Winter Essentials Tag: Osmia Organics and Flight Skincare

Last winter, I was tearing my hair out trying to keep my face from feeling dry and tight. I was layering oils on oils, oils on creams, creams on oils, the whole shebang (which, fun fact, I just learned refers to #! in the computer science world). I was spritzing my face constantly throughout the day but feeling dry again within 15 minutes.

This winter, even when it dropped to negative degrees, I only felt that way once or twice. Once or twice vs. the entire winter? Huge improvement.

The lovely Ru from Short Small Sweet tagged me for my winter essentials, and here they are: Osmia Organics’ Active Gel Toner and Flight Skincare’s Floating Hydration Serum.

Don’t be fooled by the seemingly small size of AGT–the first time I used it, I pumped all the way down, getting a handful of gel, and later on in my routine when I put on foundation, it pilled (making those gross eraser-like marks). I sent out an SOS to Osmia Organics’ founder Sarah on Twitter, and she said she only uses a dab each time. The amount shown in the picture below requires like 1/5 of the pump, and that + a damp face/toner is more than enough.

AGT goes on after I cleanse and before I moisturize. I give it 30-60 seconds to set (per bottle instructions), and then proceed with my oil + serum concoction of the day. When fall started to kick in, I didn’t feel the drying effects at all, except for the one day I neglected to apply this. When winter started to kick in, I still wasn’t feeling it, until that one negative degree day, but then again, at that point, you should just start wearing ski masks because weather is weather.

First on the ingredients list is aloe, followed by a beautiful list of extracts, a preservative that’s NOT phenoxyethanol (it can be done!)niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid has been getting a lot of love for its hydration superpowers–it’s featured in Tata Harper’s well-loved toner, it was even used as a selling point in a conventional setting powder. It’s naturally produced in the deepest layers of our skin, and supplementing with more hyaluronic acid encourages the skin to retain moisture and to stay supple.

Niacinamide, or vitamin B3, while less popular than hylaluronic acid but by no means less cool, has been reported to improve barrier function and decrease the signs of photoaging (hyperpigmentation, fine lines). It is, quote, effective at alleviating dry skin conditions, and indeed it has been for me. Score!

The extracts include rose of jericho, white tea, and oat beta glucan. Rose of jericho is super, super cool because its plant is able to survive extreme dehydration through a process only found in two plants (itself being one) called trehalose accumulation. So it knows how to keep itself hydrated. On top of these hydrating ingredients are the calming white teaaloe, calendula, and smoothing oat beta glucan (sorry gluten-free folks).

