The Going Green Tag

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This tag was started by Rachel from All Natural Aspirations in her attempt to learn more about other bloggers’ experiences of “going green”. I was tagged by a favorite green beauty blogger of mine, Mary from Makeup by Mary B.This was a fun way to reflect on my green journey and it was so interesting to learn from and read other bloggers’ stories. I think this tag is an awesome way to share our stories and encourage others!
(The image above is a photo I took from my travels abroad in China.)

What started it all off for you?
When I got my first job out of college at a fancy French luxury brand, I became caught up in the beauty and fashion world. I started wearing a lot more makeup than I ever had until I realized my face and skin were suffering. I had a couple bad cases of eczema which sent me to the dermatologist for some quick-fix prescriptions but left me wondering more. That’s when I started doing my own research, reading ingredient lists and learning about the beauty industry and the potentially dangerous chemicals that were in my products. I studied Environmental Studies in college so green beauty, chemicals and my health become even more fascinating to me and an area where I could further use my passion for writing. I stumbled upon some amazing green beauty blogs, read No More Dirty Looks and felt so at home within the green beauty community. Discovering natural and organic products revealed a whole other world to me and it was so exciting!

What was the first thing to go? (Ingredient or product)
The first 2 ingredients to go were talc and parabens. I had extremely bad eczema on my eyes and face and I’m pretty sure products I was using with harsh preservatives and drying, pore-clogging additives were the cause of it. After I cut out products with tacl and parabens, my irritations subsided. The first skincare product to go was my facial moisturizer. I definitely saw a difference in my skin after switching out my daily moisturizer which was loaded with fragrance, alcohol, parabens and other ingredients that had made my skin prone to irritation, dryness and breakouts. After the moisturizers, I changed up my whole skincare routine and saw amazing results.

What are you/did you struggle to let go of?
I’m still struggling to let go of conventional perfume. I haven’t quite found an organic/natural scent that I love or that can replace my old perfumes. I’m not a huge fan of herbal scents although I also have a very sensitive nose to alcohols and strongly-scented chemicals. I’m still searching for a product that can bring together both worlds and also not break the bank.

What has been your best find or change? (i.e. a green product or a tip that you’re really glad you’ve found/learnt)
I’ve always thought makeup was fun but going green has taught me that natural skincare products can be just as exciting, luxurious and provide amazing results not only to your physical features but emotionally too. I now feel as though I prefer having good, regular skincare products over more makeup products.
My best find has honestly been facial oils. I’d always doubted using facial oils but I’ve found that these products are amazing for treating my dry and reactive skin. I prefer cleansing my skin with facial oil as it not only effectively rids my face of makeup and grime, but also works to nourish and hydrate the skin. Using a daily facial oil before going to bed has made my skin smooth, lightened dark spots and kept my face from freaking out too often. I’m obsessed with facial oils!

What has been the worst thing about going green? What has been the hardest to transition or find an adequate green replacement of?
The only downside to going green for me is the ease of walking into a local store to buy products or being able to physically touch and test out items. I don’t really like online shopping and it can get frustrating when most products I like are only available online. The lack of physical availability and accessibility of green beauty products has been tough for me. Now thanks to more online sampling programs and more local drugstores and markets carrying cleaner products it has gotten a bit easier.
The products that I’ve had a hard time finding adequate green replacements of are hair products and eyeshadow primer. I don’t even know if that’s an oxymoron: does a natural, effective eyeshadow primer even exist? I still haven’t found a natural cure for my creasing eyeshadows but I’m trying not to dwell on that.

Anything else to add? Any tips or tricks to pass on?
One thing I do love about going green is all the knowledge that I’ve learned all on my own accord. It is so empowering and interesting to learn about ingredients and chemicals as well as brands that are actually making a difference to improve your health and the environment. I also love the strong sense of community and encouragement I have felt from the green beauty blogosphere.
Tips or tricks:
1) Do your research. If you don’t know what an ingredient is, look it up. There are a lot of good resources out there! Find reviews and commentary of products on blogs or forums. Ask questions, don’t just accept what a company is marketing to you at face value.
2) Get out of your comfort zone. Going green has opened up a whole world of local brands, luxury products, DIYs and beauty trends that I may not have ever tried before. Doing a bit of research and trying brands or products that aren’t so mainstream can help you discover some amazing beauty and skincare gems that work best for you. Going green has also made me value feeling beautiful in my own skin, without makeup. Sometimes it feels amazing to go outside with just moisturizer, lip balm or lipstick on!
3) Write your own green beauty journey. Remember that you hold the power to create your most beautiful self and with knowledge, passion and understanding, you have all the necessary things inside of you to love yourself on the outside. Everybody’s “going green” journey is different and there is no set path or method. Don’t follow the trends, go at your own pace and with what makes you happy.

