List Love :: Body Serums

LLBodySerums

Can. Not. Believe. Summer is already over. That lasted a whole millisecond. Hope yours was fantastic!

While summer is my fave season. And I already miss it. I am excited to get back to writing more often. So, away we go.

I have been wanting to talk about body serums. Because face serums are so gosh darn awesome, a body serum has to be just as great. Only for the bod. Do you want to try them as badly as I do?

With no further ado, these delish serums for body have definitely been added to my shopping list…

One Love Organics Gardenia + Tea Antioxidant Body Serum :: For real? Gardenia + antioxidants + firmer, smoother skin? I want.

Kahina FEZ Body Serum :: Cuz everything Kahina is just so gosh darn great, this serum is a must try. Probs wont’ wait until Christmas to treat myself to a bottle of this. PS: I’ve heard very good things.

Bottega Organica Body Contour Formula -Peppermint and Chili Pepper :: Interesting, no? Not sure that my skin will love it, but I absolutely must find out.

Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin C Body Oil :: This product is supposed to smell wonderful. But I am excited about the olive oil and papaya. Softening and smoothing at once.

Reconstructed: InStyle Best Beauty Buys Part VI

BBBHair2

Summer is such a blast. My absolute favorite time of year. Good for having lots of fun, hanging with the kids, eating yummy summery treats, chillin’ poolside, and mini golfing it up. And that’s just for starters. What it’s not so great for? Getting loads of writing done. Which is why it has taken me so long to get this much awaited and final installment of the InStyle Best Beauty Buys green makeover to you.

Natural hair care. I’m not gonna lie to ya, it’s the toughest part of going green in beauty. There’s plenty of high performance organic skincare. Body care too. Sunscreens have even come a long way, baby. But hair care? It seems to be the toughest row to hoe.

In the past, natural shampoos and conditioners have left hair limp, waxy, or straw like. And styling products? Even worse. This tress stress has left green gals in a lurch. No wonder so many are going the way of no ‘poo.

But there are hair care products out there, free from nasty ingredients, that perform like you want them to. Promise. You just have to know where to find them. Take a seat, put your feet up, and get ready to be pleasantly surprised by your nontoxic hair care options.

SHAMPOO + CONDITIONER

For Fine Hair Acure Organics Pure Mint + Echinacea Stem Cell contains quinoa protein extract and Echinacea stem cells to support keratin and cellular regeneration. More importantly, this stuff works! I have fine, dry hair and this is one of my favorite shampoo and conditioner combos. Smells great and is budget friendly too. Another line that I absolutely love is Rare El’ements. A luxurious shampoo and conditioner that acts like a high-end chemical brand without the harsh detergents or synthetics.

For Normal Hair Rahua is a natural hair care favorite amongst the green beauty crowd. These products are suitable for all hair types, even color treated.

For Curly Hair  Curly hair also tends toward dry and frizzy. John Masters Organics Evening Primrose Shampoo for dry hair will wrangle frizz, flyaways, and stray curls. Follow up with JMO Honey & Hibiscus Hair Reconstructor.

Big Gun Conditioner Hair overly processed? Looking damaged or aged? Otherwise dried out to a whispy version of its former self. You need Rare El’Ements Hair and Scalp Serum. You know how oil serums are the absolute bomb for restoring glow and health to sallow skin? That’s what this baby does for down in the dumps locks. Also great for warding off damage in the first place.

STYLING + COLOR

Volumizer Fine and thin haired gals are on the constant hunt for more volume. If you are a mousse kinda gal you’ll love Yarok Feed Your Roots Volume Enhancing Mousse. Love the body and natural wave your hair has after a day at the beach? Try John Masters Organics Sea Mist Sea Salt Spray with Lavender.

Hairspray Rahua Voluminous Hairspray adds body while keeping coif in place. The light hold means you can brush through it too, if you want.

Pomade Not that I have ever used much pomade, but if I was going to start…have to go with John Masters Organics Hair Pomade. Cuz that company knows hair and I just love mango butter.

Color  Oh gosh, the ultimate organic beauty question. What’s the safest way to color hair? There are a couple of ways to go about making your color job healthier. Yes, you can purchase less toxic hair colors which have received mixed reviews. Or you can use the toxic stuff as carefully as possible, which I’ve spelled out here. Unfortunately, there is no nontoxic way to achieve that traditional salon color. Sometimes a gal has to make beauty choices, ya know?

**Right here I have to stop you for a minute and interject my thoughts on InStyle’s “Eco-Friendly Line” choice. As you may have noticed I side stepped all the InStyle eco friendly picks throughout because, well, all of my picks are eco friendly. But I couldn’t go further without speaking up on this one. IS gives huge props to Aveda as an eco friendly line. I, of course, took a closer look. Aveda has lots of claims on the sustainability and safety of the ingredients they use. Hey, guess what they don’t have? Full ingredient listings for their products. And you know what I say about MIA ingredient listings, don’t cha? It’s your first red flag that a product or brand may not be quite as healthy as they say they are. Sadly, such is the case with this brand. Yes, it smells herbal-y and good. Yes, lots of people buy and use it. Yes, it has a green image. NO, it is not nontoxic, synthetic free, or what I would consider safe. And, moving right along.**

Volumizer for Dry Hair InStyle lists a spray here with polymers and proteins to lift and plump. But you know what dry hair really needs? That’s right, it needs moisture. My fave trick to add life to dry, lifeless locks is straight up avocado oil. Massage a palm full into scalp and work through to ends of hair. Wrap in a towel and leave for a good 15 minutes. Wash as usual. Seems unlikely that an oil would add oomph? Trust me on this weird one, it truly works!