I picked and started using Flight Skincare’s Floating Hydration Serum on a whim and then fell full in love with it. I am so into oils–I love the texture, I love the colors, I love how my skin loves it. But when I need an extra boost of hydration, an aloe-rich serum has been my favorite cherry on top. To supplement AGT, I began mixing half a dropper of FHS with an oil. 
Technically, the directions say to use a full dropper for your entire face and neck, which I did try, and while it kept my face feeling hydrated throughout a day of cross-country flying (can’t use enough exclamation points to express that this never happens!!!), it can feel like a lot of serum for not enough face in my opinion, and it takes time for it to sink in all the way, and I love oils, so I preferred mixing with oil to get the best of both worlds.
In the winter of either California or Baltimore, this gave my face a serious glow of hydration. Not a grease glow, but a healthy glow and my face just felt marvelously hydrated.
What drew me initially wasn’t the aloe (which is well known for its hydrating, anti-inflammatory, burn-healing properties), but the various extracts: pomegranate, wild yam (um, YUM), and green tea
Pomegranate extract is antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory, and has strong free radical scavenging activity, which is great for strengthening the skin and fighting off the signs of aging by protecting from cellular damage. There was even a study done on Asian males where it was shown pomegranate extract can have pretty good control over melanin activity (hyperpigmentation, begone!).
Wild yam extract excited me because I’ve never seen it in a product before–it’s apparently like ascorbic acid (basically the very effective vitamin C which sometimes can be irritating)’s little sister. In a study done comparing free radical scavenging activity, wild yam extract trails ascorbic acid on the efficacy chart by an average of 20%. Not a huge deal for me, because it contains phytosterols which has been effective in blocking the reduced synthesis of collagen after exposure to UV rays as well as stimulating further collagen production (yay!). 
I mentioned green tea extract in my review of the #ED4OLO Vitamin C Serum (here), so I will briefly recap here: it boosts vitamin C in being more effective and it itself is a great source of antioxidants.
After giving this a shoutout in my #GreenSurvivor Challenge video (watch it here if you haven’t yet!), the lovely Kym from Flight Skincare posted about the vitamin C-rich lilly pilly extract on Instagram (see it here), and I couldn’t believe I had glossed over it on the ingredients list initially (probably blinded by hearts in eyes by the time I got to the middle of the list). Turns out this Aussie plant is really high in vitamin C (so woot–that green tea’s got something to boost)–one study cites the number as high as 174mg AAE/g (ascorbic acid equivalents per gram) in lilly pilly extract. For comparison, Google says there’s about 55mg in a small orange. 
Now the crazy hydration–I’m guessing it’s coming from the combination of humectants (aloe, vegetable glycerine, honey, floral waters) and squalene, an occlusive. Vegetable glycerine is a humectant, so it binds/attracts moisture to the the skin. It’s also tacky, so I’m thinking it’s partially what gives the serum it’s main tacky texture. Honey is also a well-known humectant that is often used as a moisturizing mask or even a cleanser (reminds me of my old DIY days). Add to that the occlusive squalene, which forms a barrier on the skin preventing water loss, and you get seriously hydrated skin.
Special mention goes to mimosa oil (which just reminds me of that scene in The Incredibles where he’s on the plane and is sipping a mimosa), which besides having the effect of making everyone thirsty for brunch, smells floral + woody and may have calming properties on the skin.

tl;dr Hydration heroes: a gel toner after cleansing and before moisturizing delivering hydration to the deepest levels of the skin + a milky serum with a great combination of humectants and and an occlusive. Absolute winter essentials.

Have you tried any of these products? What are your thoughts? If not, what were your winter essentials been?

Also, since we are in an awkward time transitioning over to spring (finally!), I want to hear either your winter essentials or tell me in couple weeks (or months) what your spring essentials are Naturally Marcy, Plein Vanity, Green Beauty Babe, and Let’s Talk about Green.

Disclaimer: I purchased AGT from Osmia Organics and was sent the Floating Hydration Serum graciously from Flight Skincare along with my order of their cleansers after a shipping mishap. I am not being compensated in any way for my words. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Osmia AGT ingredients: aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, glycerin*, camellia sinensis (white tea) extract*, calendula officinalis extract*, lactobacillus/oat ferment extract filtrate, niacinamide (vitamin B3), lactobacillus ferment, selaginella lepidophylla (rose of jericho) extract, hyaluronic acid, sclerotium rolfsii gum, [gluconolactone (and) sodium benzoate], sodium bicarbonate, proprietary blend of organic and wild-harvested essential oils

*=CERTIFIED ORGANIC, 81.2% certified organic ingredients

Flight FHS ingredients: Aqua, Aloe Barbadensis( Aloe Vera) Leaf Gel,Vegetable Glycerine,* Citrus aurantium (Neroli ) Water,Jasminum nudiflorum (Jasmine) Water, Sorbitol, Squalene (Olives)*(Honey),*Punica granatum (Pomegranate) extract, Dioscorea villosa (Wild Yam) extract, Syzigium australe (Lilly Pilly) extract,* Camelia synensis (Green Tea) extract, Citrus aurantium (Orange) Water, Limnanthes alba (Meadowfoam),Zanthomonas campestris (Xanthan) Gum, Hydroxyethylcellulose( Plant derived amino acid), Parfum (Vanilla & Almond), Albizia julibrissin Durazz (Mimosa) Oil,

