First, I'm so excited to share I'm hopping on the bandwagon and starting a YouTube channel to talk about some of the things I've been blogging about here! The studio is set up, woo hoo! Now I just need to find a sitter (UGH!!!) so I don't overwhelm myself again. The struggle to find a sitter is real, you guys! We hire someone and then they move soon after (or we do) or they don't feed my children or they want more of a full-time nanny position. I want to be home with my kids right now while they're so little; however, I do need an occasional break. So before adding another thing to my plate (and a YouTube channel would be a BIG thing), I thought it would be wise to make sure I have a break-system set up.
In the meantime, I plan to keep writing brief posts here and Insta! That's not too taxing, because, first and foremost, I love, love, love talking about green beauty care. Since making the switch to cruelty-free and organic products, I have never gotten so many compliments on my skin in my life. Ever since I made the switch to greener brands and a mostly vegetarian/ vegan diet, my skin has reflected that change in a way that surprised me in the best way, especially as I made the change as more of a broader switch to living a greener lifestyle and not specifically for beauty reasons. However, my skin is undeniably brighter and clearer and that's definitely a happy side effect! (Full disclosure: currently, I have a serving of red meat about once ever 4-6 weeks still and fish once or twice a week; I'm planning to try to go vegetarian again with the help of this easy vegan cookbook I just found, but that's a great subject for another post!)
Without further ado, here are some of my favorite green beauty brands with some codes and discounts and where to buy them:
1. Edible Beauty
I've been using this No. 3 Exotic Goddess serum for a month now, and it's life-changing. In my experience, investing in beauty products can be heartbreaking, because even if something is touted as being great, what works well for one person might not effect the same magic on another's skin, and then you're out a fortune. This serum was only moderately expensive at $54 but made such a dramatic, and yes even magical, difference I'd recommend it to anyone. Not only is the brand cruelty-free and organic, made with wild-gathered ingredients (see below), but their gold standard are ingredients that are actually, literally edible. Hence their name. I've only just expanded my use of their products to their Coco Bliss Intensive Night Repair mask and their eye cream. I'll let you guys know what I think in about a month! For now, I noticed if you buy through their website you can try four of their products for $145 plus 10% off if you sign up for their newsletter! That might sound like a lot but all four bottles are full size and last a good amount of time. Plus, with the discount that's only about $30 a bottle. Some of that cost is also part of buying products in glass bottles instead of plastic, so that's another reason, besides that of incredible quality, I think it's worth forking out a few extra bucks and cutting back elsewhere! They're also available here at Sephora.
What else you need to know:
This product is vegan, formulated without gluten, hypoallergenic, and cruelty-free. It is suitable for women who are pregnant and breastfeeding.
Edible: skin absorbs 60 percent of the substances that we place on it. So, what we put on our body is just as important as what we put in it. Edible Beauty Australia’s gold standard for purity is an edible ingredient list. This means they use only food-grade ingredients to create their range of therapeutic, wildcrafted, botanical skincare. Products are free of alcohol, fragrance, propylene glycol, preservatives, colors, and synthetics, and come packaged in Miron violet glass, which filters damaging UV rays while preserving and activating the botanical ingredients found inside.
Wildcrafted: the use of Australian wildcrafted botanicals raises the therapeutic profile of each and every formula. Found growing in remote and arid regions of Australia, these plants are forced to develop a strong antioxidant defense and preservation system to survive. When used topically, these qualities transfer to your skin, in the form of potent anti-aging, protective, nourishing, and hydrating benefits.
2. Drunk Elephant
Drunk Elephant has probably come to your attention if you spend any time on Instagram at all these days, which means most of you have probably heard of it and maybe think of it as another blogger's fad. No way! Yes, they might be a bit of a status item at the moment, as they're more on the expensive end of the spectrum. I was hesitant to try out their products for the same reasons stated above-- what might work wonders on another's skin might not necessarily suit your skin's current needs and then you're out a pretty penny... If you're as hesitant as I am, try this: Drunk Elephant offers a set called "the littles". The set contains most of their products and can give you a sense of which ones are worth investing in. While the bottles are little, the ingredients are so high quality you only need a few drops to cover your whole face! In fact, I've had the "little" bottles all summer! I've come to learn I really love two of their products-- their virgin marual luxury face oil. A tiny bit really goes a long way! My full-sized bottle is going to last forever, so it's worth the investment. I also love, love, love their T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial. Whenever I'm feeling really tired, I'll slap this on for fifteen minutes and my skin emerges glowing. I bought my first bottle back in February and I'm still on it! I've maybe given myself over 20 professional-looking facials all from the same bottle. It's definitely worth the $80 investment. Like I said, though, if you're hesitant, because of the cost, check out "the littles" here before you pick which full-sized bottle to spend more on! Drunk Elephant is also a supporter of the International Elephant Foundation. Read more below!
