TOP DRAWER: Between You & The Moon

TOP DRAWER: Products, brands, and trends that I’m keeping my eye on.

Between You and the Moon is an organic, botanically-based, holistic skincare line  handcrafted and made in small batches. This skincare line is made by Emma Graves and Molly Watman, founders of Brooklyn Herborium, which sounds like another local apothecary that’s on my growing list of places to visit. The Brooklyn Herborium also features services like facials, skincare consultations, and holistic health/herbal consultations. Their blog is also really thought-provoking and informative: Brooklyn Herborium

“Brooklyn Herborium is where we create and craft holistic skincare and home cleansing products, including Between You & The Moon product line. Our traditional herbal goods are made by hand and bottled in small batches with a focus on intention and the flow of energy.”

Definitely a brand mission I can get behind! Not only are the product names clever and poetic, but the old-school apothecary packaging evokes enough whimsy to make my product-junkie heart flutter. Call me a fan! These quirky, botanically-based products are what I’m placing in my Top Drawer in hopes of trying sometime soon.

“Holistic Philosophy, Sustainably Developed, High Quality Ingredients, Botanically Based, As Organic as possible, Fairtrade when available, and Gluten-free. No GMOs, Petro-chems, Parabens, SLS, Perfumes, Colorants, or Animal Testing, ever.”

See all products from Between You & the Moon HERE(Click each product below to redirect to the store)

Pore Refining Mineral Mist, $34-$30

No Evil 100% Natural Skin Protector/Makeup Remover, $48-$68

Newfangled Ideas Coffee Body Scrub, $46

Agnes Day & Night Crème Cleanser, $80

LOMAH Land of Milk and Honey Double-Cleansing Lotion, $40

Perfection: Sense & Sensitivity Clay, $34

Cow Fart Juice Herbal Remedy, $33-$62

Bug Off! Bug Repellent, $14

Sow Your Wild Oats Organic Grain Cleanser, $32

What do you think of Between You & the Moon? What brands or products are you currently lusting after?

 

*All photos from Between You & the Moon

ILIA Beauty’s Fade Into You Review

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By now you should know I’m quite an ILIA Beauty fangirl, so as soon as the brand released some exciting, new products for Spring I quickly snapped up the whole collection. (I have a slight problem, okay?) I fell hard for the new tinted lip conditioner colors but I was most excited about ILIA’s first translucent powder product, Fade Into You. I’m all about products that are portable, refillable, mess-free, and lessens my morning makeup routine by 5 minutes. Fit a product into any of those categories and I’m sold!
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ILIA’s Fade Into You is a lightweight, translucent powder with a refillable, retractable brush packaging. I don’t often use finishing powder or translucent powders as I generally prefer makeup with a dewy finish and also because my face has never been overly oily. Powder always seemed like an extra step to my everyday makeup routine and seemed to make my skin feel worse and more weighed down. It turns out, I’ve been using Fade Into You more often than I thought. I’ll admit, I definitely purchased this on impulse due to the groundbreaking packaging rather than necessity (a refillable, organic translucent powder with brush?!) but I’m very glad I picked this up. {Fade Into You is $34 for 0.14oz/4g online at ILIA Beauty}

Fade Into You is truly transparent and very lightweight in texture. It looks and feels “barely there” and a little bit goes a long way. I’ve found this powder effectively sets my cream-based makeup while keeps my face soft, shine-free, and never dried out. Fade Into You also reduces any red spots I have on my face and gives a soft, mattifying, almost-photoshopped finish to my skin. I’m always doing double-takes in the mirror after applying this powder, it looks that good! Sometimes I even wear this powder over nothing but my moisturizer for a simple, matte, soft-focus look.

You can feel the gentle effects (and yummy scents) of the product’s silky blend of organic powder and oils including Aloe Leaf extract, Passion Fruit and Rosemary oils ingredients, all of which contain anti-inflammatory properties to help soothe the skin. These nourishing ingredients allow the powder to not have a drying effect on the skin. My skin always feels soft, moisturized, and never cakey when applying Fade Into You. Of course, I always make sure to aptly apply moisturizer to my dry skin beforehand.

“ILIA Translucent Powder is an organic blend of powders and light essential oils. A touch of silica is added to minimize pores and improves overall skin tone. Shake powder to surface of brush and apply to the face liberally.”

To dispense the powder, I tap the bottom of the product’s barrel against the palm of my hand, which shakes the powder to the top of the brush. The powder is located in the lower area of the tube and dispenses up into the middle of the brush. Next, I dab or lightly tap the brush over desired areas of my face rather than brushing it over my face. To refill the powder, the bottom section of the product covered by a cap features a powder compartment which can be unscrewed, removed, and refilled. The brush can also be unscrewed from the tube for easy cleaning.

Powder refills will be available from ILIA in Summer 2014. Until then, I’m thinking it’d be interesting to fill this up with another powder after Fade Into You runs out.

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Besides the powder itself  being of fabulous quality, I really like the packaging. Fade Into You features a refillable tube with a retractable brush, making application super easy anytime, anyplace. The packaging fits conveniently in any bag and ensures no messes or spills, something a klutz like me is always prone to. The packaging seems to be made out of a plastic-like material, which makes it a bit less luxurious than normal ILIA products but it does reduce the extra heft in a full makeup bag and reduces the need to bring a separate makeup brush. I wish the clear, retractable plastic near the brush head were made of a less flimsier material (I’m afraid mine is starting to crack slightly) but you’ll just have to be extra careful and dainty when using!

