Yumzezz: A Boutique Brand for Banishing Sad Winter Skin

Yumzezz

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!

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Five Products from Kahina

Kahina-Cleanser-and-Argan-Bowl

…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.

Kahina-Cleanser-and-Argan-White

Jennifer’s Picks

Oh, Kahina.

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.

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2014 Faves…and Happy New Year!

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!

Kathryne’s Faves

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.

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Get Your (Last Minute) Gift On…

  1. Beautycounter Lip Sheer in Plum, $28
  2. S’well Bottle, $25-$45
  3. Eat Pretty by Jolene Hart, $15.26
  4. May Lindstrom The Jasmine Garden Botanical Mist, $60
  5. RMS Living Luminizer, $38
  6. Vapour Replenish Organic Nail & Cuticle Oil, $18

Jennifer’s Picks

I’ve been wanting to try Beautycounter’s Lip Sheers (1) for ages now. They’ve got a really gorgeously branded line of healthy products – the Lip Sheer in Plum seems like a universally flattering holiday shade for all yo’ peeps.

Give the gift of PERPETUAL HYDRATION. I saw Tara from healthy beauty boutique Follain toting one of these (2) during their DC pop-up shop days. I love the look of this pattern: they’re hand-painted, keep drinks cold for 24 hours or hot for 12, are BPA-free and do not condensate. There’s nothing to dislike about this bottle. And as an added holiday-appropriate perk, S’well’s partner American Forests will plant a tree with every purchase. Good karma. Baby trees! I’ll take it.

Did I buy this book (3) for someone on my list? I sure did. SPOILER ALERT. Hope she’s not reading. (Actually, I hope she is, a hit’s a hit. Know what I’m sayin’?) Jolene Hart’s book is all about healing your skin and making yourself glow from the inside out by eating seasonal, healthy, whole foods. She drops lots of knowledge. Hopefully I get to borrow it when my gift recipient is done reading! (But that’s not why I bought it, I swear…)

Kathryne’s Picks

I tried this mist (4) at A Night for Green Beauty this year and was ready to buy 50 and bathe in it because it’s so refreshing, so hydrating, and smells INSANELY delish. It’s just a gorgeous, romantic, subtle product suitable for all skin types & every special person on your list.

Dry winter hands can lead to cracked cuticles. Ouchy! Pick up this practical yet indulgent little gift and help your friends out (5).

Who doesn’t need a little extra glow in the winter time? I have read nothing been stellar reviews about Living Luminizer (6)! Can’t go wrong with this one.

Happy holidays, you guys! What are you giving/making this year?

One for the Dudes: Province Apothecary’s Beard Oil

Province Apothecary Beard Oil

Y’know what we’ve never done on this here blog? Featured products for dudes.

UNTIL TODAY. One small step for Unsullied, one giant leap for…OK, maybe not mankind, but we’re feeling pretty good about it.

Natural skincare, soap and personal care products are not gender-specific. Everyone benefits from using products that are cleaner, healthier and holistic…and free of irritating chemicals and ingredients that do not serve our health. But since Kathryne and I are both, y’know, females, our product reviews naturally have a perpetually womanly perspective. Shucks.

We’ve been talking about getting a male viewpoint on the blog for a while now. With the recent close of No Shave November, the rustic autumn season and the recent popularity of the term “lumbersexual“…we knew we had to start with (drumroll, please) beard oil.

Beard oil also makes a choice selection for the blog because, unlike the vast majority of personal care products out there, it’s a traditionally natural product. Most beard oils are chock full of nourishing oils like jojoba, argan, grape seed, etc., and natural scents. Yeahhh! Plus, it just so happens we liaise with a very beardly dude who has been on the prowl for a solid beard oil for some time now, and he kindly agreed to share his POV for this very blog entry. The fates aligned for this post, my friends.

Today we’re featuring our guy JW. He’s been sporting a beard for the better part of this year, but wasn’t regularly using beard oil…until now. The elixir at hand? Province Apothecary’s Beard Oil ($36 for 30 ml) from Canada, Land of Beards.

