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.

The Sunday Trio


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.


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.

The Spring Beauty Edit


As seasons change, so too does our skin needs making Spring the perfect time to update our skincare top shelf! Gone are the thick moisturizers and anything that can be described as “heavy,” and in are fresh, enlivening products that awaken skin. The above are some products that I’d like to share with you as part of my Spring Beauty Edit:

Tata Harper Purifying Cleanser: As a first step, this cleanser smells lovely and gets rid of make-up/sunscreen build up. It washes off as a milky fluid making removal easy. Good for a quick removal or extended massage. Use in place of a balm which might prove too heavy for Spring/Summer.

Pro-tip: Apply on dry skin and cleanse before washing. The times I used this in the shower resulted in cleanser washing immediately into my eyes as I believe this cleanser is designed to break down with continued water exposure.

Kypris Moonlight CatalystA gentle resurfacing treatment that sloughs away dead skin cells and exfoliates dead skin cells that perhaps have been trapped under all the oils and moisturizers from winter. A night-time only serum, apply before face oil for best results.

Pro-tip: The older version which is more of a brownish-orange hue seemed to work better for me and the new version which is clear seems much more mild. Both versions seem to work best when slightly heated in hands first. Dry/delicate skin should use this 1-2 times a week as too much exfoliation can be counter productive and reveal thin/crepy skin. I’ll provide a more in-depth review comparing the two soon.

YÜLI M.E. Skin FuelSpring is a season of change, meaning skin may be in flux. This face oil from YÜLI is incredibly high quality being made on site from really incredible ingredients that are beneficial for problematic or compromised skin – black cumin, broccoli seed, sea buckthorn, red raspberry, prickly pear and the formula is focused on balancing and optimizing skin. Deemed a multivitamin for skin and topped with a refined fragrant jasmine note, few will find anything to complain about with this versatile oil.

Pro-tip: Apply to skin that is dewy. Oily and acne prone skins can actually put this anti-inflammatory oil on breakouts to speed up healing. Red/irritated/sensitive skins will like this gentle formula as it contains actual anti-irritant extracts. Use the press/pull technique for maximum absorption.

Kari Gran Lip WhipAvailable in a variety of colors, the naked Lip Whip is a beautifully packaged, green lip balm that gives a viable option for us girls looking for an alternative from the Rodin and Omorovicza balms. The buttery texture is melt on your lips soft while providing a solid base to apply lip stains (or just opt for one of their lip tints). Wonderful to heal chapped lips from chronic winter dryness for supple Spring kissers.

Pro-tip: layer under or dab and mix with heavily pigmented lip products (i.e. W3ll People, RMS, etc) to create a natural, moisturizing tint.

Sunday Riley Good Genes: Good Genes perhaps has Sunday Riley’s biggest cult following, any IT girl from Emily Weiss of Into The Gloss to Alexandra Pakzad will swear by this stuff. Good Genes Treatment is a multitasking lactic acid lotion that is perfect for Spring Cleaning skin. The lactic acid is pretty strong at first (with a very acidic 2.4 pH) and helps to brighten dull, tired winter skin. The first time I used it, my skin felt the tingle and once the sensation subsided, it appeared that all the trapped sebum from winter were released onto my skin as I looked absolutely shiny (TMI?)

Pro-tip: As lactic acid is an AHA, do not layer with oils or actives that can be easily broken down such as Vitamin C and Retinol. Use as either a 20 minute mask (2-3 full pumps) or alone in the evening with an inactive moisturizer.

Kate Somerville Cytocell Eye CreamMy eyes are SENSITIVE. Origins/REN eye products make it red, oils always end up in my eyes and many of the luxury (non-natural) products can really irritate my eyes so when I find one that works, I stick with it, especially through Spring when pollen and allergens are at an all time high. This eye cream from Kate Somerville has been on my wish list for years before I could afford to spend $75 on an eye cream. The ingredients include Vitamin C, a milk peptide complex and Peptide P-199 that renews skin. It relieves, soothes and gives me confidence that somehow my eyes look awake even if I am not.

Pro-tip: Stock in the fridge for added cooling benefits which helps with dark circles and firming. This cream glides onto skin so it can also be used as an eye make-up primer.

YÜLI Halcyon: This cleanser is an all time favorite and is in the Spring Beauty Edit because 1) with a flower water base, it smells like spring in a bottle 2) Spring is the best season for bare skin and this cleanser is perfect for that quick, one-step cleanse to keep skin beautiful. Every wash leaves my skin naked but never stripped just super comfortable and plush.

