BEAUTY

Holiday Gift Guide (Wishlist) 2016

Holiday Gift Guide 2016

So, I talked with many people over the weekend who have their holiday shopping done.

DONE!

If you are like me, you still have a ways to go in the shopping department. The great thing about shopping online is,you have time to put together some great gifts in a snap. I have many, many beautiful green beauty treats on my list this year. All great for giving or receiving. And if you are reaaaaalllly late on the gift buying, I have one idea that is going to save the season for you.

Read on for…

Your Holiday Gift Guide (Wishlist)

KYPRIS Glow Philtre Mask

Kypris Glow Philtre Mask :: I am all about the glow this year. Ok, every year. But I totally feel you can head off that sulky mid-winter pallor if you start early. And one way to do that is with this gorgeous exfoliator. Kypris knows how to do beauty, so we can trust them. Plus, this slougher is gentle enough for all skin types. A true beauty treat.

Moon Juice Beauty Dust

Moon Juice Beauty Dust :: If you follow me you know I’ve been singing the praises of this beauty supplement far and wide. You know how you buy something and hope with all your heart it will actually give the gorgeous skin benefits it boasts? Only to be let down time and again? Well, this baby will not leave you out in the cold, girl. It really does make your skin look magnificent. I drink the stuff every day and would love to see it peeking out of my stocking.

Vapour + Shiva Rose Lip Gloss

Vapour + Shiva Rose Lip Gloss :: Want a lip color any woman on your list will fall in love with? I am head over heels for the new lip gloss from Vapour Organics. It’s a collab with green beauty guru, Shiva Rose, and it has a way of livening up your face in an instant.

Josh Rosebrook Ethereal Botanical Fragrance

Josh Rosebrook Ethereal Botanical Fragrance :: Maker of the incredibly satisfying organic skincare line has gone and designed a fragrance. It is said to conform to every person who wears it and has a warm airy scent. Plus the name is just so divine. Can’t wait to try.

Dr. Hauschka Rose Nurturing Body Oil

Dr. Hauschka Rose Nurturing Body Oil :: Nothing fancy, but feels so luxe. I promise this stuff delivers on soft skin big time. It is nourishing and my dry wintery legs are still smooth and silky at the end of the day after I use this delish body oil. No small feat. And it has the perfect, soft rose scent.

de Mamiel Winter Facial Oil

de Mamiel Winter Facial Oil :: I am obsessed with facial oils. I like several different brands and even mix up my own custom blends depending on my skin’s needs. The fact that de Mamiel has facial oils for every season is so utterly exciting. Who could resist?

Mullein & Sparrow Hydrating Face Mist Toner

Mullein & Sparrow Hydrating Face Mist Toner :: So love this product! It is a lovely scented mist that hydrates and soothes the skin, perfect for the dry days of winter. Made with rose water, which actually helps to soften and plump up the complexion. I spritz on my face, body, hair, sheets, coat, handbag…

The Universe Has Your Back

For the readers in your life :: I have a few suggestions. First off, if you have yet to read Gabby Bernstein’s latest The Universe Has Your Back do yourself a giant favor and buy it now. Get one for anyone in your life who could use some soul love. This book seriously changed my life, not even kidding.

The Little Book of Healthy Beauty

Next, for the green beauty lover or wannabe, Dr. Pina LoGiudice’s short but super sweet The Little Book of Healthy Beauty. This tiny tome offers up sound healthy beauty advice with info I’d never read anywhere else. So cool.

Hello Glow

And for the DIYer, give them a book that will keep them beautifully busy with Hello Glow.

Now, let’s say you have absolutely no idea what to get your sis, bestie, mom, boss, girlfriend, or other female in your life. I have the perfect idea and you can even do it last minute. A beauty box! Luckily, I had the chance to sample a few this season and here are the juicy details…

Credo Clean Beauty Discover Kit

Credo Clean Beauty Discover Kit :: Full of top brand name natural beauty samples. The online store’s debut kit featured de Mamiel, Tata Harper, Evolvh, Pai, Lovefresh, and Skin Owl. All stashed in a cute canvas bag that is easily tote-able. This kit is not available by subscription but any gal would be happy to know it’s heading her way.

