Dr.Hauschka Translucent Make-Up


In my quest to clean up my beauty routine, I find that skincare has been easier than makeup. I think the key is that with skincare, we’re looking for results that ultimately benefit our skin which clean and green products provide but with makeup we’re mostly looking for the short term performance results, as long as our skin doesn’t get a bad reaction, I think a lot of us would opt for that holy grail non-green foundation over the alternative. My holy grail foundation at the end of the day is the Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation which gives that elusive barely perceptible your-skin-but-better look. It’s been challenging trying to find a cleaner formulated product as most foundations tend to be thicker/heavier and don’t wear as well throughout the day.

Enter Dr.Hauschka’s Translucent Make-up, a sheer coverage liquid foundation that simply enhances skins natural healthy complexion for a radiant, dewy glow. The pigment makeup is quite tinted, and I ended up using the lightest 00-shade even though I typically need one or two shades above the lightest with normal foundations.


Despite a strong pigment, the coverage is very sheer so I wouldn’t recommend this as a foundation for those of you looking for something more concealing. I noticed that the formula applies very creamy and you only need a little. The scent is subtle but wonderful, not at all synthetic like most fragrances in foundations tend to be.

It’s rare for a cleanly formulated foundation to be light and high performance but thats exactly how I would describe this. Once it is applied onto skin, it feels very similar to a light tinted moisturizer in that your skin just feels very nourished without the feeling of added ‘weight’ that a lot of foundations can give. I truly felt that my skin could breathe under this. The results are subtle since this is a sheer coverage but it does what it says which is: enhance skin’s natural radiance and blend uneven pigmentation. I found that my skin looked refined, smoothed out, and had a natural luster without looking like I had makeup on my face. This is definitely something I will use regularly perhaps even in place of the Koh Gen Do foundation that I am so fond of.


Now let’s discuss the clean formula – this product isn’t 100% clean by purist standards, it contains alcohol (does not specify if this is grain based which is much gentler), some fragrance enhancers that could potentially by irritants such as limonene and geraniol, titanium dioxide which some people have sensitivities to, and a sulfate.

Now onto the good part: this foundation is jam packed with nurturing essential oils including Macademia Seed, Avocado, Jojoba Seed, and Apricot Kernel, there are also botanical extracts including Carrot Root and Woundwort. The creamy texture is provided by shea butter, rose flower wax, and beeswax. These are all wonderfully rich ingredients that take care of the skin. You will rarely see this many good ingredients listed on the back of a foundation so I think it offsets the iffy-ingredients. If you don’t have any sensitivities to the ingredients, I definitely suggest you give this a try.

Dr.Hauschka Transculent Make-Up

(Reg. $36.95, Currently on-sale for $29.56 until 3/31)

Perricone MD – Vitamin C Ester 15

Lately I’ve been on the hunt for gentle but effective serums that can kind of do-it-all. I have used Perricone MD products in the past and they’ve always been decent. They’re made by Dr.Perriocone, a Dermatologist known to many as the mind behind the anti-inflammatory diet to fight aging. His products aren’t the cleanest, but I’ve never really had an adverse reaction from using his stuff. One of his cult products, Cold Plasma is a staple for my mom, and for a while I was pretty addicted to his High Potency Eye Lift.

I discovered the Vitamin C Ester 15 serum in the stock room at work the other day and felt like it was the perfect product for me. My skin always reacted well to Vitamin C, which made it seem to brighten and just look more youthful in weeks. So when I read the description, “An unprecedented 15% maximum concentration of Vitamin C Ester designed to boost collagen and deliver dramatically brighter, firmer, smoother skin.” – I was hooked!

Vitamin C is one of the best things we can feed our skin. It does a lot including brightening and evening complexion, increasing collagen production which leads to firmer and stronger skin, reversing sun damage, and smoothing overall skin tone. This makes it perfect for using during the day under a great sunscreen.

The kit comes with four .34 fl oz tubes to maintain efficacy (Vitamin C can oxidize and lose efficacy over time – so I really appreciate the thought behind this). They come out as a very light white cream that smells ever-so-slightly like orange peel. The cream spreads evenly and absorbs relatively fast. Unlike some Vitamin C serums, this didn’t leave my skin red so that was a relief especially for something with this high of a Vitamin C concentration. 

