Are you a skin care herbivore?

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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

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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

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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

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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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A Nourishing Bath and Body Line for Fall: Eu2Be

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What’s more fun than trying a new, seasonally suitable brand? Hello, Eu2Be!

Eu2Be, founded by Charla Jones, is named after her globetrotting aunt Eugenia, one of a number of strong women in Charla’s life who inspired her to create her own definition of beauty – which we can definitely get behind.

“We believe beauty is so much more than glamour: it’s a creative force for well-being, and there’s nothing superficial about it.”

Yes. Yes. Yes.

The Eu2Be line is rooted in nourishing oils – prime stuff as we move into autumn – and avoids a lot of common nasties. It’s worth nothing that they do contain preservative phenoxyethanol and fragrance. “Fragrance” on any product label sets off the alarm bells in our heads since a number of nasty chemicals can make up your run-of-the-mill synthetic scent, and manufacturers do not have to divulge their formulas, so it’s difficult to gauge what ingredients you’re spritzing or slathering all over your body. The good news is that the Eu2Be team set us at ease after we reached out about this:

“Eu2Be’s fragrance is unisex and never forward or overpowering. It was created for people who are sensitive to strong, allergy-triggering ingredients. And most importantly, it does not have any phthalates, formaldehydes, hormone-altering or cancer-causing components that are commonly associated with fragrance ingredients.”

As always, read your labels – and peep our review below for our thoughts!

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Meet Your Maker: Jaime Schmidt of Schmidt’s Deodorant

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: deodorant is one of those essential products that needs to work! (No gal wants to clear a room because her well-intentioned, natural deo was a bust.) As you may have seen in our last post, we were very happy to discover that Schmidt’s Deodorant is one of those go-to, dependable products for everyone interested in using a healthy, natural option.

Jaime Schmidt, Schmidt's Deodorant

That’s why we were psyched to ask Jaime Schmidt, founder of Schmidt’s Deodorant, some questions about the natural deodorant biz and the Schmidt’s process. Read on to hear from Jaime, the natural deo master herself: she discusses her process for selecting scents, the future of the natural deo industry, and a bunch more.

Schmidt’s Deodorant has truly glowing reviews. What makes your formula stand out among other natural deodorants? How did you develop it?
Thanks! There are a few things that stand out about the formula. First is the ingredients and their sourcing: we use only the highest quality ingredients available. Then there is the production, which not only requires a specific combination of ingredients, but a very careful and “secret” process that gives us the great consistency and hand feel we’re looking for. This took over two years of R&D for us to get it exactly right. Of course, we put a great deal of effort towards our packaging as well: we want to ensure a positive, new kind of experience with deodorant.

Let’s talk about the “science of smell” and how your ingredients like baking soda and natural plant powders absorb wetness and fight odor. How does that work?

One key is to allow for the body’s natural process of perspiration – we don’t include chemical ingredients like other deodorant brands that are designed to keep you from sweating – rather, we use plant-based powders and top-quality baking soda to absorb the wetness if you do sweat.

These ingredients you mentioned, and more, help to balance our body’s natural odor in a more health-conscious way.

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Overly Excited About Deodorant (Really): Schmidt’s Deo

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We try out our fair share of all-natural skincare, beauty and body products over here at Unsullied HQ (read: in our respective living rooms). In terms of the products that don’t quite wow us…we don’t lose sleep over a tube of too-sticky lip gloss or odd-smelling soap. But a deodorant that doesn’t perform? There goes our social life. The stakes are HIGH during deodorant trials!

Fortunately for us, we had few qualms about taking all-natural Schmidt’s Deodorant ($9 for 2 oz.) for a test run. Their press page features glowing reviews of tear-inciting effectiveness (“I literally cried after a day of wearing it”) and we’ve heard from bloggers and green beauty fans alike that Schmidt’s has a winning formula. In a world where effective natural deodorants can be a bit elusive…that’s a big deal!

So, how does it work? Schmidt’s contains plant-based powders and high-quality baking soda to absorb wetness and neutralize your B.O., you smelly person (kiddin’). Plus, shea butter and cocoa seed butter act as skin conditioners. Schmidt’s is completely free of the usual suspects that “sully” drugstore deodorants…aluminum, parabens, and more. We wrote nearly a year ago why all-natural deodorant is critically important to us. Underarms are a sensitive part of your body – but more importantly – they’re close to your breasts – and you don’t want any strong or potentially hazardous ingredients/chemicals there. No way, Jose.

Well, the results are in and…YES, Schmidt’s is the REAL DEAL. Rejoice!

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Feeling Like a Teenager Again: Angel Face Botanicals (+ Giveaway!)

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I first was introduced to Angel Face Botanicals through a sample of their Lavender and Aloe Toner in the Ecopique Box full of all natural products I received a few months ago. Until then, I had never heard of this luxurious, spa-like brand of organic green goodness. Now, I’m a convert, and you can be too, because Angel Face Botanicals has generously put together a prize package for one Unsullied reader. Read on for the giveaway!

