My Current Routine: Winter 2018

There’s something about the winter season that inspires what I deem “hibernative self-care”, which I loosely define as cozy evenings/weekends of take-out, and skin pampering while a Netflix marathon plays. To me, there is no better time to explore products; playing with their textures and exploring their intricacies in layering and mixing them with other potions.

As we all know, I’m unable to keep to a pared down routine. I didn’t think it made sense to talk about a single cleanser, or lone face oil that I’m using because by the time you read this, I’m already experimenting with another product. So I’m going about this more through the steps and processes in my routine to achieve plumped, radiant, well moisturized winter skin and the products I’ve been use regularly.


Cleansing is so important regardless of your skin type. I’m actually very turned off when I see a skincare brand founder say that they don’t cleanse their skin for whatever reason. There are impurities expelled through basically every orifice of our body including the pores of the sponge-like epidermis. Pollutants, smoke, oxidized residue from stale sebum and protein deposits, proliferation of microscopic mites and parasites, accumulation of dead skin cells, etc. are all reasons why every skin type should take cleansing seriously.  

During the winter, I like to rotate in the creamy cleansers. For a deep skin pampering session, I use Aurelia’s Miracle Cleanser, a very luxurious creamy cleanser that I massage for a good 5 minutes and remove with muslin. This has a familiar cold cream-esque texture and an uplifting, fresh scent that feels very spa-like.

If I’m looking for a quicker or less involved cleanse, the cream cleansers I go between are In Fiore’s Treate Gentle Cleansing Emulsion and Kahina Giving Beauty Facial Cleanser. For make-up removal and deep cleansing, I apply around 4-5 quick pumps and massage onto dry skin. This allows the cream to create a nice emollient texture so you’re never pulling or tugging at skin. As a daily cleansing step, I massage 2-3 pumps on wet skin and re-wet if it dries during massage. These creams both rinse off cleanly with water. While I love both cleansers and would repurchase them both, I really think everyone should try the Kahina Cleanser as it has really been an under-the-radar product which is a shame because it has one of my favorite cream textures, has an ever-so-subtle luxurious scent, and is a great price for the quantity. There really aren’t any negatives and I highly recommend it.


It may seem like I’m on a Kahina kick, but I first used the Kahina Giving Beauty Toning Mist 2 years ago. Since then, I’ve wanted to revisit it, despite the fact that there are already so many beautiful organic mists out there. What I really vibe with from Kahina is their gentle, sophisticated nature. This mist uses soothing and hydrating aloe vera leaf juice, rose water, and anti-inflammatory argan and white tea leaf extract. It’s lightly scented with Moroccan desert rose (very similar to MŪN Anarose Toner) which makes this hydrating mist impeccably luscious.


Serums are the power players of any routine. My MVP serum since it’s release in late 2017 has been YÜLI’s Ambrosia Beauty Nectar, a highly impressive hydration/anti-aging serum that is the topic of 80% of the e-mails I receive. On that note: I hear you, I’ll post an in-depth review for Ambrosia Beauty Nectar. I have to admit that receiving all the requests just makes it harder for me to start putting together a review as I feel like the expectations are at a point where anything short of writing a book will not be enough.

Ambrosia Beauty Nectar is a beast, it blows hyaluronic acid serums out of the water, it raises the bar for how anti-aging serums can work, and I’ve even seen others say it has the benefits of all of the immensely popular Kristina Honey+Marie Veronique serums combined.

The oil-free texture is engineered to be identical to skin’s natural moisture reservoir, a layer of cushion that depletes with time. It’s active but unlike active serums with ingredients like Vitamin C, Retinols or Acids, it works WITH skin rather than trying to overturn it, so there is a lot of support for things like restoring the barrier, strengthening cell immunity, rather than creating irritation or inflammation. Though YÜLI is smart enough to know their customers are probably also using actives like Vitamin C (a notoriously difficult active that can have side-effects when in contact with the wrong preservatives, pH, etc.), so the formula is one of the rare ones that not only plays well with others but also boosts functionality, making it wonderful as the essential serum that can be the base of any cocktail.

Depending on how I feel, I either pump enough Ambrosia to create a thin layer before mist or mist and then apply a cocktail of Ambrosia + Face Oil. Ambrosia does for hydration, what face oils do for nourishment, so you want to use both. This is why one of the most common complaints I hear from readers who use primarily oils and balms, is this feeling of chronic depletion that is often mistaken for dryness but is really due to incorrectly relying on oil-based products to target hydration and reverse trans-epidermal water loss. If you are using a face oil by itself or only with a mist, Ambrosia is not only going to quench that underlying thirst for moisture but it’s also going to really elevate the way the entire system of products comes together.

When I want to go heavy hitting, my face oil of choice to pair with Ambrosia is YÜLI Liquid Courage Antioxidant Serum. Spirit Demerson refers to this more as a serum in oil form rather than a face oil because it’s not a straight blend of oils, there is pure Vitamin C (for glowing skin), Ferulic Acid, biofermented plant extracts that make it kind of a super-oil. I like to mix it or layer it after Ambrosia because they both contain concentrated, potent antioxidant complexes. Liquid Courage contains an antioxidant seed complex derived from the most nutrient dense seeds of superfoods while Ambrosia contains pharmaceutical grade antioxidants like Astaxanthin, so their concoction delivers the richest antioxidant cocktail. These two products combined are skincare nirvana and delivers such a radiant glow.