Pro-tip: The most luxurious cleanse I’ve had was by wetting skin with rose-water or face mist first before applying 3 full pumps of Halcyon and massaging skin. I do this every Sunday and my skin is baby soft, glowing, and pampered afterward. This gel cleanser is also superb when mixed with powder-to-cream masks.

In Fiore Encens Vetivert Body Oil: Unfortunately not yet in stock from In Fiore, this seasonal body oil is one I am well and truly obsessed over. The body oil comes out in a green hue due to the grapeseed oil base and sinks into skin beautifully that it can be applied to dry or wet skin. In Fiore’s scents are phenomenal and their body oils almost double as perfume oils, each transporting the wearer. This one is perhaps my favorite: Vetiver, Neroli, Jasmine, Mandarin all shine. It’s a floral heaven with some edge due to the grassey Vetiver note.

Pro-tip: Apply as a hair oil and do a weekly scalp massage with this oil. Not only do I find it beneficial for my hair and scalp, but it helps keep the scent ruminating all around.

What products have you put on the back burner and what are your staples for Spring? Leave your thoughts in the comments section!

My Journey into Korean Beauty, An Education

Recently I’ve been swept into the K-Beauty trend or Korean Beauty trend. “Is this were you use a gajillion products in your routine?”/ “Isn’t that the same trend that’s pushing snail slime?” You ask? To which I say – yes, all true. The Korean Beauty trend has gained a lot of attention from the now ubiquitous serial-killer looking sheet masks seen all over Instagram to the focus on a disciplined, multiple product regimen.

I decided to explore this trend more in depth because I wanted to see for myself where the truth stood between hype and results. Would using such uncommon ingredients be more beneficial? Is the multiple product approach better than one that is streamlined?

It was a little daunting at first when hearing about 10-step routines and just the categories (cleansers, toners, essences, serums, pressed serums, oils, ampules, moisturizers, sheet masks, rubber masks, splash masks – OH MY!) alone are enough to intimidate any beginner or novice. I enlisted the help of natural K-beauty purveyor Glow Recipe which provides handy , informative guides and insights on latest trends as well as Sokoglam‘s Charlotte Cho who is a wonderful source for all things K-Beauty.

It was through watching their videos, reaching out on Instagram and a couple of e-mails back and forth that I was able to form my insights which is that like any beauty regimen, the Korean Beauty regimen is all about what works for you. For the most part, the reason for so many steps is because the K-Beauty philosophy is comprehensive rather than tedious and purposefully overwhelming. After researching the products and categories, I believe it’s really important to think about everything holistically in terms of how products will interact with each other and what they bring to the table independently.


One of the first things I noticed was that despite those uniquely out-there ingredients, most of the ingredients list tend to be fairly common and not that different from what one might easily find in a Sephora store. Take for example the snail goo sleeping mask from Missha (Cell Renew Snail Sleeping Mask) shown above. Sounds pretty cool right? The actual product is really just a rich creamy lotion, no hint of goo but an abundance of synthetic fragrance. In my experience, there wasn’t anything that distinguished it from other moisturizers despite being called a sleeping mask. I suppose in this regard overnight moisturizers might as well all be called sleeping masks and day time moisturizers, activity masks?

What I did gravitate toward was Glow Recipe, a site where products are really celebrated from being uniquely different. While the brand curates “natural” offerings, the green beauties out there may notice some iffy ingredients such as PEG’s but in general I didn’t see too many bad ingredients. Think of this purveyor as carrying brands akin to Origins, REN, Grown Alchemist, where they’re not entirely ‘green’ but a daliance isn’t going to be ideology shattering either. I love how enthusiastic the ladies at Glow Recipe are with sharing their latest finds in which each product is given a chance to shine – their latest discovery is the Aqua Peel which is an acid treatment applied through a soaked over sized Q-Tip, pretty cool right?

With Glow Recipe, I found that the Whamisa line really spoke to me and I purchased their Organic Flowers Toner [Deep Rich] which is described as a bouncy essence like hydrating step and Organic Flowers Facial Oil which I purchased purely to see how Korean oils may differ from ones we purchase here. The Organic Flowers Facial Oil reminded me of the Acure Oil in terms of packaging and was noticeably light and quick absorbing. As a fan of face oils and being spoiled by brands like Odacite and Yuli that just can’t be beat when it comes to freshness, nothing about the Whamisa Oil stood out to me per se although it proved competent as a night time oil (it contains citrus oils which automatically classes it as an evening only product for me).

Still, the toner immediately found its way into my routine, nestled between cleansing and a fine botanical mist. I found the emollient texture to add a certain bit of moisture cushion which is much welcomed during the winter. I also like that it relies on Aloe Vera, botanical extracts and natural fermentation which is something we see in green beauty as well.