I love how Fade Into You naturally enhances my skin, reduces red spots, and never drys out my skin or makes it look cakey. The convenient and refillable packaging is long awaited for a translucent powder in the green beauty community and perfect for on-the-go touch ups. Another great release from ILIA Beauty!

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You can also purchase Fade Into You at Content Beauty (UK), Eco Diva Beauty (US & CAN), Spirit Beauty Lounge, or Shen Beauty.

Ingredients: Manihot Esculenta (Tapioca) Starch*, Mica, Silica, Bambusa Arundinacea Stem Powder, Zinc Stearate, Passiflora Edulcis (Passionfruit) Oil*, Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) Leaf Oil*, Aloe (Barbadensis) Leaf Extract*, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch*, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil*, Tocopherol.
*Certified Organic Ingredients. Ingrédients Certifiés Biologiques

What are your thoughts on this product? Have you tried ILIA’s Fade Into You? What natural finishing powders do you use?

 

 *Post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

Super Skincare Duo: Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin B Cleansing Oil & Vitamin D Time Release Mist Review

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One Love Organics is a favorite organic skincare brand of mine. I’ve been lagging on reviews about the OLO products I’ve been loving and it’s probably because I’ve been selfishly slathering my skin with OLO goodness instead of writing about them. Can you blame me? Sorry ‘bout that!

Based out of Georgia, One Love Organics was founded by Suzanne LeRoux, a lawyer and holistic health professional/enthusiast, whom I actually met at an event a few months back. {Read about it here!} I love that the brand focuses on a simple healthy skincare ritual, effective ingredients, philanthropy, and the healing power of plants. LeRoux’s “lawyerly analysis” of organic ingredients and plant-based product formulations are evident in the brand’s offerings and something I truly admire.

Not long ago, One Love Organics partnered with beauty blogger, Elizabeth Dehn to create (in my humble opinion,) a standout and super chic line of products in addition to the main OLO lineup. Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics (ED4OLO, for short) provides more genius OLO product formulations that are a bit more luxurious, but no less more effective than the original OLO products.

It was a special moment to meet Suzanne and Elizabeth both in person and to learn more about the OLO brand and products. {Pics and more about that event here!}

Onto the review…
These are the 2 ED4OLO products I use on a daily basis and are staples in my skincare ritual:

-Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil & Makeup Remover, $38/4.5 fl oz.OLOoil1

There is no other way I can describe this product other than it is like a delicious, tropical cocktail for your face. Containing the sweet smelling elements of papaya seed and pumpkin seed oils, this Cleansing Oil is simply a treat to clean my face with. Gentle and lightweight, the Cleansing Oil also features papain, a fruit enzyme which helps to exfoliate and soften skin while, the formula’s natural Vitamin B complex detoxifies and tones skin. I love the light texture of this oil and how supremely soft, refreshed and glowing my skin is after using it. I use this as an overall facial cleanser after I’ve worn makeup or not, because it cleanses and removes makeup thoroughly. Most of the time I prefer using a separate product to specifically remove eye makeup first.

The ultimate in multi-tasking luxury, Active Moisture Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil & Makeup Remover effortlessly lifts away impurities and makeup while restoring skin’s natural moisture and pH balance.

I don’t think I’ll ever tire of this cleansing oil, I’ve already bought backups for my stash! Fruity, light, and gentle, this oil never causes breakouts or irritation and leaves my skin feeling supple and moisturized. The packaging is also simple yet gorgeous. I love the convenience of the bottle’s pump which dispenses the right amount of product and makes for an easy, no-fuss step to my skincare routine.

TO USE: Morning and night, warm 1-2 pumps between hands and apply to dry face. Add warm water and massage into a delicate milk. Rinse clean. May also be used with a cotton square to remove makeup—no water or rinsing required. For a deeper cleanse and light exfoliation, apply cleanser then press a warm washcloth to face and let cool. Gently remove excess cleanser with washcloth. Rinse and repeat.
Ingredients: helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, caprylic/capric triglyceride, di-ppg-2myreth-10 adipate, polyglycerol-3 beeswax, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil* (and) lecithin* (and) cucurbita pepo (pumpkin) seed oil* (and) papain*, carica papaya (papaya) seed oil, tocopherol (natural non-gmo vitamin e), proprietary natural & organic fragrance     *indicates organic

-Vitamin D Time Release Moisture Mist, $39/2 fl oz.OLOMist

When I received a facial using all ED4OLO products at the W3LL People event and the OLO representative finished off by spraying this Mist on my face I had 2 natural reactions: 1) WHAT IS THIS DELICIOUS ELIXIR? 2) PLEASE, PLEASE KEEP SPRAYING MY FACE!

After that experience I knew I had to have this Mist in my possession, it was that dreamy. Just like the Cleansing Oil, I love the light, fruity and floral scent of this Mist and the super refreshing effect that it leaves on my skin. Formulated with aloe vera and alpine rose extract, this product quickly nourishes and moisturizes, and is always something my dehydrated skin begs for. Alpine rose extract increases the skin’s resistance to environmental stressors and dryness, Shiitake mushroom extract soothes irritation and redness and is a rich source of Vitamin D, containing natural antibacterial properties to clean and revitalize skin.