Goodbeing Box

Goodbeing Box :: Another sweet surprise of green beauty swag. This is where my relationship with Dr. Hauschka Body Oil began. The box also contained Annemarie Gianni Rosemary Peppermint Body Wash, Osea Ocean Cleanser (which I’ve been using and love), and a pretty little Pure Ananda Loose Mineral Shadow. They also included a fun textured scrubber body mit by Daily Concepts that my daughter quickly confiscated. This box comes in several varieties and shipping options, including a month-to-month subscription.

Good Earth Beauty Box

Good Earth Beauty Box :: A fun and out of the ordinary beauty box. The theme for the box I tried was chocolate and it was exciting to open it up and have the yummy scent waft out. All items in the box are chocolate scented, including a bar of soap, lip scrub, personal fragrance, skin oil, and lip balm, all by Good Earth Beauty. This one also comes in a variety of box and subscription options.

Can A Natural Supplement Powder Make You Gorgeous?

Can A Natural Supplement Powder Make You Gorgeous?

Natural supplement powders are sort of everywhere right now. People are adding them to smoothies, juice, tea…even coffee has been known to get a dose.

But what are they and what will they do for you?

Ok. Supplement powders, the good ones anway, take the power of natural and organic plants and herbs, and blend them to do different things. Certain blends infuse you with energy. Others help you sleep. Some give you clarity of mind or beautiful skin.

Wait. What?

Yep, I said beautiful skin. Moon Juice makes a variety of supplement blends and my fave is Beauty Dust. I sampled the lot and, of course, it was the first one I tried.

What’s Beauty Dust Made Of?

Organic Goji :: An antioxidant powerhouse, these teeny berries are also good for toning down inflammation

Rehmannia :: Reduces swelling and the appearance of broken capillaries

Organic Schisandra :: Reduces inflammation, protects skin from environmental damage, and makes it look plump and supple

Pearl :: This beauty is full of calcium, magnesium, and amino acids, and is great at evening skin tone and promoting a calm mood

Organic Stevia :: So it tastes yummy

Unlike some supplement powders, Beauty Dust is a pleasure to use. I add it to both smoothies and tea (haven’t tried coffee yet, but I’ll get there) and it never tastes or feels weird.

Now what you really want to know. Does Beauty Dust make your skin beautiful? I’m going with Yep!

My first time with Beauty Dust was in a smoothie. I drank it down for breakfast and went about my morning. When I went to put on makeup I noticed that I really didn’t need concealer. I’ve worn concealer pretty much every day since my early twenties to tone down redness around my nose and cover up dark circles. Let’s just say, other than eyeliner and lipgloss, I don’t leave home without a dab of concealer. So, to not need it was something I definitely noticed.

A huge check mark goes beside the “evens skin tone” benefit of Beauty Dust. I also think it gives skin a nice glow. I need to try it out after a night of pizza binging and really put its anti-inflammatory skills to the test.

Am I still buying Beauty Dust? Yes, I am. Moon Juice has a subscription plan so you never have to be without your dust. It’s also available on Amazon Prime for those of you who roll like me and like to wait until you are practically out of something before buying more.

Bottom line. Beauty Dust is the real deal.

4 Beauty Tips You Absolutely Have to Know

4 Beauty Tips You Absolutely Have to Know

I’ve always loved beauty products. From playing in my Mom’s makeup, to putting together my own style, to writing about it today…I’m into it.

But when you write about eyeshadow colors for the season, and how to use highlighter, and stuff like that day in and day out, you can get in a rut. Like, nothing new.

And then you stumble on something that is so good you can’t quit thinking about. And your fire is lit again.

Here’s what’s been lighting my fire lately:

1 Baby skin :: Sounds like something you want, right? Wait ‘til you see a pic of it! I came across this article while writing a story on facial mists and cannot quit thinking about it. The deal is, you give your face a light misting between each layer. So, moisturizer, mist, foundation, mist, powder, mist…you get the idea. I want.

2 The New Brow :: While brows have taken a slightly more demure turn over last year’s big and bold, definition is still definitely in. This can be tricky. How many bad brows have you witnessed in the past 12 or so months?

I found a trick in InStyle mag that works like a charm. You simply brush brows up, feather a line on the under side of brows (I give it the slightest of blends with a q-tip), and brush brows into place. It gives brows definition without looking overly filled in or mad scientist-y. Give ‘er a try.

