Summer Scent: Honoré Des Prés Love Coconut

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Today I am reviewing my first-ever natural fragrance purchase, Honoré Des Prés Love Coconut. (If you’re interested in learning more about what is in perfume and why you should consider going natural, check out this article.) Love Coconut got rave reviews on Spirit Beauty Lounge, so I decided to give it a try.

Love Coconut replaces my summer perfume of choice in recent years—Beach by Bobbi Brown. Beach is a nostalgic summer scent. It smells like Coppertone and sun warmed skin. Love Coconut is summery too. Nothing says summer more than the scent of coconut. The nice thing about this perfume is that it smells fresh and is not overly sweet or fake smelling.

It is described as containing the scent of: coriander and fresh coconut milk with heart notes of tonka bean and vanilla bourbon with base notes of white cedar and organic coconut essence.

More from the SBL website:

 Honoré Des Prés is the first line of French, organic scents designed by the legendary Olivia Giacobetti, nose and fragrance composer for some of the most prestigious contemporary fragrance houses in the world.

 Honoré Des Prés fragrances are completely natural and certified organic by ECOCERT. They include no petrochemical products or synthetic perfumes, and are free of coloring agents and phthalates.

I was prepared for the lack of staying power, a con mentioned in many of the reviews. That doesn’t bother me too much. I’ve always preferred lighter scents. Fresh Lemon Sugar and Origins Ginger Essence are examples and those always fade pretty quickly. I usually spray some perfume on my clothes to help with staying power.

The only thing I would change about this is the strength of the cedar scent. It comes through really strongly on my skin. I didn’t notice any other reviews that mentioned this, so it just may be the way it reacts on my me. I am not in love with the scent of cedar in general and this might keep me from repurchasing this particular scent. It isn’t stopping me from using it, mind you. And I do want to try others in the line. Clean perfumes aren’t cheap, so I will be on the lookout for a sale—same as when I bought this (full price is $98 for 50 ml). Any recos on other lines and/or scents to try? Please pass them along!

Sunscreen Stories: Pratima, Badger, and Snowberry

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While this post is mostly about Pratima Neem Rose Face Sunscreen, I am planning to mention a few others that I have tried.

I had been using (and loving) Badger’s Damascus Rose Face Sunscreen  SPF 16 (reviewed here). The ingredients, the texture, the scent, the finish, and the price were so right. I even loved the glass packaging, though it made it hard to get at all of the product.  Sadly, it is out of stock as they are reformulating it. I am hoping it’ll be as awesome as it was with a higher SPF to boot.  I am sure they’ll sort out the packaging too. I’m guessing the glass bottle will go. I’ll miss it even though it wasn’t the easiest to deal with. We’ll have to wait until 2015 to see how it all turns out. Sigh.

A few months ago,  a fellow No More Dirty Looks reader recommended Pratima Neem Rose Face Sunscreen. I also remembered trying a sample of Snowberry Everyday SPF 15 and liking it, so I decided to order both. Spoiler: Pratima won out as a face sunscreen and I have been using the Snowberry for my body. Let’s start with Pratima, who is an actual person. From Pratima Skincare’s site:

Dr. Pratima Raichur, an expert chemist, botanist and Ayurvedic physician, combines her traditional ayurvedic formulations and harvests them into modern day prescriptions that target the real reasons behind our skincare issues.

This SPF 30 sunscreen contains very  few ingredients, which is good. Note the non-nano zinc oxide. From the site: IONIZED WATER, NON-NANO MICRONIZED ZINC OXIDE 18.6%, ORGANIC EXTRACTS OF NEEM, BRAHMI, SHATAVARI, LICORICE, VITAMIN E, LECITHIN, ORGANIC ESSENTIAL OIL OF ROSE, XANTHAN GUM.

Pratima has a nifty glossary of herbs on the site, where you can read about the benefits of the ingredients. The one that most caught my eye is neem. It’s anti-everything—bacterial, fungal, viral. It also promotes healing of acne—which is what got my attention because sunscreens can wreck a clear skin streak. Okay, so we’ve covered ingredients, let’s talk finish and texture. While this isn’t exactly matte—it’s a fluffy lotion that goes on like a light moisturizer—it’s not sticky. If you let it sink in for a minute or two, foundation (liquid in may case) goes on with ease. I would say it’s so lightly unscented that it’s almost unscented.

