Empties: Spring Edition


Deep Steep Grapefruit Bergamot Hand Cream

I blogged about this as part of a Whole Foods purchase. Here is what I said about it:

Deep Steep Hand Cream in Grapefruit Bergamot ($9.95, 2 oz): This is a pretty good hand cream with a lovely, subtle scent. Nice ingredients, sinks in fast and smells good. Might be a better warm-weather option as it’s light. I like it, but not enough to go out of my way to get it again.

In life, it’s important to admit when you’re wrong. So I will. This hand cream is so worth going out of your way for. In fact, I have purchased 2 more tubes since I wrote that post. After I finishing the first tube, I went to a brand I had used before and it made me appreciate Deep Steep. I should also add that whenever I put this on anyone within smelling distance compliments me. It’s very popular with my coworkers.

Pratima Neem Rose Face Sunscreen (SPF 30)

A staple. This empty already had a backup in the wings. I love this stuff. If you are looking for sunscreen with a short, natural ingredient list and a non-greasy finish that plays well with makeup, I encourage you to try this. See here for my review.

Gressa Minimalist Corrective Serum Foundation

This one is on my list of things to repurchase. It’s the closest to a glorious, luxe, silicon-y department store serum foundation as you can get and still be green. It performs. Period. I initially got it in shade 3 which was a bit too light. Shade 4 is too dark from what I’ve seen in photos of people blogging about it. I recently asked whether they would  consider adding shade 3.5 to their line and it sounded like they are considering it. I suppose I could buy the two shades and mix, but I have more than enough base products tide me over. Read my previous post about it here.

Derma-E Soothing Face Crème

This cream…uh sorry crème (so fancy) was part of the purchase that included the Deep Steep hand cream. Here is what I initially reported:

Derma-E Soothing Face Creme ($26.96, 2 oz.):  I have already made a serious dent in this one. It’s medium-weight, sinks in well, and has helped to soothe my skin. Lately, I have found it more helpful than my heavier, fancier moisturizers. It contains an antioxidant called Pycnogenol which derived from the park of a french pine tree. Read more about it here. It’s a versatile cream. I use it in the evenings and on some mornings mixed with One Love Organics Morning Glory Oil. I let it sink in and top with sunscreen and makeup. It’s in a pot, which isn’t ideal, but I think I am using it fast enough that it won’t have a chance to get contaminated or affect the efficacy of the antioxidants.

I stand by all that I said. It is a good, solid product—which has been my experience Derma E on the whole. I haven’t repurchased this one because I recently picked up Andalou Naturals Goji Peptide Perfecting Cream (again from Whole Foods). Never fear, I showed Derma E some love by getting their hydrating eye cream. There will more on both of those purchases soon.

The Balm Bahama Mama Bronzer

Can you spot the brown makeup on the brown table? This one isn’t finished, but I finally hit pan which means it’s time to start looking for something new to try. Not that there is a rush. I originally blogged about this bronzer last July. It wasn’t even new then and I am just hitting pan.  But still. If you have suggestions for a clean/matte/pressed bronzer, please let me know! Here is what I’ve said about this one previously:

Bronzed Skin – Courtesy of The Balm’s Bahama Mama, a matte bronzer that is sort of famous as a contour. I do a combo of bronzing and contouring with it. (This is not expert contouring. Some people refer to it as shading. Check out this quick and simple guide to contouring and highlighting by The Beauty Department—a favorite site of mine. They’re using cream, but this powder works just as well and keeps it simple.) Bahama Mama is one of the products that I bought early in my journey of going greener—when I went paraben-free as a start. EWG rates it a “one” so while it’s not perfectly clean, I am keeping it and will decide whether to replace with something else once I finish it. I also pop a tad of matte pink blush (not pictured) on the apples of my cheeks so my complexion doesn’t look too flat.

Sample – Sunday Riley Luna Oil

What’s that unlabeled pot all about? The one with traces of bluff stuff? Well I got a sample—a pretty generous one—of the Sunday Riley Luna Oil from Sephora a few weeks ago. Caroline Hirons’ post about it made me do it. The Beauty Idealist also did a post on it this week. Don’t go by me, if these two ladies are fans, it’s worth a look. Caroline Hirons said she saw a difference after just one use—and so did I. This stuff is serious. Here is how it is described on the Sephora site:

With an advance retinol complex, Luna helps reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles while simultaneously correcting damage caused by the sun, time, and pollution. Use this oil before bed to notice firmer, clearer skin by morning. Trans-retinol ester fights the look of fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of skin elasticity while an essential oil complex calms and soothes skin. Cold pressed avocado, chia, and Concord grape seed oils sink into skin for quick absorption of actives while boosting radiance.

I had enough in the sample pot to use it a few times a week over (approximately) 3 weeks. Like Caroline Hirons, my pores were smaller after just one use. With continued use, my skin seemed glowier and a bit tighter. Of course retinols work at boosting collagen and softening lines over time, so hopefully there will be more positive change with continued use. My only gripe with it is that they’ve added coloring to it. The oil contains blue tansy, but I guess it wasn’t blue enough. I think they could have left it or gone with a blue bottle. It’s also not cheap–$105 for a 1 oz. bottle. But you really can do your whole face with 3-4 drops if you spray toner on to help spread it around. I found it best to let it sink in and add some moisturizer over it. I have been impressed enough to get over the dye and buy the full size (luckily on sale). I’ll do a full post in a few weeks.


