May Lindstrom and includes 20 botanical and plant oils ($120) along with the scientific fave – coenzyme Q10. In short, it’s the first face oil that I’ve been seen uses this supercharged anti-ager.
Why it matters: Sure, the oils in this moderately viscous oil are aplenty; Avocado, Seabuckthorn and Rosehip transport skin back to its balanced health by plumping in good moisture. But, different in this serum is Plum Kernel; it’s a new specialty oil that I also haven’t seen in any other face oil. Highly moisturizing, Plum Kernel absorbs easily and complements Rosehip’s high content of Vitamin A to help refresh skin's cell turnover rate and keep it from looking lackluster and lifeless.
Why it impresses: The CoQ10 is what had me at hello. A handful of studies have shown that coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) may have an effect on skin and the appearance of wrinkles, most notably by reducing UV damage, stimulating healthy collagen production, and reducing substances in damaged skin that wreck havoc on its support structure (Sources: Biofactors, Volume 32, 2008, pages 237–243; and November 2005, pages 179–185;Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2006, pages 30–38; and www.naturaldatabase.com). Studies also show how UV light may deplete this precious free radical fighter as you age on, which is reason enough to start wearing the enzyme in your serum. Sci-speak aside, it’s an antioxidant that has been proven to penetrate through the epidermis and really does deliver intense moisture deep into the skin for increased softness and suppleness, folks. Give the oil a few extra seconds to sink in, especially overnight. It's a great one to practice your facial massages with, actually.
The Final Word: If the enzymatic action doesn’t impress upon you, the dusted, incensey potpourri of Geranium, Bulgarian Rose, and Rose absolutes (all certified organic) will trail about the skin in a way that isn’t flashy or loud, but mellow and restrained and fully gratifying. May was vigilant on this blend; it’s not too sweet or too granny, but richly plotted and fantastically feminine.
Ok, a few extra words…forgive the love for another great oil.
Rose? Too picky.
Tea, Olive, Lime? Get.
It’s no surprise the oil world is full of Lavender and Rose renditions. But, you ought to know there are some serious, profound blends out that are just as fresh and lively. Caldrea’s Tea, Olive, Lime Body Oil ($24) is a fantastically priced treat for regular skin maintenance. I say regular because oils truly are the new lotion; if you’re not using one to help re-build those age-defying lipids, well then you’re not doing justice to your skin.
Lavender often catches flak for its banal ways. And Rose can very well lead to floral fatigue after just a few days of use. Now’s the time for change. And, there’s no place better to start than with Caldrea’s well-appointed and sumptuous body oils.
Tea Olive Lime is a fresh medley of notes; a lively and luminous citron opening, with a cologne-like scent from the Lime and Mandarin. A heart of tea segues into the charms of Vanilla giving a sea-breezy green effect on skin. The citron becomes even sexier with sneak sliver of Sandalwood, which makes this Apricot Kernel oil warm and comforting. A little splash on your wrists and you’ll be smitten with the stunningly blended scent, which is also available in a perfume oil.
Caldrea isn’t some obscure brand. I say it’s rather unappreciated for its aesthetically pleasing and organic approach. They know their oils and they know them well. Apricot Kernel is the key carrier, giving you Vitamins A & E to prevent free radial feasting on mature and sensitive skin types. It’s blended with Sweet Almond, Grapeseed and certified organic Avocado oils to give you a semi-dense treatment, which is easily absorbed after a bit of gentle massaging. The star surprise - the super hydrating Chia Seed oil, which is being billed as the new wonder ingredient. If you tend to experience dry, itchy skin after showering, this is the perfect oil to lightly apply to damp skin before toweling off. And, there’s always other uses for a prettily scented oil; cuticles, elbows and feet will also appreciate the extra boost of moisture.
There aren’t any phthalates, parabens, or artificial colours in the vegan blend either, which matters to some of you looking for near natural formulations. But what gets oil enthusiasts really excited is how the exceptionally sophisticated, very Mediterranean scent is a real find. As far as scented body oils go, I might even say the resonance citron makes this a thing of perfection.