3 Exotic Oils :: Facial oils have sorta been my thing for a long while now. I love ‘em and no one is gonna change my mind. But I recently came into a sweet little stock of facial oils I had never tried. We are talking Berbere, Tamanu, Marula, and Baobab. Exotic, oui? They are all mighty lovely and create super soft skin, but my face seems to be crushing hard on the Berbere in particular. I’d say run, don’t walk, to one of these babies.

4 Hair Game Changer :: And last, but not least, I’d like to share a life changing hair moment I had recently. My daughter, in attempt to get the most from a new hair conditioner we were trying, read the directions on the bottle. It appears you are supposed to squeeze the water from your sopping wet locks before applying your conditioner.

Oh. Em. Gee. Do you all already know about this? How many other daily life things have I been doing wrong forever? If you too are one who slathers her soaking wet hair in conditioner and wonders why she isn’t getting super soft locks, try this trick. If you’ve been doing this your whole life, take pity on my feeble mindedness.

Image :: Aki Tolentino at Unsplash

Chemical Free Cosmetics :: Not All Bad

Chemical Free Cosmetics :: Not All Bad

I’ve seen a few articles lately and fielded some questions on the  whole chemical free cosmetics labeling issue. Following is my opinion on the subject. Feel free to love or hate.

Some green beauty experts feel labeling a cosmetic as “chemical free” is misleading because all ingredients, natural or synthetic, are chemicals.

Oh gosh. This reminds me of the kid in class who always (always!) had to pipe up when someone called white or black a color, and expound at length on why these two are not technically colors. We all already knew that, had heard it plenty of times, but still called white and black colors. Why? Because who says My new black dress is the perfect absence of light to go with my new shoes or I’m having trouble choosing the best shade of light for my bathroom.

Answer? No one.

Here’s the deal. We have to call them something. While I prefer the term “toxic” over “chemical” as a means to relay the harmfulness of certain cosmetic ingredients, I also get that people relate to the term “chemical”, so I use it often when I write about harmful ingredients. And toxic can be just as questionable. What constitutes a toxic cosmetic ingredient? Are all cosmetic ingredients on the avoid list toxic? … you get the picture.

Same with the term “natural.” Does it carry any true weight in terms of a safe product? Not really, but it is a term we use in the green (there’s another one) beauty industry. Natural Perfumes for Summer or Natural Makeup for Summer are better headlines than Synthetic Free Makeup for Summer. That last one is not going to get many hits and this means less good synthetic free beauty advice in front of eyes looking for healthy information.

We organic beauty experts have been making lists for over a decade now titled “Chemical Ingredients to Avoid”. Yes, we could easily begin calling them “Toxic Ingredients to Avoid” or “Toxins to Avoid in Cosmetics” or even “Unhealthy Cosmetic Ingredients.” That’d be fine with me.

But the real problem here is under regulation of cosmetics and personal care. We are on our own here, as consumers, and doing our best to protect ourselves from unhealthy junk, and purchase what’s best for us and our families.

Shooing shoppers away from products labeled “chemical free” entirely? I get the good behind this strategy and the desire to educate, but it is too soon for this. There are good, safe, high quality brands creating products they choose to call chemical free because it speaks to consumers. Is it sometimes misleading labeling used by less than safe companies? Yes. Always? No!

The best way to protect yourself from ingredients you wish to avoid is to familiarize yourself with potentially harmful ingredients and read ingredient listings.

Awareness surrounding toxic ingredients in cosmetics is much huger than it was a decade ago. This is good stuff. But, at least for now, I feel that shunning all cosmetics labeled “chemical free” is not only misleading to shoppers in general, but sort of like throwing out the baby with the bath water.

Yes, right now words like chemical, green, natural, and even organic are tossed around without a whole lot of street cred. This not only makes it harder for shoppers to know they are getting a safe product (remember: never trust the front label!), but difficult for truly safe brands to market their healthy products.

We are on the right path. Read labels, follow brands you trust, and ask questions.

Image :: Neill Kumar at Unsplash

List Love :: Glorious Summer

List Love :: Glorious SummerSummer is my true love. It’s so casual and fruity and glowing.

How fun is it to buy new stuff for summer? Gotta have a new bathing suit and some fresh flip-flops. Maybe a cute dress or two. And then there’s the beauty. Mmm mmm.

