The 10 Best Lemongrass Health & Beauty Products

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Lemongrass is one of my most favorite essential oils. I have been using some really fabulous products with lemongrass lately and wanted to share them with you.

What is lemongrass?

Also known as Cymbopogon Citratus Oil, Lemongrass Essential Oil has a really delightful herbal lemon aroma. In skincare, lemongrass has myriad benefits. Lemongrass is beneficial for those with oily skin and congested pores because of its antibacterial properties. It offers some antiperspirant properties and is anti-inflammatory, too.

Karley's favorite lemongrass skincare products


Soapwalla Kitchen Sensitive Skin Citrus Deodorant Cream is an all-natural cream deodorant with moisture and odor absorbing corn starch, kaolin clay, and myriad skin pampering ingredients like shea butter and sunflower seed oil. 

This is my FAVORITE natural deodorant. All of the others I have tried in the contained lavender, which irritates my armpits after shaving. This one does not. It has a subtle aroma from the lemongrass and citrus oils with notes of creamy vanilla. This is one of the few natural deodorants that WORKS in the summer months for me and does not cause skin redness or irritation.

Ingredients:  Zea mays (Corn) starch*, Butyrospermum parkii (Shea) butter*, Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) seed oil*, Magnesium hydroxide, Kaolin, Lycopodium clavatum (Club moss) extract, Sunflower lecithin*, Litsea cubeba (May chang) fruit oil*, Cymbopogon flexuosus (Lemongrass) herb oil*, Citrus bergamia (Bergaptene-free bergamot) fruit oil*, Citrus sinensis dulcis (Sweet orange) peel oil*, Citrus aurantifolia (Lime) peel oil*, Tocopherol, Melaleuca cajeputi (Cajeput) oil*, Cymbopogon martini (Palmarosa) oil*, Activated Charcoal, Vanilla planifolia fruit extract, Limonene**, Citral**, Linalool**, Geraniol**. *Certified Organic, **Naturally occurring in essential oils


Odacite Gt + L Radiance Effect Serum Concentrate is among my favorite serums. This gem features antioxidant-rich Camellia Seed Oil, Vitamin E, and Lemongrass. While it is a simple serum, it is just splendid and feels incredibly luxurious on the skin. My skin is left feeling buttery soft, while looking renewed.

Ingredients: Highest-grade certified virgin organic Camellia (Camellia oleifera) seed oil, Certified GMO-free Vitamin E (Tocopherols) oil, Certified organic Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) essential oil.


Zum Lemongrass Sugar Facial Scrub is a gentle, refreshing face exfoliant. With the ingredients in this, I recommend it for normal and combination/oily skin types. This is a lovely scrub to slough away the dead skin cells that accumulate and clog the pores. Jojoba oil and charcoal are particularly beneficial to those with excess sebum, while plant-based oils nourish and add softness.

Ingredients: sucrose*, water, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil*, glycerin, charcoal powder, coconut oil*, olive oil*, potassium hydroxide**, fragrance (essential oils), castor oil, sodium borate *Organic Ingredients **None remains after saponifying oils into soap and glycerin


Jane Iredale Lemongrass Love Hydration Spray -- Refreshing, invigorating, cleansing. These are the three words that best describe this mist. It leaves the pores feeling clean as it cools and enlivens the skin. I love ALL of Jane Iredale's various sprays, but this one is my favorite. 

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Glycerin**, Cymbopogon Flexuosus (Lemon Grass) Oil*, Citrus Sinensis (Orange) Peel Oil Expressed, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract*, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract*, Cymbopogon Citratus (Lemon Grass) Extract*, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Extract*, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil*, Alcohol*


Seed  Lemongrass Body Cream-- Have you ever wished for a pure lemongrass cream? I am not talking about one with lemongrass fragrance oil, but one with 100% natural lemongrass essential oil. If you love lemongrass, you MUST try their Lemongrass Body Cream. It's a beautiful scent -- layer it by adding lemongrass to your body oil, lip oil or body wash. My legs are tight and itchy lately and need a bit of TLC. Plus, I use an epilator and it is super important to moisture and this is my go-to for fall and winter. 

Ingredients: (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Emulsifying Wax NF, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Coconut Oil), Stearic Acid, Camellia Sinensis Leaf (Green Tea) Extract, Glycerin, Gluconolactone (and) Sodium Benzoate, Cetyl Alcohol, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Tapioca Starch, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Lemongrass Essential Oil


Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soap Lemongrass Handmade Soap -- No one makes handmade soap like Nan's. No one.  have been using her soaps for a decade and they just are second to none. I think that some people are still hesitant to try a good bar soap. Do NOT confuse the likes of Dove, Zest, Ivory, etc. with true handmade soap. A well formulated handcrafted soap will be creamy, nourishing and feel amazing on the skin. If you are looking for lemongrass soap, this is a must-have. Take a look at the ingredients list, too. It is stellar!

