skin

NEW ONLINE BEAUTY SHOP: COTANOVA (+ CODE)

*This is a sponsored post of which funds will go towards operating costs of OBL CLUB, our product testing club, and OBL”

COTANOVA is a new online organic beauty boutique offering a selection of some of the best skincare, haircare, makeup and wellness brands:

Hannes Dottir
Innersense Beauty
Rituel de Fille
Nu Evolution
Skin Owl
Vital Proteins
Be Biotin
Province Apothecary
True Moringa
and more

The founder of Cotanova, Carla Cota, was battling a variety of allergies and intolerances and discovered that the products she was using was the cause. She then found that 1000 chemicals found in beauty products are already banned in Europe, while only 11 are banned in the US and decided to embark on an entrepreneurial endeavor to offer clean nontoxic options in her own online store. I love the feminine pale pink aesthetic of the brand image and the intimate aspect of shopping at a small new shop.

DISCOUNT CODE: use code OBL saves you 20% at checkout

I used up all of the Elixir of Minerals, Seamasque & Mineral Mist byHannes Dottir over the course of 3-4 months. They’re 100% natural, cruelty-free & vegan and highlight pure & powerful Icelandic minerals, crystals & sea kelp.
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The Elixir of Minerals is a unique & highly concentrated moisturizer that feels like liquid silk. It’s quite watery, lightweight & perfect for summer.
– Organic Icelandic Sea Kelp nourishes skin with vital minerals
– Vegetable Glycerin and NaPCAhydrate and draw oxygen into skin
– Alum Crystal firms and tightens skin for lift
– Zinc Sulfate is anti-inflammatory to reduce puffiness
– Monolaurin derived from coconut is antibacterial for a clear complexion

The Seamasque I find is excellent at hydrating, calming & exfoliating. But I do find $95 is a steep price point for what it is. Ingredients are: certified organic Icelandic sea kelp, honey, alum crystal, iodine tincture, peppermint oil. In response to this, Hannes Dottir said, “We have received a lot of feedback on the masque price too. Our kelp is wild harvested by hand and dried with geothermal volcanic heat (the same that creates the mineral baths in Iceland). We’d love to make it more affordable, but can’t… afford to. In general people tend to use more than they need to. As long as the shiny part of the masque is touching your face, you’ll get the full benefits. ”
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Absolutely adored the Mineral Mist which comes in the heaviest and largest glass bottle I’ve experienced that feels so luxurious. I was not thrilled that the first ingredient being distilled water but overall I really like this product (ingredients: Distilled Water, Vegetable Glycerin, Choline, Silica, Vitamin C,Boron Citrate, NaPCA, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Citric Acid, Tincture of Iodine, Oil of Spearmint). When I’m craving something more luxurious than organic rosewater I reach for this. In reply to the first ingredient being distilled water Hannes Dottir said, “The first ingredient in mist is distilled water because it’s the purest element to carry suspended minerals. It also allows us to balance the formula for the perfect boost of hydration without being sticky. “

SHOP HERE

Rituel de Fille is a new edgy natural makeup brand that’s  99% natural and handcrafted without parabens, phthalates, synthetic dyes or synthetic fragrances. The brand image conjures up images of the otherworld, magic and enchantresses. The Ramos sisters who started the brand pay meticulous attention to every detail in product creation with the goal being to develop intense color while maintaining velvety textures.

The Inner Glow Créme Pigment is a sheer blush that can be used for both cheeks & eyes. The shade I received was Delirium which is a deep berry shade. I’m not sure why it looks so tangerine on their actual site and is described as tangerine – I found it to be much more on the red side. It provides a sheer glow with a subtle punch of pinkish red and lasts for a good part of the work day before fading. The color is buildable but as the red is a bit dramatic on my skin tone the slightest swipe suffices for me.

SHOP HERE

This skin, hair and nail supplement was Indie Beauty Expo 2017’s winner in the Wellness category so I was happy to have the opportunity to try it out. It combines the hair growth power of Biotin with a powerful herbal complex that fights hair loss from the inside out. Pumpkin seed, saw palmetto and pygeum (african tree bark) naturally lowers the hormone that’s been directly linked to hair loss and thinning. The founder Giulia Heiman is a hairstylist whose clients wanted an effective reliable product other than the generic vitamins found in drugstores. She decided to partner with an investor and work with a top-rated nutraceautical lab in New York to create a supplement that has the ability to lower Dihydrotestosterone (also known as DHT), a testosterone related hormone that naturally increases in men and women as we age.

SHOP Be Biotin at Cotanova’s online store

OBL Current Favorites: July & August 2017

It’s been far too long since I’ve done a favorites post, so this month’s post will actually include what I’ve been using and loving throughout July & August. I wasn’t able to keep up with my blog & OBL CLUB activities properly while I was working from California for a month, but no longer.

Pearl Butter just launched their range of adaptogenic superfood butter made with coconut meat and I ordered the Bliss Butter & Beauty Butter. They’re super delicious and while you can add them to smoothies, toast, basically anything you want I preferred to spoon it out of the jar since I love all things coconuty. The Beauty Butter is made of enzymatically activated pearls & grounded coconut flesh. Pearls contain conchiolin, a complex protein that increases the production of collagen. The Bliss Butter is made of 13 mood-lifting adaptogens including TCM “happiness herbs” Spirit Poria and Euphoria Longana.