Here’s what is hanging out on my shopping list for the hot season…

May Lindstrom Skin The Jasmine Garden :: Jasmine gets my attention every time. And dewy, glowing skin? For sure!

Lina Hanson Global Treasures :: You know how you put your heavy moisturizers away once winter disappears? And then you realize summer is parching your skin too? People, there’s pearl, gold, and coffee in this spectacular balm. It’s like a decadent dream come true for thirsty skin and I want it now.

Kypris Beauty Cleanser Concentrate :: You know the luxe oil brand, right? I love Kypris and I love cream cleansers. So, done deal.

Chocolate Sun Cocoa Fleur 2 :: You know how Chocolate Sun is one of the best nontoxic self tanners? You don’t? Well, you totally need to get some. I can’t wait to try this spray version.

RMS Beauty Eye Polish in Myth :: Solar seems the obvi choice for summer, no? But the sweet kinda lavender/kinda silver-y-ness of Myth has me all kinds of excited. Going to use on lids, cheeks, lips, collarbone…try to stop me.

La Bella Figura Beauty – Happy Therapy (Mood Booster) :: I’m thinking a new scent for summer. Gardenia, Coconut, Guava, and Rose? Maybe the ladies at LBF can read minds.

Now go play.

Reconstructed :: Gwen Stefani Instagram Selfie

Gwen Stefani Instagram selfie

I’ve had a crush on Gwen Stefani for, like, evah! But really, who hasn’t?

Earlier this week, Gwen posted a selfie on IG sporting a very natural look. So pretty I had to do a reconstruction.

And away we go…

Of course, you’ve got to get yourself that smooth, even look. And since the sun is out most of the time these days and we are heading into summer (yay!), I’m recommending Suntegrity 5-in-1 Tinted Sunscreen. This stuff goes on like a dream and provides some healthy mineral sun protection. Gots to have.

For eyes, let’s get some smudgy brown pencil going. I cannot live without my fave, Benecos Natural Eyeliner in Brown. Or try W3LL People Hypnotist Eyeliner in Brown. And it looks like Gwen has used a peachy/gold shadow on upper lids, like Kjaer Weis Eye Shadow in Cloud Nine.

Can’t forget to handle the brows. While I’ve never been one to fill mine in, lately I’ve been using Benecos Eyebrow Designer. It is super easy to apply (I advise using a feathering motion while holding the pencil at a slant against brows) and comes with a convenient brow brush on the other end.

This look is lash game strong, so get yours out there with a smooth, thickening black. Try Ilia Beauty Mascara.

Those neutral lips are what is so surprising about this stunning look on Gwen. I mean, she can rock red and neutral? C’mon. Go with a lip that is close to the shade of our shadow. I choose Ilia Beauty Lip Crayon in Come Undone, cuz there’s nothing un-fun about picking out lippies.

OBS is 10!

Pineapples at Unsplash

Yep, I started this little blog a decade ago. Since then, my business has definitely evolved. And my blog design along with it, thankfully. Just for chuckles, check out the OBS original home page, below.

OriginalHomepageSmall

Ouch, right?!

Way back when it all began I had a preschooler and a kindergartener, and would spend any time they were sleeping researching this whole toxins in beauty products thing. In March of 2006, after spending a good 6 months reading and asking and emailing, I decided to start a blog sharing this knowledge with others. The plan was to eventually open an online store selling my favorites.

But the writing bug soon took over and before I knew it organic beauty professionals were asking me to write for them. I may spend most of my time now writing for other businesses and websites, but I am still just as passionate about the organic beauty/heath + wellness movement.

Not only have I and my blog changed, but the organic beauty scene has changed big time too. Back when I was starting out, researching my brains out and scouring the web for organic brands that were actually walking the talk and not just utilizing good marketing skills, naturals were different. Sure, there were those that have always been both high performance and safe at the same time (Lavera, Primavera, Dr. Hauschka, I’m lookin’ at you), but many were sloopy, sticky, stinky concoctions I did not enjoy using.

I think these days women are looking for products that act, look, feel, and sometimes even smell like conventional products. I know I am. Lucky for us that is happening. Today we have a huge selection of nontoxic products and brands to choose from. Truly safe, high quality, act like you want them to, beauties.