* Certified Organic ** Wild Harvested

Additional Sources:

Bissett, D. L., et al. “Topical Niacinamide Reduces Yellowing, Wrinkling, Red Blotchiness, And Hyperpigmented Spots In Aging Facial Skin.” International Journal Of Cosmetic Science 26.5 (2004): 231-238. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

Dweck, Anthony C. “The Wild Yam – Review of Dioscorea Species.” Personal Care Magazine 3.3 (2002): 7-9. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

Grether-Beck, S., K. Mühlberg, H. Brenden, and J. Krutmann. “Topische Applikation Von Vitaminen, Phytosterolen Und Ceramiden.” Der Hautarzt 59.7 (2008): 557-62. Web.

Mohammed, D., P. J. Matts, J. Hadgraft, and M. E. Lane. “In Vitro-In Vivo Correlation in Skin Permeation.” Pharmaceutical Research 31.2 (2014): 394-400. ProQuest Central. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

Mohammed, D., J.m. Crowther, P.j. Matts, J. Hadgraft, and M.e. Lane. “Influence of Niacinamide Containing Formulations on the Molecular and Biophysical Properties of the Stratum Corneum.” International Journal of Pharmaceutics 441.1-2 (2013): 192-201. Web.

Parveen, Rashida, Naveed Akhtar, and Tariq Mahmood. “Topical Microemulsion Containing Punica Granatum Extract: Its Control Over Skin Erythema And Melanin In Healthy Asian Subjects.” Advances In Dermatology & Allergology / Postepy Dermatologii I Alergologii 31.6 (2014): 351-355. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

Roy, Anitha, et al. “In Vitro Antioxidant And Free Radical Scavenging Activity Of The Ethanolic Extract Of Dioscorea Villosa (Wild Yam) Tubers.” Drug Invention Today 3.9 (2011): 214-215. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

Scott Danos, C. “Bruise Amelioration And Skin Benefits From Glycerin And Natural Triglyceride.” Cosmetics & Toiletries 129.6 (2014): 50-56. OmniFile Full Text Mega (H.W. Wilson). Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

Vázquez-Ortíz, F. A., and E. M. Vatenzuela-Soto. “HPLC Determination Of Trehalose In Selaginella Lepidophylla Plants.” Journal Of Liquid Chromatography & Related Technologies 27.12 (2004): 1937-1946. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

Vuong, Quan V., Sathira Hirun, Tiffany L.K. Chuen, Chloe D. Goldsmith, Michael C. Bowyer, Anita C. Chalmers, Phoebe A. Phillips, and Christopher J. Scarlett. “Physicochemical Composition, Antioxidant and Anti-proliferative Capacity of a Lilly Pilly (Syzygium Paniculatum) Extract.” Journal of Herbal Medicine 4.3 (2014): 134-40. Web.

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Osmia Organics Body Oils in Flower and Sunset

Before Osmia Organics Body Oils, I would towel off completely after a shower, immediately put on clothes, and then strategically move my clothing around so I could moisturize my scaly legs with coconut oil or jojoba oil. Now, I am totally comfortable with dripping nude for a couple minutes post-shower so I can slather one of these lovelies all over my body. It’s in the instructions, and it’s kind of brilliant. Lotions are essentially waters + oils, right? So, why not skip the preservatives you need to keep water fresh in a product and DIY your lotion on the spot by using the leftover moisture from a shower and adding a body oil?

The texture of these are very light, so applying on a wet body is preferable for a smooth glide and plus you’ll end up using less product. Applying on a dry body works, but you don’t get the same glide and you’ll need more product to get the same moisturized after-effect. Either way, the oil absorbs pretty fast–within a couple minutes (which I usually spend on moisturizing my face), I am ready for clothes. The morning after in the summer, my skin is nice and soft and not in the least oily. But the morning after in the winter, my legs still feel a bit parched, but I’m hiding them in jeans anyways, so I don’t mind.