Scent Classification: Citrus
Viscosity: Slightly viscous
Masks have had an interesting history. Masks have been a part of the standard beauty regimen in both ancient and modern cultures. Here’s an interesting fact; a 1972 expedition to study archeological and ethnological relics of the ancient Etruscan civilization discovered linseed flour used in the preparation of masks. Yes, waaaay back in BC times, women were beautying up with organic treatments.
Jennifer Newman – the twinkly sweet founder of this vegan, cruelty-free brand – builds upon this age-old tradition by bringing the magnificent Deep Sea muds (imported from the fertile waters of Israel) in her Stiml8 Mud ($70) treatment; a super soft facial mud mask with a minerally-charged formula that exfoliates gently to loosen up trapped toxins & sop up impurities.
Why does Jennifer’s concoction matter? Because she’s actually a pro portrait photographer, who realized after touching up countless images that women need to work on their bumpy, unsloughed skins before a session.
Experimenting with the healing magic of Dead Sea and Moor muds on her own acneic skin helped her fine tune her mask into something that works for just about anyone. One look at the ingredients and you’ll want to put this mask on your little list of high luxuries. It’s going to be an unarguable crowdpleaser, for sure.
Unusual among the glut of clay crap out there, the exacting details of the mask are unique. For one, the duo of muds bring high amounts of minerals like Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium, and Iron, which have been scientifically proven to improve cellular metabolism and turnover rates. While the black-ish goo gets to work on soothing and conditioning your skin with the combined thermopexic properties (read: a warm, tingly feeling), what makes the mask feel fresh is the boost of moisture from sustainably harvested Kelp and Kombu Seaweeds, which are steeped in Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, E, and K. Seaweed's natural, anti-inflammatory action can reduce those proverbial problem spots and help deliver deep moisture from oils in the mask into the skin. Rosacea and psoriasis patients even see vast improvements with the non-harsh mud.
While light gloops of blended clay help suck up the grime from your polluted pores, it’s the creamy cocktail of essential oils like Tulsi, White Grapefruit, and Oregano that replenishes the normal lipids. The most surprising thing in this mask is Malic Acid (sourced from apples), which brightens skin for a nice radiance.
I know drier skins will want to know if this is one of those sucks-you-scarily-dry masks, but rest assured it’s not. I gave my face a quick scrub with the super gritty White Bamboo Exfoliator and left the mask on for about 20 minutes and inhaled the deeply herbal aromas that step out with the voluptuous richness of Cumin that heavily hovers above the touches of Ajowan, Oregano, Patchouli & Clove essences.
Yes, it tightens without the tautness that hurts. The face was definitely way more polished and hydrated. Twice a week of ugly masking will get you days of prettiness, I promise.
Why it matters: Candied Vanilla is the real star here with its smooth delivery, but it’s also enhanced with a gentle touch of citrus and the gentle presence of Rose oils, which layer beautifully with light floral scents. Because sugar-based scrubs tend to leave the oil on skin, you step out of the shower with a sheer, lacy and lingering sweetness that doesn’t annoy or offend. No, this is one scent that teases with a deliciously delectable cloud of pink spun cotton candy minus the cloy.
Why it impresses: The Coconut oil softens the scruff, which isn’t harsh on skin. Scientific studies at NYU show how Coconut oil is the preferred choice for treating dry, rough and scaly skin. In the shower, the crystalline sugar cane crystals give a moderate scrub without the heavy grate of those salted kinds and rinses clean. I’d say the treatment is gentle enough to use all over twice a week without worrying about getting too abrasive of an action.
The Final Word: Guaranteed to satisfy every gal who loves her Vanilla body care.
Lina Hanson’s newly launched Global Body Serum ($63) is one of the few…very few Vanilla based body oils that will please the purists. The all-natural blend uses the Madagascar variety, which brings creamsicle like waves of delightful sweetness to skin with the hint of Pink Grapefruit. I have a confession - you know my penchant for tasting organic body oils? Well, this one I wanted to stick on a popsicle stick and freeze before licking down the honeyed treat. Yes, it’s that good.
