Laurel Whole Plant Organics Sun Damage Repair Facial Serum


Hey! It’s been awhile. I have been trying lots of stuff and am catching up on telling you about it, beginning with  Laurel Whole Plant Organics Sun Damage Repair Facial Serum. It was the August selection for Beauty Heroes subscribers–a great deal as you got the full sized bottle for $39 versus $88 and it came with a sample of their body oil and a mask.

I finished the first bottle of serum and am on bottle two (and I bought a third and gave it to my sister). So clearly, I think this is an excellent oil, er serum. It is one of those products that does what it says–repair. Within about about 2 months, it significantly lightened sun damage on my cheeks. I had one spot–about the size of a finger print on my right cheek. As I used the oil, I began to discern that the spot was actually a cluster of spots, not one big spot. With use of the serum and religious use of sunscreen, the individual parts of the whole became smaller and lighter–to the point that I don’t see the big spot. I barely see the little ones. I got that result by using it every night in the summer. The directions say to use it day and night, but I stuck with my Drunk Elephant C-Firma in the day (it has the vitamin C feulic acid combo that I think helps sunscreen work better and it is a lighter oil). When using the Laurel Sun Repair Serum every night this summer, I pretty much skipped acids and other retinol-based products. This has oils that contain vitamin A, so it does help with turnover and renewal. The serum kept my face hydrated, bright, and soft. I think it has enough heft to really tackle dry winter skin too, so it is still.

This contains a gorgeous blend of oils and has a light, warm sandalwood scent.  Here is what is in it:

Jojoba Oil*, Rosehip Seed Oil*, Red Raspberry Seed Oil*, Almond Oil*, Sesame Oil*, Sea Buckthorn Oil*, Cranberry Seed Oil˚, Pumpkin Seed Oil*, Red Grape Seed Oil*, Tamanu Oil*, Rosemary Extract*; in-house biodynamic proprietary blend of Scarlet Pimpernel*, Calendula*, Gotu Kola*, Licorice*, Bilberry Fruit*, Comfrey*, Chamomile*, Red Clover*, Marshmallow*, Rosehip Fruit*, Nettle*, Horsetail*; essential oil blend of Sandalwood*, Carrot Seed*, Helichrysum*, Cistus*

* certified organic

First Impressions: skincare and Bath Mini Haul


I thought I would share some recent acquisitions and first impressions. My skin has been misbehaving lately, and that has inspired a couple of these purchases. I really can’t blame it all on my skin breaking out. There is definitely some lust and impulsiveness in these buys–and no regrets. (At least not yet!)

Andalou Naturals Beta-Hydroxy Complex Recovery Cream ($24.95; 1.7 oz) If you haven’t checked out this brand, you should. It’s good, affordable, clean, and so underrated. I was thinking of repurchasing the goji peptide moisturizer from their age-defying range, but I decided to get this one from their clarifying range. I figured it would help with the breakouts and those pesky acne scars that can take so long to fade.

This contains: Aloe Barbadensis Juice*, Vegetable Glycerin, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel)*, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Fruit Stem Cells (Malus Domestsica, Solar Vitis) and BioActive 8 Berry Complex*, Stearic Acid, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch*, Epilobium Angustifolium (Willow Herb) Extract, Salicylic Acid, Salix Alba (Willow Bark) and Spiraea Ulmaria (Meadowsweet) Extracts*, Zinc Gluconate, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Allantoin, Cyamopsis Tetragonolobus (Guar) Gum*, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Butter*, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) and Sabdariffa Extracts*^, Tocopherol, Phenethyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Oil*

It is clarifying thanks to the salicylic acid and very softening. I noticed the difference in my breakouts and congested pores after just one use. I also think it is potent enough that it can be used for exfoliating in place of (or on rotation with) a retinol or other acid. I am glad that I purchased it. Though I can see this perhaps being too strong for me every night, particularly in the dead of winter. I get windburned really easily, so sometimes I just need to layer on a thick, simple moisturizer. I may need to get another jar from Andalou’s sensitive range for that purpose.

OK, now to my fave of the bunch: Skin Owl Eye+. ($46, .8 oz) I tried to resist buying this. I have so much other stuff to finish first. That is what I told myself. I resisted the photos of this luscious gel in its cute little jar. I resisted when the Caroline Hirons chose it for her latest Cult Beauty Box. It wasn’t easy, dammit, but I held fast. Then my skin went nuts and I was feeling sorry for myself and one thing led to another and I bought it and OH MY!

Will you just look at what’s in it? Look! Organic Herbal Infusion, Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf (Aloe), Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber Distillate), Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba Oil), Cassia Angustifolia Seed Polysaccharide (botanical hyaluronic acid), Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), Hydroxyethyl Cellulose, Carrageenan Gum, Silk Protein Amino Acid Blend (Sodium L-Pyrrolidone Carboxylate, Sodium Lactate, LArginine, L-Aspartic Acid, L-Pyrrolidonecarboxylic Acid, Glycine, L-Alanine, L-Serine, L-Valine, L-Proline, L-threonine, L-Isoleucine, L-Histidine, L-Phenylalanine), Wildcrafted Vinca Major (Periwinkle), Organic Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Ethyl Hexyl Glycerin.

It smells like a freshly cut cucumber. It’s cooling,  smoothing, and soothing. I just love the experience of using it. I put it all around my eyes and cheeks. It firms, it depuffs, it leaves skin silky. If you are a sucker for gels and aloe-based products, try this. It’s a little splurgey, but worth it. You will not be sorry.

Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Mask ($49, 2.5 oz) Another pimple-panic purchase. I went with this blogger fave that somehow I hadn’t manage to ever try. Until now. This mask has a nice mix of clays and oils. I used a very thin layer all over my dampened face and applied a little extra on my t-zone.  I think I used about the same amount as I would a foundation. You can really make this product last. I only left it on for about 10 minutes. I would say this is the most gentle clay-based mask I have ever tried. It left my skin feeling very clean and smooth.

Here is what’s in it: Water (Aqua), Kaolin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Bentonite, Alcohol Denat., Glycerin, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Ormenis Multicaulis Oil, Carum Petroselinum (Parsley) Seed Oil, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Linalool.

Aura Cacia Shower Tablets in Reviving Peppermint ($6.99 for a pack of 3). I was so excited to see an Aura Cacia display containing oils, aromatherapy sprays and roll-ons, essential oils, and more at my local Rite-Aid that I couldn’t resist. I purchased some oils (not pictured here) for blending into a homemade body oil (will post about that project soon) and a packet of these shower tablets. You place the tablet on the shower floor and the scent is released as it dissolves. I thought it was a nice little touch for my shower–especially since I used it after a sweaty house-cleaning session. Could you get the same effect (and save money) from sprinkling essential oils on the shower floor? Yes, yes you can. At least it wasn’t a pricey impulse buy!

Water (Aqua), Kaolin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Bentonite, Alcohol Denat., Glycerin, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Ormenis Multicaulis Oil, Carum Petroselinum (Parsley) Seed Oil, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Linalool. – See more at:
Water (Aqua), Kaolin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Bentonite, Alcohol Denat., Glycerin, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Ormenis Multicaulis Oil, Carum Petroselinum (Parsley) Seed Oil, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Linalool. – See more at:

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum


Today, we are taking our vitamins with Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum. If you’ve been following along, you know that I have been an avid user of Skinceuticals CE Ferulic and that I have been looking for an alternative. I think I have found it! In fact, it is better for me in some important ways. Let’s start with how Drink Elephant and Skinceuticals are similar. They both:

  • contain 15% vitamin C and 1% vitamin E combined with ferulic acid to firm, brighten, and smooth skin.
  • neutralize free radicals and penetrate deeply to protect and make sunscreen more effective.
  • are formulated with a low pH, which is required for optimal performance. Many of the articles that I’ve found online state that Skinceuticals has the patent for a pH fo 2.5 to 3. Drunk Elephant’s site states their pH is 3-3.5, low enough to maximize effectiveness without violating the patent.
  • are very light oils that are absorbed quickly and work well under sunscreen/makeup.

Skinceuticals CE Ferulic is an excellent product–especially in the areas of firming and protecting against sun damage/making sunscreen more effective. (Read the Beautypedia review for more detail here). So what don’t I like? Not much. Other than the price ($162/1 oz), the the alcohol-base–it can be very drying, particularly on skin that isn’t perfectly dry before application. While I never experienced any issues on my face, the skin on my neck couldn’t tolerate it very well. I had to be very careful not to put any there–but sometimes I absent mindedly (that’s a word, right?) did.  This resulted in very dry, scaly patches on the base of my throat that took a week or two to clear up. Here is what is in it: Water, Ethoxydiglycol, L Ascorbic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Laureth 23, Alpha Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Triethanolamine, Ferulic Acid, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate.

Drunk Elephant Firma-C is better for me in the following ways:

  • Wallet – Let’s start with the practical. This has a similar approach/main ingredients and similar effect, yet it costs half as much, $80/1 oz. It also carried by Sephora, which is convenient especially if you are a VIB and buy it during sales. (I am sure that I am not alone in appreciating the slow increase of greener options at Sephora and really hope they continue to expand their offerings.)
  • Ingredients – I find this formulation to be more gentle and hydrating. It leaves my skin a bit softer–the fermented pumpkin extract exfoliating action, perhaps? Also, I have been applying it to my neck without dry patches or irritation. Here is what’s in it: Water, Ethoxydiglycol, Ascorbic Acid, Glycerin, Laureth-23, Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Ferment Extract, Sclerocarya Birrea (Marula) Seed Oil, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Algae Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Lactobacillus/Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Fruit Ferment Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Juice Extract, Phyllanthus Emblica (Indian Gooseberry) Fruit Extract, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Tocopherol, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Acetyl Glucosamine, Hydrolyzed Quinoa, Glutamylamidoethyl Imidazole, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tetrahydro Curcuminoids, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Glycine, Sucrose, Maltodextrin, Propanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Xanthan gum, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 60.
  • Packaging – This comes with a pump, rather than a dropper bottle. It’s easier and faster to use (and I think I use less this way because one pump is just enough). I only wish there was a window to see when you’re running low.

Drunk Elephant’s mission certainly makes sense: Deliver clinically-effective, clean skincare formulated with both cutting-edge synthetic and natural ingredients; and without the ubiquitous toxins, sensitizers and irritants, such as the disruptive essential oils, that block the pathway to healthy skin. We pay close attention to pH and toxicity levels, as well as formulating with efficacious percentages of active ingredients. Our goal is to teach the consumer that “natural” doesn’t automatically mean good and that every ingredient should directly and only benefit the health of our skin or the safety of the formulation. … The line is small and carefully curated to focus on protecting and improving skin without being overly harsh. I am looking forward to exploring other offerings of theirs soon, after all the VIB sale is coming soon!

I highly recommend trying Drunk Elephant C-Firma Serum–even if you aren’t a CE Ferulic devotee looking for a greener or more economic option. I see  this is an critical step in my morning skincare routine every day–especially in spring and summer when I want my sunscreen to do its job as well as possible. But rain or shine, these ingredients offer powerful anti-aging and protection against free radicals that are important and their effects are known to work. So check it out!