Thanks, Mary for tagging me! I now tag: Jennifer and Kathryne from Unsullied, Jade of Nephriticus, Mayah and Sabrina from Call It Vanity, Brenda from The Wanderlusting Beauty, Sarita from Edible Facial, Bellina from Nibella and anyone else who wants to join in!

What’s your “going green” story?

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*Image is copyright Kasey Michelle, pleinvanity.com. Please link back to me if you use this image.

Luxury Green Beauty Essentials: Kjaer Weis Essential Trio No. 3 Review

KW Trio Box Set

I think every green beauty enthusiast will agree that lusting over Kjaer Weis makeup is completely normal. Everything from the sleek packaging, excellent organic formulas and variety of colors epitomizes green beauty at its most luxurious. Created by Danish-born, New York-based international makeup artist, Kristen Kjaer Weis (pronounced “Keer Wice”) the brand is known for beautiful, high-performing makeup with certified organic ingredients as well as wildcrafted and natural ingredients.

I finally purchased some Kjaer Weis products after lusting for quite a while and because there wasn’t one product I wanted the most (or because I’m that indecisive), I picked up a set of Kjaer Weis products, “The Essential Trio No. 3” ($125.00) from one of my favorite green beauty shops, Spirit Beauty Lounge. Living up to it’s luxe reputation, the “Cartier” of green beauty, all Kjaer Weis products come packaged in luxe, red boxes that make your purchase feel extra fancy from the start.

Every “Essential” set features 1 cream blush compact, 1 lip tint compact and 1 eye shadow compact in various colors. The Essential Trio No. 3 is considered the more sultry, darker-colored set of the trios which is right down my alley.What I love the most about Kjaer Weis products is that each product is housed within the brand’s signature “intelligent refill” system. When you run out of product, Kjaer Weis sells refills which you can pop right back in the reusable compact. (Each product is held together by strong magnets. You can alternatively just purchase refills and easily store them in a reusable, magnetic palette like the Z Palette.) Kjaer Weis products can be purchased by most luxury green beauty retailers such as Spirit Beauty Lounge, Eco Diva Beauty or directly from Kjaer Weis online.

KW Abundance

Cream Blush in Abundance- This may be my favorite KW product out of the set. I knew if there was one KW product to own, it would be one of the cream blushes. Abundance is a gorgeous subtle, mauve-pink color that is creamy and silky to apply on the cheeks. The formula is very hydrating, pigmented and long-lasting unlike other cream blushes I’ve tried such as the RMS Lip2Cheek, which seems to be less creamy and a bit drying for me. I can wear Abundance for about 6 hours before needing to reapply more. Though I love the formula, Abundance was a color I did have to get used to. It is a very subtle tint of rosey-bronze that upon first swipe is quite pigmented and even dark. It leaves my cheeks with a sheer “pinched” flush that is very buildable. Initially, I felt the shade seemed unnoticeable on my cheeks yet also muddy upon first application. In time, I began to appreciate the understated color and found it to be a great tint that beautifully defines the hollows of my cheeks and the high-points of my face. Be aware a little goes a long way! ($54/compact or $26/refill pan)

KW Goddess

Lip Tint in Goddess- Perhaps the main product behind why I chose the No. 3 set in the first place, Goddess is a deep, true cherry-red color. Though the color looks intimidating in the pan, Goddess is a sheer, pigmented red that is easy to build up or tone down the color. You don’t need much product to create a vampy pop of red with this tint and it looks great with even just one swipe. This product stays put all day long and even when most of the color fades, a pretty tint is left on the lips. My dry lips did need some lip balm before using this product as it’s not super moisturizing but it is creamy and easy to blend once applied to the lips. Ideal application is with a lip brush though I do frequently apply with just my fingers as well. ($48/compact or $24/refill pan)

KW Divine

Eye Shadow in Divine- Even with my history as an eyeshadow junkie, I was surprised with how much I enjoyed using this eye shadow. Seemingly basic, Divine is a matte, slate grey color that has great pigmentation, no fall-out and doesn’t feel overly powdery. This eyeshadow is the perfect color for creating a smokey eye or providing definition to the eyes. I love using it in the outer corners of my eyes or as an all over color. It’s sheer but can be built up to be very dark and intense and staying power is very good. This is the perfect matte eyeshadow albeit a bit on the pricey side. ($44/compact or $22/refill pan)

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If you’re looking for luxurious, high-performing makeup that is just as beautiful from the inside of the compact as the outside, you need to scoop up some Kjaer Weis products. Though the prices may be a bit offsetting for those watching their wallet, I do think it’s worth it to own at least one Kjaer Weis product as they’re the most gorgeously packaged and effectively formulated products within the luxury green beauty market. I admire Kjaer Weis’ ability to meld beautiful, sleek designs with effective, high performing organic beauty formulas.

