Best in Natural Beauty Awards 2013: Karley's Master List

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Hello beautiful readers! Every single year I look forward to sharing my favorite non-toxic beauty products with you. This year's list is my biggest, as it has 50 items on it.

All of them are free of parabens, phthalates, and other nasty ingredients. Many can be found right at Target or Wegmans, while others are sold online or through boutiques. I have personally tried and tested each and every single item and adore the ones on my list. If I have not used--and loved-- them myself, they are NOT on this list.

I know that we all have different types of skin, so keep in mind that my skin care needs may not be the same as yours. I am 38 with mainly dry skin, with some oilier spots. I do not suffer from acne and my only skin concern is the lack of radiance that I have as I grow older. This has been remedied with my product recommendations, though.

C&G Best in Beauty Awards 2013

C&G Best in Beauty Awards 2013

The Best Facial Skin Care Products

1. Best Facial Cleanser -- 100% Pure Brightening Cleanser

2. Best Facial Toner -- 100% Pure Brightening Tonique

3. Best Scrub -- 100% Pure Brightening Mask & Scrub (I use as a scrub)

4. Best Peel -- L'Bri Rejuvenating Facial Peel

5. Best Mask -- Acure Organics Argan Stem Cell + CGF Facial Mask Cell Stimulating

6. Best Day Moisturizer without SPF -- (seed) Body Care Healthy Hand Cream Fragrance Free - I know this is not marketed as a face cream. That said, the INGREDIENTS are amazing and I have been using this as a facial moisturizer for years now.

7. Best Day Moisturizer with SPF -- Juice Beauty SPF 30 Oil Free

8. Best Night Moisturizer -- 100% Pure Brightening Night Balm

9. Best Eye Cream -- 100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream

10. Best Serum -- Grateful Body Sea Cell Serum


The Best Makeup of 2013

11. Best BB or CC Cream -- Jane Iredale Glow Time BB Cream

12. Best Tinted Moisturizer -- Jane Iredale Dream Tint

13. Best Liquid, Cream or Stick Foundation -- W3LL People Narcissist

14. Best Concealer -- Vapour Organic Beauty Illusionist Concealer

15. Best Pressed Powder  -- It Cosmetics Celebration (I use it the way I used to use Lancome Dual Finish--as a finishing powder)

16. Best Loose Finishing Powder -- e.l.f. High Definition Powder

17. Best Eye Shadow -- Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette

18. Best Eye Liner -- Au Naturale Natural Eye Pencil

19. Best Brow Definer -- Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz Pencil (I use Ash Blond)

20. Best Mascara -- Organic Wear Jumbo Lash Mascara

21. Best Blush -- Alima Pure (whether you prefer matte or shimmer, they are all stellar)

22. Best Bronzer -- W3LL People Hedonist Luminous Mineral Bronzer

23. Best Lipstick -- Red Apple Lipstick (BEST ever. Try it in Swoon!)

24. Best Lip Gloss -- Jane Iredale Pure Gloss Lip Gloss


The Best in Body Care

25. Best Body Wash --  Queen Helene Naturals Fair Trade Cocoa Butter Body Wash

26. Best Body Lotion -- (seed) Body Care Fragrance Free Body Lotion

27. Best Body Cream --  Trader Joe's Body Butter (I adore both coconut and pumpkin--note that these DO contain fragrance oil)

28. Best Body Oil -- (seed) Body Oil Fragrance Free

29. Best Bar Soap --  Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soap (ANY unscented or essential oil variety I highly recommend)

30. Best Body Scrub -- Antho Beauty Purists Chocolatiers Gift Body Scrub

31. Best Sunscreen -- Alba Fragrance Free Mineral Broad Spectrum SPF 30

32. Best Lip Balm -- Acure Organics Acure for A Cure Dark Chocolate Mint (100% of profits go to breast cancer research, too!)