In fact, I recognized that a lot of things that worked for me with Korean Beauty also worked in line with green beauty from the reliance of high quality ingredients, plant based actives and designing a comprehensive system focused upon individual skin conditions. I was able to take the teachings of K-Beauty and apply it to my fairly green top shelf:


My evening K-Beauty inspired Green routine starts with double cleansing. In Korea and Japan, women believe that to take off the layers of the day requires a multi-step process starting with the make-up, sunscreen and water-proof products. This is usually an oil based cleanser and in my case on light days, I use an oil-based cream cleanser like In Fiore’s Treate. After the surface is cleared, it’s time to really cleanse and freshen the skin and Korean beauty usually incorporates a light foaming, pH balanced cleanser that is usually SLS and alcohol free. Of course, for this step I use my beloved Yuli Halcyon Cleanser, which I find to use much higher quality and advanced ingredients – I really do consider it to be THE gift to us green beauty fans.

Now that skin is bare and fresh, I acid tone with First Aid Beauty’s Radiance Pads to give a gentle resurfacing which only helps skin absorb more moisture to follow. This is the most gentle acid toner I’ve used and it was recommended by a reader (thank you!). Next I use 3 drop-fuls of Whamisa’s Organic Flowers Toner and press into my skin in upward circular motions. This gives my skin a good moisture base to build from. Then I follow with Tatcha’s Luminous Deep Hydration Serum to really amp up the hydration factor with hyaluronic acid and Okinawa red algae which is very deeply moisturizing as the name suggests and gives skin some bounce. Next, with my skin loaded up from the water, glycerin, hydrating actives and hyaluronic acid, I mist it with MUN’s No.11 Rejuvenating Rose toner which is based on water and rose water (which the aforementioned actives will bind to skin) and also contains hyaluronic acid. In Korean Beauty, this is the pressed oil/ampoule stage so I press 1.5 to 2 pumps of Yuli’s Liquid Courage antioxidant serum to my skin as it is the most concentrated product and I want to give time for my skin to absorb all of the good stuff. Liquid Courage itself contains a unique ingredient in the form of a bio-ferment of black garlic which kicks up the antioxidant capacity, and don’t worry I can confirm that there is no unpleasant garlic odor, only a soft neroli fragrance. With serums, I allow one to two minutes for it to absorb before continuing.

During this time I diligently apply my Kahina Giving Beauty Eye Serum which is one of my favorite as it contains peptides, antioxidants and hyaluronic acid as well. I do a dot on each ring finger and dab across my under eye. This Eye Serum relieves that bit of tightness that I sometimes feel and sinks in quickly. I press any leftover product to my smile lines and around my lips.


As the final step I use Tatcha’s Soothing Triple Recovery Cream which locks in all that hydration and itself is formulated with the highest concentration of colloidal oatmeal which is a very powerful anti-inflammatory. This anti-aging moisturizer also contains Indigo extract and is based on water and olive based squalane. The Soothing Triple Recovery Cream also does not contain essential oils and coupled with the colloidal oatmeal has won the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance.

So while I know this might look like a lot immediately, once each step is broken down everything starts making sense in their place. So what began as an exploration of a new trend really just showed me that it was a different take on the tried and true: do what works for you! I’ll likely continue to incorporate some things from Korean beauty because they’re quite playful and out of the box with product ideas and a lot of things actually work very well, however I’ve come away with a deeper appreciation for high quality ingredients that us green beauty fans have treasured all along.

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!

Summer Essentials

TheBeautyIdealist Summer Essentials

We often think of our skin as a “type” but the reality is, it is constantly in flux. So while some of us have dry skin or oily skin, the truth is every day our skin is responding to so many different things that when the seasons change, skin needs will have to be evaluated. Here are the products that have been so good to my skin so far this summer.

The Hair Care: Rahua Shampoo

When I originally reviewed this shampoo, I noted that it was slightly drying. However this quality also makes it pretty good for summer where hair and scalp in general is more oily. The organic blend of quinoa, rahua-ungurahua, and palo santo improves healing, moisture retention, and regenerates scalp and hair follicles. The gentle formula uses coconut derived surfactants to clean hair and it is said to be color-safe. All these qualities make it great for summer when the sun can do some serious damage.

The Eye Care: Verso  Super Eye Serum

I have a Goldilocks problem when it comes to eye product: too light and there is a tight/dry feeling, too heavy and it makes me feel suffocated (not to mention, I’ll no doubt end up rubbing it into my eye eventually). Verso’s Super Eye Serum gets it just right. It’s a light creamy gel texture that absorbs quickly without sitting on skin but retains that feeling of significance so the delicate skin around eyes is never feeling dry and tight. The patented Retinol 8 complex is formulated into every Verso product. It’s supposedly a more effective, gentler and UV stable form of retinol that increases collagen and reverses signs of aging around the eyes. I luckily don’t have crows feet or fine lines around my eyes but I feel this really makes my eye area take care of.

