MyChelle Clear Skin Serum Review

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During the summer I did a VISIA complexion analysis at Whole Foods where I learned the status of my skin and added more exfoliation and oil-control to my daily skincare routine. One of the products recommended to improve my complexion was the MyChelle Dermaceuticals Clear Skin Serum ($33, 1oz). Used regularly, this potent serum minimizes oily-blemish prone skin, clears pores, and aids in skin repair. Initially I purchased this serum because the Whole Foods esthetician incorrectly noted I could use this alone as an acne spot treatment (you can’t, really) but I’m glad I picked this up because it is a great product for maintaining clear, balanced skin.

“Powerful bioactives deeply calm, balance oil and keep pores purified…minimizes surface shine while improving the clarity of oily and blemish-prone skin. Retinol resurfaces skin and clears pore-block debris while Montmorillonite clay detoxifies and absorbs excess oil. Totarol, a botanically-derived antibacterial, and B Vitamins assist in the growth of repair of skin tissues.”

I really like MyChelle products because the brand is affordable, accessible (sold at Whole Foods), participates in eco-friendly operations and gives back to the community. They approach skincare by using natural, nontoxic ingredients that provide effective results without sacrificing the health of your skin. MyChelle products are also organized into a clear numbering system so you can easily understand each product, its usage  and its order within your skincare regime. The Clear Skin Serum is a Step 3 product.

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Also, how cute is this packaging?     “Seeded in science and rooted in nature”

My results

MyChelle recommends using 2 pumps of this serum daily after regular facial cleansing. I usually apply this serum at night right after cleansing my face and before applying my night cream or facial oil. I have found this serum works great during the day too, with my daily moisturizer and even underneath makeup.

“For clear, smooth, well-balanced skin, apply two pumps after cleansing. Follow with mist, nourishing cream and sun protection.”

Like I said, I had a preconceived notion that this serum would also work as an acne spot treatment which it does not. I can’t say it completely removes all my blemishes or acne. However, it does keeps the texture of my skin amazingly smooth, balanced and leaves my pores squeaky clean. The pores around my nose and cheeks are the usual dirt collectors and I was shocked at how effective the Clean Skin Serum was at completely banishing those little nasty blackheads.This serum doesn’t take long to produce noticeable results, the formula penetrates quickly and calms skin. I have been using this serum for a couple months now and I’ve noticed how it has also healed and maintained my skin overtime. I feel that this serum really does treat and nourish my skin.

I have a strong aversion to specific scents (too earthy or herby and I can’t stand it) and have a very sensitive nose. I love the scent of the MyChelle Clean Skin Serum and it is very botanically-scented. You can specially smell the Ylang Ylang flower oil and Lavender oil among the other lovely herbal ingredients in this Serum. To my nose, the scent does linger but I find it pleasant and not irritating but definitely noticeable. The ingredients are effective in combining organic, naturally-derived and bioactive ingredients that have many skin benefits such as Retinol (Vitamin A), Montmorillonite (clay minerals) Witch Hazel water, Willow Bark extract, Tea Tree Leaf oil and Aloe. 

Overall, the MyChelle Clean Skin Serum has earned a permanent spot in my skincare regime. This serum never fails at regularly maintaining the texture of my skin, clearing pores and assisting in calming redness or blemishes. I can’t wait to try other MyChelle products like the Pumpkin Peel and Fruit Enzyme Mist.

Ingredients: Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Aqua (Water), Alcohol Denatured (Grains), Glycerin (Vegetable)*, Polysorbate 20 (Plant), Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Montmorillonite (Clay Minerals), Yogurt Extract (Milk), Retinol, Fructooligosaccharides (D-Beta) (NutraFlora®), Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil*, Totarol, Panthenol (D) (B5), Niacinamide (B3), Pyridoxine HCI (B6), Biotin (D) (B7), Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Juice, Collinsonia Canadensis (Stone Root) Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder (Aloe Leaf)*, Pogostemon Cablin (Patchouli) Oil, Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Flower Oil, Limonene (Citrus), Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Phytic Acid (Rice), Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum (Fermented Sugar)  *NOP Certified Organic

Have you tried the Clean Skin Serum or any other MyChelle Products? What are your methods for maintaining clear skin and clean pores?