Discount code OBL15 saves 15% at checkout.
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Amborella Organics makes organic seed-bearing lollipops in a variety of gourmet flavor combinations using hints of roses, sage, rosemary, lavender, lemongrass, thyme, hibiscus and marigold inside. You can plant their biodegradable stick, made from recycled paper in soil to simultaneously decompose and grow lavender, thyme, sage & more. These are addicting – my favorites were the Sage & Marshmallow and Vanilla & Hibiscus. A loop giveaway that includes all their flavors is happening on my Instagram til the end of August.

I tried Jordan Seban’s debut hair oil product last year and have been using his 2nd product Le Baume, a conditioning leave-in treatment, for the past few weeks. It’s a silicon-free and weightless formula with a bouncy consistency.  Featuring ingredients from around the world like Gotu Kola, Horsetail, Aloe Vera including L’Huile Signature oil blend & Silk Proteins this product strengthens, softens frizz, and protects hair from damage. It’s designed to be versatile – apply it in damp hair as a styling treatment, apply on dry hair as a leave-in conditioner, or apply it before heat styling as a heat protectant. I love how it doesn’t weigh down my fine hair and has a sweet yet sophisticated honeysuckle scent. I don’t blowdry my hair but I do use a curler and I apply a small pea sized amount and distribute evenly throughout my ends before styling. Apea sized amount will also tame tame flyaways. This would be perfect in a travel size version for me!

Ingredients

Aqua (Deionized Water), Carrageenan, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Organic Aloe), Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil (Organic Argan Oil), Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil (Macadamia Nut Oil), Persea Gratissima Oil (Avocado Oil), Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil (Organic Jojoba Oil), Butyrospermum Parkii Butter (Shea Butter), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil (Sweet Almond Oil), Bursera Fagaroides Wood Oil (Linaloe), Citrus Aurantium Flower Oil (Neroli), Citrus Aurantium Leaf Oil (Neroli), Citrus Reticulata Peel Oil (Petitgrain), Amyris Balsamifera Bark Oil, Copaifera Species Resin Oils, Dipterocarpus Turbinatus Balsam Oil, Santalum Album Oil (Sandalwood), Santalum Spicata Wood Oil, Silk Protein Amino Acid Blend of Sodium Pca, Sodium Lactate, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Foeniculum Vulgare Fruit Extract (Fennel), Centella Asiatica Extract (Organic Gotu Kola), Equisetum Arvense Extract (Horsetail), Geranium Maculatum Extract (Wild Geranium), Taraxacum Officinale Extract (Organic Dandelion), Hydroxyethyllcellulose*, Potassium Sorbate*, Sodium Benzoate*, Ethylhexylglycerin.*Plant Derived

The newest launch by Earthwise Beauty is the Sungod Face Mask made of an impressive & unique blend of roots, mushrooms, adaptogenic herbs, leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, and mineral-rich Celtic salt. This is not a quick fix type of mask designed to brighten or detox, but rather actually improve the health of your skin through frequent use over time with sunflowers and calendulas, wildflower pollen, turmeric root, maitake and shiitake mushrooms, flower pollen & goldenseal. As this mask is specifically designed to heal & improve skin over the long term I’m excited to see the effects after a month of diligent use. I’ve used it a few times so far and have found it to soften & brighten my skin. I’m also happy to introduce my skin to new and exciting ingredients which Earthwise Beauty always delivers, because your skin adapts very quickly with the same ingredients providing diminished effects with continued use.

Use my girl Melissa of Guide to Wellness’ code for 15% off at checkout: GUIDETOWELLNESS

Ingredients

Wildflower pollen, wildcrafted Solum fullonum (multani mitti, fuller’s earth) clay, Calendula officinalis (marigold) flower petals (organic or *), Aloe barbadensis leaf*, Helianthus annuus (sunflower) petals (organic or *), organic Plukenetia volubilis (sacha inchi) seed, Hydrastis Canadensis (goldenseal) rhizome (responsibly wildcrafted or *), Symphytum officinale (comfrey) leaf (wildcrafted or *), Punica granatum (pomegranate) fruit juice*, Grifola frondosa (maitake) mushroom (organic or *), Curcuma longa (turmeric) root Supercritical CO2 Select* extract*, Withania somnifera (ashwagandha) root (organic or *), Lentinula edodes (shiitake) mushroom (organic or *), sunstainably wildcrafted Celtic salt (France)**. 

COOLA remains one of my top suncare lines to use personally and recommend. Their SPF 50 Sport White Tea Moisturizer Sunscreen provides even stronger coverage than their usual SPF 30 products which is what I need during the summer. It’s extremely lightweight & fluid (almost runny as you an see it sliding down my angle hand in the picture) and absorbs & dries instantly. There is no white cast from this and contains 70% Certified Organic ingredients including Acai Fruit Oil, Acacia Extract , Amaranthus Caudatus Seed Extract , Chia Seed Oil, Evening Primrose Oil & more. While I enjoyed this sunscreen I do enjoy their matte formulas more than this liquid one.

