Favorite Skincare of 2015


It’s that time–2015 skincare faves. This isn’t all my skincare, but these are the stand-out/most repurchased items. Here we go!

First Cleanse: I’ve gone back to Tatcha One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil. It was the first oil cleanser that I used when I started using oil as step one in double cleansing. I had switched to One Love Organics (OLO) Vitamin B Cleansing Oil because it was organic and, like Tatcha, it emulsifies when you add water and splashes off (meaning you don’t need to towel it off). I went through many bottles of it. Then OLO hit a little blip this year when they reformulated the cleansing oil (and raised their prices) so that it didn’t emulsify–oh hell no. You can’t just become a towel-required cleanser without warning! OLO listened to customers and went back to the old formula. However, during the blip, I turned to  Tatcha because emulsifying/rinsing clean are musts for me. I realized that Tatcha works a bit better–you really could just use it as do one step, thought I don’t. It’s not organic, but that doesn’t bother me because I am using it to remove makeup and cleansing again after.

Second Cleanse: This won’t be a surprise for the handful of you following along. Yuli Panacea Cleanser. I have gone on and one about this one. It is perfection for a second cleanse or morning cleanse. Read my review here.

Spray Toner: Another Yuli fave (also not news since I have loved this one for awhile): Yuli Panacea Elixir is glorious. Read my post on it here. I also started using Avene Thermal Spring Water Spray. This spray has trace mineral elements and is soothing and refreshing. I think it’s a great inexpensive way to set makeup or just add a little slip to skin when applying skincare. It is a good option to have on hand so you don’t use up your Yuli too fast!

Sun Protection/Correction: The first product I apply after cleansing in the morning is Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum. I think this is a dupe for Skinceuticals CE Ferulic at a much better price AND it’s organic. This is one of my best finds in green beauty. Oh, and it’s available at Sephora. Read my review here. My sunscreen fave isn’t news: Pratima Neem Rose Face Sunscreen. Reviewed here.

Acid Toner: First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads–again. Reviewed here.

Eyes: Skin Owl Eye+. A fresh, cooling, cucumber-infused jelly that I adore. I sometimes put a thin layer all over my face for a plumping boost. Just love this stuff. Read my first impressions post here.

Retinols: There are two that I alternate between: Sunday Riley Luna Oil and Mad Hippie Vitamin A Serum. Read my retinol roundup here for the skinny on these two very good options–with higher/lower price points.

Hair: This isn’t really skincare, but it was a favorite hair addition this year. Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray is a cult fave. I wanted to experience what the internet was raving about, so I got the travel size and was thoroughly impressed. This hairspray dry shampoo hybrid adds fab volume and and slight hold while keeping oiliness at bay.  Totally worth the hype. I also had to add the Sephora Ribbon Hair Ties. I love these for throwing my hair up in a messy bun. Since I am not picky about the color, I stock up when they’re on sale.


Empties: Fall Edition


Note: I started this post earlier in the week. I wasn’t going to finish it or post it today as  my thoughts are so focused on the tragedy that has taken place in Paris. This stuff just couldn’t be less important. But sometimes a distraction helps. If you’re looking for some fluff to take your mind off things, please read on.

Well folks, I have been saving my garbage (recyclables, really) for you again. Here’s a look at the latest empties and whether they get a thumbs up, thumbs up plus repurchased, or a thumbs down. If you’re using any of these OR have recommendations for products that do the same thing, but better, please comment below! Here we go!

Jason Foaming Shower Oil Here’s the thing, this oil isn’t oily. It’s a shower gel. If you have dry skin and don’t care about “clean” products, I recommend you try Eucerin’s Calming Dry Skin Body Wash. This is an oil that emulsifies to a low foaming lather. It’s really hydrating and gentle. I was looking for a green alternative when I bought the Jason, but it was a miss. As I said, not an oil, and thus not particularly hydrating. I also think the packaging would be improved with a pump. Too much comes out so it gets used up very quickly. Thumbs down.