Curl Definer To define curls and waves, add softness, and tone down frizz I love Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie. A little dab of this thick, tropical scented styling product will do ya.

Dry Shampoo The two most popular organic dry shampoos are Lulu Organics Hair Powder and One Love Organics Healthy Locks Dry Shampoo Powder. Go nuts.

Heat Protecting Spray Protect hair from heated styling tools while nourishing with Yarok Feed Your Ends Leave In.

Well, we made it to the end of the InStyle Best Beauty Buys green makeover. Yay! If you’d like anything else reconstructed in a green manner, please let me know. I’d be more than happy to help you out.

 

Reconstructed :: InStyle Best Beauty Buys Part V

InStyle Best Beauty Buys Body Green Makeover

Hey, my organic beauty lovin’ peeps! Did you think I forgot about body products? Nope. That’s what we are talking about today as we continuing breaking down InStyle’s Best Beauty Buys guide and swapping out their picks with healthy natural beauty options. In case you missed it, we’ve already covered Sunscreens + Self Tanners, Skincare for every skin type, and makeup for Eyes + Lips, and Face + Cheeks.

Yes, this one is all about creams, cleansers, and scrubs. I know body care isn’t as tricky to swap out as skincare, but we still have to be sure we are making healthy choices, right? I’ll let you in on my top picks for daily essentials and some fun products too.

Here it is…

CREAMS, CLEANSERS + SCRUBS

Body Oil Love body oil. It is moisturizing and makes skin super soft and lasts a long time AND smells really great. One of my faves is Tata Harper Revitalizing Body Oil. It soaks right into skin, so you are not all greasy, and smells divine. Soapwalla is a fab brand that makes a great body oil that is a bit more budget friendly. InStyle suggests using Sesame oil if you’d rather. That’s great. Just be sure it is not toasted Sesame oil (you know, the kind you cook with) or you’ll end up smelling like a plate of stir fry.

Deodorant Oh, the dreaded natural deodorant. No way! This is actually one of my favorite products to recommend. It dispels all myths about the ineffectiveness of non-antiperspirant deods. My true love? Pit Putty by Bubble and Bee. It’s nothing new or fancy, but gets the job done every single time. I’ve tried maaaaany natch deodorants and always come back to this one. New top pick is Orange Vanilla. Contains sweat absorbing organic arrowroot powder and baking soda. Your pits smell just as fresh at day’s end as when you put it on.

Hand Cream Oh gosh. So many to choose from. For slathering on at night I actually recommend a balm, like Suti Purity Moisturizing Balm. But for a good, old fashioned, carry in your handbag, moisturizing yet won’t leave you greasy hand lotion I pick Weleda Pomegranate Hand Cream.

Exfoliating + Anti-Aging Body Lotion InStyle lists a body lotion that sloughs away dead skin cells and gives a boost of anti-aging ingredients. I’d recommend One Love Organics Gardenia + Tea Antioxidant Body Serum with antioxidants, green tea, and pumpkin seed Oil (a natural salicin). This product also contains one of the best natural glow inducing ingredients…sea buckthorn oil. Gotta love it!

Body Wash One that gets skin clean but is also moisturizing and non-drying? Acure Organics Ultra Hydrating Body Wash smells great, is gentle on skin, and reasonably priced.

Bar Soap Yes, there is still a time and place for bar soap. Some like to use it on their body, others as a hand wash. Osmia Organics is my top pick of bar soaps because of their wide selection of ingredient combos and, well, just take a look. They are absolutely gorgeous. Even if you are not a bar soap fan, these are lovely enough to give as gifts or sit in your bathroom for beauty alone.

Body Scrub InStyle chose a moisturizing, brown sugary scrub. A natural version? SW Basics Moisturizing Body Scrub is made with demerara sugar, coconut oil, and shredded coconut. That’s it. Gets skin super soft and smooth, and smells yummy too.

Body Lotion The lotion InStyle picked is supposed to hydrate and heal dry skin, and, they say, you can go a few days without reapplying. That’s probs because it is full of petrolatum and dimethicone. Like a thick, slick, synthetic coating for the skin. Let’s go with Acure Organics Ultra Hydrating Body Lotion. It is moisturizing, nourishing, and skin-supportive. It also needs to be applied each day because it is completely natural, washes off, and doesn’t sit on top of skin like a foreign-body grease slick.