My Picks for Manis and Pedis

33. Best Foot Cream -- Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Cream

34. Best Cuticle Treatment -- Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream

35. Best Hand Cream -- (seed) Healthy Hand Cream Fragrance Free

36. Best Hand Scrub -- (seed) Therapeutic Hand Scrub

37. Best Hand Wash -- Out of Africa Pure Shea Butter Hand Wash

38. Best 5 Free Nail Polish -- Zoya (hands down without competition, in my book)

39. Best Base Coat -- Essie Protein Base Coat

40. Best Top Coat -- Zoya Armor UV Top Coat

41. Best Non Toxic Nail Art or Nail Polish Alternative-- Jamberry Nails nail wraps (gluten free, long wearing, vegan)


The Best Hair Care Products

42. Best Dry Shampoo -- Acure Organics Argan Stem Cell + CoQ10 Dry Shampoo

43. Best Liquid Shampoo -- Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Sulfate Free Shampoo

44. Best Daily Conditioner -- Original Moxie Featherweight

45. Best Deep Conditioner -- Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair Deep Conditioning Mask

46. Best Styling Cream -- Original Moxie Shape Shifter

47. Best Gel -- Original Moxie Just Gel

48. Best Spray -- Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Texturizing Spray

49. Best Mousse -- Alterna Bamboo Volume Weightless Mousse

50. Best Shine Spray -- Carol's Daughter Tui Moisturizing Hair Sheen

35 Handmade Christmas Gifts from C & G

Friday, December 13, 2013

The above C & G project was recently mentioned by Alicia Silverstone on her website, The Kind Life. And this recipe is one of the most searched for on this blog.

Over the past 6.5 years that I have had this blog, I've posted lots of recipes for DIY projects. Most are made with items you can find at the grcoery or natural foods store. Others will require online ordering for best selection of items. There are loads of DIY skin care recipes and lots of edible recipes.

I have gathered 35 of the most visited C & G do it yourself projects and have compiled them here in one spot for you to browse if you're looking for craft projectsfor the holidays or for projects to make with your children over Christmas vacation.



Artisan made bracelets for a great cause!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I told you not too long ago about my friend, Kyra.  I first met this sassy spitfire in 2010, when her daughter and my Ben were in kindergarten together. We have chatted along the way, but have become really close this school year.

Kyra was diagnosed with breast cancer on November 7th and underwent a double mastectomy on Thursday.  She courageously has overcome a big hurdle and has many more in the coming months.

Kyra is a helper--one of the most selfless people you'd meet.  For many years, she has been a paramedic and has seen so many things on the job and been there for people in life-threatening situations.

And now it is a time when friends and family and others are reaching out to help Kyra.

I know most of my readers are out of the area, but I also know that you are women who love handmade jewelry. You also support other women and many of you are mothers, too.

There will be a benefit on New Year's Eve for her and a local jewelry designer, Gina Pietropaoli of A Splash of Chic, has created these gorgeous Alex and Ani style adjustable bracelets made with pink Swarovski crystals. There are three charms attached-- an awareness ribbon, a heart that says "made with love", and the word "Hope".

Each bangle is $20 plus tax and $2 from each one will benefit Kyra directly. Please order by Thursday 12/24 for delivery in time for Christmas gift giving. I just ordered mine to layer with my Alex and Ani bangles.

If you are interested in ordering, please contact Gina of A Splash of Chic at

Holiday Beauty Essentials

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Gilded & Gifted collection from Jane Iredale is truly luxurious. Many years ago before I was careful about ingredients, I used to splurge at the Estee Lauder counter for their annual holiday "Blockbuster".  I remembr going with my best friend to Carousel Mall in Syracuse to go Christmas shopping and I splurged an an Estee Lauder fragrance so I could qualify for that special blockbuster. It made me feel like a princess.

Now, years later you can have that same feeling with this festive collection from Jane Iredale without worrying about nasty ingredients.

I have been using this beautiful collection over the past few weeks and I am impressed! Jane Iredale's palette is super handy and portable and is complete with all the lip and eye colors you could possibly need. What a great ideal for party touch ups or a weekend away.

Another C & G love?  Alima Pure Luminous Shimmer Powder in Delicate Copper is amazing.  Dust some on your shoulders and to accent your cheekbones with a big fluffy brush and you will have a very soft touch of shimmer all night long.

Of course, everyone needs a red lippie this holiday season! My top pick for 2013 is Au Naturale lipstick in Red Cross Red.  Not only is this fantabulous lipstick gluten free, vegan, and  non-toxic, 20% of the proceeds of this product are donated to the American Red Cross.