I think one of the stand-out things about these body oils are the mass array of scents that are a result of organic essential oil blends and CO2 extracts. I have Flower and Sunset in the screw-top 2oz size (there are also 7.5oz pumps) and when I first smelled them, I thought the names and scents couldn’t be matched any more perfectly. Flower smells like a field of fresh flowers, and not grandma flowers, but fresh and light thanks to some rose geranium and linden blossom. Sunset is vanilla-y, kind of sultry-ish, and warm grâce à vanilla, jasmine, and bergamot, to name a few. I also had a sample of Night in another order a couple months back, which at first while I thought it was a bit strong, it really grew on me (don’t remember exactly what it smelled like though, but the description says it’s a mix of lavender, chamomile, and sage).

Why this rather than just plain coconut oil or jojoba oil? Well, in addition to both of those, there are some hard-hitting moisturizing oils with benefits like kukui oil, rosehips seed oil, hemp seed oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, and evening primrose oil. Kukui oil, hemp seed oil, avocado oil, and evening primrose oil are all moisturizing and rich in fatty acids, aka goodbye dry skin and hello anti-inflammatory effects. Rosehips seed oil is a great source of natural vitamin A (yay reduced scarring and super healing). Sweet almond oil is a great moisturizing carrier oil which I’ve used with success as a single-ingredient oil cleanser and face oil.

Random fun fact: did you know cacti can flower? The things I’ve learned from watching Korean dramas…I also know how to say “I can” in Italian–extra fun fact: “Posso” or Italian for “I can” is the name of one of my favorite perfumes from Osmia.

Have you used these body oils? What are your favorite scents? If not, what are you using to moisturize your body?

tl;dr Use with dripping, naked body for best results. Perfume (all from essential oils and CO2 extracts, yay!) + body moisturizer in one. May not be enough moisture for winter, but enough for warmer weather. Beautiful scents; gonna catch try them all.

Ingredients: caprylic/capric triglyceride (fractionated coconut oil), simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil*, aleurites molaccana (kukui) oil, prunus amygdalus (sweet almond) oil*, rosa rubiginosa (rosehips) seed oil*, cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil*, persea gratissima (avocado) oil*, borago officinalis (borage) seed oil*, oenothera biennis (evening primrose) oil*, hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn berry) CO2 extract*, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) CO2 extract*, and a proprietary blend of organic and wild-harvested essential oils and CO2 extracts

* certified organic ingredient

Disclaimer: I purchased these myself and Night came as a sample with another order I made from osmiaorganics.com. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Four Deodorants: Soapwalla, Meow Meow Tweet, Schmidt’s, Osmia Organics

 

I’ve rambled about deodorants before (one of my first posts here, Going Green Tag here), but here’s the lowdown: I’m a sweaty person. No matter the season, my pits will sweat. They always find a way. Even when I tried antiperspirants in my pre-green days. As for my hands, summer is the worst season because my piano-playing accuracy goes down and my slipping-off-notes rate goes way up. I’m a sweater.

That said, I have yet to find a green deodorant that can’t keep up with these pits. None of these are antiperspirants, so I still have to dress strategically (no gray, no tight-fitting clothing up top, layers) and I am okay with that–I am at peace with sweating out my toxins. I don’t stink, in fact with some of these, even my sweaty clothes smell pretty good. All of these are creams, and I’ve come to enjoy massaging them into my pits (lymph nodes need some loving too). The price range is from $9 – $14, which I don’t think is bad at all–a tub can last 3-6 months. My pits sometimes get sensitive if I’ve shaved them the night before and then use deo the next day–I’ve found that including them in my body moisturizing routine reduces the chance of next-day-angry-pits.

