1000 Roses Moroccan Beauty Oil: Eco-Luxe for Less.

I’ve heard mixed reviews about the Andalou Naturals brand, but many people seem to be in agreement that the 1000 Roses line is luurrrvely. I noticed the 1000 Roses face mask in Whole Foods and was very tempted, but I already have three face masks I’m using up. I’m trying to buy less, people! However, my dry skin has been crying out for oil lately, and whilst I use argan, jojoba and pricky pear seed oil in rotation, none of these smell particularly nice or feel particularly luxurious. I’ve heard awesome things about face oils from brands like Kypris, Gressa, La Bella Figura and In Fiore, but they are all pretty pricey. I wanted something that felt eco-luxe without the hefty price tag.

I think this oil truly delivers. Here’s a pic of it, in all its 16 dollars glory (actually on sale at Vitacost right now for 13.57!!)

roses

 

First of all, the packaging (to me) feels very luxe. As you can see, the product comes in a pink glass bottle. Glass is always preferable to plastic, both in terms of being environmentally friendly, and in feeling more luxurious and looking prettier on the bathroom shelf. Second of all, I love pink, so brownie points for that!

Now for the ingredients. The ingredients list is truly stellar, for the price. Take a look:

Ingredients: Helianthus annuus (sunflower), simmondsia chinensis (jojoba), rosa canina (rosehip), punica granatum (pomegranate), vaccinum macrocarpon (cranberry), camelina sativa, argania spinosa (argan) and hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) oils*, PhytoCellTec (Alpine rose, malus domestica, solar vitis) and BioActive 8 Berry Complex*, Soothing Complex:[hyaluronic acid, magnolia officinalis bark, Phoenix dactylifera (date) leaf cell and boswellia serrata (boswellin) extracts], sorbitol, caprylic/capric triglycerides, tocopherol (vitamin E), aloe barbadensis extract, camellia sinensis (white tea) and aspalathus linearis (rooibos)*†, citrus tangerina (tangerine) and pelargonium graveolens (rose geranium) oils*, rosa centifolia (rose) oil.
*Certified Organic. †Fair Trade.

OK guys, this is a product under 20 bucks, and we’re talking rosehip oil as the third main ingredient! Not only that but we’ve got fruit stem cell extracts, geranium AND rose oil, argan oil, sea buckthorn oil…this is crazy!! It’s like a who’s who of green beauty blogger best ingredients list.

Here are the claims, and they’re hefty:

Rose and Fruit Stem Cells

  • Alpine Rose/Malus Domestica/Solar Vitis
  • Boost Cell Vitality
  • Improve Resilience
  • Counteract Aging

Bioactive 8 Berry Complex

Certified Organic Portfolio of Superfruit Antioxidants; Acai, Aronia, Bearberry, Bilberry, Black Elderberry, Goji, Rosehips, and Sea Buckthorn.

Certified Organic Aloe Vera

Soothes inflammation, oxygenates and hydrates, advances dermal absorption of active ingredients.

So, the question is, does this product deliver on the claims?

WAIT!! Did I mention the smell?! This product smells DI-VINE. I am not kidding. If you don’t enjoy a rose scent, then…well, we can’t be friends. (Joking. Sort of). But if you love the scent of rose and/or geranium, you won’t be disappointed…

Anyway, onto the claims…I’ve been using this product now for about two weeks, and I definitely notice a difference. On application, it’s very soft and silky, rather than heavy or greasy like my bog-standard oils are. So I can put it on before make-up, for instance. I feel like it makes my skin look dewier after make-up application. My skin does look smoother and more hydrated. It doesn’t deliver intense hydration the way that a balm does (my One Love Organics balm delivers more of an instant hydration wallop) but it’s definitely a skin softener and smoother.

Overall, I’m incredibly happy with this purchase. For the price, it can’t be beat. If you’re considering buying an eco-luxe face oil, you might want to check this out first!

 

My Fail-Safe Dry Skin Beauty Routine!

Hello!