Using a patented, time-release delivery system, this aromatic mist prolongs the delivery of actives and moisture to the skin for long-lasting hydration and unparalleled efficacy.

I love spritzing this product on my face after cleansing, to lock in moisture before adding a facial cream or oil. It’s also a great product to set makeup while it also leaves skin feeling revitalized and looking gorgeously dewy (but not dripping). My skin always feels so good after using this product and is visibly less irritated and dry after use. I only wish there was more product in each bottle!

TO USE: Shake gently. Mist cleansed face and décolleté morning and evening. Follow with serum or moisturizer. Spritz throughout the day to refresh and rehydrate skin. Also perfect as a finishing step to set makeup. 
Ingredients: aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice*, aqua (water), carthamus tinctorius (safflower) oleosomes, rhododendron ferrugineum (alpine rose) extract (and) glycerin, oryza sativa (rice) extract* (and) lentinus edodes (mushroom) extract, polyaminopropyl biguanide  indicates organic

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My skin has been absolutely loving these perfectly formulated, luxurious Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics products. I’m excited to try the whole ED4OLO line!  Hey, new ED4OLO Vitamin C Body Oil, I’m lookin’ at you…

Have you tried any of these ED4OLO products? What are your favorite One Love Organics products? Do you have any super skincare duos you use on a daily basis?

 

*Post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

Springing for SPF: 100% Pure Pomegranate Antioxidant Hydration SPF 20 Review

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In anticipation of sunnier months, I’ve been searching for the perfect daily moisturizer with SPF. Since I greened my skincare routine, I hadn’t tried a natural option for a facial moisturizer with SPF and I was mixing my favorite facial cream (Pai’s Geranium and Thistle Day Cream) with a separate sunscreen. I’ve run out of the Pai moisturizer (though I’ll be buying more in the future since I love it) so I have been trying out new moisturizers in the hopes of finding another gem. Added SPF is a definitely a plus.

I’ve always enjoyed 100% Pure products for the brand’s transparency, use of all natural ingredients, affordable pricing, and availability. During the winter holiday season, I was able to pick up a few 100% Pure products for only $10 each from the brand’s Black Friday deals. I thought it’d be a great chance to try out one of their daily facial moisturizers with SPF, which is normally $26 for 1.6oz. I excitedly started using the Pomegranate Antioxidant Hydration moisturizer during a couple ski trips throughout the winter and the months that followed when the sun started to stay out longer. According to 100% Pure, this moisturizer has many key benefits for the skin:

  • 100% natural, 100% vegan, gluten free
  • moisturizing formula with SPF 20 to block UVA/UVB rays
  • antioxidants protect against environmental damage to the skin

I loved the fruity, berry smell of this moisturizer and packaging too; the squeezable tube and pump applicator makes this moisturizer easy to apply and simple to take on the go. However, the moisturizer’s texture was just not a winner for me. It is not smooth nor easy to blend over the face at all. In fact, the moisturizer’s texture is a bit weighty and chalky. I was shocked to find how white my skin was after I applied to my face. You have to rub this moisturizer in really good (though the thick texture makes it a bit difficult) and even after applying it over the skin, the white tint is still pretty apparent. In order to use this daily moisturizer, I found that adding a lightweight daytime facial oil (I used Gressa’s Purifying Oil) helped to soften the texture of the moisturizer, spread the cream more evenly over my face, and allow it to sink into to my skin.

It was hard for me to apply makeup over this moisturizer due to the non-budging texture. It could make a solid base for the face but I found it difficult to blend other face products over this moisturizer. I also felt the thick, white cast was visible through most of my makeup. For these reasons, I only liked to wear this cream with minimal face makeup on.

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Overall, the 100% Pure Pomegranate Antioxidant Hydration SPF 20 did keep skin moisturized, never made my skin feel too dry nor flakey, and kept my face feeling protected in harsh weather. I think the thicker texture was nice especially when I used this while I was outdoors in cold weather or when I knew I’d be doing something active such as outdoor sports. I didn’t enjoy this much as a regular, daily facial cream.

Super light weight, fast absorbing anti-aging facial moisturizer with SPF 20 to protect your skin against the sun’s harmful UVA (ultra violet aging) and UVB (ultra violet burning) rays. In addition to sun protection, concentrated with antioxidants to protect against environmental damage (free radicals) such as pollution, radiation, smoke, smog, car exhaust, etc. Truly, 100% Pure – this nourishing day time emulsion is not polluted with chemicals, fragrances, preservatives or any other toxins.

I really wanted to like this product but it just didn’t work well for my skin or my needs. I thought the ingredients were great and my face felt soft and moisturized after applying but I didn’t like the geisha-like white-cast nor the tough ability for this cream to blend. I don’t think I will be repurchasing this product. I also think a product should be effective to use on its own, and did not like having the extra step of adding a facial oil to it. So, onward and upward on the search for a better, green SPF moisturizer!

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You can purchase the 100% Pure Pomegranate Antioxidant Hydration SPF 20 moisturizer for $26 online at 100% Pure’s website. Read my reviews on other 100% Pure products: Fruit Pigmented Tinted Moisturizer, and Coffee Bean Eye Cream.

