The Sunday Trio

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Although everyone worries about their skin during the winter, I’ve always found summer to be more challenging. With the hot weather and scorching sun you have to not only figure out how to keep or increase moisture in your skin, but you have to account for increased sweatiness, oiliness, and increased usage of sunscreen. This leads me to sharing my Sunday trio, 3 steps that work as my weekly “restart” button to get my skin back into shape for the week ahead.

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YÜLI Pure Mask

This is one of the best powder to cream masks I’ve experienced. As is to be expected with YÜLI, there is a level of thoughtfulness and sophistication here that is quite special. The airy texture of the powder is super-fine that once activated with water turns into a silky cream that applies effortlessly onto skin. The reason this works so well for summer is because the ingredients have a cooling and soothing effect thanks to traditional Asian botanicals like mung bean, green tea and goji berries. When my skin is red, overheated, congested, or feeling gross in general from the effects of summer, this is like a cool smoothie for my skin – filter out the bad stuff, chock full of the good stuff.

Tatcha Overnight Memory Serum Concentrate

I am absolutely obsessed with this product. Like all Tatcha products, the presentation is beautiful but more so – the memory serum concentrate has such a unique formula where the texture is like a cross between a soft Japanese tofu and JELLO. Even when I scoop over some of the concentrate, the formula refills the areas I just scooped – how cool is that?!

So moving beyond that, the reason I love this is because it is essentially the ultra-concentrated form of Tatcha’s Luminous Dewy Skin Mist that is universally loved (it was even recently featured on Kylie Jenner’s snapchat). So this is THE product for getting hydration into skin and to accelerate recovery from a day out – making it the perfect pairing to the Pure Mask.

Aurelia Cell Revitalize Day Moisturizer

This is a dreamy, rich day cream that helps with dryness and dehydration, and it is the final step to seal in all of the good stuff from the first two steps. While the thickness may deter some, I love the way the creaminess just melts away into skin leaving it feeling only nourished without heaviness. This is definitely a very high quality product that is very rich with organic oils, aloe, and probiotics which keep skin surface healthy. Simply a pleasure to use.

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The Cleansing Game Changers

One of the first posts I wrote on here was about how my search for the elusive “perfect” cleanser led me on the journey toward becoming the skin care aficionado that I’ve become today. Although my heart (and bank account) skips a beat for the next new serum, the purest of oils or the dreamiest of lotions; I find myself most moved by the power of a good cleanser.

Cleansing is one of the trickiest things to get right as effective can often mean drying, while hydrating cleansers may well cause clogged pores and more build-up. And while we all have our philosophy for what cleansing regimen works (Oil Cleanse, 4-2-4 In Fiore, Powder formulas, etc), the truth is that most cleansers are made to excel in only certain areas.

Consider the following as a comprehensive cheat sheet for the best of the best broken down by type.

Beauty Idealist Cleansers

Cleansing Oils & Balms

Some prefer to leave the two in their own category but ultimately when a balm is heated upon contact with skin, it becomes an oil so at the end you’re still oil cleansing. Oil Cleansing is extremely popular within the green beauty world and outside of it, is regarded more as a make-up remover. In fact, oils work under the principal of pulling water-resistant sunscreen and make-up off of skin by bonding with the oil bases in those products. This makes them particularly effective as a night-time cleanse. However, the cleansing is rather superficial and further cleansing is necessary for skin to work its best so even if you’re one of those “oil and done” types – try to add in a second cleanser at least twice a week to truly get rid of all the bad stuff.

Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil: gentle, subtle and a sight to behold, this cleansing oil is light yet substantial when it comes into contact with make-up. The emulsifying ingredients mean this oil rinses clean after it has done its job, leaving your skin surface clear and free of residue. (Mini Review Here)

de Mamiel Restorative Cleansing Balm: Everything about this balm is nirvana from the oh-so-soft buttery texture that melts into skin to the most beautiful of aromas – if you are searching for a cleansing balm, this needs to be at the top of that list. This is a balm I apply and will just sit, massage and enjoy while watching ‘scopes or catching up on tv. Although emulsifier is included in the rich-formula, I still recommend cloth removal to make sure everything is rinsed off.

Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil Makeup Remover: Well… this is quite a mouthful of a name isn’t it? But it’s easy to see why Green Beauty fans the world over are so in love with this oil: it’s green, it’s effective and it feels great! Again – this oil will emulsify upon contact with water which means my 3 favorite best in class oil based cleansers all emulsify with water and that is no coincidence. I’d say the very fact that this oil contains an emulsifier elevates it ahead of the green beauty pack because the worst thing is to be left with oily residue from your cleanser – giving your 2nd cleanser more work to do. (Review Here)

Cleansing Milks & Creams

These are kind of hybrid that usually contain oils/waxes yet also surfactants (a.k.a the things that act as detergents). I recommend milks and creams for those with very dry and sensitive skin. The cleansing power is middle of the pack but it likely will not cause your skin to freak out either.

In Fiore Treate: A very gentle cleanser described as a “floral milk,” this cleanser contains both water based ingredients and oils. The texture is very light and creamy. It can be applied onto wet or dry skin depending on how lazy you are how you feel. It seems to work better in removing make-up on a drier surface while the wetter version feels better afterward as though dilution with water makes it gentler yet more thorough. The floral jasmine smell is actually very subtle for an In Fiore product where the rest of the line of facial care products smell positively like perfume oils.

Kahina Giving Beauty Facial Cleanser: I originally sampled a travel version of this cleanser and fell in love with it. I finished it up in under 1 week which meant the 200 ml bottle was destined for a spot on my beauty shelf. If I had to choose between Kahina or In Fiore’s cream cleansers, I’d pick this one: it’s more economic (lower price and larger size!) and I felt like the cream held together longer whereas the In Fiore would start to separate as I was within weeks of finishing it. This cleanser contains what I consider to be the most subtle fragrance of all cleansers on this list yet it isn’t boring, it’s a very light fragrance that gives it a sophisticated feel.

Aurelia Miracle Cleanser: Alright so I can’t talk about the cream cleansers without mentioning this one right? It was pretty much THE product of 2014 that catapulted Aurelia onto the scene. As far as polish goes, this contains bells and whistles, as I originally reviewed. Yet a year removed, I have to say I find myself opting for either In Fiore or Kahina when I want a cream cleanse and when I want to indulge in a massage, it’s de Mamial’s balm (above).

Cleansing Powder 

These are for the “my skin feels dull and congested, please just shed!” moments where purposeful exfoliation is necessary. While some powders can have a rough and abrasive texture, the two I recommend manage to get the job done without irritating skin.

Tatcha Polished Rice Enzyme Powder: Someone once told me they purchased this from Sephora because it was the only product to have all 5 star reviews and I don’t find that hard to believe. Tatcha’s Polished Rice Enzyme Powders somehow get that layer of dead skin cells off without making skin feel like it just went through a thorough exfoliation. There are four comfort levels for each skin type (Classic, Dry, Sensitive and Oily). Sensitive is seriously gentle and feels like rubbing a creamy pillow onto skin, yet when you’re done you’ll notice the effect of the exfoliation all the same. Oily is serious business, blackheads and congested pores along the nose are no match – two uses for me was all it took. (Mini Review)

de Mamiel Brightening Cleanse & Exfoliate: Okay, I want to live in the de Mamiel studio because all of her products smell like bottled happiness. Although this too is a powder, the scent will stay with you after you turn this into a paste- and that is not a bad thing! Consider this a gentler version of May Lindstrom’s Clean Dirt only instead of spices, you get roses, chamomile and calendula. The powder can be used alone a la Clean Dirt, and it’s also suggested to mix in with a cleanser which I’ve done as well. I prefer using it alone because the ingredients are so good that I don’t want to dilute it.