Get dramatic lashes without the chemical nasties when with Physicians Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Lash Boosting Mascara in Ultra Black. It's under 10 bucks and is a top performer in the paraben-free mascara category.

Go see Elizabeth over at the Michael Spitale Salon on Monroe Avenue for a mani and try Pixie Dust from Zoya.  All Zoya polishes ar 5-free and I happen to like it in Godiva.

Eat, Drink & Jamberry!

Friday, November 29, 2013


Shop today only for the above designs at Jamberry! They are ONLY available today and cannot be purchased in our catalog. I am in love with the designs, especially Icy Polka and Winter Morning! Best of all, if you have at least one Black Friday nail wrap in your cart, all of your other wraps will ship free! So get exclusive designs AND free shipping? Jamberry Nails make great stocking stuffers, too!


For Cyber Monday, give yourself something you will truly reap the rewards from--being your own boss.

I have been with Jamberry Nails for just over 3 months. In this time, I have built a team (there are 11 of us) and have been promoted 4 times. I have experienced first hand how hard work , passion for the product, and determination pay off.

When I say hard work, I should clarify that is TRULY is having fun with people. When I say product passion, that just means that I wear the products because I love them and just happen to get lots of compliments on them! And when I say "determination" it is because I am determined to send our son to a fabulous private school with lots of help from my Jamberry earnings.

What is your goal? To quit that job you hate with a boss who doesn't respect? To go on a trip around the world?

Our Cyber Monday special is incredible. If you have ever even just THOUGHT of joining Jamberry, why not invest in yourself? Join for just $85!


So excited for our event at Tanvi's boutique on Park Avenue just one week from today! Come join us!

Support Small Business -- Michigan Edition

It's all about supporting small businesses when I do my shopping and I will be spotlighting different businesses to give you some ideas this Christmas.

You all know that I *LOVE* the hair care products from Original Moxie and I wanted to share some other businesses in that area and share a neat idea they have going this season.

This holiday season, three Michigan-based, women-owned, eco-friendly businesses are collaborating to create an innovative partnership that they hope will boost awareness of the importance of shopping local.

•    Arbor Teas 
Owner:  Aubery Lopatin
Sourcing the world's most fantastic organic and Fair Trade Certified teas and delivering them as sustainably as possible.

•    Maggie’s Organics 
Owner:  Bená Burda
Proudly making fairly traded socks and apparel from organic fibers everyday for over 20 years.

•    Original Moxie 
Owner:  Rachel Blistein
Creating Super Natural™ hair care products for a diverse range of hair types. 

While their wares are very different, all three businesses hail from the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti community and share a passion for green, ethical business practices. The group is teaming up for Small Business Saturday (Nov 30) with a creative crossover social media promotion. 

The ‘Local Head To Toe’ campaign will offer followers a chance to win a gift basket valued at $90 and featuring products from all three companies that will indulge its recipient from head to toe.  In addition, all entrants will receive a $5 off coupon code that can be redeemed on each website.  The contest runs from Fri, Nov 29 - Mon, Dec 2 and can be entered via the Arbor Teas, Maggie’s Organics, or Original Moxie Facebook pages beginning Fri, Nov 29.

The gift basket will include the following items:

•    Arbor Teas Holiday Spice Black Tea – 5.5 oz 

•    Arbor Teas Stainless Steel Tea Infuser 

•    Maggie’s Organics Hair Ware Band

•    Maggie’s Organics Wool Urban Trail Sock – Ankle Length

•    Original Moxie Sulfate Free Shampoo – 8 oz

•    Original Moxie Natural Conditioner – 8 oz

A Gift for the Person Who Has Everything: Dobel Tequila

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


I bet you didn't expect that from this beauty blogger, but it's not time yet for my annual Holiday Gift Guide, so I thought I'd share a sponsored post from our lovely friends at Dobel Tequila this evening.

In our group of friends, we draw names for our holiday party. It never fails--we draw the name of a friend who seems to have everything. He's got the newest electronics. He has everything he needs for his tee times at the golf course. He already has planty of cologne. So we usually give a good alcohol.

Do you find yourself in this same situation? Don't worry, because we have the perfect suggestion of a gift you can stick under the tree that he definitely does not possess: understated elegance. Introducing: Maestro Dobel Tequila.

