Expired #GreenBeauty Products #1

First things first, I chopped my hair. Also, I’ve accumulated quite the stash of products in my collection that have expired on me and rambled about them, why I couldn’t finish them, and other thoughts on the ‘tube. Grab a cuppa, head over to YouTube to watch (for the full service of the info box), or just click play down below.

What products expire on you and which do you finish long before expiring?

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Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser

I had this interesting conversation with the derm-in-training The Green Derm a year ago about how using a hot water + wash cloth to remove an oil “cleanser” is way too much for the skin to take every day. The Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin B Cleansing Oil (review here) has been my long-standing solution for that uneasy problem (it’s too satisfying to see all of your makeup off your face and onto a cloth, and it feels hopeless trying to rinse off oil with water because of course they don’t mix)–it removes makeup and washes off with water. Easy, done.

Despite going through many (loved) bottles of the aforementioned, I could not help be tempted by the recently launched (couple months old now) Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser. I held off for months with the intention of finishing my current cleansers. When I pumped off the last bit of my favorite YÜLI Halcyon Cleanser (review here), paired with unhappy skin due to a myriad of reasons (exams/projects/hormones/dessert), the hypothesis of “I’m putting my skin under too much stress with my daily hot cloth routine!”, and the desire to try something new (oh, and NMDL deal with Citrine Beauty didn’t hurt), I jumped for the Nourishing Oil Cleanser.

From the description of the cleanser on the Tata Harper website along with the ingredients list, I had the impression that the cleanser could rinse off with water as well, and I intended to rotate it with my de Mamiel cleansing balm (review here) + tepid water + wash cloth routine to put less stress on my face as my makeup remover/first cleanse at night.

In comparison to what I remember from the ED4OLO Cleansing Oil, this oil seemed much harder to rinse off with water when used for makeup removal, slash it seemed to take longer to rinse off until I didn’t suspect I had much of the oil left on my face because it really does leave the face feeling nourished and soft. In my impatience, I sometimes used tepid water + wash cloth to remove the oil, which defeated my purpose of purchasing the oil. Alternatively I’ve also used a konjac sponge to remove the oil (favorite way of removing the ED4OLO Cleanser), or just resorted to rinsing off the cleanser in the shower (using the water pressure as my friend).

I then reviewed the directions for the cleanser and snooped more around the Tata Harper blog. A re-reading of “The Double Cleansing Method, Explained!” revealed the routine of starting with wet hands and a dry face, spreading the cleanser all over, waiting several seconds, emulsifying the formula by splashing water onto the face and massaging, and then rinsing.

Wet hands made rinsing off minutely faster, massaging the cleanser while emulsifying it instead of jumping straight into the rinse-off also made rinsing off minutely faster (and satisfying to see the gently “foaming” emulsion–see above photo). Of course, when not used for makeup removal but for a second cleanse post-makeup removal, the cleanser rinses off fairly easily since it does not have sunscreen and makeup in the way.

I am not wild about the scent, which comes off as mostly citrus to me, but using this twice in the evening and once in the morning has been very agreeable with my skin. Any makeup is easily massaged away, and as a second rinse, no film is left–just soft skin. Along with the Nourishing Oil Cleanser, at the time I actually ended up purchasing two other cleansers (if you saw in my recent haul video)–freaking out as I was about my skin and eager to try all the new things, so I did until common sense kicked in and I resorted to picking one cleanser and sticking with it, i.e. the Nourishing Oil Cleanser. The arrival of that time of the month marked the pinnacle of that bad skin bout, and this cleanser did nothing more to exacerbate the spots I had as my skin calmed down. If anything, it encouraged my skin along its healing path.

While there are those being of the opinion that one shouldn’t splurge for cleansers since you wash them off anyways and probably a large subset of that group who think that this cleanser is a bit exorbitant, I initially thought this cleanser was a great deal. The size, 4 oz, for $64 is quite on par with other cleansers I have enjoyed (in comparison, YÜLI Halcyon is 3.4 oz for $52 and Dr. Alkaitis is 4 oz for $56).

The price is fine, however, the recommended usage is what makes the cleanser feel pricy. I typically used the suggested two pumps for morning cleanse/2nd cleanse and three to five pumps to remove makeup. Add that all up, and I neared the end of the cleanser after about a month. That is alarming. Given, five pumps is very generous and whenever I put my palms together in preparation for massaging my face, I lost a little to the carpet (for science!). While I love using a generous portion of the cleanser to cleanse my face–the more oil (to a point) you have, the easier it is to massage–you probably can get away with an average of 2 pumps per cleanse.

Great performance and happy skin aside, a look at the ingredients list will easily tell you why Caroline Hirons places this cleanser not on the makeup removing list, but the second cleanse list. Rosa Canina seed oil, at the very top of the list, is fancy for rosehip oil, which as you may know, is a whole well-lauded product from Pai Skincare all unto itself as a greener source of vitamin A (anti-aging, helps heal scarring).

Sacha Inchi, also known as the Inca peanut, has about the same level of omega-3 fatty acids as flax and twice the level of omega-6 (basically mega awesome for the skin in terms of healing, guarding against the sun, strengthens the skin’s barrier, etc.).

Camellia Oleifera seed oil’s fatty acid content is similar to olive oil–it is massively high (~80%) in oleic acid. Oleic acid has been getting a bad rap for being a non-ideal oil for acneic types (*raises hand)–in high levels, it has been demonstrated to disrupt the skin barrier and hurry along TEWL (transepidermic water loss). But here’s another point of view: camellia oleifera has been shown to be able to penetrate the skin and decrease barrier resistance, making way for other things (the study was for drugs, but here it is probably beautiful extracts and nourishment).