Even though I live in L.A and even though it’s a very pleasant indeed 80 degrees most days, for some reason the air conditioning at work dries my skin out like no one’s business. I have naturally dry skin, and since switching to a green beauty routine and using oils, it’s drastically improved, but I still have bouts of extreme parched-ness. When my skin is feeling uber dry I turn to two main products, both by the wonderful Brooklyn-based brand SW Basics, and I have a little routine down for using them that works a treat. There’s something Ayurvedic about these products too…I’m a ‘vata’ type (dry skin, flighty/nervous energy, on the thin-side: these are the vata clichés which I am happy to fulfill). When I was doing my PhD, many moons ago, I read somewhere that vatas should eat more oily and sweet/heavy foods when stressed to combat fatigue and anxiety. It worked! And I think this translates to skincare as well.

Let’s start with exfoliation. Peeps with dry skin should really avoid extreme exfoliants, especially that microdermabrasion malarkey. Just say no, my friends. Dry skin = sensitive skin, and you don’t want to mess with your epidermis too much. However, a little exfoliation helps skin stay smooth and preps it for absorbing oils and such like. My favorite exfoliator right now is the calming and soothing SW Basics product “Exfoliant,” which is made with organic oat flour, almond flour and sea salt. You can buy this online for about $24.00 at places like Pharmaca, and also at some Targets. It’s a pretty accessible brand, and one of my favorites because of its emphasis on pure and organic ingredients – of which there are always five or less…

 

 

Now, I know what you’re thinking. $24.00?! For that price I could just make this shit myself! Aha! That’s what I thought, but it turns out that SW Basics know what they’re doing when it comes to the perfect balance of ingredients. I’ve tried ‘mixing’ SW Basics products up  before, but somehow it’s never the same. Unfortunately.

I apply this in the shower. It’s just really soothing. I can’t say it smells good – sorry. If you like scented products, this isn’t for you. SW Basics stuff just isn’t about smell, it’s about purity.

After a scrub-a-dub-dub with this I slather on SW Basics “Cream” (about $32.00, but worth it and often cheaper online). The key is to do this whilst still in the shower so your skin is damp.

 

I really can’t say enough good things about this cream – which really feels more like a thick scoop of solid coconut oil than a cream, texture-wise. It’s made with just shea butter, coconut oil and olive oil, and it’s perfect. Immediately after it’s sunk in my skin just feels super supple, looks smooth, and feels soft. Applying it to damp skin allows it to really penetrate, so that’s how I always apply it. Again, it’s not great in the smell department. But it really doesn’t matter because it’s THAT GOOD. Also, olive oil is a much underrated skin product in my opinion, so it’s nice to see it championed in this product.

After about half an hour or so, after it’s absorbed, I slather on an oil – usually prickly pear seed oil. I actually buy this cheaply from my local TJ Maxx store. I love it – it’s thicker than, say, argan oil, although that would work just fine too. I have a bunch of other oils I will talk about in a future post.

That’s it! My dry skin routine – super simple, right? Like I said, the key thing is to apply everything in the shower. The steam helps soften the skin and allows the ingredients to really absorb and do their job.

Try it, and let me know if you have any great dry skin remedies!

 

 

Discover The Best Oil For Your Skintype!

I know that I have no right to complain about the weather being as I live in L.A. and all, but I’m originally from Britain and complaining is what we do best. And, even in L.A, where people get excited if they see a CLOUD, there’s a chill in the air and a nip at my nose.

The side effect of colder weather is drier skin, so I’ve been researching more about oils recently. And if you’re looking for the perfect oil to experiment with over the bleaker months, I hope this proves a handy guide!

So…which is the best oil for your skin? I’ve done my own research, plus consulted a great book called “The Idiot’s Guide To Making Natural Beauty Products,” to bring you a great list to choose from:

ALMOND OIL – Sweet almond oil is great for dry, itchy skin – especially if you suffer from eczema, psoriasis, or inflammation. This makes it a great ‘winter weather’ oil. (Also a great carrier oil for essential oils)

APRICOT KERNEL OIL – Like almond oil, apricot kernel oil is great for dry skin, and also used in lots of products for mature skin.

ARGAN OIL – Every green beauty bloggers’ favorite, and for good reason. Argan oil is a great all-rounder, helping with hydration, anti-aging, dry skin and increasing skin elasticity. Another benefit is it doesn’t clog pores.

CHERRY KERNEL OIL – This unusual oil has many of the benefits of almond and apricot kernel oil, but is more nongreasy in feel.