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Have you tried any Kjaer Weis products? What are your favorite KW items? Would you purchase an Essential Trio set?

Ingredients:
Cream Blush: ricinus communis (castor) seed oil*, caprylic/capric triglyceride, candelilla cera, copernicia cerifera(carnauba) wax*, zea mays (corn) starch*, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter*, beeswax*, rosa rubiginosa (eglantine rose) seed oil*, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil*, non-gmo tocopheryl acetate (nature-identical), ammonium glycyrrhizate,vanilla planifolia (vanilla orchid) fruit extract*, gardenia florida fruit extract. may contain +/- : mica, ci 77491, ci 77891, ci 75470, ci 77492, ci 77499. *Certified Organic
Lip Tint: ricinus communis (castor) seed oil*, caprylic/capric triglyceride, euphobia cerifera (candelilla) wax, 
copernicia cerifera (carnauba) wax*, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter*, zea mays (corn) starch*, cera alba (beeswax)*, rosa rubiginosa (eglantine rose) seed oil*, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil*, gardenia florida fruit extract, citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel oil*, ammonium glycyrrhizate, non-gmo tocopheryl acetate (nature-identical), limonene**. may contain +/- : mica, ci 77891, ci 75470, ci 77492, ci 77499, ci 77491, ci 19140, ci 15850. *Certified Organic **Naturally contained in the essential oils 
Eye Shadow: talc, octyldodecyl stearoyl stearate, bambusa arundinacea stem (bamboo) powder, copernicia cerifera (carnauba) wax, non-gmo tocopheryl acetate (nature-identical), gardenia florida fruit extract, lonicera caprifolium (honeysuckle) flower extract, lonicera japonica (honeysuckle) flower extract, zinc stearate.
may contain +/- : mica, ci 77491, ci 77891, ci 75470, ci 77492, ci 77499. This product is gluten-free. Divine, Magnetic, Onyx, Earthy Calm, Cloud Nine, Wisdom are vegan.

*Products purchased by me for review and all opinions are my own. All prices based on products from Spirit Beauty Lounge. Post contains affiliate links.

Winter Woes: Solutions for Chapped Lips

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Even though the holiday season is over and the New Year has started, it doesn’t mean the wrath of winter has completely subsided (at least, not for us lucky folk on the East Coast). The first of my annual winter woes are always chapped lips. Here’s how I’ve been managing a smooth pucker against this year’s cruel polar vortex:

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1.) EXFOLIATE- LUSH Mint Julips Lip Scrub ($9,95): If my sister hadn’t bought me this yummy, mint-tasting lip scrub from LUSH for my birthday last year, I probably would’ve tried (keyword there) to make a homemade lip scrub. However, being the lazy girl that I am, this scrub has been my go-to for getting rid of perpetual dry skin on my lips. At least twice a day, before applying makeup or eating, I exfoliate my lips with this lip scrub and follow up with a lip balm. I will say it’s a tad drying to my lips but it does the job. Containing jojoba and vegan sugar, it’s a perfect way to scrub away dry skin and maintain soft, smooth lips for the day.
Interested in trying these next:
Bargain: Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques, Organic Lip Scrub, $5.50
Luxe: ILIA Beauty, Balmy Nights lip exfoliator stick, $26

2.) MOISTURIZE- S.W. Basics Lip Balm ($4): This balm is seriously the bomb! (Corny enough for you yet?) I haven’t found anything as moisturizing for my lips and doesn’t require constant reapplication. The flavors are delicious and if you’re not so keen on beeswax, they’re also offered in Vegan form. You can bet this sucker is always in my bag and on my lips everyday. I like that S.W. Basics products always have a simple ingredient lineup and this lip balm is no different. I recommend staying away from lip products with petroleum, camphor, menthol and salicylic acid which can contribute to dry and irritated lips and making you constantly apply lip balm.
Interested in trying these next:
Bargain: Badger Organic, Lip Balm Ginger and Lemon, $2.69
Luxe: Tata Harper, Lip Treatment Be True, $28

3.) PROTECT- After treating my lips, I like to lock in the moisture and protect my pucker from further outside damage. I love a great, hydrating tinted balm to act as my base lip product for the day and to provide a hint of color whether or not I decide to wear more lip products. I’m really loving Gressa Skin’s Lip Boost BARE ($21)* for this step in my lip routine. Bare is a perfect muted pink for an everyday, natural, “your lips but better” look. It’s very moisturizing and has great staying power whether used alone or as a base with other lip products layered on top. Another tinted lip balm which has the same super moisturizing and pigmented characteristics are the ILIA Beauty Tinted Lip Conditioners. I use Arabian Knights ($26) daily as a moisturizing balm and for a flush of red on the lips.
Interested in trying these next:
Bargain: Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Red Dahlia, $6.99
Luxe: RMS Lip Shine in Bloom, $25