If I’m going more minimalist, I pair Ambrosia with African Botanics Neroli Infused Marula Oil which is a very pure Marula oil topped with Neroli for a very crisp, refreshing fragrance. African Botanics has the best Marula oil that is organic and comes from protected South African reserves. It’s so beautiful to just massage and lightly press into my skin. It’s really lightweight and sinks in quickly while feeding skin with all the necessary omega-rich goodness that comes with marula oil. Just very simple, high quality and beautiful.


I’ve been all about textures lately and the African Botanics Cloudburst Micro-emulsion Balancing Moisturizer is this ingenious creation that is light as a serum but tops up perfectly after applying face oil. My skin is never left dry or thirsty. Thicker creams can clog pores, or dull the complexion, this one is quite different. The ingredients include marine algae, copper and plant peptides, and skin loving minerals like magnesium and zinc. The green gel is also immediately cooling and calming, thanks to wonderful anti-inflammatories like green rooibos tea, resurrection plant, and chamomile. It really is a serum level product, but intelligently utilizes molecular science to act as a moisturizer.

If I want something heavier or just crave that rich “slather on” feeling, I reach for the MV Skincare Rose Soothing & Protection Face Moisturizer, which is full bodied and indulgent without making skin feel suffocated. There are times where I get a little lazy and skip face oil, and this is that rescue product that really works well even by itself. When used alone, my skin is soft and comfortable. When layered after serums, my skin is glowing and has that extra oomph.

For daytime, I finish with Suntegrity Natural Face Sunscreen & Primer SPF 30. It’s a great, green sunscreen that uses only Zinc Oxide as it’s active sunblock. I like the texture compared to other physical sunblocks in that it’s easier to apply without leaving white streaks over my skin. I actually use this almost like a highlighter to take advantage of the white Zinc Oxide cast.  One tip is that the initial white cast does fade within 2 minutes, so don’t let that scare you. In fact, it wears incredibly well to the point that it “blurs” imperfections.

That’ll do it! Please leave a comment if you want to share your experiences with any of these products, your winter skincare tips or have any questions!


Kjaer Weis Foundation, Highlighter & Lip Tint REVIEW

Kjaer Weis Beauty Idealist
One of the questions I get asked a lot is whether I plan to talk more about make-up. I’ve always been more of a skincare girl but new year, new endeavors, right?

We all know the benefits of green cosmetics, I just have not really embraced green make-up until recently. Kjaer Weis has always been on my radar as the luxury organic make-up brand. Everything from their gorgeous refillable compacts to the crisp, minimal design language just vibes with me. We often see organic brands reach for the luxury customer, but Kristen Kjaer Weis, renowned make-up artist and founder of Kjaer Weis, actually enlisted the product and packaging designer behind Dior and Come Des Garçon’s to design her innovative products which are all made in Italy. This is the real deal.

A beautiful presentation definitely makes a strong first impression but what has really made me fall in love with Kjaer Weis are the products themselves. Most organic cosmetics I’ve used *feel* decidedly unsophisticated, where instead of fantastic technology for strong coverage, longer wear, and vibrant colors, we’re flooded with endless iterations of mineral pigments. Kjaer Weis is the only organic make-up line that really elevates this, with radiant colors, buildable coverage and an attention to performance that is unsurpassed.


The Kjaer Weis foundation is genius. The compact form factor makes taking it on the go a breeze (for mid-day touch ups). The foundation blends with skin, evenly dispersing coverage and uniformity. The color just seems to mingle with skin’s natural hue and effortlessly delivers the “your skin but better” appearance. I love the buildable coverage which can go from a very subtle, “no make-up” look to editorial HD coverage.

The wear time is fantastic in part because unlike a lot of foundations, this one seems to work better with the oils that skin naturally produces throughout the day. It goes on matte but develops a dewy finish. If you’re on the drier side, it’s best to go over with a face oil, like Kjaer Weis’s own Beautiful Oil, prior to applying foundation to avoid accentuating any dry areas.


When I first swatched the lip tint (in Sweetness), I was concerned that it was going to be too faint. But then I applied it to my lips and was surprised by how gorgeous the color came out. I’ll be posting to my Instagram stories the next few days to show how this wears ( The best word to describe it is vibrant and more pigmented than the lip tint classification might suggest. As with the foundation, the coverage is buildable and can go from just adding a subtle pop of color to making a bold statement.

Wearability is on par with non-organic lip products which is impressive, and the tints actually provide a light balm-like level of moisture which when coupled with the dynamic tint, really makes the lips look gorgeous.


I saved the best for last. Where foundation gives that your-skin-but-better look, the addition of highlighter is responsible for that otherworldly flawless radiant glow. The Kjaer Weis Highlighter in Ravishing is a hands down favorite beauty product that will be repurchased over and over.  I don’t think any photos do it justice. Once you see this in person, you’ll be taken by it’s pearlescent sheen and once you apply this on your skin, you’ll be transformed from a mere mortal to a flawless goddess.

What I love about this is the careful, mastered approach that can only come from an experienced make-up artist: the sheen is just right where you don’t look like a Vegas showgirl but illuminates just the right amount to give the most natural looking glow. If you’re into contouring, I actually think this highlighter is better than any that the Kardashian’s may use as the particles are just so fine and high quality – I always feel like a million bucks when I put this on before going out.


All of the Kjaer Weis products mentioned have a beautiful creamy texture. I know many people like to use make-up brushes or sponges, my preference is to use my fingers and dab over my skin. This provides even dispersion and also warms up the product so it melts into skin for a very seamless look. Make-up artist Pat McGrath advocates this technique as well and she does *all* my favorite beauty looks at every fashion week.