*The product featured in this post was purchased by me and all opinions in this review are based on my personal experience. I am never paid to give my honest opinion on products or brands.

Au Natural Factual: Elderberry

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Elderberry or elder (Sambucus nigra, S. Canadensis) has traditionally been used on the skin to treat wounds or taken as medicine to treat respiratory illnesses like the cold and flu. Elder is a large deciduous shrub or small tree that grows in wet or dry soil in sunny locations. Native to Europe, Africa and parts of Asia, it is also widespread in North America. The flowers and berries are the components used for medicinal purposes. The elder flowers and berries must be cooked before they are collected to be used. Using raw and unripe berries can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and can be poisonous.

Many beneficial properties in elderberry have led to the belief that the flowering plant has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anticancer properties. Elderberry has been used for sinuses, nasal and chest congestion, back, leg and nerve pain, as well as for chronic fatigue syndrome.

It is a great natural remedy for injuries, infection and various skin conditions. Elderberry has also been proven to boost the immune system and improve health due to its many beneficial components such as bioflavonoids, tannins, amino acids, carotenoids, vitamin A, vitamin B, and vitamin c. As a result of it’s many health benefits, some people also prepare elder flowers as food or use the flowers for tea and the berries for wine, jelly or jam. Taken internally, elder is said to cleanse the body and strengthen one’s immune system.

Elderberry/elder flower is also a popular ingredient used in personal care products for its natural benefits on skin and hair. Due to its emollient and mild astringent properties, elder is beneficial in calming sunburn, reducing eye puffiness or enlarged pores. It is also a great aftershave tonic for men and can be used as a calming bath herb. For hair, elder provides moisture and nourishment to dry hair and can be found in many shampoos, conditioners or hair rinses.

Elder blossoms are often found as an ingredient in facial steams, cleansers, scrubs, lotions, moisturizers, soaps and toners. Elderflower water, regarded as a natural beauty secret of many women, is traditionally used as a facial toner.

 

Sources: Herb WisdomPangea Organics, University of Maryland Medical Center, Web MD, Wild Edibles, Wikipedia

Images: Mother Earth Living, Carolina Nature, Food and Hearth (Cool elderberry recipes!)

Discovering Gressa Skin Products

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I’m having a big obsession with skincare right now and there are so many amazing natural and organic brands out there to discover!

I was sent some products from Svetlana, the founder of Gressa Skin, a small skincare brand based in Portland, Oregon that offers handmade products made with only natural ingredients.The products I received were the Balancing Cleanser, Purifying Oil and Renewing Polish.

“We choose Organic, Wild Crafted and Sustainable ingredients only. Never fillers, never GMOs, never preservatives, parabens or any other synthetics.”

As soon as I opened the lovely packaging I knew my skin was in for a treat. I think the black packaging and simple labels are very chic as well.

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Balancing Cleanser ($23.99/2oz) This is another oil-based facial product that is really making me a believer in facial oils. I’d never tried a oil cleanser before and I love using this to remove my makeup or just to cleanse my face. A little goes a long way, I only need 1 to 2 pumps to remove all my makeup and cleanse my face. The oil feels light, smells of botanical goodness and is refreshing to my skin. The Balancing Cleanser renews and soothes my skin after use. This does not leave my face greasy yet is very moisturizing for my dry skin.
Ingredients: Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) Oil*, Extra Virgin Olive (Olea europaea) Oil*, Pumpkin (Cucurbita peo L.) Seed Oil*, Camelina (Camelina sativa) Oil, Rosehip (Rosa rubiginosa) Oil*, Castor (Ricinus communis) Oil*, Polysorbate-20, Lavender Esstenial OIl*, Geranum (Pelargonium graveolens) Essential Oil*, Roman Chamomile (anthemis nobilis) Flower*  *Certified Organic. 100% of Ingredients Are of Natural Origin

