Himalayan Pink Salt Candle Holders…

Where I go to take yoga class, there’s a beautiful Himalayan pink salt lamp glowing on the desk. The pink, incandescent hue is really calming, but I’d heard that the lamps can ‘sweat’ and the bulbs can be a pain to change. However, I ended up finding a beautiful pair of pink salt candle-holders at Bed Bath and Beyond for just $14.99, and am just so pleased with them! Not only do they emit that beautiful rose glow when you drop a tea light inside, they also (apparently) release negative ions into the air when heated, like an air purifier. I must admit, too, that it’s nice to have something so natural on my coffee table, rather than man-made. They have a heft and a rough hewn beauty to them, as well as a pleasant mismatched quality, that really speaks to me. You don’t have to meditate or do yoga to enjoy these candle holders.

rock-salt-candle-holder1

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Weekend-Worthy Favorites: W3LL People, Matcha Tea Lattes, and More!

Hi all,

This isn’t going to be a super long post…my parents are coming to visit from England (yay!) so I’ve got a ton of cleaning up and work to do! (Fun).

However, I wanted to share with you a few of my weekend-worthy favorites, that I think…no, I KNOW you will enjoy learning about. A couple of beauty products, and a couple of lifestyle items. And, hold onto your hats, I won’t be mentioning Pacifica ONCE!!!! It’s a miracle! 🙂

  1. W3LL People Bio Brightener Stick in “Moonstone.” ($29.99)

There’s been so much hype around this product in the green beauty world, that I knew I had to give it a whirl. At the W3LL People website you can buy samples of this product for $1.50, but I went all out and bought the full product. I’m not sorry I did – I’ll be honest, I have never used highlighter before. EVER. A brief flirtation with ‘illuminating liquids’ made me look sparklier than Edward Cullen at a disco. So I wasn’t sure what to expect from this product, nor how to apply it. However, a few beauty blogs later I had learned how to ‘strobe’ with highlighter – apply it above cheekbones, along the bridge of the nose, the cupid’s bow, and bottom of the chin (and/or inner corners of eyes) – and I have to admit, the result was pretty awesome! What I like about this product is that it’s not sparkly or glittery – it’s a light shimmer, or perhaps ‘glisten’ is a better word. No Edward Cullen here! It’s really easy to apply too; you just dab a bit on your finger, or you could even just apply it straight from the stick. I also wear it sometimes in place of eyeshadow. Big score. I also bought the much touted bronzing stick as a sample, and it’s pretty good – I’m not sure I like it as much yet, but I’ll give it a few more uses before reporting back.

2. One Love Organics Skin Savior Multi-Tasking Wonder Balm ($49.00)

Another darling of the green beauty world, I received this in a subscription box quite a while ago – I can’t actually remember which one 🙂  I’ve loved it from the get-go, but I think I love it more now that my skin is going through a dry spell. I apply this balm to my face either as a night cream or after showering. It’s got a light, citrus scent which isn’t my favorite ever, but it’s totally OK. When I learned the price of this I almost had a mild heart attack, and I doubt I’ll be repurchasing because 50 bucks is a lot to spend on a skincare product. Sob. Sob.

3. Rishi Green Tea Matcha ($6.30 at Vitacost)

For those of you who love those Starbucks iced green tea lattes, I kid you not, this tastes EXACTLY THE SAME and is like a gazillion times less expensive. The ingredients are awesosme – just matcha powder and cane sugar. I drink this iced – you just add a couple of teaspoons to cold milk, stir around, and add ice. To avoid lumps you can dissolve the powder in a little hot water before adding the milk. Delicious with almond milk too!

 

4. Headspace App and Podcast

I’ve been using the Headspace meditation app on my phone for a while now, and I really enjoy it. You can try a 10 session foundation course for free, and if you like it a year’s subscription is, if I recall correctly, $90.00. (I could be wrong!) which allows you to access all the courses. Each course is a progressive series of meditation sessions (you can choose between 10 minute, 15 minute and 20 minute sessions) and animated videos that teach you different meditation techniques. The themes are wide-ranging, from depression to balance. I also love how the company is evolving: they’re always adding to their library of courses as we speak: new additions include meditation for pregnancy, self-esteem and mindful eating. I personally enjoy the voice of the teacher, Andi Puddicombe (check out his awesome TED talk on mindfulness below!) and my only beef with Headspace is that once you embark on a course you have to finish it or you’re back to square one. Sometimes I’d like to pause a course and try another before returning to the first one. Oh well!