JW-beard-oil

We’d been chatting about beard oil on Twitter (y’know, as people do, totally normal…) in October, and Province Apothecary very kindly offered to send us a bottle for JW to test drive. Lucky for us, we had been coveting this brand’s snazzy blue bottle (it’s dual purpose: looks cool and protects the integrity of the oils) and equally laudable natural ingredients. It came highly recommended by our gal Sonja (beard aficionada, fellow Jon Snow disciple) from Life in Blush. Beard oil is pretty much leave-in conditioner for beards. Province Apothecary’s packs in sunflower oil, jojoba seed oil, grape seed oil, evening primrose oil and GMO-free vitamin E. Combined, they hydrate, reduce itchiness and blemishes, and give beards a healthy shine. On top of that, black spruce is supposed to stimulate hair growth and strengthen the beard, while lavender calms the skin. Therapeutic oils of bergamot, cedar wood and vetiver also make this beard oil smell pretty dreamy.

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Osmia Organics: Kathryne’s Take

Osmia Organics

I met the supremely friendly and down-to-earth team at Osmia Orgamics, a stand-out soap and skincare company made with high-quality natural and organic ingredients, at A Night For Green Beauty over the summer. I felt like a really bad green blogger for never having tried their products, despite hearing great things from everyone…Jennifer included! She had the pleasure of sampling some of their products for acne prone skin earlier in the year and loved them so much. Go check out her review of the Spot Treatment and Black Clay Facial Soap.

Jennifer and I have very different skin, but our experience with Osmia was the same: we fell in love. Osmia sent me products for hydration and balance. I am 30, and my skin is combination. Sometimes it’s crazy oily, other times it’s borderline chapped. I have acne here and there, but nothing too awful…I think it’s what might be considered “normal.” Although, at 16, if you would have told me that one can still get a zit on their chin at 30, I would have slapped you in the face. Alas…welcome to your 30s, ladies! We get to worry about fine lines and pimples! Woohoo! And if that wasn’t enough…I also have a tendency to get small chapped areas from eczema if I am not careful, and although I HATE to admit it, I have paper thin sensitive skin. I get that from my Dad, who will break out into a rash if you even MENTION the word “perfume” around him.

Osmia carries products for full body and facial care: soaps, body oils, facial oils of varying kinds, etc. Their products are targeted to your skin problems: acne, dry skin, aging skin, you name it. They even have a lovely new natural scent line that is subtle, earthy and safe! Osmia prides itself in not only the way their products work on your skin, but also the way that they make you feel when you use them. The calm that washes over you while breathing in the notes of lavender in your soap, the Bulgarian rose and base of violet leaf in their perfume Possa to reinforce your courage and strength. I think that’s a powerful way to make your products.

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Are you a skin care herbivore?

Herbivore-Botanicals-Sea-Mist-and-Toner

Herbivore Botanicals. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

All of Herbivore Botanicals’ skin care products are 100% natural. Their ingredient lists are short and simple. Their products are beautifully branded and packaged in glass, so you can repurpose the bottles or recycle them. Did I mention how attractive their labels are?! (I did. I did.) It’s products like these that will win over even more natural skin care users, because whether or not you have an appreciation for…say…witch hazel, who doesn’t covet a beautiful glass bottle for their bathroom countertop?!

I seriously cannot get enough of this brand, if my past posts weren’t indication…(this one, and this one, and this one…) GUILTY.

Here are my latest Herbivore acquisitions from earlier this year. Thank you to Herbviore’s creators, Julia and Alex, for letting me go nuts and pick out a batch of products for review!

Balance Facial Toner

Toner has become my favorite skin care product. For years, I skipped the toning step. But now, I find it’s a critical way to prime my face for application of moisturizer (better absorption and slippery skin surface) and a refreshing/nourishing way to pack in extra natural ingredients that serve my skin’s needs.

Balance ($24 for 4 oz.) has been my go-to toner for the past several months, and I’m not planning on switching any time soon. If you have oily/combination skin like me (aren’t you lucky?), ch-check this one out.

Let me walk you through the ingredients. #1 = witch hazel (yes, there’s more witch hazel than water in this bad boy). Witch hazel is a natural astringent and helps with acne-prone, oily skin. Who needs an irritating chemical ingredient when you can get the same benefits from nature? Next: Aloe vera and vegetable glycerine are both super gentle and smooth moisturizers. And lastly, essential oils for an added punch: neroli and hyssop decumbens. All I knew about neroli oil before bringing Balance into my life (#hallelujah) was that it has a pleasant citrus-y scent. Turns out, it does more than that: Herbivore included it in their toner for its nourishing and regenerative properties. The hyssop decumbens oil is detoxifying.