Ingredients: Olive oil, coconut oil, distilled water, sodium hydroxide, grapeseed oil, rice bran oil, avocado oil, lemongrass essential oil, green clay, green oxide


Clover & Bee Lemongrass and Poppyseed Body Polish -- If you have been following along with me here on the blog over the past 11+ years, you will know that I love a good body scrub. I don't like them to be too dry or too oily. It's hard to get it just right. Clover & Bee is one of my new favorite brands. I am currently using the Lemongrass and Poppyseed Body Polish and am swooning over it. At first, I thought it might be a bit too dry, but once I tried it on my skin, I was hooked. This is a really unique scrub. Most body scrubs are sugar, salt or feature nut shells, but the #1 ingredient in this one is actually granulated honey. I am a sucker for products made with honey because of the myriad skincare benefits. This scrub smells like heaven and leaves skin soft and silky without feeling oily.

Ingredients: Granulated Honey, Granulated Sugar, *Babassu Nut Oil, *Macadamia Nut Oil, *Lemongrass Essential Oil, *Poppyseeds. *denotes certified organic ingredient


Rahua Organic Voluminous Shampoo is pure luxury. This exquisite (and expensive) shampoo not only adds shine and bounce to my chemically-treated locks, but it smells AMAZEBALLS. I have naturally dirty blonde hair that is now about 30% gray. For the past almost 4 years, it has been colored a rich brown. Prior to that, it was highlighted, lowlighted, baliaged, bleached, and more. I have not been kind to my hair over the years, drying it and flat ironing it nearly daily. In my teen years, it was spiral permed, hot rollered, and sprayed with Sun In. I am lucky that I still have hair.

I REALLY pamper it with great products, though, so that is why my hair is still in relatively good shape. Like I said earlier, this is a definite splurge, but you will LOVE this one.

Ingredients: Aqua, Herbal Infusion of Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract*, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass) Extract*, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract*, Coco Betaine, Sodium Chloride (Sea Salt), Saccharum Officinarum (Molasses) Extract, Glycerin, Caprylic Acid, Glycine, Oenocapus Bataua (Unguarahua) Oil, Hydrolyzed Quinoa, Potassium Sorbate (Plant-derived), Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil*, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil*, Citric Acid, Panthenol, Chlorophyll. *Organic Ingredient


Earth Friendly ECOS Organic Lemongrass Hand Soap - Bargain alert, my friends. I am going to recommend a product today that you can find at, of all places, The Home Depot. It is a fabulous natural hand soap in a whopping 17 ounce bottle for around 3 bucks. It smells just lovely and has better ingredients than most hand soaps.

IngredientsAqua (water), cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium coco sulfate, cocamidopropylamine oxide, glycerin, citrus grandis (grapefruit) seed extract, cymbopogon schoenanthus oil (lemongrass oil)*, phenoxyethanol, citral and benzyl benzoate. *N.O.P. Certified Essential Oil


Small batch-blended right here in Rochester, Tealightful offers beautiful and flavorful loose leaf teas. One of my favorites is Tealightful Spa Day, which is a blend of certified organic Lemongrass, Peppermint, Cinnamon Bark, and Licorice Root. It will make you feel amazing!

Luxury Lip Care: Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask and Henne Organic Lip Exfoliant Reviews

Friday, March 1, 2019

  • Today's topic: luxury lip care. I am sharing two products I am absolutely swooning over. They are amazing and if you are looking to treat yourself, these products should be in your beauty arsenal! My two personal favorites are the subject of today's review.

Henne Organics Lip Exfoliator Review

  • Henne Organics Nordic Berries Lip Exfoliator is the BEST lip scrub I have ever used. My other favorites have been the Lush Mint Julep scrub and another Henne Organics scrub -- Rose Diamonds.🌹

    I love everything about this exfoliant. It is 96.5% organic and is made with ingredients like jojoba and coconut oils, organic berry and vanilla flavors, raspberry, blueberry & more. It is a sugar-based scrub. It leaves my lips feeling so healthy and soft. I wear lipstick or lipgloss every single day, so I need to get rid of anything left behind. .

    The lovely Henne Organics product was included in my newest Boxwalla box and I just cannot recommend it enough!

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask Review

  • Next up, the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask Berry. This is the Korean version, which is not the product sold at Sephora. You can purchase this on the official Laneige website, from Amazon, and various K-beauty sites. On the Laneige site, you will find several flavors from which to choose. I opted for Berry to use after my Berry scrub.

    First off, when I was first introduced to this product, I figured it was another gimmick. The reviews are awesome, but I figured it would be just really overrated.

    Since I have been on a journey to better self care, taking some "me time", and REALLY enjoying my lengthier skincare routine, I figured "why not" and began using it several months ago.

    It feels ridiculously luxurious and my lips are plump and satiny when I wake up.

    It contains multiple fruit extracts, shea butter, murumumu seed butter, Lyceum fruit, quinoa seed extract, and more. It really plumps and softens the lips! 👄

The 5 Best Foundations for Women Over 40

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Let's talk about foundation, why don't we?

