Summer Empties: Part One


I have been doing empties posts on a seasonal basis because I just don’t seem to finish things very quickly. But it would seem summer is an exception. I was going to wait until September, but the bag I was using to hoard hold the empties was pretty full, so here is part one.

Beginning on the left:

Alba Hawaiian Body Oil ($10.50; 8.5 ounces) I got this from my local health food store when I first started exploring body oils. This is a affordable, very moisturizing oil. However, it scores a 4 on EWG. It’s one of the items in the bunch that is nice, but easily replaced by something cleaner–and has been. I’m currently using One Love Organics Vitamin C Oil. After that, I plan to blend my own concoction! More on that later.

Derma E Vitalizing Pomegranate Cleanser ($11 or $12–I can’t recall; 6 oz) Again, I got this early on in my transition to greener options. I think this particular cleanser may have been discontinued by Derma E. Since I have moved away from foaming cleansers, I finished this by using it to clean my brushes.

Yes to Carrots Shampoo ($6.99; 16.9 oz) This shampoo is affordable, scores a 3 on EWG, and produces lots of lather with no SLS. Now that it’s finally used up–you only need a little and it’s a BIG bottle–I am going to crack open Yarok’s shampoo. I cannot wait (yeah, I know, I’ve got to get out more).

Yarok Feed Your Ends ($13.20; 2 oz) I love this stuff. I’ve already gotten the large size. I love the speed and convenience it offers. I don’t miss conditioning in the shower at all. A few spritzes of this organic conditioner leaves hair glossy, moisturized and manageable. And it smells divine.

One Love Organics Vitamin B Cleansing Oil ($42; 4 oz) This is my last bottle in the old packaging. I just opened my backup. This stuff rocks on so many levels. Great ingredients: Check. Effective at removing makeup–including mascara: Check. Appealing scent and feel: Check. Any very important to me–it emulsifies when you add water so you don’t have to remove with a washcloth unless you want to. This product is probably my most repurchased skincare item. See my review here.

Yuli Panacea Elixir ($68; 3.4 oz) Ever try a product and fall in love from first use? That’s me and Panacea. It’s a luxurious, clean, expertly formulated balancing toner. Gorgeous. Gorgeous, I say! Review here.

Pratima Neem Rose Facial Sunscreen SPF30 ($28; 2 oz) Not one, but two empties of this one. If you want a sunscreen that has a short, clean ingredients list, feels like a light lotion, and plays well with makeup then look no further. Review here.

Skinceuticals CE Ferulic (a bloody fortune; 1 oz) This antioxidant powerhouse does work to make sunscreen more effective. It’s so pricy I can’t bring myself to look up exactly what it costs. Thankfully Kimbery Loc just did a great review of Mad Hippie’s Vitamin C Serum. I just ordered it (at like a quarter or fifth of the price of Skinceuticals). Kimberly is pretty spot on with her reviews, so I think it’ll be good.

Osmia Organics Active Gel Toner ($58; 1.7 oz) I really liked using this as a  light layer of moisture before a little oil on nights I wanted to give my skin a break from acid or retinol products. It is very soothing and I like clean scent and cooling gel texture. First impressions post here.

Osmia Organics Sunset Body Oil ($25; 2 oz) This oil smells damn sexy–citrus, floral, vanilla and none of them obvious. It’s also very moisturizing and I thought it had a firming effect. I received it with an Osmia Soap Stash for Mother’s Day. Osmia makes perfect pampering gifts that are clean and dreamy.

Waxleene ($4.00; 1.95 oz) I love this stuff. It is my only night time lip balm.  The tube above isn’t empty. It turned on me a bit because I didn’t use it fast enough. It’s got soybean oil and beeswax and is the perfect combo of moisturizing and waxy (I like waxy balms as they stay put). I have since replaced it with their new (smaller) lip balm size/packaging. Review here.

Tarte Colored Clay Tinted Brow Gel ($21) I love the miniscule brush on this. If you are like me and don’t have any major areas to fill in, then you can skip pencil with this. The tiny brush allows you to comb the brows and use the tiny tip to add color where you need it. I have the Tarte and Jane Iredale brow gels and confess to dipping the Tarte brush into the JI brow gel. Both reviewed here.

Nature’s Gate Toothpaste in wintergreen ($4.29; 5 oz). I really liked this toothpaste. It’s SLS and fluoride-free; tastes good; and has a smooth gel consistency.




Dermasuri + Osmia Organics Soap and Body Oil


I reviewed the Dermasuri Deep Exfoliating Mitt a while back (see more here). When used as directed, this scrubber makes dead skin ball up and roll off. It’s gross, fascinating and satisfying. You’re baby-soft afterwards–no redness or irritation either. Here is the problem–you have to hang around in the shower for about ten minutes or more before the dead skin is ready be exfoliated. And you’re not to put soap on before you use it, so you just basically stand there enjoying the water and solitude. That makes it a special occasion tool for me as I usually don’t have time for long showers. The other thing is that I started to feel guilty about the water running that long when water is in short supply for so many people. So, chuck the Dermasuri? Nope. I decided to use it for “dry-brushing.” Obviously it’s not a brush, but I have seen a few articles that say you can dry brush with a loofah. I thought I would give this a whirl before buying a brush or loofah. I decided to use it every morning for one week. I also committed to moisturizing every morning as well. Because while I have a a multi-step facial care routine, I am terrible about moisturizing my body–legs and feet especially. My moisturizer of choice: Osmia Organics Sunset Body Oil.