Purifying Oil ($37.99/0.5oz) This oil is perfect for using right after the Purifying Cleanser or any other cleansing product. It is a very light facial oil that leaves my skin moisturized while not heavily greasy. It is faintly yellow in color but rubs clear on the skin. I have not broken out from this product and have noticed it improves minor skin discoloration and keeps my skin feeling soft. I use this oil when my skin is acting up and find that it soothes and nourishes my face. I really like the scent, it’s subtle but you can definitely detect the floral and chamomile notes in the ingredients which I find very calming.
Ingredients: Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Oil*, Rosehip Seed (Rosa rubiginosa) Oil*, Macadamia (Macadamia integrifolia) Nut Oil*, Grapeseed (Vitis vinifera) Oil, Raw Sesame (Sesamum indicum) Oil*, Therapeuutic oil blends of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Flower*, Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) Flower*, Calendula (Calendula officinali) Flower*, Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum) Flower*  *Certified Organic. 100% of Ingredients Are of Natural Origin

Renewing Polish ($22.99/2oz) I enjoyed using this scrub which includes honey as a natural moisturizer. It’s a bit oily and liquidy due to the honey, oils and mix of exfoliants, but the ingredients cohere nicely so it’s not as messy as other facial scrubs I’ve tried. After using this product, I immediately noticed my blackheads were scrubbed away and all other dirt and grime seemed to be lifted from my face. I really like how this is also oil-based so the exfoliant is gentle, moisturizing and effective in treating and softening the skin. No breakouts or damage to my skin were noted from using this product.
Ingredients: Brown Sugar*, Brown Rice Flower*, Cornmeal*, Raw Oregon Clover Honey, Lemon Juice*, Virgin Olive Oil*, Polysorbate-20 (Coconut Derived), Lavender Essential Oil*, Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) Essential Oil*, Rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora) Essential Oil, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) *Certified Organic. 100% of Ingredients Are of Natural Origin

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Close-up of the Renewing Polish

Overall, this was a lovely skincare line to discover. I love how everything is handmade in small batches, derived from natural botanical ingredients and really moisturize and treat the skin. The product prices are also not too expensive. I enjoy using all 3 of these products but the Balancing Cleanser definitely stands out as a daily favorite.

The next Gressa Skin products I would love to try are the Dirty Pretty Things powder and the Purifying Mist.

You can purchase products from Gressa Skin online (with free shipping!) or locally at select Whole Foods stores in Oregon or Washington.

Have you discovered any great new beauty or skincare brands lately?

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*Products were kindly sent to me for product review, this post is based on my honest opinions and experience.

Au Natural Factual: Burdock Root

Burdock is a biennial plant, also classified as a common weed, that is most recognized for its stout growth and leaves containing prickly burrs. Due to its ability to grow relatively tall, the burdock plant (scientific name: Arctium lappa) has deep roots that are brownish green in color. The root, leaf and seed are used to make medicine and are sometimes eaten as food. Burdock root extract is typically used in skincare and hair products. This herb is native to Europe and Asia though is naturalized throughout North America. In traditional Chinese medicine, the burdock root was commonly used to treat many illnesses.

Burdock contains chemicals that might have activity against bacteria and inflammation. Burdock root consists of  carbohydrates, volatile oils, plant sterols, tannins, and fatty oils which explain the plant’s healing properties. Burdock root has anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and demulcent effects on the body and skin. In skincare, burdock root is added to many facial steams, cleansers, lotions, toners and salves. The properties of burdock root help effectively treat skin ailments such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. 

Burdock root is also used externally to treat painful joints, inflammation and often thought to purify the blood. Burdock root is also added to shampoos, conditioners and hair rinses especially for its beneficial effect on dandruff.

Recent studies have shown that burdock root also contains phenolic acids, quercetin and luteolin, all powerful antioxidants. Various cultures believe eating the leaves or roots of the burdock plant help to cleanse the bloodstream, prevent cancer, to treat high blood pressure and other common illnesses and to keep the body healthy.