The First Cleanse: In Fiore Treate

I’m not a oil/balm cleansing type of girl. It takes too long to get skin clean from the film and doesn’t ever make my skin feel that clean afterward. In Fiore’s Treate is a non-foaming cream that gently helps to remove make-up and sunscreen which is very applicable for summer when my going out routine is sweat proof make-up and heavy water-resistant sunscreen. The scent is a light jasmine which also feels refreshing for summer. The bonus is unlike oil/balms, this actually washes clean. Look for a full review to come!

The Second Cleanse: YULI Halcyon

The second cleanse is a bit of a misleading moniker in that to the average person who thinks double cleansing is too complicated might go for the first and call it a day. The truth is that the second cleanse is when you need that really effective cleanser to come in and get rid of all those things lodged deep in skin and take care of skin. I originally reviewed this and loved it. Since then I’ve used a series of cleansers to see what was out there and similar to Nephriticus (scroll to 7:50 mark), this is a holy grail that I keep coming back to because each time I’m just reminded of how good this cleanser is. During summer our skin accumulates even more of that unwanted stuff and this is the right stuff to get it all removed without stripping/drying skin thanks to a pH balanced, soap-free formula.

The Mask: Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask

Summer is when we jam pack our schedules with weekend trips and vacations which makes this convenient jar of detoxifying mask perfect as your travel companion. Unlike powder masks which I love but take a while to prepare, this jelly mask comes ready to apply. The beta-hydroxy treatment sloughs off dead skin cells while clays detoxify skin. Perfect for summer. This mask applies like a dream gel and can be washed off when dried.  Easy and simple, with results every time.

The Refresher: YULI Metamorphic Elixir

I couldn’t finish this list without a facial mist! They’re so essential for cooling off, reducing inflammation, and irritation. I carry a mist with me everywhere, after the gym, if I’m out for too long, throughout the day in the office, and of course after cleansing. YULI Metamorphic Elixir is one I fell in love with last winter when I needed something hydrating but come summer and I’m still in love with it thanks to the completely hydro-based formula that doesn’t clog pores or add any weight onto skin. The smell of roses feel like a luxury every time I spray it and it helps to tone and soothe skin. It works great for when I’m out and about and also for an after-sun spray.

Do you also switch out products when the seasons change? What are your summer essentials? 

Anti-Aging Series: All Star Evening Routine

Anti Aging Trio

In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought it would be fitting to share the beauty products that my mom and I both adore in turning back the hands of time and off setting the aging that occurs. While some may be uneasy with the usage of the term “anti-aging,” it is not a term that has ever bothered me. To me, ‘anti-aging’ really isn’t an age discriminatory word but rather a scientific word that indicates a delay or reversal in skin aging which is crucial for identifying suitable products. Therefore I use this word without judgement of broader social aspects that some may apply to it as I think the removal of this term ultimately just confuses the message as at the end of the day – these really are anti-aging products.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that two of the products featured are serums as these are the most concentrated and active skincare products which are needed to counter the effects of aging. There are many effective products but I chose a trio that features the key components in anti-aging skincare: exfoliation to turn over skin cells, retinol the most effective ingredient to turn back time and a gentle, light moisturizer that renews skin and counters dryness. Because of how active these products are, they’re great when used overnight rather than during the day which is better for protecting skin.

Anti Aging Trio

The first step of this anti-aging trio is Kypris Moonlight Catalyst, a wonderful exfoliator that reveals new skin through the use of pumpkin and peach enzymes that resurface skin. Kypris calls this a retinol alternative because it delivers the sloughing action that retinols provide only in a more gentle manner. Don’t worry about drying, this serum contains glucosides that are precursors to hyaluronic acid and sea algae that is known to help in moisture retention. The first few times I used it, I felt that slight tightness and had some skin peeling the next morning — which is a GOOD THING! It means the serum is doing it’s job!

I sometimes mix and sometimes just follow through with YULI Modern Alchemist. Most of the time I mix as I feel like it gets most of the actives in which is important because these two serums combined have so many actives. Whereas Kypris Moonlight Catalyst acts as a chemical exfoliator, YULI Modern Alchemist is a bio-retinol serum which contains a completely botanically sourced retinol complex that contains varied forms of biologically compatible Vitamin A that skin recognizes immediately and turns into retinol. This is important because it prevents many of the irritation commonly found in retinols, including increased vulnerability to sun damage. Besides retinols, this serum also has CoQ10 which hydrates, smoothes wrinkles and works with the retinols to even complexion. There is also a bio-fermented tamarind seed extract which in clinical studies is shown to be more effective than the gold standard hyaluronic acid in delivering hydration and boosting moisture retention.