The secret to rinsing oil off with water–a seemingly impossible feat–is this combination of emulsifying agents: Shea Butter Ethyl Ester and Polyglyceryl-4 Oleate. These two allow the oils to mix with water, and thus rinse off. Bonus: they’re also emollients that soften the skin.

Besides the fact that this oil cleanser can wash off with water, eliminating the use of a wash cloth (a timesaver when exhausted), the medley of extracts drew me in. Alfalfa, arnica, calendula, comfrey, borage, elderberry (Sambucus Nigra), meadowsweet–kind of beautiful, right? The common themes linking them together are their potential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

tl;dr Sort of the more expensive dupe for the ED4OLO oil cleanser that is slightly harder to wash off. However, just as happy skin due to luscious oils and extracts–if purchase again, probably would reserve for second cleanse.

Have you used this cleanser? What are your thoughts? If not, what’s your favorite cleanser these days?

Note: By hot water, I mean tepid/warm water before anyone starts yelling broken capillaries.

Ingredients: Rosa Canina Seed oil*, Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Shea Butter Ethyl Esters, Polyglyceryl-4 Oleate, Prunus armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Olea europea (Olive) Oil*, Argania spinosa (Argan) Kernel oil*, Plukenetia (Sacha Inchi) Volubilis, Jojoba Esters, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Aroma**, Medicago sativa (Alfalfa) Extract*, Arnica montana (Arnica) Leaves and flowers*, Calendula officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract*, Symphytum officinale (Comfrey) Leaves*, Borago officinalis (Borage) Leaf Extract*, Spiraea Ulmaria (Meadowsweet) flower Extract*, Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract *Ingredients from organic farming ** Clinical grade essential oils blend

Disclaimer: I purchased this product myself from Citrine Beauty. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not being compensated for my words.

Additional Sources:

Adorjan, Barbara, and Gerhard Buchbauer. “Biological Properties of Essential Oils: An Updated Review.” Flavour Fragr. J. Flavour and Fragrance Journal 25.6 (2010): 407-26. Web.

Feás, Xesús, et al. “Triacylglyceride, Antioxidant And Antimicrobial Features Of Virgin Camellia Oleifera, C. Reticulata And C. Sasanqua Oils.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) 18.4 (2013): 4573-4587. MEDLINE. Web. 9 June 2015.

Mack Correa, Mary Catherine, et al. “Molecular Interactions Of Plant Oil Components With Stratum Corneum Lipids Correlate With Clinical Measures Of Skin Barrier Function.” Experimental Dermatology 23.1 (2014): 39-44. Academic Search Complete. Web. 9 June 2015.

Maurer, Natalie E., Beatriz Hatta-Sakoda, Gloria Pascual-Chagman, and Luis E. Rodriguez-Saona. “Characterization and Authentication of a Novel Vegetable Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Sacha Inchi (Plukenetia Volubilis L.) Oil.” Food Chemistry 134.2 (2012): 1173-180. Web.

Mccusker, Meagen M., and Jane M. Grant-Kels. “Healing Fats of the Skin: The Structural and Immunologic Roles of the ω-6 and ω-3 Fatty Acids.” Clinics in Dermatology 28.4 (2010): 440-51. Web.

Green Beauty Grand Openings in D.C.

This month saw the happy opening of not one, but two green beauty shops in D.C. Be Clean opened up on the 3rd floor of 52 O Street NW and Follain permanently launched in Union Market as a pop-up-turned-shop-to-stay. I hiked over from Baltimore to attend both of the shops’ merry grand openings, had a gander around, and ran into friendly faces.

Be Clean is the brainchild of Becky (she’s the one with the cute bob) and is located in a cozy studio. Products lined one wall, refreshments and vegan eats provided by Kate Bakes were nestled on a table adjacent on the other.
Many familiar faces grace the shelves, such as the pictured Herbivore Botanicals, Captain Blankenship, Aster+Bay, Soul Sunday, and Josh Rosebrook. I took a spritz of Hydrate, slathered myself in the Jasmine body oil,  and admired the beautiful colors of the facial oils (got some Lapis for my sister as part of her birthday present).

A brand in particular that was new to me was Na Nin. Be Clean carries two perfumes and body oils from the line, one of which, Landslide, is quite manly and woodsy, the other, Cedar Creek, quite reminiscent of incense (and my favorite).

 

 

Products among Becky’s top 5?
  • Na Nin Perfume
  • Herbivore Sea Mist Hair Texturizer
  • Herbivore Orchid Facial Oil

I’ve been coming to Boston-native Follain’s pop-ups in Union Market for a few years, and it holds a special place in my heart because it was the first time I stepped offline to say hello to green beauty.

The first Follain pop-up I attended was also where I met my first Insta-to-real-life friend, @ecochicstyle_! We had been oohing and aahing over each other’s feeds for months, and to not only finally put a face on the handle but also have a buddy to rave about green beauty in person was a joy. I’ve always enjoyed my conversations with the formidable Tara, the founder of Follain, who is always so kind and helpful. Needless to say, I’m so glad Follain has a home in D.C. and in a great location like Union Market where people can just wander in for a bite or a juice or a walk and just stumble on healthy beauty.

Green beauty’s not just for the ladies–there are lots of options for men (lots of new brands to me), mothers, and babies.
Love the sink details and that Follain’s refillable soap service has come as well.

The skincare is organized by category (cleanser, toner, etc.) and skin type (oily, dry, etc.), which is very helpful if you’re a green beauty looking for something new or if you’re completely unfamiliar with green beauty and want to get into it. I took a spritz of my favorite Hydrating Accelerator from Josh Rosebrook; tried some Tammy Fender Rose Toner (Yenny says this one is good), Indie Lee CoQ10 Toner (feels nice), Indie Lee Apple Serum (gel-ish kind of serum), and admired the rms Beauty Oil (loooove that vanilla).

