Yay Himalaya Neem Cleanser, Boo EvanHealy

When I first found out I was pregnant I was freaked out by changing my skincare routine. Hey later, Retinol. See ya around, Benzoyl Peroxide.. I’m so screwed. Hardworking acids and harsh yet effective treatments were commonplace for my can-take-anything skin so the thought of using just nuts and berries for 9 months had me in a panic. Coming off Botox was bad enough, but now the thought of my true, chemical-free face being revealed was too much to bear. I was doomed to many months of breakouts without any reasonable relief. Always favoring a natural solution first, I headed over to Whole Foods in search of something safe.

Recommended to me were two things, one I love and will buy over and over again- it’s this Himalaya Neem Face Wash, a lightly foaming cleanser I use with my Clarisonic daily. It looks a little like an aloe gel without a discernible scent and works great with natural ingredients, and costs like $7. Sold.

Also highly recommended (as in she practically forced me into buying) was this EvanHealy Blemish Kit $34 containing their Pomegranate Repair Serum, Tea Tree Gel Cleanser, Blemish Treatment Roll-On, Green Tea Clay, and Lemon Thyme Facial Tonic Hydrosol. I found the line to be a shining example of what’s wrong with natural and organic lines. Sure on paper the ingredients used are supposed to be antiseptic and healing for blemish-prone skin, but in practice nothing worked and the scents were gag-inducing – especially the Pomegranate Repair Serum. My skin was decidedly worse after a few faithful weeks of use, it caused a massive breakout that my skin hasn’t experienced before or since I stopped using it. Total waste of money. I can’t speak for the rest of the line, but as far as this kit goes, I’d say there are far better options out there.

I did eventually put together a safe, effective skincare routine (which you can find HERE) that has worked perfect – my skin hasn’t looked so good as is has these past 8 months. Maybe it’s my foreskin cream? I’ve found that I need a little bit of science mixed in with nuts and berries, that’s just how my skin rolls.

Blissoma Botanical Skincare

Blissoma’s science-meets-nature approach is what I love about great skincare. It’s the happy medium of having more than just two ingredients of nuts and berries or being solely engeneered with chemicals you can’t pronounce. You can pronounce all of their ingredients, most botanical, but there’s also a lot of science that goes into every little jar so that each ingredient helps another to work better, penetrate deeper, and give a better result than if used alone. Blissoma is award winning and popular enough to be sold at Abe’s Market yet remains slightly under the radar.

I had a chance to try out the line recently and really liked it. Nothing caused my skin to freak out as some botanical lines do (I’m looking at you Hauschka and Evan Healy. Sidebar: I might do a separate post on Evan Healy which was the worst skincare experience I’ve had in years.)

Anyway, here are a few standouts from the line I liked best.

Most certainly natural, but not all the way hippie is the scent behind this thick serum of plant-based moisture. Awake is designed for normal to oily skin, it works to both hydrate and lightly mattify giving the perfect prep for makeup. I found that it felt very neutral on, just how I like my skin to feel. If you’re looking for something more hydrating, check out Restore and its blend of 10 essential oils that gives skin a healthy glow and a ton of clean moisture.

As much as I can, I use natural-based cleansers which I’ve found to strip less and leave skin really clean. Their Mild Rice Cleanser is thick enough to grab onto impurities but still really gentle. I used olive oil and my Magic Mitt to remove my eye makeup as I always do, so I didn’t give it the mascara removal challenge. I had a client with Eczema use it to see what she thought and she said it was one of the best cleansers she’d ever tried because it didn’t leave her skin red and inflamed after washing. She’s so sensitive she was down to using just Vaseline and water so she was thrilled. I gave her mine. The girl deserves a calm face.

Check out Blissoma HERE or at Abe’s online.

Because It’s Worth It… Where to Spend a Little More Money

If you haven’t watched the adorable Marcel The Shell video that’s such a huge hit on YouTube – you have to check it out below (and click HERE to see it if you get this post delivered via email). The the couple who produces it has already written a book and is in talks to develop a series staring their lovable one-eyed shell after just 2 videos. I watch it religiously. It just makes me smile.

http://youtu.be/Ta9K22D0o5Q

My favorite line is at the end when he says he smiles because it’s worth it. Which caused a mental domino about what’s really ‘worth it’ in terms of popping the lock off the wallet and spending a little more for an investment in your skin looking great. I’m not someone who thinks you have to spend a ton to look great – I recommend drugstore finds as often as department store ones – but there are a few exceptions that are so great that I’ll spend the extra cash because I know they’re worth it.

Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation:

I’m scraping the bottom of my jar of Chantecaille Future Skin that I got almost 2 years ago. I heard so much about their foundations that I purchased the jar at a counter not knowing it was $72 and then tried to play it off when she told me my total like it wasn’t twice as much as I’d ever spent on foundation. I quickly discovered that after I tried every type of foundation that passed my desk, I’d happily return to Future Skin. Its coverage is fantastic, staying power terrific, and the look of it is so natural – which might be because it’s made of 60% water and seaweed. The higher price tag could be attributed to its treatment benefits like reducing sebum and calming redness with chamomile and green tea – but who knows. All I know is that I’m mentally preparing for another $72 purchase very soon, but at least this time I know it’s worth it.