So we have a super-serum made of an exfoliator and a retinol, your skin is getting quite a workout. I like to finish with Ren’s V-Cense Frankincense Revitalizing Night Cream which both adds to the power of the duo and provides some cushioning. Frankincense is the star ingredient here and it is known to rejuvenate and revitalize skin. I love this night cream because it complements the serums so well, the phytosterols work with the omega-lipid complex in YULI Modern Alchemist to restore skin’s lipid content which plumps and softens skin. The Vitamin C works with the enzymes in Kypris Moonlight Catalyst to boost cell turnover and tone skin. As a bonus, this night cream is very light and absorbs so quickly which means it won’t dilute your serums or just lay an ineffective coat over skin like some moisturizers can.

This power trio excels in promoting cell regeneration, restoring moisture and stimulating new cells which are the three main focal points of anti-aging skincare. This is why I always see results the next morning. No other combination gives my skin that almost botox like line-less skin with brightened glowing complexion like this – it is like a real life photoshop filter. I can’t speak enough good things about how effective this routine has been and how much of a workout its given my skin.

For starters, go light and ease up as all three products are powerful (I only use all 3 together about 2-3 times a week). Expect some tightness and maybe some flaking but once you get your skin adjusted, it really does become a total revitalizing treatment for skin.

Purchase the products in this story:
Kypris Moonlight Catalyst 
YULI Modern Alchemist
REN V-Cense Frankincense Revitalizing Night Cream

Full reviews of these products will come in the future. Have you used any of these products? What is your ultimate anti-aging routine?

YÜLI Harmony Review

YÜLI is a line that’s the definition of game changing: clean ingredients, intelligent formulation and an ethos that is ahead of the pack. Few green lines can land a 2 page spread in Harper’s Bazaar, launch in Prague alongside the likes of cult fragrance line Byredo and ultra luxe Frederic Malle, and discuss “biodynamic agriculture and sustainable sourcing” in one breath. All this perhaps explains why the interest in this line grows stronger and stronger (yes I read all your e-mails!)

yuli harmony

When YÜLI announced their body oil release, I was curious to see how this brand that seemingly indulges in pushing the possibilities of clean and advanced skincare was going to put their stamp on their version of a body oil. Harmony was their answer in a crowded field that featured so many players with beautiful oil blends. So where does Harmony stand?

Harmony is described as an alchemy of flower and skin, infusing a regenerating flower complex that soothe inflammation, accelerate repair and healing, promote moisture, and increase cell renewal. What makes this complex special is the process, as beautiful whole flowers of Immortelle, wild grown French Lavender, Blue Water Lily, and Indian Lotus flower undergo an infusion process three times before they’re bottled. This is really a standout that no other body oils incorporate. And by the way, the infusion process itself takes place in a chamber that also imbibes the oils together with rose quartz, jade and amethyst gemstones while undergoing biophotonic-charging to measurably increase the potency of the plant actives and refining the oils on a molecular level to better penetrate into skin that other oils cannot. YÜLI doesn’t play.

Not to take away from the innovation of Harmony but the plant oils themselves are each worthy of accolade so let me draw your attention to the roster for a sec: Prickly Pear Seed Oil, Camellia Seed Oil, Red Raspberry, Acai, Buriti, Watermelon seed. I mean… this in a face oil would be a superstar and YÜLI has bottled it for your body. An additional bonus, Harmony contains no citrus oils (YÜLI is known to refrain from using citrus and irritating/photosensitizing essential oils) as well as even all nut oils so it’s really wonderful for those with skin sensitivities. Intelligent. And below you can see how rich and vibrant the oil is (this was when I was on the last few pumps of Harmony and the oil’s color was still soooo full):


The result is a body oil that is very light in texture but that packs a punch in hydration thanks to the molecular refining process that allows the oils to sink into skin so efficiently. My arms and legs immediately feel like they’re wrapped in silk and I wake up to soft and supple (I don’t like to use this word because it’s such a marketing word, but it’s so true in this case) skin.  I even feel like my skin quality is improved as it appears firmer, tighter and more even in tone and texture.

Although YÜLI is not a line that’s about the fragrance, I think their products smell really beautiful and Harmony – although a performance powerhouse, brings that luxurious quality with a very subdued and measured rose, amber, vanilla combination that feels indulgent but never heavy or cloying.