The right foundation can enhance your complexion, giving it the look of perfection, rather than the dreaded look of a chalky mask. Finding the right shade and formulation can be hard enough, but when you are in your forties and are experiencing skin changes, fine lines, hormonal issues, and hyperpigmentation, finding the perfect foundation can become an even more daunting task. I am here to share my tried and true with you, from one fortysomething to another.

Best Budget-Friendly Foundation

This $12 gem is definitely my favorite foundation for giving you the most for your money. I am sent foundations regularly for review in a wide range of prices. Some I love, while some sit on my vanity. I do not need to buy foundation, but this is one I will buy over and over again because it performs much better than your typical "budget" foundation. My other affordable favorites are L'Oreal True Match, Maybelline Fit Me Matte, and the discontinued Revlon Color Stay Whipped, but this one is best for my skin.

  • The best way I have found to apply this one is with my Real Techniques blending sponge (similar to, but better than the Beautyblender). I dampen the sponge and apply. 
  • This needs primer underneath. I use Honest Beauty Everything Primer Matte.
  • I have also used this with my Real Techniques Stippling  Brush and my Jane Iredale Foundation Brush, but I prefer the sponge.
  • This does NOT settle into fine lines! It blurs away imperfections, keeps oilies at bay, and leaves skin looking healthy.
  • For reference, I wear shade Light 50.
  • I do NOT break out at all from this foundation.
  • This is FRAGRANCE FREE. Thank you, Colour Pop.
  • I consider this more of a semi-matte formula. It is not a flat, true matte.
  • This does not oxidize at all and color stays true ALL DAY LONG.

Vegan, cruelty-free, paraben free formula

Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Silica, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Synthetic Sapphire, Polypropylsilsesquioxane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Polysorbate 20, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Potassium Sorbate, Trisodium Edta, Hexylene Glycol, Tocopherol; MAY CONTAIN: Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891)

Best Mineral Powder Foundation

I had heard of the brand Youngblood, yet only recently tried it for the first time. I was on a major copywriting project for a beauty marketplace and Youngblood was one of the brands I was responsible for writing about.

In case you are unaware, before I write about a product, I immerse myself in learning everything I can about the brand -- studying ingredients, the company history, reading reviews, and trying what I can. This helps me describe each product in a way that is more credible. If you are reading one of the product descriptions I have written on a product package or on a website, I want you to know how it will feel, smell, wear, etc. 

Anyway, I knew after reading up on this one that I just HAD to try it. This is the best powder foundation I have used. I apply it with a kabuki brush and buff it in circular motions. Again, primer is a must. This is so luxe, so satiny soft. It is not choppy like many powders can be. It is a dream to apply because you can watch those imperfections get buffed away.
  • Sheer to full coverage
  • Finish is natural and radiant without being glittery
  • Trade secret milling process means a softer, finer powder
  • Buildable coverage camouflages birthmarks, melasma, tattoos, and acne scars
  • This formula is popular among plastic surgeons for use post-procedure to calm redness without harming recovery.
  • Soft Beige is actually my summer color. It is a bit dark now, so I would recommend getting Neutral if you have my coloring.
  • The ultra basic formula is ideal for those with hypersensitive skin or conditions like rosacea.
Ingredients: Mica. MAY CONTAIN (+/-): Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77489, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163)

Best BB or CC Cream

I had a hard time with this one because I LOVE It Cosmetics CC Cream. That said, the smell of lime essential oil is overwhelming and triggers my allergies. This makes me super sad because I love how fresh my skin looks with this on. Unfortunately, essential oils can be just as much of an allergy trigger as artificial fragrance, so I really need to be careful when applying to my face. Because of this, I tested out others, including Thrive Causemetics (unimpressed) and Cargo (I love it, but it does not last all 

My favorite is an old favorite of mine that once seemed "too much" for me, but it now perfect for my 43 year old skin -- Jane Iredale Glow Time Mineral BB Cream.

  • Broad spectrum sun protection
  • This is more of a full coverage.
  • This, in my opinion, goes on best with the Jane Iredale Foundation Brush.
  • Diminishes the look of fine lines and enlarged pores to create an even canvas
  • Brightens the skin, giving a healthy glow
  • Vegan and wheat free
  • For reference, I wear shade BB5.

Ingredients: Active Ingredient: Titanium Dioxide 17.5%Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Coconut Alkanes, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Glycerin, Polysilicone 11, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Stearic Acid, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Fruit Extract, Malus Domestica Fruit Cell Culture Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Pectin, Chlorella Vulgaris/Lupinus Albus Protein Ferment, Sodium Ascorbate, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Raphanus Sativus (Radish) Root Extract, Lecithin, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Alumina, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract (and) Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Tamarindus Indica (Tamarind) Extract, Cymbopogon Citratus (Lemon Grass) Extract, Xanthan Gum
May Contain: Iron Oxides (CI 77489, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499),Chromium Oxide Greens (CI 77288)

I love the ingredients in this one. Grapefruit extract is rich in vitamins and antioxidants, may reduce hormonal breakouts, and has skin brightening characteristics. Apple fruit extract is soothing, hydrating, and can help lighten dark spots. It improves clarity by toning the skin and gives skin a refreshed appearance. Featuring naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), tamarind extract helps to eliminate dead skin cells, flakes, and improves overall skin texture. This is a gem of a formula.