Shaving Cream Ok, I have to admit something. I’ve been waiting to present you with this product since my daughter first tried it over a month ago. Ursa Major Stellar Shave Cream is the bomb for shaving. It provides a good, close shave, leaves skin ultra smooth, and prevents razor bumps. It has Aloe so I couldn’t try it out (sad face) but my daughter raves over this stuff. And a tween-ager raving over shaving cream ain’t no small thang.

Ok guys, we’ve practically wrapped up the InStyle BBB green re-do. Next week we give hair products a makeover.

Have any summer beauty issues you’d like tackled? Hair giving you attitude? Not sure how to get your makeup to beat the heat? Whatever it may be, shoot me your questions and I’d be pleased as punch to answer them!

Reconstructed :: InStyle Best Beauty Buys Part IV

Reconstructed InStyle BBB Sun Care

June is here! Yipeeee!!

We’ve been going over the InStyle Best Beauty Buys guide with a fine-toothed wooden bristle brush and subbing out those picks for some much healthier alternatives.

Now let’s get down to the stuff we are really thinking about right now … sunscreens and self tanners. If you’ve not yet considered protecting and/or giving your skin a little glow, now’s the time.

You know that mineral sunscreens provide the best protection against both UVA and UVB rays. And of course, you want products that are free from junk ingredients. Shrivel at the thought of those gloopy, neon white, grease slick mineral sunscreens?

What if I told you the days of enduring the grossness of mineral sunscreens are over? Well, that’s the truth. Formulators have figured out how to make mineral sunscreens that are not sticky or greasy, go on skin with no white film, and still provide that same effective protection you want. And I am going to fill you in on which are best, along with some pretty sweet all natural self tanners.

And away we go…

SUNSCREENS + SELF TANNERS

Self Tanner for Body   My all time top pick in this category has to be Lavera Sunless Tanner. I’ve used it for years and have found no other I like better. It goes on like a lotion, meaning it is lightly hydrating and easy to apply. It also provides a super natural looking tan with no orange tinge or streaks. And it smells great too. Another popular choice is Chocolate Sun Self Tanner. I have yet to try this one myself, but it is on my list.

Invisible Sunscreen for Face with Anti Aging   Suntegrity Sunscreen Face Protection SPF 30 leaves no greasiness or white film on skin, provides UVA and UVB protection, and doubles as a makeup primer. It also contains anti aging ingredients, green tea, algae, and pomegranate. Woot!

Overall Sunscreen for Body   Sticking with Suntegrity because it is just that awesome, Suntegrity Sunscreen for Body SPF 30 is your new go to. Easy to apply, feels like lotion, and has a light citrusy scent.

Facial Sunscreen   Surprise, surprise… Suntegrity 5-in-1 Tinted Sunscreen is my pick for those looking to protect the face and also add a bit of makeup coverage. Think of this as your summer BB Cream. SPF 30 provides more than adequate UV protection, this baby is packed with antioxidants to support skin and prevent premature aging. Comes in 5 shades.

Overall Sunscreen   Think: A sunscreen you can use on face, body, kids … the whole enchilada. True Natural Zinc 30 Baby & Family Sunscreen is the only one you’ll need in your beach bag this summer. Gentle, unscented, and non greasy. White factor?, you ask. This one requires a bit more rubbing in, but you definitely won’t be the ghost at the beach.

Self Tanner for Face   I love Lavera Organic Self Tanning Face Creamfor the same reasons I love the Lavera for body. Easy to use, doubles as moisturizer, looks super natural, and is not at all greasy. Apply every few days to maintain a natural glow. You’ll fall in love with this stuff.

Okey doke. We are by no means finished with the greening of the InStyle BBB. Still have body and hair products to go, so don’t forget to come on back now, ya’ hear?

Reconstructed :: InStyle Best Beauty Buys Part III

InStyle Best Beauty Buys Part III

Hellooooo again, sweet organic beauties! Can you believe it is almost summer? I’m so ready. But first, we have to finish up the greening of the InStyle Best Beauty Buys guide.

I’m doing this in chunks because it is kind of a massive undertaking. Plus, it makes it easier for you to find what you are looking for.

You can view Face + Cheeks here, Eyes + Lips here. Today, we cover skincare for every skin type. One category InStyle left out is sensitive skin, so I will make a notation on products that work there. This is a biggie, so let’s get started!

NORMAL SKIN

Eye Cream In an attempt to choose a product every woman will love…I have to go with B Leaf Botanics Replenish, here. My friend, Ellen Holder, makes this wonderful stuff. It is moisturizing, yet non greasy. It brightens and youth-ifies delicate, tired skin. It is perfect when worn under makeup. Oh, and you can use on lips too. Take that non healthy InStyle BBB choice.

Cleanser The Cetaphil of natural cleansers? Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser. Super mild, cleans skin, removes makeup, and just the slightest bit moisturizing. Works well on sensitive skin too. An option closer in price to Cetaphil is Acure Organics Sensitive Facial Cleanser.

Scrub Technically a mask, but Living Libations Green Papaya Lime AHA Mask uses fruit enzymes (rather than particles) to exfoliate. Also perfect for sensitive skin.

