The Testing Table \ Vol. 1

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I’m not one to do regular posts on “empties” or monthly favorites, because usually there is no rhyme or reason to my beauty routine and I don’t necessarily encourage buying new things every month. However, as annoying as I sound, I do have an unhealthy obsession reading those types of posts on other blogs….
I thought a sporadic re-cap of products and things I’ve been testing out might be fun and also a good way to share my quick thoughts with you. So here it goes:

Mun No.1 Alknari Brightening Youth Serum (sample): This is a highly coveted luxury green beauty product I’d been wanting to try for a while but I was always hesitant to buy it due to the expensive price and small product size ($98 for 0.68 fl oz.). Let’s just say, the hype for this product is warranted. This serum made my skin feel silky smooth, moisturized, and glowing instantly. I massaged this aromatic serum on my face at night and would wake up seeing immediate results. This stuff is pure magic! I’m so impressed with the simple and powerful 100% Ecocert organic ingredients: prickly pear seed oil, argan oil, and rose essential oil. I’m coveting the last few drops of this and still trying to decide if I should eventually shell out the dough for the full size….sigh.

Osmia Organics Stracciatella Soap: I was so excited to snag this limited edition soap in the Osmia Organics’ special Earth Day Box. I’m a big fan of Osmia Organics’ organic, handmade soaps and all of their skincare products. Not only is this soap unique looking with black soap specks resembling Italian stracciatella gelato; this product combines two beloved Osmia soaps in one: the bestselling Black Clay Facial Soap and the Oh So Soap. You can use this soap to cleanse your face and your body. The Stracciatella Soap is an absolute treat for your skin and a beautiful soap to look at (see an “unwrapped” photo below). The texture is luxuriously silky lathered on the body and clarifying and gentle on the face. I enjoy using this both as a face cleanser and a regular body soap. The scent is fresh and milky but barely there and it doesn’t irritate skin. (Too bad it doesn’t smell like gelato!) Even though this soap size is a bit smaller than normal Osmia soap bars, I am still working through mine so you definitely do get a lot of soap for your money. Good news is that Osmia is still selling this limited edition soap on their website so grab them while you can! I know I will be! $14 for 4.5 oz

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Pai Skincare Chamomile & Rosehip Calming Day Cream (sample): I’m still searching for an daily moisturizer that I love as much as my Pai Geranium & Thistle Rebalancing Day Cream (it has a matte finish and soothes my sensitive skin). I received a sample of the other version of Pai’s day cream in a recent order from Spirit Beauty Lounge. Similar hydrating, gentle formula though a bit greasier and thicker on my skin. This formula is considered the moisturizer for hyper-sensitive skin while Geranium and Thistle is for combination skin. I still think I love the Geranium and Thistle better as it has a unique, non-oily finish, light texture, and gentle yet hydrating for my dry sensitive skin. $60 for 1.7 fl oz (See my full Pai Skincare review HERE)

Osmia Organics Purely Simple Face Cream (sample): This is another score for Osmia Organics. I really liked this moisturizer which is described as a “cream for sensitive skin contains simple, pure, plant-sourced ingredients and tiny amounts of the most precious essential oils, to give moisture with very low potential for irritation or adverse reaction.” This cream was a perfect daily moisturizer for my dry and sensitive skin. It was soothing and not irritating plus felt light and not oily on my face. I think it really helped smooth out and calm my reactive skin and lessened any breakouts or inflammation when I used the cream alone and also with Osmia’s Active Gel Toner. I do think I will purchase the full-size of this cream in the future simply because my skin loved it so much. $60 for 1.7 fl oz

Kure Bazaar Nail Lacquer in Macaron: I’d had my eye on trying a nail polish from Kure Bazaar for a while and picked out the color Macaron during a sale at Spirit Beauty Lounge. Kure Bazaar offers a wide-range of colors, are “5-free”, and made in France. I was hoping this nail polish wouldn’t have a chemical smell like most nail polishes do and would be long-lasting and bold in pigment. This polish did smell strongly which was a letdown however, it did dry quickly. I was more disappointed in the light, streaky texture of the polish. Macaron turned out to be a very pretty, pastel pink, that I think is perfect for Spring. However, it took me about 3-4 coats of nail polish to cover my nails completely and without a top coat, the nail polish didn’t last very long. I love the color of this nail polish, but the formula had me highly disappointed. I’m still interested in trying more colors from Kure Bazaar but am looking forward to trying other nail polish brands. $16 for 0.4 oz

