Paradise Revealed: Leahlani Skincare’s Island-Inspired Products Promote Beautiful, Rested Skin

Imagine an island paradise, anywhere in the world: sunshine on your face, sand beneath your toes, shimmering waves splashing against your body….and all of this bottled up within arms reach. In skincare? For me, Leahlani Skincare conjures up all the ecstasy of paradise for your skin. Am I a little obsessed? Yes, and for good reason. Read on to hear about my experience with this popular island-inspired skincare brand.

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Designed by Science, Made From Nature: Bottega Organica

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Bottega Organica is a natural, organic skincare brand formulated with farm-fresh ingredients and healthy, effective scientific processes. There is so much to say about this high quality, thoughtfully-crafted brand that it requires such care and reflection when writing about them. I find it difficult to describe in words the caliber and luxury of these quality formulas but I’m hoping my in-depth commentary and photographs will suffice…

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Ursa Major: Skincare to Share

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I’d be lying if I said converting my family and friends to organic and natural skincare has been an easy task. Everyone has their misconceptions and protests but in all honesty, it’s always easier for me to convince the ladies in my life of cleaner, greener skincare habits. The men in my life, well let’s just say they’re not really into it. And maybe that’s also due to men not having a very complex skincare routine or rather, no routine at all. My mission was to find unique and clean skincare products catering towards men that my fiance might be willing to try, but it proved harder than I thought. That is, until I was introduced to the ultra-cool, simplistic, natural and organic unisex skincare brand, Ursa Major.

*Plus, a special discount code only for my readers after the jump…

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The Cult Favorite: Kjaer Weis Mascara

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This post is definitely long overdue but some products just hold on to my heart like none other and then a year goes by and I realize I probably should have written a review about it. Sorry dear readers, I’m working on it. (I’m also working on taking better photos of my eyelids too which is mostly the reason why this post is so delayed. #bloggerfail) Today I’m finally talking about the love of my eyelashes, the cult favorite: Kjaer Weis Mascara.

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Experiencing The Genius of Nature With Odylique + a Giveaway!

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Nothing gets me more excited than when I discover international skincare brands with pure and natural ingredients, that work for my sensitive skin. The pain only sets in when I realize most of these amazing international products are difficult to find or just not available in the U.S. More and more, popular international brands are branching out to the States and I couldn’t have been more excited when U.K. brand, Odylique announced in October they’d launched their new web store for U.S. and Canada.

Odylique is a British skincare brand based on effective formulations containing only organic herbs, plant oils, and natural active ingredients suitable for even the most sensitive skintypes. There are no synthetic chemicals nor artificial fragrances added to Odylique products furthering the brand’s commitment to Soil Association-certified standards and also providing the very best for sensitive skin. Formerly called Essential Care, the brand was founded by a mother-daughter duo and all products are handmade locally in Suffolk, UK. With over 30 years of providing effective, beloved products in Europe, Odylique’s newest venture into North America is generating lots of buzz and even more fans across the pond. 

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Defying Anti-Aging Skincare: DN-UNIK Hyaluronic Products + a discount code!

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From what I can tell, European organic and natural skincare brands are really on a roll with beautiful innovative, effective products. I love supporting American brands and makers, but I also really love discovering products from other countries and am even more excited when international brands expand to the U.S. One such brand is DN-UNIK, which features beautiful skincare products made in France, formulated with natural, plant-based ingredients that are also Ecocert and Cosmebio certified organic.

I immediately admired the clean, chic packaging of DN-UNIK products and that the brand aims to provide organic skincare formulas that focus on anti-aging results. DN-UNIK recently launched online in the U.S. and kindly asked me if I’d like to give their products a try. Currently, you can purchase a full collection of DN-UNIK products at The Choosy Chick and at Abe’s Market. Get 20% off all DN-UNIK products at The Choosy Chick with my special code: PLEINMEETSUNIK until 12/31/2014. 

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What Natural Makeup Dreams Are Made Of: La Bella Figura Beauty’s More Than Makeup Line

LBF2LBF3Luxurious all-natural skincare powerhouse, La Bella Figura Beauty recently forayed into the makeup world with their More Than Makeup line, and it’s nothing less than amazing. Once I set eyes on the clean, simple formulas and sexy, luxurious mirrored-compact packaging, I knew I had to try these new products. Featuring highly-pigmented, cream blush, highlighter,  eyeshadow, lip tint, and now 2 limited edition products for the holidays: a blush and an eyeshadow duo, La Bella Figura makeup is enough for any beauty junkie to swoon. The pretty, universal colors tempted me but so did the fact that the product formulations focused on nourishing, skin-healing ingredients. It seemed revolutionary that these makeup products could still perform as makeup, but could heal your skin while beautifying it. I found that these beauty products are indeed what natural makeup dreams are made of.

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The Testing Table \ Vol. 2

(Products listed clockwise, click product names for links. All products purchased by me or received as a sample with orders I purchased myself unless otherwise indicated.)