Yarok Feed Your Moisture Shampoo I love Yarok Shampoos. They are organic and the scents are ah-mazing! I started with the Feed Your Volume  (like this one a lot too)  but switched to Feed Your Moisture. It suited my hair better, especially now that it’s getting cooler and I am blow drying more. Thumbs up. Though I haven’t repurchased because I am going to try Andalou Naturals shampoo. I have been so impressed with their skincare, that I figured I should give other products in their range a try. More on that soon.

First Aid Beauty Racial Radiance Pads If you’re a regular visitor here, then you know I love these. Read my review here. Thumbs up plus repurchased. I picked up two more jars during the Sephora VIB sale.

Ilia Beauty Lip Conditioner in Blossom Lady. This one isn’t totally done, but close enough that I need to reorder. I keep this in my purse and use it as I would a lip balm. The color is sheer enough that I can apply without a mirror. The formula is hydrating and comfortable. Read my post on it here. Thumbs up plus repurchase, for sure!

Pratima Neem Rose Facial Sunscreen Another frequent flyer on the list. Read my thoughts on it here. Thumbs up plus repurchased (already had a backup of this one).

Sunday Riley Luna Oil I recently got around to reviewing this retintol-in-oil oil. See here. It’s a thumbs up plus repurchased.

People’s Pharmacy MOM Deodorant I still love this stuff. Reviewed here. Thumbs up plus repurchased (in fact, I have one and a backup).

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum I bought this as a possible replacement for Skinceuticals CE Ferulic. It isn’t  dupe (Drunk Elephant’s C Serum is a dupe though). I do really like it though. It has a light, gel texture that I love and it brightens and tightens–I think it’s especially good when skin is breaking out. Thumbs up plus repurchased.

Acure Facial Cleansing Creme This is a good first or second cleanse. It’s not a cream, rather a foaming cleanser that I don’t use it every day because it’s a bit strong. I think it has some key things in common with Sunday Riley, which I wrote about here. I am torn on how to rate this, since I bought it thinking it was a cream cleanser. Check out my post if you are looking for something foaming and deeply cleansing.



Yarok Centric: My Current Hair Care Routine


Since my skin is still recovering from some kind of allergic reaction or something, I have been pretty cautious with skincare products and have been keeping my routine minimal. I thought today, I’d talk hair instead. It’s one of the only areas where I am currently using products from a single brand: Yarok.  Let me start with this for my fellow citrus lovers: Yarok products smell amazing! And I am not talking basic lemon here either. Mandarin, may chang, orange,  ylang ylang, rosemary…they need to make a perfume oil. Like now. Yarok company uses primarily “certified organic” ingredients and is vegan and cruelty-free. It is a pricey line, but as you can see from the ingredients listed for each product, they are crafted with care and quality.

These are described in the order of discovery/purchase. The routine is: cleanse with Feed Your Volume or Feed Your Moisture; condition with Feed Your Ends; detangle with Wet Brush; apply Feed Your Volume and blow dry. I don’t blow dry until my hair is completely dry. I get the front/top dry and then brush it out. I put it in a high ponytail, twist it into a bun, and leave it up while I commute to work. When I let it down, it has a some extra volume.

I started my Yarok fan-girling with their Feed Your Ends Leave-in Conditioner. I love this for light conditioning and heat protection. It doesn’t weigh hair down at all and smells lovely. Yarok sells this in 2, 4 and 8 oz. bottles so you can try it out before committing to the bigger size. I finished one 2 oz. and am working my way though the 8 oz. It’s a definite repurchase. Here is what’s in it: vitamin aqua (water), Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil, Olea europaea (olive) oil, Vitis vinifera (grapeseed) oil, Prunus armeniaca (apricot) oil, Oenothera biennis (primrose) oil, plant sourced kosher vegan xanthan gum & potassium sorbate; essential oils of: Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) & Litsea cubeba (may chang).