Packaging. This comes in a food-grade metal bottle. I can see myself needing to scrape around in there long before the pump stops pumping. Again, I am ok with that since I don’t love plastic packaging and don’t consider this to the the type of sunscreen you toss in your backpack for a hike. And last–price. It is reasonably priced at $26 for two ounces. However, shipping is something like $14, making this a $40 investment. I am in the same city, so why 14 bucks? Maybe this is their way of telling me to get it in person…Overall, I am pleased with this as an everyday sunscreen.

Now for my other purchase, New Zealand natural brand Snowberry Everyday SPF 15 (not pictured). I had tried a sample of this and remembered it being nice stuff and fairly matte. It has interesting ingredients, which you can read about in this article by Truth in Aging. I found that it doesn’t leave a white cast; it smells bright and lovely (citrusy); but it was hella sticky on my face. I stopped applying it to my face and am using it on my body. At $38 for 1.7 ounces (not including shipping), I probably won’t repurchase in favor of a Badger sunscreen for body.

So that’s where I am on sunscreens at the moment. More to come as summer progresses!

Green Foundation Follies

kohgendoI began greening my makeup and beauty routine by reading lots and lots of blogs. Based on what I was reading, I thought finding a green mascara would be the hardest part. Not for me. I found and really like Pure Anada mascara, a brand I learned about on nomoredirtylooks.com (see review here). I like Tarte’s Amazonian Clay mascara a lot too (though some may deem it not clean enough). This means I have two solid mascara options to go back to and a few others out there to try. Lipstick was easy peasy. RMS and Ilia dominate my growing clean lippie collection and I have not even been tempted to stray from them! (Reviews herehere, and here, oh and there are a couple new Ilia reviews forthcoming.) And greening my skincare has been pretty easy too. There are so many skincare brands to explore and these brands are rivaling luxe brands in ways that green makeup has not (in my experience thus far).

So back to makeup. I really wanted to go clean with lips and foundation first. My thinking was, I was probably ingesting lots of gunk when wearing dirty lip products and foundation accounts for the largest surface area makeup-wise. I wish my foundation search had been as fun and easy as lipsticks, but it hasn’t been. I have tried clean foundations in the form of: loose powder (1 brand), mousse (two brands), stick (1 brand), cream (1 brand), and liquid (1 brand). Thank goodness for sample programs (although I do have full sizes in 3 of these). I had the best experience with Alima Pure, but I really do prefer a liquid or cream foundation. I really thought Kjaer Weis would be the answer, but I think that foundation works well with a certain skin type–just not mine (review here).

As time (and products) went on, I started feeling less than great about how I looked. Each time I went to the ladies room during the work day, it reminded me how much better my makeup used to look. I love makeup and the point is to boost how I feel by making the most of my features. I wanted to go back to feeling good about my face. So I am on hiatus from green foundations. I am currently using Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation. I had come across it in an article about Jessica Alba’s natural make up choices. The company states it uses no artificial colors, fragrances, petroleum-based mineral oil or parabens.

The KGD also not something I would normally choose. I like matte medium to full coverage foundations. However, this light to medium HD product is loved by makeup artists and fans and I am now on board too. The finish is on the sheer side and a bit glowy—very your skin but better as opposed to your flawlessly made-up skin. It is a light to medium coverage foundation that contains a SPF of 15 (note: I haven’t noticed flashback in photos). I use about 2 pumps and apply with my fingers then blend with a Real Techniques Buffing Brush. It feels light and blends effortlessly. It doesn’t settle or become visible in pores. It doesn’t much of a scent. It lasts about through the workday and holds on to powders/blushes pretty well. In short, this stuff has me liking my makeup again. And that is why this blog is green-ish. This is a process and being happy is part of it. Who knows? At some point, I will resume my search for a clean foundation. But for now, this is working for me. So anyone with recos for a clean liquid or cream foundation that has a matte to natural finish and pretty good lasting power should chime in!