Product of the Week

This week’s pick is SILKtáge Rejuvenating Styling Serum

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  • Main ingredients include argan oil, camellia oil, monoi oil & coconut oil
  • Rich in vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids
  • Contains no harsh chemicals, silicones, or preservatives
  • Repairs, softens, and adds shine to hair
  • Promotes healthy hair growth
  • Nourishes the scalp
  • My favorite use for this oil is putting it on dry/split ends and fly-aways
  • Totally amazing for hair, but also great for skin too (it has at least 30 benefits all together!)

Let me know if you give this one a try. Have a very happy weekend readers!

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Product of the Week

This week’s pick is Limegreen‘s Hard Surface Spray:

Photo Credit: Limegreen

  • Made with only 4 ingredients: Deionized Water, Infused Distilled Vinegar, Organic Olive Castile Soap (made by Limegreen also) & Essential Oils
  • Perfect choice for a home with babies
  • Disinfects over 99% of bacteria
  • The Sunflower option has a delightful scent of citrus
  • You couldn’t ask for a safer cleaning product!

Healthier Options – Mascara

When it comes to switching to beauty products that are better for our health, I think deodorant and makeup are often at the bottom of the list when it comes to “going natural”. Deodorant because the ideas of sweating and/or not smelling pleasant aren’t appealing (but I swear there are excellent natural options out there — see previous post: Best Natural Deodorant) and makeup because women are skeptical of the quality and performance of the natural versions.

Well I was skeptical myself, but I’m happy to say that I have found natural versions of every piece of makeup that I would recommend to my readers. Today’s focus for a healthy switch is mascara.  Here are some options that are better for you yet still as effective as you would hope:

Mineral Fusion Lengthening Mascara — This is a great pick for making lashes dark and thick. It really feels like it’s nourishing your lashes with each stroke. This one is free of gluten, parabens, artificial colors, fragrances and talc.  It’s also hypo-allergenic. Costs around $14.99.

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Organic wear® 100% Natural Lash Boosting Mascara –100% of the ingredients are of natural origin and 44% are from organic farming.  I love this one because it goes on really easily and doesn’t clump. It’s great at separating lashes and adding length. It usually retails for around $9.95 and you can even find it at CVS!

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Product of the Week

This is the start of a new series – Product of the Week – where I’ll highlight one of my latest favorite healthy products. Please let me know if you have any specific category requests!

Today’s pick is a face mask by Naturopathica. Naturopathica, founded by a clinical esthetician and herbalist, has quickly become one of my go-to lines for beauty products, especially face masks.

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The Aloe Replenishment Gel has two desert succulents as its main ingredients – aloe and prickly pear cactus.  I love that this mask goes on clear (just like aloe) and I found it gentle enough to leave on overnight.  It’s a perfect choice for anyone who experiences redness, dryness and/or breakouts. It’s also great for unproblematic skin types who just want a healthy boost.  To make this mask even more calming, try storing it in the fridge.  An interesting fact – 88% of the ingredients in this mask are derived from organic farming!

 

New Beauty Regimen

As you all know, I am constantly trying out new beauty products — some aren’t for everyday use (like face masks), others are too pricey so I don’t re-buy unless I think they are really worth it, and then some are just not awesome enough for a second chance.

Today, I wanted to share what I’m currently using on a daily basis. It’s my latest and possibly my favorite beauty regimen to date. Here are the very natural, multipurpose, and affordable products I would highly recommend:

  • Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Liquid Soap – My new daily face wash. It gets rid of dead skin like no other, but doesn’t over-dry or irritate my sensitive skin. It’s powerful stuff so they recommend diluting it, but to be honest – I don’t! I use just 2-3 pure drops, put it directly on my skin, and wash it off quickly. If you google a bit, a lot of people have found this to be extremely helpful for acne. Added bonus – this soap literally has at least 17 other uses. I think I have finally found a face wash that I will use for life. ($6.39 for 8 oz)

  • Baking Soda – Combine about teaspoon with a little water in your hand and you have yourself a incredibly cheap and effective yet gentel facial scrub.  I use this 1 – 2 times per week. ($1 for 16 oz)

  • Heritage’s Rose Petals Rosewater – A perfect facial toner for all skin types, but especially sensitive or mature. It’s so simple yet so luxurious – it smells like pure roses! Naturally loaded with vitamin C, it aids in collagen production. I put a little on a cotton ball and use it on my entire face and neck after I get out of the shower. ($5.49 for 4 oz)