The primary area I focused on was around my cheek and mouth. I developed what I believe to be thin skin lacking some collagen due to my years of drinking everything with a straw (my brother is an orthodontist so all this stuff about staining, enamel wear, etc really gets to me).

It has been roughly 40 days since I started using this and I noticed that my skin just looked healthier. Areas that I wanted to target for aging signs seem to have been held back a little. It won’t iron away fine lines but it’ll delay and gentle pull back the hands of time a little bit. I no longer notice weak fine lines around my cheeks/mouth area when I make the fish face and the area seems to have become a little bit thicker. 

The full ingredients list is:

Water/Aqua, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Isopropyl Palmitate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Ceteareth-20, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Caprylyl Glycol, Cyclohexasiloxane, Fragrance/Parfum, Zinc Sulfate, Disodium EDTA, Limonene, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil, Tocotrienols, Sorbic Acid, Tocopherol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Linalool, Citral

Ascorbyl Palmitate and Isopropyl Palmitate are the main sources of this fat-soluble Vitamin C. Because of this, I actually apply the serum with a facial oil rich in plant omegas at night to make sure it gets delivered deep down. There are some not so great things in here such as PEGs, Silicones, synthetic fragrance, etc but I didn’t have a bad reaction to it. And for those of you who don’t usually use clean, natural products anyway, this is actually better than what you’ll find on most department store beauty counters.

The product retails for $120, and can last roughly 2 months with moderate use. The results are fairly good and for people who respond really well to Vitamin C, this is one of the most concentrated clear-cut products on the market.

Available at Perricone MD

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Full Coverage Foundation Review

I’ve talked about Tarte’s foundation before when I answered a tumblr message here. Tarte is one of those beauty companies that I consider similar to a makeup line equivalent of Origins – relatively expansive, try to use ‘better’ ingredients, moderately priced, found in similar distribution channels. 

Although I try mainly to discuss niche, high-end products on this blog, a good product is a good product and their Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Full Coverage Foundation is one that I’ve found myself picking up more and more. I tend to think of this as an alternative to the MakeupForever HD Foundation with skin-friendlier ingredients.

I use shade Light 04 – which is perfect for my slight yellow undertones. The box comes with the full ingredients list (SPF 15 actives are physical sunblocks, unfortunately for purists out there, this uses Titanium Dioxide), and I thought the features helped to make it stand out:

This really helps people pick in a busy store such as Sephora, the product is Cruelty Free, and has “Skinvigorating Ingredients” such as Hyaluronic Acid – a key skin plumper that draws moisture in, Vitamin E – an antioxidant that makes skin smooth, and Amazonian Clay which helps balance oily skin.

The foundation itself is housed in a plastic tube with wood top base which I thought was ‘charming’. It is different from the usual high-end foundations I’m used to such as the frosted glass from Koh Gen Do, but I can appreciate the durability of this packaging.

So right off the bat – my skin type as many of you know by now is sensitive, blemish prone- combination (oily to dry areas) – so I basically don’t have easy skin to work with. I found that this foundation was actually a great ‘balance’. I am able to wear this for around 6 hours without any issues or need for touch up, but I don’t think 12 hours on one application is achievable. I found that the foundation itself is not drying or oily at all, and balanced my skin nicely – but this is also because I’m experienced with knowing how much to put on based on the “weightiness” of the foundation. A few friends who have tried this foundation said it showed up dry patches or felt “heavy” and cakey. That’s the other thing – you don’t need that much of this foundation to achieve a decent medium coverage. 

A pea sized amount is suitable for giving a decent coverage, and you can build up afterwards on the trouble spots. The above is how much I use on my entire face for a “2nd skin with decent coverage” effect, using the Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush. The foundation itself is best described as an airy cream. It is pretty light and blendable but definitely adequately pigmented. 

Once you blend out, you can see the texture is similar to a mousse foundation but it eventually blends nicely into your skin and just makes it look evenly toned and smooth:

This is definitely a good foundation for covering light scars, blemishes without making it look cakey. I’ve always been the type to wash my face as soon as I get home if I’m wearing makeup, and I sometimes just feel that this product is a little heavy on pores so I use the Vapour Organics Clarity Cleansing Oil  to remove all product before I use a normal cleanser. Afterward, I also douse my skin in YULI Panacea Elixir to make sure my pores are decongested and clear. I think this product really requires you to make sure your pores are clean otherwise it could potentially be a pore clogger with long term use – and my skin is just too sensitive to risk that happening.