Cleansing Gels

These are the performance powerhouses that go deep to penetrate skin. They’re sometimes referred to as the 2nd cleanse in green beauty but I think they should really be thought of as the cleansing step after make-up removal. Cleansing gels are all about performance so they’re not going to coat your skin in residue but they also won’t leave your skin with the “I just lotioned myself” feeling after which for some can feel unnatural. A good formula is one that does not have soaps, alcohols, sulfates as these are the culprits that dry out skin and mess up skin’s pH. Look for low to non foaming gels with good slip for best results.

Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip: This is an odd one – I originally found much to be loved yet when I continued using it I found daily use made my skin pretty flustered as I soon developed dry patches and break outs. This one earns a spot though because it’s great as a strong cleanser when your skin is misbehaving due to its seriously powerful mix of clays and anti-microbial plants. But when everything is good with your skin – leave it sitting on the beauty shelf, it looks good there anyway.

Grown Alchemist Gel Facial Cleanser: This cleanser perhaps comes closest to my former cleanser holy grail Ren’s Rose Centifolia Cleanser before they got bought out and the formula completely changed! Although the existence of citrus oils isn’t that great for day use, I still quite love this for its gentleness and the subtle plant fragrance. The inclusion of rose and aloe vera makes it very gentle on the skin.

YULI Halcyon: The only green cleanser to make it into this category, and no small feat either given the seriously advanced high-tech ingredients required to pull this off. My original review of this cleanser led to it being one of the most discussed products EVER on this site. As a cleanser, this is beautiful: intelligent ingredients that are gentle on skin, boost the moisture barrier and manage to give it a clean almost ‘nude’ relaxing feeling; as a beauty product, this is genius: a green formula featuring cleansing action through peptides (!!) and “hybridized fruit enzymes” do the heavy lifting. As an admitted beauty junkie – I  live for discovering new products, however this is the cleanser I keep coming back to and each time I’m reminded why I won’t be without it.

Hopefully I’ve covered the cleansers you love or are curious about – please share any cleansers you think would be great to add to this list. One thing is for certain and that is that whatever type of cleanser you like, there is a truly best in class green option available – what an achievement!

Review: Aurelia Miracle Cleanser

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aurelia2Aurelia is a brand that just hits all the marks for everything this blog stands for: green luxury beauty. I love it’s very refined, feminine appeal, the soft and thoughtful packaging with touches of gold and pink, and I just like the ‘feel’ and presence of the brand. Without question, their breakthrough product is their acclaimed Miracle Cleanser, and with a name like that, it definitely commands attention.

Now where to begin with this cleanser? Well, for those of you who are acquainted with Eve Lom’s cleanser, Liz Earle’s cleanser, or even the Pond’s Cold Cream, this is very similar. This cleanser is a remarkably gorgeous scented lotion-type cream that has the consistency of Pond’s cold cream but an ingredients list and fragrance that is sophisticated, clean and dare-I-say: divine?

 

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As with most jar products, I prefer to use my own scooper to get just the right amount of product without contaminating the rest (tip: you don’t need to go out and buy a scooper, they’re available at the sample station of most beauty counters and most sales associates will let you take a couple especially if you’re nice about it). I use about a quarter sized amount which may be a bit more than is usual because I like feeling the lotion moving on my skin and using less than a dollop tended to dry quickly into my skin (kind of like applying a moisturizer that sinks into skin which makes me feel weird as this is a cleanser). I split the dollop of cream evenly in four places: forehead, left cheek, right cheek, nose-t zone, moving the excess cream down to my chin to cover all areas.

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The first thing you’ll notice is just how fantastic you feel, literally the beautiful mix of essential oils will lift your spirits and gently put your mind at ease. I don’t hesitate to throw this out there that of all cleansing balms – this is the most well made fragrance I have encountered yet, so kudos to the team. The fragrance is a mix of chamomile, rosemary, bergamot, and eucalyptus – a simple but sophisticated blend which happens to be scents that I enjoy. Rosemary may be a little on the green side but I think it is balanced nicely with the dominant scent of chamomile and the minty top note of eucalyptus. As the cream begins to break down as it is moved around , my advice to you is to cup your hands over your nose for a deep inhale of pure plant goodness to aromatically unwind. If you couldn’t tell, I believe this cleanser excels in delivering “an experience”.