Best Stick Foundation

This is the ONLY stick foundation I use, despite trying dozens! In fact, I have used this one on and off since I was first introduced to it in 2009 here on the blog. Way back in the days of yore, I used to use Estee Lauder Minute Makeup. It was my go-to when working at Estee Lauder and I continued to buy it for years. Then, I discovered Narcissist.

  • This stick foundation is great for the weekend when I just want to look fresh and polished. I use to apply where needed, as opposed to a full face application. 
  • For reference, my shade is called Fair Golden.
  • The formula soothes and brightens a dull complexion.
  • I personally believe this is best for dry and combo skin types, as it breaks me out when I am more oily.
Ingredients: Oleic Acid* , Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil*, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil*, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax,* Beeswax*, Linoleic Acid*, Castor Isostearate Beeswax Succinate, Mica, Palmitic Acid*, Stearic Acid*, Water, Linolenic Acid*, Arginine/Lysine Polypeptide, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Tocopherol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf*, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract*, Pearl Powder, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sorbic Acid, Alaria Esculenta Extract [+/- Titanium Dioxide (CI77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77492, 77491, 77499)]

*Certified Organic Ingredients

Best Liquid Foundation (Any Price)

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation is my splurge foundation. I first received it as a gift from Influenster, but it is one I have repurchased. This one seems to go quickly, which is a bummer considering the price. That said, this beats Dior, Chanel, Smashbox, Tarte, and any other foundations in a similar price range.

  • For reference, I wear Y245
  • Makeup covers, but looks undetectable
  • This is great for bridal makeup photography.
  • Color wears almost all day
  • I find this ideal for normal to oily skin types.
  • Apply with a damp blender sponge for the best results or use a stippling sponge.
Ingredients: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Neopentyl Glycol Diethylhexanoate, Talc, Mica, Phenyl Trimethicone, Sodium Chloride, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Lauroyl Lysine, Glyceryl Caprylate, Methylpropanediol, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Myristoyl Glutamate, Chlorphenesin, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Fagus Sylvatica Bud Extract, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Hydrolyzed Yeast Protein, Propylene Carbonate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Fragrance, Butylene Glycol, Benzyl Alcohol, Pentylene Glycol, Benzoic Acid, [+/- CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77492 (Iron Oxides), CI 77491 (Iron Oxides), CI 77499 (Iron Oxides)

The 5 Best Argan Oil Skincare Products

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Are you using skincare products made with argan oil? If not, you may  be missing out. Less known than coconut oil or jojoba oil, argan is truly a special oil. Argan oil itself contains more antioxidant and cell regenerative properties than olive oil, grape seed oil and avocado oil combined.

When applied to the skin, it absorbs quickly, and without an oily film, leaving behind a silky and satiny feel. It also works beautifully to restore shine and lustre to the hair.
Argan oil is commonly referred to as "liquid" gold -- and with good reason. Not just a filler, argan oil provides the skin with many nutrients and a whole list of benefits.

Argan the protector

  • Argan oil is rich in phenols, making it a protective oil. It contains 200% more Vitamin E than olive oil. Argan is not just nourishing, it's a potent antioxidant and can effectively fend off free radical damage.

Need moisture? Look no further.

  • Argan oil is highly moisturizing. It is rich in Omega 6 fatty acids to help plump the skin, boost moisture levels and give a supple and healthy appearance. Choose a facial moisturizer with argan oil to ease dryness . You will be happy to discover that argan hydrates the skin without leaving a greasy film like other oils often do.

Slower skin aging? Yes, please!

  • Argan oil may make your skin look younger. Abundant in vitamins to improve skin elasticity, argan also boasts something called Triterpens, which aid in cell restructuring and can slow down the cell aging process. Because of the regenerating properties, your skin will benefit from a facial serum with argan oil.

Could this oil help combat acne?

  • Argan oil may even fight acne, as many believe that it is not only antiseptic, but anti-bacterial as well. It's light and fast-absorbing and will not clog the pores.

Reduce inflammation with argan oil.

  • Argan oil may help fight inflammation. Anecdotal evidence suggests that, when applied topically, argan oil may reduce pain, itching and swelling associated with various skin ailments.

The Best Argan Oil Skincare Products:

The best argan oil - The best pure argan oil for the skin (and hair) is from The Ordinary. It is an incredible value and works better than oils I have tried at quadruple the price. It is the 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil. I use this faithfully -- even on my hair.

The best argan oil face serum - Nourish Organic Pure Hydrating Argan Serum is a lovely blend of some really beautiful natural oils including apricot, rosehip, safflower, argan, and more. It is quite nourishing and is one I recommend more for dry skin types.