Julep’s “Love Your Bare Face”Age Defying Cleanser Oil Review

I was very excited to receive this in the mail yesterday, because it’s been getting rave reviews from Julep customers – plus, you know how I love my oils!

I might be off base here, but I think of Julep as a semi-green beauty company. Their products aren’t totally free of nasties, but the ingredients are pretty darn awesome. This  cleansing oil is a case in point. It’s chock full of lovely ingredients – grapeseed oil, rosehip oil, vitamin E, coffee seed oil, sunflower seed oil, and rosemary leaf extract to name a few. And then they go and spoil it all by adding PEG-30 Sorbitan Tetraoleate (cause for ‘some concern’ on EWG) into the mix. Why, Julep, why?! So, if you’re a purist, best avoid this one. If, however, you’re willing to bend the rules a little when a good product comes along, please read on!

What I like about this cleansing oil is that it’s really light and absorbs well. The instructions call for it to be rinsed off, and it doesn’t leave much residue which is nice – you can even use this in the morning. And I did! I used it in the shower (as always with oils) and my skin was soft and supple all day. I also tried using it as a makeup remover, just swiping it over my skin on a cotton round. Success here too – my makeup came off great, no eye stinging, and it’s lighter than using, say, jojoba oil. Oddly though, my skin felt a little prickly afterward (which didn’t happen when rinsing it off).

The smell is pleasant – a pretty strong grapefruit scent. Which makes sense – one of the ingredients is grapefruit peel.

Since starting to use green products I’ve struggled to find an all-in-one cleanser and makeup remover. I’m not sure this is as good as the SW Basics Makeup Remover, and it’s got that one funky ingredient that gets my goat, but I do really really like it.

It’s available for $28.00 on Julep’s website, but you can also find it at other online retailers such as Ulta.

If you’ve tried it, let me know what you think!

 

 

 

Taking a Break from Blogging…

Hello everyone!!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year! I’ve decided to take a break from blogging (for now), mainly because I want to invest my time into some other things and writing projects, and I just don’t have the time to spread around! I have had a wonderful time in this little community, and really enjoyed meeting you all!! I will be continuing my green beauty journey, as I truly am passionate about it…and I know I will miss sharing my finds and reviews with everyone and comparing notes. I am really amazed at how this blog grew so fast, and if I could keep it going and do all the other things I want to do I certainly would…but never say never! I may well be back at some point in the future.

Thank you so much to all those who supported, followed, and commented. I will try to continue reading and commenting on your blogs!!

Liv xx

Ayurvedic Abhyanga Practice…

Hi Friends!
I’ve been so tired and stressed lately…I’ve literally been coming home from work and napping and then going to bed at 10pm! In an effort to relax and get my focus back on self-care I’ve been practicing Ayurvedic Abhyanga massage at nighttime. It’s definitely helping…I thought I would share with you a bit about this practice, which soothes both body and mind. At this time of year, especially, I think it’s really important that we honor ourselves, our bodies, and our need for rest…Enjoy!
Benefits of Abhyanga
Abhyanga increases circulation, lubricates joints, and moves the lymph (helping detoxify). It also improves sleep and helps you relax. It’s also, obviously, good for your skin!
Choose Your Oil
You can use any oil, or choose an oil that benefits and balances your Ayuvedic dosha. There are numerous dosha quizzes online, but in general…
-If you are an anxious, flighty person tending to dry skin you are probably VATA. Choose sesame or almond oil.
-If you are a fiery type, prone to irritation, anger, or traditionally ‘Type A’ you are probably PITTA. Choose coconut or safflower oil.
-If you are a grounded type, ‘earthy’ with a tendency to need ‘revving up’ for things, you are probably KAPHA. Choose safflower oil.
-If you’re not sure, choose jojoba oil, which is good for all doshas.
Vatas should practice abhyanga more often than other types, as it is profoundly soothing for their flighty, nervous natures! (I’m a vata, I should know!)