COCONUT OIL – Another beauty blogger favorite (and mine) coconut oil is fantastic! It hydrates, absorbs easily, and leaves skin with a dewy glow that can’t be beat. This is why I love it as an ingredient in lipbalms and beauty products as well; it makes the consistency and finish just lovely. I have an article about the top 10 uses of coconut oil here.

CRANBERRY SEED OIL – Good for anti-aging, it protects skin from damage caused by free radicals. Great for under the eyes too.

EVENING PRIMROSE OIL – Great for dry, itchy skin, acne, and dermatitis.

GRAPESEED OIL – Grapeseed oil is very healing, as it contains vitamin E, antioxidants and fatty acids. Another oil that is used for acne.

HEMP SEED OIL – Good for dry, irritated skin. I love the company “The Wonderseed,” all of whose products contain hemp seed oil.

JOJOBA OIL – One of my favorite oils. And guess what? It’s actually a liquid wax! Jojoba oil is great for dry skin, wrinkles, acne, and a few drops on your hair will help moisturize. The biggest difference I’ve noticed in my skin since using jojoba oil is a lessening of redness around my nose. You can also use it as a make-up remover. BONUS – has an infinite shelf-life, so crack out that four year old bottle you’ve got lying around!

KUKUI OIL – This is exotic sounding, but is really good for sun and wind burns, so if you’re going skiing or snowboarding this winter, get yourself some kukui oil! It’s also a good hair product, especially for dandruff. And despite the exotic sounding name, this is readily available to buy online!

MACADAMIA OIL – I’d love to try this; I have a feeling my skin would love it, because it’s very rich, being high in fatty acids. It’s especially good for regeneration of skin, scars, irritated skin, fine lines, and softening the skin.

MARAJUCA OIL – An anti-inflammatory oil, it helps dry, sensitive skin, and helps balance sebum.

OLIVE OIL – Another favorite of mine! Nothing beats the moisturizing properties of olive oil so if it’s a ton of moisture you want, this is the oil for you.

PASSION FRUIT OIL – Used for acne.

PRICKLY-PEAR SEED OIL – This is the new darling of the beauty world! I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s supposed to be good for fine lines, hydrating, and dark under-eye circles.

PUMPKIN SEED OIL – Another ‘healing’ oil used for rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, burns, wounds, and scars.

ROSEHIP SEED OIL – Known for its anti-aging properties, it renews skin cells, and helps fade age spots.

SESAME SEED OIL – In Ayurveda this oil is meant to be very soothing and grounding. Great for self-massage, and very moisturizing.

WALNUT OIL – Walnut oil has great anti-aging properties. Helps smooth wrinkles and fine lines.

WATERMELON OIL – One for the summer! Very lightweight and balancing; great for T-zone type skin. Not greasy, but very moisturizing, this one is on my wishlist once the warmer months roll back around. Actually, like jojoba oil this has an indefinite shelf life, so you can get it now and just save it for summer 🙂

You can also mix oils to create your own custom blends! Jojoba and olive oil is very nourishing!

Any new oils here you’d like to try? Any I’m missing? Let me know below!

Liv:)

#BlackFridayFail – What I bought (and only slightly regret buying).

Every year I smugly tell friends and family that I will NOT be participating in the Black Friday madness, and every year I totally, totally do. I call this the Black Friday Fail (hashtag optional). It all started when I checked my email this morning and found about 100 emails from various companies advertising their Black Friday deals. I think you’d have to be Ghandi to resist.

I was very discriminating, however…

The best online deal, at least for me, was the Pacifica ‘$10.00 off’ deal and free shipping (if you spend $50.00) plus the free gift box. I’m buying my sister a little natural beauty gift package for Christmas filled with items I love, so I was happy to get the box as a freebie, and of the goodies below I bought two  – one for me, one for her…

I bought:

– 7 free topcoat and basecoat – “Gloss” (I’ve heard good things about this product, and I like that it does double-duty). $9.00

– Aquarian Gaze Water-Resistant Long Lash Mascara (this has had amazing reviews, so I’m really eager to try it. I still haven’t found a natural mascara I like). $14.00

– Island Vanilla Solid Perfume (you know my love for this; I got another for my sis) $9.00 (only a bit miffed that it was $8.00 at Sprouts today!

