June 27, 2008

Hamadi Healing Serum

I've been wanting to bid adieu to shine serums and other styling products that contain silicones, e.g. dimethicone and cyclomethicone. While they smooth the hair shaft to create shine, silicones can build up over time and weigh down the hair. I loved Simply Organic's Heat-Activated Shine Complex but wanted something more moisturizing for the summer, when the plentiful sunshine tends to fry 'n' dry my locks.

Enter Hamadi Healing Serum. This serum uses a luxe blend of plant oils to moisturize, repair and defrizz. Spray just once onto the palms of your hands, rub them quickly together, run through your ends and voila! Glossy, de-frizzed, healthy-looking locks—naturally.

Pretty factor:
Antioxidants in sunflower seed oil protect the hair from the sun and extend color or highlights. Fatty acid-packed avocado and olive oils repair and leave locks soft. Organic essentials oils of ylang-ylang, vanilla and bergamont lend an enticing fragrance.

Tip: For a deep conditioning treatment, spray onto hair before bed, put it in a ponytail and leave on overnight. Your locks will feel like silk the next morning in the shower. Promise.

Eco factor: Organic ingredients and no parabens, petrochemicals, harsh surfactants (sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate), or synthetic colors and fragrances. Hamadi Beauty's tag line is "tested on actresses, never on animals." (Founder Jamal Hamadi is close friends with supermodel Linda Evangelista.

To buy: $24 at beauty.com


June 24, 2008

Best Natural Body Bronzers for Summer

The season of shorts, skirts and breezy dresses has arrived.  And with it comes the need to give your legs a lil' extra love.  For those of us who refuse tanning beds and baking like rotisserie chicken on the beach, bronzing body lotion is the go-to.

Two superb, more-natural body bronzers are Nature's Gate Happy Glow Lucky Bronzing Creme and Tarte's Glam Gams Bronzing Leg Stick. Both are infused with healthy ingredients and give a shimmery, natural-looking glow.

Pretty factor: Happy Glow Lucky contains moisturizing borage seed oil plus brightening extracts elder fruit and hibiscus extracts. The deodorant-like Tarte stick is infused with the company's antioxidant-packed T5 Super Fruit Complex of goji, acai, maracuja, acerola and pomegranate.

Eco factor: No parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol or petroleum or mineral oil in either product

To buy: $15 for Happy Glow Lucky cream at drugstore.com and Whole Foods; $30 for Glam Gams at sephora.com

June 19, 2008

Clinque Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam: No Sulfates or Parabens Plus Botanicals!

Well, the cows have come home:  This eco gal is using and loving a Clinique product.

I've been anti-Clinique for years. I've watched girlfriends stick with the line despite it doing nada for them—or causing more break outs.   That puke yellow "Dramatically Different" Moisturizing Lotion?  It's an outdated formulation of petrolatum, mineral oil and yellow dye.  Might as well slather Vaseline-brand lotion on your face!

However, there's always room for redemption. During a recent visit to Chicago, I noticed Clinique's Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam in my friend's shower. It belonged to her roommate, who has flawless skin. I skimmed its ingredient list, ready to shake my head.  Instead, I did a double-take: no harsh detergents or paraben preservatives, 2% salicylic acid plus tons of botanicals.

Due to job and relationship stress the past two months, I was breaking out around my chin.  So, in a moment weakness, I decided to "bring in the big guns" and headed to Sephora to buy this cleanser. 

I've been using it every night for 2 weeks—and my skin has completely cleared with no dryness.  As a result, I have vowed to use a cleanser or moisturizer with salicylic acid until I'm 40.  And to Clinique: congrats on a great product.

Pretty factor: 2% salicylic acid thoroughly cleans oil and grim from pores to prevent and clear zits. Peppermint extract further purifies while algae extract provides nutrients to the skin. Caffeine perks up skin and reduces inflammation, and glycerin and sodium hyaluronate inject light moisture.

Eco factor: No sulfates, parabens, or petrolatum.  Lots of skin-friendly botanical extracts.

To buy: $17.50 at department stores and Sephora (It's about 6 bucks cheaper than the Whole Foods cleansers I've been using!)

June 17, 2008

John Masters Deep Follicle Treatment & Volumizer for Thinning Hair

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, female hair loss is on the rise and it's affecting younger women. Poor, processed diets and increased stress levels—also thought to be the culprit for the boom in adult acne—are mostly to blame. As a result, major hair care companies have rapidly developed lines that address thinning hair in the past couple years.

However, to reduce hair loss, you must get to the root of the problem—literally. John Masters Deep Follicle Treatment does. And it seems to be working for me so far.