Here’s another roundup of the products I’ve been trying out (a small selection among many!) I’ve definitely been on the hunt for a new cleanser and daily moisturizer since I’ve finished and found my staples: Pai Skincare Cleanser and Pai Geranium & Thistle Day Cream. Plus, I’m always curious to try brands that are new to me. Here’s how this volume went:

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A Balanced Cleanse for the Body and Soul with Joulebody

Despite everyone rushing to do juice cleanses of all sorts, I’ve never really been a fan of the movement. I have a fast metabolism so I’m always eating or snacking on something to keep my stomach from rumbling and my appetite sated. (Okay, and also to prevent me from being too grumpy during the day.) I consider my eating and exercising habits to be pretty healthy overall yet I’ve also always been curious about the detoxifying and energizing benefits cleanses have been said to have. I just couldn’t see myself surviving on just liquids for a week or longer.

Enter Joulebody. I was first introduced to the local NYC-based company  at a recent bloggers meetup organized by Sarita where Joulebody products were generously provided for us to sample. Joulebody is a 1oo% organic and vegan cleansing program founded by Yvette Rose that involves both juice and healthy food as part of the plan. The program is a plant based, 75% raw foods diet; “food that is packed with essential healing nutrients that have medicinal restorative properties.” Joulebody cleanses will replenish and cleanse your body, as well as restart your metabolism. 

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Au Natural Factual: Reishi Mushroom

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always had a love for mushrooms. While many people can’t stand the thought of eating mushrooms–my boyfriend blames the texture, a few of my friends can’t wrap their heads around eating “fungi”, I can’t get enough of these forest fixtures. Their varying textures, shape, smells, and even the way they grow in nature has fascinated me. My tongue begins to water when I think of the delicious traditional Chinese soups featuring savory mushroom bits that my mother and grandmother always made for me.

And what about a mushroom’s health benefits? Oh boy, don’t get me started! Ganederma lucidum, the Reishi mushroom (in Japanese) or “ling zhi” in Chinese, is the specific, iconic “red” mushroom most commonly used and commercially cultivated in East Asia and North America. Reishi mushroom is the most respected medicinal mushroom in Asia.

“Reishi mushroom is a fungus that some people describe as “tough” and “woody” with a bitter taste. The fruiting body (above-ground part) and mycelium (filaments connecting a group of mushrooms) are used as medicine.” (5)

In Ancient China, the reishi mushroom was revered by royalty as it was thought to be the “mushroom of immortality” and also used to help promote tranquility, thoughtfulness, and to improve memory. This type of mushrooms were also considered special for their unique and beautiful appearance; “Deep reddish brown and saucer-shaped, often emerging from a branch-like stem, its smooth upper surface looks lacquered when wet.” (2)

Often grown on old or dead tree trunks, reishi mushrooms were also traditionally ingested to prevent fatigue, asthma, insomnia, and cough. Disregarding its supposed mystical quality, the health-promoting effects of the reishi mushroom still plays an central role in the traditional medical systems of China, Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries. These health benefits have made using reishi mushroom popular within many Western medical and health communities.

“The active constituents are thought to include both beta-glucan polysaccharides and triterpenes.” (4)
“Reishi mushroom contains chemicals that seem to have a variety of potentially beneficial effects, including activity against tumors (cancer) and beneficial effects on the immune system.” (5)

Known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, reishi mushrooms help boost the immune system and is commonly used for reducing stress and preventing fatigue. It is often used to treat viral infections like the flu and lung diseases like bronchitis and asthma. There are also many claims that reishi mushrooms can prevent and aid in the abatement of many serious diseases. Many believe that reishi mushrooms can abate the effects of kidney disease, heart disease (including high blood pressure and high cholesterol), liver disease, and cancer. It has also been used for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, altitude sickness, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), insomnia, stomach ulcers, poisoning, and herpes pain.

These health benefits also contribute to positive aspects when used in skincare products. The ganodermic acid and ling zhi-8 protein within Reishi mushrooms are said to contribute in aiding and maintaining the skin’s health, vitality, and youthful appearance. Reishi mushroom in skincare products is also beneficial in reducing inflammation, prevent skin damage from free radicals, and promote skin cell regeneration.

Today, reishi mushroom can be most commonly found as an extract, supplement or as an added ingredient. It was traditionally ingested in teas or infusions but can now be found added in everything from chocolate bars, candy, energy drinks, or skincare products.

“Some experts believe that Ganoderma lucidum promotes longevity and maintains vitality of the human body. Reishi’s major benefit appears to be its immunomodulating action, improvement of liver function, and improvement and restoration of the normal functions of the respiratory system. Antioxidant effects, which contribute to the overall well-being of patients, have been proposed.” (1)

If this specific fungi can improve one’s health in so many ways, perhaps the ancient Chinese were onto something with their claims that this fungi provides the key to immortality.

Have you ever tried any products containing reishi mushroom in them? What are your thoughts on this ingredient?

Some natural and organic beauty products containing reishi mushroom that have caught my eye:

*Foraged Fields- Face Cream, $15
*LuLu & Max- Face Lift Cream, $28
*Tela Beauty Organics- Balance Shampoo, $36

 

Images: Conscious Lifestyle Magazine, Healthy Home Gardening, Recapo
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