The best argan oil body moisturizer - You can find this bargain at Target for less than $7. It is the c. Booth Egyptian Argan Oil Body Butter. It is ultra rich, as it contains argan oil, soothing oatmeal, grape seed, aloe, beeswax and cocoa butter. I really wish Target would update the ingredients on their website, as this is now paraben free.

The best argan oil face cream - Seed Extra Moisturizing Face Cream is this girl's go-to night cream. It is rich, feels luxurious, and contains an abundance of good for you (and your skin) ingredients. This cream features Abyssinian Seed Oil, D'Orientine S, Hyaluronic Acid, Sunflower Seed, and Argan and your dry skin will drink it right up.

The best argan oil hand treatment - It is ultra rich and oh so luxurious. It is also a splurge: the Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Intensive Hand Cream  in Vanilla Apricot. The scent is really subtle and spa-worthy. The texture is thick and rich and feels like butter going into this skin. This formula is fortified with argan oil, shea butter, chamomile, kukui nut, coneflower, marshmallow extract, and much more.

We've only begun to hear about the many skincare benefits of argan oil. It seems like new research appears every few months promoting more and more benefits. Are you using skincare products yet with argan oil? Have you noticed a difference in the appearance of your skin?

Who makes the best vanilla body wash?

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

I don't know about you, but I just love the subtle aroma of vanilla. I find it comforting, especially in the cooler months. We've been testing out vanilla body washes over the past few weeks and have narrowed the list down from 10 to 3 and are here to share the BEST vanilla scented body wash. The winner will surprise you!

Philosophy French Vanilla Bean Shampoo, Shower Gel & Body Wash

Philosophy French Vanilla Bean reminds me of my old favorite from high school - the Body Shop Vanilla Bean. I love how this product smells. It is like the name implies: vanilla bean. However, I find that this product leaves my skin feeling stripped. I don't like stepping out of the shower and feeling like my skin needs to be moisturized immediately, but that is how my skin feels after showering with Philosophy. It is dry, tight, and itchy.

I am also personally not a fan of the fact that there are synthetic dyes in this product, because they are unnecessary. I understand, though, that the colorants make the product more visually pleasing, which translates to more sales. Like it or not, that is just how the beauty industry works.

This product contains Sodium Laureth Sulfate. It also contains Benzyl Alcohol, which is a short chained alcohol which causes skin dryness. It contains Polyquaternium 7 and 10, both of which tend to leave my skin uncomfortable. On the plus side, it contains aloe, squalane, panthenol, green tea, and vanilla. However, the effects of these are insignificant. They are well behind fragrance, so they are likely at a concentration of well under 0.5 to 1%. For reference, most shower gels with fragrance contain 2% fragrance.

Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, PPG-2 Hydroxyethyl Cocamide, Lauryl Betaine, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Glycerin, Glycol Stearate, Fragrance/Parfum, Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Panthenol, Phytosterols, Tocopherol, Tocotrienols, Squalene, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Wax, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Polyquaternium-7, Polyquaternium-10, Isostearamidopropyl Morpholine Lactate, Methyl Gluceth-20, Sodium Benzotriazolyl Butylphenol Sulfonate, Buteth-3, Tributyl Citrate, Sodium Chloride, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Benzyl Alcohol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Caramel, Yellow 6 (CI 15985), Yellow 5 (CI 19140) 
Price: $18 for 16 ounces
Price per ounce: $1.12

Thymes Vanilla Blanc Body Wash

Now onto the Thymes Vanilla Blanc Body Wash. I found this body wash to be much less drying than the Philosophy product mentioned above. The cleansers are gentle and my skin feels clean without feeling stripped after using. I can detect an orange aroma, thanks to the bergamot peel. 

This is free of SLS and SLES, which is a plus. It does contain both artificial fragrance and artificial colorants.

This is a decent body wash - not as nice as my top pick - and not worth the price, but rates a B if I were grading it report card-style.

Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Sodium Coco-Sulfate¹, Decyl Glucoside², Parfum/Fragrance, Cocamidopropyl Betaine1, Acrylates Copolymer, Glycol Stearate², Glycerin², Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Orchis Mascula Flower Extract, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Peel Oil, Coco-Glucoside², Glyceryl Oleate², Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid², Sodium Chloride, Benzotriazolyl Dodecyl p-Cresol, Tris (Tetramethylhydroxypiperidinol) Citrate, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Hydroxycitronellal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Caramel, Yellow 5 (CI 19140)
Source: ¹Coconut and/or Palm, ²Mixed Plant, ³Silica
Price: $21 for 9.25 ounces
Price per ounce: $2.27

The BEST Vanilla Body Wash is:

Johnson's Skin Nourish Vanilla Oat Wash is our pick for the best vanilla body wash. I know -- shocking! This product, however, is really impressive. Johnson's should be commended for overhauling their ingredients. No, these aren't "natural" ingredients, but we have learned time and again from SCIENCE that just because something is "natural" doesn't make it safer or more effective. Taking emotion out of it, that is just a FACT.

