SKINCARE

Secret Stash :: Vered Organic Botanicals

Vered Organic Botanicals

Whilst poking around my samples basket for a good exfoliant (do you have post summer bumpiness too?) I kinda hit the jackpot.

See, a while back, when I put together a diy spa style facial, Vered Back of Vered Organic Botanicals sent me a Cacao Vanilla Beauty Mask that I ended up including in the facial. Yum! What I didn’t remember were the oils she sent along with it. Since I have a hardcore crush on oils, it was like Christmas in my bathroom when I discovered this forgotten stash.

I’ve been using Anti-Wrinkle Eye Treatment and Anti-Aging Face Treatment Oil for about 5 days now, and am in love. I love an oil eye treatment. No pulling on delicate eye skin, just gently pat on the oil. And it leaves skin feeling so super soft and pampered.

As for the face oil. Oh my goodness, this stuff rocks. Not only does my skin adore it, but the scent! All warm and soft and spicy. Every time I catch a whiff of my face (which is often, since that’s where my nose is) I can’t believe how delicious I smell.

Even though we have our staple skincare products, I firmly believe it keeps skin happiest when we switch things up from time to time. And these are most likely new staples.

Reader Question :: Serum for Oily Skin?

Serums for Oily Skin

Hi, I am a 32 year old Asian woman with oily skin, large pores ,dark spots, and some pimples. Do you think a serum will help reduce my skin problems? If yes, which organic and natural product will help me? Thank you so much!

Serums hold many benefits for all skin types. The difference is in the ingredients.

For oily skin types you need light, easily absorbable ingredients. Argan oil works well on oily skin. It absorbs readily into skin, offering all the nourishment with no extra oiliness. My friends with oily skin love this stuff.

I’m also going to suggest one of my favorite all time oils here, and that is rosehip oil. It is very lightly moisturizing (to help balance oiliness), lightly exfoliating (to help with breakouts and skin texture), and offers lightening and brightening effects (to fade spots).

You may or may not need a daily moisturizer with a serum, depending on how oily your skin is. If you do give serum a try, wait 10 to 15 minutes and if your skin feels tight, go ahead and apply a light moisturizer over the serum.

You may also want to consider a product for pore refinement. Amala Purifying Moisturizer offers very light hydration, balances oiliness, refines pores, and evens skin tone. This product may work very well for you, with or without a serum.

I’m happy to see you are considering a serum to control your skin issues. So often those with oily skin tend toward drying treatments. While this may seem like the way to go with oily skin, over doing it will only exacerbate the issues. Spot treatment is fine, but stripping the skin of natural oils means flakiness. Sebum becomes trapped under skin flakes and this causes breakouts.

One last note. To protect against more dark spots and prevent further darkening of existing spots, wear a mineral sunscreen when spending prolonged periods outdoors.

Choosing Skincare :: Some Real Life Examples

Woman using iPad by timothy muzat Unsplash

So we’ve been talking about how to choose the right skincare for your skin type and particular issues. As straightforward as that may be, sometimes it helps to have a real life example. Or four. Here ya go…

Example #1: Here is what my skin care profile looks like…

Skin type: I have dry skin that can be sensitive
Issues: I am allergic to aloe vera
Likes, Dislikes & Ideals: I don’t like products that have a strong scent or are too “earthy”, they must be high performance, and preferably cruelty-free.

While I sometimes purchase ingredients for sensitive skin, I am first on the lookout for products that are suited to dry skin. Keeping my skin hydrated usually keeps redness and irritation at bay. While many chemical skin care ingredients irritate my skin, there are some natural ones that do too. These are the more heavily scented ingredients, like tea tree or mint. I read my labels and skip anything heavy on aloe. If I end up with a product that is too strongly scented or looks like putty-colored pudding I will send it back.

Example #2: This is from one of my readers…

Skin type: “super-sensitive and acne-prone without being particularly oily or dry”
Issues: Drugstore brand products for sensitive skin cause breakouts, those for acne cause dryness
Likes, Dislikes & Ideals: Looking to switch from conventional products to nontoxic. Btw, she mentioned she is active and a healthy eater, so the culprit has to be the skin care.