We are fortunate. There is nothing standing in our way of looking and feeling great while making healthy choices. I’m so happy to have been a part of the organic beauty movement over these past 10 years and want to give a huge shout out to my sisters and bros in the organic beauty game too. All of the amazing bloggers, editors, online shop owners, brand creators, and PR peeps who’ve lent their time and products to my journey…a big smooch to you. Couldn’t have done it without you!

If you’d like to talk about my writing services, please get in touch via my contact page. For organic beauty info, hit up the Resources tab. The Shop page will get you started on some beauty products I’ve picked out from one of my fave shops. Or dive into the posts to see what’s going on in my green beauty world.

As always, thanks for reading and come back soon!

Top image by Pineapples at Unsplash.com has absolutely nothing to do with OBS turning 10. I just love pineapples and beaches:)

List Love :: Spring Beauty

List Love SpringBeauty

Isn’t this a weird time of year? It’s warm, it’s not warm. Our skin is dry, then it breaks out because of the up and down temps. We want to bust out the fun springtime makeup hues, but our face is still stuck in hibernation mode.

Know what fixes those end of winter, almost spring blues? An exciting beauty shopping list! Here’s what is on mine right about now:

French Girl Organics Bronzing Oil :: Ummm, cuz oil + bronzing sounds a-freakin’-mazing. This brand was featured in the latest issue of domino. Domino is one of my all time favorite magazines (I have every single issue ever published and now write for domino.com, in case you didn’t know) and what they say goes.

One Love Organics Gardenia + Tea Antioxidant Body Serum :: We’ve talked about body serums here before. And boy, are they perfect for spring. Nix the heavy balms and greasy moisturizers. Let a luscious oil blend sink into your skin and give the ol’ bod a sweet glow. This one smells fabulous and is one of my staples.

RMS Master Mixer :: Because I am, possibly, RMS Beauty’s biggest fan, this one is definitely a must try. Rose-Marie Swift, creator of RMS and green beauty icon, has a knack for coming up with super cool, unique beauty products that turn into cult hits. This is for sure gonna be one of those.

OM Caviar Eye Cream :: This baby is receiving rave reviews and is said to diminish wrinkles and dark circles. When anything says that, I say…bring it on.

Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist :: The idea of misting my skin with rose water when the weather is warm is so appealing. Think I must do. These guys were also featured in that domino green beauty round up I mentioned before, so there’s that.

SW Basics Oil Serum :: It’s no secret I worship facial oils. If they were a person, I’d bff them for life. If they were edible, I’d drink them for breakfast. If they were a song, I’d have them on repeat. You get it. This beauty has both turmeric and coffee oil, which is pretty dang exciting. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and gives skin a lovely glow. Coffee helps to tighten and brighten. Come to mama.

ILIA Beauty Lip Exfoliator :: Lipgloss is my favorite makeup item. Heck, it’s my favorite beauty item. I’m sure most of you are with me. Since your lipgloss glides on so much better if your lips are soft and smooth, we all must try this cool new lip exfoliator in a stick. For smoothing your pucker on the fly.

Olio e Osso Balm French Melon :: I’ve been hunting for the perfect blend of peachy-pink lip color since binge watching every season of the new 90210. This may be it, guys. I shall try it out and let you know.

Here’s to the most gorgeous spring you’ve know yet!

Replaced :: Aquaphor

Replaced :: Aquaphor

Are you so tired of cracked skin on your hands? Or maybe the skin on your face is looking irritated or ruddy? How about eczema? These skin conditions all come with the winter territory.

Go to the doctor or dermy and they’ll tell you to pick up a tube of Aquaphor, or some similar petroleum jelly type product, at the drugstore and you’re all good. Why is that? Because petroleum jelly works in the short term. It almost instantly makes skin feels softer and soothed, and helps to seal in moisture our skin is crying out for right about now.

Trouble is, petroleum jelly (petrolatum) often contains cancer causing contaminants. As a matter of fact, the European Union considers the ingredient carcinogenic and restrict its use in cosmetics.

Aside from that nasty news, petroleum jelly is occlusive, meaning it forms a barrier on the skin. In the moisturizer world, there are humectants, emollients, and occlusives. Humectants draw moisture from the air to the skin. Emollients are moisturizing ingredients that soak into the skin, filling dry cracks and areas.