Daytime Moisturizer I like Pai Avocado & Jojoba Hydrating Day Cream here. It supports and protects skin, is lightly hydrating, and gentle enough for sensitive types. If you have very sensitive skin, Pai Echium & Macadamia Replenishing Day Cream.

Antioxidant Serum Gosh, I love serums. Normal skin loves a product with healthy oils, but not too heavy. YULI Cell Perfecto PM provides antioxidant protection along with lightening, brightening, spot fading bennies too.

Mask I know those freaky cotton Friday the 13th-esque masks are all the rage right now, but the SK-II version contains some nasty ingredients so steer clear. Until I find a cotton mask that is also nontoxic, here’s what I suggest…May Lindstrom The Honey Mud. This product is actually great for all skin types, including sensitive. The clay pulls out impurities, which is what you are looking for in a mask. But the real reason I love it is the honey. Honey is so softening and smoothing, plus it’s naturally antibacterial. I’ll even apply a straight shot of Wedderspoon Manuka Honey to my face.

Night Cream MUN No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum is an oil combination that can be used alone or with your moisturizer, depending on what you feel your skin needs. When feeling dry, I love to apply generously over my usual moisturizer and sleep my way to revitalized skin.

Daytime Moisturizer with SPF Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream with SPF 30 is aloe based. Light enough for normal skin, gentle enough for sensitive, and contains a dose of non-nano zinc for sun protection. For the ultra sensitive, try Consonant The Perfect Sunscreen SPF 30.

DRY SKIN

Cleanser Not unscented, but Acure Organics Facial Cleansing Cream is super gentle and hydrating. Remember, “unscented” doesn’t necessarily mean a product is free from synthetic fragrance. Rich oils and cocoa butter moisturize, Rooibos provides antioxidant protection. And the $9.99 price tag is pretty darn great too.

Serum Dry skin loves Blissoma Restore Deep Healing Oil Serum. Packed with antioxidans and EFAs, this oil combo plumps and hydrates, plus a dose of Seabuckthorn oil lends a nice glow.

Daytime Moisturizer with SPF Here is would usually recommend applying a sunscreen over your daily moisturizer. Then I stumbled across Living Libations Everybody Loves the Sunshine with Zinc.Zinc in an oil blend pretty much spells sun protection for dry skin, right? It is currently out of stock, but I’ve contacted the shop to see if it will be making a return. Fingers crossed.

Night Cream La Bella Figura Rainforest Hydration Treatment is a rockstar for nighttime skin hydration and repair. Antioxidant rich, this cream/balm hybrid is made with pure butters and oils to give skin some extra TLC. For rich hydration while you catch your Zzzs with a slightly lighter price tag, I like Suti Purity Organic Moisturizing Balm.

Mask When I want a treat for my dry skin, I use Amala Hydrating Yogurt Mask. A luxe experience.

Eye Cream For everday, I’d stick with the Replenish listed above in Normal Skin. Still, if you are looking for uber rich nighttime hydration for delicate eye area, I love SKIN Apricot Mango Eye Cream.

Scrub Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser is a creamy cleanser with micro-fine particles to remove dead skin cells gently.

OILY SKIN

Spot Treatment Amala Purifying Blemish Treatment is a mild gel that clears pores and zaps zits with Witch Hazel and Willow Bark extract. Not drying or irritating, resist the urge to pick and use this instead. Already done the picking? Use CELSUS Bio-Intelligence Scar Cream to heal marks.

Toner Calming and anti-inflammatory at once, use Bottega Organica Anti-Blemish Rose Face Mist on clean skin before applying moisturizer, or spritz throughout the day for antibacterial refreshment.

Serum To balance excess oil and avoid breakouts, use Pai Perfect Balance Blemish Serum Copaiba & Zinc. May be applied 1-2 times per week, or more if your skin calls for extra action.

Scrub Cult hit One Love Organics Brand New Day is a powder that can be used as a scrub or mask. Pineapple enzymes work to gently slough away dead skin cells, revealing healthy, vibrant skin.

Night Cream Treat while you sleep with Dr. Alkaitis Organic Soothing Gel. May be used as a day or night cream for oily skin types. Great for soothing and calming, while clearing pores and delivering the lightest hydration.

Mask Purge pores of dirt and bacteria with La Bella Figura Bio Active Purifying Mask. Charcoal and honey work to soften skin, remove blackheads, and balance oil.

Daytime Moisturizer with SPF Consonant 100% Natural Matte Finish Sunscreen-SPF 15 is a fragrance-free facial sunscreen with matte finish. No grease slick or white film. (UPDATE: This product has been discontinued. Please try Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Rich Day Cream SPF 30 instead.)

Eye Cream The caffeine infused eye cream? In my book, 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream.

Cleanser One Love Organics Apple a Day Brightening Facial Cleanser is a mild, foaming facial cleanser. Breaks down dead skin cells and brightens the complexion. (UPDATE: This product has been discontinued. Please try One Love Organics Easy Does It Foaming Cleanser instead.)

