What I’ve Been Using: Nov/Dec

Hello readers! It’s been a longer time than I expected since I last wrote a post. There have been a lot going on in my personal life that I do not share on here or anywhere really. But some things do not change and that is my love of beauty products.

I have been working my way through products and based on your e-mails of “what should I use?” I realize the importance of providing product feedback in a more cohesive routine manner rather than leave them in an individual bubble.

So here is what I’m loving:


African Botanics Fleurs D’Afrique

Holy crap you guys, this is a face oil on steroids! African Botanics was not kidding when they released this “intensive recovery oil” which contains marine micro-algae, retinol, vitamin c and CoQ10 in ONE SINGULAR BLEND! The scent is incredible and it’s not a surprise considering Jasmine Essential Oil and Rose Essential Oil are ingredients 3 and 5! This is over achieving. For anyone who has ever questioned the effectiveness of a face oil, try this and let me know if you still feel the same way. I seriously think this stuff is divine and savor each drop that comes out of the beautiful bottle. Pictures do not do it justice, just bring this up to a light to see the golden oil through the black frosted glass, it’s a thing of beauty. I could only use this 2-3 times a week at the beginning because it was so strong, which is another thing, sensitive skin might want to look at a calmer option like their Pure Marula Oil. But for those of you who just want to put a high quality buffet of actives on your skin in a face oil form, look no further. Buy this, enjoy, you’ve met your perfect match.


Lina Hanson Global Treasures Balm

The first time I saw this balm on Lina Hanson’s Instagram, I knew I had to have it. Sure we’ve seen balms by many a green brand at this point but I was captivated by the gorgeous color and gold specks! Then I looked at the ingredients list and discovered the green color came from matcha, the gold from real 24K gold, and the inclusion of pearl powder. Gaahhh.. what a creation! When it arrived, I excitedly opened the jar and it was the beauty junkie version of what I imagine it would be like to meet a hot guy off of Tinder. “Ohhh that’s how the color looks in person and omg there are those gold specks!” I took a deep inhale and was welcomed with a warm, chocolaty note. I wrote Lina basically saying “Yeah it looks just as amazing in person but how are you not telling people how good this stuff smells?!” I’ve been saving this balm for winter to use on dry spots. But the real secret is how well this works as an eye balm. It doesn’t tug or pull, and gives the perfect emollient feel that lets you know that it’s working to get your skin buttery soft. My eye serums have been replaced by this gem.


Tatcha Overnight Memory Serum Concentrate

This embodies the innovative and quirky aspects of Asian skincare with a bouncy memory serum texture. Overnight Memory Serum is an ultra-concentrated form of Tatcha’s Luminous Dewy Skin Mist which means it is very very hydrating and absolutely packed with the rejuvenating powers of the mist. It is recommended for overnight recovery and I consider it to be extremely effective in combating dry winter air. Tatcha is made in Japan and I think of this as a very luxurious pressed serum/essence, as it is a very concentrated and nutrient packed product that delivers results like a serum. A little does go a long way with this and I use the gold scooper that comes with the jar which measures out the perfect amount. It kind of feels like breaking the super soft Japanese tofu over your skin and I say that in the most fun way. If your skin doesn’t handle moisturizers well (hello acne prone ladies) but needs that surge of moisture in the winter, this is the product you need. On a final note, check out how bouncy it is!


Yarok Feed Your Volume Shampoo

I’m making my way through green shampoos and the latest stop is at Yarok which I have heard so much about. I believe it was Spirit who praised the way this smelled and although I enjoyed Rahua, I wasn’t completely in love with the palo santo scent so I had my eye on this for a while. I was pleasantly surprised by the gentle and light aroma of the shampoo. The way it smelled and felt reminded me of a fruity syrup. This shampoo was not drying at all, and made my hair feel and look great. I do not think it is really strong enough for my scalp though because it gets oilier quicker. With that said, I still really like this shampoo, my hair seems healthier and it just feels good. I find myself running my hands through my hair often because it just seems healthier. Many organic shampoos lack those chemical ingredients that give hair that “sheen” and “luster” but this brings it back with good ingredients which is incredible. I’m going to continue forward and see if my scalp situation sorts itself out – if it does, this will be a keeper.