Have you tried this product or any of the 100% Pure SPF Moisturizers? What is your favorite daily SPF moisturizer? (I could use some tips!) I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

Ingredients: Active Ingredients: 15% Titanium Dioxide 10% Zinc Oxide Inactive Ingredients: Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract (Aloe Juice)*, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Beeswax, Extracts of Organic Camelia Sinensis Leaf (White Tea)*, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf (Rosemary), Origanum Vulgar Leaf (Oregano),Thymus Vulgaris Flower/Leaf (Thyme),Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal) and Cinnamomum Zeylanicum Bark (Cinnamon) * Certified Organic

 

*Product was purchased by me, all opinions are my own. Post contains affiliate links.

 

 

Beauty Chat: Sara Damelio, Founder of Skincando

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Skincando is a Washington D.C. based natural skincare company created by Sara Damelio. The brand specializes in handcrafted skincare products made in small batches. Skincando uses high quality natural and organic ingredients free from harmful synthetics such as parabens, petrochemicals, fragrances or dyes and use non-toxic cleaning agents in the production process. Read my review on Skincando products here.

Read More Here

Neuth Creme Pour Visage and Afterglow Serum Review + Discount!

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Neuth is an organic skincare brand featuring products that encourage a simple, luxurious nightly facial care ritual. Lovingly made in small batches, all Neuth products are formulated with ingredients that are organic and sustainably harvested by Fair-Trade Certified suppliers. Neuth’s founder, Alison Rodriguez created these products after searching for, yet failing to find a cold cream product not formulated with mineral oil. Mineral oil is a by-product of petroleum and has many skin-clogging characteristics.

Indulging in the Neuth experience is that time, when we can calmingly massage pure, organic, natural ingredients deep into our skin, breathing deeply into the essential oils, to reveal our true beauty within. Neuth is dedicated to creating all natural, organic skincare indulgences that nourish the body. So dim the lights, massage some Neuth on your beautiful self, and honor your light within.

Inspired by ancient Egyptian culture, from which cold creams are derived from and Neuth, the Egyptian Goddess of the Sky, Alison created her own version of an organic cold cream. Crème Pour Visage removes makeup while also moisturizing and nourishing the skin. The second part to the Neuth ritual is the Afterglow Serum, which locks in moisture and keeps the skin hydrated and glowing. I was able to try both these products and here are my thoughts on these little skin luxuries:

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Crème Pour Visage ($75/100ml or $150/200ml): Even before unearthing this unique cream-based cleanser, the elegant packaging just screamed “luxe”, setting the tone for the opulence my skin was about to endure. Neuth’s Crème Pour Visage is a rich, thick, milk-white cream to be applied every night to the face, neck, and décolleté. Due to my sensitive skin, I usually shy away from super thick or heavy creams and my initial misgivings about this product were no different. In the jar, the texture reminds me of a thick, body butter, soft and creamy yet once spread across the skin, it feels a bit more airy (but no less silky) than its appearance.

Applying this product is a soothing ritual in and of itself; from the gentle, freshly-scented formula to the clarifying feeling of removing the crème, this is a facial indulgence your skin will thank you for. The crème leaves my skin feeling incredibly silky-smooth, moisturized, and nourished. It also is a gentle makeup remover that effectively clears away any trace of makeup or dirt left on the skin. The thickness of this crème requires a hot, wet washcloth to remove product from the skin and it takes time especially for my lazy, impatient self, but it feels extra purifying in the process.

My favorite aspect of the Crème Pour Visage is that it leaves a luminous effect on the skin and keeps my face feeling truly moisturized throughout the whole night. I have to admit, after first using this product I kept staring at my baby-smooth, radiant face in the mirror in pleasant shock. Talk about plein vanity! The organic, fair-trade ingredients are no less intriguing: organic grape seed oil, organic aloe vera, organic coconut oil moisturize and nourish the skin while organic sweet orange essential oil provides a slightly fruity scent.
Ingredients: Organic Grape Seed Oil, Distilled Water, Organic Aloe Vera Gel, Organic Coconut Oil, Beeswax, Organic Sweet Orange Essential Oil, Lanolin

We suggest massaging a quarter sized amount of Neuth’s Organic Crème pour Visage to your face, neck and décolleté. We recommend smiling at yourself in the mirror as you do so. Run the tap water hot and wet a washcloth. Wipe all of Neuth’s Organic Crème pour Visage away, follow with Neuth’s Organic Afterglow Serum.

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Afterglow Serum ($35/15ml or $65/30ml): This serum is lightweight yet deeply moisturizing and nourishing. It makes my dry skin so soft and supple and undeniably radiant. You can really feel the full effects of the Neuth ritual complete after using the Afterglow Serum.

Though this is applied at night after cleansing with the Crème Pour Visage, my face stays super hydrated and dewy until the morning! It smells of fresh, herbal goodness (with organic rosehip and lavender essential oils ingredients) and leaves my skin soothed without feeling irritated or dry. Neuth’s Afterglow Serum is the perfect product to end the night with as it retains moisture and provide nourishing, radiance to the skin.
Ingredients: Organic Rosehip Oils hand-blended with Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil and lavender essential oil, grown without the use of chemicals.