Tata Harper Rebuilding Moisturizer (sample): Yes, more moisturizer samples! I’ve been wanting to try products from Tata Harper for a while. All her product sound luxurious, have gotten rave reviews, and I love that all the ingredients are grown on her organic farm in Vermont. Due to the expensive prices, I knew I needed to test the products out before committing. I liked this moisturizer a lot; it wasn’t greasy, had a light, creamy texture, didn’t irritate my skin, and kept my skin feeling soft and moisturized. But, this moisturizer just seemed pretty average to me. The smell is very herbal but light. It does dissipate after a few minutes though I didn’t really like smelling it upon applying. I definitely admire Tata Harper as a brand but I think I’ll still have to try her other products to see one I feel is worth shelling out my cash for. $100.00 for 1.7 oz

One Love Organics Gardenia Body Serum (sample): I purchased the Rose scent of this body serum a while back but never got around to writing about it. Let’s just say the Rose formula took a while for me to like. This one however, was absolute love at first spritz! Offered as an add-on to my OLO order during a No More Dirty Looks promo, the Gardenia Body Serum smells like floral heaven and is super moisturizing. The formula sinks into my skin, feels light, and provides lasting hydration. The scent is not overly powerful but lingers as a beautiful, fresh floral. I could not stop spraying this stuff on myself! Suffice to say, it was too small a sample. I’ve been waiting with anticipation to purchase the full size from One Love Organics and it is released today, Monday, June 16th. Plus, also launching on the same date, the new summer releases from OLO and they are all super intriguing (a dry shampoo, cleanser, toning mist, body serum)…NEED!! $39 for 3.8 oz

Zion Health Shampoo Vanilla Coconut (2oz, **P.R. sample): Picture a warm, sunny, exotic beach in the Tropics. Got it? That’s what I think of when I use this lovely, all-natural, clay mineral-based shampoo. The formula is light, clarifying, and the scent is addicting. My fussy hair actually responded well to this shampoo and wasn’t left feeling greasy. I was even able to wash my hair with this daily without my hair freaking out. I love that Zion Health offers nice sized and nicely priced travel sizes of the shampoo. $13.99- 13 fl oz, full size or $1.00- 2 fl oz, travel size. See my review on Zion Health’s natural clay mineral toothpaste HERE)

Hope you enjoyed this first installation of my Testing Table and I’ll have more in the future! Have you tried any of these products? What are you currently testing out?

 

*This post contains affiliate links. **P.R. sample provided to me for consideration and all posts are based on my honest opinions.

Pure Petal Performance: R.L. Linden & Co. Thousand Petal Beautifying Mist Review

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Looking for the perfect facial mist that’ll take you right into the Spring season? I purchased the acclaimed R.L. Linden & Co. Thousand Petal Beautifying Mist ($48, 3.4oz/100ml) a while back and have been using it obsessively every day now. This lovely “Hydrating Floral Toner” awakens the senses with it’s energizing aromatic properties and delicate skin-healing effects. My spirits are immediately uplifted whenever I use this product and my thirsty skin just can’t get enough of it.

“Abundant with beautifying flowers, this mist tones and hydrates all skin types, offers anti-anxiety aromatherapy benefits and encourages you to feel radiant as your most gorgeous self!”

Reminiscent of a bouquet of fresh flowers with sweet notes of citrus, a spritz of the Thousand Petal Beautifying Mist refreshes the skin with a fragrant blend of Colorado spring water, honeysuckle, neroli and rose, jasmine, and flower essences. These ingredients keep skin hydrated, revitalized, and super smooth while providing anti-anxiety aromatherapy benefits. I also love how this toner reduces redness in my face and isn’t irritating for my sensitive skin. This mist is a nice, light product that can be sprayed onto the face throughout the day and before or after using makeup.

R.L. Linden & Co. is a brand based in Denver, Colorado featuring all natural skincare, bath and body products, and healing teas. The creators of R.L. Linden are two best friends that bring over 30 years of combined experience to their brand. Robin King, is a Master Nutrition Therapist with a background in fitness instruction and Lynn Till, is an award winning tea blender and herbalist. Their popular plant-based products are gentle and effective for all skin types, crafted in small batches, and expertly formulated.

“Our skincare is gentle, effective, customizable to your skin-type and bursting with the beautifying and uplifting properties of flowers. We focus on pure, plant-based, organic ingredients that you can easily pronounce, in as close to their whole natural state as possible.” 

I can’t say enough good things about R.L. Linden’s Thousand Petal Beautifying Mist. It’s a natural toner that not only refreshes and treats my skin but also revitalizes my skin and my spirit. And that my friends, is a true rarity in my book.  I can’t help but feel gorgeous every day when using such a beautiful product!

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The Thousand Petal Beautifying Mist’s new look.  Image Credit: R.L. Linden & Co

R.L. Linden & Co. recently had a redesign of their product labels, released 5 new full size products and a sample program. In celebration of these launches, all U.S. orders qualify for free shipping from now until Friday, June 13th! (Use code FreeShipFand525) After June 13th, all orders over $95 (and international orders over $150) will ship for free. I know I’ll definitely be picking up 2 products from the new lineup that I’ve been wanting to try: The Bee Charmer cleanser/mask and Your Eyes Only makeup remover.