No matter what your intended effect is, or whether you apply make-up with a heavier hand or a light touch, it’s all achievable with this line of products. Start conservatively and build up to the desired coverage or color intensity.


I love this line. It’s very obvious that an experienced make-up artist is behind all the products. Kristen Kjaer Weis has successfully developed a line of innovative, beautiful organic products that are easy to use, incredibly versatile, high performance and always well thought out. Kjaer Weis makes skin look naturally beautiful, almost as though the products are unlocking something in the skin rather than acting as make-up.

Kjaer Weis can be purchased at the following U.S. locations:

CAP Beauty 
Credo Beauty
The Detox Market
Violet Grey

Have you used anything from Kjaer Weis? Share your thoughts below and as always, leave me any questions. 

Best of Green Beauty Box 2017 – The Detox Market: REVIEW

The Detox Market is one of the leading purveyors of organic, clean beauty and every year they’ve been introducing a limited edition year-end box that features only their customer favorites. The 2017 Best of Green Beauty Box features 9 of their top-selling, customer favorites: 6 full sizes and 3 travel sizes. This is one of my favorite assortment of products that have a collective retail value over $310 – when you purchase these in The Best of Green Beauty Box, it is only $149 which is basically 50% off (and The Detox Market gives you free shipping). Here’s a breakdown of exactly what you get:

  • Odacité Green Ceremony Cleanser (Full Size | $55 value): The new Odacité cleanser was the first product I used from the box. It’s a powder to foam matcha cleanser that calms my skin while removing all impurities. The foam comes from an ingredient called baby foam derived from coconuts and is a very gentle cleansing agent. The instructions say to use a full dropper (that comes with the cleanser) but I only need half a dropper full of powder and it’s more than enough for my face. I like to leave the cleanser on and feel my skin soaking in this beautiful green tea matcha which is really anti-inflammatory. The cleanser washes off clean with water and also comes with a cool muslin cloth if that’s your preference. Super fun, lovely concept and totally enjoyable product.
  • Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator (Travel Size | $22 value): What more needs to be said about this mist that virtually everyone loves from UK beauty girls including Caroline Hirons to other brand founders who swear by this including May Lindstrom and Rose-Marie Swift? I love the Ylang Ylang -Marshmallow scent, the gentle lightness of the mist and the wonderful herbal ingredients.
  • MV Skincare Rose Soothing and Protective Moisturizer (Full Size | $135 value): The fact that a $100+ moisturizer is currently out of stock should tell you how good it is. I love luxe beauty but very rarely spend that much on moisturizer, yet this Australian brand totally nailed it. The smell is just gorgeous thanks to Bulgarian Rose Otto. It’s excellent for sensitive skin and for skin that becomes sensitive due to dryness as the moisturizer soothes and protects. What makes this more than marketing is that the founder is actually a licensed holistic skin therapist. The texture is on the heavier side that feels comforting especially during winter yet it is never greasy. As the $149 Box features the full size of this $135 moisturizer, I really consider it a steal.
  • The Beauty Chef Collagen Inner Beauty Boost (Travel Size | $16 value): The Beauty Chef makes my favorite ingestible products. They always feature very vibrant, nutrient dense plant based superfoods that taste great. The promotion of collagen helps increase skin firmness and elasticity that is lost with age and this booster features probiotics, maqui berries, acai berries, blueberries, papaya, and antioxidant rich grape-seed extract for beauty from the inside out. I consider this the bonus “treat-yo-self” product to an already jam packed Beauty Box of goodness.
  • RMS Beauty Vintage Cake Liner (Full Size | $24 value): Let me be honest, I’m not the buyer for this product. I’m not a huge make-up girl and for me, it’s all about skin care. But that’s the beauty of these boxes, letting you try something you’d ordinarily not buy. RMS Beauty is one of the top organic make-up lines out there and I was really happy this was included. I use this as eye shadow and as my sister says in her Amy Schumer voice, “it’s amazing for the smokey eye”. The pigment is unreal considering it’s an organic product and I’m absolutely delighted to have this for evenings when I have an event to attend.
  • LILY LOLO Natural Vegan Mascara (Full Size | $20 value): The first natural mascara I tried was the original Ilia Mascara and it left me unsatisfied, so I went back to my tried and true Dior. Upon trying Lily Lolo’s natural AND vegan mascara, I was pleasantly surprised at how well it really enhanced my lashes. It’s wearability is similar to the mainstream high-end brands, and I did not run into any problems with smudging or flaking. At the same time, it came off easily with a gentle cleanser unlike traditional mascaras that are notoriously tough to remove. Total winner, super grateful it was included in the box.
  • Soapwalla Sensitive Skin Cream Deodorant (Full Size | $16 value): Soapwalla is kind of OG status in the world of green deodorants so I really looked forward to trying their baking-soda free formula on an original. I’m one of the many who cannot tolerate baking-soda deodorants which has kept me away from natural deodorants. After a week of use including holiday travels (and all the stress and anxiety that produces), I can say that this deodorant works. The ingredients absorb excess sweat and whisk away moisture, while the lovely essential oils keep you feeling fresh. The cream jar formula makes reapplication a bit weird but is nothing that a private bathroom stall can’t fix.
  • Rahua Shampoo + Conditioner (Travel Set | $16.70 value): I reviewed the Rahua Shampoo a while back (check it out here). I loved everything about it except I found it a little drying, which makes this set with the conditioner perfect.  The Rahua Conditioner really enhances the entire experience and gives hair luster. My strands feel so much stronger and healthier. The set is a really good intro for those who are new to organic haircare, and are a really chic option to pack for travels.
  • Davids Natural Toothpaste (Full Size | $7.95): I did not even know that luxury, organic toothpaste existed. This is a marvel. A dental product that is cleaner than brands like Tom’s with a packaging that looks even more premium (in my opinion) than Marvis. Not only are the ingredients clean, they’re organic and sourced from the US. It is fluoride-free, and also does not contain the nasties that can cause dermatitis around the mouth. The toothpaste leaves my mouth feeling really clean and fresh far longer than other natural toothpastes I’ve used. I feel that it has also helped with my enamel as traditional toothpastes are too corrosive. A very luxe bonus is the inclusion of a roller to squeeze every last bit of toothpaste out of the mint-green tube. This was quite a welcomed discovery to me.