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I like to massage my face as I use this for two reasons: 1) I love the scent 2) As a girl with not-dry skin, I want to be sure I’m really dislodging all the gunk from my skin. I find that I usually massage my skin until my sunscreen and moisturizers come off around the 5 minute mark (or when whatever I’m watching on tv goes to commercial break) so this may not be the product you reach for when you have some place to be. When the makeup and sunscreen come off, you’ll know (at least I did) – mine clumped because this is like a lotion and it’s not a big surprise that when lotions layer over other lotions and get massaged around they tend to clump (kind of like how oil attracts oil). I wash this off my skin with the included muslin cloth (which makes the packaging all that more charming) after soaking it a little in hot steaming water as recommended. I find that using hot water is a must in order to get this cleanser to wash off fully as there aren’t any foaming agents or water-soluble emulsifiers that allow this to rinse cleanly on its own. I think using hot water is a necessary step especially for those of you who are blemish prone because it helps get the cream off your skin. Or you can do another once-over for safe measure with an emulsifying cleanser.
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I really enjoy using this cleanser because not only does it deliver an experience, but the ingredients are so good that I don’t see how anyone using a non-clean cleansing balm, especially at the luxury price point that Eve Lom is at, can turn away from this greener, higher quality option. The Aurelia Miracle Cleanser uses plant oils and vitamins, you can read the full ingredients list on their website to see why I think it is top notch. This line is also known for using probiotics which is the thing we supposedly eat yogurt for. The idea is that probiotics also have antioxidant property and help keep skin cells healthy as well. Whether you believe it or not (I can’t say definitely), it can’t be argued that the entire ingredients list is full of things that will benefit skin such as Baobab (an omega rich super fruit), Hibiscus (antioxidant rich), Mongongo Oil (Vitamin E), and milk protein. Divine, I tell you, divine!

In terms of performance, I would say this product is more “luxury experience” over “cleansing effectiveness”. It isn’t my regular cleanser because usage isn’t convenient for every-day purposes and my skin is prone to breaking out or being congested if I don’t use something more along the lines of a traditional cleanser regularly. As much as I enjoyed this cleanser for how it made me feel, I was not able to use it consecutively without my skin becoming noticeably more dull/congested like I had neglected to clean my skin and although I didn’t let it get to that point, I think if this were my only cleanser, I would start breaking out after continued use. With that said, I don’t believe the cleanser itself will cause breakouts (unless you’re sensitive to one of the essential oils or your skin cannot tolerate balms or cleansers with an oil base) and I do not think it reflects that this cleanser is not good, as I’ve said before for some people’s skin types, cleansing balms and oils just don’t work as the solo cleanser in a regular routine. I think those with dry and mature skin that are not prone to breaking out may find much to love here. For myself, when I need that time to unwind and just tune out – I find this a good treat for myself and I have come to appreciate it for this weekly purpose.

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At $53 for $120ml, I am comfortable in saying that Aurelia’s Miracle Cleanser is a strong green offering in a sea of luxury cleansing balms that should be definitely be considered. The formula is high quality and thoughtful, while the results are in line with most good cleansing balms. If you love ‘experiences’ this is especially one to bookmark, on the other hand for someone like my boyfriend who is still confused why I spent over $50 on a “thick lotion” to rub across my face, the utilitarians out there who look for function over form may find themselves perplexed if they’re expecting a cleanser-cleanser. The truth is, if cleansing balms or luxury beauty items aren’t your thing and you’re really just looking for a cleanser, this one won’t knock it out of the park for you and there isn’t really any way I imagine this will make you come around but if you’ve been using cleansing balms as your main source of cleansing and you don’t mind the luxury price point – perhaps I’ve just introduced you to your new staple. For me, I would not consider it a suitable regular or daily cleanser though it has become a very very welcomed once or twice a week indulgence for my skin for when I have time to unwind, massage my skin, inhale the rich aromas, and enjoy “me time”.

Now I know many of you have this at home, what are your thoughts? Leave them in the comments!