Liz Earle Cleanser:

Cleanse & Polish, the cleanser that I’ve referred to as ‘near perfect,’ is so worth an order from the UK based Liz Earle (or from Fred Segal Santa Monica- their only stateside location I know of.) It’s not a pricey buy at $25 for a 3.3oz pump (and around $7 to ship), it’s the ordering that makes it a little more of a challenge than grabbing a bottle at a store like we’re all so used to doing. I’m so addicted to this thick, creamy, lightly Eucalyptus scented gentle cleanser which removes all makeup so effortlessly, that when I try out a new cleanser to review it’s what I measure them all against. It’s a gold standard for a cleanser and one that’s so popular they have an automatic refill service and also a 3 pack available to make getting this perfect cleanser as easy as possible.

SkinCeuticals Serums:

SkinCeuticals is renowned for their high-potency, crazy effective serums designed to correct, fade, protect, and calm – whatever your skin happens to need. Their C E Ferulic is probably their best known do-it-all serum with vitamins C and E and Ferulic acid to protect the skin against environmental damage and skin aging. They use the purest, best forms of vitamins (like L-Ascorbic for their C) for maximum benefits and create combinations with other vitamins and acids for the very best skin absorption. Serums compliment any skincare routine and are so beneficial using only a few drops a day making them worth their $100- $150 cost.

Estée Lauder Eye Creams:

Eyes show age. It’s that simple. Getting that thin skin moisturized and protected is important, as is finding an eye cream that has some beneficial ingredients and proven science. So many eye creams are a complete waste – basically just plain moisturizers in a smaller jar without any true benefits. I trust and love Lauder’s eye creams – they have something for every skin type and concern, but their Re-Nutriv eye creams are their supreme offerings. With too much science in them to explain (or understand, really) I just know that when I use a Lauder eye cream, I can see the difference. I can waste money $35 at a time with something that isn’t working, or just fork out the $100 (ish) to see a difference and keep the Botox away a little bit longer.

Don’t worry, I’m also rounding up a ‘not worth it list’ (hello mascara!!) so you can save your pennies on things that are all pretty much the same.

Cheers to Your Skin With (Practically) Drinkable Skincare

Wine Hydrating Mask from Arcona’s natural line of almost edible formulations isn’t the typical hardened clay mask that you have to scrub like crazy to wash off. It’s a creamy treatment that plumps the skin using hydrating Hyaluronic Acid, Shea Butter, and the super antioxidant Resveratrol – the extract from red grape skin to brighten and soothe. I’ve been using it to chase away my skin’s winter tightness caused by cold air that I can’t seem to shake no matter how much I moisturize.

Pomegranate is the star antioxidant of Weleda’s Firming Eye Cream, a gentle way to smooth out wrinkles on even the most sensitive skin. In my kit, I’d combine it with a concealer to create a custom tinted moisturizer of sorts for dark circles. Its natural ingredients soak into the skin better than most so it’s versatile to use with mix-ins or of course on its own.

For $16 Made From Earth has one of the best deals you’ll find on its USDA certified organic Green Tea Toxin Cleanser, a typically pricey category of skincare. With Organic Green Tea Extract being its second ingredient (and Organic Aloe being its first), you can leave this creamy cleanser on for a few minutes before massaging it into the skin for a mini-mask to brighten and soothe as well as clean. Typically I prefer a foaming cleanser to a creamy one, but a thick formula like this one holds up well and makes a great partner to a Clarisonic.

Suki Transformative Clay Cleanser

Suki is one of the few brands where I like their philosophy, safe ingredients, and everything I’ve tried from them. I’m slightly obsessed with their Transformative Clay Cleanser which also acts as a mask and spot treatment. I lay down a thin layer and let it set for 5 or 10 minutes, then I use my Clarisonic to buff it into my skin as a cleanser which removes makeup so completely that I haven’t needed to use a toner after. It’s formulated for troubled or oily skin, but it’s so gentle and effective I think anyone who loves a deep cleaning cleanser would be thrilled with it as well.

Naturopathica Aloe Cleansing Gel

This unassuming cleanser from Naturopathica hits all the right notes; it’s safe (it scores a 3 from CosmeticsDatabase.com), effective, and thanks to ylang ylang, rose, and lavender oils – it smells like a day at the spa. It’s their best selling cleanser geared toward normal to oily skin, but because it’s weightless, colorless, certified organic (EcoCert) and replaces water – the typical first ingredient in skincare – with organic aloe, all skin types can benefit. I love a good cleanser with a balanced approach like this one that doesn’t strip or over-moisturize.