The lightweight blend feels somewhat plumpy with the Rice Bran, Apricot Kernel, and Brazil Nut oils with the floral tang of Yuzu. Let’s talk about Brazil Nut; sourced from fair trade farmers, the oil is ultra-high in vitamins A, B, C, and E with healthy amounts of phytosterols to get in deep and hydrate. Brazil Nut oil is also mega-rich in Selenium, which helps retain skin and hair elasticity, contributes to the prevention of hair loss and boosts the immune system, helping relieve scalp irritations, which means the oil can double as a hair treatment.
Fans of sweeter body oils will swoon over this non-foody Vanilla and its tender fragrance left atop skin. I’d say the beauty of the oil is that there aren’t any harsh citruses added, which could have masked Vanilla’s gloriously smooth feeling of intimacy and warmth.
Be proud to love your Vanilla. I am.
As a good global citizen, Lina is partnering with the International Refuge Committee to share 15% of the net proceeds from the Global Face Serum and this Body Serum between June 15 - August 15. The organization works to responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives.
Get good skin while giving a deep respect.
Scent Classification: Sweet
Viscosity: Ultralight viscosity
Sending my warmest apologies to sensitive skin types, but you’re going to have to skip this one. It’s rare to see a purely organic serum that may not work for everyone until you realize just how potent the naturally occurring AHAs in Visage Vitale ($120) can be. That’s the case here; Aloe Leaf Juice, Irish Moss and Apple Cider Vinegar make up a rich, seductive texture in this spray on serum. ACV?
Well, what about it? Many people may not believe in the curative gains of ACV, but I say the time for the vinegar has come. Even the perfectly reasonable girl can't ignore the mystical powers of ACV, which gets into your pores to prep skin for receiving a face oil. As many face oil fans tend to veer towards the organic side of shopping, there are very few options in the serum space that work synergistically with oils. Look no further than this.
ACV finds it glory in complexion perfecting Visage Vitale. It's a lightweight spray treatment that integrates beautifully into any skincare regime to help detox skin by a tonic action that promotes blood circulation in the small capillaries that irrigate the epidermis. Early adopters agree that the miracle of ACV is in its ability to dissolve excessive fatty deposits at the surface of the skin (which can clog pores). And, for those who can’t wait to unfurl their towels at the beach, ACV will also reduce temporary sunburn or peeling conditions thanks to its alkaline nature. Because of these, you can even try the astringent Visage Vitale as a spot treatment over the sporadic monthly zit.
Lightly infused with sweet oils like Geranium, Neroli and Saffron, the serum is medicinal in its spritz. In particular, Saffron (appreciated by ancient and modern cultures alike) is used to help brighten uneven, lackluster skin tone making this organic gem studiously interesting. In Fiore has zeroed in on some fantastically regenerative tinctures and herbs with serious science behind them to complement ACV's healing.
Use the treatment every other night before your face oil spritzing a bit into the palm of your hands and pressing into skin. My own feeling is that Visage Vitale is a definite must for your weekly at-home spa nights. When used after exfoliation or a mask, the tonic sinks in deeper and draws it brightening action from Grapefruit, Pineapple and Papaya Fruit extracts.
Visage Vitale’s work is quite simple in its final results, but you can tease so much more out of skin with its regular use.
Scent Classification: Herbal
Viscosity: It's in spray form
You know Caldrea for handy household goods with a startling scent quality. Recently, the brand’s gotten a facelift and made all things utilitarian quite chic and appealing with colourful graphics and edgy packaging. Take for instance the Rosewater Driftwood Hand Balm ($10). It makes complete sense to stock a hand balm next to the sink and protect hands immediately from the harshness of Ajax. Beauty in the kitchen? Why didn’t I think of this like 10…15…20 years ago when I was assigned weekly chores despite being a straight A kid? Never mind.