Aside from the online bonanza, there was plenty on offer in bricks-and-mortar-land. I didn’t buy much natural beauty stuff in stores. Instead I went a bit clothes-crazy. The best deal I found was at NYC Company – a black cotton jumpsuit with 70% off, and then I got a $10.00 off ‘lottery ticket’ in store – so instead of paying $70.00 for it, I got it for a song at $11.00!! I also got some sweaters at Target (40% off) and a pair of boots at Broadway Shoes for 40% off. However, I did pop into T.J Maxx. Here I must pull out the trumpets and play a fanfare…have you ever perused the natural beauty product selection at T.J Maxx? It’s stellar! I mean, amazing. Some day soon I will dedicate a whole post to it. In the meantime, I’ll just tell you what I bought…prickly pear seed oil at $9.99 for my sister (40% off), Juice Organics hair conditioner for $5.99 (yes, really!) and the best of the bunch…THIS!

This little beaut. is Deep Steep’s Honeydew and Spearmint Moisture Stick. It retails for $5.95 on their website, but I got it for $1.99. It’s awesome – anything with coconut oil is awesome IMO, because of the dewy finish and moisture it provides – and it’s super portable…perfect for traveling. You can use it as a lipbalm or just for general moisturizing.

Well, that’s it! I have a twinge of regret when I think about the money spent and the sad truth that Thanksgiving has become a consumer’s dream slash nightmare…but then I shrug, because a) I scored some deals and b) I had a wonderful Turkey day with my family, and truly feel deeply grateful for all that I have. I don’t want to break the cheese-o-meter but last night my hubby and I shared all that we were most thankful for about each other and our relationship. Preeeettty cheesy!! But, I loved it!

How about you? Did you score any deals? Did you have  a good Thanksgiving?

Kloverbox November 2014 Review!

Hi Peeps!

First of all, what do you think about the new format for my blog?! My hubby, Josh, told me that the other theme (‘Forever’) didn’t convey “my personality” (ominous) and that he thought this one was more fun. So, we’ll see if it grows on me! It’s tough – I’m kind of used the old format.

Anyway, enough rambling. Today’s review is of a new-ish green/eco-friendly subscription box called Kloverbox. Unlike Petit Vour and Vegan Cuts, the items in Kloverbox are more ‘lifestyle’ products; not just limited to skincare and makeup. This piqued my interest, because I’m trying to be greener in other aspects of my life as well as beauty. Wouldn’t anything else be hypocrisy? So I was keen to try Kloverbox’s offerings. A 25% off coupon from their Twitter feed meant I got to try this box a bit cheaper than the usual $25.00. That sounds like a lot, and it is, but the nice twist to Kloverbox is that you can buy just one box when you feel like it, or subscribe for savings: a 6 month subscription = $22.50 a month, which is just a dollar more than Vegancuts. And I like the fact that you can buy one box every so often, if you fancy treating yourself.

So, let’s take a peek inside the box, shall we?

The first thing I noticed when I opened the box was a very, VERY strong apple scent! That’s because of the SoyWerks Appletosh Soy Candle (full-size, value $5.00). It’s a GORGEOUS tart-sweet appley scent, and is now sitting on my coffee table making the whole room smell like apples. I also love that it’s 100% vegan and soy wax, and handmade.

Here’s a piccie:

candle

But wait! Something else in the box was smelling amazing! The next thing I pulled out was a Cocoa-Mint Handmade Soap from Kloverbox’s featured Etsy shop of the month, Small Beauty Keys. First off, I love the fact that small shops are being featured in their box, but I also just loved the scent of this soap. It’s intensely minty, and I’m sure will tingle a bit in the shower. YUM! (full-size, value $5.00)

I kept pulling stuff out; it was like Christmas. Here are the other items included:

The Wonder Seed Hemp Hand Cream (full-size, value $12.95). This hand-cream smells intensely of lavender. Love it.

Lavina 100% Pure Argan Oil (sample, value $2.14). I already own argan oil, but it’s nice to have a travel-size.

Kosmatology Hand Sanitizer (full-size, value $3.99). Scented with grapefruit and clove, this hand sanitizer contains no triclosan or chemical thickeners. And it smells yummy.

Love Reusable Bags (full-size, value $13.95) As you can see from the picture, this is a cute and stylish lunch tote lined with food-safe PEVA lining. I like the Tartan; reminds me of a wonderful visit to Scotland I took a few years back…och aye!

