Onto the next one…hello Juice Beauty and Acure Organics

I thought I’d update ya’ll (using ya’ll especially for my beautiful cousin Jilly – who I think of every time I hear this southern saying!) …on my use of the oil cleansing method and new face moisturizer (link to original post here).

I had high hopes for this new skincare regiment. As mentioned in my orignal post, my sister has had excellent luck with it…and by excellent I mean, her skin is like porcelain. Sure, she might get a pimple here or there depending on the time of the month – but her skin overall, it’s lovely! Unfortunately, I didn’t have such luck. Which, let me say, doesn’t mean that YOU won’t! But for me, it became clear that whatever I was doing, my skin wasn’t loving.

I am proud of myself for sticking with it for 5+ weeks (just so you know I gave it the old college try)

I went to get a facial one night because my skin was breaking out bad…I didn’t realize the extent of it until the aesthetician looked at me and said my skin hadn’t looked like that ever, ever. Eek! Well, I told her…“I wanted my skin to look good but a big reason for the change in my regiment was to start using more natural products with less sketchy ingredients.” Well, she was fine with the natural part but told me – whatever I was using wasn’t right for MY skin and I should find something else. I appreciated the truth and I will tell you, that was one of the more painful facials I’ve ever had as she tried to extract all the clogged pores on my face ick/ouch. She had a few suggestions for products at the spa but I passed. Instead, I spent some time researching the next day…extensively. And below are the new products I have been using for over 3 weeks since that fateful night. And honestly, my skin is CLEAR. It looks nice! And these products are fabulously paraben and funky chemical free.

3 of the new products in my new routine are made by Juice Beauty

I had heard about this line and seen it at Whole Foods – in reading more – I started to really dig it:

  • From the Juice Beauty site: The Juice Beauty team continually searches the West Coast for the purest, most effective organic ingredients, including organic juices, aloe vera, honey, botanicals, plant oils, and raw cane sugar from farms that specialize in sustainable and organic farming.
  • These amazing formulations are made without parabens, petroleum, propylene or butylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfates, pesticides, phthalates, artificial dyes or synthetic fragrances.

I also talked with one of the employees in the Whole Foods beauty section who recommended this line. I ended up with these 3 products:

  • Juice Beauty Exfoliating Cleanser: which goes for about $22; comes in a convenient and sanitary pump bottle. My aesthetician said, I need to exfoliate 1x a day (I use this at night). And I like this because it uses jojoba beads to exfoliate so it’s not harsh. You have to get rid of the dead skin, especially in the winter. Dry or oily skin, we all need to exfoliate!

    Juice Beauty Exfoliating Cleanser

    Juice Beauty Exfoliating Cleanser

  • Juice Beauty Antioxidant Serum: which goes for about $45 – which is pricey BUT Whole Foods will take back any beauty product if you use it and don’t like it. So, that set me at ease when I was making these purchases. This serum is light – I’ve read a bunch of good reviews on it from various sources. I use this 2x a day after I wash and tone my face and before my moisturizer. The serum has a funny smell (at least to me) but I believe it’s the evening primrose oil which is known to be ubber good for your skin (not to mention, women can take it as a vitamin supplement for a variety of things <—read here!)

    Juice Beauty Antioxidant Serum

    Juice Beauty Antioxidant Serum

  • Juice Beauty Nutrient Moisturizer: goes for about $36; This white cream goes on thick but doesn’t leave any grease aftermath. I want to keep using it because my skin likes it – but I wonder if I might need something heavier in the winter months. Overall, it’s doing the trick in combination with the serum

    Juice Beauty Nutrient Moisturizer

    Juice Beauty Nutrient Moisturizer

The other 2 products I’ve worked into my skincare routine are not from the Juice Beauty line – instead, they come from a line I’d never heard of until I visited and spent some serious time with the Whole Foods beauty consultant.