Burdock root has also achieved culinary recognition due to its many health benefits when ingested. The plant contains dietary fiber, calcium, potassium, amino acids and is low in calories. Common in Japanese and Korean cuisine, burdock root leaves can be strained for tea, root or leaves added to a soup or drink, or the roots are boiled and braised like a potato.

Sources: Amazing Herbs, Edible Wild Food, Pangea Organics, Web MD, Wikipedia     Images: Wikipedia

Peelin’ Good with Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive

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As we have transitioned into Fall and the weather is changing daily, I’ve also felt that annual change in my skin. It’s that lovely time of the year when my face starts getting a little bit drier, irritated and blemish-prone. To calm my reactive skin, nothing is more soothing than applying a facial mask that moisturizes, exfoliates and treats my skin.

Due to my own laziness, I’ve always lacked regular exfoliation and use of facial masks in my daily skincare routine but lately, I’ve come to realize why exfoliation and facial masks plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy complexion. I finally tried out Juice Beauty’s bestselling Green Apple Peel for Sensitive Skin ($39, 2oz).

The Green Apple Peel was one product from Juice Beauty’s fruit-based, natural skincare line that I’d always heard many people raving about. And guess what? It really is that great. If you’re feeling like your skin’s in a slump, applying this facial peel up to twice per week will surely refresh and maintain the happiness of your skin.

Juice Beauty’s Green Apple Peel delivers full-strength, spa grade exfoliating effects and since my skin is sensitive and easily irritated, I played it safe with the Sensitive skin peel. You can try the Full Strength or Blemish Clearing Green Apple Peels depending on your skintype. The Peels are formulated for all skin types except those with rosacea or extremely sensitive skin.

“Juice Beauty’s bestselling, patented Green Apple Peel exfoliates and refines to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and lighten hyperpigmentation. Delivers spa grade exfoliation revealing a brighter complexion while firming the skin.”

The Green Apple Peel effectively “brightens, lightens and tightens” the skin with the use of fruit-based ingredients. The Peel combines organic alpha hydroxy acids of malic acids from green apples, citric acid from lemons and tartaric acid from grapes. This combination of  fruit-based acids and glycolic acids reduces dark spots, hyperpigmentation and brightens the skin. Vitamin E and organic aloe heals and hydrates the skin while Vitamin A and Vitamin C minimizes wrinkles, fine lines and promotes healthy cellular turnover.

My Results: The peel has a muted, fruity scent and a thin, clear gel-like texture. About 5 minutes after applying to my face, neck and decollette, the peel hardens and a slight tingling and tightening sensation takes over. The tingling subsides and does not burn my skin. After 10 minutes, rinsing off the peel leaves my skin feeling ultra-smooth, hydrated and refreshed. I never experience any redness nor irritation after using this peel.

After using Juice Beauty’s Green Apple Peel, my skin looks brighter and feels firmer. It has helped my dark spots fade, evens my skin tone and texture while not drying out my skin. I like applying this peel at least twice a week to prevent blemishes, moisturize my face and gently exfoliate dead skin build-up. I highly recommend this peel to refresh the skin and feed your skin with helpful ingredients.

Purchase the Green Apple Peel from Juice Beauty’s website or at any Ulta store. The EWG’s Skin Deep database ranks Juice Beauty’s Green Apple Peel (old formulation) with a score of 3 for overall hazard based on the ingredients.

Ingredients: Organic juices of pyrus malus (organic apple juice)*, citrus medica limonum (organic lemon juice)*, aloe barbadensis (organic aloe juice)*, glycolic acid, vegetable glycerin, hydroxypropyl starch phosphate, sodium hydroxide, capryl hydroxamic acid, xanthan gum, caprylyl glycol, vitis vinifera (grape seed extract), tocopherol (Vitamin E), retinyl palmitate (Vitamin A), ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), tetrasodium glutamate diacetate, magnesium aspartate, zinc gluconate, copper gluconate * = Certified organic ingredient

Have you tried Juice Beauty’s Green Apple Peel? What do you regularly use to exfoliate and maintain the health of your skin?