ANTI-AGING

Eye Cream Kahina Giving Beauty Eye Cream is the luxe of the luxe in anti aging eye cream. Soothes delicate skin while toning away fine lines. Another I love is 100% Pure Super Fruits Eye Balm for nighttime super treatment. And I use Acure Organics Eye Cream in the daytime, as well as B Leaf Botanics Replenish.

Inexpensive Wrinkle Treatment Acure Organics Certified Organic Aromatherapeutic Coconut Argan Oil is made with Vitamin E, EFAs, and, obvi, Argan oil…this truly is a skin superfood! Smooths the appearance of lines, diminishes spots, scars, and redness, and protects skin with antioxidants, and smells like coconuts. All for only $12.99. No brainer.

At-Home Peel The word peel makes me shudder. Let’s say remove dead skin cells instead, ok? And the safest, gentlest way to go about doing that is with fruit acids. They break down old skin cells and leave healthy cells intact, no scrubbing required. I had truly amazing results with Wild Honey Apothecary fruit masks. Particle free, these masks vary from season to season because they use only fresh, seasonal fruits. Cool, huh? I’m in love with the strawberry mask, but that doesn’t happen until later in summer. Indigo Magic is pretty darn good too.

Wrinkle Treatment Nothing works better on wrinkles than oils. Here are a few anti-agers you’ll love: Ila Face Oil for Glowing Radiance, La Bella Figura Barbary Fig Renewal Serum, May Lindstrom Skin The Youth Dew, and Odacite Rosehip Ylang Ylang Serum Concentrate.

Discoloration Treatment Sun damage is a real thing as we get older. Rather than reaching for the concealer, treat spots with RMS Beauty Oil. One of my favorite every day oils, this baby contains Rosehip oil which is so good at evening skin tone, smoothing wrinkles, and lightening spots. It also contains protective Buriti oil, to help ward off further damage.

Exfoliator May Lindstrom Skin The Clean Dirt looks like your average powder scrub, but behaves very differently. This powder is super fine, so doesn’t stress skin, and visibly clears congestion and sallow complexion.

Whew! There you have my picks in each skincare category. As always, if you have questions or comments, please let the rest of us in on them. And come back next week when we shall hash over InStyle’s picks for body and sun care, and my healthy replacements. See ya then.

Reconstructed :: InStyle Best Beauty Buys Part II

Reconstructed :: InStyle Best Beauty Buys Part II

So last week we went over this year’s 20th annual InStyle Best Beauty Buys issue, and gave the face and cheeks section a healthy makeover. Do you use any products from that list? Love ‘em? Hate ‘em? Want to try?

This week we are taking a look at the Eyes and Lips pages of the BBB guide. I’ll let you in on some safer products that you’ll love just as much as the ones InStyle recommends. Even more, actually.

Let’s go!

EYES

InStyle lists 14 eye makeup products, none of which are nontoxic. The word “mineral” gets tossed around quite a bit with makeup. But just because a product is made from natural minerals does not make it synthetic free. You still have to read your labels. The Bare Minerals Ready Eye Shadow in the guide contains, as a first ingredient, Boron Nitride. This is a synthetic ingredient used in makeup as an oil absorbent. It gets a “0” hazard rank at EWG, but it is still a synthetic ingredient and just not necessary in eye shadow.

You can get the same bang for your buck with synthetic free eye makeup, sans the nasties, and your eyes will like them better because they are gentler. Here’s what’s up for eyes:

Eye Shadow Palette   Lavera Beautiful Mineral Eyeshadow Quattro-Cappuccino Cream #2 is similar in colors to the Dior palette listed in the BBB. What’s not similar? The ingredients and price tag. No synthetics, talc-free, and around half the price of InStyle’s choice.

Gel Eyeliner   RMS Beauty Eye Polish in Karma would, I guess, technically be an eye shadow. But this stuff is thick and creamy in such a good way that it can definitely double as eyeliner. Perfect for a smoky eye.

Eye Makeup Remover   Put your foaming facial cleanser away. Nothing beats oil for removing makeup. Try Dr. Alkaitis Organic Mascara & Eye Makeup Remover is super light and won’t leave you with a grease slick. When in a pinch, I’ll use a facial oil or skin balm to remove eye makeup. Works like a charm!

Eyeliner Pencil   Eyeliner pencil is the staple of my makeup routine and Benecos is my go to. I’ve used everything from low end to high, and this one is perfection. Creamy but still manages to stay put and not smudge around. And the whole line of makeup is very affordable.

Mascara   InStyle lists 4 mascaras in their roundup, starting with a waterproof product. Obvi, there is no waterproof natural mascara. I’d say mascara is probably the makeup product that most women struggle with when going natural. Many of them run and smudge, or are just too thin to do any good. I like several, but one is a standout…and that is Dr. Hauschka Volume Mascara. Not waterproof, but just the right consistency, doesn’t clump, stays put, and looks awesome. If you are in the market for something a little less expensive option, 100% Pure and Lavera Volume Mascara are both well behaved, a bit thinner than the Dr. H and don’t last on lashes quite as long, but I do use them for day to day.