Jolly Oak Dark Chocolate Coconut Raisin Granola (sample, value $2.50) I love dark chocolate and coconut anything, so this is a great sample for me to try.

And finally, here’s a pic of all the goodies (excepting the candle).

kloverbox

My favorite products thus far are the candle (incredibly scented – I’m sitting on my sofa and keep getting whiffs of apple!) and the lavender handcream, which was great timing as my hands have been really dry lately. Plus, I love lavender. But honestly, I love everything in the box. If I could afford another subscription, I would totally get this one, but it’s nice to know I don’t have to subscribe and can just treat myself now and again. As for value for money, the total value of this box is definitely more than $25.00, and definitely a lot more than the $22.50 you’d pay for a 6 month subscription.

Kloverbox have been getting some great buzz in the blogosphere, but now it also gets…the Liv seal of approval!!

Liv 🙂

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.

Repurchased! Products To Rave About…

Hi Friends,

I’ve been experimenting with green beauty for about four months now, and have come up with some winners…the following items are all things I’ve repurchased in the last month. Because they ROCK 🙂

1. Yes to Cucumbers Soothing Daily Calming Moisturizer.

yes to cucumbersIt was a happy accident that led me to buy this: I was looking for a new moisturizer in Target, but my hubby was waiting on me to go to dinner and I had about five minutes to pick something. After a quick browse through the ‘Yes To’ brand I decided to just buy the one that was the ‘most’ natural (98% in this case). Ordinarily, I’d pick a moisturizer for dry or aging skin rather than a ‘calming’ one, but now I’ve fallen in love with the scent. It’s that gorgeous, fresh, cucumber scent you never get tired of, and it works wonderfully well – not too thick, not too thin. Perfect for pre-makeup application…I also love the ‘Yes to Cucumber’ facial wipes because they’re one of the few wipes in the ‘Yes To’ range that don’t contain alcohol, which burns my skin something wicked. Price: $14.99. Buy here.

2. Mi-Me Tangerine Hydrating Lip Balm

mi me lip stuffI don’t think I really knew what a good lipbalm was until I tried the Mi-Me brand. Chock full of essential oils, coconut oil and soothing butters like mango, tucuma and mururmuru, this lip balm is the perfect not-too-thick or thin consistency, smells great, AND leaves lips with a gorgeous lipgloss-like shine. One of my friends thought I was wearing that famous MAC Lipglass (the clear one) and I was like, nope! Just my Mi-Me! Petit Vour sells them in packs of two for $10.00. Buy here.

3. S.W Skincare Makeup Remover.

SW makeup removerGuys, I’m almost tired of going on about how much I love this product! It’s the ultimate multi-tasker: makeup remover, cleanser, and moisturizer in one. I use it every night, and although it doesn’t smell amazing (no thanks to you olive oil) it works so well and is such a perfect consistency I forgive it. It’s a blend of jojoba, olive, and sweet almond oil, and somehow the ratio works perfectly. I use this before applying argan oil before bed, and my skin has never felt so soft upon waking up. And it removes even the most stubborn eye makeup easily.

4. Adama Minerals Orange Vanilla Body Lotion

Zion healthI reviewed this about a week ago and, believe it or not, I already repurchased the large version of my smaller sized orange vanilla body lotion (right) because that’s how darn confident I am that I will never tire of this product. The scent is divine, the consistency is perfect, and I want more orange vanilla everything in my life. And the price is a very reasonable $10.49 for 8oz. Buy it here.

Have you tried any of these products? Have you made any great purchases recently?

Tune in soon for a review of some lurvely Mineral Fusion nailpolishes and an Ayurvedic massage tutorial…

Liv:)

Best Beauty Hack for Dry or Mature Skin!

If you, like me, have dry or mature skin, fall can make it feel tight and parched. I’ve been experimenting though, and have arrived at a great, and easy, solution that doesn’t involve expensive skin products or tons of chemicals.

The trick is to apply a good serum (I’m currently using Trader Joe’s own brand, which is awesome) IN THE SHOWER. After you’ve showered, simply rub the serum into your face and let your face air dry. The serum will absorb into wet skin much better than into dry, leaving it soft and supple.

You’ll be glowing all day! 🙂