When Laura Dobi, founder of Green Revolution Skin Studio in Bethesda, Maryland (locals, take note!), reached out to me about swinging by her studio for an organic facial, I was turnt up about it. I’d never had a facial of any kind before (real talk), and Laura has serious green skin credentials and expertise, so I knew it wouldn’t disappoint.
What I didn’t expect was for my appointment with Laura to catalyze a whole new chapter in my skin’s history (!). Truly, no product or experience I’ve had since starting this blog has been as impactful on me or the state of my skin than my facial at Green Revolution Skin Studio. Seriously. Her studio is so aptly named! My skin is clearer than it has been in well over a year. After months and months of tirelessly swapping in an endless assortment of products, diet adjustments and supplements (to no avail), Laura gave my skin the reset and supplemental regimen it needed. Thank you, Laura!
If you’re stuck in a skincare rut, or haven’t been able to self-solve your skin issues, consider investing in a green/organic facial or consulting with a pro. With Laura, if you can! I was so stubborn and resolute in trying to clear my skin for over a year. I would have visited Laura much sooner if I’d known I’d have such amazing results.
SO: what can you expect from a treatment with this miracle worker?
First off, Laura’s studio is beautiful, calming and quaint. It’s built to accommodate a single client at a time, so you get her full attention and don’t feel like you’re in a skincare factory with bathrobe-clad strangers milling around everywhere. Laura’s energy matches that of her studio: she is so kind, positive and genuine. An appointment with her is not just a facial. It’s a complete mind-body experience. And it. Is. Awesome.
Laura’s facials are customized to your skin type and she’ll select products and procedures according to your specific skin challenges and concerns. She’s drawing on a seriously well-versed education in skincare: she knows her way around a facial and is extremely knowledgable on products, ingredients and WHY they work (as well as what doesn’t). She uses a wide variety of organic/green-leaning products including Suki, SIRCUIT, the Body Deli, and more.
Nancy Newsom, founder of Botanic Organic natural skincare, embodies what “unsullied” is all about: she changed her diet to make more conscious, organic choices, and soon after…examined what she was putting on her skin. Was it chock full of irritating ingredients and harmful additives? The answer was yes. We feel you, Nancy.
She decided to take the ultimate step toward positive change and start an organic skincare line, after plenty of research on natural ingredients that would cleanse, moisturize and treat. Nancy used her own formulations to diminish the appearance of sun damage on her face (dark spots) and her skin became softer and more nourished. Her empowering attitude and positive outlook on healthy choices really inspires us. Plus, her products pack a seriously effective punch, the ingredient aromas will make you feel like you’re at the spa, and the product sizes are generous: often two or three times the size of what you get at a typical green beauty boutique.
She graciously sent me some samples that I want to tell you all about!
Heidi Craig, founder of the “ecoluxe” online retailer Philtre, contacted us a few months back to let us know about the launch of her new site. I checked it out immediately and was drawn to the brands she carries: your natural favorites like Acure, Alima Pure, Meow Meow Tweet, Dr. Alkaitis, and Rahua (just to name a few)… and also some very exciting brands that I have yet to try, but that are perfectly in line with Unsullied’s motto. Alaska Glacial Mud Co., Camamu, COOLA, Innersense, and OSEA were on this list, among many others. After a two hour conversation with Heidi on the phone, I not only made a new friend, but was so supremely impressed with her mission.
Philtre, based in San Francisco, is not only a non-toxic, cruelty free, ethically produced online boutique, but it also only sells products that are made in the U.S. This all-natural haven was formed after Heidi spent four years working with the United Nations and realized just what an impact our personal shopping decisions can have on health, environment, economy and quality of life. She wanted to create a place where people could shop and feel good about what they were buying, and committed a great amount of detail and hard work into streamlining Philtre into the green beauty veritable CANDY STORE it is today. Okay, they don’t actually sell candy…but they may as well to me, because brands like By Nieves and Persephenie are my equivalent to a big chocolate bunny the size of my 12-pound cat. What I mean is: Philtre is my happy place!