Ingredients: Colorado Spring Water; Hydrosols of Neroli, Honeysuckle (wildcrafted) and Rose; Organic Extracts of Rose and Calendula; Organic Jojoba Oil; A Proprietary Blend of Essential Oils (including Neroli and Jasmine); Natural Preservative Derived from Aspen Tree Bark and A Proprietary Blend of Flower Essences (including Pretty Face and Morning Glory) 

Have you tried the Thousand Petal Beautifying Mist or any other products from R.L. Linden & Co? 

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

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

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.

Discovering Gressa Skin Products

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Close-up of the Renewing Polish

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

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

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

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

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

Au Natural Factual: Burdock Root

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

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

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

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

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

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

W3LL People Supernatural Sessions Recap

It was a gloomy, rainy Thursday and I was having another terrible day at work and all I wanted to do was go home, climb under my sheets and wake up to a sunny Saturday morning. Fortunately, I’d bought a ticket to a beauty event at Henri Bendel on Fifth Avenue that I knew I shouldn’t miss. W3LL People (read my review on their amazing foundation stick here) along with Refinery 29 and Well + Good NYC created the Supernatural Sessions, a beauty wellness series combining the very best in non-toxic skincare, beauty and hair brands while providing attendees with an exclusive chance to mingle with the brands’ founders, learn more about the benefits of natural products and to try out everything with mini makeovers.

As soon as I entered the event space, I left behind the drizzly, dismal night and was greeted with some champagne and a friendly welcome from James Walker, one of the founders of W3LL People. As more attendees arrived, I noted some other bloggers, journalists and green beauty enthusiasts in the room. We all found our seats and were introduced to the most important people in the room: James Walker and Shirley Pinkson 2 of W3LL People founders, One Love Organics founder Suzanne LeRoux and Beauty Bets blogger and OLO collaborator, Elizabeth Dehn and Mordechai Alvow, the founder of Yarok Organic Haircare. The evening’s hosts, Well + Good co-founder, Melisse Gelula and a girl from Refinery 29 launched a Q+A.

Shirley explained that the purpose of bringing these three amazing natural brands together for one event was to illustrate how skincare, makeup and haircare are complementary and that all these brands coupled together can give you great, natural results. She noted that although makeup is fun and is pretty, in the end we all need to stop heavily covering up our complexions and start at the root of the problem: our skin, in order to attain healthier, radiant faces.

Armed with a checklist of products offered by each brand, attendees visited three beauty stations to experience each brand’s specialty and the products for sale. One Love Organics featured a facial massage and cleansing using their Elizabeth Dehn collaboration skincare line (the products I’d specifically been lusting after), W3LL People had makeup artists giving mini-makeovers using all the makeup products from their line (including a sneak peek at their new mascara which will be launching soon) and Yarok Haircare styled everyone’s hair using their organic products.

I had a great time chatting beauty and skincare with Elizabeth Dehn, meeting blogger friends KatieSarita and Jackie and getting to know more organic beauty enthusiasts. It was truly a fun night of indulging in knowledge, shopping and playing with pretty products. For more recaps of the event visit Sarita’s blog here and Jackie’s blog here.

I was glad I went because I left 10 times happier than I’d been all day and on a beauty high all the way back home. Someone at the event even came up to me to tell me she recognized me and loved reading my blog! (Ah!) It’s events like these that remind me why I am passionate about educating and showing others that green beauty can be fun, luxurious and beautiful while also benefiting your health and well-being.

Some pics from the night:

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I ended up purchasing the Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin B Active Moisture Cleansing Oil, One Love Organics’ Skin Savior and Yarok’s Leave In-Conditioner. I didn’t purchase any W3LL People products this time because I’ve been going a bit cray cray on the makeup this month and I already have the Narcissist Foundation Stick which is probably the best product ever.

More notes from the night:

  • Suzanne noted that One Love Organics products do not contain emulsifiers but rather contain more natural oils and ingredients that do not strip the skin but easily blend into, moisturize and heal the skin.
  • Elizabeth commented that she began gravitating towards more natural products as she noticed they worked better and gave more beneficial results than less natural products. This led to her amazing collaboration with Suzanne and One Love Organics which features powerful vitamins, fruit enzymes and antioxidants.
  • Mordechai asserted he noticed the biggest problem consumers have with haircare is that they don’t actually know how to apply products. Consumers apply too much and are using products with harmful ingredients. This is what led Yarok products to have obvious names so consumers will know how to apply and for what function each product is for. His one piece of essential advice for the night: don’t forget to shake your hair upside down a few minutes during the day to give hair more volume.

Can’t wait to go to my next beauty event!