I’d like to say this has been a part of my daily ritual this winter but the truth is that I’ve been rationing it out. I’m really afraid of running out that at this point I seriously plan my orders 2 weeks in advance (does anyone else do this?????). When I do have a full bottle, I go to town with it after showers and even dab a little as a hair conditioner to get the delicious scent to linger. I also use this in the summer when my skin is more exposed because the oils also protect skin (see here). With this much use, the good thing is that I think this is really well priced at $80 for 3.4oz which is actually more affordable than most other body oils which don’t feature the ingredient roster this does nor the innovations that went into making this, so I consider this a staple product and have repurchased it twice already. It hydrates, refines and performs like nothing else, it was love at first pump.

 YÜLI Harmony ($80)

Winter Beauty MVPs

Beauty Idealist

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the most maddening time of year. Years spent as a student has given me near anxiety of wanting to experience and enjoy the seasonal merriment while also buckling down for the finals that loom in the ever approaching distance. While I’ve usually focused on skincare, this post is about those most valuable products that I’ve found myself relying on lately to look and feel my best whether it’s meeting a professor, stopping into a store for a gift buying session or catching up with busy friends over holiday cheer.

Byredo Gypsy Water

To me Byredo will always represent the first niche line I ever tried. What an exciting time that was to venture out of my comfort zone of Tom Ford, Armani and Chanel fragrances to try this then little heard of company with growing cult status. Now Byredo is game changer, managing to retain it’s cult-favorite status while expanding their doors in a major way.

In a line of simple and sometimes alarmingly stark selections, Gypsy Water is the signature in my opinion. It goes on citrus and dries toward incense. Surprising and captivating, making me feel somewhat powerful yet understated enough throughout the day.

Celine Bicolor Clutch

I’ve not discovered anything more versatile and understated as these now iconic two tone clutches from Celine that go with everything. They’re just the right size to fit the necessities: phone, cards, keys and the extras.

Kjaer Weis Lip Tint

I have to be honest that I didn’t like this at first. As the first green lip product I tried, I found the color to be a little basic and the texture to be dry/rough compared to the silky lip products I had been using. Yet I persisted, for two main reasons: 1. The Kjaer Weis packaging is just so damn glamorous. It literally turns heads as I reapply after meals. 2. Complaints aside, the sacrifice is worth it for safer ingredients since we eat the majority of what we put on our lips.

Over time this grew on me and Dream State is that perfect nude that doesn’t give the impression that you “dressed up” for any occasion but just that you look “together”. It also keeps lips moist (thanks to jojoba oil, shea butter and beeswax) and although you will need to reapply throughout the day, it’s not like that’s a bad thing, especially when it’s another opportunity to whip out the metal slider!

Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation

The Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation collection might be limited in color range but it makes up for it in perfect coverage and wearability. You’ll frequently hear beauty editors talking about how the HG foundation should give that perfect “your skin but better” appearance and this is as close as it comes to that in real life. This foundation is so light and layerable for deeper coverage yet the result is always a near nude never cakey appearance. You can go an entire day without feeling like you’re wearing any foundation. I’ve sang its praises time and again on Twitter but a good product deserves accolades.

Yuli Metamorphic Elixir

Yuli’s line is just genius and their elixirs have been on quite an editorial role lately. This elixir in particular seems to be making waves right now among the beauty heavy hitters, between make-up artists and celebrities. It’s my latest purchase from them and although I was initially hesitant since this is for dry/mature skin, I took the plunge after reading through the ingredients: a rose complex of 5 types of roses, hyaluronic acid that they make themselves from organic botanicals, Vitamin C, and the list goes on. And I’m glad I took the chance because this is perfect for winter and so so necessary. Where I usually get dry, flaky skin around my lips and cheeks this has helped keep my skin plump and hydrated. Since this is a hydro-based product (rather than oil based), it also addresses the water aspect of moisture (managing dehydrated skin rather than just dry skin) that balms, oils and butters will not address which is probably why my skin has never looked better.

Oh and the smell, the roses are light and luxurious. It makes me think of what a wealthy Upper East Side lady with a light, sophisticated touch would have in her beauty vanity. Each spray makes me feel wrapped in luxury. A knockout.

Look for in-depth reviews of these in the future, but in the meantime are there are products on my MVPs list that are also yours? 

Review: YÜLI Halcyon


Well it’s been a long time coming and I know you, loyal readers, have been awaiting this review with every new post I write as seen in all of the comments section requesting more information on this cleanser! I totally understand why, cleansers are such a delicate product.

