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.
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?
How great is J Law’s makeup on the cover of Vogue this month? Hey, I’m all about the holidays and getting in the spirit and looking festive. But, I’ve gotta say…this fresh, bronze-y look has me hackerin’ for something a little more warm weather.
So, yes, it is ok to pair your warm neutrals with your wintery style, or even as a low key holiday look. Why not keep face and hair simple and let that smashing new outfit you got for the season do the talking?
Here’s what I’d use if I were recreating Jennifer’s look. And you better believe I am!
W3LL People Bio Bronzer :: Going nuts on the bronzing powder is always a bad thing. But a little dusting of this will take skin straight from December to July. For the fair skinned, mix a bit of bronzer with your regular facial powder. The idea here is fresh glow, not just came back from a tropical vacation.
I know what you are thinking…It’s November! What should I be puttin’ on my face and bod?
Great question! Let me fill you in on my little listy-poo of stuff I am in love with for the month of earth tones, warm clothes, pumpkin everything, and gearing up for the holidays.
The latest addition to the ever-awesome Kjaer Weis collection includes a smokin’ hot Cream Blush that I can’t get enough of. The beauty of Above and Beyond is that it is so universal. Looks great on my fair complexion but would also work perfectly on medium and darker skin tones. Way to go again, KW!
How much do you adore those red/black ombre nails up there from the OPI Venice collection? I know I saw a how-to on Instagram but now can’t locate it. If I were doing it, and I probably am, I’d use RMS Beauty Nail Polish in Beloved and Diabolique. Tried out Sublime and have to say, the color is brilliant and lasted longer than the brand I normally use. Great stocking stuffers too.
Aster & Bay Glow Body Serum. Want this Jasmine scented skin hydrator in my life so bad. Keep away dry skin and smell completely vibe at the same time? Yep!
Think earthy makeup shades are only for summer? No way, Jose! Earth tones are super in for fall and winter this year. Try out warm, caramely Kjaer Weis Eye Shadow in Charmed. A neutral means you can go for something ultra dusky on lips, like RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek in Diabolique. You know, to match your nails.
Yes, the holidays are coming. Yes, they’ll be fun. And yes, they’ll smack the energy straight out of ya. This year I may try getting a little extra something from Urban Moonshine Energy Tonic. This natural ingredient combo is said to suppress fatigue, boost mental clarity, and ramp up energy. That oughta get you through to New Year’s, unlike regular moonshine which does the opposite.
How cool is this funky black and cream scarf? And how handy would it be right now? Throw it on with jeans and a sweater, pants and blouse, over your coat, with your jammies…kind of up to you.
As for reading. I’ve been taking a class on fiction writing and haven’t wanted to read any fiction to mess with my mojo flow. So I’ve tapped into Medical Medium by Anthony William which is doing all kinds of good stuff for my life. Have you heard of this guy? Definitely worth a look.
Whole Foods. I mention beauty items you can find there from time to time. Thought it was time I shared my WF beauty shopping list.
While I try and curb my Whole Foods experience due to my desire to go on vacations, buy some cool clothes, and one day send my kids to college, I do end up there fairly regularly. Not only is their fruit selection much better than my beloved Target, but it is an easy place to pick up some of my favorite natural beauty essentials.
The key to shopping WF without going broke is to go prepared, get your shiz, and get the heck outta there! So, here’s your list for the beauty aisle. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Acure Organics :: I love that WF carries this fabulous line. Acure makes skin, body and hair care basics, reasonably priced, and no nasty ingredients. They work great too. I pick up the Eye Cream, Day Cream, Radical Wrinkle Complex, Sensitive Facial Cleanser, body wash, and shampoo and conditioner. Target does carry some of this line too.
Evan Healy :: A bottle of Pomegranate Repair Serum is a must for the beauty kit this time of year. Sinks into skin to moisturize and soften. I like to use it at night over my usual moisturizer once the indoor heat season starts up.
Whole Foods Lip Balm :: What if I told you WF makes one of my absolute fave lip balms?. For real. I love this lip balm more than most I’ve tried over the years. And since I am a lippy junkie, there have been many. It is super smooth and soft, not too greasy or too waxy, and comes in lots of fun flavors. Cheap too. Grab one at the checkout aisle as you are avoiding the bakery and making a mad dash for your car.
Dr. Hauschka :: I also love that WF carries Dr. Hauschka. This guru of organic beauty has high quality formulas and several products to choose from. I don’t purchase these products regularly, but if they start carrying Dr. H Volume Mascara that’ll change real fast.
There you have it. My personal Whole Foods beauty shopping list. Now put your blinders on and go buy yourself some healthy stuff.
So that is why it has taken me so long to get around to these two products I’ve had sitting around for a while. It is not that I don’t love them (because I only review products I truly like for myself or feel others would super duper benefit from), it’s just that reviews have sorta been on the back burner.
Anyway…the thing about these two beauties is…they are actual beauties. Inside and out. As in, the packaging is as pretty as the product. So while they have not yet appeared here on the blog, they have been a constant presence in my bathroom.
What are these two lovelies? One is a beautiful bottle of fabulously scented, highest quality oils by the stellar Kypris. This is a high end oil that acts like, well, a high end oil. This dream in a bottle was offered to me all tied up in a giftie navy blue bow. Product experience, anyone?