4.) SEAL- This final step is sometimes optional for me, depending on the weather or how I’m feeling. I like to seal everything in on my lips with a hydrating, non-sticky gloss whether pigmented or clear. I absolutely hate walking around when it’s windy out and my hair sticking to my lips but on all other occasions, I think lip gloss is the best way to really set or finish the lips. I’m really loving the Red Apple Lipstick’s Mint to Be Lip Gloss in Honey Badger ($18.50)*.  (See swatches and my review on the lip gloss here.) It’s a perfect nude, pink that can be worn alone or on top of other lip colors. It’s not sticky or irritating and has a great lasting power plus, it’s deliciously minty-tasting! Another favorite is my Juice Beauty Reflecting Lip Gloss in Guava ($15)* which is very moisturizing and long-lasting with a subtle hint of shine and color.
Interested in trying these next:
Bargain: Honeybee Gardens Luscious Lipgloss in Innocence Watermelon Peachy Pink, $8.65
Luxe: Intelligent Nutrients, Lip Delivery Antioxidant Lip Gloss, $24

So, that’s it for this first installment of Winter Woes! Do you have any specific tips on keeping dry, chapped lips at bay? Let me know in the comments!

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*Indicated products were sent to me for review purposes. This post is not sponsored and I am never paid for my honest opinion. This post contains some affiliate links that do not cost anything to click or purchase through but purchasing through these links do help support this site.

Caru Skincare Co Soap Sampler Review + Discount!

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I stumbled upon Caru Skincare Co on Etsy and fell in love with the gorgeous packaging and drool-worthy soaps and facial kits. Founded in 2012 by herbalist, Dominique CaronCaru Skincare Co is an organic skincare line from New York City whose all-natural, sustainable products are handcrafted and made in small batches. The handmade care and personal thought that goes into crafting every product from Caru Skincare Co reminds me why I prefer buying local, natural products whenever possible and to support brands that really do care about my personal health and well-being. 

Read my interview with Dominique Caron to learn more about the story behind Caru Skincare Co and their products here. Also, just for my readers, purchase any Caru Skincare Co products through their Etsy shop at 20% off with my special code: PLEINVANITY at checkout. Code is valid until February 28th and only for purchases through the Caru Skincare Co Etsy shop. 

I received a sampler from Caru Skincare Co to try that contains the 5 types of soaps from the brand’s line plus 1 gorgeous, full-sized Activated Charcoal Soap. The soaps are made from 100% natural ingredients that are organic or wildcrafted, contain no preservatives, artificial ingredients, fragrance or any other harmful ingredients. More about Caru’s ingredients here. 

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While the soaps themselves are gorgeous works of art, even the soap labels are beauties with their simple, vintage-inspired flare. All product labels are biodegradable and handmade from 100% post-consumer waste paper embedded with plant seeds so that you can give your waste a new life. You can plant these labels in soil and watch a non-invasive wildflower grow! (See more details here.) I admire the brand’s transparency and commitment to using simple, organic and wildcrafted ingredients and providing sustainable and beautiful product design. Full-size soaps are 4.5 oz for $9 each and travel-size soaps are 2oz for $7 each.

Here are my thoughts on the soaps I tried:

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  • Activated Charcoal + Dead Sea Salt Soap (Black):
    This is a great face (and body) soap! It contains activated charcoal, which is super absorbent and detoxifying, and Dead Sea salt, which is jam packed with tons of beneficial minerals for your skin. We also added tea tree essential oil and neem oil, which will help keep your skin clear and blemish free. This soap is great for people with oil or aceneic skin, but is suitable for all skin types. The scent is sweet & musky with a mild citrus undertone. INGREDIENTS: Olive oil*, Coconut oil*, Reverse Osmosis water, Sustainable palm oil*, Cocoa Butter*, Beeswax*, Calendula flowers*, Chamomile flowers*, Chamomile essential oil*, Geranium essential oil*, essential oil blend* *organic

As the description mentions, this soap is really wonderful for washing your face with especially if you have breakouts and irritated or oily skin. Also lovely as a soap for the body, it’s gentle, hydrating and calms irritated skin. You can feel the activated charcoal working to detoxify and clarify skin of impurities. The soap leaves a smooth, fresh lather on the skin and reduces blemishes. The scent is unique but also subtle, you can smell a hint of sea salt combined with soothing notes of essential oils. I also can’t deny the deep, black tint of the activated charcoal which makes this soap feel especially exotic to use.