I had this review written up a week ago and I thought I’d post a little teaser about it before I post it since I received so many requests to review this cleanser. Little did I know that I would end up receiving literally 62 emails asking specific questions about Halcyon. I have never received this level of interest or curiosity before. It made me go back to add bits here and there to the review I had written, so despite the delay – please enjoy!

When I first started this blog, I wrote that my search for the holy grail of cleansers was never-ending, having found many good ones but not “the one”. The issue is even more complex because of my personal belief that while green products are indeed capable of matching and exceeding the performance of their mainstream counterparts, they do need to work around a lot of chemicals that give cleansers and moisturizers their functionality. As such green beauties have a myriad of options to choose from for cleansers: balms, oils, powders – but few dare I say “traditional” cleansers, the creams and gels that are used in mainstream skincare. Green beauty companies have found ways around this “watch this powder fizz” “wipe off with a beautiful muslin cloth!” – but to me it was all sacrifice for the experience of an actual legitimate cleanser. As exciting as it is to give life to a powder, or as tranquil as it is to massage a balm or oil around skin, these products aren’t suitable replacements for ever day cleansing – no matter what marketing would suggest.

Gimmicks aside there are good quality green cleansers yet there has always been something to keep me from repurchasing, such as Tracie Martyn’s amla cleanser which offers quite a performance but at the cost of being exceptionally drying or Tata Harper’s Cleansers which smell delightful but are made with waxes and butters that don’t really cleanse properly and instead clog pores, or Intelligent Nutrients anti-aging cleanser which is a vitamin for skin but doesn’t actually cleanse at all (it’s literally a lotion that you massage into skin)! I feel like I’ve had more than enough experience to give a qualified assessment of cleansers at this point.

When I purchased YÜLI’s Halcyon cleanser, I was determined not to write a review right away because I really wanted to see how my skin would respond after long term use. Although I have been a fan of YULI’s in the past, filling this void in my skincare checklist was a task that I wasn’t sure if any product could handle. Cleanser was the first skincare product I ever bought, before I knew the concept of moisturizing and what not, so in many ways I’m most critical of cleansers. Enough background.

The quick and easy if you want to skip the rest (cause I know some of you have been patiently waiting for a long time): after months of testing, I’m pleased to say that with it’s winning combination of a green formula that purists will love, amazing cutting edge ingredients, really stellar all around performance, gentle demeanor and stellar results,  YÜLI’s Halcyon has accomplished the feat of not only being an effective green cleanser that can compete with mainstream rivals, but of essentially ending my search for the cleanser that I can use every day and not be left wanting.

halcyon ingredients

Halcyon is described as a high-tech bioactive cleansing gel that is gentle enough for daily use and effective enough to rid skin of impurities. The ingredients back up this claim, as it is one of the only cleansers (green or not) that contain peptides, hybridized enzymes, organic herbal infusions, ferments, and floral waters. All of the ingredients are chirally correct which basically means the ingredients are completely active and stable. Halcyon also stands out for what it does not include: harsh detergents, sulfates, soap bases, alcohol – all of which can be drying and strip skin or irritating to sensitive skin. This is quite a feat in formulating and really showcases YULI’s mastery of ‘green technology’ as even other green brands like Dr. Alkaitis are known to have cleansers that use soaps or alcohols.

All of this is pointless if it only looks good on paper. The gel has a great fluid consistency that applies easily to skin. It’s clear and has a slight golden tinge, and smells a refreshing floral which is quite surprising as YULI is not one of those lines in my mind that tries to make things smell good for the sake of smelling good. I use about 3 pumps and apply it in a circular upward motion around my face to lather it up a little. As it is very gentle and made without chemical surfactants, don’t expect a lot of foam but it will lather. I think this allows it to remove surface debris without drying skin which really foaming cleansers such as Tracie Martyn’s often do.

The scent and performance of Halcyon really was soothing and tranquility inducing, making me feel like I was for a brief moment at a beach side villa in Greece overlooking the crystal clear blue waters befitting of the name Halcyon. I actually looked forward to my morning and night time ritual because this cleanser was so delightful and was instantly uplifting.

The first time I used it, I noticed how exceptionally light it was compared to every cleanser I had used before. I kept touching my skin afterward because it just felt so “normal” never tight or stripped. To my delight, my skin felt completely clean yet was so pampered and soft. As for the performance, while I would describe the cleanser as gentle, it absolutely provided the level of cleansing necessary to remove my day time products as well as the excess impurities from the night. I feel like I’ve seen improvements to my skin as well which I didn’t expect since cleansers don’t usually do that. It’s probably the chiral (!) Vitamin C, skin toning herbal infusion, anti-aging peptides, retexturizing enzymes,  which make this perhaps more half serum half cleanser. I feel like my skin is softer, less prone to breakouts (in fact, even after testing a myriad of facial oils and the stress of finals papers/exams, not a single breakout), and less prone to redness. For those who wear a lot of makeup, I would probably suggest oil cleansing before this so that the cleanser can work more on your skin and not just removing the makeup. In fact this cleanser contains so many beneficial ingredients that you’re actually recommended to leave this on your skin for a little while to soak up some of the beneficial actives before washing off the impurities.


