Category Archives: Skin + Hair + Beauty Reviews

Video: Hemp & Baking Soda as a Simple Skincare Routine

Hemp & baking soda: a simple 2-ingredient skincare routine for naturally clear skin. Read the full blog post here including substitutions and techinque.

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Simply Earth Essential Oils Review: December Edition

This is a review of Simply Earth essential oils; a company that gives 13% of their profits to an organization that fights against human trafficking.

Simply Earth Essential Oils

Overall Rating: 5-stars

About Simply Earth:

“Step 1: The Plant and Location

The best oils are derived from the best plants grown in the best locations. That means GMO-free plants grown in the right conditions are ideal for optimal-quality oils.
One misconception is that the oils must be indigously grown in order to be considered high quality. This belief is false. The plants must be grown where they will best thrive. For example, some plants in China do not thrive there and the distilled oil from those plants is lesser quality. However, other plants will thrive in China’s climate, causing the plant to produce a true, therapeutic-grade essential oil.

Step 2: How it was Farmed

You want to buy oils that were farmed responsibly. That means workers were treated fairly and the land and the oil were both flourishing. The plants should be pesticide-free. If the plants from which the essential oils are extracted have been treated with pesticides, those pesticides can become concentrated in the oil.
That is why Simply Earth tests for pesticides with every batch of oil we produce!

Step 3: Different Distilling Methods

    • Steam: Steam passes through the plant material (leaves, grass, roots, etc.), causing them to release their aromatic components. The steam is then condensed and the essential oil is extracted.
    • Water (hydro): The plant materials (normally bark, wood, or harder compounds) are submerged in water to make a “soup.” As they are heated, they release their aromatic components into the steam which is then condensed and the essential oil is extracted.
    • Steam/Water: Indirect steam is applied to the plant material (normally leaves) while water sits underneath the plant material.
    • Expression: Plant materials (generally citrus rinds) are pressed by machines to squeeze out oils. Also known as “cold-pressed.”

Step 4: Packing and Storage

All oils should be stored in dark bottles as essential oils are light sensitive. Two common options are aluminum containers or amber glass bottles.  The oils should also be stored in temperature-controlled environments for optimal preservation.

Step 5: Tested

I like to say, “I’ll believe it when I see it,” and I frequently apply this philosophy when testing the purity of essential oils. The type of testing oils undergo to examine purity is called gas chromatography and mass spectrometry- GC/MS for short. GC/MS testing breaks down the essential oil to reveal each of its unique chemical components. A trained aromatherapist then compares those amounts to the components in a standardized chemical composition for that oil to test if it truly is 100% pure. GC/MS testing will reveal if anything has been added or removed from the oil.

That is how we at Simply Earth make sure our oils truly are 100% pure and untarnished.

Step 6: Enjoyed by You!”

_____________________

My Experience:

 

This is month numero 2 of receiving the Simply Earth Essential Oil Recipe box and I am really loving it–top to bottom! The ideas + creativity that goes into the box + quality of the oils are excellent and I find myself wondering + anticipating what’s going to be in the next month’s box.

I’ve dabbled in the crafty part of the box but my favorite aspect is that they provide portable little bottles for on-the-go use as well as the drop ratios of the different oils to get a really aromatic blend. These little projects that Simply Earth includes would be the perfect task for a kiddo, I’d imagine!

I am absolutely enthralled with the coffee essential oil (I’d go swimming in coffee if I could) and I love adding the Citrus   Burst to the coconut oil as a hair serum! It leaves my hair smelling enlivening and delicious.

This Christmas box includes goodies to create: bath bombs, hand warmers, a diffuser necklace, supplies to create a roll-on and EO’s especially chosen for use in a diffuser. LOVE.

Get a free diffuser!

You need both Simply Earth’s essential oil recipe box and the diffuser in your cart for the coupon: RUNONORGANICFREEDIF to work to get your free diffuser when you sign up for Simply Earth’s subscription box. 
So sign up here for the box https://simplyearth.com/pages/subscription-box 
Click here to check out the diffuser https://simplyearth.com/products/essential-oil-diffuser.

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Brightside Organic Skincare Review

This is a review of Brightside Organic Skincare products, made possible by Brightside Skincare.