The line is called Acure Organics – very focused on chemical free products – green packaging and products. Read their mission here

What I’ve worked into my routine:

  • Acure Seriously Hydrating Toner: goes for about $16; I was pleasantly shocked by the few ingredients – which are: Water, Fair Trade Certified™ Organic Rooibos, Organic Witch Hazel, Organic Lavender Hydrosol, Organic Glycerin, Organic Chamomile Extract, Organic Calendula Extract
    • Read the back of most toner bottles and the list of ingredients is long and super complicated. After washing my face (AM and PM), this toner wipes off the remaining ‘stuff.’ Toner was what I missed most when I was doing the oil cleansing method. The witch hazel helps keeps pimples at bay – it’s long been known as a natural acne/pimple remedy
Acure Seriously Hydrating Toner

Acure Seriously Hydrating Toner

  • Acure Facial Cleansing Creme Argan Oil + Mint: goes for about $15; my aesthetician suggested I stick with a creme based face wash so the consistency of this is perfect. It removes makeup really well and doesn’t irritate my skin (which is sensitive). Love these ingredients too – argan oil, olive oil, cocoa butter, mint etc.
Acure Facial Cleansing Creme Argan Oil + Mint

Acure Facial Cleansing Creme Argan Oil + Mint

Both Juice Beauty and Acure Organics have many products that address different skin issues – so if these ones don’t seem like they’d be for YOUR skin…check out their sites for the other products they make for various skin types and conditions. 

Overall, so far (3+ weeks in) I’ve seen noticeable and positive results with this new regiment. Everyone’s skin is different so there is no guarantee it’ll work for everyone. But this has been an interesting adventure for me as I look to work more natural products into my routine. Although those products add up $$, the batch of them still cost less than the cream I was slathering on before my wedding!

I should add – it’s usually suggested you work 1 new product into your skincare regiment at a time…that way, you won’t totally freak your skin out. And, if you work more than 1 in, you won’t always know what is causing an issue or not. So, I’m not saying my cold turkey method is a superb idea – but it was the easiest way for me to start something new…when my jar of overpriced face cream ran dry!

Are you willing to try a new skin care routine?? What has work or hasn’t work for YOU?

2013 Beauty Resolution – The Oil Cleansing Method & Pristine Beauty moisturizer

It’s a new year! Time to try something new…for me, I realized my 2013 Beauty Resolution the other night while standing in my bathroom holding an empty jar of the overpriced face moisturizer I bought before my wedding. I told myself – nope, you are not buying a new jar of this. Instead – I will try something different…that’s more affordable and more natural.

I am working 2 new treatments into my daily routine. I’d like to thank my sister, Katy St. Marie for introducing me to both – she has become a go-to resource for healthier lifestyle products.

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My sister, Katy Lou and her hubby, John

Face Wash:

  • The Oil Cleansing Method:
    • This is actually a homemade ‘wash’ – but it kind of flips what we’re used to in terms of face wash on its head. No more suds or foam…or even cream wash…the reality is a lot of the face and body wash products we use strip the oil from our skin –  “leaving our largest organ trying to repair itself by replacing the oil stripped away. This leaves us in a cycle of being tight and dry followed by the inevitable oil slick. Each time we strip the oil away, our skin over-compensates for the lack of moisture by creating more oil. On top of the drying effects, these products are highly-scented. Fragrance is one of the top skin irritants and strangely enough, even the so-called “unscented” products usually contain fragrance. See for yourself and check the labels.” (courtesy of http://www.theoilcleansingmethod.com)
    • So I am using – an oil cleansing mixture of 1 part ORGANIC OLIVE OIL to 1 part CASTOR OIL. You can change this up depending on your skin type i.e. more olive oil for dry skin / more castor oil for oily skin. Both can be purchased for less than $10 at a local health food store. Katy originally found the recipe on Pinterest – more details found here – excellent real-life review of oil cleansing method. For a container, Katy recycled an old moisturizer pump bottle and put the mixture in there:
My oil cleansing container, thanks Katy!

My oil cleansing container, thanks Katy!