Based in Santa Cruz, California (one of my favorite places!), founder Jessica Ress works with the Earth to make exquisite natural products. Being a fifth generation Californian growing up in the fresh air and sunny beaches, she became interested in healing herbs in the early ’90s. This led her to experimenting with making homemade spa products and lotions for her friends and family for gifts. Thus, Angel Face Botanicals was born. Located on the beautiful Monterey Bay Sanctuary, Jessica’s boutique facility makes her pure, natural and organic facial care, body care, perfumes, and soaps using aromatherapy principles for maximum enjoyment/effectiveness.

Jessica states her products are made with essential oils, phyto-nutrients, antioxidants, detoxifying minerals, and LOTS of love!

Now, onto why I feel like a teenager again when I use her products.

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Meet Your Maker: The Gurus Behind Healthy Beauty Boutique Follain

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The world of green beauty is growing, but it can still be a bit elusive at times. You have to order your new organic lip color online, praying (praying) that the actual shade matches the swatch on your computer screen. You have to hightail it across town to Whole Foods to restock your favorite shampoo so you don’t look like a swamp creature the next day at work (it’s either that or resort to your old sulfate-riddled shampoo lurking in the medicine cabinet…never surrender!).

So, what do you do when when you unexpectedly stumble upon a complete cornucopia of your favorite natural skincare and beauty products, laid out in a beautiful space, curated by green beauty pros that you’ve revered and followed for some time?

Uhhh, freak out, obviously!

That’s what I did when I discovered the temporary Follain pop-up boutique earlier this year at Union Market in my home city of Washington, DC.

Literally, I went out for home fries and and came home with RMS Beauty “Un” Cover-Up in shade 11, ILIA Tinted Lip Conditioner in Arabian Knights, and a whole lot of inspiration and happy vibes from the incredible Follain team.

If you’re not familiar with Follain: it’s an absolutely beautiful, Boston-based shop that stocks healthy skincare, haircare and cosmetic products. They carry 30+ of the best natural U.S.-made lines, like Soapwalla, Herbivore Botanicals, Farmaesthetics, and so much more. While the DC pop-up is closed for the time-being, they’ve expanded to a second shop in Nantucket, and best of all, you can get the Follain experience anywhere: their online shop is live!

Follain-ladies

I had a complete fangirl moment over the team behind Follain, founder Tara Foley and director of health and safety Holly Moore. I’d been a longtime fan of Tara’s insightful green beauty blog, The NATURAL CHEMYST, so it was a real treat to meet these two healthy beauty savants. They are some of the most knowledgable women I’ve met in the biz…they truly understand every facet of green beauty and have so much knowledge and experience to share: packaging, product, ingredients. They are deeply committed to making real change in the personal care industry as a whole, shedding light on the harsh chemical ingredients in mainstream products and celebrating the wholesome, healthy and effective natural ingredients in the lines they curate and carry. They’re already well on their way!

Anyway, enough fangirl-ing…I’ll let you hear about this shop’s wonder straight from Tara, Holly and Ashley, the Follain team. Read on to discover how Follain’s refillable soap program is spurring positive behavior change in Boston, a list of these healthy beauty pros’ favorite products, some AWESOME DIYs, and a bunch more.

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Hubba, Hubba…! A Night For Green Beauty

Did you know there’s an annual event that celebrates the bountiful world of green beauty? And that it was earlier this month? (Most of you bloggers and green beauty fans are probably nodding, “Yup. DUH.”)

But just in case you haven’t heard of A Night for Green Beauty (ANFGB), put on by green skincare line La Bella Figura and drawing bloggers and product manufacturers from around the country, (kind of like charcoal draws dirt out from pores…OK, terrible green beauty joke…) let me paint you a quick picture.

Twenty-two green beauty brands set up shop at the W hotel in Los Angeles to share their fantastic wares, (and samples…samples!) including the beloved Jose Rosebrook, Osmia Organics, Alima Pure, the list. GOES. ON!

Flowers crowns were sported.

Cold-pressed juice was sipped.

A cornucopia of sustainably and stylishly packaged beauty and skincare products, teeming with powerful natural, nourishing and organic ingredients awaited all in attendance.

I mean…it’s pretty much what you would expect: HEAVEN. ON. EARTH.

I can’t tell you how hard it was going to ANFGB in Los Angeles without my dear baby sister & blogger-in-crime, Jennifer. Well, hard may be an overstatement, heh, because it was like a dreamland I could have never fathomed (sorry, sis!)…it was overwhelming and beautiful! All those green brands all in the same place?! It was so magical!

My hubby came with me to help snap photos. He may not be a fan of shimmery mineral eye shadows and citrus-scented body oils, but he is pretty much the best ever for snapping photos and coming along for the ride while I covered myself in natural perfumes from Lurk and swathed in various facial serums. I might have left looking a little crazy, but by God, it was WORTH IT!

Meeting the people behind the brands and blogs that Jennifer and I have loved, admired, and gained so much knowledge and enlightenment from was truly special. I could go on about it forever. But in the interest of your boredom and my social life, I am going to highlight just a few of my favorite experiences for you!

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