The other product (or products, actually) are not at the organic beauty royalty level of Kypris, but definitely deserve a serious turn of the head. I’d not heard of Formulary 55 when they were offered to me, but I am so glad I accepted them. These packets of face and body powders in mask/scrub form made my skin so unbelievably soft. For real!
Both of these exquisite beauty items make for some serious eye candy. Which got me to wondering…how much of our buying experience hinges on product appearance and packaging? There are always those must haves that could come in the least attractive bottle and we’d still buy them. But when we are talking expensive, luxury or specialty products, don’t we kind of need some experience to go along with them?
It’s like going to get a massage or spa treatment. This is a luxury, right? A treat. If the place is drab, rundown or otherwise unappealing the massage won’t seem like as much of a treat. It may not even be worth it.
So, there is something to this whole visual appeal thing, which led me to write a recent article for Domino.com on products that give good shelf esteem. This whole idea got my wheels spinning and I started asking around – How important is product packaging to you? And, not surprisingly, it is pretty dang important to most people. Women and men alike admit to putting a lot of importance on the way an item looks when buying.
Both Kypris and Formulary 55 outdo themselves on quality and aesthetics. Worthy of your skin and vanity/bathroom shelf.
Change of seasons always leaves me hankering for new stuff. New beauty stuff, new home stuff, new closet stuff. Here’s what’s on my list for fall…
RMS Beauty has come out with…wait for it…nail polish! How exciting is that? And it gets better. Each polish shade matches up to one of their makeup colors. Living Luminizer in a polish? *swoon* Of course, they are 5-free.
One of these headbands from Domino.com would also make a pretty cool bracelet.
My white faux sheepskin obsession has branched off into a black faux sheepskin obsession. So. Dang. Cool.
This Aster + Bay Glow Body Serum is said to make skin glow, slow aging, and smell like jasmine? I’m in. Update: It looks like the Aster + Bay Body Serum is no longer available, but I love this one just as much:)
That’s it for now. What’s on your shopping/wish list for fall?
Here’s the deal. Sometimes your eyes look tired. Even after a restful weekend. Even when you’ve been doing your daily meditation. Even when you’ve eaten your organic fruits and veggies like a little champ.
Sometimes your peepers just need a bit of help to pop.
And that’s ok, because guess what? There are products built to do just that. Check it out…
Nothing creates instant awake-ness like a white liner. Line lower rims of eyes and lash line with Benecos Natural Eyeliner in White and you will be amazed at how alert and raring to go you look. This little trick may be all you need.
But if it’s not, this one will definitely get the job done. You know that luminizer you are such a fan of? Did you know it can be used places other than cheeks? Use it as an under eye concealer, or patted over your usual concealer, to brighten this area and reflect light. Promise you won’t hate this. I, like the rest of world, am in love with RMS Living Luminizer.
I recently had a short stay in the hospital. While I was there, a nurse asked what I do. I vaguely remember telling her that I write about organic beauty and wellness through the gas induced fog. What I thought was just a way to keep me talking while I passed out apparently resonated with this nurse.
Once I came to, she had questions for me. In particular, what I thought of the hand sanitizer these hard working gals and guys use every day, countless times.
This health savvy nurse was concerned about the alcohol and other nasty ingredients in the sanitizer. Since hospital personnel all use that squirty foam each time they enter a room, that is huge daily exposure. And you know what we organic beauty advocates like to say about exposure.
While it sucks that these professionals pretty much have to use this chemical cocktail in such large quantities, it is good to hear that some of them are thinking about it and looking for ways to use healthier products.
So, how bad is conventional hand sanitizer? Let us take a look…
Alcohol is the main ingredient in most hand sanitizers. No surprise there.
Yes, it is drying and can be too harsh for most skin types. Definitely not an ingredient to be overused. But what about its safety? As in, does it cause DNA damage, cancer, birth defects or any of the other major health concerns we worry about?
There are different types of alcohol, but ethanol is the one commonly used in hand sanitizers and other personal care products, like spray deodorants and bug repellent. Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, is the same thing as drinking alcohol but, when used in cosmetics, is denatured (made undrinkable).
Ethanol has been found to act as a skin penetration enhancer. Meaning it allows other chemicals to more easily enter your body. So if there is a bunch of nasty junk in that hand sanitizer you are using, like synthetic emollients and fragrance, they are getting sent express mail into your system.
Then there is the contamination factor. Low quality and brands who are not committed to safety may be using ethanol that contains contaminants, which could cause damage when they enter the body and mix with other chemicals.
That is the shortened version of the potential detriments of using ethanol topically. This post would be a mile long if I went into full detail, so take a look at this study on topical use of ethanol for the full deets. Like the study says, the “very high use” of ethanol could cause toxic effects but in the case of hospital workers, benefits to patients greatly outweigh the risks.
The bottom line as I see it? Using a hand san that is made with the cleanest ingredients possible is the safest choice. Choose products made with ethanol that is organic and GMO free, and other natural ingredients. I would wager that hospital variety hand sanitizer contains triclosan, a heavy duty antibacterial that the rest of us do not need to use on a regular basis.
Wish I had better news for nurses and hospital personnel. But hey, keep speaking up and asking questions! Let the industry know about your concerns. Maybe someday that foam will be made with cleaner ingredients.
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.
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 HairAcure 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 HairRahua is a natural hair care favorite amongst the green beauty crowd. These products are suitable for all hair types, even color treated.
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.
HairsprayRahua 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!
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.