Pretty factor:
This spray bathes your scalp in organic plant extracts, vitamins and essential oils, which stimulate circulation, balance sebum production and eliminate free radicals, "resulting in optimal scalp and hair health." Perhaps most importantly, the spray contains a large amount of panthenol (vitamin B), which strengthens and plumps the hair shaft.

I've been spraying this on slightly damp hair after showering every other day for three weeks and have noticed a spurt in baby hair growth around my forehead.

Eco factor:
John Masters products are 75 to 100% organic and contain wild-crafted, ECOCERT® ingredients. (ECOCERT® is an European organic certification organization.) No parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, artificial colors, fragrances or fillers. The NYC salon is powered completely by wind energy!

To buy: $21 at Whole Foods and beauty.com


June 11, 2008

NEW Jane Iredale Dream Tint SPF 15

It's finally happened. I've been hoping for a while that it would. About six months ago, I posted a comment on Jane Iredale's blog telling her how much I like her line (it's the crème de la crème of mineral makeup) and how I'd love for her to develop a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen. Well, she has.

Dream Tint SPF 15—which has a lovely, mousse-like texture—comes in five gorgeous shades plus a peach brightener (for pigmentation problems), lilac brightener (for sallow complexions) and a warm bronzer (for a sun-kissed glow).

Pretty factor: Lightweight shea butter, jojoba seed oil, and sunflower seed oil moisturize and give a fresh, dewy look without slight greasiness. Dimethicone (a main ingredient in face primers) fills in fine lines and large pores, creating a smooth, flawless canvas. White tea and titanium dioxide protect against free radical and sun damage, respectively.

Ideal for: all skin types, truly.

Eco factor: No talc, parabens, phthalates, bismuth oxychloride, or chemical dyes or fragrance. Jane Iredale recently instated a Green Team to help environmentalize the company and is building a new LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) office building!

To buy: $36 at janeiredaledirect.com and skinbotanica.com

June 10, 2008

The Best Lightweight Organic Moisturizers for Summer

As I started to write this post, I saw this news story about chemical sunscreens' harmful effect on aquatic life. What this means for you: Look for sunscreen and SPF moisturizers with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide!

Zinc oxide and titanium dioxoide are physical, as opposed to chemical, sunscreens and are gentler on skinand, apparently, the planet. Even better: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide offer both UVA and UVB protection.

After researching lightweight natural moisturizers with sunscreen, I've come to my top two: Kimberly Sayer Ultra Light Facial Moisturizer SPF 25 and Juice Beauty Green Apple Moisturizer SPF 15.

Kimberly Sayer Ultra Light Facial Moisturizer SPF 25 ($32) goes on so smoothly and sinks right in.  It contains glycerin and shea butter—which beautifully moisturize without clogging your pores—plus antioxidant vitamins A, C and E and soothing aloe.

Juice Beauty Green Apple Moisturizer SPF 15 ($38) has an uplifting, citrus aroma that's perfect for summerit contains organic lemon juice to lightly exfoliate and brighten. (After a few weeks, your skin will glow like Cate Blanchett's.) Its nutrient-rich lineup includes organic aloe and green tea extract plus rosehip seed, evening primrose and jojoba oils. Despite the plant oils, this also quickly absorbs and leaves no white cast.

June 3, 2008

The Benefits of Sticking with a Skincare Regime?

The past week, I'd been thinking about hunkering down and sticking to a skin care regime when I spotted this amusing post on Lucky's beauty blog about...hunkering down and sticking to a skincare regime.

I’m constantly hunting for and trying the new, best product. I’ve been especially Swap Central lately—this scrub one day, another one the next—and am wondering if it’s the reason for a little increase in ruddiness and breakouts. Dermatologists say that you need to allow time for your skin to adjust to a new product, then for it to do its job.

So, it’s going to be like me fighting myself, but I’m going to stick to a basic regime for the next two months—no changing! My regime will consist of:

Evan Healy Tea Tree Gel Cleanser. Best. Cleanser. Ever. I’ve been using this daily for two entire months and love it. It's soap-free and foaming with gentle surfactants, bacteria-killing tea tree and lavender oils, and soothing chamomile and calendula blossom extracts. Evan Healy products are super pure and high-quality (though not well publicized) and are available at some Whole Foods.

DDF Pumice Acne Scrub (twice weekly). This stuff is the skincare equivalent of Suave’s best-selling Daily Clarifying Shampoo—it's not natural but, used once or twice a week, it thoroughly removes grit and leaves skin smooth and clear.

Juice Beauty Green Apple SPF 15 Moisturizer. I love the purifying, exfoliating properties and uplifting scent of the organic lemon juice in this moisturizer. It also contains AHA in the form of organic apple juice, plus skin-nutritious ingredients like green tea, aloe, and rosehip seed oil.

I've been on the regime for just 5 days but already notice a reduction in ruddiness. Have you found that your skin looks best when you stick to a regime?