If you want to know more…
This innovative at-home "facial" contains a whopping 25 percent AHA and 2 percent BHA, plus Drunk Elephant’s dream team blend of glycolic, tartaric, lactic, citric, and salicylic acids. It gently but efficiently resurface the skin as it exfoliates, getting rid of built-up dead skin cells by breaking down the substance that holds them to the surface. Think of it as an extra nudge for stubborn, dull skin (in other words, it’ll knock your cells off). Babyfacial™ combines potent antioxidants like matcha, apple fruit, and milk thistle to calm and sooth with ultra-hydrating sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer and non-fragrant plant oils to replenish moisture and nourish. Chick pea flour brightens and balances the skin without over-drying, and pumpkin ferment delivers amazing enzymatic action. Niacinamide, a "cell-communicating" ingredient, effectively revives skin’s healthy look and feel as it brightens and tones. Appropriate for all skin types, Babyfacial™ will dramatically smooth texture, minimize the look of fine lines and wrinkles, unclog pores, and boost overall clarity—revealing fresh, radiant, baby-soft skin.
What else you need to know:
Babyfacial™ was created with every skin type in mind. Glycolic acids get a bad rap for being sensitizing, but Drunk Elephant believes that it’s the pH level and accompanying ingredients (think fragrant oils or high amounts of alcohol) that can be the real problem. They’ve formulated Babyfacial™ at the ideal pH level of 3.5 with a blend of acids that work together to ensure higher efficacy without the redness and sensitization. It is free of fragrance, essential oil, silicone, and irritant.
Drunk Elephant is committed to using only clean ingredients that either directly benefit the skin’s health or support the integrity and effectiveness of the formulations. They never take into account an ingredient’s synthetic or natural status, but instead choose based on its safety and bio-compatibility. You won’t find what Drunk Elephant calls "the suspicious six" of any kind in their products (1. silicones, 2. chemical screens, 3. sensitizing colorants/perfumes, 4. sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) 5. essential oils, 6. drying alcohols), making them appropriate for all skin. They believe that these six ubiquitous ingredients are at the root of almost every skin issue. When formulating the products, they focus on pH and toxicity, always making sure that the actives are at efficacious levels. This is the Drunk Elephant difference.
Drunk Elephant is a supporter of IEF (International Elephant Foundation) and is cruelty-free.
3. Bliss In the Honey Face Mask
I was really gratified to discover this brand at Target of all places! It's not only highly effective and very affordable at around $12-16 a unit, but the brand is committed to a cruelty-free ethos as I mentioned in a previous post. The only problem I can think of with their products is the plastic packaging, but I think that's how they're able to make spa-worthy products at affordable prices. I can understand the desire for a higher profit margin but I do wish these products came in glass. They're as good as the ones that do! I've been slowly trying out all their products, but so far this honey-lavender mask is my favorite. I'm also a huge fan of lavender. You can read about more of the amazing, surprises uses for lavender that I've discovered here.
What are some of your favorite green beauty products? Would you guys be interested in a YouTube video about more of these green beauty products or how I apply them?
P.S. Ahh! Okay, I made my first one, using my limited at-home technology. Check it out and leave a comment. Thank you!
It's pretty telling that one of my toddler's favorite games is sitting on mommy's bathroom floor while I'm getting ready for the day, pawing through the easy-to-reach cabinets below the sink, asking again and again, "What dis, Mommy?"
"Cream," I've taken to telling him over and over regardless of the product, although, recently, he started calling me on my nonsense.
"No, DIS one, dis ONE," he now shakes his head, one chubby hand wrapped around a little blue bottle of rewetting drops he's been using to create a rainscape over my daughter's My Little Pony, the other clutching a glass jar of Burt's Bees that I'm forced to pry from his tiny fingers before he smashes it on the ground. My daily routine is usually pretty harried and rushed for this reason, so you can see why I've grown to prize my at-home spa routine come Sunday morning.