See my review on their SPF 30 Daydream Primer & Rosilliance BB Cream SPF 30

Ingredients

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone (Sunscreen) 3.0% & Octinoxate (Sunscreen) 6.2%
Inactive Ingredients: Acacia Farnesiana (Acacia) Extract, Acrylates Copolymer, Amaranthus Caudatus Seed Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Caprylohydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oleosomes, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (ORGANIC Orange) Fruit Water, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Euterpe Oleracea (ORGANIC Acai) Fruit Oil, Flavor, Fragaria Vesca (ORGANIC Strawberry) Fruit Extract, Glycerin (ORGANIC), Helianthus Annuus (ORGANIC Sunflower) Seed Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Linum Usitatissimum (ORGANIC Linseed) Seed Oil, Oenothera Biennis (ORGANIC Evening Primrose) Oil, Plankton Extract, Salvia Hispanica (ORGANIC Chia) Seed Oil, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Water, Xanthan Gum.

This is my first time trying out Australian Certified Organic makeup brand Zuii Organic (their foundation is raved about constantly). They just launched a set of new Certified Organic Lip & Cheek Cremes utilizing flower & fruit colour formulation with Gardenia, Dragon Fruit, Pomegranate, Grapeseed, Bilberry and Cranberry extracts and blend of Shea Butter, Aloe Vera, Jojoba Oil & Geranium Oil to nourish. First off, to me these are much better off used as a blush cream. The formulation is not as nourishing as you need your lip products to be and unless you mix it with a clear gloss or balm this will make your lips look dry if it’s all you apply. The colors are intensely pigmented and come in a beautiful range of wearable colors. It’s nearly impossible to get the product out using your finger since it’s deep in the jar so a brush is ideal. I’m particularly in love with the pinker shades but find the nude and darker shades are great for fall and winter.

I have been wanting to try the Josh Rosebrook Tinted Nutrient Day Cream since the beginning of time and I finally purchased it! I have not tried too many of his products despite them receiving tons of social media love in the green beauty world, especially with his latest launches. The few products I HAVE tried like the Cacao Antioxidant Mask are superb and this SPF 30 cream is no different. The shade is natural (for light maybe even medium skin tones), the texture smooth, the consistency lightweight yet not overly so, blends and absorbs effortlessly, has a delicious subtle cacao scent. It ever so subtly blurs your skin but doesn’t provide any coverage if that’s what you’re looking for. It also goes well over my skincare products without feeling greasy and gives a subtle dewy glow that fades during the day. I’m so glad I took the plunge and bought it. I will even add a tiny bit of Earthwise Beauty Farizad Veil SPF 30 powder to amp up the protection factor (see my recent Earthwise Beauty line review).

Ingredients

Active Ingredient: 12% Non Nano, Uncoated, Micronized Zinc Oxide 
*Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, *Shea Butter, *Evening Primrose Oil, *Hemp Seed Oil, *Jojoba Oil, *Borage Seed Oil, *Almond Oil, *Grape Seed Oil, *Sesame Oil, *Avocado Oil, *Olive Oil, *Sea Buckthorn Oil, *Broccoli Oil, *Calendula, *Bilberry, *Chamomile, *Burdock, *Rosemary, *Fennel, *Dandelion, *Rose Hips, *Catnip, *Chickweed, *Neem, *Skullcap, *Ginkgo Leaf, *Linden Flower, *Hawthorn Berry, *Green Tea, *Flax, *Nettle, *Sage, *Marshmallow Root, *Cayenne, *Ginseng, *Peppermint, *St. John’s Wort, *Alfalfa, *Vitamin E, ‡Candelilla Wax, *Guar Gum, *Gum Arabic, §Xanthan Gum, §Potassium Sorbate, *Benzoin Resin, †Carrot Seed Oil. 

Dr. Dana Stern M.D., a New York dermatologist, recently launched a new high-performance safer line of nail polishes with sophisticated clean packaging and is the first & only dermatologist-developed line on the market. If you’re an organic beauty lover you know that conventional nail polishes contain harmful chemicals & carcinogens commonly found in car paint (but also that long-wearing nail polish can truly never be nontoxic if you’re a purist). The Dr. Dana line is Leaping Bunny certified, cruelty-free & 9-free (doesn’t contain formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde resin, camphor, xylene, ethyl tosylamide, parabens, and triphenyl phosphate). Her new shades are named after inspirational women and part of the proceeds goes to a charity chosen by each of these women. I’m not a huge nail person but what I love about these polishes are that:

Clean white aesthetic of the packaging
9-Free of the 9 most common toxins found in nail polish
Uses a proprietary bioactive, Phyto Crystal Complex, taken from the sap of a unique French evergreen tree, whih is harvested once annually (reinforces delicate nail cells & reduces nail breakage, peeling, and brittleness)
Vibrant shades with a high shine factor

Soleil Toujours is a luxury suncare line sold via their site & Net-a-Porter and they recently came out with their newest product, the Perpetual Radiance Eye Glow + Illuminator SPF 15. Providing 100% mineral broad spectrum SPF 15 along with antioxidant-rich nourishment & a luminous glow to dark under eye circles, this 53% Organic product is one-of-a-kind. I don’t see many eye products that offer SPF protection when it’s actually super important since this skin is so thin & shows signs of aging first. It also has some unique ingredients like:

  • Myristoyl Pentapeptide-11 helps maintain & restore skin elasticity, reduce wrinkle depth, preserving and encourage smooth, younger looking skin.
  • Glycosaminoclycans, (GAGs) are essential to the epidermal & dermal cells metabolism and keeping the collagen and elastin of the skin in good condition. GAGs are important in the reaction of copper peptides to help repair wrinkles and scarring. Known as the water reserve of the viable epidermis and dermis, these carbohydrates are dependent on fluid intake

  • Pro-Coll- One®  contains a highly purified fraction of HRGPs glycopeptides obtained from soya. Helps smooth and reduce wrinkle depth.