Yuli Metamorphic Elixir

When winter arrives, Metamorphic Elixir comes into play in a big way. If any green brand is going to pack in performance alongside the highest quality ingredients, it is Yuli and Metamorphic means business when it comes to hydration in the form of a botanically derived hyaluronic acid that is most compatible to the form of natural present hyaluronic acid in our skin, plant powered retinol alternatives (immortelle flower and frankincense which are both highly rejuvenating are literally ingredients 3 & 4), as well as the humectant glycerin which is a common ingredient however theirs is derived from fatty acids found in coconuts. Also if you love roses, this is flowing with a complex of roses with damask rose as the 2nd most abundant ingredient and also including a very rare white rose which smells soft and delicate. I think it was Chalkboard Mag that called this rose water on steroids for this reason. I first took the plunge to Metamorphic Elixir after hearing The Hermes Hippie and Rebecca Bailey of NMDL both  rave about it and it was love at first mist for me as well. A good face mist is like crack (I assume.. not speaking from experience), you just can’t get enough and already start dreading running out before you’re half way through  – that is exactly the relationship I have with this elixir. Add this to your winter regimen, it’s the tall drink of water your skin has craved.



  1. Kob
    December 9, 2016 / 11:41 am

    Yay you’re back! Between Yarok and Rahua, which one should I try first? My hair sounds just like yours. Do you use any of their conditioners? Also if I have sensitive skin but want to use retinol and vitamin c, do you think I should use African Botanics oil? I was considering Sunday Riley Luna too.

    • December 9, 2016 / 2:03 pm

      Yarok and Rahua are both good, since it is winter and Rahua was a little more drying for my hair, I’m going to tell you to try Yarok first then Rahua when Spring rolls around. I actually cannot use conditioners, they are great for my hair but absolutely make my scalp go berserk.

      African Botanics is better made than Sunday Riley in my opinion since they use better quality oils. However Sunday Riley was not as “active” as African Botanics in my experience although it contains a higher concentration of their form of Vitamin A. One reason for this might be that African Botanics has higher concentrations of essential oils as well. So it’s hard to say how your skin will like it, but if you find it strong (as opposed to being allergic), you could always cut it with a moisturizer?

  2. Lisa
    December 9, 2016 / 11:54 am

    If I bought one Tatcha serum for hydration should it be this one or the deep hydration? I know deep hydration literally says it but this one seems more of a moisturizer, any help?

    Is the Yuli elixir heavy? I used one from Antonia Burrell and it sprayed awkward and stuck to my skin and did not like the heavy, stickiness at all.

    • December 9, 2016 / 2:05 pm

      I think Deep Hydration Serum is the best for hydration, because despite this being thicker, I’m not sure if the ingredients that cause this texture are meant to bring hydration. I do not think you will go wrong with either one, but in my experience the Deep Hydration is better for what you want.

      The Yuli elixir is water texture, I have used the Antonia one as well and I think that is less of a face mist and more of a product you apply first to your hands and then dab on your skin. They’re different and if you do not enjoy the texture of Antonia Burrell because it is sticky and heavy, I think you will really like the Yuli Metamorphic.

  3. Julia
    December 9, 2016 / 3:55 pm

    Ohhh been eyeing the Lina Hanson! How does it compare to May Blue Cocoon if you have tried. I love balms but worry they will break me out.

    • December 10, 2016 / 7:49 pm

      My skin broke out with Blue Cocoon and it did not with Global Treasures. I know given my history with May’s products it might seem like I am a hater, but I honestly try each of her products with the highest hopes that I will love it. The price for Global Treasures is also a better deal so in terms of repurchasing, it’s an easier decision to make.

  4. Nadine
    December 9, 2016 / 8:08 pm

    Love your reviews, they are always a pleasure to read!

    I was wondering regarding the Tatcha serum because I’ve read that algae extract can cause clogged pores and acne. It is rather prominent in the ingredients list, yet the serum is touted as being non-comedogenic.

    • December 10, 2016 / 7:54 pm

      Yes I’ve heard this as well in regards to algae but I use several products that have algae and have only broken out with one brand Alba Sea Algae line when I was in college. I honestly do not look at those scales too much, they tend to be heavy handed in handing out scores without regards to extraction method and source, and I personally would not avoid a product if it contained that as I like its potential benefits.