Here are the instructions which I’ve been following, taken from the Deepak Chopra website: http://www.chopra.com/ccl/the-benefits-of-ayurveda-self-massage-abhyanga

Steps to Follow for Self-Massage:
  • Warm the oil
  • Sit or stand comfortably in a warm room
  • Apply oil first to the crown of your head (adhipati marma) and work slowly out from there in circular strokes—spend a couple of minutes massaging your entire scalp (home to many other important marma points—points of concentrated vital energy)
  • Face: Massage in circular motion on your forehead, temples, cheeks, and jaws (always moving in a upward movement). Be sure to massage your ears, especially your ear-lobes—home to essential marma points and nerve endings
  • Use long strokes on the limbs (arms and legs) and circular strokes on the joints (elbows and knees). Always massage toward the direction of your heart
  • Massage the abdomen and chest in broad, clockwise, circular motions. On the abdomen, follow the path of the large intestine; moving up on the right side of the abdomen, then across, then down on the left side
  • Finish the massage by spending at least a couple of minutes massaging your feet. Feet are a very important part of the body with the nerve endings of essential organs and vital marma points
  • Sit with the oil for 5-15 minutes if possible so that the oil can absorb and penetrate into the deeper layers of the body
  • Enjoy a warm bath or shower. You can use a mild soap on the “strategic” areas, avoid vigorously soaping and rubbing the body
  • When you get out of the bath, towel dry gently. Blot the towel on your body instead of rubbing vigorously.

Top 10 Beauty-Uses for Coconut Oil!

coconut oilTrader Joe’s, Trader Joe’s! Purveyor of deliciousness and now…beauty products! I’ve been ploughing through my $5.99 jar of TJ’s organic virgin coconut oil and in the process learning and trying out various coconut oil beauty-uses. Here are my top 10 favorites ways to use it:

1. Slather all over body just after a shower and air-dry. Your skin will be super silky and smooth. Also works great as a shaving cream.

2. In the morning, mix a little coconut oil with your moisturizer or foundation for a sheer glow.

3. Use on lips in place of lipbalm. It works just as well.

4. Rub into brows and on lashes to soften and make thicker. It works! (give it a couple of weeks).

5. Mix with sugar, essential oil, and raw honey to create a soothing body or face scrub. Click here for the how-to.

6. Add a few drops of lemon essential oil (which helps lighten nails and remove nail polish stains) to a tablespoon of coconut oil and use as a nail and cuticle cream.

7. Swish around mouth like a mouthwash to help whiten teeth and as an anti-bacterial agent (also called oil pulling, but mouth swishing sounds more fun!)

8. Use a little (not much – just a dab really) on wet hair as a conditioner, or create your own leave-in spritz conditioner by adding 2-3 tbsp to warm water in a glass or plastic spritzer. Shake well before use! (you could also add essential oil- rosemary is good for shiny hair, and will also act as a natural preservative allowing you to keep the product around a bit longer). You could also add some salt (try 1 tsp and see if it’s to your liking) if you’d like to create a texture/tousled look.

OK, what are you waiting for? Go (coco)nuts!

Liv 🙂

Vegan Cuts Beauty Box, October 2014 Review!

Oh, happy days! My “Vegan Cuts” Beauty Box arrived yesterday!

vegan cuts

There were lots of curly paper shavings in the box as packing, but I threw ’em away. I also, accidentally, threw away the info. card. What’s wrong with me?!

I’ve really been enjoying Vegan Cuts (though not quite as much as Petit Vour). This is only my second box, but I’ve already fallen in love with one of the products: the Quiet Mind Serum by Lotus Wei. This is a facial/body serum chock-full of exotic sounding ingredients such as ‘gem essence of Kyanite,’ and ‘hand-collected flower essences of Bird of Paradise.’ It’s like reading a lost verse from Kubla-Khan. The dominant scent, however, is geranium, and it’s pungent stuff. Although ostensibly for your face you can also wear it as a perfume or rub it on your dĂ©colletĂ©. It’s basically like wearing an essential oil, as it’s very strong smelling, but I love that. The scent is so calm and relaxing, I’ve been wearing it before bed and sleeping like a dream. I even take it to work for those stressful moments. I’ll definitely be repurchasing. My 10 ml sample is worth $10.00 so it’s pricey…but worth it!

quiet mind I was less excited by the rest of the box. I’m curious to try the Floss Gloss Nail Lacquer, but not too stoked about the brown shade.