Occlusive agents are meant to hold in moisture and prevent dryness. They usually feel greasy on the skin and can cause clogged pores and acne. Some natural ingredients are also occlusive (beeswax, mango butter, cocoa butter…) and work the same way as petroleum jelly, creating a water loss barrier on the skin only sans the carcinogenic contaminants. Due to the comedogenic nature of occlusives, it’s a good idea for those with oily or acne prone skin to use minimally.

But here we are in the midst of dry skin season. Even if you are on the oilier side, now is the time to get in on some of the benefits of these ingredients to deal with problem skin.

I have three favorite petroleum-jelly-type products that are all natural and work even better. You are going to love them!

True Organic of Sweden All You Need is Me :: Love the name, love the product. This one is new to me this season and can’t imagine going through another winter without it. It looks and feels just like Aquaphor coming out of the tube, but once you rub it into skin…seems to evaporate with no oil slick left behind. I use it religiously on my fingertips, cuticles, dry spots on face, and anywhere else that is just a little bit ( or a lot bit) too dry.

Waxelene :: Called “The Petroleum Jelly Alternative” this is the one to get if you are into using petroleum jelly straight up. It’s a simple four ingredient mix that comes in a either a tube or jar. No icky stuff, just real deal moisture for ultra parched skin.

SKIN Claramint Lip Balm :: I had to include this one here, even though it is decidedly minty, unlike Vaseline or Aquaphor. It is the exact consistency of petroleum jelly, super smooth and clear, and works like a charm on dry, chapped lips. I use it every single night before bed and it is always on when I wake up in the morning. Oh, and a lil dab’ll do ya.

Image :: Yegor Chekmarev at Unsplash.com

Highlighter Goes Old School

Highlighter Goes Old School

Happy New Year! How were your holidays? Mine were fun, fast, and full of activity. Now for the not so fun part…repairing your skin and body post holiday festivities.

My skin was left looking like uncooked pizza crust, lightly dusted with flour (only minus the elasticity), once I got back into reality this month. All of that extra salt, sugar and fat, paired up with no exercise and less sleep, was not exactly a recipe for gorgeous skin.

My first inclination? Reach for the self tanner. It is a great way to fake it til you make it. But then I came across a new idea. Well, actually an old idea. As in, back to basics.

While writing an article on earth toned makeup I came across a makeup artist who uses a throwback way of instilling glow. No highlighter required, though I am a huge fan of some highlighter.

What’s the trick? Good old fashioned cleansed and exfoliated skin. And lots of moisturizer. Love this idea for dry ol’ winter.

Here’s what I’d use if I were going this route, and I definitely am:

Exfoliating is the insta-remedy for dry, lack luster, or otherwise down in the dumps skin. It feels good and leaves skin looking renewed. Here’s the deal though. Going nuts on this step can leave you with a whole new problem in the form of redness and irritation. Not the look we are going for here. So let’s do this thing right. I love One Love Organics Brand New Day for jump starting a good glow. Go ahead and use on your neck and décolletage too.

For good clean skin that isn’t stripped of natural oils I couldn’t be happier with Acure Organics Sensitive Facial Cleanser, which you can pick up at your local Whole Foods. Just foamy enough to get skin nice and clean, but emollient enough to not dry it out. When my skin is feeling super dry, I use Lavera Basis Cleansing Milk 2-in-1.

Ah, now for the best part. Let’s ramp up our moisture! I like to start with a good layer of my fave facial moisturizer, Lavera Mattifying Balancing Cream. I’ve tried many and just keeeeep coming back to this baby. It is light yet hydrating, not greasy, works well under makeup, has no weird scent, and even helps to balance oil. Perfection!

Ok, next up let’s add some oil. This is the step that takes your complexion to the next level. Choose one that works for your skin type. RMS Beauty Beauty Oil works well on everyone’s skin and is like silk in a bottle. Getcha some pronto.

Worried makeup will slip right off of your well oiled skin? Here’s the trick: Use a dusting of powder on areas you don’t want shiny (tip of nose, chin, forehead) and where you want makeup to stick (eyelids).

Whatd’ya think? Gonna give this old school highlighter look a try this winter?

Image :: Brooke Cagle at Unsplash.com