SAVE NOW at Amazon.com:

Save $5 on the 5-piece set (w/code 36RPU7PD), OR

Get 10% off the Rooibos and Olive Eye Cream (w/code QUCYVBKS)
Click here: Amazon http://amzn.to/2e4VvQe.

Brightside Skincare

Overall Rating: images-8

About Brightside Skincare:

Brightside Skincare products provide an alternative to the harmful skincare options available in today’s US market. The product line is free-from fragrance, parabens, sulfates, lanolin, phthalates, carcinogens, cruelty and gluten. It comes in anti-aging formulas, as well as for acne-prone skin. Currently, the only ‘safe’ options are very costly and most people cannot afford to purchase them. With Brightside Skincare, women of all ages can have access to an affordable, effective and safe skincare regime. Check out the Brightside Skincare website here: Brightsideskincare.com.

Products I tried:

Gentle Tea Cleanser: This 81% organic, non-foaming, organic Aloe juice and anti-oxidant rich Green Tea Extract based cleanser is perfect for deep-cleaning and sloughing off dead skin layers. For all skin types.

Gentle Toner: 95% organic and loaded with DMAE & MSM. DMAE is an amazing nutrient that gives the skin a toned and firm appearance. MSM is soothing and calming, especially for irritated and inflamed skin. For all skin types.

Facial Serum69% Organic. Packed full with active DMAE and MSM this is the perfect serum for all skin types, including blemish prone, oily and sensitive skin. It can be used in addition to a moisturizer on normal, mature and dry skin. For combination or acne prone skin, this serum will offer needed hydration without feeling greasy.

Rooibos Tea & Olive Moisturizer: Vegan & 91% Organic. Every aspect of this lotion is beneficial for your skin. Rooibos Tea is an antioxidant that attacks free radicals and limits their damaging effects on the skin. For all skin types except blemish prone skin.

Rooibos & Olive Eye CreamFor all skin types. A rich cream, enhanced with Rooibos Tea, Hyaluronic acid, Lavender, Blue-Green Algae, Calendula & Pomegranate extracts and Evening Primrose to retain moisture in the tender and delicate skin around your eyes. Contains active ingredients that work synergistically to balance, sooth, regenerate and supply moisture. This rich cream can be used

All Natural Vanilla Lip BalmQuench your lips with this very emollient natural lip balm. For all skin types.

____________________________

My Experience:

My journey of navigating through the world of “how in the world is the best way to take care of my skin?” has been a relatively long one. It feels like I’ve been troubleshooting my skincare routine since I was in middle school, trying to feel out why my skin isn’t regulating itself, why I get breakouts, what products are helpful, which ones aren’t, etc.

To spare you every details, I’ll simply say that I have discovered this to be true:

Your healthiest skin ever comes from using organic ingredients!

Ultimately, this gigantic layer of skin on your body is partially responsible for eliminating impurities and toxins from your body. Thus, you are crippling your skin’s ability to do this by applying toxins onto it. Those toxins are going the wrong way! Getting toxic skin care products out of your beauty cabinet should be the first step in seeking healthier + more balanced skin.

Enter: Brightside Skincare

img_5099 img_5107-1

The story behind a product line can really speak loudly in regards to the quality + integrity that goes into each product. I really enjoyed watching Kerri’s video (https://goo.gl/EOAZcT, I encourage you to watch it). She’s a beautiful, humble woman seeking a better way to guide her skin to optimum health.

First of all, I love that she provides several products with the intention that they will be used in sequential order. Our skin is dynamic and ever changing and I’ve learned it needs help periodically detoxing + staying vibrant + eliminating dead skin cells. With Brightside Skincare’s product line, you start by cleansing, then you tone, then nourish with a serum, then quench with a moisturizer and then touch up the eyes and lips with the eye cream + lip balm. This after effect is a clean and glowy complexion.

So, let me walk you through how this line fits into my everyday routine….

I am a very active gal, working out at 5am most mornings and promptly heading to work (managing a juice shop) until the afternoon. I start the day with some powder + mascara + lip balm on my face and that normally gets me through until I get off work. At the end of the day, my face is normally covered in perspiration and the light make up I’ve worn throughout the day. I find myself craving a shower + good face wash. Brightside Skincare products allow me to do this without stripping all of the natural moisture off of my skin. This is important because skin needs to be balanced and quenched, not stripped and covered in chemical-ridden products.