I quite like Lovinah’s Coffee Bean-illa Detox Body Scrub, but the coffee smell is a bit pungent.

Lastly, the cute pink bag contains a travel kit of skincare minis from the Hylunia brand. I’m saving these for a trip to England around Christmas time, but the all-important sniff test rendered me unimpressed…no scent, and I like my scents! Nice to try out a whole range from a brand though.

My Natural Skincare Routine Post-Ditch-and-Switch…

It’s been about two months since I ditched chemical-laden beauty products (check out my ‘Why’ page to learn more about this) and switched to all-natural (or mostly natural) products instead. Do I see a difference in my skin??

I wrote a post early on in which I mourned the loss of my Oil of Olay Nighttime Regenerist cream. Now I laugh at that post…

I’ve always been pretty lucky with my skin. At 34 I don’t have tons of wrinkles, and have never had to worry about acne. My skin tends more towards dryness, so my skincare routine reflects that…and I can honestly say my skin has never looked better since I started using all-natural products. This is my basic skincare routine:

Weekday Mornings

“Yes To Grapefruit” Facial Scrub (applied in shower) Smells gorgeous and really wakes you up with its bright fruity-candy scent.

Trader Joe’s Antioxidant Facial Serum (applied in shower. I wrote a post recently about how amazingly soft your skin will be if you apply serum to wet skin, and then just let it air dry. It’s just quicker/easier for me to do this in the shower).

“Yes to Cucumbers” moisturizer (smells DIVINE, and neither too thick nor thin to apply before make-up)

Body – Nubian Heritage Coconut and Papaya Body Lotion. Bliss!

Weekday Evenings

Face – I remove make-up with a “Yes to Cucumbers” facial wipe (I also love the Blum brand, which I can usually find at T.J.Maxx – a store with an unlikely treasure trove of natural beauty products) and then apply either my beloved Jojoba oil, or if my skin feels really dry and tight, Argan oil. Neither seem to clog pores, and both leave my skin soft in the mornings…even more so than any night cream I’ve ever tried. The jojoba oil has cleared up the redness around my nose, so if you ever have that issue I highly recommend giving it a whirl.

If I want to use a toner I just use cold fresh-brewed tea, such as green tea, swiped on a cotton ball. My skin drinks in all those antioxidants!

Body – if my skin feels dry I’ll slather on Trader Joe’s 100% pure organic coconut oil. I always worried this would smell oily and gross, but it smells just like coconuts and is the best moisturizer I’ve ever used on my skin. I occasionally use this on my face too, if my skin feels extra dry, by adding a few drops to my daily moisturizer. This also adds a nice glow.

Weekends

Weekends I have a bit more time, so I’ll typically use a face mask or ‘posh’ face scrub. I have two scrubs I’m experimenting with right now. Root Science RS Organic Facial Scub (see my own review) which works great, and also the lime-scented Derma E Microdermabrasion scrub, which is NOT for daily use as it’s quite intense. I like both, although I’ve also tried adding sugar to coconut oil and using that, and it honestly works just as well 🙂

I’m still using the Wild Honey Apothecary pumpkin and chocolate face mask, and I like that just fine (I also reviewed that a week or so ago).

I love, love, love anything aromatherapy, so my Sunday night bath has become the place to experiment with essential oils. I generally sprinkle a few drops of lavender essential oil in the bath and light the BEST aromatherapy candle I’ve ever used: Mrs. Meyers Soy-Based Candle in Geranium. It’s all natural, with pure essential oils, and it floods the room in scent (even when unlit!) I bought mine at Target…of course, where else?!

Geranium is a ‘balancing’ oil, helping to calm and soothe without making you too drowsy. For me, it’s the perfect ‘night before work’ scent. Plus it smells like roses, but quite as sweet and cloying…yum.

Well, friends, that’s basically it. And what have I learned so far on this journey? Well, fun as it is to buy and try ‘luxury’ skincare products, it’s really just as effective using cheaper oils and making stuff yourself. Remember my post about the bought pumpkin mask versus my DIY one? My DIY one was just as nice.