This woman most likely has Normal skin type that is sensitive to synthetics. These harsh ingredients imbalance the skin, which causes irritation, and natural oil production ramps up causing breakouts. Using too many different products at once can also throw skin into imbalance.

Solution: Use nontoxic products formulated for Normal skin type. If these products still cause skin to become irritated, see if there is a similar ingredient(s) in the product compared to that of the drugstore brands she’s been using. If she still has issues with acne after switching to nontoxic products (give it a week or so) try natural acne treatments designed to be gentle and non-drying. My guess is that simply switching to toxin-free skin care will balance her skin and bring back a clear, healthy complexion.

Example #3: Also from a reader…

Skin type: Sensitive
Issues: Dry, flaky skin in the winter and fairly sensitive to soaps, foaming agents, and fragrance ingredients.
Likes, Dislikes & Ideals: Would like some anti-aging benefits (lightening of spots and softening/preventing wrinkles)

Solution: Most sensitive skin types do well with a milk or cream cleanser, versus a foaming cleanser which can be too drying. If you need a foamy cleanser, say after workouts, use it only when necessary and opt for a cream cleanser (or just warm water) the rest of the time. Dry, irritated skin is a common symptom of over cleansing.

Safe nontoxic skin care brands use natural fragrance ingredients, but even these can irritate sensitive skin. She should opt for fragrance-free moisturizers or those made specifically for sensitive skin. A rich cream moisturizer, or even a balm, will help to relieve excessive dryness in winter. As for the anti-aging and spots: rosehip oil is gentle, softens lines, and helps to reduce the appearance of spots and scars. This oil can be used on its own, and is used in many products for sensitive skin. Love it!

Example #4: Also from a reader…

Skin type: Oily
Issues: Acne, flakiness, clogged pores, but no allergies
Likes, Dislikes & Ideals: Interested in DIY skin care

Solution: Oily skin and acne go hand in hand. But flakiness? Doesn’t that sound more like a dry skin problem? Nope. Many people with oily skin, who are prone to acne, end up with flakiness. This is due to the products and measures they use to get rid of the acne. Even oily skin types benefit from moisturizer and most often people in this skin type will skip this important step.

“My skin is already oily, why would I apply moisturizer to it?”

Guess what happens if you don’t. Skin becomes dry due to lack of moisture, cleansing and over-zealous scrubbing and treating. This causes flakiness. The skin then attempts to self-remedy the situation by producing more oil, which gets trapped under the layer of dry skin, and *voila* you have zits.

This woman should purchase nontoxic skincare designed for Oily skin. Including a light, balancing moisturizer. Those made for oily/acne skin types use lighter emollient ingredients that will balance oil production and keep pores clear. A great place to start with DIY skincare is exfoliation. All skin types benefit from this step, and it should be done regularly. A mixture of organic sugar, organic milk and a dab of honey is my absolute favorite scrub for the whole body, including face. Always massage gently when exfoliating.

*Image by Timothy Muza at Unsplash.com

We All Have Issues

Girl with hair mustache by Shandi-lee Cox at Flickr.com

Last week we talked skin types and how knowing yours will help you to purchase the right skincare products for your skin. This week we are taking things one step further. Let’s talk issues.

Whether it is added dryness in winter or an ongoing issue, like rosacea or eczema, it is important to use products formulated to work on your skin’s needs.

This is also where allergies enter the picture. I happen to be allergic to aloe. It is a great ingredient (and widely used in natural skincare) but hives do not look good on me so I avoid anything that contains a lot of aloe. If you are sensitive to certain ingredients, scan labels to see if products include them. Easy enough.

Now name your likes, dislikes, and ideals.

Start with your likes and dislikes. Do you hate using anything even slightly greasy? Maybe you cannot stand the scent of rose. Some like a thick mascara, others like something a little thinner. If you purchase products that you feel you should like, but really cannot stand, you are not going to use them. I speak from personal experience, I’m sure you have been there too.