  • derma e® Hyaluronic Acid Serum – I am LOVING this as my daytime moisturizer. My skin absorbs it so well and it has such a nice light scent of plumeria. The hyaluronic acid draws in moisture plumping skin and reducing the signs of aging. It’s oil-free making it a great choice for those who are blemish-prone or just don’t like a heavy moisturizer. ($29.50 or less for 2 fl oz)

  • Egyptian Magic – A friend told me how she was using it around her eyes (to prevent lines) so I decided to give it a try. This all purpose balm has some of the most therapeutic natural ingredients around. When I occasionally get eczema on my hand, it clears it up within an hour or two. If used only as an eye cream, a little goes a long way so then the price becomes incredibly reasonable for the size ($37.20 for 4 oz ).

  • Desert Essence Blemish Touch Stick – With a roller ball applicator, this all natural blemish treatment is so quick and easy to apply. I love that it goes on clear, unlike many blemish treatments. Also, studies have shown tea tree oil to be as effective as benzyl peroxide for treating pimples! ($6.59 for .33 fl oz)

  • Aloe Vera Gelly by Lily of the Desert – I use this as my night cream becomes I am so sick of products (natural and not quite so natural) clogging my pores. This cooling gel leaves skin noticeably nourished and calmer by morning. It’s an excellent choice in general if you’re prone to redness/irritation.  ($4.59 for 4 oz)

Do you have a beauty regimen? I would love to hear what it is!

Free Shipping at House of Steep!

A quick FYI – House of Steep is offering free shipping on all orders placed before February 10 and a 20% discount on “Lovely” soy candles and tea soak bags.

Every House of Steep product is designed with relaxation in mind including their Cleansing Calm Foot Spray and Herb Soak Salts (below) made by Branch & Vine, my new line! If you try anything out, I would love to hear what you think.

Photo Credit: House of Steep

New Zealand’s Living Nature

I recently had the chance to ask Lorraine Downes, spokeswoman for Living Nature, a few questions to help my readers get an inside look at this natural skincare line. Hope you enjoy. This will be the first of many more company interviews to come!

  1. Please tell us a little about your journey and the founding of Living by Nature. Living Nature approached me to be their first ever spokesperson. It was perfect timing as at that time, I was seriously looking at my life and how I was going to approach my 40’s and the aging process. After making the decision that I was going to age naturally, and trialling the product for six months, I joined forces with Living Nature. Living Nature was founded in 1987 by Suzanne Hall who started using NZ native plants to make skincare products for her own skin as she wanted to use only natural ingredients. Today it is privately NZ owned.
  2. How does living in New Zealand impact the formulation of the line? NZ is known for its nature and its native plants which have been used medicinally by Maori (people of NZ) for centuries. So, the range is based on the unique native botanicals like Harakeke Flax, Totarol, Manuka Honey, Manuka Oil, Hallo Clay and Kelp found only here in NZ.
  3. What sets Living Nature apart from other natural beauty companies? Firstly, all the products are 100% natural and not many companies can say that. Living Nature’s products carry the BDIH Certified Natural Cosmetics Seal which is a world-leading independent auditor of natural skincare, and set some of the most rigorous standards worldwide for naturalness. The products are made here in NZ at the Living Nature’s own factory where all product development, formulation, filling and dispatching is done. Even the packaging has no nasties in it and is recyclable and 100% free from BPA and phthalates. The recyclable paper packaging uses vegetable dyes and inks and no chloride or dioxin.
  4. Could you choose one or two Living Nature products as your favorite(s)? I find this really hard to do as I love so many of the products equally! But I would say the Radiance Night Oil which my skin just loves because of the wonderful bouquet of naturally healing and restorative oils-calendula, jojoba, rose,rosehip oil, frankincense, the smell is blissful! Lovely to apply just before bed. The Extra Hydrating Gel is exceptional as it truly nourishes and balances the skin and restores the vitality to my skin which at my age is a must.
  5. What products would you recommend to someone trying Living Nature for the first time? Obviously, the products should be in harmony with a person’s skin and its needs ie dry/oily/normal/mature etc. But I think The Radiance Night Oil, Vitalising Cleanser which is a very gentle and effective cleanser, Eye Make Up Remover-again so gentle, no stinging or oiliness with this product and Firming Flax Cream- fantastic for softening fine lines.