While Yenny and I were chatting, this gorgeous girl tapped my shoulder and said, “I think I Insta-know you…”. It was Jennifer, one half of the Unsullied duo! After dancing around each other for a while (she’s moonlighted before at Follain and I missed her sister at the last ANFGB), I was so happy to finally meet her.

We also ran into another friendly face: Susannah Compton! You may know her from No More Dirty Looks as a contributing writer or from Integrity Botanicals blog, but you may not know that she is also developing her own perfume line which is set to debut at A Night for Green Beauty in Chicago this summer. She gave Yenny and I a sneak peek into some of the scents: one will be rose-y, another citrus-y, and the last (and apparently most controversial among testers) jasmine. I’ve got my eyes on the jasmine.

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not being compensated for my words.

Be Clean Shop Picks, Grand Opening Details, and Coupon Code

If you’ve watched my last video (if you haven’t, get on it here), I mentioned Be Clean, a shop in DC, in relation to some Soul Sunday aromatherapy rollers I purchased from their online boutique. I was prompted to purchase by an Instagram giveaway they held celebrating the soon-opening of their brick-and-mortar shop, and I am happy to say the day of the grand opening is finally here. Since the world of green beauty is so largely centered online, it’s a thrill to see shops taking it from online to real life.

Becky from Be Clean kindly asked me to share the lowdown and has offered a 15% discount code for my readers (this is a first for Nephriticus). Read on for what I’m thinking of picking up this weekend and for the code…

Essential Apothecary Alchemist | Hydrate Face and Hair Mist
Frankincense hydrosol and marine phytoplankton. Them sea algae have some serious moisture game and I love me some exotic hydrosol. Also, sandalwood and rose geranium. Some of my favorite scents.

Aster & Bay | Dandelion Face Grains
I’ve been eyeing this brand and this product for a while. Dandelion root, marshmallow root, licorice root, fennel seed? Sounds detoxifying and delicious as both an exfoliating scrub and a mask every now and then.

Soul Sunday | Aromatherapy Roller Oils
Have to include this one, because unicorns. Since I already have a unicorn of my own, I’d like to sniff some of the other blends, such as No Worries. I always can use a little help to de-stress.

Herbivore Botanicals | Lapis Face Oil
I have also been eyeing Herbivore Botanicals’ facial oils since their launch. Lapis is probably the best pick for my kind of skin–blue chamomile and blue yarrow are apparently anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, and I’m obsessed with jasmine. Also, it’s BLUE.

Honorable mentions–Becky also mentioned they’ve just started carrying Josh Rosebrook (love that Hydrating Accelerator and the Nutrient Day Cream), but it’s only in the studio for now.

Now for the what’s, when’s, and where’s…

When: Saturday, May 16 from 4-8pm
Where: 52 O Street NW #308, Washington DC 20017
Why: To celebrate Be Clean’s grand opening!
What: Sips, snacks, local food tasting, and special promotions all afternoon!

I’m planning to be there, and for all of you in the D.C/Baltimore area, I hope to see you there too!

For 15% off all orders, use the code nephriticusfriends and please let me know what you decide to pick up. This code will be valid until next Wednesday, May 20.

Disclaimer: Excluding the event details, screenshots, and snap of the shop (I’ll be sure to snap some of my own this weekend), all thoughts, hopes, and opinions are my own. I am not being compensated for sharing the good news.

My Mama’s Green Beauty Picks

In honor of Mother’s Day, I bring you my mama’s picks from the green beauty world. She was slightly resistant to greening her routine at first since she long developed her own groove, but graciously opened up to my obsession with healthy beauty. What started with me pushing products onto her to try has turned into her purchasing them herself or requesting suggestions from me. I’m a proud mama hen of a mama hen.

La Bella Figura | Découverte Under Eye Repair Serum
It makes my eyes look nice. My eyes look less baggy. Also, the smell is really good and even though it is an oil, it doesn’t feel oily because the skin absorbs it in. I think it definitely tightens up the skin around my eye and makes the skin tone better. I really see a difference.

Laurel Whole Plant Organics | Healing Balm 

Remember, my neck, it’s very sensitive; I get allergic reactions. It can get very itchy and red, but this healing balm repairs my skin. I haven’t had [reactions] for a long time. So I love this one. Also sometimes I use the leftover from my neck on my face after I apply the Antioxidant Serum because sometimes my face is sometimes a little itchy, just a very little amount. (Ed. note: she’s repurchased this probably three times by now)
Laurel Whole Plant Organics | Antioxidant Serum 
It’s an oil but it doesn’t make skin oily (Ed. note: this is especially important to her because she uses powder foundation, and powder foundation on an oily face looks no bueno). It smells really good. It makes me feel good because it’s made up of plants. (Ed. note: she’s on her first repurchase of this)
It cleanses your face pretty well and removes makeup too. Sometimes, when I wash my face, every other day, I put a little of the scrub in while I’m washing. (Ed. note: when Whole Foods has this on sale, she buys them in bulk)
I like to use it to wash my [makeup off] even though it’s expensive. (*laughs) (Ed. note: I left a sample of this at time, and to my delight, she went out on her own and purchased it. And then used it on her face as a makeup remover to my dismay. Oh well. At least she found a way to enjoy it.)
Josh Rosebrook | Hair Spray Firm Hold
If I tease my hair and spray it, it holds hair in place really well. (Ed. note: my mom is a huge hairspray snob and she uses hairspray all the time to keep hair out of her face and in a neat bun. Before this one, she used the same brand for years and years and years, so this is actually a big deal.)
Usually when you wear sunscreen under makeup, the makeup really does not look very good. Usually sunscreen is very greasy. But this one is not. It wears really nicely under makeup because it’s very smooth and silky. (Ed. note: she buys this one in bulk too.)
Disclaimer: I queried my mom and she graciously provided answers. Only editing was for grammar and editorial notes. All products purchased by her, images screenshotted from each respective brand’s website. Image of the two of us was from A Night From Green Beauty last summer in Los Angeles. Affiliate links are included.
 

