January 29, 2008

Jonathan IB Purifier Anti-Aging Restorative Shampoo and Conditioner

"An anti-aging shampoo and conditioner? There’s no way something that’s massaged around your head for a minute, then rinsed off can be 'anti-aging.' What a bunch of marketing B.S."

Those were my first thoughts about the new Jonathan IB Purifier Anti-Aging Restorative Shampoo—until I tried it. And then: "Wow!" My slightly dry, highlighted hair was the silkiest it's been since middle school.

Pretty factor: The creamy, sulfate-free shampoo and thick conditioner both contain rich amounts of regenerating and strengthening sweet almond, soy and rice proteins, plus argan kernel oil and macadamia seed oil, whose essential fatty acids further repair and moisturize. Rosemary and sage extracts help stimulate hair growth, while a mineral peptide complex supposedly boosts melanin production in hair strands to restore pigment to graying hair.

The IB in its name stands for "Ionic Balance Technology®", a special Jonathan concoction that includes tourmaline and amethyst—crystals that create shine, smoothness, and manageability.

Eco factor: No sulfates, petrochemicals, parabens, DEA or MEA. All Jonathan products are 100% vegan.

To buy: $24 at Sephora stores and sephora.com


January 25, 2008

John Masters Organics Pomegranate Facial Nourishing Oil

Gals with oily or acneic skin like me face a frustrating wintertime challenge: hydrating and protecting our faces against the elements without clogging the holy heck out of them. Many heavy-duty moisturizers—both natural and traditional—contain potentially comedogenic ingredients in the form of emollients and thickeners. After a lengthy search, I have a surprising recommendation: John Masters Pomegranate Nourishing Facial Oil. (Don't be scared by the word "oil," we'll get to that in a minute.)

Pretty factor: The main plant oils in this serum—organic sunflower seed, evening primrose and pomegranate seed oils—are lightweight and un-problematic for pores. In fact, the natural moisture they provide can actually calms your sebaceous glands. Sunflower seed is packed with skin-plumping essential fatty acids and repairing vitamin E. Evening primrose has long been used to regenerate the skin, and pomegranate seed oil is a potent source of antioxidants and a proven cell regenerator.

If you're still leery, know this: The serum also contains lavender and ylang-ylang essential oils, which kill surface bacteria and balance oil production, warding off pimples.

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

To buy: $30 at Whole Foods and skinbotanica.com


January 21, 2008

Morrocan Rose: Scent of the Moment

The soothing scent and conjurations of Mediterranean warmth and exotic lushness have made of Moroccan Rose essential oil a star ingredient in high-end body care products the past couple years. Two best-sellers are Ren's Moroccan Rose Otto body care line and Redflower's Moroccan Rose line.

Pretty factor:
The Ren wash—an InStyle Best Beauty Buys winner for five consecutive years—contains Rose Otto Oil, whose gorgeous scent melts away worries and sadness. Additionally, geranium essential oil balances oil production and uplifts the mood, and panthenol (vitamin B5) conditions the skin. The Red Flower wash is also abloom with soothing and moisturizing ingredients. Honey, aloe, and evening primrose oil are a few.

Eco factor: Neither Ren nor Red Flower products contain petrochemicals, parabens, sulfates, propylene glycol, synthetic dyes or fragrance. No animal testing. Ren donates 2.5% of its profits to environmental organizations.

To buy:
Ren: $27 each at Sephora stores and sephora.com; Redflower: $20 each at beauty.com.

Ingredients: Redflower Ren

January 17, 2008

NEW Physicians's Formula Organic Wear®

Physician's Formula has long been a progressive in the cosmetics industry, making irritant-free, affordable makeup since 1937—when makeup was chalky, heavy grossness. To stay ahead of the drugstore competition, they've developed Organic Wear®, the first ECOCERT® makeup line in the U.S. (ECOCERT® is an international organic certification organization with strict requirements.)

This lovely line includes a concealer, pressed powder, 2 kinds of loose powder, tinted moisturizer, liquid bronzer, powder bronzer and blush—all for just $6.95 to $13.95.

Pretty factor: Proponents against mineral makeup argue that it can dry the skin and age the wearer by settling into and accentuating wrinkles. (I agree.) Physician’s Formula has prevented this possibility by including moisturizing jojoba, olive and safflower oils none of which are non-comedogenic—in the formulations, which give a creamy look.