The Best of Green Beauty 2017 Box is so well put together with really exceptional products that cover every category from skin, makeup, hair, deodorant to oral hygiene and ingestibles. I know only a limited number of these boxes are made every year so I highly recommend ordering one if any of these products draw your interest as the pricing is truly exceptional.

As the value is already offered at around 50% off, there are no discount codes. But if you’d like to purchase any individual products (linked above), you can use the code TREAT for the next 48 hours to take 10% off your order.

SHOP: The Detox Market

Lina Hanson Global Treasures

It’s been exactly one year since I was first introduced to Lina Hanson’s Global Treasures balm and in that time I have developed a whole new appreciation for balms. In case you missed my initial write up, you can read it here. As we’re approaching winter again, I thought it would be helpful to share a full in-depth review of this beauty.



Lina Hanson’s Global Treasures is a masterpiece as far as I’m concerned, though truth be told, I loved it before I even used it. Firstly, it looks like a jewel thanks to the jade-amber colored balm with gold specks. I know that everyone went through a moment for blue balms and oils, but I much prefer the clean, fresh feeling that this green balm presents especially as it feels less gimmicky. Although it was the looks that initially drew me in, it was the ingredients list that had me hooked.

camellia sinensis (thea) seed oil,* butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter,* prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil,* theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter,* citrullus lanatus (kalahari melon) seed oil,** pearl powder, camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf powder,* tocopherol**** , gold, coffea arabica (coffee bean) oil,* vanilla planifolia (vanilla) bean extract,  citrus nobilis (mandarin) oil,* limonene***

*organic ** wild harvested ***naturally occurring in essential oils ****non-gmo

As a big fan of green tea and it’s health benefits, I could not love this more. It’s first ingredient or the base of the balm is green tea seed oil which is extremely soothing, packed with antioxidants and penetrates quickly into skin which allows the balm to pull an effortless melting act once it touches your skin. The green color comes from the green tea leaf powder, better known as Matcha which is having a well deserved moment. Matcha is a super concentrated form of green tea that contains what Women’s Health calls the motherlode of polyphenols that curtail inflammation and just make skin healthier. In other words, this balm is the real deal that goes beyond a stunning visual. For those who are curious, the gold specks actually come from real 24K gold which is said to help circulation and brighten the complexion. The addition of pearl powder was particularly welcomed as it’s known to be used in traditional Asian beauty recipes to give that translucent glow. Perhaps most impressive is that all these gorgeous ingredients come together in this one balm, making it quite the special treasure.

What pictures will not tell you is that this balm smells like a dream. Cocoa seed butter, coffee bean, vanilla bean and mandarin oil form a smooth, rich scent which only further accentuates the lusciousness of the balm. I never thought of myself as a cocoa lover but the way this is balanced with vanilla and mandarin is perfection.


Lina Hanson Global Treasures performs like an absolute dream. As someone who has experienced clogged pores and congestion from green brands that release thick products, I can vouch that Global Treasures caused none of the congestion I had experienced from other balms and moisturizers even after continuous use. As a girl who has been on Accutane and can still break out, this is especially important to me. I approached it very cautiously at first, only using it around the driest parts of my cheeks and forehead then gradually began to use more and more as I saw that my skin was responding really well. As a balm, this thing absolutely melts and has a silken texture that makes it disappear into skin. It’s really quite splendid as you get the extra nourishing and dryness fighting power of a balm but with the performance of an oil serum.

Compared to other balms, this is a finer texture which means it sinks into skin fast and won’t be too heavy on your skin but don’t let that lightness mislead you, this is effective. I still only needed a pea sized amount to dab onto dry spots. The first time I used this balm as a lip balm, I thought it would not be sufficient as it disappeared within seconds but my lips seemed to magically heal within 5 minutes of applying this stuff. One of the best uses for this balm is as an under-eye treatment. It might be the brightening and complexion enhancing ingredients such as 24K gold, pearl powder and the natural caffeine content of the actives (cocoa seed, coffee bean, matcha) that makes this balm a natural at performing as an eye serum. The balm texture also meant eyes are more nourished while those beautiful ingredients kept fatigue and dark circles at bay. My eye area just looked brighter and more awake. I would not hesitate to recommend this balm solely as an eye serum because it is that good.

Final Thoughts

What I really love about Lina Hanson’s Global Treasures is that it’s the rare product that manages to look beautiful yet perform even more spectacularly. I often see products that have a flashy color or feature a trendy ingredient in a rather lackluster formula *cough* read here *cough*. I know that this strategy works because we all judge books by their covers even though we shouldn’t but in this case, Lina Hanson took care of us by making sure the ingredients and performance behind her eye-catching balm actually delivered. The ingredients are the highest quality of non-gmo and organic sourced botanicals and there are still times where, as I’m applying the balm, I’m like “this is literally gold meets matcha that I’m rubbing on my skin.” I really want to applaud Lina Hanson for developing what I consider to be one of the most photogenic, genius balms ever that actually works beautifully and is packed with stellar ingredients. This is one of the most skin pampering products I have used and doubles as one of my favorite eye serums.