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  • French Green Clay Soap (Green): 
French green clay is extremely absorbent and detoxifying. It is a natural clay mined in France and is often used as a facial mud mask. We make this soap with lavender and cedar essential oils which help keep your skin healthy and clear. This french green clay soap makes a great face and body soap. The scent is mild and refreshing, a blend of lavender with undertones reminiscent of a walk through a pine forest. INGREDIENTS: Olive oil*, Coconut oil*, Reverse osmosis water, Sustainable palm oil*, Cocoa butter*, French Green Clay, Lavender Essential oil*, Cedar Essential oil*, Essential oil blend* *organic

To me, this light, grassy green-colored soap is très chic. I love the scent (a lovely mix of lavender and cedar), the color (like a true, pea green) and the lather (super smooth). It was my favorite of the bunch that I savored for cleansing my face. It left my skin feeling very smooth, and hydrated. The delicious scent also lingers on the skin. This is recommended for dry or sensitive skin and it’s very gentle yet detoxifying and also helps to prevent blemishes or breakouts.

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  • Calendula + Chamomile Soap (Yellow): 
Calendula and chamomile are two yellow flowers that are renown for their skin healing properties. We use real organic calendula and chamomile flowers as well as luxurious roman chamomile essential oil and geranium essential oil. This is a very soothing soap great for cold weather dry skin. The scent is floral and slightly fruity with earthy undertones. INGREDIENTS: Olive oil*, Coconut oil*, Reverse Osmosis water, Sustainable palm oil*, Cocoa Butter*, Beeswax*, Calendula flowers*, Chamomile flowers*, Chamomile essential oil*, Geranium essential oil*, essential oil blend*  *organic

Chamomile is one of my favorite ingredients to ingest (like in tea) and to apply topically (like in cleansers or facial oils). This soap is very refreshing and soothing on dry, winter skin and is super calming to use on those typical stressful days. The two main ingredients: calendula and chamomile provide a soothing, luxurious lather and a sunny soap color, not to mention the pretty appearance of the flower petals.

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  • Peppermint Soap (White):
This organic peppermint soap smells so wonderful! Made with organic peppermint essential oil, it will help you wake up in the morning, will leave you feeling refreshed during hot summer months and will brighten your spirits during long and dark winter days. This soap is gentle and makes a wonderful body soap. The scent is sweet and minty, just like peppermint 🙂 INGREDIENTS: Olive oil*, Coconut oil*, Reverse osmosis water, Sustainable palm oil*, Cocoa butter*, Beeswax*, Peppermint essential oil*, Essential oil blend*  *organic

I usually favor minty soaps to use while showering or bathing due to the refreshing and relaxing scent. This soap smells amazing! It’s the perfect sweet, minty peppermint scent that hydrates and relieves tension from my body. Like all the other soaps, this one also has a gentle, soothing lather and nourishes the skin.

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  • Tea Tree + Pumice Soap (Brown):
Pumice and apricot kernel meal are blended with tea tree essential oil to create a wonderful exfoliating soap. In the shower, this soap will invigorate and help scrub off dead skin, leaving your skin smooth and refreshed. This soap is also amazing for cleansing hands and feet. Tea tree essential oil’s anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties combined with the finely ground pumice work amazingly well together to get rid of that hard to clean oil and dirt. INGREDIENTS: Olive oil*, Coconut oil*, Reverse osmosis water, Sustainable palm oil*, Cocoa butter*, Beeswax*, Peppermint essential oil*, Essential oil blend*  *organic

The sandy grit of this soap feels wonderful on the hands and body. I enjoyed using this soap on my hands to exfoliate and smooth out skin. It’s also nice to use as a body soap to scrub off dead skin cells and to clean and maintain soft skin. The gritty texture is gentle and the remains are not too pebbly or hard on the skin. I enjoyed using this to smoothen the dry spots on my heels and the soles of my feet.

Have you tried any products from Caru Skincare Co? Do you have any favorite natural soap products? I can’t wait to try one of their toners and the Jojoba Facial Oil. Don’t forget to use my special discount code for 20% off all Caru Skincare Co Etsy orders until Feb. 28th! 

You can also shop for Caru Skincare Products directly from their website here (discount code does not apply here). You can also find a physical shop near you or online site that sells Caru Skincare Co Products using the store locator or buy select products online at Anthropologie. Follow Caru Skincare Co on FacebookPinterestTwitter and their Blog for more inspiration! (Their Pinterest is chock-full-of-gorgeousness!)

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*Product samples generously provided for review purposes. I am never paid for my honest opinion and will only write reviews based upon my personal experience.