For longer and more seemless wear, I also like to apply primer. I made the mistake of using Hourglass with my foundations during my initial foray into primers, but since then I’ve been careful to select primers that do not use silicones that clog skin (and break me out all over my forehead). Korres has a decent performer with their Vitamin E, Silicone Free Face Primer. It isn’t as “slick” as the common ones you’ll find from MAC, Nars, Hourglass due to the lack of silicone but I do notice that foundation spreads on better and lasts longer.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Full Coverage Foundation and Korres Facial Primer both do not use parabens and are oil-free. However, this doesn’t mean they’re “clean & natural”. Instead of parabens, Tarte uses an actually large concentration of phenoxyethanol, another chemical preservative. Compared to foundations from Lancome, Dior, etc. the formula isn’t bad but just know that it has more similarities with those brand formulations than differences.

Overall, I have enjoyed using this as a quick and easy foundation to use. A little truly does go a long way. I think the best way to use this foundation is to only use a little, if you use more, the formula and clays might be a little “much”. For $38, this offers pretty good performance and is a good option for those of you looking to transition out of MAC and MUFHD.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation ($38, Sephora)


Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush – Best Brush Ever?

Nothing makes me happier than finding that ‘perfect’ product and my brush addiction is a testament to that statement.. where other women might collect shoes, I collect brushes – if it is a different texture, color, use, hair type, cut, weight, etc. I will find an excuse to buy it! Of all the brushes I have, the last thing I need is another foundation brush but after reading lots of rave reviews on the Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush, I could not resist falling for this stunningly angular marvel.

The brush is marketed as a mix between Japanese brush expertise and Shiseido’s own technology, as such the 100% synthetic brush (which is extremely soft) can be used with creams and powders. The brush is a blunt edge that is slanted which helps the bristles not only pick up the foundation but also buff in the product evenly and precisely for a flawless finish. The maximize control, the brush handle is shorter than regular brushes at around 4.5 inches long – which makes it perfect for taking on the go. The size may not be to everyone’s liking, but I found it easy to maneuver across my face and control.

For people who like REALLY light applications, one thing to note is that you will need smaller amounts of foundation as this really gets product onto your skin. The first few times I used this with the Koh Gen Do foundation, I got ‘medium’ coverage when I really want that ‘natural-light’ coverage. This might not be the best brush to use if you like to ‘build up’ product from a subtle light layer. I learned to adjust the amount I pumped out and all was right again, as a bonus I now get more mileage out of my foundation!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed myself picking up this brush over my Tom Ford and Chanel foundation brush because it applies so fast and easily once you get used to it. Due to its shape, cleaning it is a slightly more difficult as you can’t just ‘swirl’ the gunk off. The brush is very dense and picks up foundation so well that it is a little hard to move when you clean it so be sure to be on top of cleaning it before product accumulates.

I’ve been saving the BEST part of this product for last… it retails for $30! I know this is hardly ‘economical’ but compared to it’s counterparts and the league it is in performance wise, this is such a great price point! The brush is high quality and will last long enough to make it a legitimate investment. I would say, if you can afford $30 foundation, you should definitely take the plunge on this brush!

$30, at Bergdorf Goodman

Concealer Overview

clockwise top to bottom: Hourglass Hidden Corrective Concealer($32), Edward Bess Platinum Concealer ($38), Ellis Faas Concealer ($40), By Terry Touche Veloutee ($58), Tarte Smooth Operator ($22), Clea de Peau Beaute Concealer ($70), Vapour Organic Beauty Illusionist Concealer ($22)

I recently had this conversation with a few guy friends who work in the beauty dept of Vogue which is “how much makeup is too much makeup?” I think somewhere along the line, there was a paradigm shift and it was no longer in vogue (pun intended) to be too obvious. You see gorgeous girls on Intothegloss espousing skincare parsed lightly with minimal makeup, and beauty magazines now tell you how to do the ‘natural’ look. Food, makeup, boobs – everything has to feel organic and natural now. A few of my guy friends said they draw the line at eye makeup and mainly do foundation and concealer. A few also said foundation is not necessary if you have good skin and that concealer to illuminate and hide spots might be all you need. It seemed clear to me that concealer was the ‘gateway’ product for most people. 