You can purchase at these locations:

Credo Beauty
The Detox Market
Violet Grey
Lina Hanson

kimberlyloc x Rachel’s Plan Bee Jasmine Body Oil Review

A couple of observations:

  • Body Oils are such a treat. Something about applying what could be a face oil to the body just makes one feel luxuriated far more than any lotion.
  • Finding the right jasmine can be tricky, some are too cloying, too spicy, too sweet. It’s the ultimate goldilocks scent, so once you find one that sits right with you, treasure it.
  • Kimberlyloc, a fellow blogger turned friend over the years, knows her jasmine.

So when Kim asked if I would like to try her Jasmine Body Oil collaboration with Rachel’s Plan Bee, there was no way that I was going to say no.

I’ll be honest, my aesthetic is very much on the decidedly non-flowery side, so I did not think I’d love the packaging. Yet, I have to say the bottle looked pretty good standing amongst my collection of minimally designed bottles and grew on me with each glance. It just looks like a delight and I love the weighty feel in my hands.

Enough about the exterior, let’s move onto the good stuff that’s inside:

Ingredients: prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil*, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, limnanthes alba (meadowfoam) seed oil, vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil, tocopherol (mixed)**, jasminum grandiflorum (jasmine grande) flower oil, jasminum sambac (jasmine sambac) flower oil, rosa damascena (rose) absolute, vanilla planifolia, citrus sinensis (sweet orange) oil*, caprylic capric triglycerides.

*certified organic **non-gmo

The first thing I noticed and appreciated was the good mix of solid carrier oils like Apricot Kernel, Grape Seed (the main base in Vintner’s Daughter’s very expensive serum) along with my favorite essential oils like Jasmine and Rose. Second, there are two different types of Jasmine oil, Jasmine Grande Flower Oil from the Jasmine Grandiflorum species of Jasmine which has the sweeter, floral scent and the rarer Jasmine Sambac Oil from the Jasmine Sambac species of Jasmine which has a greener, tea like scent. I find this to be really well balanced and really brings out the best in the Jasmine fragrance profile, leaving us with a scent that is clean, floral, and smooth.

The addition of rose, vanilla, and sweet orange oil added even more depth to the fragrance. Now here’s an update: originally, I was concerned that the sweet orange oil would be photosensitizing but Kim actually provided educational materials that showed sweet orange oil is one of the rare citrus oils that is *not* photosensitizing, so win-win!

When testing body oil performance, I always check that my skin feels hydrated without the oil itself being too heavy, a balancing act that can be different to manage, yet this does the job. The oil pumps out on the weightier side but absorbs quite quickly into skin so you get the best of both worlds: moisture without feeling like you’re doused in oil. I’ve really taken to applying this on arms and legs on days where I just shaved as it just feels like next level comfort.

I’m not surprised that the kimberlyloc x Rachel’s Plan B Jasmine Body Oil was a hit, while I don’t know the Rachel’s Plan B brand very well, I do know that Kim knows her jasmine scents and also have a breadth of experience when it comes to body oils, so given her reference, it makes sense that the execution on those main fronts in this product were flawless. What I am surprised about is learning that the retail price for this hefty 3.8 oz bottle is only $39.00. Yes, you can also grab a 1 oz mini for $12.00 in dropper form, but seriously just get the full size. If you love body oils, you should get this one for the reasons listed above, and if you don’t usually go for body oils $39 isn’t a big leap to give it a try. As for me, I still have over half a bottle left but when it runs low and Winter rolls around, I’ll be sure to have a bottle of this jasmine goodness ready to go.

Dear Green Beauty Brands, You’re Better Than This

I may not be the most consistent with my posting schedule but I’ve always kept it honest. Lately, I have felt a little burned out. Where I used to be so enthusiastic and optimistic about high-end green beauty brands, I’m now worn by seeing repetitions of the same stories, packaging, and ideas. Brands are all jumping onto one wagon, overloading (and eventually toppling) it. To be clear, this has nothing to do with “who came first” – companies such as Aurelia, Indie Lee and Agent Nateur came much later in the game than pioneers like In Fiore and Tata Harper yet they are original and bring something new to the conversation. So I’m a very big proponent of options and love supporting unique, innovative, NEW ideas and concepts.

What I don’t like are the brands that piggyback off others ideas and concepts such as the endless brand founders who happen to speak in May Lindstrom-lingo, or how the packaging is all basically iterations of the same concept. This is a post I shared on Instagram that I would like to share on here as well:

“Today I’m sharing this photo posted by @spiritbeauty, one of the pioneers of the #greenbeauty movement who’s website Spirit Beauty Lounge was once the most beautiful web shop that had THE green beauty brands. For many, she was the one who discovered lines like Tata Harper, May Lindstrom and Yuli. What set her apart was her vision of luxurious green beauty that were every bit as high-end as the brands seen in high-end department stores and niche concept stores (which all three aforementioned lines now happen to be in). She had an eye for going above to find authentic visionaries who would have a future and advocated for them. This photo is a snapshot of the brands she championed. Unfortunately this community rewards copycats, and despite everyone saying they want the luxury experience, the truth is that everyone wants luxury on a budget which I can’t blame them for but what happens is that retailers without this eye for luxury end up stocking those same brands, then branch out and get more brands becoming bigger in the process and then throw more discounts to move customers – and in the words of Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amorouso, the copy-cats came to the table and stole our lunch. Spirit Beauty Lounge as far as I know, is no more. Whether it is an extended hiatus or a permanent shut down remains to be seen, but her voice – the part that made green beauty all the more special and luxurious has been silent for a while. In it’s place, are retailers and new green beauty brands espousing the same origin stories, the same why we’re special, the same iterations on formulas and packaging. “Our line doesn’t use essential oils”, “Our line’s specialty is essential oils that are TESTED and that is why they’re special”,”Our line uses entire whole plants”, “Our line uses no colloidal silver”, “Our line focuses on colloidal silver, gold, etc!” and the countless iterations on founders who single white female May Lindstrom and Etsy-esque lines that resemble Herbivore Botanicals. Some also imitate their formulas, have the same naming convention and sizes and then undercut them on pricing. But here’s the thing, they all universally claim originality, a need to create that sprung from a void, yet ironically taking from the very brands that they’re manipulatively erasing from the narrative. 

Our community rewards it by continuing to fall for it, thinking a new iteration with a random new ingredient or another impassioned talking head who started playing with oils in 2014 is going to be better than the next – FOMO. This is why you do not see me introducing new lines that often. I won’t accept a free sample from another copycat brand to share with you guys if I don’t think they’ve legitimately going something new to add to the conversation. Spirit may be gone for now, but I ask each of you to learn the lesson from that – reward originality, vision and authenticity not “me-too” brands who piggy-back off the work of others.”

I know in our “community” there is still a decorum from “going there” – people will talk about a problem but not actually tell you exactly who the offenders are and it doesn’t do any good. I believe in using my writing to express my honest voice so I will shed some examples in hopes that it both educates and discourages offending brands from continuing this unethical practice. I won’t even share the subtle slights of which there are nearly countless examples but here are three very recent and unarguable cases:

Lil Fox Miami Eucalipto dupes Kahina Giving Beauty Moroccan Beldi Soap with Eucalyptus

A fellow blogger friend of mine DM’d me when she saw LilFox introduce a new product that was *very similar* to one that Kahina has had on the market for a while already. In fact it is the same thing – this product uses the same two ingredients:

Saponified Olive Oil

Eucalyptus Oil

Is this illegal? No. A two ingredient product is not illegal, but I think you will agree this is not a good look especially as the titles both reference Morocco, which is an essential part of Kahina’s brand DNA. Regardless of whether this matters to you, it’s evident that the LilFox product is not original.

Romilly Wilde passes off In Fiore photos as their own

Romilly Wilde is a UK line that based on conversations with another friend of mine in the know has serious financing and PR muscle. The founder is also the one behind Plum Baby, a very successful line of baby food. All this is to say, they should know better than to:

1. Take another brand’s photo
2. Act like it’s their own work

In the photo above Romilly Wilde took a photo from In Fiore’s Instagram stream all the way back form 2014 and acted like they were “busy creating” these “new balms and oils.” Lies on so many levels.

The above proves it isn’t a fluke. Romilly Wilde takes a photo from In Fiore’s instagram stream and acts like they’re making batches for one of their products. Can we say dishonest advertising? That photo isn’t even their product!

Upon being called out, Romilly Wilde wrote a very half-hearted (in my opinion) apology that didn’t even tag In Fiore’s instagram that was essentially “In Fiore, we think you’re great. sorry for the whoopsies! We’ll be careful!” – that entire post/apology is now gone from their Instagram.

Recherche Beaute plagiarize YÜLI Skincare

Recherche Beaute is a line that just came out (their first digital presence was beginning of 2017). The founder is a “USC law school graduate.” Remember these two facts because the entire Recherche Beaute website is littered with plagiarized content from YÜLI.

Top: Recherche Beaute (2017)
Bottom: YÜLI (2012)

Literal word for word.

Top: Recherche Beaute 2017
Bottom: YÜLI 2012

Again, word for word from the question to the two paragraph answer. What’s absurd about this one is that Recherche Beaute is also claiming the same exact background, team, and development/testing process as YÜLI? It must be the case since they’re literally ripped them word for word, which makes their claim dubious and equally makes me doubt their authenticity of actual testing/development. Your description of the testing/development process isn’t even your own! Seriously if a brand can’t even come up with how they develop/test their products, what is the likelihood that they’re actually using those chemists and doing market testing? It seems they’re trying to create an illusion for something they don’t actually have based off of another brand’s content that impressed them.

Top: Recherche Beaute 2017
Bottom: YÜLI 2012

This isn’t word for word, more like Recherche Beaute copied and revised YÜLI’s content, leaving it mostly intact. Again when you copy another brand’s statement on their production methods, and take it as your own – it makes me doubt you’re doing any of the things you claim.


Left: Recherche Beaute 2017
Right: YÜLI 2012

I mean… come on… at least change the order?

The reason I am giving the dates is because the YÜLI website can be traced and archive engines verify this content was on their site in 2012, meaning it’s inarguable that the original intellectual property belongs to YÜLI. What is also inarguable is the fact that Recherche Beaute plagiarized YÜLI’s content, taking someone else’s work as their own. Given that the founder is a USC Law School graduate, it’s really inexcusable for them to feign ignorance at their offense. You can’t say you graduated from that program and not understand plagiarizing and intellectual property violations. They knew the unethical move they were committing and decided to go ahead and rip off another brand’s work.

Shortly after posting this, I discovered on Instagram that other bloggers had discovered Recherche Beaute also plagiarized from African Botanics as well. Such a strange coincidence considering my most recent post on Instagram after the one I shared above was about the originality and vision of African Botanics.