Using these products remind me that I should spoil my skin and indulge in luxury every once in a while. If you’re looking for an elegant cleansing and moisturizing ritual, I recommend trying this duo from Neuth. Your skin will thank you for its healthy, glowing and nourished existence from the inside out. Purchase both products together with the Neuth Redezvous set starting at $99 or select each product separately online.

Have you tried any Neuth products before? Want to try out these products for yourself? Neuth is generously offering my readers with a special 20% off coupon code for any purchase online!
Use the code: pleinvanity until April 20th for 20% off all orders at Neuth’s online shop.

*UPDATE: We’ve gotten some messages about issues using the discount code for Neuth. The code is now working and will expire on April 20th! Happy shopping! 🙂

 

 

*Products were provided to me for consideration. Reviews are based on my honest opinion and personal experience. I am never paid for my opinions. 

 

Niora Naturals Adult Acne Treatment Review + Giveaway! (CLOSED)

Looking back on my skin growing up, I’d say that I was blessed with a generally acne-free existence. My acne problems have mainly been hormonal and nothing too out of the norm (not that I don’t get crazy, awful blemishes from time to time). Playing around with makeup and learning more about green beauty has encouraged me to focus on keeping my skin healthy and blemish-free especially as I’m getting older. Too often acne is linked to puberty and youth but the truth is, adults get acne too.

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Niora Naturals is an unique, natural skincare company in that the products focus on solutions for adult acne and anti-aging prevention. You could say the brand grew out of a labor of love. The brand is based in Portland, OR and created by chemist, George Tindall for his wife, Cindy who suffered from adult acne. Cindy couldn’t find any effective, non-irritating acne products on the market for her skin and her condition embarrassed her. George took it upon himself to develop a natural and organic anti-acne product for her that would clear blemishes and maintain healthy skin. After using Niora products, Cindy’s skin immediately cleared up, maintained its natural beauty and she has not had acne since. What a love story!

I was very intrigued when I received the chance to try out Niora’s Adult Acne Treatment system. The line is based on Niora’s unique Alpha Clear formula and anti-acne system. Product ingredients are natural, organic, Eco-Cert, cruelty-free vegan ingredients. Read all the details about Niora’s ingredients here. Niora product formulas are “the perfect balance between anti-aging and the effective treatment of acne”. (Scroll to the end of this post for a special Niora giveaway!) 

Alpha Clear adult acne treatment is a two-step process that cleans, tones and moisturizes, encouraging the skin’s natural ability to heal acne while normalizing dryness/oiliness levels. Alpha Clear contains intensely moisturizing jojoba oil, which dissolves dried sebum, or skin oils, unclogging pores and clearing blackheads and whiteheads. The natural fruit acids in alpha clear exfoliant tone the skin, clearing remaining cellular debris from within pores. With rinsing, the skin is left soft and clean.

The Alpha Clear Adult Acne Treatment is based on 2 simple, daily steps using the Alpha Clear Cleanser and the Alpha Clear Exfoliant. The next optional step is the moisturizing, Alpha C Serum. I was able to try a Niora cleanser, exfoliant, eye serum, anti-aging serum, and a makeup removing cream.

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Though I was initially skeptical of the claims of these products, I ended up really enjoying the gentle, effective formulas. I found most of the Niora products to be watery in texture though moisturizing, non-irritating and non-drying on the skin. The products did calm my irritated skin and lessen the appearance of blemishes.

Niora’s goal is to provide effective, natural anti-aging skin care solutions for adults with acne-prone skin by using superior anti-aging ingredients to create skin-friendly treatments that clear acne. We are committed to formulating our skin care to the greatest extent possible with natural ingredients that are cruelty free, organic and earth friendly.

My favorite products from the line were the cleanser and the exfoliant. I did start to see a difference in my skin after using solely these products for about a month. The redness in my face subsided, previous blemishes and spots lessened and I actually didn’t see many new breakouts appearing after continually using the products.

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Alpha Clear Cleanser: The texture of this cleanser is creamy and watery but is a pleasant light cleanser. It does a great job of refreshing the skin, producing smooth skin and preserving moisture. I felt like my skin was deeply cleansed. You also get A LOT of cleanser in one product. I didn’t experience much irritation with this cleanser though with all the products from this line, I did feel a slight tingling sensation whenever applying but I believe this is due to the natural astringents and acne-fighting ingredients. ($16.95, 8oz)

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Alpha Clear Exfoliant: I was intrigued by the idea of a spray-on exfoliant and really enjoyed using this product. This product is like a toner and exfoliant in one. Lightly sprayed onto the face and neck, it left me feeling fresh with soft skin and also removed any excess oil, dirt and redness from my skin. I really saw improvement with my skin from this product and the cleanser combined. Out of all the products, I could feel the tingling sensation most from this exfoliate. I would advise to avoid spraying close to the eyes and from a farther distance. ($13.95, 4oz)

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Alpha C Serum: This serum was very light and creamy without being greasy. I enjoyed using this as a night-time moisturizer and even during the day under makeup. It leaves behind a silky, smooth, matte texture  on the face and is so moisturizing. My sensitive skin is always a factor when I choose moisturizers and serums, but my face never felt dry or irritated when I used this serum. If you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, I think you’ll love this! ($31.96, 1oz)