This body wash is sulfate free, paraben free, and phthalate free.

It does contain synthetic fragrance.

I am not a big fan of synthetic fragrance because of the concern over what might be IN the fragrance, especially phthalates. Johnson's transparency on this issue is to be commended, because they fully disclose each and every ingredient -- as well as what is in their fragrance ingredients -- in plain sight on their website. This product is also free of artificial colors, unlike the others.

I am a mom. My younger son loves to smell like cake, cookies, brownies, vanilla, etc. He likes the Philosophy 3-in-1 products, but I am happier now with him using Johnson's. I have been using this one myself for a few weeks and I really can't believe that this mammoth bottle in my shower was six bucks.

The vanilla is not fake smelling or overpowering in any way. It does not give me a headache or trigger my allergies. My skin is left soft without feeling stripped, yet is feels clean.

Ingredients: Water*, Cocamidopropyl Betaine*, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Glycerin*, PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, PPG-2 Hydroxyethyl Cocamide*, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate*, Sodium Benzoate, Glycol Distearate*, Decyl Glucoside*, Fragrance [2-(propan-2-yloxy)ethyl 2-hydroxybenzoate, Anisaldehyde, Dipropylene Glycol, Ethyl Trimethylcyclopentene Butenol, Ethylene Brassylate, Methyldihydrojasmonate, Pentadecalactone, Phenethyl Alcohol], Laureth-4, Citric Acid*, Ethylhexylglycerin, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract*

Price: $5.99 for 27.1 ounces (as of 10-8-18 at the Irondequoit Target)
Price per ounce: $0.22

How to reduce the look of wrinkles & fine lines after 40

Monday, February 18, 2019

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you make a purchase of some of the items mentioned, I will earn a small commission. These items have an asterisk next to them.

Once you hit your 40s, you most likely will have been affected by two of the major signs of aging--wrinkles and age spots. If you’ve ever worried that there is nothing you can do to turn back the clock, you’re in for a surprise. You can help reduce these common side effects of aging.

We’re here to share 7 ways to reduce wrinkles and age spots.

First, let's talk about the causes of wrinkles and age spots, why don't we?

1. UV rays are the primary cause of skin aging. That is just a fact. You can bake in the sun all you want and go after that tan, but it will make you look older EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. You can automatically tell from looking at someone's skin whether they are a past or present sun worshiper. Sun FEELS good on the skin, but it changes it at a cellular level. UV rays speed up skin aging because it damages collagen and elastin. UV damage also shows up on the skin in the form of age spots.

2. AGE, of course, is another cause. As we age, we lose fat in the deep layers of our skin and there is a breakdown of both collagen and elastin. Skin begins to sag and lines form. We also lose natural oils, resulting in that "crepe-y" appearance.

3. LIFESTYLE factors such as consuming alcohol and smoking also impact skin aging. Complexion becomes more sallow and smoking, in particular, affects blood supply.

4. REPEATED FACIAL EXPRESSIONS also are linked to lines and wrinkles. They call them laugh and smile lines for a reason. While I personally view these as evidence of a life well lived and full of joy, they do show up around the eyes and mouth.

What can you do to help minimize the appearance of wrinkles and age spots?

1. Stop over cleansing.

Clean skin is essential. However, so many of you are actually cleansing your skin too much and with harsh cleansers. You only need to wash your face twice daily. Those with oily skin tend to believe that their skin is “dirty” and cleanse excessively. Stripping the skin’s natural oils will only make your skin look older.

My favorite gentle cleanser for women over 40: Clarins Cleansing Milk with Alpine Herbs*. A close second is a drugstore favorite: CeraVe Hydrating Daily Facial Cleanser*. The formulas are very similar!

2. Sleep well.

There is a reason they say to get your “beauty sleep.” When you are sleeping, your skin cells are repairing. This is the key time for your nightly serums and creams to work their magic and get fully absorbed into the skin. A lack of sleep will show, making skin look duller and more wrinkled.

Having trouble sleeping? Get an aromatherapy boost with Seed Dream Land Beneficial Blends aromatherapy products, which feature Lavender, Ginger, and Lemon Essential Oils.

3. Go fishing.

If you do not eat fish, what are you waiting for? Salmon is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential for your health and your skin. Eating a diet with plenty of omega 3s can reduce inflammation and give your skin a radiant and plump look, which reduces the appearance of wrinkles.

4. Protect yourself from the sun.

If you are battling wrinkles and age spots, you have the sun to blame as a root cause of the problem. Exposure to the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays is what causes skin damage, so you need to be sure to wear a hat and a broad spectrum sunscreen before going outdoors. If you regularly avoid the sun’s rays at peak hours (between 10 am and 3 pm), your skin will thank you!

My top sunscreen pick: Lather Daily Defense Facial Sunscreen SPF 30*

5. Try microdermabrasion.

There are many affordably priced at home microdermabrasion systems, from peel pads to hand held devices. Microdermabrasion takes exfoliation to a whole new level with crystals and can reduce both wrinkles and age spots with regular use over a short period of time.