    • What you need to do the oil cleansing method:
        • Oil mixture
        • Clean wash cloth
        • Warm water
    • How to do it: put a few pumps in my (clean) palm, rub it around to warm it up, then massage all over my face and neck, you can totally get it around the eye area, it does not irritate and will help remove eye make-up. Once massaged in (say a minute or 2), wet your wash cloth with warm water and wring out, take it and drape it over your face so that the steam helps open the pores for deeper cleansing. After this, I typically swipe the cloth around and remove the excess oil – but don’t rub too hard!
    • This cleanser is free of parabens and chemical additives that are too often found in our beauty products. The US actually has some of the most lax beauty/cosmetic product and ingredient regulations – some ingredients in our beauty and household products are banned in other countries. With that said, I cannot claim to completely  avoid these things, but I am trying, over time, to minimize my exposure to such things that have been linked to illness, including some cancers
    • For now I am doing the oil cleansing method 1x a day at night. The above link(s) are great resources for The Oil Cleansing method, which much more information. They recommend you don’t do it too frequently – so for now, I’m sticking with 1x a day and I’ll continue to exfoliate every other day (I use the Clarisonic with a bit of this)

Face Moisturizer

Pristine Beauty Hooray for Brallywood Butta

Pristine Beauty Hooray for Brallywood Butta

    • What drew me in the most about this brand is that it was founded by a breast cancer survivor who initially created her own beauty-care products (after much research) because she had trouble finding natural, chemical-free products in stores. It started out as a way to make personal care products for herself and rolled into a product line free of parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, propylene glycol – cruelty free and vegan…made for anyone, including those going through or recovering from cancer treatment. If you’re interested, read more here
    • Pristine offers a bunch of other products including a hair serum and deoderant which I am also going to try & review
    • I use Brallywood Butta morning and night following my cleansing. I love the pump because I don’t have to worry about contaminating the cream with my fingers. The cap keeps it secure and clean. It is also a great amount of product for the cost – my sister had her first bottle for almost a year – using around 4 pumps 2x a day
    • The cream is very moisturizing but not greasy. It has a mild citrusy smell from the natural tangerine and lemon oil. According to the site: “It soothes, calms and heals rosacea and eczema. This crème will even out the skin tone and make it brighter and more luminous, while minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. You will see the consistency is like a makeup primer. It glides on, minimizing pore size and will not settle into fine lines.”
    • I will be reporting back in a couple weeks about it’s longer term effects. I’ve only been using it for a few days at this point. So far my skin feels super soft and I love being able to smooth this all over my face and neck and not panic that I’m using too much product (which I used to do when it cost me approx. $150 per oz!)

Do you have any beauty resolutions? Have you or would you try the oil cleansing method? How do you work more natural products into your beauty routine?

Tried & True: COCONUT OIL (read me!)

A few months back I was talking to my sister about ‘natural’ skin care products…she mentioned that she uses Coconut Oil every night on her face and neck. After this conversation, it seemed like Coconut Oil and its many benefits kept popping up. Finally, I gave into my curiosity and went to Whole Foods (my safe haven for truly ‘natural’ and high quality products) to get some Coconut Oil and try it out for myself. While I was there, one of the employees helped educate me on what to look for when buying Coconut Oil – she told me to look for 2 key things on the label (she also told me she uses it all over her body and for cooking!):

  • ORGANIC/Non-GMO: Organic certification lets you know the coconuts were grown as naturally as possible with no pesticides, artificial fertilizers or food additives. If you want 100% natural coconut oil, then this is what you should look for when you buy coconut oil

AND

  • COLD or EXPELLER PRESSED VIRGIN: This is also referred to as Expeller-pressed. This is one of the best ways to make virgin coconut oil since it doesn’t use solvents or chemicals to extract the oil from the coconut meat. When buying coconut oil, make sure to look for a product that’s cold-pressed

There are many different brands of Coconut Oil – and with that, many different labels and methods for production. However, if you make sure you look for these 2 key criteria, you will be buying the right quality Coconut Oil. In terms of where to buy, I’d recommend a natural food store such as Whole Foods. This is where I got mine, in the vitamin and supplement section, it is the Whole Foods 365 brand. Here is the exact one I use – I love this tub!!!:

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If you’ve read or heard anything about Coconut Oil – it seems to have many benefits and uses from hair/skin care to aiding in weight loss and proper digestion and metabolism. It can be consumed (in other words, used for cooking/as an ingredient) or used topically on the body for a variety of benefits. I have yet to cook with Coconut Oil but it can be used as a substitute for butter in some recipes and I know people who put it into smoothies or protein drinks (in small quantities!)