  • Pichia Resveratrol Ferment Extract – Significantly downregulates cyclooxygenase, a key indicator of inflammation. Inflammation contributes to physical signs of aging. Also upregulates collagen IV, which over time promotes elasticity and produces a micro-lifting of the skin.

  • Cooling ZAMAK applicator stimulates cell function and feels sensational against tired and stressed eyes.

  • Organic Jojoba and Sunflower seed oils act as natural conditioners allowing skin to feel supple, reversing tightness in the eye area.

  • EcoSunComplex®, our power packed natural formulation composed of Red Algae, Vitamin C Ester, Vitamin E and Bisabolol, acts as a natural SPF booster, reduces UV-induced DNA damage, prevents loss of firmness, increases skin smoothness, and decreases wrinkle depth.

This packaging is utterly luxurious with a heavy feel, gold accents & unique wand applicator. I find that more product than you need comes out with 1 pump and I like to use the gold applicator to gently slide it across the entire under eye area and lid that pat it with my pinkie finger. If you use too much it will clump and separate. The product itself has pink undertones and provides a light reflective glow while subtle correcting dark circles.  It also works as a great primer underneath undereye concealer.

This seems to turning into a post of new product launches by now. These are the newest additions to the Swedish-inspired American-made organic lipcare line Henné Organics. The 87% Organic lip tints are flawlessly formulated and are nourishing, have the perfect consistency and provide a subtle sheen with sheer color that’s buildable. Intrigue looks like a deep red but it really just brings out the natural color of your lips- think your lips but better. The coral shade adds a sheer tangerine punch. I was able to find a new home for these products for basically the cost of shipping in the OBL Marketplace after I used them. The lip exfoliators may be the most luxurious ones I’ve tried from the packaging to the consistency & ingredients. The sugar is not too coarse yet not too fine and the careful composition of coconut oil, beeswax and shea butter makes this lip exfoliator dense & buttery. Everyone has her own preference but rather than a lip exfoliator that is too oily or too dry I find that I enjoy a buttery formulation the most. The Rose Diamonds Lip Exfoliator is on sale in the Marketplace for $15 with free shipping (normally $24). Get it here.

Lip Tint Ingredients

ORGANIC COCOS NUCIFERA (COCONUT) OIL, ORGANIC RICINUS COMMUNIS (CASTOR) SEED OIL, ORGANIC SIMMONDSIA CHINENSIS (JOJOBA) SEED OIL, ORGANIC CERA ALBA (BEESWAX), ORGANIC PERSEA AMERICANA (AVOCADO) OIL, EUPHORBIA CERIFERA (CANDELILLA) WAX, MICA, TITANIUM DIOXIDE, IRON OXIDE, TOCOPHEROL (VITAMIN E). 
87% ORGANIC

Lip Exfoliator Ingredients

ORGANIC SUCROSE (SUGAR), ORGANIC COCOS NUCIFERA (COCONUT) OIL, ORGANIC CERA ALBA (BEESWAX), ORGANIC SIMMONDSIA CHINENSIS (JOJOBA) SEED OIL, ORGANIC RUBUS IDAEUS (RASPBERRY) FRUIT SEED, ORGANIC BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII (SHEA BUTTER) FRUIT, ORGANIC BERRY FLAVORS, ORGANIC VANILLA FLAVOR, ORGANIC VACCINIUM CORYMBOSUM (BLUEBERRY) FRUIT SEED, TOCOPHEROL (VITAMIN E). 
96.5% ORGANIC

Illinois-based Pressed Vibrance is one of the few companies I have had the pleasure of connecting with via a real phone conversation (which is usually difficult but I happened to be in the US at the time). And it makes all the difference as speaking with the founder gives you an insight into the brand, the products and the passion behind it in a way that scrolling down a webpage cannot. After founder Eric Cooper nearly lost his life, he created Pressed Vibrance out of necessity. In order to battle his autoimmune disease & save his own life Eric poured himself into the study of nutrigenomics, which is based on science & mathematical equations to activate certain expressions and turn on and off specific genes, and created custom blends of cold-pressed juices to turn off his autoimmune disease and completely recover. Through Pressed Vibrance he’s been able to bring his passion for an ultra-wellness lifestyle to his local community for many years and just recently launched his website a few months ago to share it with the rest of the country.

At Pressed Vibrance, they know who their suppliers are personally, have been to their farms, seen their manufacturing processes and know if anything has been outsourced. They do not carry any inventory and make everything to order by hand- it does not get any fresher than this.  Knowing that athletes & local hockey players use their products for recovery, I knew the products would be a special experience for my non-athletic body. I received their Organic Bath Salts in Nourish, Renew & Balance and the Rejuvenate Moisturizing Body Scrub to try and loved my experience.

