Favorites of 2016


This year was a bit of a weird one for me product-wise. I tried a lot. Like a lot. I haven’t posted as much as I should have, so that’ll be a resolution! Anyway, There were a few items that got repurchased because they worked (and because I enjoyed using them). Then there were things that worked, but I just didn’t enjoy them and of course things that didn’t click with me at all (see some here and I’ll post some others). Here are items that have been repurchased once or more this year:


I have gone through so many First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum bottles that I’ve lost count. I tried to cheat with other HA serums, but nah. I really enjoy this one. It has the plumping and light moisture of an HA and aloe infused gel plus the calming of oatmeal. Speaking of oatmeal, I also went through several travel sized pots of Tatcha’s Triple Recovery Soothing Cream. Then I came to my senses, sucked it up, and sprang for the full size. Read about both of these in my Ode to Oatmeal post.

My number one oil find of the year, and only facial oil repurchased this year is Laurel Whole Plant Organics Sun Repair Facial Serum. It is a gorgeous blend of oils that does what it says on the label. It’s a pleasure to use–warmly scented, moisturizing, gentle yet effective. I accidentally lost half of my second bottle to a spill, so I decanted it into a roller bottle. I am not going to waste a single drop. Never again! Read my review here.

I spent much of the year being a cleanser floozy–especially with balms and cream cleansers. And you know what? I don’t like cleansing balms in tubs all that much. They feel too heavy. So I used up a bunch of stuff and and stuck with a trio made up of two long time faves and one new comer. My long-time first cleanse love, Tatcha One-Step Camellia Cleansing Oil. In writing this, I realized I never reviewed it. How is that possible? This iconic cleansing oil feels lovely and as you massage it in, it breaks down all of your makeup–including mascara. You can splash it off, but I converted to the washcloth method this year so I wipe it away with a muslin cloth. The newbie that stuck this year is Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel. I alternate it with the Tatcha. I also haven’t done a proper review, but the hype on this one is real. The gel melts into an oil, but somehow retains a bit of the heft of the gel without the waxy heaviness that I hate about balms. It has a delicate rose smell. It’s infused with vitamins and enzymes. I look forward to using it–it’s just pleasurable as skincare should be. For second cleanse: Yuli Halcyon. This powerful but delicate gel cleanser is the truth. I haven’t come across anything like it. Reviewed here.

I don’t have a favorite spray toner this year. I have tried quite a few and nothing has stolen my heart. However, I do want to give an honorable mention to Serozinc. I don’t use this every day, but when my skin is acting up, this puts it in check post haste. Totally deserving of its cult status.

I have quite a collection of masks at the moment. I only finished and/or repurchased two: Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask and Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask. These both do what their names suggest. I would say the PTR mask is more powerful, but both live up to their reputations. I reviewed the TH mask here. I have been doing post mask special soothing with Skinceuticals Photo Corrective Gel. It’s anti-inflammatory, soothing, and cooling. I hate the thyme scent, but it works wonderfully.

Having never believed in facial scrubs, this year I felt maybe I needed one. It was going through a rough patch–literally, like my whole face was looking rough. I decided to splurge on the Oskia Micro Exfoliating Balm. It’s pretty freakin’ gorgeous. It is a balm that transforms into a scrubby milk and it leaves your skin soft and refined AF. It has ingredients you expect in a leave-on cream (vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, D & E; and minerals: MSM & zinc glycine, prebiotics, omegas 3, 6 & 9, rosehip, kukui nut, and sweet almond oil) but you scrub it in and wash it right down the drain because you’re fancy like that. But you use the least amount possible each time because you’re not that damn fancy.

Haircare and Bodycare

I am going to start with another cult product, Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray. It costs a ton, but this cross between dry shampoo and voluminizing hairspray is worth it. Sorry, it just is. If you know of an affordable dupe, let me know!

So to take the sting out of that wildly expensive fave, I am going to tell you that Say Yes to Carrots Shampoo and Conditioner are great. They are cheap, free of many nasties (but not organic) and work well on my normal to oily hair. Body oils are an easy category to spend a lot of money on–there are so many gorgeous options, especially in green beauty. My fave is Weleda Sea Buckthorn Body Oil. It has a lovely citrus scent, is very moisturizing and I think it has a firming effect. Best of all, it’s pretty affordable.

I am loving reading and watching everyone’s faves. I may do a makeup post…we shall see!

Empties: Spring ’16


Time to take out (recycle) the trash, lovelies. But before I do, here’s what’s up:

Andalou Naturals Lavender and Biotin Shampoo: I’ve said it before, Andalou Naturals is underrated. I’ve used the orange argan version of their shampoo before–it’s the moisturizing one. The lavender one is for building volume and it does that. It’s under $10 a bottle too! One thing to keep in mind–this might be drying for some. My hair is on the oiler side and I tend to focus on the roots when applying. If you do have dry hair, I suggest checking out the orange argan formula. (Repurchased.)

Yarok Feed Your Ends: This leave-in conditioner smells all kinds of amazing. I love it for days when I want to skip conditioning my hair in the shower. Yarok hair products are pricey but really nice. (See my Yarok product reviews here.)

Avene Thermal Spring Water: I cannot stop spraying myself with this soothing mist–especially now that it’s warm out. It’s perfect for spraying in between layers of skincare, for cooling off your face and neck, and for soothing irritated skin (sprayed it on my little one’s prickly heat for relief). Sometime, you don’t need fancy toners and this one is a good pick! (On my third bottle.)

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser: I recently reviewed this affordable cleanser. I am currently switching between this and Blissoma Mild Rice Cleanser for my morning cleanse. Reviewed here. (Repurchased.)

Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm: I purchased the mini of this cult cleansing balm because I wanted to experience a luxury cleansing balm. There’s such a fuss about this one, I figured it would be the one to try. It’s wildly expensive and so I am relieved that I didn’t fall in love with it. I didn’t like the texture. I warmed to an oil one your work it in, but with a really a waxy feeling that lingered. I recently got the Sunday Riley New Moon cleansing balm and like it much better–and while expensive, it’s not Omorovicza-level expensive. Review coming soon! (Not repurchasing.)

Drunken Elephant Lippe: I love this from it’s texture–not too shiny or thick–to it’s gorgeous clean ingredients. The packaging is adorable, but when I got to the end, I was scraping product out of the well at the bottom with my hands for a couple of weeks–so much was in there! I am hoping they revisit the packaging. See my review here. (Will repurchase this eventually–waiting for a sale.)

Tatcha Silken Sunscreen: I love that Tatcha has such a large selection of minis. I really liked this sunscreen. It is matte and velvety. It performed well as a day to day sunscreen and works well with makeup. I purchased it after trying the Coola Matte, which was so silicone-y it made my makeup slide off. That being said, I still have my ride or die, Pratima Neem Rose sunscreen on hand. (Not repurchasing at this time.)

Atelier Cologne in Orange Sanguine: I got this with Sephora VIB points. I am a sucker for citrus scents even though they have not lasting power. I love this because it smells of orange and white flowers so it’s not too sweet. Since this isn’t a green product, I spray it on my clothes. My birthday last month brought citrus sampler box of these. I am currently trying the grapefruit one, which I don’t like as much. (Not repurchasing at this time.)

Real Techniques Makeup Sponge: These are really good and affordable compared to Beauty Blenders. I don’t think they are as durable though (overall these are really, really good whereas BBs are great). This sponge has little cuts in it from my nails and has gotten a little too floppy with time. (Not repurchasing at this time–I have 2 others already.)

Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk Recovery Cream: Another mini from Tatcha. I bought this because of BeautyIdealist. I adore her blog and her picks are spot on. When she said this product had the highest concentration of colloidal oatmeal of any product, I was sold. I got this when I had an uncomfortable windburn on my cheeks and this was very soothing. I do find it to be a bit thick, so I will repurchase in the winter.

Amala Rejuvenating Collagen Mask: This was a nice mask for moisture and soothing dry skin. It is a rich lotion that can also be used as a leave on mask and smells amazing–cocoa/citrus/rose/vanilla/ylang ylang. If you think the scent is complex, the ingredients list is huge–a blend of oils and extracts that are clean, It lasted me a really long time. I recommend for dry skin or winter skin. However, I am not repurchasing due to wanderlust.

Embryolisse Lait Creme: This french pharmacy cream is also a cult favorite. I had purchased it and left it on a shelf in favor of greener, cleaner products. When I started expanding from oil to cream and balm cleansers, I decided to use this up as a cleanser so I could recycle the tube. It works great as a first cleanse with a washcloth, but I don’t recommend it. If you’re going to cleanse with a “cold cream” and you don’t care what’s in it, there are cheaper things to try that will likely work just as well. Hell, there are cheaper green brands to do cream cleansing with. (Not repurchasing.)

Onomie A.C.E. Illuminating Eye Treatment: I bought this with the Onomie concealer. This is a vitamin a, c and e infused treatment that is a pearly pink. It is a brightening layer that is also addressing fine lines. I liked it, but found myself skipping this step a lot since I use Drunken Elephant C-Firma every morning anyway. (Not repurchasing.)

Ilia Lip Conditioner in Blossom Lady: I love this lip conditioner–the formula, color, effect, ingredients–all of it!  Reviewed here. (Repurchased.)






Quickie: Naturtint


I dyed my hair for the first time two weeks ago (using permanent dye, that is) using permanent dye called Naturtint. I have used the Clairol Natural Instincts semi permanent dye a few  times. They last about 28 washes and are pretty easy to use. I have a very small streak of silver hair on my hairline right where the forehead and temple area meet. You can’t see it when my hair is down, but I am constantly pulling it up into a messy bun so I wanted to cover it. I started looking into more gentle options. Of course there are no “clean” hair dyes. I decided to try one that is “light chemical”   one that a fave green beauty bloggers, Lilly of Genuine Glow, uses.

I’ll leave it to you to do your own research on dyes. This is a quickie, so I am going to focus on first impressions:

  • While I did put dye on all of my hair, this product has re-closable packaging, so you can mix a bit separately for smaller areas and save the rest. I will probably do that next time so I can use just a bit where I need it, thus minimizing the contact with the dye. Hopefully I won’t get more grays too soon.
  • Once mixed, the dye is gel-like so it isn’t messy to apply.
  • It does’t have a strong smell/fumes. It rinsed out easily and there was no lingering smell on my hair (unlike the Natural Instincts).
  • It didn’t irritate my skin.
  • It comes with shampoo you use after the dye. I have to admit, I was a little worried because  when I rinsed the dye out, my hair felt like straw! This definitely didn’t happen with Natural Instincts. I followed with their multiplier, which is basically conditioner. It immediately made my hair feel silky. Thank goodness! I have since been using  little organ oil in my hair to keep it moisturized.
  • I used shade 4G, golden chestnut. It is a very dark, neutral brown. (My hair is brown-black with natural red highlights.) When the light catches it, it’s almost icy. It mellowed out to a richer color within about a week. It’s a nice change from Natural Instincts, which I found had strong kind of fake red undertones that are purplish or copperish (across a number of shades).
  • Two weeks in and the color is holding up pretty well.

I plan to do an update at about the six week mark.