Powder Eye Shadow   Kjaer Weis Eye Shadow Compact all the way. 10 brilliant color choices, all in the ultra cool, totally refillable, KJ compact.

Liquid Eyeliner   Again, Benecos comes in first. If you are a lover of liquid liner, you will be more than pleased with this one.

Eye Shadow Brush   I use this baby.

Brow Pencil   Big brows are a big deal right now. I have played with Lavera Eyebrow Pencil with good results. I’m also interested in trying out EcoBrow. Looks fun and gets great reviews.

Mineral Eye Shadow   Here I am going with loose powder eye shadow. These are easy to use and abundant. My top picks are Alima Pure, Haut Cosmetics, and Kari Gran. All are made with minerals and toxin free.

Cream Eye Shadow   Ah, such a fun product. Choose RMS Beauty Eye Polish in 7 exciting shades. Having trouble getting the hang of cream shadow? Remember to pat the color into lid, rather than swiping, for longer lasting, crease free application.

Mascara Primer   I’ve tried a couple of natural eyelash primers/enhancers with poor results. Personally, I’d skip this step and use a great mascara, like the Dr. Hauschka one I listed above.

LIPS

InStyle recommends 9 products for lips, including 2 that they label as “eco-friendly”. Trust me, we can do better. Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm is all natural and free from yucky stuff. And it’s a darn good buy at $3.30 a tube. Still, I’ll fill you in on some you’ll like even better.

Lipstick   There are so many glorious natural lipsticks. Which to choose for the list? Here’s a smorgasbord, go nuts. Ilia Beauty Lipstick, Kjaer Weis, W3LL People, Vapour Organic Beauty, Tata Harper, Benecos, and Lavera, to name a few. InStyle also gave an inexpensive lipstick option. The Benecos and Lavera would fit that bill.

Lipgloss   Oh gosh. Lipgloss, how I love thee. And who doesn’t?! But not all lipglosses are created equally. You know how some glosses make your lips feel … just weird? Hate that. These feel good, look great, and are totally addictive. RMS Beauty Lip Shine, Vapour Organic Beauty Elixir Plumping Lip Gloss, and Benecos Natural Lipgloss.

Lip Balm   I like Whole Foods brand lip balm because it is inexpensive, convenient to pick up, and super smooth. But my all time favorite lip balm has to be Vapour Organic Beauty Lux Lip Conditioner. The big fat stick is fun to use and the balm is, well, the bomb.

Lip Lacquer (of sorts)   InStyle’s lineup has a long wear lip lacquer that “feels like a gloss, but…a heck of a lot more”. If an ultra-glossy, long lasting lip gloss is what we are after here, Osmia Organics Lip Shine is it.

Lip Stain   Found this Organic Hibiscus Lip Stain on Esty and can’t wait to try it. If you don’t like using a true stain but want that same intense color, opt for La Bella Figura Lissette La Coquette Hydrating Lip Colour.

Lip Crayon   Lip crayons are the thing right now. That’s because they offer great color, with feel and staying power somewhere between lipstick and gloss. Plus, the crayon is fun to use. Here are my picks for big lip sticks.

Reconstructed :: InStyle Best Beauty Buys Part I

InStyle Best Beauty Buys Green Makeover

InStyle magazine used to be my bible. I’d absorb the pages, letting them dictate my next fashion purchase or beauty look. Swoon over the stars in their dazzling dresses at the best parties. Bookmark stuff I wanted to go back to, rip out pages to take shopping or show my hair stylist, then wait for the next issue to arrive.

Our relationship grew more distant the more I learned about nontoxic beauty. Slowly, over time, I stopped buying the mag so much. I still love the fashion and purchase the special seasonal issues for style inspo, but the beauty stuff just didn’t hold the same appeal for me.

But there is one InStyle issue I grab every single year. The one I used to covet the hardest. And that is the annual Best Beauty Buys issue. A rundown of what the “industry’s top experts” recommend in each category. Sadly, the majority of the picks are not healthy products. I really thought by now InStyle would have realized how many great organic beauty brands are out there and that many women want them.

And I’ll prove it. Let’s take a look at the 20th  annual guide, page by page, and I will let you in on which ones are safe (clue: not many) and fill you in on what I’d put on the page, matching item for item with safe products. Love this kinda stuff!

This week, we’ll start at the top: Foundations + Cover-Ups and Cheeks

FOUNDATIONS + COVER-UPS

InStyle lists 10 foundation and cover up choices that they like. None are nontoxic. Boo. There are so many great items in this category that are organic and free from synthetic garbage ingredients. Here are the cream o’ the crop:

BB Cream Yes, you can have a BB cream that is free from toxic ingredients. Lavera BB Cream offers hydration with a natural glow. Perfect for those who don’t like a true foundation or have dry skin.

Foundation Brush W3LL People Basic Foundation Brush is made of synthetic fibers (non-animal) and tapered for ultra light coverage.

Primer Simply the best in facial sunscreen, Suntegrity Sunscreen Face Protection SPF 30 offers UV protection, while it works as a facial moisturizer and makeup primer. Non-greasy and leaves no white tint on skin. Perfection in a bottle.