I found the Gentle Tea Cleanser to be a nice balance of mild yet effective. It has a creamy + dense texture while also doing the job of cleansing. I like the usage of witch hazel as a natural cleanser + astringent.

Following with the Gentle Toner allows me to close all of my pores, get rid of any excess makeup that I missed while cleansing and prepare my skin to be get hydrated with the Facial Serum and moisturizer.

I like the idea of using the Facial Serum before the moisturizer. The Facial Serum contains jojoba oil (my all-time favorite oil for facial skin). Like Brightside Skincare mentions on their website, jojoba oil resembles the qualities of the oil that skin naturally produces. It’s also close in pH to it, making it an excellent compliment.

My absolute favorite part of their website is this breakdown that is shown on the Facial Serum product page (https://goo.gl/woBZxG). I think it is so helpful and shows transparency when a brand lists the ingredients and the reason why each of them is in there. It shows that each ingredient has a reason + purpose and what that purpose is.

One thing I learned on my acne journey is not to stay away from moisturizer, despite the fact that it is seemingly counter-intuitive to add moisture to an acne-ridden face. I really enjoy the ingredient choice and performance of the Rooibos Tea + Olive Moisturizer. You can tell it’s going to work well right as it comes out of the bottle. It’s very hydrating without being cakey at all. If you find that your skin is especially acne prone, you may want to check out Brightside Skincare’s Light Moisturizer as an alternative to this more dense moisturizer.

Now is a great time to also mention that for a large portion of my life, I would describe my skin as oily + acne prone. With much attention to my diet and nutritional needs, I would now describe my skin as normal (it took years). I think it all started to balance out. Your skin is connected to every other system in your body, so it makes sense!

Thus, I was excited to try Brightside Skincare’s “normal skin” line, considering my skin’s current state. I find that my skin looks + feels better (especially during the colder months) when I keep my moisturizer close by for daily usage. With that routine, the Rooibos + Olive Eye Cream and All Natural Vanilla Lip Balm act as the perfect follow-up + touch-up tools (if you will) to keep my skin feeling glowing and moist.

My skin care routine plays a big role in my daily efforts to catalyze my body’s natural process of detoxifying. It’s another way to help your body eliminate and cleanse. Brightside Skincare provides you a full product line to help detoxify your system and skin.

Many women shop at department stores for their fancy or luxury skin care items, those of which cost $50 or more per product and hundreds for the entire product line (and–the ingredient lists are scary!). So, why not spend a bit less and increase the quality of the ingredients a ton? That’s a no brainer for me.

____________________________

This post made possible by Brightside Skincare.

This post made possible by Brightside Skincare.

SAVE NOW at Amazon.com: Save $5 on the 5-piece set (w/code 36RPU7PD), OR

Get 10% off the Rooibos and Olive Eye Cream (w/code QUCYVBKS)

Click here: Amazon http://amzn.to/2e4VvQe.

 

 

 

Simply Earth Essential Oils Review: October Edition

This is a review of Simply Earth essential oils; a company that gives 13% of their profits to an organization that fights against human trafficking.

Simply Earth Essential Oils

Overall Rating: 5-stars

About Simply Earth:

“Step 1: The Plant and Location

The best oils are derived from the best plants grown in the best locations. That means GMO-free plants grown in the right conditions are ideal for optimal-quality oils.
One misconception is that the oils must be indigously grown in order to be considered high quality. This belief is false. The plants must be grown where they will best thrive. For example, some plants in China do not thrive there and the distilled oil from those plants is lesser quality. However, other plants will thrive in China’s climate, causing the plant to produce a true, therapeutic-grade essential oil.

Step 2: How it was Farmed

You want to buy oils that were farmed responsibly. That means workers were treated fairly and the land and the oil were both flourishing. The plants should be pesticide-free. If the plants from which the essential oils are extracted have been treated with pesticides, those pesticides can become concentrated in the oil.
That is why Simply Earth tests for pesticides with every batch of oil we produce!