Working in the beauty department has its perks, mostly I get to take things home! Without that perk, I would not be able to compile this list of my observations on the top concealers in the market today. I know that concealers can last a long time, so it is really important especially for high-end beauty products that the products do what they say. 

Clea de Peau Beauty Concealer: This concealer has won more awards than any other concealer on this list. Beauty editors and interns swear by this stuff, and this has become one of the most ordered stock products at Neiman Marcus/Bergdorf. At $70, it is the most expensive stick concealer on my list, however if you want a concealer that will be reliably high quality- look no further. This stuff has great coverage, looks natural, retains wear after 10 hours, doesn’t shift/melt, and doesn’t crease. It applies like silk, and is easily blendable. The only minor con to this product is it doesn’t offer a great range of tone so unless you tend to be fair to light-olive toned, you might have a harder time finding the right match.

Hourglass Hidden Corrective Concealer: Hourglass kind of came onto the scene with their Veil line of foundation and primer. I think they’re best known for their primer, although it breaks me out so badly. The Hidden Corrective Concealer retails for $32, half the price of Clea de Peau— which is still a lot, but the results are very similar. I would say of the stick concealers, this replicates Clea de Peau the most – which is a high compliment. It is very creamy and light, easily blendable and extremely undetectable. The hue is slightly darker than Clea de Peau and the coconut oil and Vitamin E make it a little more buttery which is great if you’re in a dry place or for winter – but for people with oily skin, try to sample this first.

Tarte Smooth Operator Concealer: I really don’t think Tarte gets the respect it deserves amongst luxury beauty products. It is more Sephora/QVC than Barneys, however they make really good products and try to steer clear of not-so-good ingredients. The Smooth Operator Concealer is waterproof and loaded with Vitamins A/C and soothing Amazonian clay to balance skin. It completely hid the dark circles under my eye. It goes on matte, is buttery, and doesn’t flake or slip after a full day. At $22, this is the best value on the list. The only minor issue is that for me, I’ve noticed after a day of wear, my smile lines are somewhat accentuated but when I reapplied, this problem went away quickly. Although Tarte isn’t a ‘clean’ company, it does make efforts to put only good things in its product, as such they do not use mineral oils, parabens, or synthetic fragrance which a lot of products do use- so I want to commend them for being able to make a comparable product at a reasonable price point while filtering out a lot of the bad ingredients.

Vapour Organic Beauty Illusionist Concealer: The cleanest product on this list bar none. I am a huge fan of Vapour and really want to support clean companies in general. This is also why I don’t want to grade them on a slope, because I truly believe these companies need to put out products that are just as good as traditional products in order to remain competitive. To that end, the Illusionist Concealer is a wonderful product that provides great coverage. It falls short of earning full praise because it is a little on the thick side and there is some creasing after a few hours, especially if you apply under your eyes. The longevity of this product also leaves me wanting more and the colors are a bit too pigmented/dark for my skin tone. With that said, if they reformulate this product, I will be the first in line to try it!

Edward Bess Platinum Concealer: I love a niche product, but this fell short. It made my normal-oily skin look dry, made the dry spots very obvious, and was very heavy. It is the opposite of lightweight and creamy – it felt drying and heavy. I really feel you need to apply a lot of moisturizer before this product will look decent. Also, it only comes in 4 shades! Skip.

By Terry Touche Veloutee Concealer: This is a cream pen that dispenses the product through the brush head. The product is said to hide fine lines and wrinkles with its silky finish. I’ve found this to be true when first applied, however this product dries to almost a powder texture and accentuates tiny flaws. If you want a concealer for a quick event, like a dinner – this is a great product to use as it will illuminate your face, but for anything longer than 2-3 hours, I’d skip it.