Winter Essentials Tag: Osmia Organics and Flight Skincare

Last winter, I was tearing my hair out trying to keep my face from feeling dry and tight. I was layering oils on oils, oils on creams, creams on oils, the whole shebang (which, fun fact, I just learned refers to #! in the computer science world). I was spritzing my face constantly throughout the day but feeling dry again within 15 minutes.

This winter, even when it dropped to negative degrees, I only felt that way once or twice. Once or twice vs. the entire winter? Huge improvement.

The lovely Ru from Short Small Sweet tagged me for my winter essentials, and here they are: Osmia Organics’ Active Gel Toner and Flight Skincare’s Floating Hydration Serum.

Don’t be fooled by the seemingly small size of AGT–the first time I used it, I pumped all the way down, getting a handful of gel, and later on in my routine when I put on foundation, it pilled (making those gross eraser-like marks). I sent out an SOS to Osmia Organics’ founder Sarah on Twitter, and she said she only uses a dab each time. The amount shown in the picture below requires like 1/5 of the pump, and that + a damp face/toner is more than enough.

AGT goes on after I cleanse and before I moisturize. I give it 30-60 seconds to set (per bottle instructions), and then proceed with my oil + serum concoction of the day. When fall started to kick in, I didn’t feel the drying effects at all, except for the one day I neglected to apply this. When winter started to kick in, I still wasn’t feeling it, until that one negative degree day, but then again, at that point, you should just start wearing ski masks because weather is weather.

First on the ingredients list is aloe, followed by a beautiful list of extracts, a preservative that’s NOT phenoxyethanol (it can be done!)niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid has been getting a lot of love for its hydration superpowers–it’s featured in Tata Harper’s well-loved toner, it was even used as a selling point in a conventional setting powder. It’s naturally produced in the deepest layers of our skin, and supplementing with more hyaluronic acid encourages the skin to retain moisture and to stay supple.

Niacinamide, or vitamin B3, while less popular than hylaluronic acid but by no means less cool, has been reported to improve barrier function and decrease the signs of photoaging (hyperpigmentation, fine lines). It is, quote, effective at alleviating dry skin conditions, and indeed it has been for me. Score!

The extracts include rose of jericho, white tea, and oat beta glucan. Rose of jericho is super, super cool because its plant is able to survive extreme dehydration through a process only found in two plants (itself being one) called trehalose accumulation. So it knows how to keep itself hydrated. On top of these hydrating ingredients are the calming white teaaloe, calendula, and smoothing oat beta glucan (sorry gluten-free folks).

I picked and started using Flight Skincare’s Floating Hydration Serum on a whim and then fell full in love with it. I am so into oils–I love the texture, I love the colors, I love how my skin loves it. But when I need an extra boost of hydration, an aloe-rich serum has been my favorite cherry on top. To supplement AGT, I began mixing half a dropper of FHS with an oil.

Technically, the directions say to use a full dropper for your entire face and neck, which I did try, and while it kept my face feeling hydrated throughout a day of cross-country flying (can’t use enough exclamation points to express that this never happens!!!), it can feel like a lot of serum for not enough face in my opinion, and it takes time for it to sink in all the way, and I love oils, so I preferred mixing with oil to get the best of both worlds.

In the winter of either California or Baltimore, this gave my face a serious glow of hydration. Not a grease glow, but a healthy glow and my face just felt marvelously hydrated.

What drew me initially wasn’t the aloe (which is well known for its hydrating, anti-inflammatory, burn-healing properties), but the various extracts: pomegranate, wild yam (um, YUM), and green tea.

Pomegranate extract is antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory, and has strong free radical scavenging activity, which is great for strengthening the skin and fighting off the signs of aging by protecting from cellular damage. There was even a study done on Asian males where it was shown pomegranate extract can have pretty good control over melanin activity (hyperpigmentation, begone!).

Wild yam extract excited me because I’ve never seen it in a product before–it’s apparently like ascorbic acid (basically the very effective vitamin C which sometimes can be irritating)’s little sister. In a study done comparing free radical scavenging activity, wild yam extract trails ascorbic acid on the efficacy chart by an average of 20%. Not a huge deal for me, because it contains phytosterols which has been effective in blocking the reduced synthesis of collagen after exposure to UV rays as well as stimulating further collagen production (yay!).

I mentioned green tea extract in my review of the #ED4OLO Vitamin C Serum (here), so I will briefly recap here: it boosts vitamin C in being more effective and it itself is a great source of antioxidants.

After giving this a shoutout in my #GreenSurvivor Challenge video (watch it here if you haven’t yet!), the lovely Kym from Flight Skincare posted about the vitamin C-rich lilly pilly extract on Instagram (see it here), and I couldn’t believe I had glossed over it on the ingredients list initially (probably blinded by hearts in eyes by the time I got to the middle of the list). Turns out this Aussie plant is really high in vitamin C (so woot–that green tea’s got something to boost)–one study cites the number as high as 174mg AAE/g (ascorbic acid equivalents per gram) in lilly pilly extract. For comparison, Google says there’s about 55mg in a small orange.

Now the crazy hydration–I’m guessing it’s coming from the combination of humectants (aloe, vegetable glycerine, honey, floral waters) and squalene, an occlusive. Vegetable glycerine is a humectant, so it binds/attracts moisture to the the skin. It’s also tacky, so I’m thinking it’s partially what gives the serum it’s main tacky texture. Honey is also a well-known humectant that is often used as a moisturizing mask or even a cleanser (reminds me of my old DIY days). Add to that the occlusive squalene, which forms a barrier on the skin preventing water loss, and you get seriously hydrated skin.