Heidi is so passionate about what she does, and facilitating a way for people to not only be healthier, but happier in their beauty/grooming choices. She has something for everyone on her site: moms, teens, and even couples! The men’s boutique is particularly extensive, not just the typical beard oil and organic shaving cream you find on most sites akin to Philtre. Men are often left out of the loop in terms of clean products and branding, and it puts a smile on my face to see Philtre appealing to them, and also curating for them. There is, after all, NO reason the men in your life should be using Old Spice body wash. (And NO ONE should have to be subjected to Axe…no one. I’m lookin’ to YOU, guy I ride the subway with every mornin’. You’re killin’ me softly. Everyday.)
Are your beauty box subscriptions starting to pile up (literally)? Welp. Make room in your mailbox. There’s a new kid on da block.
Modere contacted us about giving their Beauty Box a test run. Don’t mind if I do!
Who is Modere? When Rachel from Modere first reached out to us, she wrote that the brand offers “lifestyle essentials, personal care, health & wellness and household products that are equal parts safe, high performing and beautifully designed.” Amen to the beautifully designed piece. The two products that I’ve used repeatedly from the box are definitely high-performing. And on the safety front: I’ve noted some ingredients, like phenoxyethanol, that aren’t ideal, but for the most part, these are pretty clean. Impressed.
The concept of their beauty box is pretty clever. Unlike other boxes that send you a variety of samples, Modere includes four full-size products with four corresponding sample sizes, plus a full-size gift that you get to keep fo’ free. You try the samples over a seven-day trial period, decide what you like, keep the full-size products you love and send back the full-size products that you don’t love with a pre-paid shipping label. For any of you who have received a beauty box, fell in love with a sample, used it down to the sad, last drop and then bemoaned the fact that it was gone…this is an *instant gratification* solution. So, props to Modere on that biz model.
BUT: this box is not cheap. Your card isn’t charged until the end of your seven-day trial period, so it’s technically a risk-free investment…assuming you don’t pull a Rip Van Winkle and sleep through the week. But you won’t, because this is a $79.99 box (though, contents are valued at $139.99, according to Modere, and you are receiving five full-size products). You’ll get the most bang for your buck if you keep all of the products: if you only select one or a few of them to keep, you’ll have to pay retail price for each.
The box I received included the following products:
I’ve written about my two faves below. I immediately gravitated toward these two because they’re products I’d use in my daily routine – I’m always looking to up my exfoliation and hair game. WHO ISN’T?
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of not only getting to try the gorgeous, amazing and truly magical No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum from MUN, a luxurious organic skin care line. I treated it as if were gold in a bottle because it was just. That. Glorious. Containing the age-busting prickly pear seed oil (also called “Aknari”) paired with rose and argan oils, this is not your run of the mill serum. It’s luxurious, and perfect for a nighttime beauty routine. Paired with MUN’s No.11 Anarose Rejuvenating Rose Toner… this combination hits it out of the park. One of my favorite finds of last year, hands down!
Instead of a long love letter that is 800 words long (I could do it, I tell ya!), I am going to share a Q&A that I had the pleasure of conducting with MUN’s founder, Munemi Imai. Not only is she a badass high profile makeup artist, but she has a wealth of knowledge on powerful organic skincare ingredients. And…she’s kind. And awesome. READ!
No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum has truly glowing reviews across the board. What makes your formula stand out among other natural serums? How did you develop it?
What makes it special would be the main ingredient, prickly pear seed oil. When I first came across this oil on my first research trip to Morocco in 2010, I was amazed by the fast results I saw on my then-developing under-eye dark circles and fine lines…and also how it made my skin baby soft.
Prickly pear seed oil is loaded with high contents of essential fatty acids and antioxidants; it is the king of the oils for anti-aging.
It’s also rich in amino acids, which stimulate collagen production to promote faster cell turn over. It has vitamin K, which is beneficial to brighten under-eye dark circles and also promote skin elasticity. However, there was a challenge to this amazing oil…
Ah, coffee. I could not imagine my life without you. I dream about you at night. I spend hours sipping you in the mornings, and get sad when the pot is empty. Sometimes I will make two pots. But only on special occasions. Coffee, you are my soulmate. My one true love, and the only constant in my life outside of er…uh, mah husband. He loves you, too (but not as much as me). After all our years together, coffee, I think it’s time we get a little more healthy with how we sweeten you. After all, you deserve nothing but the best ingredients.