Ellis Faas Concealer: Another cream pen option, unlike By Terry, this product doesn’t crease or wrinkle. It stays on very well and needs minimal after-application maintenance. It covers everything a concealer is supposed to with full coverage but with the feel of a light layer. The only negative is the beautiful pen will quickly become your worst nightmare! It doesn’t dispense by click, instead you have to dial the clicker over and over until this weird oil comes out and then it spews out the product. I think some more work needs to be done on the engineering of the packaging because the product is terrific.

My July Must Have Products

(Starting Top-Clockwise: Aesop Tuberose Lip Heal, Byredo Parfums Le Tulipe, Weleda Skin Food, YULI Liquid Courage, Vapour Organics Lipstick, Sunday Riley Cashmere SPF 30, Kahina Cleanser, Guerlain Terracota Bronzer, Sunday Riley Effortless Tinted Primer, Tom Ford Foundation Brush, YULI Panacea Elixir)

Instead of a one-product review, I thought I’d also do a post on what my favorite products have been for the past month. During the summer, my primary focus is taking care of my skin in the hot, sunny weather. These are the products I’ve been using:

1. Aesop Tuberose Lip Heal ($31, Aesop.com) – a gorgeous lip roller that uses a blend of plant and nut oils to deliver gentle hydration. It doubles as a scent which really smells good and kept me from licking it off! 

2. Byredo Le Tulipe ($145, Byredo.com) – The spring/summer scent from Byredo, a very pure, simple fragrance that has a beautiful tulip scent between vetiver and rhubarb notes. This is that perfect scent that once worn a little is the perfect subtle blend whether you’re at the beach or walking to lunch in Manhattan. The price might be a little high, but I love myself a lux-niche product, if you couldn’t tell.

3. Weleda Skin Food ($18.50, Weleda) – A staple for any season, Skin Food is always in my bag for those ‘touch ups’. This is my clean version of the 8-hour cream. It moisturizes rough spots on the hands and arms and leaves skin soft and healthy. Although it is for dry skin, I feel like using a the right amount on any type of skin will provide lots of benefits.

4. YULI Liquid Courage ($125, YULI) – Sun damage and summer go hand in hand. I really wanted a clean, antioxidant serum to protect my skin from the sun and found it with Liquid Courage. It is such a light serum that really sinks into skin and absorbs fast under any SPF and smells fantastic. It uses a blend of antioxidant rich plant seeds and biofermented actives to deliver a potent natural antioxidant kick. My skin is absolutely glowing and radiant from this, while it protects my skin, I have to say, it also gives me the appearance of ‘rest in a bottle’. The price might scare some, but it lasts a long time, and I know that they just launched the option to buy deluxe samples of the products on their website.

5. Vapour Organics Siren Lipstick ($22, Vapour Organics) – Created by some of the brains behind the late, great Kevyn Aucion, Vapour Organics uses clean formulations that provide comparable results to leading cosmetics brands. The Siren Lipstick is the first product I bought from them, after reading about the dangers of lead, carcinogens, and other chemical junk found in most lipsticks on the market. The pigments are very rich and I noticed that unlike a lot of pigmented lipsticks, this also moisturized my lips. I think the blend of castor seed oil and beeswax gives it a lip balm effect, but the high pigmentation makes it a very successful lip stick. A wonderfully made product that will be a staple in my beauty closet.

6. Sunday Riley Cashmere SPF 30 ($125, Sunday Riley) – This isn’t the cleanest SPF on the market, but it might be the most expensive. To be honest, I’m disappointed with the options for sun protection on the market, the luxury brands think for some reason everyone wants a bronzer and spf in one or they stock it with chemicals, while the natural brands tend to go for clunky physical blocks. Sunday Riley Cashmere SPF 30 is kind of that right balance between clean enough and high end. The white fluid sinks into skin very fast and leaves no scent. It didn’t make my skin shiny or oily, nor did it make my skin dry. I think the consistency is perfect, not watery but not clunky.

7. Kahina Cleanser ($56, Kahina) – I’ve mentioned this cleanser on my blog a few times already but I really like it. It’s fortified with nourishing oils for skin but at the same time balances your complexion so skin is not dry or oily. I think the Vitamin E is especially needed to cancel out any sun damage sustained during the day. 

8. Guerlain Terracota Bronzer ($50, Sephora) – The epitome of a natural bronzer. Does not go on orange, or muddy. Just the right shade and density for most skin types, stays on all day. Gives that perfect healthy glow. 