I have been washing with Yarok Feed Your Moisture Shampoo for a few weeks now. Like Feed Your Ends, this comes in 3 sizes as well–4, 8.5 and 16 oz. It leaves your hair and scalp very clean and I would recommend it for people who have normal to oily hair. If your hair is dry or chemically treated, this might be too much. My scalp is pretty oily–I never skip washing it on a weekday because I just don’t feel clean. I try to skip a day on the weekend to give my hair a break. With this stuff, I think I could skip a week day. It leaves hair shiny and full. I only wish the delicate citrus scent stuck around because I am obsessed with the way this smells. Here is what’s in it: urified aqua (water), decyl glucoside, lauryl glucoside, Coco Coco Protein, Ascophyllum (seaweed) extract, herbal infusions of: Tussilago farfara (coltsfoot), Stellaria media (chickweed), Urtica dioica (nettles), Equisetum arvense (horsetail), Ulmus fulva (Slippery Elm), Althaea officinalis (marshmallow root), Symphytum officinale (comfrey root), Calendula officinalis (marigold) blossoms, Chamaemelum nobile (chamomile) flowers & Avena sativa (oatstraw) kernel; Hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) C02, Essential oils of: Lavandula angustifolia (lavender), Cedrus atlantica (atlas cedar), Citrus reticulata (red mandarin), Citrus Sinensis (sweet orange) oil & Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary); Citrus × paradisi (grapefruit) seed extract.

I also recently purchased the Yarok Feed Your Moisture Shampoo. I was feeling like I needed a moisture boost. This summer has been no joke in terms of humidity and sun. I figured it would be good to alternate with something more moisturizing since I shampoo so much. So far, I am really liking it. This shampoo doesn’t produce a ton of lather. Like with Feed Your Volume, I focus my on scalp and roots when washing. I find it to be softening and mild. I am really glad that I got it! I may switch to using this exclusively in the long run. We’ll see. Here is what is in it: Aqua (Vitamin Infused Water), Cocos nucifera (Saponified Coconut), Fair Trade Organic African Black Soap, Argania spinosa L. (Argan oil), Organic oils of Cannabis sativa (Hemp Seed), Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba), Vitis vinifera (Grape Seed), Prunus armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel, Oenothera biennis (Evening Primrose); Achillea millefolium (Organic Yarrow), Organic Guar Gum [aka guaran], Organic herbal extracts of: Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary), Arctium lappa (Burdock), Equisetum hyemale (Horsetail), Salvia officinalis (Sage), Origanum vulgare (Oregano), Thymus vulgaris (Thyme), Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender), Mentha piperita (Peppermint), Hydrastis canadensis (Goldenseal), Cinnamomum zeylanicum (Cinnamon), Citrus limonum (Lemon) Peel; Plant-Sourced Kosher Vegan Xanthan Gum and/or Manihot esculenta (Organic yuca starch) and Potassium Sorbate; may contain Elaeis Guineensis (Palm Kernel) extract, Limnanthes alba (meadowfoam seed oil) and acetic acid (vinegar); Organic essential oils of Citrus sinensis (Sweet Orange), Citrus aurantium var. amara (Bitter Orange), Cananga odorata (Ylang Ylang).

For styling, I have been using Yarok Feed Your Roots mousse. This comes in 2 and 8 oz options. I like this product a lot. I use small amount at the front and crown sections of my hair and it provides a nice lift. I do find that I need to dry that section thoroughly in order not to see or feel the mousse. It is a tad “detectable” (crunchy) when hair is left too damp or if you use too much. 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)

I also bought a Wet Brush. My Tangle Teezer went missing and I decided to try a detangling brush that has a handle. It’s a bit pricier than the TT, but much sturdier-feeling and the control from having the handle makes detangling faster. Very pleased with this.