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

To buy: $6.95 to $13.95 at drugstores nationwide

All ingredients are available here.

January 11, 2008

Pangea Organics Facial Mask: Japanese Matcha Tea with Acai and Goji Berry

After reading about Pangea Organics Japanese Matcha Tea with Acai and Goji Berry Facial Mask in ELLE's green issue last May and, more recently, in the December '07 issue of Domino, I was eager to try. Here's why it's so extraordinary:

Pretty factor:
This more liquid-y mask has a base of pure green clay, a superior facial clay because it contains a bevy of minerals and thoroughly absorbs oil, makeup, pollutants and other impurities. The mask is packed with youth-preserving antioxidants in the form of organic green and matcha tea, goji berry and acai—a Brazilian berry that has 33 times the antioxidants of red wine grapes.

Small warning: You'll probably freak out your roommates or significant other when you wear it. It's moss green-colored, smells heavily of basil (thanks to basil essential oil, which is stimulating and antiseptic) and basically looks like an herb garden exploded on your face.

Eco factor: Pangea products contain handcrafted, organic ingredients. They're free of petrochemicals, parabens, sulfates, and synthetic dyes and fragrances. But its packaging really sets it apart from its competitors. Cartons are made of 100% post-consumer recycled newspaper (without glues or dyes) and are embedded with seeds—moisten, plant and up will grow Genovese Sweet Basil! Now, that's recycling.

To buy: $34 at Whole Foods and pangeaorganics.com

January 9, 2008

Giovanni Hot Chocolate Sugar Scrub with Crushed Cocoa Beans

During the gray winter doldrums, when everything in New York seems especially steel- and cement-hued, Netflix movies and mugs of hot cocoa help make the time 'til Spring a little less depressing for me. A third weapon against the blah's, as well as dry, dead skin? Giovanni's Hot Chocolate Sugar Scrub.

Pretty factor:
Crystals of organic sugar, a natural exfoliator, sweep away dry, dead cells, while safflower seed oil, shea butter and honey soften and hydrate the skin. Flavonoids in real cocoa beans (a cellulite reducer) pack an antioxidant punch.

Eco factor:
Giovanni products contain 100% natural, organic ingredients. No petroleum derivatives, artificial fragrance or animal byproducts or testing.

To buy:
$13.99 at Whole Foods and drugstore.com


January 7, 2008

MOP Extreme Protein

For those of you who dig home beauty concoctions using fresh food ingredients, or anyone with splitting, damaged locks (calling all gals who straighten or curl their hair), check out MOP Extreme Protein hair treatment. It isn't new and it isn't sexy-looking, but I love this stuff—it will leave your hair so smooth and strong.

Pretty factor: This rich treatment packs a protein punch of organic black beans, keratin amino acids, and milk and wheat proteins—which reduce splitting and breakage and increase elasticity and strength. Castor seed and olive oils moisturize and add shine. Use once a week and leave on for 10 minutes.

Eco factor: Founded back in 1998, MOP (Modern Organic Products) was one of the first salon-quality haircare lines to use organic, food-derived ingredients. No animal testing.

To buy: about $12 at Whole Foods and various hair salons nationwide


January 4, 2008

Earth Science Chamomile & Green Tea Eye Makeup Remover

More than once, I've wondered who decided that women would only buy eye makeup remover if it was dyed Technicolor blue and smelled like grandma's stale face cream. And also: Why all those harsh chemicals in a product for the face's most delicate, sensitive area? If you've also asked this question, pick up Earth Science's Chamomile + Green Tea Eye Makeup Remover the next time you're at Whole Foods.

Pretty factor:
This remover is a clear, fragrance-free gel that doesn't irritate, smell funky or leave behind an oily film. Further, it's packed with eye-beneficial ingredients: Glycerin and sodium hyaluronate hydrate, bilberry extract stimulates capillary circulation (= more lively-looking peppers), chamomile soothes, and antioxidant green tea keeps crow's feet at bay.

Eco factor:
Santa Barbara-based Earth Science is committed to making environmentally safe skin and haircare products. No petroleum derivatives, parabens, soaps, toxins, heavy metals or artificial dyes

To buy: $6.50 at shopearthessentials.com and Whole Foods