Step 3: Different Distilling Methods

    • Steam: Steam passes through the plant material (leaves, grass, roots, etc.), causing them to release their aromatic components. The steam is then condensed and the essential oil is extracted.
    • Water (hydro): The plant materials (normally bark, wood, or harder compounds) are submerged in water to make a “soup.” As they are heated, they release their aromatic components into the steam which is then condensed and the essential oil is extracted.
    • Steam/Water: Indirect steam is applied to the plant material (normally leaves) while water sits underneath the plant material.
    • Expression: Plant materials (generally citrus rinds) are pressed by machines to squeeze out oils. Also known as “cold-pressed.”

Step 4: Packing and Storage

All oils should be stored in dark bottles as essential oils are light sensitive. Two common options are aluminum containers or amber glass bottles.  The oils should also be stored in temperature-controlled environments for optimal preservation.

Step 5: Tested

I like to say, “I’ll believe it when I see it,” and I frequently apply this philosophy when testing the purity of essential oils. The type of testing oils undergo to examine purity is called gas chromatography and mass spectrometry- GC/MS for short. GC/MS testing breaks down the essential oil to reveal each of its unique chemical components. A trained aromatherapist then compares those amounts to the components in a standardized chemical composition for that oil to test if it truly is 100% pure. GC/MS testing will reveal if anything has been added or removed from the oil.

That is how we at Simply Earth make sure our oils truly are 100% pure and untarnished.

Step 6: Enjoyed by You!

_____________________

My Experience:

It would be a pretty accurate thing to say that I’m geeking out on essential oils as of lately. Particularly for their versatility and pureness, I really value and get a lot of use our of essential oils every single day. Here are some of my favorite uses:

-Homemade toothpaste + deodorant

-Flea repellent for my dog

-Homemade body spray

-Laundry deodorizer

-Hair perfume

The idea of curating a monthly box for customers to enjoy (that contains 5 Eos + Recipes + Recipe Ingredients + Recipe Containers) is super neat to me. It helps introduce people to essential oils with a fun + creative instruction manual, so to speak.

I am impressed by how this brand gives back + impressed with the packaging and curation of the themed box and even more impressed that they think I’m cool enough to pass along some goodies to me in order to retrieve my thoughts. Thank you, Simply Earth (rad name, btw)!

To Enter this GIVEAWAY for some Essential Oil goodness:

-SIMPLY leave a comment below telling me about your experience with essential oils. What’ve you discovered to be your favorite use?

Also, Get a free diffuser!

You need both Simply Earth’s essential oil recipe box and the diffuser in your cart for the coupon: RUNONORGANICFREEDIF to work to get your free diffuser when you sign up for Simply Earth’s subscription box. 
So sign up here for the box https://simplyearth.com/pages/subscription-box 
Click here to check out the diffuser https://simplyearth.com/products/essential-oil-diffuser.

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Colorado Aromatics Skincare Review: April Edition

This is a review of the Colorado Aromatics lip conditioner and cleanser.

Colorado Aromatics

Overall Rating: 5-stars

About Colorado Aromatics:

“Dr. Cindy Jones formulated Colorado Aromatics Skin Care Line for the outdoor lifestyle. Being a lover of hiking, gardening and now farming, she saw changes occurring in her skin due to sun, wind, and the arid Colorado climate. As a biochemist and herbalist she had a good handle on the physiology of skin and what it needed as well as what herbs could contribute to the needs of the skin. As she studied various cosmetic ingredients for actives that were sustainable and safe for the environment she began formulating products that are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to help repair skin damaged from the environment.

“Inflammation and oxidation of the skin cells are two key processes that accelerate the aging process” says Cindy. Herbs provide multiple and complex antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties which help to combat signs of aging and skin damage caused by wind, sun and other environmental factors that we are exposed to on a daily basis, especially for those who love the outdoors. Many of the herbs found in the Colorado Aromatics skincare line are grown on the Certified Naturally Grown farm operated by her and her husband at 5,000 feet elevation not far from Long’s Peak which summits over 14,000 feet. Plants grown at high elevation have to work harder to survive, and ultimately, produce more active components.

Cindy extracts the herbs in a number of ways; distillation, infusions, tinctures and decoctions, to use in her cosmetics line. She believes that the natural beauty of the herbs and their surroundings shines through in the product and, ultimately, the end user. Cindy Jones also owns Sagescript Institute and is a highly sought after product formulator / research and development consultant in the natural cosmetics industry. She brings a scientific perspective to the field of herbalism and natural skincare and has created a niche for herself in formulating natural cosmetics. Dr. Jones is a biochemist and herb farmer with extensive experience in physiology, toxicology, microbiology, cancer research and cosmetic science.