Unfamiliar with Dobel? Just check out their official Facebook page.

We all know that when you are purchasing drinks there can be a HUGE difference when it comes to quality. Of course, the same is true with tequila!

There is bad tequila, there is good tequila, and then there is Dobel: the first multi-aged clear tequila ever distilled. Named after its founder and famed tequila maestro Domingo Beckmann Legoretta, each bottle of Dobel is a blend of Reposado, Añejo and Extra-Añejo tequila, made from 100% blue agave grown on the Dobel estate. The liquid is then double-distilled, matured in Hungarian EUROPEAN White Oak barrels, and filtered for exceptional smoothness and clarity. Its sophisticatedly smooth taste is matched only by its aesthetics; as a modern twist on a vintage apothecary style bottle, the glass is embossed with the family's estate, labeled in a sleek silver and black color scheme, and signed by both Señor Dobel and the Master Blender.

Think of the drinks you typically have at your neighborhood party-- shots, schnapps, and other the other usual suspects that leave you with a hangover the next day. Pour Dobel straight over ice and revel in supreme taste and sophistication. OR you can create some fabulous drink recipes! Get some inspiration from the free recipe book download from Dobel featuring decadent sounding recipes, including martinis!

Dobel tequila makes a wonderful gift for that difficult to buy for friend. Try it out this holiday season!

*Please drink responsibly!

Hello there!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Well, hello there. Boy do I miss sitting down to share my beauty finds (and Etsy) finds with you at the frequency I used to.  Alas, life happens.

What has been going on in my little corner of the world that I used to share with you on a daily (or twice daily) basis?

*I started writing as a contributor for a fabulous women's magazine called Hope for Women over the summer. It has been fabulous. I love the ladies, I love the general theme of the magazine, and it is great to be able to write about what I love.

 A few weeks back, I was named the Beauty Editor of the magazine, something I am so proud of. What really is so fabulous to me is that I can create editorial content with so much more freedom. When you write for a magazine such as In Style, Vogue, etc., you are much less in control because you pretty much are told that you have the freedom to write what you want to as long as "Brand X" gets a plug since they pay for full page ads every month. When that happens, you have to compromise your principles.

Not at Hope. The publisher, Angelia White, is a warm-hearted, innovative soul. I really adore her even though when haven't met in person.  The magazine is published in Indiana and I am in upstate New York. She and I have a great rapport and we share a birthday!

The next print issue of Hope will be out soon and available at Barnes & Noble.

You can also find me every Friday on the Hope Facebook page for my Beauty Thursday segments, on their online site (soon to be relaunched and it will look AMAZING), and in upcoming newsletters from the Beauty Editor.

Here is a sneak peak of one of my beauty pieces:

*I am still doing some blogging and social media work for (seed). It is a company I truly believe in--owned by people I respect and believe in. I can see myself doing that for years and years.

*As you know, I thought it's be fun to sign up as a Jamberry Nails consultant at the end of the summer so I had something fun to do since my days weren't going to be as full (and boy, when I tell you what my dads are like now....well, just wait another couple paragraphs). I started promoting and selling the gluten free, vegan nail wraps on September 6, the first week Nick and Ben were back at school. I have been promoted three times (and in another week or so, it looks like I will again!) and have a team of ELEVEN. This journey has been unexpected, invigorating, and just completely amazing. I am so thankful for the flexibility this provides (and that extra income every Friday!) because I need a flexible schedule now more than ever.

*And for the rest of the story-- I am now a homeschooling mom. I *never* in a million years (billion years?) thought that I would say that. Not EVER. Once upon a time, the thought of homeschooling was laughable to me. "Who me, homeschool? That would be NUTS. I would go nuts. I give so much credit to the moms who homeschool--but I will NEVER do it!"

That was really how I felt until October 22nd when the phone rang and Nick's prinicipal was on the other end.  He called to tell me that--in front of multiple teachers and in front of him--Nick was punched in the eye by a bigger, older boy. If you have been reading Chic & Green for any length of time, you may remember that when he was 8, Nick suffered a concussion at school because of a bully. In the time between that October day in 2011 and the end of 4th grade, things were much better. Fifth grade was a whole other story. We found out Nick was pushed on the stairs, shoved in a locker, and then punched--this in a well-respected suburban school district people often move to in order to have their children attend.