**All images are copyright Plein Vanity. Product descriptions courtesy of Caru Skincare Co.

Beauty Chat: Dominique Caron, Founder of Caru Skincare Co

Caru Edit

Caru Skincare Co is a handmade, organic soap and skincare line crafted from the purest botanicals and minerals without using parabens, phthalates, SLS or fragrances and created in small batches. Founded in 2012 by budding herbalist, Dominique Caron, Caru Skincare Co produces gorgeous skincare products that are healthy and safe for your body using simple but effective ingredients. The packaging is delicate and vintage-inspired not to mention 100% sustainable. Each product label is handmade, biodegradable, printed on 100% post-consumer waste paper and contains embedded wildflower seeds so that once you are finished, you can plant the label in soil and watch your flowers grow!

Read More Here

Shampoo Savior: Acure Organics Lemongrass + Argan Stem Cell Shampoo Review

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Ladies (and the imaginary gents who read this blog), today I want to introduce you to the shampoo that restored my faith in natural/organic haircare: it’s the Acure Organics Lemongrass + Argan Stem Cell Clarifying Keratin Boosting Shampoo ($9.99 for 8oz).

It has been a rough journey on the way to cleaning up my hair washing habits. My hair is stick straight and very fine so I don’t really do much in the ways of styling it, I’ve always been content with just leaving it alone. It has always been oily-prone and grows pretty fast. In the summer, I started trying out a couple green hair products I’d found at Whole Foods. In addition to switching products, I also knew changing my washing routine from shampooing every night to only 2-3 times a week would account to healthier, greener locks.

At the time, my hair was freaking out from the initial products I tried and I was too. My hair was not adjusting well to my new green, clean routine nor to the transition of products. After going through bottles of clean shampoos that made my hair feel gummy and grease-central for days on end, I’d nearly thrown in the towel on finding affordable, accessible and clean shampoo. However, I gave it one more try and picked up the Lemongrass + Argan Stem Cell Shampoo since I’d heard great things about Acure Organics.

Instantly, after the first wash, my hair felt rejuvenated and silky smooth. The shampoo lathers slightly but not as much as in shampoos that have Sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) in them. When running my fingers through my hair or blow drying, I didn’t experience strands of tacky or oily locks and felt that my hair was back to its normal self. This shampoo leaves my hair feeling nourished and clean without causing it to feel dry or limp and gives me good volume too.

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Acure Organics Shampoo putting my toxic, value-sized hair products to shame in the shower.

The refreshing, aromatic minty-lemongrass scent is enough to make you meditate in the shower and you can truly feel the gentle, clarifying formula at work. I like that Acure Organics describes this as an everyday shampoo that’s also safe for color treated hair like mine. Even though I’ve transitioned into not washing my hair everyday, it’s nice to know that when I do creep back to my old habits, this shampoo doesn’t further freak my hair out but instead, treats and maintains it. Here’s how Acure Organics describes this shampoo:

This clarifying shampoo is gentle enough for everyday use for all hair types. Promotes shiny, healthy, clean hair. Organic Argan Oil, Argan Stem Cells + CoQ10 help support hair keratin and strengthen the follicle connection. Organic Avocado Oil provides vitamin B12 and moisture while lemongrass cleanses and clarifies. Safe for color treated hair.

I like that Acure Organics uses simple, effective ingredients and all their formulas are fair trade, natural and organic. See more about their product ingredients here. The brand has become a favorite of mine for their accessible (available at Whole Foods markets), affordable and beneficial products. Not to mention, Acure Organic’s awesome ethical, transparent and environmentally-friendly commitments. The brand’s motto is: “For Your Skin, For The Planet”.

I also like the soft, 8oz squeezable packaging as opposed to a hard, shampoo bottle because it takes up less space in my shower and is lightweight and easy to travel with. Acure Organics also offers larger sizes (24oz) of their shampoos if you really love the results and want to save money. (Unfortunately, I don’t think they sell a larger size of the Lemongrass + Argan Stem Cell Shampoo.)

I’d recommend the Lemongrass + Argan Stem Cell Shampoo to anyone who might be starting the transition to green haircare as it’s a simple, effective product that makes switching over a little bit easier without compromising quality or price.

There are always good promotions for Acure Organics products at Whole Foods markets (I was able to buy this shampoo at a small discount from my Whole Foods) or you can find the products online at many retailers. Spirit Beauty Lounge also sells a duo of this shampoo with the accompanying conditioner for $19.99 online.

I’m eager to try the other Acure Organics shampoos such as the Pure Mint + Echinacea Stem Cell Volumizing Shampoo or the Argan Stem Cell + CoQ10 Dry Shampoo. For me, this shampoo is a total keeper!

Have you tried any hair products from Acure Organics? What are your favorite natural or organic hair products? While we’re at it, have you read my latest Au Natural Factual about lemongrass here?