The Organic Bath Salts are $3 each and are made with magnesium-rich Epsom (detoxification of the body, reduction of inflammation, and soothed headaches and menstrual cramps), solar dried Dead Sea salt (increase circulation, alleviate muscle cramps and stiffness in joints, and ease arthritis or back pain) and essential oils. Many of us are magnesium deficient which leads to fatigue, headaches & muscle cramps so this is an excellent way for your body to get more of the vitamins it needs while indulging in a self-pampering bath.

The Rejuvenate Body Scrub should actually be named Rejuvenate Butter Body Scrub because it feels like you’re spreading a rich exfoliating butter across your body. The first ingredient is Organic Shea Butter & Sweet Almond Oil rather than Sugar, which is the third ingredient. It also contains a 4th ingredient I haven’t seen before called Chufa Powder which I found is the flavor behind horchata. I also learned that Chufa was such an esteemed ingredient in the early centuries of civilization that the ancient Egyptians included it as one of their choice foods in their tombs. It lends the body scrub a rich nutty scent that is perfect for fall.

Nearly 85% organic the new Brighten Up Vitamin C Serum by Ursa Major has been my go-to serum this past month. It’s lightweight, fast-absorbing, smells citrusy and contains Ascorbic acid polypeptide, a super-stable, water-soluble form of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an ingredient that I always strive to add more to in my skincare routine, which isn’t always possible since I am continuously trying out new products, so I was very glad that their newest launch focused on this ingredient,

Brightens and evens out skin tone
Provides instant hydration without greasiness
Improves skin’s firmness and elasticity
Soothes inflammation and irritation
Protects against free radical damage
Highly stable, long-lasting formula
100% naturally-derived and toxin-free
Works for all skin types

I’ve been getting more into lip exfoliation as part of my skincare regimen because they leave my lips baby soft and less prone to flakiness & dryness. This Bambu Earth one is made of organic sunflower oil, organic cocoa butter and pure essential oils and come in a variety of flavors. The sugar content in this is quite high compared to oil & butter content, which provides a more intense exfoliating effect if this is what you’re looking for. Started in 2009, Bambu Earth takes a holistic approach to skincare using sustainable, ethical and local ingredients to make their natural products in small batches. I really like the vibes of this small down-to-earth brand started by a husband-wife duo and the integrity behind what they do. The packaging of the line looks rather unisex so perfect for Father’s Day coming up! Check out their line here.

The Acure Organics Dry Oil Body Spray is actually a product I’ve been loving for the past few years but they came out with brand new packaging for it. It’s a dry oil with a coconut scent that’s to die for and absorbs instantly. A few quick sprays and rubs and I’m good  to go.

 

New 2017 Wellness & Supplement Launches

Each of these cost $3! Brandless is a new online organic grocery store based in San Fran & Minneapolis that just launched in Jul 2017. I think this is a phenomenal concept and am very excited to have discovered them by chance through Instagram.  They carry a wide selection of the food and household products that we use everyday and every item costs only $3. So how do they do this? Brandless works directly with suppliers, eliminating the hidden BrandTax that you pay for a national brand at major retailers. According to their research you’re paying 40% more for products of comparable quality as theirs & sometimes up to 370% more for beauty products. Their goal is to eliminate these markups and bring you  products that meet their rigorous standards and are made under the highest standards of safety, quality, and social ethics such as certified Global Food Safety (GFSI) or Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). Their food selection is entirely non-GMO and over 50% Organic – and where it matters fkosher, gluten free, no added sugar. Their beauty selection, which they’ve told me they’re working on expanding, is cruelty-free and does not contain any of the 400 harmful ingredients they’ve banned. They personally taste, try & sometimes even create hundreds of formulations for taste, quality & safety then create packaging that limits waste and makes sense. Simple & genius.

My personal experience: Using code hello3 that they’re currently offering I paid only $3 for shipping at checkout and received all my items quickly in a massive box with each item very securely wrapped and packaged. I was at first a bit skeptical because well everything was $3 each but I was pleasantly surprised by the taste and quality of each item.

Grade A Maple Syrup: Organic & 100% Pure. I use maple syrup as a natural sweetener and avoid regular sugar as much as I can. Thank you Amy of Bondenavant for inspiring me to go sugar free! This maple syrup is delicious and I add it to my latte every morning.

Quinoa: Organic. Comes out tasting delicious, fluffy & soft.

Teriyaki Sauce & Marinade: Organic and made without artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. This is a light liquid-like sauce that works both as a sauce & as a marinade. I didn’t find that it had a strong teriyaki taste and would have liked it to have more of a sweet note but I still enjoy adding this to my dishes.

Brown Basmati Rice: Organic, Gluten Free & 100% Whole Grain. This also comes out perfectly fluffy & delicious.