Ingredients-wise, all of these share a similar base of ingredients: a moisturizing plant oil, shea butter, baking soda, kaolin clay, starch or arrowroot powder, and essential oils. Plant oils and shea butter keep pits moisturized and calm irritated skin. Baking soda, kaolin clay, and starch/arrowroot powder absorb moisture and stench. Essential oils play two roles: a hot scent and bacteria-killer at the same time–nice.

As pictured from left to right,

Soapwalla Kitchen Deodorant Creamthe classic green deo
Greenies and non-greenies alike love this cream–it’s the one that started it all. And the nearly-empty tub pictured above is at least my third repurchase. This can get a little gritty when it dries, but nothing that quick stir through the tub with a finger can’t fix. It’s classic for a reason: it works. It’s simple. My clothes don’t always smell the best after this, but it keeps me from being smelly (that said, 15-hour airplane rides–reapply in the middle to be safe).

Ingredients: Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Oil*; Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil*; Rosehip Seed Oil*; Butyrospermun parkii (Shea) Butter; Corn Starch*+; Sodium Bicarbonate+; Kaolin Clay; Vegan Kosher Glycerin*+; a custom blend of essential oils, including: Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender)*; Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree)*; Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange); Mentha Piperita (Peppermint)*; Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergaptene-free Bergamot)*; Non-GMO Soy lecithin*+; Non-GMO Vitamin E*+.
 (*: certified organic, +: food-grade)

Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Creamthe texture of this is like a cake
The texture of this. I am obsessed. It’s literally as soft as cake batter. And it’s always as soft as cake batter, even in the dry winter of Baltimore or California. And the scent. I have it in tea tree, and seriously, tea tree has never smelled so good. My clothes smell deliciously of tea tree if and after I sweat into them.

Ingredients: *virgin coconut oil, *jojoba oil, *shea butter, *arrowroot powder, baking soda (naturally mined), kaolin clay, tea tree essential oil

*organic ingredient

Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant even the clothes you sweat in will smell good
The texture of this is the exact opposite of Meow Meow Tweet’s: it’s hard. It comes with a little spatula to scoop out the cream, and you need it. Putting aside the trouble of having to scrape out the cream and being careful to warm the cream in a way that the flakes don’t fall on the ground everywhere–this smells so good. I have it in Cedarwood + Juniper (also have a Ylang Ylang + Calendula waiting for me), and like Katie from The Green Product Junkie has said–this should be made into a perfume. One day I was running late for an 8:30am class (*die) and I realized I forgot my lunch after I was halfway to school–I was wearing this and a button-up, I booked it home and back to class, and even though I was panting for the first couple of minutes of class, I smelled awesome.

Ingredients: Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), Maranta arundinacea (arrowroot) powder, Theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, Cedrus deodara (Himalayan cedar) essential oil, Tocopherol (vitamin E), Juniperus (juniper) essential oil, Humulus lupulus (hop) extract

Osmia Organics Deodorant Creamperfect size to bring along if you forgot to apply deo at home
I was “meh” about this at first–I’m not the biggest fan of lavender (blasphemy, right?), which is the biggest scent I catch from this, the first couple times I tried this I still stunk, and the price/size is a little more compared to the other three deo creams. However, I took a break from this for a couple weeks, came back, and it worked. Still predominantly lavender, but no stink at the end of the day. Also, as small as it is, this little tin is the best size to throw in your handbag in case you forget to apply deo.

Ingredients: butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter*, tapioca starch*, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil*, sodium bicarbonate, fuller’s earth clay, callophyllum inophyllum (tamanu) oil*, vegetable glycerin*, and a proprietary blend of certified organic and wild-harvested essential oils

* certified organic ingredient
91.9% certified organic ingredients
100% ingredients from nature

If you’re not into deodorant creams, I’ve recently been hearing great things about Green Body Deo, which, shockingly, comes in a stick. If you’re up for getting personal with your pits, all of these four have worked for sweaty me.

tl;dr Classic: Soapwalla. Best texture: Meow Meow Tweet. Best smell: Schmidt’s. Best size: Osmia. Massaging these in my pits (one at a time, of course) keeps me from being smelly, and often makes me smell even better.