In this category also fall your ideals — gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, cruelty-free. These will be marked on products or at the manufacturer website.

Now you know your skin type, your skin issues, and your likes and dislikes where skin care is concerned. Taking them into account when shopping will help you to buy the perfect product for your skin. You wouldn’t go grocery shopping without a list, would you?

Have questions? Ask them in the comments. That’s what I’m here for!

*Image by Shandi-lee Cox at Flickr.com, cc

What’s Your Type?

Girl in Sunglasses by Viktor Hanacek a tpicjumbo

Skin type that is.

Seems like a simple enough question, right? And you probably think you know the answer. But are you using the best products for your skin?

Here’s the deal…

Many women use the wrong skin care for their skin. Just because a product or line keeps your best friend/sister/favorite movie star looking gorgeous does not mean it will do the same for you. Maybe it will, maybe not. Rather than purchasing the most popular products, look at your own skincare needs. Most skincare creators design products for specific skin types or concerns and say so on the package. The stores I shop also sort by skin type, making it easier to search.

Not sure what your skin type is? Here is a snapshot of each skin type:

Normal/Combination – Normal skin type appears neither overly oily or overly dry, but balanced and supple with minimal breakouts. Normal skin that is oily, or becomes oily throughout the day, in the T-zone (forehead, nose, chin) is considered Combination skin. For combination skin you may need to use different products on the T-zone than you do on the rest of the face. Remember: even normal skin can become dry, irritated, and broken out.

Dry – Dry skin may appear dry, taut, flaky, dull, or irritated. This skin type usually has few breakouts, but tends to show signs of aging earlier than oilier skin types. Sensitive is often associated with dry skin, as is mature skin type because our skin tends to become more dry as we age.

Oily/Acne – Oily skin appears oily, shiny, and is prone to breakouts, though this skin type usually sees fewer lines and wrinkles. Oily skin is often associated with acne.

Mature – Mature skin is that over 40 which is beginning to show signs of aging – fine lines, wrinkles, sagging, and increasing dryness.

Sensitive – Sensitive skin is usually, but not always, thin and fair. Prone to irritation, this skin type is often associated with dry skin but can be oily or normal.

*Image by Viktor Hanacek at picjumbo.com

Organic DIY Facial

DIY Organic Facial

Most of us have a love/hate with facials. Love because, well, they make your skin look and feel so gosh darn gorgeous. Hate because who has time to go get a professional facial? If you do get these little luxuries on a regular basis, I worship you. But if you are like me, you’d rather lie on the couch and catch the finale of Southern Charm if you have a few extra minutes than hop back in the car to drive across town yet another time.

So I decided to create a spa style facial right in my very own bathroom. And with all organic products, of course.

This 3-step facial goes like this: Exfoliate away dry dead skin cells, absorb excess oil and dirt from pores, and give skin a good boost of healthy hydration. The three luscious products I chose for this facial are listed below, and the sweeties behind these brands were nice enough to send them over to me.

For the exfoliation step I went with Vered Botanicals Cacao Vanilla Bean Mask. It is dark brown and smells like something you would want to taste. If you were a chocolate lover. Which I am. So I did. The mask does taste good, but what it does to your skin is even better. I massaged in a small amount with my fingers and a little warm water, then left it to dry for about 10 minutes. My skin felt warm, like the mask was doing something, in a good way.

After rinsing with warm water I moved on to the absorption phase with Wedderspoon Organic Raw Manuka Honey Active 16+. Yes, it is honey, and if you have not heard of the healing and softening properites honey has over skin, take my word for it. My skin was so soft after these first two steps I could easily have stopped there.

But I didn’t. The final phase was the super smoothing Amala Intensive Brightening Mask. This treatment goes on like moisturizer, and feels super soothing and pampering. Once removed, my skin looked plumper and had a serious glow.

Anyone can do this simple facial. If your skin is seriously sensitive you may want to leave each mask on for less time, and always go easy on the exfoliating. I followed these 3 steps up with my favorite moisturizer and a dab of facial oil. Can’t wait to do it all again.