JuiceBeauty.com FREE SAMPLES

*Product was provided to me for review purposes. All opinions are my own. Post contains affiliate links.

Au Natural Factual: Flaxseed Oil

Flaxseed oil or flax oil is derived from the flax plant (linum usitatissimum), a blue-flowering plant. This oil is also commonly known as linseed oil. The common species of the flax plant, linum usitatissimum is mainly cultivated for its fiber and seed. Other types of flax oils can be used ornamentally or for industrial and pharmaceutical purposes depending on the production method. Industrial uses for flaxseed oil include paint binders, waterproofing agents and glossing.

Flaxseed oil can be found as nutritional supplement and a topical oil. Traditionally, flaxseed oil was used as medicine by many different cultures specifically for skin irritation and other inflammatory ailments. High in anti-inflammatory properties, flaxseed oil is thought to be useful for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory (swelling) diseases.

The oil is produced by processing the seeds from the flax plant and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids (about 50-60% Omega-3s) and specifically, alpha linoleic acid (ALA). Due to its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed oil works wonders on the skin when applied topically as it norishes and locks in moisture on the skin. Flaxseed oil’s anti-inflammatory properties help minimize redness and skin irritation. The oil can also prevent skin having a dull appearance and smoothes fine lines.

Flaxseed oil can also be ingested as a nutritional supplement and is also said to prevent various diseases such as heart disease, cancers, diabetes allergies and more.

Because flax seed oil is easily oxidized, which diminishes its antioxidant capabilities, make sure to find and maintain flax oil:

  • in a dark container
  • protected from light
  • vacuum sealed when you buy it
  • stored in the refrigerator after opening it

The EWG’s Skin Deep database rates Flaxseed Oil with a score of 0 for overall hazard. 

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Sources and to learn more: Barbara Mendez NutritionEnvironmental Working Group, FrontierNet, The Derm Blog, Wikipedia

Images: Barbara Mendez Nutrition, Dr. Seibel

If It’s Good For the Geisha, It’s Good for Me- Tatcha Skincare Review

For centuries, the geisha— a traditional, Japanese female performer, has represented a unique aspect of Japanese culture, iconic beauty and timeless tradition. The geisha’s stark white face makeup and brightly painted features may be engrained in one’s mind but underneath their heavily made-up faces, geishas are known for their flawless, breathtaking porcelain skin.

Tatcha is a skincare line based on the timeless skincare rituals of the geishas and the secret to the geisha’s flawless skin or in Japanese: mochi hada, referring to the quality of a baby’s skin. Tatcha’s founder, Victoria Tsai rediscovered the geisha’s coveted skincare routine while searching for new beauty techniques in Japan and meeting with modern-day geishas. Tsai formulated her products based on a 200-year old Japanese manuscript that she and a team of experts unearthed and deciphered which described the sacred beauty regimes of the geisha. Read more here.

Tatcha products are based on simple, time-tested ingredients including green teas, Okinawa Red Algae and rice bran and consist of a 4-step skincare ritual. Depending on your skin type, you can choose from product variations based on normal + combination, dry or oily skin.

Products are formulated without parabens, mineral oils, synthetic fragrances, sulfate detergents, urea, DEA, TEA or phthalates. Dermatologist tested, non-irritating and non-sensitizing.

Intrigued by the historical influence of Tatcha’s inception, I purchased a deluxe sample of the PURE One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil during a special online promotion.

Melts away makeup for petal-fresh skin. A beautiful blend of camellia and rice bran oils. Melts away even waterproof makeup leaving skin fresh and pure.

tatcha 3-2Results: The Cleansing Oil was non-irritating, moisturizing and perfect for removing makeup. I loved using this oil for cleansing my face and it really did get every bit of makeup off. For ease, I recommend removing eye makeup separately if you wear heavier eye makeup though. The product made my face feel extremely refreshed after cleansing, indeed “petal-fresh”. This did not leave my skin overly oily and I didn’t experience any allergic reactions, acne or irritation after use. I enjoyed the simplicity and effectiveness of this cleansing oil. I used this in the evenings after my workday but would use it during the morning as well.