My favorites: I have used the Trophy Skin Rejuvaderm MD* system ever since they sent me one to review years ago here on Chic & Green. It works well and I highly recommend it. For a simpler method, I can’t speak highly enough about the Exuviance Triple Microdermabrasion Face Polish*. I used to work for Exuviance as a regional trainer and this was my favorite to try on clients. It works!

6. Look for products with anti-aging peptides.

Peptides are molecules that are linked together. Why should this matter? These links of molecules contain at least two amino acids and research indicates that they may help to rebuild collagen. This is essential for reducing the visible signs of aging, as peptides can make your skin look more youthful and plump. Find peptides in anti-aging serums and moisturizers. I also recommend adding collagen peptides to your supplement arsenal.

My personal favorites: I take Neocell Super Collagen Peptides daily by adding a scoop to my morning smoothie. I also religiously use Argireline Serum 10% from The Ordinary. This is Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, which targets the dynamic folds I use it around my eyes and mouth.

7. Take time to smell the flowers (sunflowers, that is).

We don’t often associate sunflowers with youthful skin, but sunflower seeds are a hidden gem when it comes to skin care. Sunflower seeds contain Sesamol, an antioxidant, which can fight the signs of aging. They also help to reveal a smoother skin texture, making wrinkles less obvious. You can get the benefits of this antioxidant by eating sunflower seeds, sunflower seed butter, or by drinking sunflower milk.

The best facial product with sunflower: Seed Advanced Botanicals Daily Facial Moisturizer

You don’t have sit back and tolerate your wrinkles and age spots. You can help decrease these common signs of aging. Follow C & G’s 7 steps and you should start to see results in a few short weeks.

The Health Benefits of Matcha

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Matcha has become mainstream in terms of popularity lately and has quickly won over the hearts of health enthusiasts. It has become such an “it” drink that even die hard coffee drinkers are making the switch. In fact, I was once a one pot a day coffee girl. No more. Move over, dark roast. It's all about Matcha here.

Why? Matcha is incredibly beneficial. Truly. The benefits of matcha are not just hype — they are backed by sound research. Quite literally, it means “powdered tea.” It is so much more, though.

What is matcha?

Matcha is a powdered green tea. Green tea is so healthy. Science has shown us that. It is rich in protective antioxidants. Think of how you prepare your regular cup of loose leaf green tea. You steep the leaves and then you discard them. You are not actually consuming the leaves. With matcha, the leaves have been finely powdered.
Did you know? Interesting to note is that matcha is prepared a bit differently while grown. The plants are shaded in order to grow leaves with improved flavor and texture before they are dried and ground.

The connection between matcha and improved mental clarity

Matcha was introduced to Japan in 1191 by Eisai, a Buddhist monk. Eisai is believed to have planted the first green tea seeds in Japan. He is even more well known for having developed the philosophy known as Zen. Since that time, matcha and Zen meditation have been intertwined through the tea ceremony. It is believed that Buddhist monks drank matcha to help them feel grounded and calm with a sense of clarity while meditating for long periods of time. The tradition has continued centuries later.
Matcha is not your typical green tea — it may take ten cups of green tea to give you the benefits of just one cup of matcha. What is unique about this drink, as opposed to a cup of coffee, is that it is believed to increase your mental clarity while making you feel at peace. Next time you head to the yoga studio, try sipping matcha — it will allow you to be in the moment while being better able to concentrate on each pose.

Matcha is an antioxidant powerhouse.

Antioxidants help to fight damage from free radicals. There is likely no better drink than matcha to provide your body with antioxidant protection. In fact, in a study published in the Journal of Chromatography, researchers found that matcha provides 137 times more EGCG than traditional green tea leaves. EGCG stands for epigallocatechin gallate, which is the health boosting compound found in green tea.

Matcha may help you burn more calories.

Research shows that EGCGs help boost the process of fat metabolism. This helps you burn more calories more quickly. In fact, you may be able to burn 25% more calories because of the EGCGs in your cup of matcha.

Matcha may help you feel more energetic.

We all could use a bit more energy from time to time, but it is important to choose wisely when fueling our bodies with energy sources. For example, some of the energy drinks on the market can make your heart race and have been linked to serious health conditions. Matcha, like coffee or energy drinks, does contain caffeine. What is unique, though, is that matcha contains something called L-Theanine, which is an amino acid that is believed to work in harmony with the caffeine in matcha.
This is important because you won’t get that dreaded “crash” feeling. Have you ever had espresso or cup after cup of strong coffee in an effort to stay awake longer? At first, you feel energetic and then, WHAM, you feel groggy and exhausted. You are no longer energized. That is because the caffeine comes all at once.
Matcha, though, provides you with a gradual release of energy so the feeling is sustained without that “crash.”