Despite the high witch hazel content, I’ve found this toner to be gentle enough to apply both morning and night, and super refreshing.

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Fall Lips and Cookie (!) Scented Soap: Latest Faves from Acure

Acure-Lip-Lushes

Acure is a brand we’ve written about boatloads. You’ll find their products in our purses, on our desks, in our bathrooms, in our showers. We even had the chance to interview (and fan girl over) Amy Halman, Acure’s president, for Unsullied!

…so, y’know, we’re kinda fans.

Much to our delight, Acure has had a bunch of product launches this year. We wanted to share our faves with you, because we’ve been using some of these products on the daily.

Kathryne’s Faves

Acure-Aroma-Argan

Aromatherapeutic Argan Oils
Drum roll, please: Acure’s most recent release is also their most exciting of the year (I think). These aromatherapeutic argan oils ($12.99 for 1 oz) seriously transport me to a calming place. Coming in Rose, Citrus Ginger and Coconut, you can apply 3-4 drops after your moisturizer or AS your moisturizer on your face, neck and eye area. Or, if you’re like us, you’ll find uses for argan oil all over your body – your hands, cuticles, elbows, etc. These are nice little bottles to keep on your bedside table or at your desk when fall/winter dryness sets in. Plus, depending on your scent preference, you’ll get to bask in relaxation (rose), tropical vibes (coconut) or energizing citrus.

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Book Review & Giveaway: 100 Organic SkinCare Recipes

De-Puffer-Spa-Water

This has been one of my favorite posts to write. In the midst of learning about/buying better skincare options in the all-natural world, Jennifer and I have come across so many products that we love. Truly. I would say the overwhelming majority of what we have been lucky enough to stumble upon has been fantastic. Also, the people behind the brands in this relatively small community are always so knowledgeable, passionate, and generous.

Jessica Ress is one of those incredible people behind a brand that we have been lucky enough to get to know. The founder of natural spa product line Angel Face Botanicals (check out our review of her products), and “blogess” over at Spa Goddess, Jessica can now add published author extraordinaire to her resume. Her new DIY book, 100 Organic Skincare Recipes, will keep you occupied for hours.

I had so much fun reading this book and trying out some of the recipes for my face, body and hair. Jessica’s main mantra is to infuse all that you do with love. Having already developed a successful line of natural beauty and skincare products, she wanted to share her insights and empower readers to make homemade remedies with a few simple ingredients. While I obviously didn’t try all 100 recipes (I mean, c’mon, girl, we like to research our blog entries, but I ain’t got THAT much time!), I dabbled. Some of the recipes are so simple you could probably make them right now with what you have in your fridge; others might require a trip to your local farmer’s market or health food store.

What I love about this book is that you are getting inside information from a health and wellness expert who really knows her stuff, why certain ingredients will work for or against your skin, and so on. Jessica has taken an enormous amount of time, love and consideration to make this book not only enjoyable to simply read (and learn), but has made it super user-friendly for you to start experimenting in your own kitchen.

We will be giving away a copy of this gem of a book to one lucky reader in honor of our one year “blog-iversary” (it all started with this deodorant post…)! Enter the rafflecopter bellow by Oct. 31 for your chance to win! This is open to all U.S. Unsullied readers.

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A Laurel Love Story

Laurel

You greenies have probably read a lot in the past year about Laurel Whole Plant Organics. Or haven’t you? Well, let me tell ya, it seems like everyone in the green beauty/skincare community is learning and raving about Laurel’s entire line. I’m here to tell you all that it’s true: this brand truly is one of a kind.

I had the pleasure of meeting Laurel (herself!) at A Night For Green Beauty in August. She was kind, answered all my questions, and very generously gave me some samples to try out.

So, what principles guide this brand?

“Laurel Whole Plant Organics is a flower and herb based facial care line. We have the highest possible standards for organic ingredients, biodynamic ingredients, and raw, unrefined whole plant ingredients. We source directly from our farmers, making our purity and integrity unparalleled. “

This whole line is so clean, effective, and most important…all-natural! Laurel products are definitely an investment. But in my opinion – more than well worth it!

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