It’s no easy task to protect the hands day or night. Face it – it’s the most neglected part of our beauty regimes. Do so with the physically elegant Shea Butter based balm, which also has Sweet Almond oil blended into the goop-free formulation. I say this because unlike those greasy counterparts (which work well at night), you can use this balm after doing the dishes and go straight to the computer keyboard without any fear of getting the keys…goopy.
Protect, moisturize and replenish dehydrated hands with just a little dollop of the concentrated cream, which goes a long way. As you know the charm of Shea Butter (rich in fatty acids and plant sterols) is that it spread so nicely and easily to visibly smooth away crepiness. And, did you know there is evidence there is evidence to suggest that cinnamic acid esters in Shea fat help to prevent skin damage from ultraviolet radiation? Daytime TLC should be a must. The diminutive tube is a win for the desk, car, gym or travel bag.
The scent? A wonderfully warm accord of Cedarwood carries the Rose into a woodsy realm while Chamomile lies in the base of the balm’s fragrance. Also available in a matching candle ($20), which you can keep in the kitchen to help you get rid of smelly cooking sessions with fish or masalas with a moderate throw.
Since the tortuous bridal shower season is in full swing (can you tell I'm a single gal), I can think of no better gift than this duo for the kitchen or bedroom. Let’s face facts – no one wants yet another thoughtless, tired ‘ole tote bag of Victoria’s Secret shower gels.
Scent Classification: Floral
All natural is such a familiar phrase, does anyone really buy into the hype anymore? While a cursory Google search shows us hundreds of natural - some even fully organic - products, it takes a bit more for me to qualify anything as natural and luxury.
Specifically, the products need to show some degree of complexity, satisfy the skin’s soul and be made with ingredients so unduly pure that you know you won’t be able to get this scent or that scrub from anywhere else. Sure, my standards for greatness may be a tad unreasonable, but would you want anything less for your skin and spend? No, which is why you should know about Zents and why it's that type of luxury skincare you ought to add to your want list.
I have a one-way infatuation with all that is Zents. Yes, I love Zents.
Let me say it straight up - Zents should be included among the luxury pantheon of brands that rise above the trendy natural fray; think In Fiore, Aftelier Perfumes, and Patyka, which are a few devoted faves of mine. The reasons for my adoration of Zents are frankly far reaching.
First off, the story of the brand is sure to inspire the most jaded of beauty fiends. The Denver-based Zents was borne out of a need to heal; founder Cord Coen was left with a near tragic brain injury leading to irreducible chronic pain, intense migraines, and an almost complete loss of the ability to smell from a wicked car smash up. Despite two years of intense and consistent rehab, not much had changed. Docs had said nothing more could be done, but Cord’s spirit didn’t believe this.
Instead, he packed his bags for India (!), found a refuge with a host family and committed himself to eight hours of daily meditation, yoga and pranayama. And?
Well, I’ll say unsurprisingly…regained his sense of smell while reducing his levels of life-stopping pain.
With his sensitivity to scent now heightened, Cord focused his keen, curatorial eye on creating gentler scents with a rather restrained approach for the same subset of folks who can’t tolerate cheaply synthetic varieties found on those indifferent shelves of cluttered department stores.
It's official: the land of natural scents now has a hype-free zone.
Whatever fondness you have for natural perfumes and their botanical bounty of fun, put these unpretentious Zents’ scents on your must-have list. The unorthodox fragrances have been created in a style that might be called "luxe minimalism" and are indeed soft, muted and suave in composition. And, stay close to skin.
Full of character, each can be worn individually or combined with others; the understated narrations of each are light and graceful, whether you choose to wear the bewitching attar or the wondrously airy EDT variation with the stone detailing (see left).
Fresh is a hauntingly delicate and clean scent; it opens with an irrepressible accord of Linden Blossom segueing into the juicy nuances of Cucumber before settling into Heliotrope. If a spring breeze could be captured in a spray, this is it. The composition speaks of some pretty Linden fantasy that captures sweet delights. Warm, full and inviting, I keep returning to this outburst of femininity as I am constantly seduced by the charisma of this Linden Blossom, which may very well be my new Jasmine.