Halcyon is an exceptional cleanser that is quite unlike anything else out there. The ingredients list is proof of this lines innovative and technological prowess that separates them from the field, the results are performance driven, the scent and feel are heavenly, I am in love. Through out this extensive testing even when I was testing out other cleansers, I looked forward to coming back to this as my skin seemed to come to life. I’m not one of those beauty bloggers who throws around the term holy grail product, but this has found its place as my daily cleanser, a spot that has no small feat to fill.

To answer some of your questions that I couldn’t fit into this review:

  • I found makeup removal competent. I’m not a heavy makeup kind of girl but I also don’t use a lot of green makeup brands so the products I use are probably more difficult to remove than RMS/Kjaer Weis. I use a lot of Tom Ford, Chantecaille, Shiseido, Tarte, and Koh Gen Do products including blush/bronzer/luminizer, but no heavy mascara and I found that Halcyon did a good job of removing everything from my face. I personally like to remove makeup with something like an oil first before because otherwise I feel like I’m wasting the Halcyon since a lot of the ingredients are actually beneficial for skin rather than normal cleansers which just wash things off.
  • Which brings the next point, some of you ask if all these good ingredients are wasted in a cleanser since you wash it off. According to Yuli’s instruction, they’re aware that the cleanser contains a lot of beneficial ingredients (I even refer to it as almost a serum/cleanser) and they say you can leave it on skin a little after it is activated prior to washing off. It seems to work because I do feel like it helps to feed my skin even though it rinses very cleanly off my skin.
  • This did not make me break out, it actually helped to keep my skin clear because it was balancing as it cleansed off impurities. The gel rinses off really clean without leaving residue but it also didn’t make my skin feel “dry/tight”. 
  • I think this is good for sensitive skin, it is REALLY gentle and in fact because it smelled so good, my curiosity got the best of me and when I got a little on my lips, I did taste it, to my surprise it was very neutral which makes me think sensitive skin would probably really like this. And it isn’t exfoliating or drying so you can use it every day.
  • This works really well as the 2nd step of a double cleanse because it doesn’t irritate skin but it will help to remove the leftover residue from oil cleansing.
  • Why did I feel it was important to give this cleanser an extended test run? Because I’m super particular about cleansers and I’m not afraid of being critical. There was a review I did a while back on Sunday Riley’s Ceramic Slip cleanser that I thought was amazing. But then I started noticing that when my skin was fine, continued use of that cleanser would break me out most likely due to the drawing clays which stripped my skin  so I can’t really use that unless my skin is particularly oily otherwise it is too much and can actually make me imbalanced/break out/dry. So I kind of learned my lesson and decided to REALLY give this a test, and I feel like all of my observations in this review are more meaningful as a result.
  • “My skin is really dry and I generally use cleansing balms to keep my skin hydrated, can I still use this” – I don’t see any reason why you can’t. But this is a cleansing gel, not a cleansing balm they’re different products and work differently – I would say if you’re looking for a cleansing gel and you buy a balm, you won’t be happy and if you’re looking for a cleansing balm and you buy a gel you won’t be happy. I do though that whereas a cleansing balm/oils probably shouldn’t be used daily especially for acne prone and combination and oily skins, this gel one of the most universal I’ve used.
  • “My skin is really oily and I break out a lot! Can I use this?” – Again, I don’t see why not. I describe Halcyon as gentle but it belies the fact that the gel itself is quite a performer in removing the little somethin’-somethin’s we all get on our skin at the end of the day and will refresh skin in the morning. I think this is the cleanser I would have recommended to myself years ago when I was using the really harsh cleansers for acne prone skin that just stripped my skin and led to more breakouts.
  • “What cleansers would you say Halcyon is most similar to?” – Probably Tracie Martyn amla Purifying Cleanser, the discontinued Ren Rosa Centifolia Cleanser in terms of gentleness and lightness which was one of my classic faves until they changed the ingredients and took out everything expensive, Sonya Dakar Ultraluxe Nourishing Wash, Aesop Parsely Seed Cleanser  Although Halcyon is more green than the listed cleansers, they’re all what I consider to be refreshing, high quality gels. (I really AM a cleanser junky aren’t I?)

Have other questions you don’t see answered? Drop it in the comments!