No matter how many products you use and I recommend to you it will never replace the importance of nourishing your beauty from within. After I tried HUM for the first time a few months ago I knew I needed to discover more from the line. First on my list was the insanely delicious Raw Greens Coconut Pinapple Tropical Fusion blend made with GREEN SUPERFOODS (Organic Wheat Grass, Barley Grass, Chlorella, spiralina) ADAPTOGENS (licorice root extract, rhodiola rosea root, ginseng root, ashwagandha root extract, FIBER (flax seed, inulin, apple pectin), FRUITS & VEGGIES (kale, blueberry, spinach, broccoli, beet root, carrot). It’s delicious even if you add it simply to water. I also like adding it to my smoothies for added sweetness an nutritional oomph.

Limited Edition Arctic Berry is made from wild Lingonberry Seeds which is only available through HUM. Studies show it significantly improves skin density, elasticity and hydration. Yes please. (This one is pricier at $60). Turn Back Time is made of Turmeric and Phyto-polyphenols to help your body protect itself from UV rays and fight off free radicals. The Hair Sweet Hair I got off of Sephora.com and don’t see it available on the HUM site. It’s made of biotin, zinc, PABA (helps maintain hair color), folic acid and fo-ti (root used in Chinese medicine for healthy hair). Love that these are in gummy form and taste like candy but better.


I’ve been trying out 3 of Ancient Nutrition’s newest product launches, which are organic versions of existing products: Organic Bone Broth Collagen Vanilla, Organic Bone Broth Protein Turmeric Spice & Organic Bone Broth Protein Dark Chocolate. As the name suggests, Ancient Nutrition aims to bring us back to the traditions and nutritional principles that were honored by our ancestors and was created by Dr. Josh Axe: natural medicine doctor, chiropractor, clinical nutritionist and bestselling author of Eat Dirt. With wellness experts are now positioning bone broth as the latest miracle product, it looks like it’s here to stay. My favorite is the Bone Broth Collagen Vanilla because it combines both the benefits of Bone Broth & Collagen:

Support healthy joint function and mobility
Support collagen biosynthesis, a vital factor in maintaining healthy-looking skin
Help protect against the effects of aging by protecting against free radical damage to cells
Help the body cope with stress and promote a calming, relaxing state of mind
Promote more restful sleep

The vanilla adds a subtle sweet flavor to the savory bone broth and goes great in smoothies or as a drink on its own. I tried a sample of the Pure version and I really enjoyed it as a hot savory drink when I was suffering from the cold sent from hell this summer. The Bone Broth Protein has 20g of protein and comes in a wide variety of sweet & savory flavors. I chose the Turmeric Spice because it’s one of my favorite superfoods at the moment and is excellent for cooking use. When I get tired of having it as a drink I add it to any savory dish I’m making, even salads, and it makes it taste (even more) delicious. Get ready for a giveaway for any 1 product from their line in the near future!

Care Of Vitamins is a brand new supplement company (launched Nov 2016) that delivers a 30-pack of customized daily vitamins to your doorstep each month, at a price that beats the grocery store. It’s perfect for those who don’t know which vitamins to choose and hate opening up 5 different bottles of vitamins everyday, basically taking out all the hassles that surround incorporating vitamins into your life. You first take a survey wth your basic info, goals, lifestyle & thoughts on Eastern medicine and Care Of will recommend a set of vitamins and why you need them. You can edit your selection of vitamins or the dosage if you’d like.

I was recommended: Astaxanthin, Rhodiola 2, Vitamin D 2 & Magnesium and have been taking them for a month now. I’m generally in excellent health and recently even healed myself of my sleep issues (nocturia & insomnia) and believe that supplements along with good diet & exercise are the reason. Asthaxanthin was chosen because I marked that I was concerned with my skin (duh!), Rhodiola because I had said I was feeling burned out (working and blogging isn’t easy!), Vitamin D because I live in cold weather (Switzerland), and Magnesium because good sleep was a concern. I’d say they were pretty spot on! You also get a price breakdown for each vitamin per month and my total came out to $30/month (this will vary depending on what selection of vitamins you get). While the packaging is a tad wasteful, I find it useful for people who travel a lot because you can take exactly the number of packets you need depending on the number of days you’re traveing and still get your vitamins away from home.

 

OBL CURRENT FAVORITES: May 2017

In this OBL Current Favorite’s post I have a hodgepodge mix of products I’m currently using and enjoying. I tried Au Naturale for the first time, a brand that I’ve seen all over Instagram, and fell in love with their concealer. As you may know, NU Evolution is my favorite, because it’s so rich and creamy and provides long lasting full coverage. Au Naturale’s might well be in 2nd place not because it works any less well but just because it doesn’t feel as nourishing & hydrating to the skin. It still performs superbly. The blush in the shade Sweetheart is just beautiful and the formula is super creamy & pigmented. I also tried Honeybelle, an LA brand making affordable organic products, for the first time and have been using their organic rosewater toner to hydrate my skin. The bottle is beautiful and the rest of the line looks worth trying out.

EVOLVh Luxury Organic Haircare

I’ve tried EVOLVh before and love their UltraRepair Hair Conditioning Mask. Lately I’ve been using their travel kit and have found the performance & cleanness of the products up to my standards. All products from their haircare line are vegan & at least 90% organic. I found their UltraShine Conditioner to leave my hair moisturized and the Leave-in Conditioner lightweight & perfect as a temporary defrizzer as well as a heat protectant.