 

Lorraine Downes, New Zealand’s only ever Miss Universe and former Dancing With The Stars champion, joined Living Nature in 2010 to encourage women around the world to turn to 100% natural skincare as the healthy, safe and effective alternative to synthetic beauty products. Lorraine’s love of New Zealand and the miracle properties of the ancient native botanicals is what propels her to help women discover what she has discovered — you can take the healing and rejuvenating properties of nature and apply them to yourself. As a professional image consultant, she has worked with women for 25 years.

  {Louise Henderson, Living Nature’s Global Marketing Manager

& Lorraine Downes, Living Nature’s Spokeswoman}

Gift Ideas from Pacifica

I love to use Pacifica products because of their high quality natural ingredients and incredible fragrances. I also love to give Pacifica products for these same reasons plus their colorful and eye-catching packaging just make them perfect for gifting.

These are some of my latest favorites from the line:

Island Vanilla Take Me There Set ($18.00 ($26.00 value)) – contains a 2.5 oz Body Butter, .33oz Perfume Roll-on & their new Color Quench Natural Moisture Lip Tint. You can currently find this set at Sephora.

Crème de Menthe Soy Candle 3 OZ ($6.00) – tiny and cute, but it a packs a strong scent of chocolatey peppermint goodness. Burns cleans for up to 30 hours.

Satsuma Pillar 3 X 3 ($16.00)- a spicy citrus scent that is sure to lift your spirits. Burns up to 50 hours.

 

Free shipping on orders over $50 right now!

Love Lavender?

If you’re a big fan of lavender then you will love this Lavender Aromatherapy Stick by Aura Cacia.  It is made with 100% pure lavender essential oil so it smells just like the real stuff.  I’ve been using it as my everyday perfume lately and I’m really loving it.

Some pluses (aside from the wonderful scent itself) — it’s under $10, it’s easy to carry with you, it promotes relaxation, and it never gives me headaches (like many conventional perfumes). The stick also comes in Tea Tree (great for bug bites & blemishes), Eucalyptus (helps with cold symptoms) and Peppermint (excellent for headache relief).

 

Hope everyone has a great start to the week!

 

 

Best Natural Deodorant

It’s so easy to go natural when it comes to lotion, shampoo and many other beauty products, but I think deodorant is the hardest yet most worthwhile natural switch to make. Yes, it’s true that the natural brands don’t actually stop you from sweating like the commercial brands do, but they definitely can keep sweat under control with natural ingredients (like baking soda). Plus, sweating is a key part of detoxifying your system so it’s really not a bad thing, especially if you can find a natural deodorant that actually keeps you smelling pleasantly.

Well after many, many years and many, many natural deodorants, I think I have finally found one that I’m going to stick with. It’s Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant.  I specifically like the Vanilla Lavender version of this silky deodorant, but there are a few other great scent options. I have to warn you about the price… it’s $18… I know, so expensive for a deodorant, but my thrifty self actually thinks it’s worth it. It smells so nice and the scent really lasts all day. In a way, you can consider it an $18 perfume — now that’s a good deal, right? Let me know if you give it a try!

Dry Skin?

I hate to bring this to everyone’s attention, but we are now just a month and a few days away from the official start of winter! With that said, the colder weather has already been shocking a lot of us and that shock often comes in the form of dry skin – like really, really dry skin, which is not very pleasant or pretty.

If you’re someone who experiences dryness and is looking for a really rich yet natural facial moisturizer I would highly recommend Pomega5’s Healing Cream. It is ultra nourishing and reparative with key ingredients like pomegranate oil, shea butter, calendula oil and carrot oil.  It’s a tad pricey ($70), but a little goes a long way and the ingredients are sooo therapeutic. Let me know if you give it a try!

Have a great weekend :)

Acure Organics

I recently found a new line and new product that I’m seriously impressed with.  The line is Acure Organics and the product is their brightening facial scrub sea kelp + chlorella growth factor($14.99).