My other favourite is the nearly impossible to describe Pear; a floral harmony of D’Anjou Pear infused with Gardenia and Mimosa, resulting a charmed fruity scent that never goes gourmand even with the mingle of Vanilla at its close. Undeniably sensuality in the summer as it delivers exactly what it promises in whispery form. Pear is hard to do; most versions seem like cheap Bath & Body Works knock-offs to me. But sure to be a crowd pleaser, Pear shows the nimble use of Honeysuckle, which makes this scent a cut above the rest.
The scents also have entrancing body oils available in each scent, which are created from the skin-loving Jojoba, Sunflower and Safflower oils. Easily spray the oil onto legs after a nightly shave or scrub for a superfast absorbing treatment. Again Fresh and Pear reigned top for me with their ultralight mist of moisture.
Concreta…speechless. Tucked inside the hand carved striking piece of stonework is an ultra-rich soothing and scented Shea Butter Balm enriched with Coconut Oil. This detail alone resolves Concreta to luxury.
Make no mistake as this product is cut above anything I have ever seen. Be sure to add this gem to your cart as your buy helps support the family who personally paid careful attention to Cord and his treatments during his tenure in India during his fated stay and healing in India. Yes, this unusual but reusable piece is from India.
Interesting tidbit; did you know that traditionally Shea Butter had been used in Africa as a healing balm for rheumatism, muscle aches, burns, and light wounds? A solitary thrill on its own, Concreta is so, so perfect for your whole body, but especially fabulous for trouble areas like cuticles, elbows, knees and heels. Warm up this semi-creamy balm between your fingertips and let the spirit sink in.
Whatever your beauty choice, know this - there’s a big heart deep within the richness of the Zents brand, which is why I love the brand and its offerings. True, true, true. With a yen for simplicity, these are delightfully enriching scents, oils and balms capable of getting to that same kind of greatness reserved for upmarket luxury beauty lines. And, the prices? The entire line is exceptionally affordable. Much to my surprise, really.
Again, I love all that is Zents. So much so I want everything from the body wash to the salts. The Visa desists for now…but, I’ll come back for more...for you. Petal is next on my want list.
And so, because I adore you, dear reader…
Giveaway: I’m thrilled to announce Zents is excited to send one (1) lucky reader a generous, full sized Body Oil and Concreta in the scent of your choice. To enter:
- Get to Zents Twitter Page and follow the brand
- Tweet me the answer to the following question using the hashtag #LoveZents
- Or, leave a comment below
Be sure to tag #LoveZents to have your entry count!
One commenter* will be randomly picked & announced on here and on Twitter on Monday June 10, 2013 at 12:00 PST.
Pardon the absence, but I decided to take a two break from life on a whim and head off into the rustic countryside of India. A long way from the breezy green pastures of California, India’s resplendent sunsets, storied temples, mist-shrouded mahals, and savoury snacks while sari shopping in the bustling bazaars were all a welcomed relief from the fast lane in corporate America, but the harsh landscape and suffocating pollution from my daily rickshaw riding into the sights and markets? Clouds of dust and dirt mercilessly killed my skin’s soul in a mere two weeks. And, so I landed back at LAX and ran for Ren.
Ren always does me right. It’s no secret that I adore the Radiant Eye Gel (I’ve tweeted about this floral extract gel enough to annoy followers), but for the 72 hours following my arrival, nothing but Ren helped detox my skin and senses left sore from the pollutant assault.
The Moroccan Rose Otto Bath Oil ($48) was an immediate relief to the sore arms and ankles, which suffered from over 15 mosquitoes enjoying the sweet buffet my innards offered. Made largely from Sesame Seed oil, oil soluble toxins are washed away with ease while calming the irritating raised bumps with its antibacterial action. Immediate ahh’s were not only from the oil, but the infallibly sweet Rose.
Goodness gracious me does Ren know its way with Rose Otto.