The middle screen is an interview that Peter Nguyen, the founder of Recherche Beaute did with Jenni Kayne. The highlights in yellow are the plagiarized parts, and the screens on the left and right are the original content from African Botanics website.

This shows that it is not an isolated incident and that Peter Nguyen has made a habit of “Melania Trumping” other brands.

Since this post went live, I have been hearing from other bloggers and instagrammers about how Recherche Beaute has been deleting comments asking about their plagiarism and basically pretending this didn’t happen. They’re also Direct Messaging people telling them there was a “misunderstanding” which there is not (also how am I supposed to trust a company that DM’s people different stories – cause us bloggers compare notes- in private and hide from it publicly) and have tried to place blame on everyone from the “jealous competitor” narrative (as though they were coerced into plagiarizing by the brands they stole from? who are all more established than they are?) to setting the blame on a hypothetical employee as a scapegoat – basically not taking any responsibility and choosing to continue the dishonest and unethical behavior. Below are screen grabs from when they DM’d me last night, completely unedited:

So the thing about lying and crafting an inauthentic story is that holes exist that do not hold up to questioning as is evident in this case. Also, buddy if you had a content creator and writer, then it just establishes that inauthentic nature of  your message and makes it even more alarming and despicable that your brand would be plagiarizing other brands work. Recherche Beaute is literally writing on their Instagram that their content is “co-composed” and “co-crafted” sooooo in other words, the founder couldn’t even write his own content or use his own voice….and “The interview is 100% authentic minus the segments that were disrespectfully taken without his knowledge. ” – So you’re claiming to be 100% authentic with exception to the heaps of plagiarized material? You know this is bullshit right?!

I think I speak for most of us when I say, no one expects perfection in this industry but we do expect honesty and respect in terms of not being lied to and deceived. It seems that Peter/Recherche Beaute thinks we’re dumb and can’t figure this out. Even with an opportunity to right their wrongs, this non-apology and inability to actually own and take responsibility for plagiarizing and stealing content is very telling of the unethical nature of the brand.

As my other blogger friends have said, it’s indefensible and egregious. I am making it public because this behavoir needs to be called out, offenders need to take accountability and be exposed for their dubious practices, unethical behavior and face the consequences. If you see something, say something. Not addressing these issues is doing no one any favors so I am speaking loudly.

Holiday Weekend Essentials: May 2017

Greetings from the first official summer holiday weekend! I’m writing this post while curled up in bed with a multiple masks on my skin – testing out Josh Rosebrook’s new Advanced Hydration Mask on dry patches and a mask I finally added to my collection: Tammy Fender’s Epi-Peel, on oilier/more congested areas.

I know it’s been a while since I’ve provided an update on the products in my rotation and as many of you have told me through e-mail and on social media, I agree that individual product review posts do not really provide a comprehensive window into how exactly the products work or are being used together. So without further ado, these are the products I’ve been using regularly for the past month or have introduced recently.

Sun: Spring and Summer is all about committing to sun protection. Mustela Broad Spectrum Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+ has become one of my all time favorites and I have repurchased this about 5 times which is super rare as I love to try new products. For starters, this is a broad spectrum sunscreen that uses only mineral based sun protection (Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide) rather than chemicals which can be unstable and irritating. I’m not speaking from an analytical standpoint on chemical sunscreens, I speak from experience as someone whose eyes burn with any combination of chemical sunscreens. I also prefer the way my skin looks and feels with a physical block, yes it leaves a white cast and feels heavier than a chemical screen, but if you put it on just right it works like a highlighter and your skin just looks more luminous while being protected. And yes Zinc Oxide physical blockers may feel weighty, but they’re also anti-inflammatory and can be mixed with foundation for tinted coverage. Comparatively, chemical screens always add an oily shine, require more frequent applications, and don’t hide any imperfections (in fact I’m pretty sure the shininess accentuates them).

The SPF 50+ rating for Mustela is very rare for a non-chemical sunscreen so that is a huge bonus. There is a lot of evidence that many sunscreens on the market do not hold up to their sun protection claims, but Mustela is a brand that is developed from it’s French Lab origins which has higher compliance markers than the US (they have the seal of approval from the Melanoma International Foundation) and their line is specially made for the delicate skin of babies which makes this sunscreen even better for sensitive skin. They are categorized as a natural sunscreen but this isn’t really a botanical sunscreen and the ingredients are clean enough for me although some might not like that there are iffy ingredients like silicone. The kicker: a 3.4 oz tube costs only $16, which is INSANE for the quality you get, which may be why it’s sold out everywhere (Dermstore currently has 20% off but if they’re not allowing back ordering, try Sephora).

Fragrance: My former Neiman Marcus co-worker says there are two types of women, those who invest in perfume and lip stick, and those who invest in skincare, I fall firmly into the latter group.  I love sampling fragrances but cannot wear any because the synthetics are nauseating to me. I remember trying natural perfumes from Whole Foods and feeling like I was just throwing on essential oils from an aromatherapy class which felt too crunchy for my taste. Enter Kahina with their concentrated roll-on oil perfumes. Essaouira is a seaside Moroccan village, and their namesake fragrance is a fresh and crisp homage with notes of floral rose, sweet woodsy sandalwood, uplifting lavender, and a very pristine top-note of citrusy petitgrain. The perfume is 100% steam distilled essential oils which means it is powerful and concentrated yet never cloying as there are no artificial fragrances. The staying power is just right where you can catch it wafting with the summer breeze. And best of all, it actually smells like something I’d be able to get at a department store.

