nitrate-nitrogen from water pop up).

At the end, you’ll have a gray cast over your face that your mom will laugh at (and then eagerly ask if it will tighten her pores) and if you laugh back, it may crack, so try to be serious. You’ll probably be able to see little air dots from your pores and maybe wet spots where the clays have drawn out a whitehead (score!)

I reach for this mask when I want 45 minutes of time-out. Time-out from work, from pimples. At the end, I’m revived, I’m rested, I can shower (definitely recommend to rinse off in shower–can be a mess) and dry my hair as I finish the rest of my work. If I’m lucky, I end up with one less pimple. I sometimes end up a little rosier than usual, but that is temporary.

A few more interesting ingredients: Cacao. Antioxidants. Is it enough cacao for antioxidants (like have you had enough wine for antioxidants)? Don’t know. Hasn’t hurt.

Ascorbic acid. Is my skin brighter afterwards from the extra vitamin C? Can’t really say. It’s not darker, for sure.

Gotu kola. Wound-healing, antioxidant-boosting, stimulating. Affirmative and cool name for a plant that is related to parsley.

tl;dr Spicy cocoa meets clays & charcoal makes detoxifying and healing mask that jives well with my combo-acneic skin. Be careful if you’re sensitive to spices. Favorite mask for 45 min of time-out. About price for size: it’s a big jar. Also, May Lindstrom is a major babe.

Have you tried this mask? What are your thoughts? If not, what is your favorite time-out mask?

Ingredients: fuller’s earth clay, red moroccan rhassoul clay, theobroma cacao (raw cacao)**, red alaea sea salt, ascorbic acid (vitamin c), sodium bicarbonate, bamboo carbon charcoal powder, vanilla planifolia bean*, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower*, althaea officinalis (marshmallow) root*, boswellia carteri (frankincense)***, centella asiatica (gotu kola)*, archangelica (angelica) root*, cinnamomum zeylanicum (cinnamon)*, myristica fragans (nutmeg)*, syzygium aromaticum (clove)*, curcuma longa (turmeric)*, capsicum annuum (cayenne) pepper*.

*Certified Organic
**Fair Trade Certified
***Wild Harvested

Disclaimer: I purchased this mask myself during a No More Dirty Looks promotion where each order included a sneak peek at the not-yet-but-now-released Honey Mud. I am not being compensated in any way for my words. This post contains affilate links. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Additional Sources:
Allison, Rhonda. “Understanding Inflammation: The Root Cause Of Skin Aging.” Skin, Inc 26.3 (2014): 54-58. OmniFile Full Text Mega (H.W. Wilson). Web. 21 July 2014.

Dalai, Manoj K., et al. “Anti-Cholinesterase Activity Of The Standardized Extract Of Syzygium Aromaticum L.” Pharmacognosy Magazine 10.38/S2 (2014): S276-S282. Academic Search Complete. Web. 21 July 2014.

Rubino, Jessica. “Ayurvedic SKIN CARE.” Delicious Living 30.6 (2014): 43-44. Business Source Complete. Web. 21 July 2014.

Wallace, Bevin. “Facial Clays Primer.” Natural Foods Merchandiser 30.11 (2009): 26. Business Source Complete. Web. 21 July 2014.


Best of 2013: Skincare and Bodycare

Happy end of 2013! It’s been a really fun year of green beauty: of discovery, of healing, of truly, fun. I’ve had a fun time interacting with other greenies and falling in love with new products. Keep reading for my skincare and bodycare favorites of the past year…