Mineral Foundation cream compact Kjaer Weis Cream Foundation is the gold standard in mineral foundation. The cream is so light you’d never think it could provide coverage. But it does, like a dream. And the compact it comes in is modern art beauty.

Concealer stick Vapour Organic Beauty Illusionist Concealer is the best I’ve come across for covering dark circles and spots. Seriously.

Tinted Moisturizer Not all of us like foundation. If you fall into this category a tinted moisturizer will become your new bff. And Ilia Beauty Sheer Vivid Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 is the bomb at light coverage with hydration and an added boost of UV protection.

Liquid Foundation For those who prefer a standard liquid foundation, try Lavera Natural Liquid Foundation. Just short of a being a cream this liquid provides super sheer coverage to hide imperfections and even tone.

Powder Foundation Looking for a great powder foundation? W3LL People Altruist Mineral Foundation is a hit amongst the powder lovers, providing weightless, satiny coverage.

Blemish Treatment Concealer Treat while you cover with Ilia Beauty Vivid Concealer. This lightweight concealer hides blemishes while soothing and calming the skin. Contains arnica, a super natural skin healer.

Powder The best barely there powder in the biz has to be RMS Beauty “Un” Powder. Absolutely translucent, just a touch of this mineral powder banishes shine and perfects the complexion with no white finish.

CHEEKS

The mag lists 7 cheek color products, 1 of which happens to be nontoxic and one of my personal faves. The selection includes an “eco-friendly bronzer”. Excitement fades upon realizing it is eco in name only. Tarte Amazonian Clay is a mineral bronzer, but also contains talc, dimethicone (a silicon-based polymer), nylon-12 (a synthetic polymer), polysorbate 20 (a chemical surfactant), and phenoxyethanol(chemical preservative. So, not eco at all. Tarte is a good example of a company with vague enough marketing to lead consumers to believe their products are green, when in reality, not so much.

Cream Blush The idea behind cream blush is that it melts into skin, giving a super natural flush. Thus is just the case with Kjaer Weis Cream Blush. So sheer, go for just a hint of color or layer for more intensity.

Highlighter This is the one InStyle got right with RMS Beauty Living Luminizer. Love, love this beauty staple created by makeup artist to the super models,Rose-Marie Swift. So many uses beyond cheeks. A true must have.

Powder Blush There are many choices of mineral powder blush that are free from unnecessary nasty junk, like dimethicone, synthetic preservatives, and talc. My picks: Alima Pure Satin Matte Blush, W3LL People Purist Mineral Blush, and Kari Gran Mineral Blush.

Blush Brush Alima Pure Blush Brush is super soft, synthetic fiber, and hypo-allergenic.

Bronzer Opt for a cream, RMS Beauty Buriti Bronzer is a beauty aficionado fave, or powder,like W3LL People Bio Bronzer. Get your bronze on with all natural ingredients and no greenwashing.

Next week we’ll cover Eyes, so come back and check it out. Ask questions if you have ’em!

Shop Talk :: 6 Blogging Tips to Lightning Fast Content

6 Blogging Tips to Lightning Fast Content

Hello, Organic Beauty Pros!

Last week we talked about your lonely little site blog and tips for perking it up with some fresh content. I mentioned shorter posts and hiring a professional to do the writing for you. But there are other ways to make regular blog posting happen too.

If you are someone who has ideas and would like to share them with your followers, but just can’t seem to fit it into your busy schedule, today’s post is for you. I’ll share tips on ways to gather your ideas, get them organized, set up a schedule, and post those babies lightning fast.

1 :: Ideas most often happen on the fly. Free your memory space (in your actual head) up for important stuff, like remembering to record your daughter’s dance class or schedule a coffee date with your bestie, and get those post ideas down somewhere else. I use the Notes app on my phone while I’m out to record ideas and any related links that I may like to write about later. Evernote is another great place to store your thoughts, emails, articles, and post plans.

2 :: An editorial calendar is a super effective way to keep up with regular posting. Did you just groan at the thought of coming up with one of these? Seriously, you will be glad you did. Even if you only plan to posts once a week (which is absolutely fine and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise), an ed calendar will help you plan ahead and stick to your schedule. Put it on your calendar, “Post to Blog” every Wednesday.

3 :: Most blogging platforms have a schedule feature. This means you can write your post anytime that works for you and schedule it to go out first thing Monday morning. Hot stuff!

4 :: If you seem to get stuck in a time suck every time you sit down to write a post, give yourself a limit. Remember, blogs are a more personal space than a site or store. Speak in your own voice and focus on one subject at a time. Tracking your time helps big time her too. I use the Time Tracker feature on Freshbooks to log my writing time. There are other apps that do this too. Or heck, set an old fashioned timer for an hour.

5 :: Guest posts and interviews are interesting ways to share different types of content with your readers. They also free up some of your time because someone else is doing the writing. Obviously, these need to be set up in advance. Come up with a list of brand creators or industry experts you’d like to feature, and ask them if they’d be up for an interview or would like to write a guest post for your blog.