We made the decision that day that Nick would NEVER be a student at that school again. Nick has been visiting private schools, but he will not attend until the fall to avoid as little upheaval as possible.  He has endured enough anxiety and we want to make the transition as smooth as possible for his needs.

It is not super easy. I cannot sit and work all day or do stuff on the spur of the moment--or just say, "Hey, I want to run to get a coffee and then over to Marshalls."  No, those days--for now--are gone. But it is worth it. I have MY son back--the one who is no longer biting his lips and nails or acting out after he gets home from school--the one with severe anxiety. I have MY boy back.

He is learning. And we have frequent field trips planned. For music, we will attend the regular concert series at the Hochstein School and he is being taught music literature and is learning all about the composers. For our art lessons, we will be going to various art museums across upstate New York, such as the Norman Rockwell Museum on Corning and the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo.  When we read about women's voting rights, we will drive to Seneca Falls and visit the Women's Rights National Historic Park.

Nick is reading a large collection of Newbery Award winners for his reading and we are not talking about Common Core and standardized testing.

The past few weeks have truly been physically and mentally exhausting, but we are getting into a routine and, most importantly, Nick feels safe.

Here is our journey on my other blog, Moms Fighting Bullying.  Stay tuned, as Nick and I will be starting a homeschooling adventures blog!

So, my friends, this is why my posting has not been as regular as in the past 6+ years of the blog. We will fall into a routine soon. I have a post planned on my order from Silk Naturals, so look for that this week!

5 Easy Tricks to Keeping Your Beauty Products Organized

Friday, November 15, 2013

Guest Post from a local business to share today, written especially for C & G readers

by Kirsten Jackson

It’s always fun to get that next nail polish color or that new eye shadow that you’ve been coveting; it’s like getting a new toy! But what do you do when you have a collection that’s growing out of control? How do you keep everything organized? Here a few tips to keep your beauty products in control.

  1. A Nail Caddy

I highly recommend getting an organizational caddy to keep all of your nail polishes and tools, like clippers and files, together in one convenient spot. Unlike a bathroom drawer, it’s portable, which is great if you’re like me and love painting your nails while relaxing and watching your favorite movie. It’s a definite upgrade from using a big zip lock gallon bag because the bottles aren’t shifting around and crashing into each other.  Caddies come in many different sizes, with some containing 3-4 compartments you are sure to find one that suits your needs. You don’t want to crowd your nail polishes and have them overflowing but you also don’t want them rolling around in the bottom of an oversized container.

  1. Index Card Box

For you ladies who love your Jamberry nail wraps, a large index card holder is the perfect size to organize your sheets of nail wraps. Instead of storing them with your nail polishes, where they might get crushed or leaked on, an index card box is perfect for protecting your newest nail wraps as well as your leftovers. Most boxes include a few dividers as well so you could divide your nail wraps by season or style.

  1. Cup, Can or Jar

One creative way to organize your make-up brushes is in a DIY decorated mason jar or tin can. It’s a cute and completely customizable way to create storage space for your brushes. You can match the look of your container perfectly to that of your bathroom or match it to your taste. This makes your brushes quick and easy to access during a hectic morning and you won’t be scrounging around in the back of the drawer trying to find that one brush.
  1. Hang it Up

If your bathroom is a little short on drawer or cabinet space you might try using the back of your bathroom door. Hanging Jewelry organizers are a perfect way to organize your make-up. First there are many pockets of different sizes and second the pockets are clear! No more rooting around in your make-up bag because this allows you to see every product accessibly. Make your make-up storage portable, travel size jewelry organizers are a convenient way to carry your make-up when you are traveling for vacation or business.

  1. Rotation Routine

One way to keep all of your products organized is make sure you regularly check and chuck products. Take the time to go through your nail polish collection. Are there some nail polishes that are past their prime? Chuck ‘em. Are there some nail polishes that are sealed shut and you’ve tried everything? Chuck ‘em. Same goes for make-up. We all know that old make-up is unhealthy. It builds up bacteria that can clog pores and cause break outs or even eye infections. If you have a powder or eye shadow that’s been around for a while and gotten pretty grody, chuck it. Space is precious and you don’t need useless products lying around taking up that space.