I will keep lying to him regardless, because I just don't feel like "Korean Beauty Miracle" or "Bliss Honey Moisturizer" are essential additions to his vocabulary at this point. Confession: yep, his mama is a beauty junkie, and while I don't feel like that knowledge can benefit my 2-year-old, I do feel it can benefit women closer to my age group who want to prevent issues before they arise or who are seeking to feel better about themselves!
Interesting aside, the axiom "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" was actually coined by Benjamin Franklin, and since I'm currently living in Philadelphia, a city obsessed with old Ben, please forgive me for getting all clichéd! Overused as the phrase might be, it rings as true now as when Franklin wrote the words under an assumed name, while actually discussing fire safety (of all things, ha). Some (okay, a lot of people) might say face masks for helping you to feel good about yourself aren't as important as fire safety, but I trust that my building's superintendent has the latter under control. Feeling good about myself is something that's up to me, and my Sunday at-home spa time handily provides the cure! That said, here are my favorite preventive, organic, cruelty-free remedies!
1. Bliss In the Honey Moisturizing Mask, $12.99
I've only recently discovered the Bliss line, and I'm a fan! I was also blissfully-- (see what I did there? Okay I'll stop trying to be all axiomatic like Ben, hehe!)-- ahem, blissfully excited to hear that they've recently relaunched and stopped shipping to countries that require animal testing like China. They're also currently in the works to be certified by PETA! Read more here. While on a recent mommy run to Target, I was drawn to the large, blue sign that read "cruelty-free" and the price was an added incentive for this beauty junkie. While this mask is only $12.99, I can 100% vouch for the fact that it performs as well as masks I've purchased that are ten times the price such as SK-II's Facial Treatment Mask. (Incidentally, you can buy those in singles. It's definitely worth the occasional splurge for the cooling effect while grabbing a nap. FYI a GREAT gift for headache sufferers or new moms/ same thing aiaiai.) I've taken to applying my Bliss honey mask before I apply my mainstay Sunday mask, sometimes even leaving it on the night before while I sleep. Basically, as you might gather from this post, I'm a huge fan in general of napping in a mask. Have you guys ever tried the combo? It's another great way to mimic a real spa experience from your home. Lately, I've actually taken to alternating my nightly honey mask, which you can purchase here with this next favorite, recent purchase (below).
2. Bliss That's Incredi-Peel Glycolic Resurfacing Pads $19.99
This product truly delivers what it promises: a few swipes at night over clean skin and, talk about fire safety, you wake up absolutely glowing. However, I haven't experience the trouble side effect they mention: glycolic acid peels in general can increase sensitivity to sunlight. Personally, I don't have sensitive skin and don't burn easily, but exercise caution for sure if you're planning to be in the sun the next day. Otherwise, swipe away! This stuff is magic! You can order it online here or find it in any friendly, neighborhood Target infested with happy, squealing mommies like myself. (What is it about big box stores that fills mommies with unmitigated joy and peace? Oh, I don't know Izzy: rows of great summer reads (I'll be reviewing some faves this week!!!), beauty products galore, all the necessaries like diapers and produce in one spot, endless solutions for every household problem that might have arisen during the week. Plus snacks and coffee= yep, mommy heaven.)
3. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial $80
Okay, this one is pricier, but this is why my love for this miracle mask is twofold: a. it's very, very, very effective and b. a wee bit goes a loooonnnnggg way! I've had my initial purchase since March, I've been using it at least weekly if not bi-weekly since then, and it's lasted for almost 20 uses. That's way less than ten dollars a face mask so far, and the bottle still feels substantially full. Actually, that's something I've noticed about all the Drunk Elephant products. They're made with super high-quality, vegan, cruelty-free ingredients, and a little goes a long way. As a true believer, I've recently purchased Drunk Elephant's "The Littles", this cute little bag with samples of their whole line. I'll be back to report on my faves soon!
Or 3. Hanacure the All-In-One Facial $110
Basically, after washing off a face mask that I applied the night before in anticipation of my Sunday soak, I apply a more expensive, intensive mask like the Drunk Elephant's Babyfacial one I just reviewed above or my newest purchase: the Hanacure All-In-One Facial. I only recently purchased Hanacure, so I've only had the opporutnity to use it once! If you're not an insane beauty junkie who has to jump on every Instagram beauty trend bandwagon and $110 seems a little crazy to plop down on a mask you've never tried, you can also buy a single one to sample from Amazon. It's available here for $45. I liked it, but I didn't apply it thick enough to warrant one of those silly, little old lady selfies that have helped popularize the brand. I was also sold on the face that the masks are also cruelty-free-- you might have noticed that's as important to me as a mask's efficacy!!-- and they're also formulated without parabens, phthalates (whatever those are, but they do sound bad!) or sulphates. Best of all, I can report it does feel gentler on the skin than either the Drunk Elephant Babyfacial or Bliss's Incredi-peel. If you have sensitive skin, this might be worth the splurge!