Special mention goes to mimosa oil (which just reminds me of that scene in The Incredibles where he’s on the plane and is sipping a mimosa), which besides having the effect of making everyone thirsty for brunch, smells floral + woody and may have calming properties on the skin.

tl;dr Hydration heroes: a gel toner after cleansing and before moisturizing delivering hydration to the deepest levels of the skin + a milky serum with a great combination of humectants and and an occlusive. Absolute winter essentials.

Have you tried any of these products? What are your thoughts? If not, what were your winter essentials been?

Also, since we are in an awkward time transitioning over to spring (finally!), I want to hear either your winter essentials or tell me in couple weeks (or months) what your spring essentials are Naturally Marcy, Plein Vanity, Green Beauty Babe, and Let’s Talk about Green.

Disclaimer: I purchased AGT from Osmia Organics and was sent the Floating Hydration Serum graciously from Flight Skincare along with my order of their cleansers after a shipping mishap. I am not being compensated in any way for my words. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Osmia AGT ingredients: aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, glycerin*, camellia sinensis (white tea) extract*, calendula officinalis extract*, lactobacillus/oat ferment extract filtrate, niacinamide (vitamin B3), lactobacillus ferment, selaginella lepidophylla (rose of jericho) extract, hyaluronic acid, sclerotium rolfsii gum, [gluconolactone (and) sodium benzoate], sodium bicarbonate, proprietary blend of organic and wild-harvested essential oils

*=CERTIFIED ORGANIC, 81.2% certified organic ingredients

Flight FHS ingredients: Aqua, Aloe Barbadensis( Aloe Vera) Leaf Gel,Vegetable Glycerine,* Citrus aurantium (Neroli ) Water,Jasminum nudiflorum (Jasmine) Water, Sorbitol, Squalene (Olives)*(Honey),*Punica granatum (Pomegranate) extract, Dioscorea villosa (Wild Yam) extract, Syzigium australe (Lilly Pilly) extract,* Camelia synensis (Green Tea) extract, Citrus aurantium (Orange) Water, Limnanthes alba (Meadowfoam),Zanthomonas campestris (Xanthan) Gum, Hydroxyethylcellulose( Plant derived amino acid), Parfum (Vanilla & Almond), Albizia julibrissin Durazz (Mimosa) Oil,

* Certified Organic ** Wild Harvested

Additional Sources:

Bissett, D. L., et al. “Topical Niacinamide Reduces Yellowing, Wrinkling, Red Blotchiness, And Hyperpigmented Spots In Aging Facial Skin.” International Journal Of Cosmetic Science 26.5 (2004): 231-238. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

Dweck, Anthony C. “The Wild Yam – Review of Dioscorea Species.” Personal Care Magazine 3.3 (2002): 7-9. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

Grether-Beck, S., K. Mühlberg, H. Brenden, and J. Krutmann. “Topische Applikation Von Vitaminen, Phytosterolen Und Ceramiden.” Der Hautarzt 59.7 (2008): 557-62. Web.

Mohammed, D., P. J. Matts, J. Hadgraft, and M. E. Lane. “In Vitro-In Vivo Correlation in Skin Permeation.” Pharmaceutical Research 31.2 (2014): 394-400. ProQuest Central. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

Mohammed, D., J.m. Crowther, P.j. Matts, J. Hadgraft, and M.e. Lane. “Influence of Niacinamide Containing Formulations on the Molecular and Biophysical Properties of the Stratum Corneum.” International Journal of Pharmaceutics 441.1-2 (2013): 192-201. Web.

Parveen, Rashida, Naveed Akhtar, and Tariq Mahmood. “Topical Microemulsion Containing Punica Granatum Extract: Its Control Over Skin Erythema And Melanin In Healthy Asian Subjects.” Advances In Dermatology & Allergology / Postepy Dermatologii I Alergologii 31.6 (2014): 351-355. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

Roy, Anitha, et al. “In Vitro Antioxidant And Free Radical Scavenging Activity Of The Ethanolic Extract Of Dioscorea Villosa (Wild Yam) Tubers.” Drug Invention Today 3.9 (2011): 214-215. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

Scott Danos, C. “Bruise Amelioration And Skin Benefits From Glycerin And Natural Triglyceride.” Cosmetics & Toiletries 129.6 (2014): 50-56. OmniFile Full Text Mega (H.W. Wilson). Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

Vázquez-Ortíz, F. A., and E. M. Vatenzuela-Soto. “HPLC Determination Of Trehalose In Selaginella Lepidophylla Plants.” Journal Of Liquid Chromatography & Related Technologies 27.12 (2004): 1937-1946. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

Vuong, Quan V., Sathira Hirun, Tiffany L.K. Chuen, Chloe D. Goldsmith, Michael C. Bowyer, Anita C. Chalmers, Phoebe A. Phillips, and Christopher J. Scarlett. “Physicochemical Composition, Antioxidant and Anti-proliferative Capacity of a Lilly Pilly (Syzygium Paniculatum) Extract.” Journal of Herbal Medicine 4.3 (2014): 134-40. Web.

#GreenSurvivor Challenge Empties

You may have noticed something sneaky pop up on my Twitter feed the other day. That’s right: Nephriticus is on YouTube! I didn’t ask for your video suggestions during my Birthday Giveaway all for nothing–I am eager to expand on the YouTube space so I can show #greenbeauty products in action, and I’m kicking it off with a recap of my empties from Tamara’s #GreenSurvivor Challenge. Hop on over here to check it out, and please let me know your thoughts and suggestions!