Ingredients: euterpe oleracea (acai) berry*, rubus fruticosus (blackberry)*, rosa canina (rosehips)*, punica granatum (pomegranate)*, fair trade certified™ rooibos*, aloe barbadensis vera leaf juice*, sodium lauroyl methyl isethionate (from coconut), 100% naturally-derived betaine (from sugar beets), vegetable glycerin, sodium methyl cocoyl taurate (from coconut + amino acids), sodium cocoyl glutamate (from coconut + amino acids), cocoglucosides hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride (sugar conditioner), sodium levulinate (from corn), guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride (guar gum conditioner), potassium sorbate (food grade preservative), argania spinosa (argan) oil*, fair-trade certified™ olea europea (olive) oil*, d-alpha tocopherol acetate (vitamin e), ubiquinone (coq10), argania spinosa (argan) stem cells, persea americana (avocado) oil*, cymbopogon schoenanthus (lemongrass), lavendula dentata (french lavender), evernia prunastri (oakmoss), rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) essential oils. *Certified Organic   This product is gluten-free and vegan.

*This post contains some affiliate links that do not cost anything to click or purchase through but purchasing through these links does help support this site.

Au Natural Factual: Lemongrass

Au Natural Factual is back for 2014! Today, we’re talking about Lemongrass, an ingredient I have been loving lately in my hair and body products. It has also always been a favorite scent of mine.

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon Citratus) is a perennial plant known for it’s many medicinal and therapeutic benefits and is indigenous to many areas of South Asia. Reported medicinal benefits of lemongrass are used in treating digestive problems, high blood pressure, fever, body pain, the common cold, cough and exhaustion. Lemongrass is also known for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antioxidant and astringent properties.

Used when dry, lemongrass can be steeped to make tea, used as medicine as well as flavoring for food. The plant is commonly used as an ingredient in popular South Asian cuisine and is commonly found in soaps and cosmetics as a fragrance. With it’s lemony, citrus scent, lemongrass can also be extracted as an essential oil and applied topically or when used in aromatherapy, often inhaled for muscle pain relief. It is also said that lemongrass has rubefacient properties which may improve blood circulation.

The chemical composition of lemongrass is also interesting in understanding the basis for its many health benefits and natural characteristics:

The main chemical component found in lemongrass is citral, an aromatic compound, also known as lemonal. The compounds myrcene, citronellal, geranyl acetate, nerol and geraniol are found in varying quantities in Citral. Myrcene, geraniol and nerol contribute to lemongrass’ strong fragrance, citronella acts as an insecticide and geranyl acetate is another flavoring agent. –Healthers.org

The presence of Vitamin A in lemongrass can also have benefits for skin. Lemongrass helps to treat acne, brighten dark spots and prevent oily skin. The herb’s astringent and antibacterial properties are also good at reducing skin bacteria and infection. Lemongrass has also been thought to improve poor body odor by controlling excessive sweating.

Some popular, natural products containing lemongrass: 

Have you used lemongrass in any products or in food? What are your favorite products or methods using lemongrass?

Sources: HealthlineHealthers,WebMD 

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Travel Tips for Packing Beauty Essentials in a Carry-on Luggage

As you are reading this, I’ll be on a plane jetting away for my family’s annual ski trip in Colorado. It’s a favorite getaway of mine: to breathe the fresh air, spend hours outdoors skiing in the midst of gorgeous nature and relaxing with family and friends. A much-needed break from the everyday.

The thing is, with all the new formalities and restrictions of domestic and international air travel, I’m forced to pack all my beauty essentials for 1 week’s worth of travel in my carry-on suitcase which can get a bit tricky. And who really wants to pay an extra $25 or more to check in an extra, unnecessary bag? So here are my tips on how and what to pack regarding those skincare and beauty must-haves of yours for a short trip with only a carry-on luggage:

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Consolidate your collection and take only what you need— Yes, it’s harder said than done but really think about the amount of time you will be away, the climate of your destination and the absolute daily essentials of your skincare or beauty routine. Since I know that I’ll be spending lots of time outdoors and sometimes in bright sunlight and harsh winds, my top priority for this trip is moisturizing. I’ve packed essentials that will help keep my skin hydrated, moisturized and protect from being chapped or flakey.

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I’m also trying to lessen my load with unnecessary makeup bits since this family trip is more low-key and cabin-casual. Taking along multi-tasking makeup like my ILIA Illuminator stick in Sway (used as bronzer or eyeshadow), lip tints (blush or lip color) or mineral pigments (eyeshadow, blush, eyeliner or foundation). Also packing travel-size makeup brushes (I’ve sworn by this EcoTools travel brush kit for years) or retractible tools are a space saver. Otherwise, I try to bring makeup products like cream brush or cream foundation that I can apply with my fingers alone.