These tips are brought to you by the gorgeous garage a garage storage and organization company that operates in the Rochester, NY area. For more tips on organization visit our corporate blog.  

My favorite new multi-tasking product!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I have been a fan of (seed) Body Care for a few years now. I am never without my Fragrance Free Healthy Hand Cream, which slather all over my hands and even use as my winter time moisturizer. The natural ingredients in this product are so fabulous that, in my professional opinion, this is the perfect moisturizer for those with skin that is more on the dry side for night time.

The company recently released 2 more body oils to their collection.  Joining Therapeutic Body Oil (read my review here) and Relaxing Blend Body Oil are the Decongesting Blend Body Oil and Fragrance Free Body Oil.

I cannot say enough about yet another Fragrance Free (seed) product!

Quite frankly, I adore the new (seed) Grape Seed Enriched Fragrance Free Body Oil. This is one of those special products that not only does as it says, but can be used (in my oonion) for other things.

Not just a body oil when I am using it, I have found that this works really well for other purposes!

*I like to use this as a cuticle and nail oil.  Nearly all cuticle oils contain artificial fragrance. I try to avoid this as often as I can. When I apply this oil around my cuticles and to my fingernails and massage it in, it performs as well as any product called "Cuticle Oil."

*I also use this to take off my eye makeup! Say what?  For real, ladies.  We already have talked here so much about using oils and this works so well to dissolve my mascara and makeup. I use this and follow with my facial cleanser.

*There are many high end facial oils on the market to be used as natural serums. Most sell for more than $30 for a 1/4 to 1/2 ounce bottle.  This can be used on the face. While not marketed as a facial oil, there is no reason that you cannot use it as such. And I do.

Facial Oil - Cuticle Oil - Nail Oil - Makeup Remover -- and, of course, Body Oil!

I always love it when I can find multi-tasking products.  Did I mention that this is truly all natural without a need for preservatives since it doesn't containw water?  Here is the ingredients list:

Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Coconut Oil), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E)

Blueberries to the Rescue

Monday, October 21, 2013

Did you know that of the 40 most common fruits & veggies, the US Department of Agriculture ranks blueberries #1 when it comes to its antioxidant powers? It's true!  Skin care companies have been jumping n the blueberry bandwagon over the past few years and I'd like to share Chic & Green's tried & tested best blueberry skin care products.

Here they are:

Yes to Blueberries Intensive Skin Repair Serum ($19.99) -- I have been using this serum nightly.  Interestingly, I was sent a NINETY DOLLAR serum from an organic skin care company to review a couple weeks back and after testing it for a few days, I returned to the Yes to Blueberries serum because it is SO much better! This shows yet again that you DO NOT need to spend a fortune on skin care.

My Berry Organics Wild Blueberry & Caffeine Eye Creme ($36) -- This rich cream is lightweight, yet packs a punch when it comes to hydration.  It is non-greasy, but leaves the delicate skin under my eyes feeling moist, but never sticky.  A lovely new organic!

Eminence Organic Skin Care Blueberry Soy Night Recovery Cream ($64) -- A little goes a long way with this concentrated night cream.  It is a definite splurge, but will last for a long time.  Using only a pea sized amount, your skin will look hydrated and bright with only a couple of uses.

Renaud Blueberry Mint Facial Tonique ($20) -- If your skin is combination or oily, you have to try this toner! It is soothing and brightening with the blueberries, but the salicylic acid in this product helps get rid of excess sebum to unclog your pores. A lovely toner!

DIY Thursday: 5 Fabulous Face Masks

Thursday, October 17, 2013

You do not have to spend hundreds of dollars on spa treatments to have bright & healthy looking skin! There are some wonderful do it yourself masks using ingredients available right in your own kitchen. Here are some of my favorite recipes I like to whip up for the skin. 