YÜLI Cell Perfecto PM

After two months of YÜLI Cell Perfecto PM and summer break, a classmate said to me, “Your skin is so much better.” (August 2013)

After three months, I had gone three weeks without foundation. (September 2013)

After five months, there was no question I was purchasing my second bottle. (December 2013)

After a year, I was pouring out the last drops of my second bottle and was so happy with how much this serum has healed my skin. (July 2014)

Rewinding backwards, my skin had gone from extreme pimply mess to scarred mess after finally realizing straight coconut oil, with all of its beautiful nourishing and anti-bacterial properties, was just not my friend (January 2013). Fabiana (Beauty Idealist) gave this the holy grail sticker after seeing icepick scars rehabilitate into normal tissue–cue the start of a steady, two-bottle long, I’ll-see-you-every-night affair.

Left to right: after 1 month of use – after 2 months of use.

Cell Perfecto PM + three months = three weeks without foundation. In the hot, humid summers of Taiwan and Baltimore my makeup routine consisted only of my eye makeup routine despite all tomato-face tendencies. Plus a new cheek makeup routine–I had previously sworn off any blush or bronzer because my acne scars were rosy enough, but at this point, my scars had faded to the point where I was comfortable adding in a healthy flush à la Kjaer Weis Cream Blush in Suntouched.

During this sweaty time, a face mist + three drops of Cell Perfecto PM was enough to moisturize my face at night. To be fair, given hormonal fluctuations, varied diet, varied stress (hey multiple midterms and finals), and varied products, I plopped back on the foundation weeks later in the name of hide-and-seek with the pimples.

Left to right: after 2 months of use –  after 5 months of use.

Cell Perfecto PM + five months = second bottle, purchased, done. While I was of course nowhere near airbrushed, perfectly Photoshopped, model skin, I was so satisfied with the results of my first bottle that it was a no-brainer for me to continue into a second bottle. While my deeper scars were still a bit deep and newer pimples had cropped up, whatever pimples I had five months ago were long gone and the rosy scars had lightened to a plushy pink. For some reason (probably starting with h and ending with -oliday eating), my right cheek was mad flush but it’s definitely not CPP’s fault–this never has aggravated my acne.

With colder weather (negative degrees in Baltimore! A revelation for this California girl!), a face mist + three drops were no longer enough to moisturize overnight–I typically layered another oil over it (usually M.E. Skin Fuel) or a cream moisturizer over/under (couldn’t decide, usually Graydon Green Cream) to make sure I wasn’t waking up feeling like I had worn a clay mask overnight.

Left to right: after 0 months of use – 10 months of use.

Cell Perfecto PM + ~a year = satisfaction. I am so happy with how far my skin has come in a year. While still my skin is nowhere near close to perfect (please read Marcella’s beautiful post on this topic), instead of my mom staring at my skin and shaking her head, “Wow Jade…what did you do to your skin…”, she’s been giving me the nod, “Your skin is so much better.” (#ChineseMumsBeBlunt)

While in January my left cheek kind of looked like a little shark went omnomnom’ing through my skin, now, it looks more like a little mouse did a bit of gentle gnawing here and there, and then a bit of hyper fang in others. So yes, still have pitted scars, but while before the texture of my scarred left cheek was actually seriously uneven, now you can tell the difference between pitted scar and healed/normal cheek. Some pitted scars have filled up, others need a bit more time and love.

Looking at my right cheek, there are literally scars from month 5 that I cannot find present day. There is also a very red scar from month 5 that is normal skin color now with just one little scar dot reminding me: don’t pick it. Just don’t.

As far as redness goes, there are a lot of things that can contribute to it (temperature, diet, stress), but it was hitting 100 degrees on a daily basis this past summer and I was the least rosy I’ve been since the epic breakout (and it’s just been getting better and better since).

To be honest, since I was always applying this at night in the near dark, I never noticed the sediments until looking at other people’s reviews and then one morning when I sleepily and accidentally reached for this instead of M.E. Skin Fuel, I was like whoa hello. Don’t be alarmed–the sediments (which I didn’t feel at all in my first bottle and barely felt in my second) are time released into the serum to maintain the potency over time.

If the price is tripping you up, consider this: this is actually one of the more affordable brightening, scar-healing serums on the green beauty market especially considering its impressive roster. Looking at the ingredients list, I can’t even. Its fellow coworkers nowadays run from $95 for 0.64oz to $155 for 1oz.
A look at some of the delicious ingredients…
Scar-healers: Tamanu oil (visually decreased scar appearance in 6-week study), Sea Buckthorn oil, Helichrysum extract (scientifically validated to be antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory), Rooibos extract (good antibacterial and antioxidant activity, so also a good defense against acne…and it’s a tea!!! I love tea!)
Mark-lighteners: Bearberry extract (containing arbutin, which depigments in a less melanotoxic way than hydroquinone), Liquorice extract (inhibits the actors of skin pigmentation and depigments), L-ascorbic acid (interrupts the pigmentation process)
Anti-aging: Gotu Kola extract (fights off sugar-induced wrinkles), Reishi extract (good antioxidant activity)

 

Top: quick healing in 2010 – 2011, pre-green
Bottom: slower healing from nasty breakout, August – October 2012, post-green and pre-CPP

The question must be asked: could my skin have healed just as fast without Cell Perfecto PM? Looking back at a less-severe breakout in 2010 before I had gone green, my skin took about year to heal from breakouts, to very red post-acne marks, to pink post-acne marks. So I know my skin does have pretty good regenerative powers.

But after my nasty breakout, the difference spanning three months without Cell Perfecto PM was definitely less than the difference spanning three months using Cell Perfecto PM (looking back, the Dr. Alkaitis regimen also put me in a good place acne-wise and scar-wise before I started using Cell Perfecto PM).

A final word: this is not a product with overnight results (as evidenced by my use of two bottles and I would totally go for a third). Cell Perfecto PM helped take my damaged skin to an exponentially better place in terms of red scars and physical scars over time. So, depending on your initial skin condition, patience may be required.