Chic & Green's Thoughts on Matcha

It really is an acquired taste. Truth: it used to remind me of pond water. Blech. Now I drink at least two cups a day. I hated my old one that needed to be whisked, but I am REALLY enjoying the My Easy Matcha from Rochester brand Tealightful. There are 4 flavors and my favorite one is Vanilla Cheesecake. You just shake it into hot or cold water & stir. I have been trying to incorporate Matcha into my routine because it is so good for you. In the AM, I drink it iced with my Neocell Collagen Peptides. On this SNOWY April day, I am drinking it hot while I get some writing done. Matcha is rich in EGCG and has so many more antioxidants than even the best cup of green tea. It is fiber rich, sugar free, and gives you an energy boost. Have you tried Matcha? Do you have a favorite?

Debunking a popular internet beauty myth

Friday, February 8, 2019

If you have been reading for any of these 11 years, you know that I try to link to scientific studies and peer-reviewed articles to substantiate any worries about ingredients. I used to fall for fear mongering. We've talked about this before. I once took the Cosmetics Database as the gospel. As a new mom and as someone who'd just lost a loved one to cancer, I wanted to do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to protect my family from being more likely to develop cancer down the road.

And then I took my blinders off and came down to earth and and remembered that EVIDENCE and FACTS are stronger than fear and hysteria. Before I express a concern over an ingredient or product, you will see that I link to sources or mention studies. I am not talking about quoting Mercola, David "Avocado" Wolfe, Food Babe or Natural News -- but actual, factual science in terms of peer-reviewed articles and studies.

Just because your cousin's friend's neighbor's stepmother read on Facebook that something is "toxic" does not make it true.

Today I am starting a weekly series on some of the claims floating around social media (especially by MLMs) and the blogosphere that we should examine. Today is the first of many of these in-depth looks at scary claims.

Claim: "It only takes 26 seconds for the ingredients in your skincare products to be absorbed into your bloodstream."

You've seen this claim floating around Facebook and on blogs in colorful memes. It sure sounds scary, doesn't it?

Do not worry, friends, as this is just a MYTH.

To quote the ladies on the popular Esurance commercial, "That's not how it works! That's not how any of this works!”

When it comes to penetration, the 26 seconds claim is not how things work. In fact, there is no scientific data to back this claim, which seems to have originated on an organic health and beauty blog a few years back. The claim has spread like wildfire, but just because you read it on the internet does not make it true. By the way, the "Your body absorbs 60% of what you apply to your skin" is NOT backed by any peer-reviewed studies or other forms of credible science either.

A little skin primer

  • Our skin is made up of three layers. The epidermis is the outer layer that we see and feel each day. The dermis is the layer of living tissue found underneath the epidermis. It has hair follicles, nerve endings, sweat glands, etc. The hypodermis is also known as the subcutaneous fat layer. This is where fat is stored, body temp is controlled, and this is where the upper layers of your skin are attached to muscle and bone.

Some Skincare Facts

A bit of confusion to clear up

Part of the trouble out there is that the words penetration and absorption tend to be used interchangeably. The problem is, these are NOT the same thing.

Let's break it down. Start with a topically applied skincare product. Let's say a body lotion for the sake of this post. You rub that lotion into your skin and what happens? Skin penetration signifies the amount of the topically applied chemical (remember, everything is a chemical) that is between the top and bottom layers of the epidermis. At this stage, the chemical is not absorbed into the body.

On the other hand, skin absorption is when the ingredients get through the skin barrier and into the bloodstream. At this time, it is either filtered out when you go to the bathroom or is let to accumulate.

  • Some ingredients can  penetrate deeply into these layers. Some don't actually penetrate the skin at all. An example of this would be nanoparticles, which are often vilified. 
  • There are many factors that have an impact on whether or not something will penetrate the skin. These include whether an ingredient is water or oil soluble and its molecular size and weight to name just a couple.
  • Most ingredients do NOT actually absorb. They have molecules that are just too large or are only water soluble. They sit on the outer layer and cannot get any deeper into the skin.
  • When it comes to ingredients like retinol, ingredients called penetration enhancers are used so the active ingredients will be able to deeply penetrate the skin.
  • Let's talk about what happens when a skincare ingredient only penetrates the upper layers of your skin. In this case, it does not get absorbed into your bloodstream. These ingredients ultimately accumulate and are naturally sloughed off in the form of dead skin cells.
  • Even when an ingredient does manage to penetrate deeply and get absorbed into your bloodstream, your body will almost always flush it out thanks to the natural "detox" function of your kidneys.

The Bottom Line

Yes, we should be mindful to choose products with wholesome ingredients. However, there is so much misinformation out there. Science matters. Much of what you read on the internet condemning ingredients is written by people with ZERO background in formulation, chemistry, skincare, health, etc. Be wary -- do your own research -- and look for science. Research the websites from which you are gathering your info.


C.L. Gummer,R.S. Hinz,H.I. Maibach; The skin penetration cell: a design update, International Journal of Pharmaceutics.

International Journal of Pharmaceutics 06/2014; 472(1-2).
© Chic and Green. Design by Fearne.