I have done it every day for a week before showering. The routine is: 1) Get naked (duh) and brush body in sections stroking toward the heart. Why? The internet says so. This takes just a couple of minutes. I focus most of the attention on my legs which are a special (scaly) type of dry after a winter of neglect. 2. Hop in the shower and wash with Osmia Organics Milky Rose Soap.  Why? It’s moisturizing, smells good, and is made with great ingredients (see more here). 3. Turn off shower, but stay in there. Tie up hair; don’t dry off. Apply Osmia Organics Body Oil. I don’t have a “see more here” for this one because I haven’t reviewed it yet. So let’s look at it in-depth for a moment, shall we? I have the OO Body Oil in Sunset. As with everything else I have tried from Osmia, I am a fan. And this oil is made of many lovely oils. Specifically oils of coconut, jojoba, kukui, sweet almond, rosehips seed, hemp seed, avocado, borage seed, and evening primrose. Check the full ingredients list out here. The scent is a warm floral vanilla with a hint of citrus. It comes in a frosted glass bottle that is topped with a stopper that has a hole in it so you can shake out a few drops at a time. And you really only need a few drops. A little goes a long way. I rarely say that about any product! The oil is softening, moisturizing and spreads easily on wet skin. Using a small amount allows for a thin layer that sinks in quickly. The only weird thing about it is that it may cause you to touch your skin throughout the day. Try to be discreet.

Now back to my dry-brushing or Dermasuri brushing experiment. Many proponents of dry-brushing believe that it can exfoliate dead skin, clear clogged pores, stimulate the lymphatic system, reduce cellulite, do your taxes, and shape your eyebrows. I can only speak to the first two. After one week of Dermasuri plus Milky Rose Soap plus Sunset Body Oil, my skin is softer and smoother. I am most pleased by the improvement on my legs where regrowth of hair after shaving is a somewhat less dry, and bumpy situation. I can’t wait to see what another week or two of this brings especially on the legs.

Osmia Organics: First Impressions


First impressions…I was going to wait to post about these little beauties from Osmia Organics, but I thought I would anyway because today is International Women’s Day and Osmia Organics was founded by a woman named Sarah Villafranco. I loved reading Sarah’s story. Having devoted a good part of my career working in and volunteering for organizations dedicated to women’s leadership, I am inspired by stories of women entrepreneurs (secret wish to be my own boss perhaps?). And since I love skincare (and makeup), so she is particularly inspiring to me.

Pictured above: Osmia Organics Spot Treatment, Active Gel Toner, and samples of their restoration and brightening facial serums. I decided to place an order with Osmia because of the pimple that would not heal. There were a couple of other small breakouts, but this one pimple seemed like it was setting up permanent residence. I think the breakouts were caused by not exfoliating. My skin has become so dry and red from the other thing setting up permanent residence in NYC–winter. I stopped any exfoliation by product or konjac and just moisturized like crazy to try to calm it all down. I think that was the wrong move. Not helping those dried out dead cells shed caused the breakouts–at least in large part.

The first thing to go into my cart was the OO Spot Treatment ($22, .16 oz). This has really helped. I think it works differently from other spot treatments because it calms and heals the pimple as opposed to drying it out. Essentially, it shrinks it and takes the redness down so you don’t wind up with a red scaly patch where the pimple was. Their site said to apply 3-5 times a day. I saw improvement after 1-2 applications. Here is what is in it: organic evening primrose oil and essential oils of lavender, cajeput, lemon, parsley, thyme, cypress, and rosemary CO2 (96.5% organic). I know the bottle looks tiny, but I think this will last quite a bit because you only need a tiny amount.

While exploring the OO offerings, I was really intrigued by the Active Gel Toner ($58, 1.7 oz.). I am obsessed with toners of all kinds–hydrating, exfoliating, refreshing, you name it. This is described as adding a layer of soothing moisture. Sign. Me. Up. It has a great ingredient combination of calming (aloe, oat, calendula) and moisture attracting/retaining (hyaluronic acid, glycerin,  niacinamide). When I am not sniffing it (it smells so clean and good) I have been using it over a generous spritzing of Yuli Panacea Elixir (reviewed here.) It’s a a thicker gel that feels refreshing. You need to moisturize over it or it’ll feel tacky. For the past few days, I have been topping the gel toner (while still damp) with my sample of the OO Facial Restoration Serum. Keeping true to the theme here–it is also calming and moisturizing. You wake up with calm, soft skin. You know, not buying the full size was a real feat of self control. I should have given in to my instincts though because I really like it and am planning to get it. I will do a full post on it.

I want to close with what is not pictured. My order came with a sample of Juniper Shea soap. It smelled ah-mazing. We never use bars of soap around here so my three-year old claimed it immediately. I wonder whether liquid soap is something Osmia might make someday. One thing I do know–my next order will definitely include soap. I suspect it’ll be hard to pick just one.