9. Sunday Riley Effortless Tinted Primer ($48, Barneys) – A lot has been said about this primer. I don’t know if the ‘oxygen hole’ technology is marketing hype or if there is a real benefit to it, but I just enjoy this primer for the simple fact that it is like a primer + tinted moisturizer in one. It smooths the skin while adding a little color. I find on my low key days, this is all I need.

10. Tom Ford Foundation Brush ($70, Neiman Marcus) – My favorite brush by a wide margin. Very soft, densely packed brushes with little shed over time. I also love the high-quality ‘heavy’ feel of the brushes. I know that these brushes are made in Japan, which has a reputation for their brush quality. I know it is a white colored brush, but it really does retain this color after many applications and washes. The brushes themselves pick up just the right amount of foundation and are not streaky at all. Makeup goes on seemless and flawless.

11. YULI Panacea Elixir ($36, YULI) – There was my skincare before this product and there is my skincare after this product. Panacea means ‘cure-all’ and this product is exactly that. Some people don’t believe in toning their skin, but after you’ve tried this and see the results, you will be converted! This made my pores so tiny and really firmed up my skin. It’s like a bootcamp in a mist for the face. There is also no alcohol in here, everything is natural and clean. Also, this sets make up really well, and the skincare benefits are delivered throughout the day with this under the makeup so your skin is actually improving as you set your makeup using this product. 

Sunday Riley Bionic

Sunday Riley is the new darling of the high-end beauty scene. Her products utilize what she describes as “green technology” which means botanicals and chemistry. This brand has been in every magazine and beauty blog! Usually when a brand is this big, I am curious to try their products because I want to figure out if they’re Press department is better than their product department.

I went to Barneys to play around with some products and came home with Sunday Riley Bionic, Good Genes, Juno, and Cashmere SPF. I tried Bionic ($225)first as that seems to be everyone’s favorite product, just ask Emily Weiss of Intothegloss

Bionic purports to be a cutting-edge, stimulating product that covers all causes in aging. The ingredients certainly seem like a list of heavy hitters, including: peptides, retinol, EGCG, CoQ10, resveratrol, and their patented NV-5 Ageless Complex that fights cellular inflammation that causes aging.

The cream is orange and smells like orange-mango creamsicle/bubblegum. I know a lot of people love this scent but I think because I’ve been using very clean products, this scent really irritated me after a while. It is too synthetically fragrant. I also noticed that it leaves a dark yellow/orange stain when dried because a little bit of the product leaked onto my counter – so I think it is REALLY important to make sure the product is completely absorbed.

The lotion goes on very light and is easily massaged into skin. The cream just sinks into skin so that is heaven for someone like me who panics when products don’t absorb fast. This is terrific for my normal-combo-oily skin especially in the winter. I do notice however that it makes my complexion slightly oily a couple of hours out so I’m not sure if it means my skin is too stripped or if the cream is too oily – but I didn’t mind a little bit of greasiness. 

After a week of use, I discovered that my skin appeared to be more radiant which the product claims to do, and I did not break out! However, I am sad to report it didn’t really do anything for fine lines, or making my skin feel nourished. I felt like I didn’t moisturize enough, but because of how oily it made my skin, I didn’t want to layer on something else since my skin is very blemish prone.

The material for this product says this will extend the lifespan of skin, but I honestly don’t know if I can believe that since my skin didn’t feel healthier (it only looked brighter). 

The ingredients list includes urea, silicones, PEG, and two types of parabens, which are very disappointing for a line that is marketed as 99% natural, using “green technology”. I think the urea and silicones were necessary to exfoliate and give the appearance of well-textured skin, but this doesn’t mean your actual skin is improved! In fact, looking through the ingredients list as a whole, I’ve found plenty of chemicals that aren’t good for skin. I love a clean skincare but I’m honestly not a crunchy-granola type, but the formulations here really aren’t that high-end or well thought out if they contain all these ‘shortcut’ ingredients that do more harm for the skin.

I really don’t like where this line is going especially because they do have relatively clean products like Juno, and the Ceramic Slip Cleanser; however I really don’t like when a company says one thing and does another so for now I will have to grade them harshly for having products that are much more marketing hype than truly effective. 