Supplements

From left to right: Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Greens (Take 20% off their regular Collagen Powder at Cotanova online shop with code OBL), Sun Potion Reishi, SIBU Sea Buckthorn, The Beauty Chef GLOW Inner Beauty Powder, HUM Red Carpet & BE Biotin (also available for 20% at cotanova with code OBL). (This is a discount code not an affiliate one.)

Marin Bee Honey Butter

Though I’m a fan of body oils, I appreciate a lightweight body moisturizer during the warmer months. This creamy moisturizer has a subtle sweet honey scent and is made of 95% naturally derived ingredients such as coconut oil, shea butter jojoba & Californa Wildflower Honey . Marin Bee is also  the current OBL CLUB product testing campaign that’s running now.

Ingredients

Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Emulsifying Wax NF, Vegetable Glycerin, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Cetyl Alcohol**, Isopropyl Jojobate, Beeswax, Jojoba Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate SE**, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Jojoba Esters, California Wildflower Honey, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil*, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract*, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexlglycerin, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Peel Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Xanthan Gum, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Panthenol (Vitamin B5)

*certified organic  **plant derived

Raw Elements Sunscreen

I’ve been using Raw Elements since the beginning of my nontoxic switch and have tried every product from their line. It’s safe to say I’ll be a fan for life and I even have my friends & family using their products as well. The ingredients lists are some of the cleanest you’ll find on the market and products are made entirely of certified organic tea extracts, butters & oils and non-nano zinc oxide. I prefer the tins to the tubes but each have  their pros and cons. The sticks are great for hands-free application and comes in both a tinted and non-tinted version. You’ll find that in the colder months they are more difficult to apply and can tug at your skin. The tins are emollient no matter what time of year it is, but the tinted version is perhaps too dark if you’re fair skinned and the non-tinted may leave a white cast if you’re tanner. The lip balms have a strong herbal scent that I’m not a big fan of but they provide spf to protect your lips. Note that due to the spf it will alter the color of your lips. All their products stay on well with re-application needed every few hours.

IDIL BOTANCALS Celestine Azulene Rich Facial Oil

First off, I love the sleek white, gold & glass packaging and light blue hue of the oil. For some reason I’m drawn to its blue-colored hue – I think it’s a common phenomenon. This product is actually designed for acne-prone, oily and combination skin and it is indeed a very lightweight fast-absorbing oil. Even with my dry skin I still enjoy its moisturizing and calming properties. Blue tansy which comes from the Chamomile family is excellent at soothing inflammation & balancing sebum production. IDIL Botanicals is a Swiss brand that’s also sold at Content Beauty which ships worldwide free.

Ingredients

Organic Camellia Oil*, virgin cold pressed Grape Seed Oil, organic Sweet Almond Oil*, Squalene Oil derived from Olive Oil, organic Vitamin E – derived from NON GMO organic Sunflower Oil*, organic and wild crafted Blue Yarrow Oil**, organic and wild crafted Blue Tansy Leaf Oil**, natural German Blue Chamomile Oil*, organic Rose Otto Oil* * Certified organically grown ** Organically wild-crafted

Ursa Major No B.S. Deodorant

This deodorant is free of fragrance and baking soda, so perfect for those with sensitive armpits. I’ve never been afflicted with armpit rashes or sensitivity to natural deodorants so I can’t say if this won’t cause any reaction if you do. I did find the ingredients to be excellent and the performance on par with my standards.

Ingredients

organic aloe leaf juice, propanediol, sodium stearate, tapioca starch, saccharomyces ferment, silica, kaolin clay, glyceryl caprylate, micro-crystalline cellulose, glycerin, glyceryl undecylenate, shea butter, tocopheryl acetate, cellulose gum, hops extract, royal jelly extract, lemon peel extract, marigold flower extract, matricaria flower extract, ginseng root extract.

Raw Elements, which is a sunscreen brand, just came out with their newest skincare launches – a body scrub & face tonic. The scrub has Pacific Hawaiian sea salt & raw sugarcane and a lot of oil content so it’s moisturizing as well as exfoliating. It also has a very strong tea tree smell which was surprising as I was hoping for a more tropical scent to match the brand’s beachy vibes. The skin tonic also has a strong medicinal tea tree scent and is made of aloe, organic prickly pear cactus and arctic red algae as well as essential oils of bergamot, juniper, sage, tea tree and ylang ylang. I have to remember to cover my eyes with my hands when using this because it can seriously burn.

As always I’m enjoying my weekly skincare rituals of May Lindstrom’s The Honey Mud & The Problem Solver. I’m now even mixing the 2 together to use as a single mask. I tried a sample of the Youth Dew and I didn’t really find it to be as unique as the rest of the products from her line. The Clean Dirt I wanted very much to be able to use but it caused my skin to breakout immediately.