That's it! Step 1: a mask the night before combined with step 2: a morning mask and a quick soak to wash off the week and I feel prepared for (almost) everything the next week has to bring! I've also noticed a big difference in my skin since I've started taking the time to apply these masks when I have the opportunity or force my family to (ahem) respect the opportunity. What are your favorite masks? Any home remedies? I used to be more into home remedies when acne was an issue-- egg yolks can work magic!-- but lately it's all about moisture and brightness for me. I'd love to hear your suggestions for either kinds! I think organic home remedies would be fun to test out and would make for a fun Sunday self-care post! Have a great week!
P.S. On a quick related note: my husband and I also chose to destress by, as we call it "crushing it"-- pizza, wine, fries, sushi-- aka food, the other pathway to bliss next to big box stores. The result was one fine day recently neither of us could fit into our pants! We've adopted the "Fit Into Your Pants Diet" and it's going great. So far this week, I lost a pound and a half. Read more about it, and the many dietary benefits of drinking celery, here.
For some reason, (read: the election), I've been on a poetry fast for about a year now. Knowing April is National Poetry Month, I had to read some poetry, but I felt unable to crack a book of poems just like that after a whole year away. A whole year without touching my heart in the places poetry touches it. It's like when you've been sitting on your foot. You've got to shake your foot out first before you try to run.
So I grabbed The Poetry Lesson by Andrei Codrescu, a Romanian born poet who writes more beautifully in English than 99.99% of native-born speakers. The Poetry Lesson is ostensibly about an older poet teaching an introduction to poetry class to some young, naive things, but it's really a windy, fun ride. A sort of syllabus of the poet's own experience of being a poet in a world that doesn't just put aside poetry for a year but sometimes seems to have put it aside entirely.
"Intro to Poetry Writing is always like this: a long labor, a breech birth, or, obversely, mining in the dark. You take healthy young Americans used to sunshine (aided sometimes by Xanax and Adderall), you blindfold them and lead them by the hand into a labyrinth made from bones. Then you tell them their assignment: 'Find the Grail. You have a New York minute to get it.'"
So I settled into my pink, foamy bath made from an adorable cupcake bath bomb by Sky Organics. A person needs a warm, cozy place to delve into the terrifying depths of the soul. The book is only 117 pages, but by the time I'd finished it, so was my list of poets I wanted to read or re-read.
My favorite conceit from the book is that we can each pick a poet, dead or alive, as our ghost companion-- or G-C as Andrei calls them. For the sake of simplicity, he assigns a poet to each student based on the letter of their last name. My list cum Andrei's vision would look something like this: Emily Dickinson, Rita Dove, John Dryden, Bob Dylan, Camille Dungy, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Guillaume du Salluste du Bartas, Annette von Drust Hölshoff, H.D., or, maybe best of all, Jane Draycott-- because she's 1. living, 2. a woman, and 3. British.
(I'm an anglophile, because I'm half-French, and we're perverse that way. (The English famously loathe-- "Your mother smells of huckleberry!"-- but also love the French and vice versa.) Also now, thanks to my husband's last name, I'm Irish, so the English have become even more forbidden fruit to me.) Or maybe I will simply choose Andrei... at least for this bath. I feel like he would get a kick out of his book being put to such pink, frothy uses by a languid woman immersed in a tub.
Do you have a writer who's like a soul mate or an imaginary friend or who seems like they could be a friend? I used to feel that way about so many writers when I was younger, including, of course, J.K. Rowling, the whole world's imaginary, magical writing pal. I especially feel that way about her now, because she's even more amazing on epigrammatic Twitter than she might even be in novel form. Do you follow her?
Also, P.S. I linked a bunch of green beauty treats I like to indulge in on Saturdays or Sundays when I treat myself to a (quarter-full) bath. P.P.S. This K. Bunni Cosmetics mask that I adore is only $10 and works so well! You can use my code "greenbeauty" to get an additional 10% off.
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