Moisture: Weleda’s Soothing Almond Facial Lotion is basic, and that’s the point. This lotion is meant for sensitive skin and is hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free. With all the active serums, masks, toners in my rotation, I really wanted a moisturizer that just moisturized really well. This is that product. Sweet Almond Oil and Plum Kernal Oil both fight dryness, enhance softness and soothing properties that makes this lotion a pacifier for when you overdo it with the retinol or acid-toning. Too much action from acids and serums can lead to inflammation that ages skin and makes it more delicate, this lotion is my trick for avoiding that fate whenever I start seeing redness or feeling tightness and excess tingling and it has always come through for me.

Acid Toner: Speaking of… I finally jumped on the Drunk Elephant bandwagon by taking the plunge on Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum. I’m not a huge proponent of regular acid-toning, but during the summer with the sweat+excess oil production plus heavier sunscreen usage, pores are way more prone to clogging so I acid tone to basically let my skin breathe every few days especially if I feel a breakout developing. This is a transparent brownish gel that works best under a moisturizer and reminds me of Arcona’s The Solution. I just started using this night serum (which is really an acid toner), and like all glycolic acid based acid-toners, my skin tingled/burned a bit when first used but is now adjusting.

That is one of the things I feel needs to be said: I know this brand made a splash by intimating that due to a lack of essential oils, their products will not cause irritation and be a sensitive skin’s best friend, which is a hefty promise that is unfortunately not realistic. All ingredients have the potential to cause irritation based on individual allergies and it is therefore not possible to have an ingredient much less a formulation that will work for everyone without triggering any sensitivities given that no two people are alike. Drunk Elephant may not use essential oils but they do use other active ingredients, in this case a 12% Glycolic Acid in addition to Tartaric and Lactic Acid which is very powerful and should be approached with some caution. I think there will be more people with sensitivities to this acid than a dilution of an essential oil like rose oil. It all depends on your personal skin sensitivity and how a product is formulated (concentration, other ingredients, other products used) that will determine how your skin gets on with the product so don’t blindly think this will work for you and don’t automatically assume anything with essential oils is going to be bad for you if you don’t have those sensitivities. This is not a critique on the T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, in fact I quite like the formula so far but I just wanted to provide clarity to what I felt was a problematic message by their founder regarding skin sensitivity. As for the actual product, I’ll be able to give more insight after I’ve used it a while longer.

Mask: I’ve really been obsessed with masks lately. Beyond the two mentioned at the beginning, I finally got around to opening my Tata Harper Purifying Mask which is. oh. so. good. Truth be told, I like this more than her original Resurfacing Mask which is already one of my favorites. This is one of those cases where Tata’s tendency to stay in her own lane in terms of developing products that primarily suit her own skin type (mature – drier skin) is beneficial. This purifying mask is deep cleansing, removes “environmental toxins” and great for “eliminating surface build up” which is much needed in the summer, and because it’s a Tata Harper product – even the purifying mask is buttery and non-stripping. It spreads so easily and rinses clean, and is a total pleasure to use (the scent is very fresh and spa like, I’d describe it as crisp lemongrass meets zingy ginger)- only con is that it only comes in that one size which really doesn’t last long enough given how addictive this will be throughout summer. Seriously though, please – someone at Tata Harper, I’m glad you got the pricing under $60 but these masks HAVE to be offered in a size that is bigger than 1 oz.

Serum: I think anyone who invests in skincare asks the question: “is this the best that money can buy?” With YÜLI, the answer is a resounding yes. Liquid Courage is their antioxidant serum which I use year round but especially for environmental protection and repair during summer. This serum is special, here’s why: mainstream lines throw in superstar ingredients next to an ingredients list of fillers that are cheap and don’t do too much, while green/organic lines just throw together a bunch of plant oils and call it an “antioxidant” serum or a super active serum. With YÜLI, each product feels like a realization of a dream product the same way that companies like BMW and Mercedes Benz design concept vehicles to realize purist visions outside of prohibitive production costs or other business considerations.

Case in point: YÜLI designed Liquid Courage to be the antioxidant powerhouse with a base made of a botanical seed complex which is the densest natural source of nutrients and has the highest levels of antioxidant activity. Then there is the advanced form of Vitamin C that even a line like Sunday Riley has JUST incorporated as the star ingredient in her newly released Vitamin C serum, heralded as a cutting edge discovery. This just shows the level that YULI is on, as the same form of Vitamin C is just one of the many notable ingredients for this serum, when with any other brand’s product, much less Sunday Riley, it is treated as the singular superstar. YÜLI also put in Ferulic Acid and Vitamin E, which means, yup this is a cleanly formulated CE Ferulic serum with an organic antioxidant botanical seed oil base – basically all the best things for your skin in one bottle. Oh we’re not done: then there are peptides and their exclusive – biofermentation of black garlic which increases its antioxidant potency by 6 times. The serum sinks in effortlessly and has a crisp, bright scent of neroli, which like most of their ingredients, are grown right on their own farm which brings fresh to a new level as well. And while a “super oil” these days will often mean a blend of 11-20+ oils if that, at around the $200 mark, this one has 20+ of the most beneficial ingredients, including powerful ones that are not harnessed in this synergy anywhere else for $125. So yes, this is the best that money can buy and the fact that it comes in at the price it does shows they design the best products and really deliver on value, this is why YÜLI has earned such a cult following where their products are continuously sold out and it is also why I’m currently on bottle number 8 of this antioxidant serum.

That’ll do it for this round-up, any products you have questions about? Drop a comment!