There’s been plenty of well-publicized debate on whether coffee is good or bad for you, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that I drink coffee like a regular addict. It is what it is. And until recently, I never really put that much stock into the creamers I was using. I switched to mostly organic food a few years ago. My skincare followed soon after. But the one thing that I never stopped to regulate or even investigate was my one daily indulgence: coffee creamer!
Store-bought coffee creamers are generally not made up of actual “food.” At all. Common ingredients are corn syrup solids (yum!) or partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil. Partially hydrogenated oils = trans fats. There are also a lot of additives and preservatives in commonly used coffee creamers, and aside from tasting DELISH, they are likely doing you more harm than good. When you think of how much creamer you use in a week: 3-4 tablespoons a day (be honest, girl) x 7 days a week = up to 28 tablespoons of this gunk weekly.
Oh…but they have so many flavors now though, don’t they…? Cookie Dough. Bailey’s. GIRL SCOUT THIN MINT?! So. So. So. Tempting.
Well, I have a solution for you that is not only cost effective, but also YUMMY. A 16 oz bottle of Coffee-mate will set you back around $3. My solution will give you 30 oz for around $6. Not bad, eh? There are ways you can adapt this creamer to make it into one of your favorite flavors, and it will turn your coffee nice and creamy, like store bought creamer does, but without all the nasties. It’s also dairy-free for any of you with sensitivities. Each tablespoon is around 25 calories. All you need is five minutes and some cool glass mason jars. Let’s do this!
In case I didn’t say it before…HAPPY NEW YEAR, you guys.
The New Year means RESOLUTIONS. The New Year means forcing myself to go “yogging” in the bitter cold. It means occasionally lifting a 7.5 lb dumbbell above my head in a very flimsy fashion. But, self-disparagement aside, it also means I’m feeling motivated, y’all.
And: thanks to some new spray deodorants that make perfect gym bag companions, it means I am feeling fresh. And fly. And definitely not smelly.
You read right: spray deos. The first I’ve ever tried, as a matter of fact: Blissoma’s Juniper Natural Deodorant Aromatic Spray and FreshBod.
Prior to this little test run, I’d been beholden to my solid deodorants of choice: Soapwalla and Schmidt’s. Both of these have a paste-like consistency and contain natural, safe, sweat-absorbing powders. Soapwalla contains corn starch, baking soda and kaolin clay; Schmidt’s has baking soda as well, plus arrowroot powder. So, it was hard for me to imagine how a spray could ward off sweat. There’s no powder in a spray!
Welp. The answer is that spray deodorants do not tackle your sweat. Spray deos are pro-sweat, anti-odor. Sweating is a normal, healthy function that removes toxins from the body. Sweat becomes *smelly* when it interacts with bacteria on your skin. These sprays combat bacteria to prevent odors. With a spray deodorant, thou shalt sweat. Thou shalt not smell. For that reason, I prefer to use these sprays as a companion to my regular deodorant: post-workout spritzes or a quick spray before starting the evening/night shift.
It’s no secret that winter is rough on the skin. It’s no secret that most of us, at some point or another, will suffer from dry patches, itchy patches, or just plain ol’ sad and tired-looking skin. It’s also no secret that there are so many natural options for you to save that skin and make it polished and glowing for springtime! I want to share two products that are really helping me this winter with exfoliating my sad skin.
Yumzezz is a new company that reached out to us last year, and I’ve been trying out/ enjoying their products for a few months now. Any wintertime gal knows that exfoliation is the key to surviving in sub zero temperatures. Well, I live in LA…but hey! It still gets cold here, and with the air so dry, my legs and arms are always beggin’ for moisture! (Plus, I’ve got east coast roots…you can trust my wintertime skincare advice.)