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Silk Basic Emollient Make-up Remover: This yellow-toned, creamy cleanser was gentle and moisturizing. It was a bit thin and watery compared to the cleansers and facial oils I am used to. However, it was an effective makeup remover and left my face feeling clean. I liked it but I think I like my cleansing oils better. ($17.95, o.5oz)

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Eye Therapy Anti-Aging Serum: This product was extremely watery in texture and was a bit greasy on the skin. I liked how it kept the area under my eyes well-moisturized and my skin felt tauter though I didn’t see much difference in the way of reducing discoloration or puffiness. I have dry skin around my eyes and usually like to use a heavier serum or cream at night. However, I would keep using this because it was very moisturizing. ($17.95, 0.5oz)

Out of all the products, I recommend the Cleanser and Exfoliant combination because they did live up to their claims of reducing acne overtime and cleaning the skin while maintaining moisture. The Alpha C Serum was another favorite of mine because it left my sensitive skin absolutely silky smooth and moisturized all day and night long!

I think Niora Naturals is a very intriguing brand to explore and I believe they are very gentle, effective formulas as far as natural, acne-fighting skincare products go. Plus, I think these products are very affordable for the sizes you receive and their effectiveness in treating adult acne. Definitely make sure to check out the Niora ingredient lineup here.

Are you interested in trying these products? Niora Naturals is generously providing one lucky reader with one full set of the Adult Acne Treatment products to try!  How to enter:

  • Leave a comment below telling me which Niora Naturals product you are most interested to try and why.
  • Like Niora Naturals on Facebook and Twitter 
  • Like Plein Vanity on Facebook or (If you already like me on Facebook, please follow me on Twitter!)

The contest ends on Tuesday, April 8th at 12pm EDT. I will randomly pick a winner and update this post as well as contact the winner by email. Contest is open to all participants in the U.S. and internationally.*
The winner will receive all the products I reviewed: 1 Alpha Clear Cleanser, 1 Alpha Clear Exfoliant, 1 Alpha C Serum, 1 Silk Basic Emollient Makeup Remover, and 1 Eye Therapy Anti-Aging Serum. Good luck!!

GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED. Congratulations to Shaleen for winning! 🙂

Thanks to everyone who entered and shared with me your stories. I enjoyed reading all your comments! 

 

*Giveaway is open to all U.S. and international participants. Prizes and shipping cost provided by Niora Naturals. All information provided by entrants is confidential and will not be shared to other third parties. Winner will be contacted by email 48 hours after the giveaway ends. If no response is received from the selected winner 72 hours after the email is sent, another random winner will be selected.

**Products were provided to me for consideration. Reviews are based on my honest opinion and personal experience with the products. I am never paid for my honest opinions.

SkinFare Coconut Oil Lotion Sticks Review

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 {Unfortunately, it seems that SkinFare has gone out of business. I never received notice from the brand and it seems they have slowly and silently closed. 🙁 All links in my post have been removed to avoid any confusion.

I haven’t received any responses from the brand to my past inquiries but should I ever hear back from them or the brand happens to re-open, I will let everyone know. It’s a shame because I really loved these products!}

Read More Here

Ecopique Blogger Box Review

For all you beauty subscription box lovers, there’s a new girl in town and her name is Ecopique. Taking a unique twist on the popular concept, Ecopique is a monthly subscription box service that is specifically aimed at providing bloggers with green beauty products. The goal of this service is to allow bloggers an easier and regularly occurring way to connect with brands and products they may not have otherwise been aware of. Ecopique also emphasizes the importance of supporting local green beauty brands. Stay tuned for more information about Ecopique and check out their website for launch details or follow them on Twitter.

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Meet Ecopique: A better way to discover all-natural personal care and home good alternatives. 
Ecopique is dedicated to providing an easy way for consumers to make smarter and healthier decisions about the beauty and household products they purchase. Our mission is to make all natural living no longer a trend, but an integral part of everyday life.

I was very excited when the team at Ecopique asked if I wanted to participate in their pilot program and receive a green beauty box. Being a subscription box virgin, I enjoyed the surprise of receiving a mystery box full of new products I might love. Each product included in the box was hand-picked and tested by the Ecopique team. I was impressed with the first Ecopique box and am curious to see what else is in store. (Plus, the Ecopique color scheme is so cute! I love anything turquoise!)

Here is what was included in my Ecopique pilot box:
AEOS: Cleansing Oil De-Maq
Angel Face Botanicals Facial Toner
Arbonne: Lip Polish & FC5 Facial Pack
Benedetta Control Creme
Greenbody Greenplanet Rejuvinating Shampoo & Conditioner
Primal Pit Paste Deodorant (Lavender scent)