I’ll still enjoy sampling new products and trying out new stuff, but here’s the overall take-away: that elusive search for the ‘perfect’ beauty product? Guess what? It doesn’t exist!! It’s mostly just hype and hot water, and so my reason for enjoying new products (and reviewing them) is more about finding products that work and have that something extra – like a gorgeous scent. There really is a limit to how effective a product can be, and honestly, there are no products out there more effective than the purest: i.e. coconut oil. I’ve tried those fancy schmancy creams that have tons of scientific sounding ingredients that promise to ‘erase’ wrinkles and other such nonsense. Truth is, my skin’s been better since quitting all that stuff…

OK, enough proselytizing!!

Perfect Fall ‘Lip Butter’ – Mineral Fusion Lip Tint in Smolder

Ahh, the days are getting cooler, the leaves are turning brown, and a kindly real estate agent left a pumpkin on our front door step instead of the ubiquitous magnetic notepad. Fine days indeed!

In summer I rarely wear lip color; usually just a tinted balm, or nothing at all. But in fall I feel like I want to ‘stand out’ a bit more, plus the chilly weather allows me to experiment with darker colors. My favorite spring color is peach, but my favorite fall color is a cherry-red, which complements my pale skin. I have a beautiful and long-lasting one from “Bite” but it’s a little dry. My go-to brand before my toxic make-up cull was a Revlon lip butter, in any reddish shade. But now those are out of the window, what to do?

Well, I found an alternative lip butter today! It’s a ‘sheer moisture lip tint’ by Mineral Fusion, a company of which I’ve heard many good things, in the gorgeous cherry shade, Smolder.

I would definitely not call this is a ‘sheer lip tint.’ In fact, it’s the closest all-natural alternative to the Revlon (or Maybelline) lip butters I’ve found. It’s pigmented, but glides on smoothly, and has that ‘buttery’ gloss that is neither sheer nor sticky. It’s also long-lasting, leaving a red stain on my lips even after the gloss has worn off.

And the color is GORGEOUS. It’s not really a cherry-red. It’s more like a light red with just a touch of orange. It smells like vanilla-mint, and I’m officially in love. It’s much brighter and lighter than the picture below captures.

If you want to buy, click the link to find it on sale at Amazon…I got mine at Target for the full retail price of $9.99.

Now bring on the scarves and the fluffy boots; I’m ready for fall!

smolder

 

P.S – Shea Terra Organics has a 30% off code: oct2014 (ending October 30). I soooo want these:

Shea Terra Organics White Chocolate Body Creme

Shea Terra Organics Dark Chocolate Body Scrub

Root Science Organic Face Scrub – Review!

Ladies, for $40.00 this facial scrub from Root Science BETTER be worth it!! Well, it sort of is, and sort of isn’t. The ingredients are amazing, and it smells ostensibly of mint…O.K, it doesn’t; more like, erm, earth. But I’m not holding that against it.

As a scrub, it works. And it is gentle. It’d be great for sensitive skin as it’s more like a ‘rub’ than a scrub, with leafy bits rather than weird granules or gritty bits. It tightens my skin and seems to close pores. It basically works like a face mask. It promises to renew, restore, and brighten, and I think it fulfills that promise.

I’m just not sure it’s worth $40.00.

Here’s a list of the ingredients:

Almonds:  Contain vitamin E, which increase cellular regeneration and promotes the healing process of scars and acne.

Kaolin Clay: Enhances blood circulation to the skin while gently exfoliating and cleansing. Draws out impurities, toxins, excess oil and dirt. Aids in the healing process of acne, rosacea and sun damage.

Orange Peel: Contains a high concentration of Vitamin C, which stimulates collagen synthesis, evens skin tone and brightens complexion.

Bentonite Clay: Abundant in calcium and magnesium; critical for skin regeneration. Calms skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and clears acne blemishes and clogged pores.

Neem Leaf: Packed with anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and astringent properties. Protects against acne, soothes skin irritation, and revitalizes dull skin.

Slippery Elm Bark: Used to treat psoriasis, boils, burns and ulcers. Reduces inflammation, calms irritation, and draws toxins from the skin.

Marshmallow Root: Used to treat eczema, psoriasis, contact dermatitis, and sunburns.  Increases cell regeneration and plumps fine lines and wrinkles.

rs-face-scrub