How to apply: Pump a quarter-size amount of oil into your dry hands and apply to a dry face. Massage into face for 10 seconds and rinse away with warm water.

Ingredients: This product does contain alcohol and fragrance (though the scent is not strong) but mostly natural ingredients the geishas themselves use.
Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Polyglyceryl-10 Dioleate, Polyglyceryl-2 Sesquicaprylate, Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Glyceryl Behenate/eicosadioate, Water, Algae Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Alcohol, Fragrance (Natural), Phenoxyethanol. Formulated without: Mineral Oil, Synthetic Colors, Synthetic Fragrances, Sulfate Detergents, Parabens, PEGs, PPGs, Urea, DEA, TEA or Phthalates.
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I also tried a sample of the POLISHED Rice Enzyme Powder which is a light exfoliant and cleanser. This powder is the second step in the Tatcha skincare ritual. I liked the lightly exfoliating texture of the Powder and how it was not abrasive to my skin. The Powder cleared small pores on my nose and cheeks and left my skin feeling silky.

Exfoliates without harsh abrasives for effortless baby-soft skin. A water-activated enzyme powder of rice bran, papaya + HADASEI-3 Bioactive Complex. Reveals skin’s natural gleam.

How to apply: Pour a teaspon of the powder into wet hands and rub together to turn the powder into a creamy foam. Gently massage onto a wet face for 10 minutes (avoiding the eye area) and rinse away with warm water.

Ingredients: This product also contains alcohol and lists talc as an ingredient.
Talc, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Potassium Myristate, Polyethylene, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran, Papain (Papaya Extract), Dextrin, Algae Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Alcohol, Hydrolyzed Conchiolin (Pearl) Protein,  Phenoxyethanol.

I love the unique story behind Tatcha’s founding and the simplistic formulation of the products. Though alcohol and fragrance are some of the not-so-natural ingredients, I admire the basic principles of the skincare line and their timeless effectiveness.

I’d like to buy full sizes of both these products though they’re a bit on the expensive side. Perhaps on my holiday wish list? Currently, QVC seems to be selling the Cleansing Oil and Rice Powder duo for $84 online. You can purchase both products on Tatcha’s website or at select stores such as Barney’s New York.
PURE One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil, $48 for 150 ml / 5.1 fl. oz., POLISHED Rice Enzyme Powder, $65 for 60g / 2.1 oz.

Have you tried any products from Tatcha?

Images from Tatcha

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Cup of Joe, For Your Baggy Eyes: 100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream Review

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I’ve been trying to cut down my coffee intake mostly because the caffeinated after-effect makes me feel worse rather than better. But there’s something about the New York City 9 to 5 grind (and in any other city, really) where by the time Monday rolls around you definitely need a hot Cup of Joe to start your week. Same goes for my face lately, even though I’m still not at the age where wrinkles are visible nor where my dark circles are too enhanced, I also feel the need for a facial-boost to start my day.

Enter, 100% Pure’s Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream. Every morning and night I dab a little bit of this cream under my eyes, let it sink in and continue with my daily routines. At first sniff, the cream produces a wonderful coffee bean scent that immediately jolts my tired, puffy under-eyes awake and keeps my skin glowing and moisturized. For the scent-sensitive, the smell does fade quickly. I feel instantly wide-eyed after applying this cream and look more awake. Soothes my puffy under-eyes and keeps my eye area moisturized all day long. Oh, if only I’d discovered this gem of a product in college!

Besides from its dreamy scent, the Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream is concentrated with anti-aging vitamins, antioxidants and rosehip oil to nourish and maintain youthful, healthy skin. The cream is also 100% natural, 100% vegan and gluten free. Also, I bought the small .50oz tube size about 4 months ago and still seems like there’s an endless amount of product left! A little goes a long way.