Products I found to be interesting:
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AEOS: Cleansing Oil De-Maq: The packaging is luxurious and eye-catching, very chic. Plus it smells amazing! The scent is a mix of citrus and floral and is very refreshing. The formula itself I found to be a bit thick and greasy to my liking but it does remove makeup (including heavy eye-makeup) very well. Due to its thicker texture, the De-Maq keeps the skin very moisturized and never dry nor flakey. I found that my favorite way to use this yellow-tinted cleansing oil was dabbed on a cotton pad. The twist-open bottle top was not the best design idea either. Though pretty and unique, this should have had a pump or an open cap design, as it was a bit messy to get the cleansing oil out of the tube. Overall, I liked this cleansing oil and it was definitely a nice find! I’d love to try more AEOS products.
AEOS is an organic skincare line from the UK: “AEOS products contain organic and biodynamic plant extracts, essences and essential oils, as well as spagyric tinctures of crystal energies, and the waveforms of colour.”
Ingredients: Vitis Vinidera (Grape) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Oil, Squalane (plant derived), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Oil, Linalool*, Triticum Aestivum (Spelt) Germ Extract, Tocopherol, Garaniol*, Benzyl Benzoate*, Limonane*   *from natural essential oils  Colour: natural green – 100% natural and plant derived.
Price: Based on my research, this Cleansing Oil is currently only available online from Europe for about £39.99 or $65.93 for 75ml (2.64fl oz).

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Angel Face Botanicals Lavender & Aloe Balancing Facial Toner: This toner combines some really nice ingredients and leaves a cool, reviving feeling with each spritz. I loved how smooth it left my skin and I noticed less redness and shine on my face after use. I was pleased at how well the spritzer fully distributed the toner from the bottle. Many toners I’ve tried have faulty nozzles that spritz pathetic amounts out. The product’s aromatic ingredients produce a very calming effect and I actually tried spritzing this on my body as well. The scent was particularly strong to me for use on my face so I’m not sure how much I like it as a regular, everyday toner. I do like how simple and effective the ingredients are as well as the affordable prices and size options.
Angel Face Botanicals is a brand based out of Soquel, California featuring a “full line of facial & body care products handmade with natural ingredients & scented with therapeutic grade essential oils to heal, nurture & product indulging your senses with luxury.”
Ingredients: Aloe barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Juice, Lavendula angustifolia (Organic Lavender) Distillate, Salix nigra (Organic Black Willowbark) Extract, Vaccinium angustifolium (Organic Wild Blueberry) Extract, Aspalathus lineans (Organic Rooibos Tea) Extract, Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel), Lavandula angustifolia (Organic Lavender) Essential Oil, Polysorbate, Citric Acid, Reiki Healing Energy & lots of love!! *Certified Organic Ingredients
Price: $10/2.2oz, $18/4.5oz, $32/9oz

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Benedetta Control Creme: I thought this was a very interesting multi-use cream product that claims to treat acne, irritation, bug bites, rosacea, blisters, excessive oil and more. I applied this as an acne spot treatment and it did lessen the appearance of my acne within a few days. This was a fast, effective product that I did enjoy using. The only thing I didn’t like was the smell. No matter how little product I used (and you don’t need to apply a lot,) the product emitted a strong, herbal scent that did not dissipate. Might sound strange but it reminded me of old maple syrup or caramelized sugar. I loved the results from using this cream but the smell was a bit off-putting. Being scent-sensitive, I don’t know if I could bring myself to purchase this. However, the ingredient list is 100% botanical and 98% organic and the rapid effectiveness of this product is very intriguing to me. I enjoyed using this and would love to see how well it works for bug bites and other topical irritations. I think a lot of people would like this and should give it a try.
Benedetta is a brand based in Sonoma County, California and is “an authentic, 100% farm-sourced botanical skincare line. Encompassing ingredients sourced directly from certified organic and biodynamic farms, many domestic. The sweet aromatic and fresh smell of each formula comes directly from the synergy of active ingredientsnever fragranced…Each product is prepared in small batches to assure viability and freshness.”
Ingredients: Aloe Vera, Foraha, Proprietary Blend of Essential Oils, Soy Lecithin, Bee Propolis, Vegetable Cellulose. Contains: Certified Organic, Certified Biodynamic, Sustainably Grown and Wildcrafted Ingredients.
Price: $25/0.5oz(15ml)

Overall, I really admire the idea behind Ecopique and I think a service like this could really benefit both bloggers and small brands. I was pleased with the amount of information provided about each product within the box which is necessary for a research junkie like me. I would have liked to see more information about the brands themselves. To my surprise, there was also a fair mix of sample size and full-size products included. I think the Ecopique team did a great job of providing interesting, effective products with notable ingredients and mostly natural/organic formulations. If you’re a blogger or just a curious green beauty junkie, I think Ecopique would be a wonderful service to try and to discover new products that are not so mainstream.

Do you belong to any beauty subscription boxes and if so, which ones? Would you try Ecopique?

*Products were provided for my consideration. This review is based on my honest opinions and personal experience.

Squeaky Clean and Green: Le Salon NYC Organic Salon Review

lesalonoutdoor On the day before another brutal snowstorm was to hit, I found myself tromping through a frigid Manhattan to Midtown East, the grounds for which the United Nations buildings operate and where few people are caught laboriously wandering around. My mission in these parts had nothing to do with international affairs, but rather on the affairs of my hair…

Quietly tucked between 1st and 2nd Avenues among the confines of bright storefronts, exotic eating establishments and apartment buildings guarded by doormen, lies Le Salon NYC, one of the city’s few hair salons that offer organic haircuts and treatments. Founded in 2008, Le Salon NYC approaches haircare with a holistic and comprehensive outlook featuring organic treatments for healthier, natural-looking hair.