1. Cocoa & Milk Face Mask
Pure, unsweetened cocoa powder is rich in antioxidants and provides your skin with protective benefits. Milk contains natural lactic acid to help soften and exfoliate the skin, encouraging it to shed dead skin cells. When you mix the two together, you are left with brighter skin and may notice a softening of fine lines. To make this mask, combine the two ingredients to form a paste and then apply to damp skin. Leave on for 5 minutes and rinse off with warm water.
2. Honey Oatmeal Face Mask
Honey is one of nature’s greatest skincare gifts. Not only is it moisturizing, but it also contains antioxidants and antibacterial properties. Oatmeal acts as a gentle exfoliant, revealing smoother and more youthful skin. It also contains selenium, zinc, and copper to fight wrinkles. Combine equal parts honey and oatmeal and stir gently. Apply this mask to damp skin and leave on for 15-20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.
3. Grapeseed & Blueberry Face Mask
Blueberries are naturally rich in Vitamin C and contain something called anthocyanins, which boost collagen levels in the skin. Grapeseed oil is non-greasy, yet highly nourishing. It it rich is essential fatty acids, making it a superior anti-aging oil. Combine ¼ cup of blueberries and 1.5 tablespoons of grapeseed oil. Puree in the blender. Apply to skin with a facial brush and rinse off after 10 minutes.
4. Papaya Greek Yogurt Face Mask
Papaya is rich in an enzyme called Papain, which helps to slough away dead skin cells to reveal glowing skin. Greek yogurt is protein rich and full of lactic acid. Plain Greek yogurt, when applied topically, can tighten the pores. Simply mix equal parts of the two ingredients and apply a thick layer to the skin. Lie down and relax. Rinse off after 15-25 minutes. For extra brightening, you can squeeze in a bit of lemon juice or pineapple juice.
5. Strawberry & Egg White Face Mask
This is a wonderful anti-aging mask for those who may also be suffering from acne. Strawberries contain salicylins, which are related to beta hydroxy acid. These gentle fruit acids are oil soluble, meaning they can reach into the pores and draw out bacteria. Not only will the mask help treat blackheads, but it can help rejuvenate wrinkled skin. Simply mash some berries and whisk with an egg white to make a tightening face mask. Leave on the skin for 15 minutes and rinse off with warm water.

Review: Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair CC Cream

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I adore Juice Beauty.  I have been a fan of their skin care products for quite some time-- from their fabulous Green Apple Peel to the line from Alicia Silverstone.  When I had a chance to try their new Stem Cellular Repair CC Cream, you can imagine I was super excited! 

As someone who has been testing out and reviewing products for several years, I should know that I cannot just assume I am going to love a product because the company's other products have been delightful.  This is one of those times.

I was so sure that this would end up being my new go-to CC Cream. The tube, the neat little applicator, the claims--well, how could I not fall in love with this natural beauty product?

My thoughts:

The ingredients are really lovely. I just felt this would be a winner. Don't the ingredients look so much better than mainstream CC creams?

Ingredients: Active: Zinc Oxide 20%. Inactive: Juice Beauty Proprietary Blend Of Fruit Stem Cells: Apple Buds, Grape Buds & Lemon Bark. Organic Juices Of Pyrus Malus (Organic Apple Juice)*, Vitis Vinifera (Organic White Grape Juice)*, Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe Leaf Juice)*, Cocos Nucifera (Organic Coconut Oil)*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sorbitan Stearate, Ricinus Communis (Castor Seed Oil), Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, Magnesium Sulfate, Helianthus Annuus (Organic Sunflower Seed Oil)*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Organic Jojoba Seed Oil)*, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Sodium Hyaluronate (Vegetable Hyaluronic Acid), Malus Sylvestris (Apple Buds), Vitis Vinifera (Grape Buds) & Citrus Limonum (Lemon Bark), Iron Oxides, Phenethyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citrus Reticulata (Mandarin) & Citrus Aurantium (Petitgrain) Pure Essential Oils. * = Certified Organic Ingredient

And then I squeezed out some product and was overwhelmed by the smell. It is strong. It is unpleasant. 

I thought I would get over it and that the smell would slowly fade away.  It did--eventually.  I knew if it faded away that I would be able to enjoy the product.  The CC cream does not blend as well as other products, such as the tinted moisturizers from 100% Pure or Jane Iredale or the BB Creams from Jane Iredale and Tarte. You almost have to "tug" to blend it, which should not happen. It didn't leave me with a healthy, youthful glow. It left my skin looking semi-matte and seemed to increase the appearance of the couple of lines that I do have.