100% Pure’s website describes this cream as:

“anti-inflammatory, caffeine rich green tea and coffee de-puffs and brightens dark circles”

Tips for applying: Dab the cream in small dots around your under-eyes. Use your ring finger to gently pat the cream into the skin. The area around your eye is a very sensitive spot on your face which is why it can be the most prone to wrinkles. Using the ring finger to apply eye cream is ideal as it will be easy to maneuver and will use less pressure and less amount of pull on your skin. Never tug or drag your finger around the eye area as this can easily cause more wrinkles.

Although I don’t have any wrinkles (yet) nor extremely dark eye circles, I’ve been using my 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream for daily, effective prevention. And also for that lovely, caffeinated feeling on my skin!

100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream is $10 for .50oz or $19 for 1oz. Purchase online here. I’ve also spotted 100% Pure products sold at select Duane Reade stores in NYC.

Do you use any eye creams? Have you tried 100% Pure’s Coffee Bean Eye Cream? Would love to hear about your experiences!

Ingredients: Organic Aloe Juice*, Organic Rose Hydrosol*, Organic Rosehip Oil*, Organic Green Coffee*, Vitamin E (tocopherol), Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbate), Extracts of: Coffee Cherry, Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Goldenseal, Vanilla Absolute, Candelilla Wax   *Certified Organic

I purchased this product myself and these are my honest opinions.

My VISIA Complexion Analysis

VISIA Complexion Analysis Machine

VISIA Complexion Analysis machine

One main motivation in creating my blog was to educate others about beauty, health and sustainable solutions. Nothing peaks my interest more than learning about new technology and advancements in health and esthetics and sharing what I’ve learned with others. A member of the Juice Beauty team, Annalise told me about the new complexion analysis machines called VISIA machines being set up nationwide at Whole Foods markets and larger beauty stores. I was curious and also a bit scared at the thought of having my face analyzed by a machine but I followed Annalise’s suggestion to go for a free VISIA skin analysis at my local Whole Foods.

Using special imaging technology, the VISIA machine digitally captures 8 different properties of your skin analyzing spots, wrinkles, texture, pores, UV spots, brown spots, red areas and porphyrins (natural oil and bacteria buildup). These categories are further analyzed as percentile scores depicting how the condition of your complexion ranks among other individuals of the same age, gender and skin type. The higher the percentage, the better your skin is within those problem areas.

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An in-house, certified esthetician will then review and discuss the images and the analyzed summary of your skin. They will also recommend a personalized skincare regime to improve your complexion including specific product recommendations. Luckily, you get a printed copy of your visual complexion analysis and the list of recommended skincare products. All your information is stored in the VISIA machine at the analysis location. You can go back for a follow-up consultation after you’ve tried any purchased products to see how you skin measures up after treatment.

At my local Whole Foods, the 2 brands offered for product recommendation are from Juice Beauty and a brand called MyChelle Dermaceuticals. Since I’ve tried a few products from Juice Beauty already, I was interested in trying out and adding the MyChelle products to my skin regime.

How’d my complexion analysis go? Thankfully, it wasn’t as scary as I’d thought! I actually learned more about my skin and what I can do to improve my current skin regime. Overall, I’d recommend everyone to go get a VISIA skin analysis and learn about your skin and how you can improve it! 

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Out of the 8 complexion categories, my skin needs the most work on texture and porphyrins. Here is how the VISIA analysis from MyChelle describes the 2 categories I scored lowest on:

Texture measures the skins smoothness by identifying the hills and valleys of the skin. Raised areas are pimples, milia, blackheads, dead skin cells, shown in yellow. Indentions are fine lines, open pores, open hair follicles shown in blue.”

To improve the texture of my skin, it’s recommended to exfoliate more to remove the unwanted dead skin cells and produce smoother skin. Exfoliation will also allow for additional products to more easily absorb and penetrate the skin. I do realize I’ve become lazy in exfoliating my skin and finding the best product for my skin. I’ve been trying various methods to regularly exfoliate in my weekly skin routine. To improve the fine lines within the texture category, use of more anti-aging products should be used to prevent fine lines and future wrinkles.