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When I entered the narrow entranceway at Le Salon, I was greeted with a wash of energy and warmth from Ashraf, the salon’s hair stylist and lead hair colorist, Vincent. I took in the small, bright salon where pop-culture icons of the past beamed demurely at me from the walls. I noticed I wasn’t irritated by any strong chemical fumes nor the usual salon stresses inside Le Salon. In fact, everyone seemed very Zen. Ashraf offered me a hot cup of tea and ushered me into a salon chair where we began to talk hair.

I’d come in knowing I needed a trim and curious about an organic treatment for my growing gray hairs. I’ve always dyed my hair a dark, natural brown to conceal my genetic gray hairs that plague my roots with conventional drugstore dyes or harsh salon treatments.

As Ashraf ran her expert fingers through my locks, closely inspecting it, she agreed my hair would benefit from a full-head organic coloring treatment. Vincent explained to me that most in-salon and at-home hair products contain toxic chemicals like formaldehyde and ammonia that further damage the structure of hair and can irritate the scalp, eyes and skin.

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Every treatment offered at Le Salon uses Organic Salon Systems, a line of color, care, control and curl systems. Ranging from full-head coloring to perms to a basic hair wash, Organic Salon Systems feature products with ingredients that are certified organic, cruelty free, vegan and free of ammonia, parabens and thioglycolates. The less toxic properties of these products do not leave strong chemical fumes, have less irritating symptoms on hair and scalp and offer healthier results for hair.

First, I had my hair washed and massaged with Organic Care Systems shampoo and conditioner. These sweet smelling products were very hydrating and helped to nourish my hair before my color treatment. Next, I sat under a scorching hot hair dryer for 20 minutes until my hair dried. Vincent explained that the Organic Color System products are dependent on heat.

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While conventional hair dyes use harsh and toxic chemicals like ammonia to open the hair fibers allowing color molecules to permeate, Organic Color System dyes utilize an alkaline of less toxic levels that increases the pH of the hair to gently open and soften the hair cuticles. Using heat on the hair after the color treatment allows the cuticles to expand and capture the color while letting the hair cool closes the cuticle to lock in the color.

Vincent expertly mixed and applied a dark, natural brown colored dye to my hair. Normally when my hair is being dyed I’m squirming in my seat from the burning sensations and horrible smells. Due to this safer, less toxic formula I didn’t feel any irritation on my scalp and it was the first time I felt comfortable getting my hair dyed. After all my hair was covered in dye, it was time to sit under the hair dryer for another 20 minutes and then cool for 20 minutes.

“Organic Color Systems products are different because they do not contain ammonia, parabens or sulfates, which means they are gentle on your hair, your body and the environment. Available in 64 beautiful and intermixable color options; Organic Color Systems offers gentle hair color without sacrificing style. Organic Salon Systems high-performance hair products contain natural ingredients such as chamomile, aloe vera, sunflower oil and vitamins”

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I was in awe of how even and dark the new color looked on my hair. Absolutely no more grays! My hair also felt very silky and soft, not damaged or battered like it normally feels after similarly long hair treatments. With my newly colored hair, Ashraf picked up her tools and preceded to razor my hair into a gorgeous new trim, styling my hair to the side. Before my trim, Ashraf commented that my current hairstyle had been hiding my features and dulling my beauty. Her saying is that “one’s hairstyle is like the frame of a painting, it must complement the shape of your head as well as your facial features.” I definitely saw a new side of myself when I looked at myself in the mirror after my color and new trim.

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After about 3 hours total (my appointment for a wash, cut and full-head color treatment would normally be split into more than 1 appointment) I felt satisfied with my experience. To maintain my new Organic Color dyed hair, I was advised to use the Organic Salon Systems shampoo and conditioner whenever washing my hair and to let each product soak in the hair with the conditioner for exactly 5 minutes in the shower, maintain the color’s vibrancy. While Organic Color System hair dyes are not totally chemical-free, I don’t believe hair dye could ever be all that natural, it may be as effective if not better than conventional dyes I have used. Long-lasting, beautiful colors and non-irritation, I think for future, I’d switch over to this type of hair color over my usual drugstore and salon coloring.

Days after my appointment, my hair color still looked perfect without any grey hairs peeking through and my hair felt soft and silky. Usually after I dye my hair, I’m scratching my scalp like a maniac from the irritating chemicals and preventing the color from lasting. My Organic Color Systems experience left me feeling as if nothing had been done to my hair and I was surprised at how painless the coloring was before and after the treatment. Though these treatments are a bit pricier than your normal run of the mill salon, you should know you’re paying for something beyond average for hair care.  Since it’s not everyday I treat my hair like this, I think I’d definitely save up and go for organic hair treatments in the future.

Le Salon NYC is a wonderful hair salon for anyone with looking to avoid unnecessary exposure to chemicals, has sensitive skin or curious about less toxic treatments to maintain healthy, beautiful hair. The hair stylists are enthusiastic about helping you and really take the time to cater to your needs. Le Salon NYC is a friendly, accommodating salon where you can achieve beautiful looks and maintain the health of your hair.

Have you ever had an organic hair treatment done? Would you try out an organic hair salon? What is your trip to the hair salon like?

Find out more about Le Salon NYC on their website, book an appointment or follow them on Facebook.

*Services were provided compliments of Le Salon NYC for my consideration. All opinions are my 100% honest and my own. 
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