Weekend Trip: Kahina Giving Beauty Travel Kit

I’m spending the last month before school trying to fit in as much mini-vacations as possible. This weekend, I went to a Bachelorette Party in Miami so I went into work on Friday prepared to find travel friendly products to try for this trip. I don’t know why, but I love trying out new products/regiments out when I’m on vacation – maybe it’s the change in surrounding lending itself to a need to change regimen.

I glanced through the inventory and my eyes landed upon Kahina Giving Beauty Travel Kit – clean products, beautiful bottles, and MADE for travel: SCORE! I had found my weekend project!


This travel kit contains smaller sizes of Kahina’s cleanser, facial lotion, and their signature argan oil. For those not familiar with the brand, Kahina is a “holistic line or organic skincare”, at the center of all their products is the signature ingredient Argan Oil. A percentage of proceeds go to benefit the lives of the Berber women.

Kahina Cleanser: I read on Nomoredirtylooks that they changed the formula for this cleanser, so I was excited to see how this was different from my big bottle of cleanser from Kahina. From a product standpoint, I absolutely love Kahina’s cleanser, it has high amounts of Vitamin E and fatty acids from Argan Oil (which, as much as I dislike hype – is an ingredient that works with my skin). I noticed that this new formulation was a bit ‘off’ I can’t figure out what it is, but they way it responded on skin was different. Not in a good or bad way, just in a way I didn’t expect so I am not sure how I feel about that. I do like that the cleanser really balanced my skin – I felt like it really moisturized my face without making it oily. The scent is a heavenly floral-neroli which is so delightful in the shower.

Kahina Facial Lotion: My skin doesn’t really need a combination of the lotion and the argan oil included in this kit so I gave this to my friend with dry skin to use. The mix of shea butter and beeswax really does wonders for moisture retention that when my friend with dry skin went to get a facial with me, the facialist didn’t really believe my friend had dry skin. It really moisturizes the dry patches. As I didn’t use this particular product, I can’t really comment but I think my friend really liked it. I do admit that my dabbling here and there with the product surprised me in the sense that this product really didn’t seem that “thick” for a product with such moisture intensive ingredients. It is a really sophisticated and well made lotion.

Kahina Argan Oil:  I’ve used Argan Oil from everyone: Josie Maran, Whole Foods, Kiehls, Acure, John Masters, etc. Kahina hands down has the best argan. I don’t know how they do it, but they for sure have the best source and the best extraction process. Their oil just SMELLS rich and beautiful compared to similar oils from Josie Maran (smells very neutral, slight nutty), or Whole Foods (decent light tea-like scent). It goes on the face very well, doesn’t “stay” behind leaving a greasy film, and my skin just LOVES this stuff. I use it all over, including my hair especially if it is a little sun damaged. It is so good. If I decide to make Argan Oil a staple in my beauty closet, Kahina would be the brand I choose. 

Product Review: Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation SPF15

I’ve written about Koh Gen Do’s Aqua Foundation on this blog before, but I wanted to dedicate a post to it as this has been my go-to summer foundation. I was first turned onto this through Emily Weiss of Intothegloss (watch the beautifully shot video here). I loved how buttery the texture looked and I loved even more how it blended in with the skin. I am not crazy about foundations that are too obvious or cakey, and I usually don’t take advice from beauty representatives who apply so much makeup you can’t really see their true skin- I feel like they have something to hide.

When I went to my local Barneys to try this product, I noticed these gorgeous girls stop by to pick up this foundation. They all had bright, even toned skin that looked natural and it was only after chatting with them that I learned they had Koh Gen Do on. The seemless, translucent, but improved skin effect is definitely what I want in my foundation. You know that Dolly Parton saying, “it takes a lot of money to look this cheap?”- I feel like with beauty, “it takes a lot of money to look this natural”. 


Koh Gen Do is a Japanese cosmetics line that does both beauty and skincare. This foundation is said to have the perfect ratio (water, emollients, powder) to impart a glow that only healthy, moisturized skin can give off. In addition to this skin technology, they also use pure mineral water that balances ions on skin, and also delivers nutrients. Although many foundations claim to feature skin benefits, I feel like this actually kind of does what it says.