6 :: One of my favorite ways of writing themed content is with blog series. You’ll notice here on OBS I have several. This not only makes it easier for me to organize my post ideas, but helps my readers to find articles they like on a certain subject. For shop owners, things like Product of the Month, What I’m Wearing, or Customer Favorites are sweet ways of sharing opinions while featuring products.

Once you get in the blog flow, ideas, writing, and scheduling will all become easier and faster. Next week we will cover inspo generation for those who want to blog but don’t know what to write about. See you back here then!

On Track :: The Personal Care Products Safety Act

The Personal Care Products Safety Act

You know how cosmetic and personal care regulation in the US is, well, practically nonexistent? That may be changing soon.

Legislation is in the works to up FDA control over cosmetic ingredients. To a small extent, anyway. But hey, this could be a step in the right direction.

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have co-sponsored a bill –The Personal Care Products Safety Act— that would require the FDA to research the safety of five ingredients each year and place disclosure regulations on product manufacturers.

To get up to speed here, the FDA does not approve cosmetics for safety before they are put up for sale. This is left up to the manufacturer. The FDA “encourages cosmetic firms to report product formulations” but “companies are not legally required to tell FDA about their products and safety data”. Uh huh.

So what would this new legislation look like in action? As for the five ingredients that would come under closer scrutiny:

propylparaben – a commonly used synthetic preservative that has been found in breast tissue, acts like estrogen in the body, and could lead to impaired fertility or fetal development

lead acetate – a heavy metal (metalloestrogen) used in hair dyes, a possible carcinogen, developmental and reproductive toxicant, organ system toxicant, allergen and immunotoxicant

and three formaldehyde-releasing ingredients (formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen):

methylene glycol – commonly found in hair straightening products, like The Brazilian Blowout

diazolidinyl urea and quaternium-15 – both used as preservatives

About time these guys went under the government’s microscope, right? You can read more about these, and other, ingredients to avoid on my list.

Now for that whole disclosure thing. Personal care manufacturers would be required to report serious health issues resulting from the use of any of its products within 15 days. Nonserious reports would have to be reported each year. Serious, if you are wondering, covers death, disfigurement or a hospital stay. Yeah. Rashes are considered nonserious.

EWG is backing the bill, as are many cosmetic manufacturers. Let’s hope this thing sees the light of day. And yay to these awesome women taking a stand against toxins in personal care!

Image :: Chris Sardegna at Unsplash

Shop Talk :: Suffering From Blog Neglect?

Shop Talk :: Suffering from Blog Neglect?

How many of you organic beauty shop owners have a blog? How many post regularly? Seldom? Haven’t removed the “Coming Soon” placeholder?

Yep, I see it all the time. A beautifully laid out organic beauty shop, filled to the brim with the best products, images that make you drool, and great editor tips. Then I click the “Blog” link, and … *crickets chirping*.

Know why your blog is a tumbleweed magnet? Because you are a shop owner not a blogger.

They are two very independent beings. One runs a shop full of organic beauty products. The other writes about those products. Two different job descriptions. This is why you don’t post to your blog.

Writing is what I get paid to do and I love it. If you told me I had to sell beauty products on the side, I’d probably blow it off for a few days in a state of frozen bewilderment, before putting out a half ditched effort. The bottom line: I’d sell very few products.

And that’s not because I don’t know how to market them or don’t know how to install a shopping cart on my site. Which, admittedly, I do not. But that stuff can be learned. The real reason I wouldn’t sell any product is because … selling beauty products is not my thing. Not my jam. Not what I do.

And blogging is not what you lovely, successful shop owners do. Nor should you be. It takes away from your true purpose. Time spent on doing something you hate rather than doing what you love is counterproductive. Why do I assume you don’t love blogging? Because you chose to be a shop owner, not a blogger, plus the aforementioned cricket chirper you have there on your site.

What’s that? So maybe you don’t hate to write? If you do yearn for a personal spot to share your personal stuff and hoped it would happen in blog form, that’s great! Maybe it’s more of a time factor for you. If this is the case, here’s something to remember — blog posts do not have to be long. Forget what you’ve heard about what Google loves and those blogging rules you’ve seen on Pinterest. Those apply to people who blog for a living. You sell products for a living. Few customers are going to find you through your blog. Your blog is there as a side component to your real business. A place your customers can go to further connect with you.

This is where short posts come in.

Put up a couple of tiny paragraphs on your latest offerings and why you love them. Talk about what you are stocking up on for the season. Tell of how you used a product in a new and different way. And the ultimate shorty post, a poll or simple question asking your readers what they want or if they have questions. Simpler and quicker still? Tweet, Facebook, or Instagram that stuff out in super short and sweet format.

Blogs are a great way to lend a more personal feel to your business and customers love that. So before you delete that baby or, even worse, continue to let it linger in its state of loneliness, consider getting it some rehab. There are folks, like me, who do this blogging thing for a living. Order up some fresh and sparkly content for your neglected blog or give the short post a whirl.

There you go, quick and easy tips for getting your blog some love. Now get to doing what you do best and sell us some organic beauty products!