For me, I was most intrigued by the idea that Coconut Oil can be used on the skin…my initial thoughts were…OIL on my skin? That sounds like a break out situation. Am I going to be a shiny mess? But the more I read up on Coconut Oil – the better I felt about using it on my skin – the main benefits are linked to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid and the antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, soothing, properties of Coconut Oil.

So, I tried Coconut Oil over the course of a week and here are a few highlights:

  • You don’t need to refrigerate. It is an ‘oil’ but if kept at room temperature, it should stay in a congealed form which makes it easy to scoop up and apply. It is super smooth and spread easily
    • Beware: in warmer months, store in a cool place otherwise, it will liquefy which makes it really difficult to apply to the skin without making a mess
  • Depending on the size of the area you want to cover, you only need a small blob of Coconut Oil
    • For example, for my face, I use a dime size blob. It should sink into the skin within a few minutes, but if not, or if I accidentally apply to much, I swipe off the excess with a tissue
  • When first applied, it does leave a noticeable sheen on my skin…my technique is to give it a few minutes to sink in…then, should it still feel or look too greasy, I tissue some of it off…the key is, give it some time to sink in before applying anything else (i.e. make up/foundation or clothing)
    • If you’re scared of the sheen effect, apply at night and it’ll sink into your skin during the night
  • It has a very light, if non-existent scent. It’s natural so clearly it has no added perfume – perfumes can be really irritating to the skin
  • The brand of Coconut Oil I bought is approx. $11 and depending how often you use it/how much you use, it will last for months. My lasts about 3 months – I use it everyday all over my face and body. So, it is very affordable! This is big for me because I’ve bought $20 tubes of fancy a$$ body lotion that last 3 weeks max., BOOoo!

Overall, this is how I feel about using Coconut Oil as a skincare product –

  • Although I was nervous to put an ‘oil’ on my skin, especially my face – I found Coconut Oil actually helps me avoid break outs…you can attribute this to the antibacterial properties. I have broken out LESS since I’ve used it
  • It is an excellent moisturizer, it goes on smooth and my skin feels supple after using it. I’ve noticed a difference in my complexion over the course of a couple of weeks. I’ve never really seen such noticeable results before with other products and I’ve purchased some fancy face creams that make big promises!
  • It doesn’t irritate my skin – it actually has the opposite effect because I’ve applied to my eczema (which tends to break out right under my nose) and it calms the itching and takes away the dry, flakey skin
  • I use it on my face AND I mix a few globs with body lotion and apply it all over my body…and I love it. Adding Coconut Oil to my body lotion makes it a bit greasier when I first apply, so I tend to let myself air dry or a throw on a pair of PJs while I do my make up so that the excess can soak into my skin. My skin looks and feels healthier
  • Oh and, IT’S NATURAL! Paraben free…chemical free! Which is fantastic. It makes me feel good that I’m using something without additives…we encounter so many chemicals during the day, it’s good to know there are natural, healthier options that actually work

Point blank, I now use it every day on my face and body.

My Coconut Oil regimen in the morning is, if you’re curious – shower, towel dry, wash/tone my face – then apply a small amount of Coconut Oil to my face. Next, scoop a good chunk of Coconut Oil from the container, then pump a couple of squirts of (paraben free!) lotion into my palm and mix the two together. Then, I apply all over legs, arms, stomach, etc. Let sit…sometimes I put a comfy pair of PJs back on and eat my breakfast or start blow drying my hair (typically 10 minutes). Then, I apply my regular face moisturizer which has an SPF and do my make-up…and get dressed. Boom, done.

Overall, I would recommend Coconut Oil to anyone looking for a natural face/body moisturizer. If you have any more specific questions, just let me know! I could go on and on about this stuff 🙂

Sources: organicfacts.net; Whole Foods