Have you tried this product? If so, what are your thoughts? If not, what do you use to heal post-acne marks?

Ingredients: Bioregenerating Botanical Infusion (Botanical Glycosides, Sea Minerals Complex), S. chinensis (Jojoba) oil*, M. integrifolia (Macadamia) oil*, O. ficus-indica (Indian Fig) seed oil*, C. inophyllum (Tamanu) oil*, H. rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) oil*, A. uva-ursi (Bearberry) extract*, H. italicum (Helichrysum)* extract, G. glabra (Liquorice) extract*, C. asiatica (Gotu Kola) extract*, Renew Minerals Complex (Methysulfonylmethane (MSM)* Derived from Pine Lignin, Phytosterols derived from Flax), A. linearis (Rooibos) extract*, B. carterii (Frankincense) extract*, D. carota (Carrot) seed extract^^, G. lucidum (Reishi) extract*, L-arginine, L-ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), L-Gluconic Acid (Derived from Kombucha Tea Ferment)

* Organic
^^ Wildcrafted

Disclaimer: I’ve purchased this product myself from YÜLI Skincare–twice. Nowadays, it’s also available on Spirit Beauty Lounge. I am not being compensated in any way for my words. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Photos have not been retouched in any sort of way and were all taken with a Canon PowerShot SD 1100 on a macro setting in order to capture more detail. The only editing I have done is cropping and collaging in order to save space. Let this also be sort of a PSA to listen to your skin and be kind to it. It took a long time for me to heal my skin and I never want to put my skin in such a state again.

Additional Sources:

Davis, Erica C., and Valerie D. Callender. “Postinflammatory Hyperpigmentation A Review Of The Epidemiology, Clinical Features, And Treatment Options In Skin Of Color.” Journal Of Clinical & Aesthetic Dermatology 3.7 (2010): 20-31. Academic Search Complete. Web. 6 Jan. 2015.

Dweck, A. C., and T. Meadows. “Tamanu (Calophyllum Inophyllum ) – The African, Asian, Polynesian And Pacific Panacea.” International Journal Of Cosmetic Science 24.6 (2002): 341-348. Academic Search Complete. Web. 6 Jan. 2015.

Greene, M.d. Richard S., Ph.d. Donald T. Downing, M.d. Peter E. Pochi, and M.d. John S. Strauss. “Anatomical Variation In The Amount And Composition Of Human Skin Surface Lipid.” Journal of Investigative Dermatology 54.3 (1970): 240-47. Web.

Kozarski, Maja S., Anita S. Klaus, and Miomir P. Nikšić. “Extract From Wild Strain Of Mushroom Ganoderma Lucidum As Natural Antioxidant.” Matica Srpska Proceedings For Natural Sciences / Zbornik Matice Srpske Za Prirodne Nauke 121.(2011): 289-297. Academic Search Complete. Web. 6 Jan. 2015.

Maguire, L. S., et al. “Fatty Acid Profile, Tocopherol, Squalene And Phytosterol Content Of Walnuts, Almonds, Peanuts, Hazelnuts And The Macadamia Nut.” International Journal Of Food Sciences & Nutrition 55.3 (2004): 171-178. SPORTDiscus with Full Text. Web. 7 Sept. 2014.

Maramaldi, Giada, et al. “Anti-Inflammaging And Antiglycation Activity Of A Novel Botanical Ingredient From African Biodiversity (Centevita).” Clinical, Cosmetic & Investigational Dermatology 7.(2014): 1-8. Academic Search Complete. Web. 6 Jan. 2015.

Sharma, Richa1, and Namrita1, namrita.lall@up.ac.za Lall. “Antibacterial, Antioxidant Activities And Cytotoxicity Of Plants Against Propionibacterium Acnes.” South African Journal Of Science 110.11/12 (2014): 58-65. OmniFile Full Text Mega (H.W. Wilson). Web. 6 Jan. 2015.

Upadhyay, N.k., R. Kumar, S.k. Mandotra, R.n. Meena, M.s. Siddiqui, R.c. Sawhney, and A. Gupta. “Safety and Healing Efficacy of Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae Rhamnoides L.) Seed Oil on Burn Wounds in Rats.” Food and Chemical Toxicology 47.6 (2009): 1146-153. Web.

Viegas, Daniel Antunes, Ana Palmeira-De-Oliveira, Lígia Salgueiro, José Martinez-De-Oliveira, and Rita Palmeira-De-Oliveira. “Helichrysum Italicum: From Traditional Use to Scientific Data.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 151.1 (2014): 54-65. Web.

Wertz, P. W. “Human Synthetic Sebum Formulation And Stability Under Conditions Of Use And Storage.” International Journal Of Cosmetic Science 31.1 (2009): 21-25. Academic Search Complete. Web. 7 Sept. 2014.

Wille, J J, and A. Kydonieus. “Palmitoleic Acid Isomer (C16:1delta6) in Human Skin Sebum Is Effective against Gram-positive Bacteria.” Skin Pharmacology and Physiology 16.3 (2003): 176-87. Web.

