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.)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.