When I applied 2 pumps of this product to my face (the Rep advised using KGD’s own rubberized sponges) using just my hands, I noticed how quick it blended in without drying. It felt so light, almost like a light tinted moisturizer. Even at $62 a bottle, I knew I had to get it.

In my regular use, I’ve noticed that although it is a very light, near sheer foundation, it greatly improves the subtle look of skin to give you a glow that only comes from being well rested. My skin just looks healthier while maintaining a very natural appearance. In the summer heat, I’ve noticed the light texture is especially favorable as it doesn’t melt off or get messy over my face. It also did not dry or make my skin oily which some foundations do (Lancome Teint Idole dries me out so much). Although this isn’t a full coverage foundation, it does last for a substantial amount of time, if you aren’t too active, you can easily get 6-7 hours out of it which is perfect for dinner and a night out.

Additional tip: The women at Barneys recommended using KGD’s Oriental Plants Skin Lotion Spray to help set the foundation and impart dewiness. I agree that using a mist takes the foundation to another level but the Oriental Plants Skin Lotion Spray had too many not-clean ingredients for me as well as lots of alcohol derivatives. I substituted that for YULI’s Panacea Elixir which uses organic and wild grown botanicals and flower hydrosols. Not only did it do the job of imparting dewiness, but it also literally makes my skin better with its fresh, bioactives. And at $36 for 3oz versus $22 for 1.7oz, I was getting a better deal for a better, cleaner formulated product. 

Go Clean: Intelligent Nutrients Plant Stem Cell Renewal Complex

Product: Intelligent Nutrients Plant Stem Cell Skin Science Renewal Complex ($55, Intelligent Nutrients)

I love beauty products of every kind, there is nothing more exhilarating to me than the first pump, the first whiff of a new product’s scent, the first application, etc. I started at a young age when my mom started me on the Clinique 3 Step system, and since then my routines have evolved from Lazlo peels to even dabbling in La Prairie (the alcohol!). My most recent interest is in clean products. I think ounce for ounce, a well made, high quality clean product trumps all other products each time. I’m particular about saying ‘clean’ products because my personal theory is that a product doesn’t have to be 100% natural to be good for you, I just don’t want it to contain anything bad for me. There are some chemicals that can be good with no side-effects, and there are some naturals that can irritate or even be toxic!

In my quest to up my skincare to equally high-end, beautiful products that have better formulations, I landed upon a brand called Intelligent Nutrients. Intelligent Nutrients was started by Horst Rechebacher who was the founder of Aveda. His mission in creating Intelligent Nutrients was to create a line using non-toxic, 100% food based, organic ingredients. To prove how safe his products were, during a demonstration, he even drank an entire bottle of his cleanser.

I knew their key technology was the Plant Stem Cell and antioxidant rich Intellimune complex so I decided to try their Plant Stem Cell Skin Science Renewal Complex, which I’m told is their most concentrated product that combines all their core skin science philosophies.

The product is described as a spot treatment for scars, wrinkles, stretch marks, and other skin imperfections. I decided to use this on my forehead and smile lines since that is where most of my fine lines have begun to form. I also have some fresh acne blemishes on my forehead that I did not use the Ultimate Perfecting Serum on (I used that to get rid of old scars- click the link for my review on that wonderful product).

The first time I used this product, I felt like a scientist with the vial and dropper. The scent is strong and herbal but not unpleasant like how some synthetic fragrances are, in other words, you’ll live. I covered my “problem spots” with a few drops and massaged into my skin. The complex is easily absorbed and does provide some moisture.

The instruction say to not use anything else over it as that could compromise the effectiveness of the product. This is actually in line with what Dr.Hauschka and YULI say about letting your skin detoxify at night. Immediately after I put the product on, I could feel a slight… effect. It wasn’t a tingle but I could tell the product was pretty active.

After 2 weeks of use (they recommend using no longer than 30 days), I still have my fine lines, but they are ‘finer’ and less apparent. I also noticed places where I feel new potential breakouts really calm down when I put this over. In general, I have come to the conclusion that this is like a very natural version of a Retinol treatment without the risk of biotoxic accumulation. For $55 a vial, $130 for 4 vials – I think the price might be slightly high. However I would repurchase this again if my skin really needs an added dose of pampering.