Have you tried any of these deodorants? What’s your favorite? If not, what are you using?

Disclaimer: I purchased all of these myself for use and review: Soapwalla from Eco Diva Beauty (though I’ve purchased it from Spirit Beauty Lounge before), Meow Meow Tweet from Meow Meow Tweet, Schmidt’s from Schmidt’s, and Osmia from Osmia. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Osmia Organics Spot Treatment

There are two things in my life I have been giving special spot treatment lately: this nasty passage from Tchaikovsky’s Concerto 3rd movement* and the pimple invaders that have been cropping up after weekends spent at dessert shops**.

I am all for practicing pieces by large sections to get the bigger picture, but when I zoom in on particular passages and break it down to hands-alone practicing or funny-rhythm practicing (how many pieces have I ruined/people have I confused by putting Beethovenian passages into jazzy rhythms), notes are cleaner, fingers are faster, I can move on past technical difficulties to (attempt to) make music.

Similarly, I am all for all-over-the-face healing treatments like washing with honey, toning with apple cider vinegar, or masking with clay, but when I narrow it down to particular pimples and apply a spot treatment such as Osmia Organics’ Spot Treatment twice a day, spots heal up faster. Sometimes they never emerge and just disappear, my favorite kind. All this in thanks to a tiny rollerball with a formula that is both gentle and effective.

This is not your mother’s tea tree oil. First on the ingredients list is evening primrose oil, which is high in essential fatty acids, hydrating, and anti-inflammatory. Read: this will not leave spots flaky, which many spot treatments do in the process of drying out spots. Following evening primrose oil on the list is a collection of essential oils: lavender, cajeput, lemon, parsley, thyme, cypress, and rosemary. Lavender, cajeput, parsley, cypress, rosemary are all anti-everything-bad: anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial. Lemon is astringent, detoxifying, and has skin-lightening properties. My skin scars fairly easily, so sometimes I am left with the same scar I would’ve had without using the treatment, and other times I am left with little to no trace of the pimple. Thyme has a greater antibacterial effect while being much less harsh than benzoyl peroxide thanks to anti-inflammatory properties. Bonus: all of these ingredients come together to make a nice, uplifting scent.

tl;dr Supercharged to speed up healing or totally magic away pimples without leaving behind flakes. Already have repurchased.

Have you tried this product? What are your thoughts? If not, what is your favorite spot treatment?

Ingredients: organic evening primrose oil and essential oils of lavender*, cajeput*, lemon*, parsley, thyme, cypress*, and rosemary CO2* (*organic)

*It is four pages of unison runs and they slay me all the time.
**There is a place nearby called the Bun Shop that is dedicated solely to buns. Curry buns, ham and gruyere buns, red bean buns, you name it. I am obsessed. My face is not.

Liebster Award and Nominations

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

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

The Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Nominations

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

My Questions

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

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

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

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.

The Skincare Tag

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

DESCRIBE YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE IN 5 WORDS
My skin is the king.

WHAT’S YOUR SKIN TYPE?
Dry, acne-prone

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE SKINCARE PRODUCT?

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.

TOP BLEMISH ZAPPER?

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.

FACE WIPES – YAY OR NAY?

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).

TONER – YAY OR NAY?
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)

HIGH-END SKINCARE OR HIGH-END MAKEUP?
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.

WHAT’S THE MOST UNUSUAL SKINCARE PRODUCT YOU’VE TRIED?
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)

YOU’RE IN A PHARMACY AND YOU CAN ONLY PICK ONE ITEM, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Quick, someone find me the jojoba oil! Makeup remover, face moisturizer, body moisturizer, you name it.

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP SKINCARE TIPS?
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.