This scrub thoroughly, but not harshly, exfoliates skin through two main ingredients — sea kelp and walnut. After using this scrub your face immediately feels super clean and refreshed, but not dry. The natural ingredients in this scrub actually accomplish 3 goals with 1 product —  the top layer of skin is exfoliated, pores are cleansed and new cell growth is stimulated. The scent? Mild, refreshing and minty. Oh and did I mention the color? Dark, dark green – like shockingly green – it’s quite fun.  This is a strong claim, but I really think it might be the best scrub I’ve used to date!

 

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New Partnership & a New Line!

I have some news I’ve been meaning to share… I am now collaborating with House of Steep (soon to be a Tea House and Foot Sanctuary in the VA/DC area) to create part of their signature line of bath and beauty products! Currently, my foot and bath soaks and foot spray are available on House of Steep’s online store amongst a fabulous array of teas, candles and other goodies. I’ve made natural beauty products for years, but this is the first time I’ve done it professionally so I’m really excited to see this dream come true AND to launch my own beauty line as a result.

A couple of shots from creating the bath soaks…

(adding lavender to a batch of the Balanced & Carefree soak)

(some completed Grounded soaks)

The bath soaks are available in 3 varieties (notice each one has a type of tea included):

Balanced & Carefree – A stress-relieving combination of lavender and chamomile tea
Grounded – A stabilizing tonic of patchouli, cinnamon and ginger with oolong tea
Invigorating – A refreshing blend of peppermint and sweet orange with green tea

And the the Cleansing Calm Foot Spray is blend of black tea, peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus and tea tree oils, which is ideal for reducing foot odor and refreshing tired feet.

 

I hope you might give one (or more) of these a try. If you do, I would love to hear what you think. Thank you in advance for the support!

Fall-Ready Skin Care

As the colder weather crawls in for many of us, there are definitely two things you’ll want to have on hand – lip balm and hand cream.  No one wants chapped lips or rough hands so here are two recommendations to keep them both smooth, bright and well-hydrated.

{Certified Organic Cocoa Powder with a hint of Essential Oil of Lavender & Organic Blueberry Flavor! .15 oz Tube  $3.49}

Eco Lips makes some of the best petroleum-free lip balm on the market with a line that includes both 100% organic options as well as a vegan balm. They have a flavor for everyone, especially since they teamed up with Honest Tea® and Dagoba® chocolate to bring us some seriously fun and unique flavors (like the one above).  AND they have tinted options as well!  For the quality, you can’t beat the prices – lip balms are all under $3.50 and the tinted are under $4.50.

This Exfoliage Natural Hand Cream by TonicCare is normally $24.99, but with the current online sale it’s now $12.99. It’s specifically designed to reduce fine lines and wrinkles on hands (aka one of the places where aging often shows the most and the soonest). Some of the beneficial natural ingredients include Grape Seed Oil, Algae Extract, Chamomile Oil, Almond Oil and Papaya Fruit Extract.

More fall beauty recommendations to come! Have a great Monday. 

Undo Summer Hair Damage

As summer winds down, your hair is probably looking less than its best after beach and pool time took their toll. But have no fear because it’s nothing a good hair mask (and a trim) can’t fix. One ultra  nourishing hair treatment I recently tried is by California Sunshine. Their three ingredient “Radiant Beach” hair mask is meant to be used once a week for an immediately noticeable difference in your locks in the form of less dryness and more shine. I definitely saw an improvement after just one treatment!

Radiant Beach’s 2 active ingredients:

  • Organic Virgin Coconut Oil – Penetrates hair shaft for superior, natural conditioning and moisturizing. Medium chain triglycerides to protect against hair loss and promote thick hair. Contains natural Vitamin E and fatty acids to prevent dandruff.
  • Organic Ricinus Communis Oil – Curative and medicinal. Known to thicken hair, moisturize, protect scalp, and promote shininess.

*Since this mask can easily turn to liquid, you might want to keep it in the fridge.  I keep mine in the shower since I don’t mind it turning to liquid (it’s actually even easier to apply that way).

Beauty Benefits of Pomegranate

Hello! Hope everyone has been doing great. I’m slowly trying to get back into my usual routine, but it’s been hard. Now that the same “Happy Wednesday!” has been up for two Wednesdays, I think it’s definitely time for a new post…

I’ve been meaning to mention another awesome natural beauty line called Pomega5. It’s awesome both in terms of quality and effectiveness. The company’s name is an ode to it’s signature, rare ingredient – Omega 5 oil, which comes from pomegranate seeds. This oil, along with the line’s other top notch botanical ingredients, gives skin a serious dose of rejuvenation. One product that I am particularly fond of lately is their Daily Revitalizing Concentrate – each little capsule goes a surprisingly long way and nourishes skin with 60% Omega 5 oil with the other 40% mainly being a mix of calendula, rosehip, and jojoba oils. I especially love it for very dry spots on my face, but it’s also quite magical on cuticles.