Yarok Feed Your Roots Mousse AKA Big Hair; Don’t Care


Yarok Feed Your Roots Mousse is the subject of today’s quickie post. We’re talking about mousse of all things! Does anybody use it anymore? It seems really nineties, right? I like using mousse because it’s light-weight and not fussy. I have long, fairly straight, layered hair. It’s pretty full, but the top can get kind of weighed down. I use a little bit of mousse in the front section of my hair before blow drying for a little bit of lift. I don’t want to see or feel the product–just soft, full hair. Having finally finished a can recently (it took about a year to finish it!), I decided to try a green brand: Yarok Feed Your Roots Volume Enhancing Mousse (8 oz., $26.40). I am really glad that I got this stuff. I’ll get into the ingredients and all that, but let me start by saying this works better than the other salon brand I was using.

Here is what’s in it: Distilled vitamin enhanced aqua (water), non-GMO corn or rice extract, organic vegetable glycerol, organic herbal extracts of: Ribes nigrum (black currant) extract, Beta vulgaris (beet root) extract, Kham thai & Vaccinium myrtillus (blueberry); natural plant sourced vitmains B1, B2, B3 & C; organic Cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, plant sourced kosher vegan Xanthan gum & Potassium sorbate; organic African black soap, Vitamin A, essential oils of: Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) & Lisea cubeba (may chang)

Here is how they describe their approach: Each YAROK formula is a powerful blend of organic and all-natural botanicals that are consciously sourced and responsibly harvested. YAROK uses primarily “certified organic” ingredients. Very few hair care companies can say that every one of their products meet 100% of all vegan requirements. Even fewer can claim that their entire hair care line is free of alcohol, paraben, sulfates and cruelty to animals, and that they work beautifully, too. Yarok can say all of the above.

I co-sign the above statement. This works very well for me. I get bouncy, full hair without any ick factor texture or ingredient-wise. I also love the packaging. You depress a pump to get the product out. One pump dispenses a small amount, so there isn’t any waste. The traditional dispenser on the mousse products I was using always sprayed out more than I needed. I am really looking forward to trying more products in this line.

Deep Thoughts with Glossed in Brooklyn


I am the only one in my circle of friends who has been interested in greening my skincare and makeup. I recently had the opportunity to chat with a friend who asked me what I had learned/changed in terms of how I take care of my skin–after commenting on how good my skin looks. I know she has no interest in the green aspect of things, so I kept it general and didn’t mention product names so she could choose her own way. Here is what I shared as my top changes/recommendations:

Don’t be afraid of oil.

Oil-based cleansers remove makeup better than the foams and gel formulas I used to love. It breaks it all down in one shot—foundation, mascara, eyeliner. There are also amazing oils for treating and hydrating skin. And they don’t make oily skin oiler rather they balance skin. I wish I had embraced oils sooner!

No more foamy cleansers.

They strip and dry skin; they irritate. And the stuff that makes most of them lather, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), is not doing you any favors. It is one of the most irritating ingredients used in cleansing and other face and body products. Even if you don’t worry about going green, you should try to lose the foam. You will see a difference.

There’s nothing wrong with having a routine.

I used to look to cut steps our of skincare and makeup routines. I was all: no brushes for foundation so there is nothing extra to maintain/wash; tinted moisturizer with spf to get 3 steps in one; wash and moisturize and be done. Well now I have a multi-step routine that (at night) includes double cleansing, acid toning, spray toning, a treatment serum, moisturizer and lip balm. And I love it. First of all, it is me time. Second, my skin looks better because I am paying more attention to it. Third, multi-tasking products are not all that. For example, sunscreen needs to be its own separate step. You are never going to pile on base product to provide adequate sunscreen.

Go old school with washcloths.

I don’t like to exfoliate with scrubby masks or cleansers. My skin isn’t hyper sensitive, but I think they don’t feel very good and they make my face really red. I usually stick to Tata Harper’s Resurfacing Mask which is incredibly gentle. However this winter I went even more gentle: I exfoliated my face by really working in a cream cleanser and removing it with a washcloth. I do this about 3 times a week and it has made very noticeable difference in the glow and softness departments.

Related to this one: Do not go new school and use makeup wipes. You’re adding waste to our planet. And really, you need to wash with like water. Oh and don’t buy into the “you don’t need to wash your face in the morning” because you do, gently of course.

If you try one thing green make up-wise…

I have friends who are devoted to their luxe make up and that is okay by me. My approach is green-ish. While I have made a near complete transition to green products on the skincare side, I still have some non-greenie approved brands in my makeup drawer. However one thing that is completely clean is lipstick. When I talk to friends who don’t want to consider going green, I encourage them to at least consider it for their lip color products because there are great product lines and you aren’t giving up color or performance.

You can start small and cheap.

My first changes were in the body wash and deodorant categories. I bought them at the local health food store and it didn’t cost any more than the stuff I used to use. Also, many green brands offer sample sizes. This is a great way to test things out before committing more of your cash.

If you just change one thing skincare-wise…

Use mineral (non-chemical) sunblock. Learn what nanoparticles are and don’t lather yourself in them. Confused? This page on Badger’s site will help.

Get a natural spot treatment.

Zit zapping creams and spot treatments dry out pimples fast and leave you with a red, crusty scar. I have tried a couple of natural pimple treatments that reduced redness and swelling and hastened the pimple along without drying the skin out and leaving a lasting reminder.

I bet I could go on, but I am going to wrap up here. If you’ve got advice to add, please do so in the comments!