      I do not know how algae in itself is comedogenic though because extracts usually do not clog pores, I believe the research cited was deeply questionable. In either case, here is what I found:

      “”Algae extract in skincare is fine, but it’s not a must-have or any sort of miracle, and it’s also not the least bit comedogenic. The biological and molecular structure of algae, whether in pure or extract form, is incapable of clogging pores because it’s completely water-soluble and thus easily removed from the skin. It cannot get “stuck” in the pore lining; it would be an issue only if you were allergic to it and used a product that contained it. Otherwise, although there’s no compelling reason to seek out products with algae extract, there’s no reason to avoid them, either.
      Be wary of any rating system of the pore-clogging potential of cosmetic ingredients; they’re unreliable at best and misleading at worst. That’s because they typically rate ingredients based on the effects of 100% concentrations, which doesn’t apply to how ingredients like algae (or countless others) are used in skincare. Another issue that makes such lists of potentially comedogenic ingredients more useless than useful is that they do not account for the ingredient combinations in a given product or when multiple products are used, which pretty much describes an average skincare routine!”

      • Nadine
        December 11, 2016 / 6:38 am

        Thank you!

        I already ordered the Tatcha Serum yesterday, after I did some additional research… and then it just kind of hopped into my basket. 😉 Unfortunately, Tatcha is not available in stores in Germany, so I just took the plunge – really looking forward to trying it out. I was a bit torn between Tatcha and Blithe (the Pressed Serum with Iceplant) but I guess Tatcha is a bit more emollient because of the squalane, so I will try out the Blithe when the temperatures rise again.

        I really appreciate that you write about products that you have tested for a certain amount of time. There is no point in reviewing skincare after just a few uses. By the way, I felt exactly the same about May Lindstrom’s “The Clean Dirt” (but I do love her “Blue Cocoon”). We seem to have a similar skin type although I am in my thirties. And I am a social scientist, too. 🙂

  5. V
    December 10, 2016 / 12:54 am

    Yay! Thanks for the post! I would love to try the Fleurs D’Afrique, but it’s super pricey!!! Do you know if there are any shops that one could get a sample from (online/in store)? I’m going to put it on my wish list. Maybe next year during black friday… 😛

    • December 10, 2016 / 7:55 pm

      Hi V, I’d imagine you could get a sample in store at Credo (SF/NY) or maybe African Botanics can include a sample with purchase? If you have not ordered from them before, there are first time purchase discounts (10%)… I know it is basically one of the most expensive oils but I do think it is genius.

  6. Kelly
    December 10, 2016 / 1:02 pm

    I love your description of Lina hansons global treasure balm. I want to get it for the smell alone. It’s seems like 2016 a lot of green balms came out. Currently using Siam elements balm, It’s so good.

      • Kelly
        December 14, 2016 / 11:52 am

        I live in Florida so I don’t like anything heavy and this is light, I’m able to use it during the day. It has a jasmine tea scent with some other florals, very lovely smell. I also use her becalm serum at night which is more active feeling but don’t burn your face.

        • December 14, 2016 / 3:17 pm

          Ohhh jasmine tea… that’s pretty much my fave. Will need to keep my eyes peeled for this, thanks for the info!

  7. December 11, 2016 / 4:34 pm

    Try to leave the Yarok shampoo in for a little longer, my hairdresser said natural shampoos need more time to work because they contain more oils. I sometimes get an itchy skalp, but not from conditioner, I only use it in the hair keg hrs, not close to my head, as I find it weighs down my hair.

    • December 13, 2016 / 10:27 am

      Thanks for the suggestion, I will give that a shot!

  8. December 11, 2016 / 7:41 pm

    These products all look so beautiful and luxurious. think you’ve convinced me to try the African Botanics Fleurs D’Afrique now!

    • December 13, 2016 / 10:27 am

      Yes it is really good if you want something very very active.

  9. Lynne
    December 13, 2016 / 10:53 am

    Always love and appreciate your honest reviews!
    I am using the Yarok hair oil and liking it. Really want to try more of African Botanics.

    • December 13, 2016 / 2:09 pm

      Lynne, I’m so glad that you’ve been reading my blog! I think of comments like yours when writing reviews to keep myself in check that I’m keeping everything honest. I think African Botanics has really been nailing it lately with their packaging and products in general, the oil is definitely one that I think everyone should try in their line.

  10. C
    December 28, 2016 / 4:13 pm

    Thanks for the review. I was just able to repurchase the Pestle & Mortar Retinol night oil but now I am wondering if I should try the African Botanics Fleurs D’Afrique instead. Have you tried the P&M oil?

  11. S
    March 15, 2017 / 8:19 pm

    So wish I would have came across your great sight sooner, Came across it after digging to see i was the only one with problems with May L. Love the customer serv. and fast shipping but my skin just not reacting well. Thought it was first due to being acne prone and didn’t give it enough time, no luck. Still break out way more then I did before. So back to the drawing board of trying better skincare.

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