Cindy has also worked as a research scientist, a college instructor and is a published author. Dr. Jones is a highly sought after product development consultant to the natural cosmetic and skin care industry. Her passion for science and her love of herbs is the catalyst behind Colorado Aromatics skin care line.

We farm in a beautiful place in Colorado with a view of Longs and Meeker Peaks. Our farm has recently become Certified Naturally Grown; a grass roots alternative to organic. You can read about it in my blog here; http://sagescript.blogspot.com/2012/01/we-are-certified.html. We grow a variety of herbs/vegetables including lavender, mint, cucumber, lemon balm, rose, raspberry leaf, and comfrey to distill for aromatic waters and to make various extracts that we use in our own Colorado Aromatics Cultivated Skin Care products as well as sell separately.”

Meadow Mist Face Cleanser

About:

“This gentle yet effective milky style face cleanser made of rose, cucumber and mallow extracts cleanses without stripping the skin of its own natural oils. Oat powder cleanses and soothes the skin while jojoba beads provide mild exfoliation to remove dirt and to help keep the skin looking vibrant. Mild cleansing agents, known as surfactants (Decyl Glucoside and Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate), are biodegradable and approved by European safety standards ECOCERT and provide a light creamy foaming experience. Inhale the beauty of rose, exhale the beauty of you! This 4 oz bottle comes with a convenient pump. Lightly scented with citrus essential oils. You can also find Meadow Mist Face Cleanser as part of our travel set.

Ingredients:

“Aqua (water), Cucumis sativus (Cucumber) Extract, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Olive Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Esters, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Salix Alba (Willow) Extract, Mallow Neglecta Extract, Rosa Extract, Honey and Maltodextrine, Hydrolyzed Oat Powder, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic acid, Tocopherols, Citrus Aurantium (Petitgrain) Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil Litsea Cubeba Fruit Oil.”

Allure Anti-Aging Lip Conditioner

About:

“Keep your lips looking plumper and more memorable with Allure lip balm. It has antioxidant rich herbs and ingredients to support collagen to plump the lips. The emollient oils including Cupuacu Butter will soften and protect skin while improving skin elasticity. Some brands use toxins and irritants to plump lips. We just want to keep them healthy and wholesome by using vitamin C ester and proline. Both are required for collagen synthesis to help them stay plump.

Ingredients:

Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Theobroma grandiflorum (Cupuacu) Butter, Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Esters, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Glycerides (and) Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Pelargonium Graveolens (Rose Geranium) Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Extract, Equisetum arvense (Horsetail) Extract, Viola Odorata Flower and Leaf extract and/or Viola Tricolor Extract.”

__________________________

My Thoughts:

I first discovered and tried Colorado Aromatics skin care products back in 2013, where I remember being initially so impressed by the farming behind these products. Cindy’s passion for creating pure skin & body care products in evident in her formulations, ingredients and expansive product range. I love and appreciate what she does and feel thrilled to help all of you get more well acquainted with a few new products.

A huge part of a healthy skin care routine is having a few things you do for your skin every day, regardless of how crazy your schedule is or what else you have going on. One of those things for me is applying some kind of organic lip balm or conditioner right before bed. Doing this right before bed allows it to thoroughly soak into my lips without transferring over to the drinks I’m consuming throughout the day. This lip conditioner has been really enjoyable to use–it’s free of the fillers and crud, very moisturizing, herbaceous and relaxing to the senses and boasts a clean ingredient list, top to bottom. It naturally keeps your lips soft and plump via organic ingredients (so cool!).

The way in which I have changed my facial routine over the last few years has been pretty drastic. Essentially, I leave my skin alone more and try to retain more of my skin’s natural moisture than I ever have. I tend to only use pure oils to cleanse my skin and exfoliate once or twice a week as I feel my skin needs. When I do cleanse, I am oh-so-picky about the cleanser I’m using. This one makes the cut. It uses natural astringents, cleansers and nourishing ingredients to help clarify skin without causing irritation. It’s a good formula and I like keeping it in my shower for the days when my skin needs a refresher!