Soapwalla may have taken the green and non-green world by storm, but I’ve been loving how the Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Cream with Tea Tree takes away my stink. Even when I sweat (which is much and often), I smell, can I say, deliciously of tea tree and void of any smelliness? Also delicious is the consistency of the cream, which is soft and smooth as butter, though it has been a bit harder thanks to chilly, dry California.
I’ve gone from using tea tree essential oil, lavender essential oil, to even nothing as spot treatments. Accompanied with a good diet and yoga, I’ve lately been enjoying Osmia Organic’s Spot Treatment as an extra punch against blemishes. There aren’t necessarily any instant results, especially with larger, more evil blemishes, but not only does it smell lovely, I’ve found it to help along the healing process of my blemishes without leaving flakes behind. The mini rollerball also makes application very easy.
YÜLI pretty much took over my skincare this year. The Panacea Elixir was my initial gateway drug, then the Cocoon Elixir soothed my skin over the summer, and with that I was done for. Pure was the only mask I brought home because it’s my favorite two-for-one: clarifying yet simultaneously soothing in one formula. It heals blemishes I’ve naughtily popped the night before and brings out other blemishes to the surface while leaving my complexion smooth and soft (and matcha green tea is one of its ingredients!). Cell Perfecto PM is definitely one of my holy grail products for how much it healed my acne scars this year. Not only did it enable no-makeup days, but also dabbling into blush and bronzer, something I had given up while my cheeks were too rosy from scarring. I will show picture evidence soon. Halycon has become my favorite second-step cleanser (or only step, if it’s a no-makeup day) for how gentle, light, lovely, and effective it is.

I upgraded from removing makeup with jojoba oil and a flannel to Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organic’s Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil and Makeup Remover and haven’t looked back. The first time I tried the oil, the tropical papaya scent hit me, and I was like, “Omg.” Then I began massaging it in my face, watched the makeup melt away, and was like, “Omg.” Then I rinsed it off and then I was really like, “Omg” because the oil washed off with water and left my face so soft that I wasn’t sure I had rinsed it all off. Then I had my sister tried it and she had basically the same reaction. Love.

The rest of my bodycare favorites might as well just be dubbed as body oil favorites. I had been pretty nonchalant about body moisturizing before, and was content with just DIYing it with coconut oil or jojoba oil. Until I tried Lina Hanson’s Global Body Serum, which not only smells deliciously of citrus and vanilla, but also leaves my body so moisturized and soft. Osmia’s Body Oils overturned my post-shower routine–I now wait just a little longer before toweling off so I can slather one of these deliciously smelling blends over my whole, damp body. The idea is that lotions are basically a mixture of water and oils–so why not use the moisture left over from the shower with the body oil to make your own effective lotion? Brilliant, Osmia. I’ve been loving sultry Sunset and pretty flowery Flower.

Inflight Pamper

The season of school has finally given way to summer, so yesterday I sat all day on an plane taking me home from the East Coast to the West Coast. In the middle of reading an Elle magazine, passing out, and reading Sherlock Holmes (amazing, by the way), I did a bit of face pampering at my seat.

Amala Hydrating Yogurt Mask sample (came with an SBL order), Vered Herb-Infused Toner, and cup of ice all in my trusty fedora

1. Moving out and airplane flying called for a naked face (with sunscreen, of course), so there was no need for makeup removal. To cleanse and tone, I poured 5-7 drops of the Vered Herb-Infused Toner onto a cotton pad and swiped it all over my face and neck, avoiding the eye area. The toner is non-drying and has a refreshing, spicy scent. (As an aside, this toner can remove makeup, but I find I need much more of it, and I don’t like going through so many cotton pads and product as once especially this one is so nice!)

2. I patted down the remaining moisture left by the toner, and then massaged a light layer (aka half of the packet) of the Amala Hydrating Yogurt Mask into my face and neck. This mask can be washed off in 10 minutes or used as a leave-on treatment, but since I was one hour into a nine hour trek, I opted to leave it on. This has pleasant macadamia nut-jasmine-rose scent. I usually get a few dry patches inflight, but this time I didn’t have a single one by the time I reached home.

Skincando Combat-Ready Balm (sample size)
3. My hands were chapped and swollen from moving and packing, so I massaged Skincando‘s Combat-Ready Balm into my hands. I had already applied this along with Badger Balm For Hardworking Hands (appropriate for the occasion) at least twice earlier in the day, and I massaged this in again before going to sleep in my own bed. Today, the poor hands are still a bit dry, but much less red and dry than yesterday.