April 28, 2008

100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Eye Cream

Know how a cup o' joe gets ya going in the morning? Well, topically applied caffeine also perks up the skin. It encourages circulation, making it an ideal ingredient in facial moisturizers, cellulite lotions and, especially, eye creams. 100% Pure's Organic Coffee Bean Eye Cream is the best peeper product I've used. Dark circles are notoriously difficult to treat, but I've seen a small improvement in mine and a big boost in overall hydration.

Pretty factor: A caffeine combo of organic green and white tea plus green coffee de-puffs, gets that blue blood moving, and provides antioxidant protection. Blackcurrant oil—a rich source of essential fatty acids—moisturizes, plumps and reduces inflammation. The souffle-like cream gets bonus points for its hygienic pump container.

Eco factor: 100% Pure products lack synthetic chemicals, parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals, sulfates or other harsh detergents, propylene glycol, PEGs, animal by-products, filler ingredients (thickeners, emulsifiers, etc), artificial colors or fragrance, or genetically modified ingredients

To buy:
$19 at 100percentpure.com and skinbotanica.com


April 23, 2008

Bare Escentuals new RareMinerals Blemish Therapy

Bare Escentuals', in their quest to take over the beauty world, has unveiled an anti-acne product: RareMinerals Blemish Therapy. Let's talk about what it won't do and what it will do.

What it probably won't do: Don't bet money on this powder to zap medium to severe acne—or even minor pimples. For 3 nights after cleansing, I dabbed it around two stress zits near my chin. They didn't decrease in size at all. However, they did become visibly less red.

Blemish Therapy contains willow bark extract—the natural form of salicylic acid—but I doubt its effectiveness in powder form. Also, mineral powders tend to be drying; this one wasn't an exception.

What it will do: I stopped using this powder as a pimple treatment and instead have been employing it as an oil-minimizing veil. And it's awesome. I apply it around 3 p.m. every day, when my T-zone is shinier than a bald man's head. Active ingredients 3% sulfur and kaolin soak up shininess, while tea tree leaf extract and tea tree oil kill bacteria that has accumulated on the face during the day. It's translucent in color, so you can't tell it's on.

Eco factor: No drying talc, petrochemicals, parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrance or colors, animal ingredients or animal testing.

To buy: $28 at sephora.com


April 10, 2008

NEW Dr. Hauschka Volume Mascara

I've been loyally using Lavera's Volume Mascara for the past half-year. But a beauty junkie can remain faithful to even the best products for only so long. The trade-in? Dr. Hauschka's new Volume Mascara, which comes in black, a forest green that makes hazel eyes pop, and aubergine, a plum that beautifully compliments brown and green peepers.

Pretty factor: A fat, soft-bristled brush and moisturizing jojoba oil give va-voom volume without the typical clumping or tar-like consistency. Black teayes, tea in a mascara!provides antioxidant properties, and eyebright extract soothes the delicate lash area; it's a perfect mascara for gals with sensitive eyes.

Eco factor:
Dr. Hauschka is a pioneer in the natural beauty industry. For over 40 years, the German company has been using organic and biodynamic ingredients from their own gardens in all their products. No chemical additives, parabens, synthetic dyes or fragrance or animal testing.

To buy:
$23.50 at Whole Foods and drhauschka.com

April 7, 2008

Suki Concentrated Balancing Toner with White Willow Salicins

I recently gushed about Suki's Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser, which has quickly become my favorite face wash. I'd like to now wax enthusiastic about its Concentrated Balancing Toner, which I've also been using the past month. These two products have transformed my skin from acneic-oily to combo-normal. Here's why the toner is amazing:

Pretty factor:
First, Suki products are ultra pure and free of all these irritating and potentially pore-clogging ingredients. This toner's star ingredient is white willow bark—a natural form of salicylic acidwhich exfoliates and cleans out pores without irritation or dryness. It additionally contains organic chamomile and aloe vera to reduce inflammation and redness, and vitamin C to repair via boosting new collagen production.

Eco factor:
Suki products contain organic ingredients and are packaged in eco-friendly materials like recycled stock, vegetable ink and glass (never plastic). The company supports fair trade, organic and biodynamic processing and local suppliers. It's an active member of numerous organizations including the Organic Consumer's Association, Breast Cancer Action and the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics for Responsible Medicine. Absolutely no animal testing.

To buy:
$24 at Whole Foods, sukipure.com and futurenatural.com


April 3, 2008

Physicians Formula Organic Wear® Tinted Moisturizer and Under-Eye Concealer Review

Thousands of Eco*Pretty readers come to the site via a Google search for Physicians Formula Organic Wear®, which I reviewed here two months ago. Given this, I wanted to devote a little more time to the line. My two picks are the tinted moisturizer (for oily skin) and the concealer in soft yellow.

The tinted moisturizer with SPF 15 comes in 4 shades, from very light to medium-dark. It contains several non-comedogenic, hydrating oils—jojoba, olive and safflower—that give a creamy look without clogging pores. However, perhaps to balance the oils and provide antibacterial action, it also contains a heavy amount lavender alcohol. And, as many customers have found, the alcohol makes the product too drying for normal and dry skin types. However, it's a stellar product for oily and exceptionally oil skin and for normal skin during the summer.

I love the concealer in soft yellow. You can almost use it as an eye cream thanks to moisturizing and fatty-acid-packed olive, soybean, avocado, sunflower and safflower seed oils plus shea butter and aloe! It completely camouflages and illuminates under-eye circles. I wish it had a hygienic click-pen applicator like Jane Iredale's Active Light concealer. But for $6.95, I won't complain.

Eco factor: The Organic Wear® line contains 100% ECOCERT® ingredients with no parabens, harsh chemicals or synthetic fragrance and dyes. They come in biodegradable packaging and weren't tested on animals. Its Web site features a Green Tip of the Week.

To buy: $8.95 at drugstores nationwide