14 Favorites from 2014

Happy 2015, all! While there were some favorites from 2013 that remained stapes throughout 2014 (YÜLI Halcyon and #ED4OLO Cleansing Oil, looking at you, reviews here and here), there were also many delightful new discoveries in 2014, including new friends, new shops, and new products. Let’s take a look:


Oils that keep my skin healthy and hydrated – tie between YÜLI and Roiel
YÜLI’s Liquid Courage is like a healthy shot of vitamins for my face. There is at least a month straight in the fall where I was using this that is legendarily burned into my mind where I had exceptionally clear and healthy skin. Roiel Cosmetics’ Marula Oil has been wonderful as a heavier oil as the weather has sunk into winter. (YÜLI: Spirit Beauty Lounge, YÜLI; Roiel: Roiel Cosmetics)

Quick and delightful treatment for post-acne marks – Odacite
Here is another legendary several weeks burned into my mind where one day, I had some pretty red post-acne marks (popping may have been involved) and a week or two later, I was squinting in the mirror wondering, “Where did they go?” Pa+G Serum Concentrate, you rock. (The Detox Market, Odacite)

Extraordinary eye-depuffing gel – SkinOwl
I yearned for Eye+ months after this was applied on me during skin prep at the W3ll People Launch at Beauty Cirque (recap here). When I finally got my hands on it (birthday present from mum, as requested from me, thanks mum!), I thought, “Why did I wait so long?!” The cooling sensation feels incroyable and these puffy eyes that see many a late night are nearly instantly depuffed upon application. (Pemberley Jones, SkinOwl)

Intoxicating perfumes that won’t alter my hormones – tie between Strange Invisible Perfumes and Lotus Wei
This was the year I got into perfumes. On a whim, I asked the fellows at the SIP table at #ANFG to perfume match me to something jasmine-y (May Lindstrom’s Jasmine Garden got me hooked)–they sprayed Fair Verona on me and I walked around for the rest of the night telling people to smell me and then bought the perfume (my visit to their flagship store recapped here). Another one that’s really grown on me (just as it’s run out, too) is Lotus Wei’s Infinite Love Perfume. Small but mighty, I never fail to get comments on it whenever I wear it out, from girls and guys. Intoxicating, I tell you. (SIP: Spirit Beauty Lounge, Integrity Botanicals, SIP; LW: The Detox Market)

Highlighters that give my eyes a glow and make my cheekbones pop – tie between Kjaer Weis and La Bella Figura
Move over, Living Luminizer, there’s new boys in town. Kjaer Weis’s Radiance highlighter is gorgeous. It’s the most obviously sparkly highlighter I’ve used, but it makes my eyes sparkle and cheekbones pop like no other. For something a little more subtler (think twinkles when lights shine) plus a little sensory experience, I’ve enjoyed La Bella Figura’s Brazilian Denise highlighter, whose rose flower wax sometimes has been dabbing it on my wrists as a perfume. (KW: The Detox Market, Spirit Beauty Lounge, Eco Diva Beauty; LBF: The Detox Market, La Bella Figura, Eco Diva Beauty)

Softest kabuki brush that makes putting on foundation a joy – W3ll People
After Shirley Pinkson applied the Altruist mineral foundation using this brush at the W3ll People Launch at Beauty Cirque, I was like, boom, need to have this. I semi-liked Altruist before, but after this I really liked Altruist. Awesome brushes, i.e. incredibly soft kabuki brushes, make a difference. (The Detox Market, Spirit Beauty Lounge, Eco Diva Beauty, Integrity Botanicals)

The nail polish I won’t take off – Aila x BeauTeaBar
I’m not allowed to wear nail polish on my fingernails because of piano. Or rather, if I wear nail polish, other pianists will severely judge me for being flippant/not-serious/ridiculously whimsical. So after lessons finished for the semester, I doused my fingernails and toenails in this. Now, several weeks later, it’s slowly chipping off but I don’t want to take it off completely…the rose gold is gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. And I shine like a diamond. (BeauTeaBar)

Revolutionary serum foundation that dries to a powdery finish – Gressa Skin
I’ve had this annoying problem with foundations where after application, my skin looks dry–like it seems like there are flakes on my skin but I’m not always feeling as dry as I look. (Now that I think about it, sounds like pilling.) I don’t get that with Gressa’s Corrective Serum Foundation. Also I don’t break out with this, which before only happened with mineral foundations. And it dries to a powdery finish even though it starts out like a serum. What? Yeah. For reference, I wear shade 03. (Gressa Skin)

Go-to blemish eradicator – Indie Lee
Go to bed looking like you have pink chicken pox, wake up, wash it off, and blemishes will have shrunken down. I ran out of the Blemish Lotion before #ANFGB, bantered with the delightful Indie Lee at #ANFGB, thought about buying it there, didn’t, severely regretted it, and caved in and bought another several months later with no regrets. (Follain, Indie Lee)

Delicious, buttery cleansing balm with a sensory experience – de Mamiel
Softer than butter, smells like a bouquet of flowers, works perfectly with a massage to wipe away makeup, and makes my skin happy. Restorative Cleansing Balm: wins all around. (Seed to Serum)

Best-smelling and volume-inducing dry shampoo – One Love Organics
Because second-day hair actually smells pretty bad. Healthy Locks dry shampoo gives my gravity-loving Asian hair some grit and volume while also a nice smell. (Integrity Botanicals, Eco Diva Beauty, One Love Organics)

The gel that scares away dry skin – Osmia
Active Gel Toner is, I think, exactly what my skin needed last winter, instead of futile different layering combinations of oils and moisturizers. The skin feels miles more hydrated this year. (The Detox Market, Osmia Organics)

Favorite as an SPF AND a day cream – Josh Rosebrook
This has got me hooked with its amazing scent (a common factor for all of Josh’s skincare products), its complete lack of white cast and all that makes sunscreen abominable, and its really awesome performance as a cream moisturizer. I don’t typically like cream moisturizers, but I love the Nutrient Day Cream with SPF 30. (The Detox Market, Follain, Josh Rosebrook)

What changed my mind about setting powders – Ilia
I am a sweaty person and I used to let my oil run free. Then I dotted Fade Into You over my T-zone and realized what a mistake that was. The very convenient application doesn’t hurt either. (The Detox Market, Spirit Beauty Lounge, Follain)
What were some of your favorites from 2014? See any here?

Disclaimer: Affiliate links are included. All thoughts and opinions are my own. All products were purchased by myself except for YÜLI Liquid Courage and Roiel Cosmetics Marula Oil, which were both kindly sent to me.