Porphyrins are natural bacteria and oil. The bacterial excretions can become lodged in pores and lead to acne. This score varies from person to person and it is ok to have a natural level of bacteria.”

To improve the amount of porphyrins, it is recommended to cleanse the face regularly and make sure all items that may come in close contact with your face such as, makeup brushes, cell phones and pillow cases are kept clean after daily use. This is one category in which I have definitely become more aware of my habits and to improve my facial bacteria and oil buildup.

Read about all the VISIA complexion analysis categories and recommended MyChelle products here

I ended up only purchasing one MyChelle product which I thought would add to my current skincare routine, the Clear Skin Serum. This serum was recommended in my facial analysis because it will minimize shine/oil, remove pores and prevent acne. I’ll be reviewing this product in a future post. Overall, I’d recommend everyone to go get a VISIA skin analysis and learn about your skin and how you can improve it!

What are your thoughts on skin analysis? Have you tried the VISIA complexion analysis machine? Let me know!

This post was inspired by my own curiosity about the well-being of my skin and was not sponsored in any way. All opinions are my own. Special thanks to my friend, May who joined me at Whole Foods and snapped some photos of our skin analysis trip!

Au Natural Factual: Willow Bark

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Willow bark is widely known as a natural pain reliever and has been historically used by herbalists to make medicine. Dating back to 400BC, Hippocrates left behind historical records documenting that patients suffering from pain and fever were advised to chew on willow bark or drink willow bark tea. Though still used today, willow bark was used for pain treatment throughout history by the Egyptians and by ancient Asian and European civilizations.

The herb is commonly used to cure pain (including back pain and osteoarthritis), headache, inflammatory conditions and also acne treatment. It can be found in supplement form, as an extract or as a tea. Willow bark is categorized as the bark from different tree and shrub species within the willow family. Native to Europe, Asia and some parts of North America. Commonly known species include white willow or European willow (Salix alba), black willow or pussy willow (Salix nigra), weeping willow (Salix babylonica), purple willow (Salix purpurea) and crack willow (Salix fragile).

White-Willow-Bark

Willow bark contains salicin, a chemical compound similar to aspirin and which when metabolized in the liver, becomes salicylic acid. Combined with the herb’s powerful anti-inflammatory plant compounds, flavonoids, willow bark’s pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects is thought to be attributed to salicin.

Salicylic acid is also why willow bark’s antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties make it a natural acne treatment. Tannins, catechins, and flavonoids in willow bark provide antioxidant, fever reducing, antiseptic and astringent properties. The FDA has approved willow bark as a topical acne treatment.

In the 1800s, acetylsalicylic acid or, aspirin was developed combining salicylic acid with other chemicals after researching the effects of salicin in willow bark. According to studies, willow bark appears to bring pain relief more slowly than aspirin yet its observed effects may last longer. Historians believe that willow bark contributed to Ludwig von Beethoven’s death. His autopsy report recorded Beethoven had ingested large amounts of salicin before his death and  that he had a specific type of kidney damage that can be caused by salicin.

Taking willow bark as a pain reliever may increase the risk of bleeding yet less than when taking aspirin. There is little or no toxicity information on the use of willow bark, the EWG’s Skin Deep database rates the herb with low scores ranging from 0 to 2. It is advised that patients should monitor for blood in stool, nausea or vomiting and stomach or kidney irritation if using willow bark for pain relief.

Natural/Organic Products Containing Willow Bark:

White Willow Bark 100 capsules from Nature’s Herbs


Willow Bark Pure Pore Serum, 1.1 oz, Andalou Naturals


Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence

Facial Care Peach Willowbark Deep Pore Scrub 4 oz, Burt’s Bees

Sources (click for link): WebMD, University of Maryland Medical Center, Healthline, Drugs.com, Willow Bark and Acne, Aspirin History. Images: Wilderness Family NaturalsWikimedia Commons, Empower Network.

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