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HollyBeth’s Grits & Honey Scrub

To me, an ideal facial scrub is one that thoroughly exfoliates, but in the most gentle way. With HollyBeth’s Natural Luxury Grits & Honey Scrub, that’s the exact balance you get — it has the perfect grittiness (thanks to the grits :)) with a calming and antibacterial base of sweet honey.  This super natural scrub is literally good enough to eat! And don’t worry, it’s not messy or sticky.  Your skin will feel noticeably smoother after just one use.

Grits & Honey Scrub

Other great products by HollyBeth:

Wildflower Dry Oil – so nourishing to the face and neck with a regenerative mix of oils and plant extracts.

Lavender Hand Cream (98% organic) – rich and relaxing with sweet almond oil as the #1 ingredient and of course, lavender.

Happy happy weekend everyone!

The Wonders of Neem

Neem is an ancient herb from India, which is known for its medicinal benefits externally and internally. Neem’s extremely high antioxidant content, high levels of fatty acids as well as its anti-inflammatory properties and antibacterial abilities makes it an excellent choice for people with chronically dry or irritated skin. Some people have even reported healing of precancerous cells!

When taken internally, neem is said to support the health of skin, immune system response, blood purification, and healthy bowel function.

The one thing I must warn you about is that neem has a VERY distinct odor. I would say it’s like a mix of peanuts and garlic. I know that doesn’t sound very appealing, but when mixed with other scents, it’s not so noticeable. Plus, its benefits can be well worth getting used to the unique scent.

Here are some beauty products with neem that I really love:

Organix’s Theraneem Ultimate Support Orange & Ylang Ylang – Excellent for sensitive skin. I love using it instead of face wash. ( $5.56)

Organix’s Neem, Lemon & Peppermint TheraNeem Scalp Therape Shampoo – Clarifies and rejuvenates the scalp. (on sale for $11.96)

Auromère’s Ayurvedic Lavender-Neem Soap – Lavender + Neem + 16 other herbal extracts to cleanse and restore skin. ($2.95)

Dr.Hauschka’s Neem Hair Oil – Ideal for an irritated scalp and dry/damaged hair. Also adds great shine! ($39.95)

 

Have you tried any products that contained neem before?

Award-Winning Skincare for Babies!

You might remember my previous post about Skincando’s Combat-Ready Balm — the wonder salve that’s even effective for troops in the harshest of conditions. Now, there is a version for babies and kids! This miracle cream has similar ingredients, which soothe and heal some of the most delicate skin on earth aka a baby’s. But this is totally an adult product as well. Baby skincare products are great for adult skin, especially if it’s sensitive.  I just love how multifunctional this one is — it’s magical for dry skin, eczema, diaper rash, eczema, bug bites, sunburn, and more! I can’t wait to buy this for some of the soon-to-be new moms in my life.

2 Perfect Summer Moisturizers

With warm weather upon us now and summer right around the corner, I thought everyone would appreciate hearing about these two lotions I am loving right now…

The first is one of my latest finds – an organic jasmine + neroli body lotion by kō denmark (if the name sounds familiar,  you might have seen their recent feature in GOOP). As you would expect, this lotion has the soothing, light floral scent of jasmine (and neroli, but more jasmine I think). It is extremely light weight – you definitely get the feeling that aloe is the #1 ingredient – and it absorbs sooo quickly.  I like the “100% simple” on the label – it truly is with a perfect lineup of natural ingredients and no parabens, perfume, sulfates, mineral oil, or artificial colors.

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Burt’s Bees Richly Replenishing Body Lotion with Cocoa and Cupuaçu Butters is another perfect option for the warmer weather. The scent alone just screams summer/vacation with dreamy aromas of cocoa and vanilla.  Other key reasons I love it for summer (and anytime of year) include its non-greasy consistency, quick absorption, and it is clinically proven to keep skin moisturized for 24 hours! That’s a strong claim, but after using it for a few weeks now, I am now a believer.

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