Yumzezz is a line of “inedible skin delectables.” They sent me their creamed body scrubs ($12.50 for 2 oz.) to sample. The basis of their body scrubs is organic sugar mixed with palm kernel oil, safflower oil, apricot oil, shea butter, and other sweets for your skin like honey and buttermilk. A simply divine experience in the shower, you just need a little bit to start working the mixture into your skin to melt your stress away. Their body scrubs come in three different scents: Mocha Crunch (my HANDS DOWN favorite – I’m a coffee addict), Coconut Lemongrass (like your favorite sweet Thai dish) and Fruiter (made with actual milled and sterilized fruit seeds). Just like in life, if I am given the option for fruit sorbet or a deep, decadent scoop of chocolate ice cream…uh, yeah, IMGONNACHOOSETHATICECREAM. Mocha Crunch for the win! Coffee plus body scrubs should always go hand in hand – they wake you up while making your skin luminous. The inclusion of “fragrance” in this product, which no doubt contributes to the delectable smell of this product, set off the alarm bells for us, though. Yumzezz confirmed with us that their fragrance formulation is free of parabens, phthalates and vanillin, which is comforting, though we’d rather it only contain all-natural scents.
Also, here’s a fun fact: you don’t need wet skin to use the body scrubs. You can use them on dry skin, as well! Although I have never tried that, (I love me some scrub at shower/bath time) it’s a useful piece of knowledge and a testament to the moisture content in this product!
…between the two of us, we can really work our way through (nearly) a whole product line. Some may call it addiction or obsession, but we call it…research.
Kahina Giving Beauty is a brand that we as a green beauty blogging duo (read: seestars) have coveted since we launched Unsullied back in November 2013. Has it been that long? Oh my.
Jennifer dove right into it shortly after we launched and bought/reviewed Kahina’s eye cream, and gave a great primer on the brand in general. Check it out. The basics: Kahina = a high quality argan oil-based line that’s also mission-based, empowering and giving back to the Berber women who harvest and produce the argan oil. Pretty freaking awesome. Cue the music: These are a few of our favorite things…
Fast forward to a few months ago, when we worked with Kahina’s team to identify some products from across their line that would work with our individual skin types and needs (and wants…). We each sampled a handful of products, *including* their liquid gold argan oil – the lynchpin of the entire line – and are sharing with you the best of what we think Kahina has to offer! These are not budget products, so beware – but Kahina is doing some great things by offering fair wages to the women who extract their argan oil. That’s worth paying for.
In addition to testing out the two products that I review below, I also tried the Fez Body Serum, which didn’t totally delight me in the scent department. But these two products delighted me in the…”everything” department. All the departments. They’ve both been indispensable for dealing with winter weather and subsequent skin dryness. THE BOMB.
This year was special for us in so many ways. It was our first full year as green beauty bloggers, and we learned so much from this awesome community – the warmth and kindness that met us this year is something we will never forget. We became closer as sisters who live 3,000 miles apart, and Unsullied has been a great way for us to keep in touch and share knowledge and ideas with each other. THAT said…drumroll, please…here are our favorite products of 2014, out of the plethora we slathered all over our sometimes confused and disconcerted skin/bodies (all for the sake of the blog and furthering our green beauty education, y’all). If you read our blog regularly, you probably won’t be surprised at ALL at our picks! (Hey, when we like something, we LIKE something!) We included some tidbits from our original reviews. Onward!
Acure Organics: Line Eraser
May 21 – Best of Acure Organics: The Line Eraser is my absolute, hands down, FAVORITE Acure product. The Line Eraser is not only a product I have ALREADY bought for myself, (and will again, and again…) but this little pot of heaven is your answer to most skin care problems. I started with putting it on my “lines” – forehead, laugh lines, etc. Then I started putting it on old acne scars, new acne scars, my eyebrows…you name it! (I started deliberately putting this on my eyebrows at night because I realized that it has helped them grow in thicker. Who doesn’t want THAT?) It’s like a healing salve, and so much more. You can put it on burns, cuts, scrapes, eczema, psoriasis, etc. It’s 100% organic. The Line Eraser’s rich, almost Vaseline-like texture lend itself to really, really working wonders on your skin. It lightens and brightens scars, and has worked literal miracles on my brow/frown lines, the things I am most self-conscious about. Even if you COVER yourself in it, as I have everyday, it will last you a solid 6-8 weeks.