The Rose – so distinctive and so beautiful – is copious in the bath oil, so much so, I didn’t even want the bath to dilute its potency. Thankfully, the complementary Ultra-Moisture Body Oil ($65) awaits skin from a nourishing soak. But, before that, a scrub in the soak!
Once wasn’t enough. Twice made me wonder. So yes, dear readers, I scrubbed head to toe an exhaustive and record three times with the Guerande Salt Exfoliating Body Balm ($37) to help degunk skin of India’s environmental aggressors. I scrubbed so much so that I actually wondered if my fingertips would chafe. They didn’t. Because Ren gets it right.
The semi-grainy Sea Salts gave just the right amount of scruff while Basil, Peppermint and Olive oils invigorate deeply while moisturizing freshly sloughed skin. No oil clumps in this tub to mix up either as the consistency is normal. I felt alive and felled with the rustled freshness of an exhilarating yet sweetened Mint.
Now about to pass out from the triple rubdown and jet lag, I stepped out and into the velveteen Ultra-Moisture Body Oil; a decadent blend of Cranberry Seed, Jojoba, Argan, Coconut and Rice Germ oils.
I was ecstatic and welling up with tears of joy!
I hadn’t had a body oil in two weeks and skin begged for moisture! InStyle awarded this ingenious blend the Best Beauty Buy in 2013 and, you should know why. In addition to the healing oils, the body treatment also has protective ceramides and phospholipids to help with reparative action and improve moisture retention. A little goes a long way, but after a long trip, who was going to use a little? Not I.
The plumpy oil sank in straight away, left no greasy after feel and made me feel like a Maharani with intoxicating notes of Rose Otto rich in splendor and luxurious, lasting moisture.
I couldn’t think of a better way to Zen out than with a complete soak and slather with Ren. In the world of plants and bio extracts, the pleasures of Ren are many.
Much like my beloved India.
Some of you may not believe in one miracle product that can do it all. And, when it comes to candles, really…what else can it do besides light up a room and help ease the frayed senses? Not much, right?
Not so. Bubb and Dimples (how excruciatingly cute is the brand name?) is a British brand that hand makes organic and parabens-free products that are based with Shea Butter and Soy for hyper sensitive types, whose noses turn up at synthetic olfactive offenders. Only certifiably fresh ingredients are used here.
As more of you are shopping globally for the best in luxury goods, try the uniquely blended English Garden Body Oil and Candle. Yes, you read it right; a candle (with a moderate throw and superbly clean throw) to ignite nostalgia, which quickly morphs into an easily spreadable body oil.
Heading into summer, Soybean oil is just the thing for healthier looking and feeling skin. It’s rarely seen in body oils, but here’s a fun fact – did you know Beauty product manufacturers Aveeno and Estée Lauder have been using Soybean oil in their products for years, according to this. The oil reduces blotchy colouring, helps even out texture, and plumps up fine lines without any added grease. Soybean (with Rapeseed and Palm oils) help give the oil a voluptuous, velvety texture.
So, how to get your slather on? While the beauty world’s interest in pervasively popular oils is new, the age old candle is not. Light the delicately scented candle for about 20 minutes and gradually dip into the liquefied oil for a dollop of intensely sweet oil. Fear not, as there isn’t any paraffin wax in this darling candle, which would have solidified onto your skin.
I used the oil over freshly exfoliated feet and covered them with cotton socks for an overnight treatment. The morning after, skin was smoother and seriously plumped up. And, everything sunk in like it was supposed to.
There is the presence of Moroccan Rose in the candle and oil. The intensity of the blossomed sweetness is decidedly English and fresh. A precious green note ensconces white flowers and results in a semi-soapy fragranced oil that is gratifying if not compelling. Nothing is fake about the candle as only 100% natural essences are used and balanced very well here.
The floral quality of the oils is sweet and tempered with a soft, lingering freshness and offers an uplifting comfort to skin. Oh….and to your ambiance, of course.
~$52 at BubbandDimples-Organics.com.