Why It’s Important to Choose Mineral Sunscreen

Mineral Sunscreens

If there is one item I look forward to stocking up on each year, it’s sunscreen. Why? It means warmer weather is almost here!

Choosing the perfect sun protection, on the other hand, can be quite tricky. It has to be effective and safe, of course. I also have to like the look and feel of the product. If it is too greasy or white, not going to use it.

In an effort to find the best sunscreens, I have tried many. Some I pass on to those less selective about their protection, others keep on coming back. No matter your level of pickiness where sunscreen is concerned, make certain you are using broad spectrum protection.

What, exactly, is broad spectrum?

There are two kinds of UV rays that cause damage to skin. UVB rays damage top layers of skin, responsible for sunburn. UVA rays penetrate to deeper skin layers, causing potential long term damage, like wrinkles and skin cancer. Broad spectrum means the product provides protection against both type of rays.

Which sunscreens provide broad spectrum protection?

Mineral sunscreens all the way! This type of sun protection forms a physical barrier on the skin, preventing penetration of UV rays. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, work by absorbing into the skin. This, of course, allows those nasty UV rays to reach deeper layers.

Another advantage to going with mineral sunscreen, they work instantly. Chemical sunscreens recommend allowing 30 minutes post application to be effective.

Mineral sunscreens made with other natural ingredients are the safest and most effective means of UV protection for the whole family. Yes, mineral sunscreen can be white and greasy. Some of my favorite natural cosmetics brands have worked to solve these issues, and create very wearable and easy to use formulas. Check the following list for my favorite natural mineral sunscreen brands and stock up for spring/summer.

True Natural – This line includes several mineral options, including a convenient Sport Stick and two new formulas. My favorite is the Caribbean Coconut.

Purple Prairie Botanicals – I can’t get enough of the Sun Stick from this line, and love the Sun Stuff Lip Balm.

Suntegrity – Probably the most wearable mineral sunscreen I have tried. Not at all white or greasy, and the Tinted Face Sunscreen is fabulous.

B Leaf Botanics Replenish Review + Giveaway

B Leaf Botanics Replenish Review

You love a great eye cream, right?

One that’s moisturizing but not greasy?

Has some anti-aging benefits?

Works well under makeup?

Perfect for day or night?

Found it! Actually it found me…my friend Ellen, creator of the fabulous B Leaf Botanics and owner of CarenOnline.com, sent me a bottle to try out. A brand new airless pump bottle, to be exact.

B Leaf Botanics Replenish is its name and pampering the skin around your eyes is its game. It’s light, yet hydrating. Plumps and makes skin supple without being greasy. Even seems to help diminish the severity of these dark circles I’ve been sporting lately. Ellen also recommends applying to lips to soften and smooth.

B Leaf Botanics is a line of skin care solutions made with natural and organic ingredients designed to not only be safe for your skin and body, but to heal the skin. And this eye cream comes in hot off the press new packaging, a brand new airless pump bottle to deliver on safety + quality down to the very last drop.

Would you like to try Replenish? We just happen to be holding a giveaway today over on Facebook. Enter to win yourself an airless pump bottle of this luscious eye cream. Head over to the OBS Facebook page now for the deets on how you can enter to win. Don’t forget to tell your friends!

Product Love :: Blades Natural Beauty

Blades Natural Beauty

Boy do I have a lot of products to review!

Seems like a ton of them came in over the holiday season. Always fun, but I am a bit behind in reviewing them.

Here’s one, though, that I had to get right to. Jessa Blades has been on my radar for a long time now. She’s a makeup artist who seriously knows her stuff about nontoxic products. Walking the talk, you might say.

So, when I found out she now has her own line of skin care, Blades Natural Beauty, I just had to check ’em out.

Packaging: Gorgeous

Products: Wonderful

Informational tidbits that came along with: Super goody, good.

Enough of my fluffy adjectives. Get yourself to Feelgood Style where I wrote all about it.

Now have a lovely Wednesday!

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