Use reusable containers or smaller sized products— According to the TSA, all passengers are allowed “3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less (by volume); 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin.” That’s not a lot of room for people with a comprehensive list of skincare and beauty essentials like me. This is when I like to go crazy with all those pesky (but lovely) vacuum sealed, paper/plastic, trial samples that I save like a hoarder from my online orders or package deals. They’re usually less than 3oz, lightweight and traveling with them also ensures you get to try new products.

samples1Decanting liquid products into small, reusable containers that are TSA approved-sizes is a great way to stay within the limit and ensure nothing spills or breaks while traveling. I usually save plastic containers from samples or trials I’ve received but you can purchase travel-sized bottles for this purpose at most drugstores. I’m very cautious when it comes to traveling with liquids because of numerous product fatalities I’ve experienced en route to Colorado. My destination is at a particularly high elevation: 6,732 ft (2,052 m) so the flight definitely experiences air pressure changes due to elevation levels. More times than not, I’ve found mini explosions of shampoo, soap or cleanser all over my toiletries bag and clothes after landing.

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Packing products inside my toiletries bag within several individual plastic bags prevents future spilling incidents and makes things easier to place in screening bins when going through the x-rays. Bottom line: bring LOTS of plastic bags. An additional tip I’ve learned to prevent air pressure explosions: before packing liquids inside bottles, open caps, squeeze out any excess air then quickly screw the lids back on. You can also add plastic wrap on top of any containers for an extra layer of protection before closing or putting the lid back on.

Don’t take risks– When worse comes to worse, if you’re questioning bringing a product, it’s better to leave it home. In my experience, airport security employees’ checking process seem a bit discretionary when checking your belongings so if it’s suspicious to them, they might just make you get rid of it. My priority is always getting through security with all my belongings and on time. I’d rather not risk having to throw out a $50 facial cleanser just because the airport security officials didn’t approve. And, you can always buy products like cleanser, body soap or shampoo at your destination too.

Secondly, for me personally, traveling is all about comfort. I try to avoid bring totally new products that I still might need to time to get used to or want time to practice applying (for makeup). Bring products that are essential to your routine and that you are comfortable applying away from home. I never want to be the one stuck in the bathroom applying hours of skincare or makeup products while sacrificing vacation and family relaxation time.

endbagLastly, to me I think of vacation as a time to have fun, be with family and friends and enjoy not thinking too much about my makeup.

Hope these tips helped! Or at least revealed my crazy thought process to you…

Do you have any tips when it comes to packing beauty or skincare items? How do you travel if you’re only bringing a carry-on luggage? Let me know your thoughts!

Some helpful packing resources I’ve found online: OneBag.com, ExpertFlyer.comRenee Rouleau, TSA

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Beauty Chat: Kristen Arnett, International Makeup Artist and Founder of Green Beauty Team

KristenArnettbanner4.jpgInternational makeup artist and green beauty leader, Kristen Arnett was kind enough to chat with me about her experience in the world of green beauty. Check out her awesome website, Green Beauty Team and her upcoming project, an online product database: CleanPicks (sign up for more release news). As an expert in the industry, Kristen is truly an inspiration to beauties everywhere! Read on to hear some of her tips, unique beauty experiences and exciting new ventures: 

Read More Here

Happy New Year! Top 10 Posts From 2013

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Wishing you a healthy and happy 2014! In celebration of the New Year, check out the most read posts on Plein Vanity from 2013:

10. Juice Beauty Event & Reflecting Gloss Reviewjuicebeautyevent

9. My VISIA Complexion Analysis

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8. Berry Sultry: ILIA Beauty Arabian Knights Tinited Lip Conditioner ReviewArabianKnights1

7. Vapour Organic Beauty Siren Lipstick in Knockout and Holiday ReviewVapour3-1

6. My Organic Lash Love: Juice Beauty Lash Defining Mascara ReviewJuice Beauty Mascara 1

5. Voluminous Lashes with Alima Pure Natural Definition Mascaraalimapure-mascara-1-2

4. Beauty Chat: Svetlana Sanchez, Founder of Gressa Skinsvetlana1

3. A Countertop-Worthy Makeup Organizer thebeautystation

2. 100% Pure Tinted Moisturizer Review 

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1. Easy as Pai: Pai Skincare Review paiskincare1

*Runner up: Au Natural Factual: Witch Hazel*

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To see more posts from yesteryear (okay, so it’s not that far back), click on over to the Archives.

From makeup to skincare to sustainable fashion, this year has been a whirlwind of awesome: meeting and connecting with other bloggers and brands, learning more about makeup and healthattending interesting events, being featured on Organic Beauty Talk and lastly, discovering I can succeed in doing something I love. Looking forward to more exciting moments ahead! 

Thanks for reading and see you lots more in 2014! 🙂

What else would you like to see on Plein Vanity in 2014? Let me know!

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