Unfortunately, my face itches and feels uncomfortable every single time I put this on. And I know why. Petitgrain and mandarin essential oils are used in this formulation and if you are AT ALL sensitive, you may wish to avoid this. There is also Lemon Bark. This can also be irritating.

While I love the use of essential oils in skin care, some are better omitted from facial products.

Petitgrain is an essential oil used in skin care to treat oily skin.  Mandarin is also used most often in skin care to treat oily or congested skin.  Both increase your chances of burning in the sun, as they are citrus oils. Neither are recommended for sensitive skin. Lemon bark is also used in the natural movement for more oily and acnetic skin conditions. I really believe that if Juice Beauty had left these ingredients out, that I may have had a much more favorable opinion of this CC cream.  It is NOT meant for dry skin or sensitive skin as it is now. I also caution you not to apply this anywhere near the eyes because of the strong scent and citrus oils--they made my eyes water.

Would I purchase this product? No. Like I already mentioned, I adore the skin care products from Juice Beauty and feel that that is where the company truly shines. I personally did not experience the 12 benefits advertised, nor did it improve the appearance of my skin-temporarily or over the course of a few weeks. If your skin is sensitive, dry, or you want to look younger, I cannot recommend it based on my own experience. Do not let my thoughts on this one sway you away from the company as a whole. Their skin care is AMAZING--and I will be back soon with a review of their new serum.

*Disclaimer: I was sent this product for review at no cost. This in no way has influenced my review and all opinions are my own.

Found: The PERFECT Fall Moisturizer!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

I know that most of you love this time of year. Summer is my favorite season. Fall is kind of growing on me, I suppose, but every year at this time my skin starts getting confused.  In the summer, at least I *know* my skin is pretty oily. I can handle that.  In the winter, I *know* my skin is dry as the Sahara Desert.

When the weather starts to change and we have so many ups and downs, my skin becomes pretty termperamental. I have a semi oily nose and forehead right now, but very dry cheeks and chin. My cheeks are dry. This is when everything seems to go awry and I can never find the right moisturizer. I have my go-to winter time one, but right now is tricky.

Thankfully, I was just able to try an amazing new facial care line called Lilikoi Living.  I have to say "thank you" to the lovely blogger behind City Life Eats for introducing me to the line! 

My absolute favorite product tried (and they are all quite lovely) is called  Hibiscus Passion Active Hydrator.
This is a unique spray on moisturizer. It is so convenient and is very hygienic! You are not sticking your fingers in a jar, nor do you have to worry about a drippy tube.  This is brilliant.  You simply mist the hydrator on and it leaves your skin feeling immediately quenched.  It is truly a drink for your skin!

I have to share the ingredients with you:

Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Cetyl Alcohol, Emulsifying Wax, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Squalane, Linum Usitatissimum (Flax) Seed Oil*, Borago Officinalis (Borage) Seed Oil*, Algin, Allantoin, Panthenol, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Arnica Montana Flower Extract*, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Extract*, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Extract*, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Extract*, Passiflora Edulis (Passionflower) Fruit Extract, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract*, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Lavandula Hybrida (Lavender) Oil*, Parfum**

*Certified Organic
**100% natural essential oil blend

Do you see why I am truly loving this product? Hyaluronic acid and squalane are near the top of the list, as are flax seed or borage oils.  You will find ultra soothing chamomile, white tea, cucumber, lycopene-rich passion fruit, and more.  This product would work extremely well for sensitive skin types.  The product packs a punch when it comes to being crafted with ingredients proven to benefit the skin and rivals high-end spa products.

I love that the products from this company are hand-crafted, toxin-free, and without the nasties this blogger avoids.  

In fact, you will not find:

Synthetic fragrance

June-wei Sum is the woman behind Lilikoi Living. She has created something really special with this line.  Her creations really are unlike others on the market and I would love for you to check out this company's natural  skin care products.

Chic & Green Grade: I rate this product an A.

*Disclaimer: I received products to sample for review. As with all products reviewed, this in no way has impacted the outcome of my review and all opinions are my own.

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