Have you heard of these adaptogenic coconut butters that are basically unicorn food in a jar yet?! If not you should definitely look into Pearl Butter! This doesn’t really belong in my current favorites post since I’m eagerly waiting for my order to arrive in the mail, but I’m way too excited. You can take 15% off with code OBL15, an exclusive discount code the founder Katie gave me just for you guys! Pearl Butter website

 

A few other products I’ve been using and enjoying are these mineral mud masks by Atmosphere Essentials (more on these on my Instagram in the near future) and I was also recently introduced to Ananda Soul, an ethically & sustainably produced jewelry line from Bali. Pictured below is their Inner Guidance necklace made of Prehnite & Gold Vermeil. Their pieces are made with 925 sterling silver (certified recycled), 22kt Gold vermeil & the finest quality precious gemstones. The line is inspired by the founder’s current home Bali, her love for yoga & spirituality and her travels and seeks to empower women of all ages & backgrounds. 10% of proceeds goes to a charity that the founder personally runs workshops for training mothers of street children how to produce some her pieces, which allows them to place their kids in school. I’ll be launching a giveaway with them the 2nd week of June so stay tuned on my Instagram.

You can take 20% off on the Vital Proteins & Be Biotin featured in this blog post or anything carried at at online organic beauty shop Cotanova. Use discount code OBL at checkout (not an affiliate code).

 

 

HUM Nutrition Review + giveaway

HUM Nutrition is a super high quality supplement line exclusively sold at SEPHORA and their website and they recently gave me the opportunity to try 3 of their products: RED CARPET, DAILY CLEANSE & OMG!. The first things that popped out at me, and which lends to their strong brand recognition, were their bright colorful labels & catchy names. One of the first things a friend of mine asked me after she saw my Instagram stories showing the products was to let her know if I think they’re worth the price. So in case this is the first thing you’re thinking of too, my answer is yes, BUT only for the supplements that you actually need.

To be honest I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to review supplements. As a beauty blogger i’m testing out a variety of products all at once, and as one follower pointed out, bloggers can’t really know the effects of 1 product if they’re using 10 skincare products at once. So I was wondering with supplements how would you really know if you’re experiencing positive effects from the supplements or because you increased the number of your weekly yoga workouts or because you rotated in new skincare products – fact is you can’t unless you cut out all these other variables. So it’s all based on perception, but everyone’s reality IS their perception anyways.

So about HUM, HUM Nutrition sets themselves apart from other nutrition companies by offering a personalized approach using a revolutionary profiling methodology and leaders in the field of nutrition. You take a short online quiz and are then suggested a regimen of products that meet your health & beauty goals.  HUM products are 100% natural, pure, premium quality, sustainably sourced, non GMO and gluten free. Personally, I’m not religious about supplements. I buy them when I feel like buying them and take them when I feel like taking them but I don’t stick to it everyday all year round. With the HUM supplements I committed myself to taking them everyday to see if I really noticed results.

THE DAILY CLEANSE

The Daily Cleanse is what I would recommend you to get if you’re wanting to try HUM and don’t know which to start with.  I think the first step should be to rid your body of toxins so that everything else you take can really get to work. You take 2 capsules before you eat anything so I would take this as soon as I got up with a big glass of water. If I was running late for work, with a sip of coffee before dashing out the door.  Highlights of the Daily Cleanse include:

Cleanses your skin, liver, bowel, kidneys and lungs
Organic Algae
Cleansing Minerals
15 Detox Herbs

The Science Behind it

Studies have shown the anti-inflammatory properties of ALA, making it a vital antioxidant that protects the body’s cells and aids in energy production.  “α-Lipoic acid has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties: an experimental study in rats with carrageenan-induced acute and cotton pellet-induced chronic inflammations.” Br J Nutr. 2011. The American Cancer Society notes that milk thistle is said to detoxify and protect the liver, strengthen the spleen and gallbladder. Further, research has looked into silymarin, a key extract of milk thistle, as a potent antioxidant.

Effects I Experienced

I noticed 2 effects: practically zero zits/pimples and regular use of the bathroom. I’m someone who gets zits regularly along my chin/jawline and occasionally on my cheek. While I was taking this supplement I noticed I didn’t have any zits appearing on my face and the flesh colored nearly invisible bumps subsided. I also had great movement down there. Some people experienced allergic hive reactions when taking this product so take caution.

OMG! Omega The Great

This fish oil supplement supports even skin tone, a healthy heart, brain & body and really does contain very high quality fish oil. I took 2 giant pills with food per day and would also recommend this product from their line, which is more potent than what you’d find in the supermarket. Its higlights:

Ultra pure fish oil
Ideal ratio of the actives EPA & DHA
High amounts in only two pills
No fishy aftertaste

The Science Behind It

Many studies suggest that the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, found in the fatty layers of cold-water fish can keep your heart and body healthy by reducing overall inflammation. Our supplements are derived from the highest quality of sustainably sourced small fish, ensuring the purest and most nutrient-rich standards. Research connects the fatty acids in fish oil to healthy hair and skin function. According to research at the University of Manchester, the properties in fish oil have been proven to protect the skin from damaging sun rays by stimulating the production of healthy skin cells. And the benefit of fish oil extends beyond hair and skin. Research from the American Heart Association has shown that the omega-3 found in fish oil can also reduce the risk of heart disease while lowering the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increasing levels of good cholesterol in the body (HDL). Sources: Pilkington Suzanne, et al. “Randomized controlled trial of oral omega-3 PUFA in solar-simulated radiation-induced suppression of human cutaneous immune responses.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 97 (2013): 646-52. “Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.” American Heart Association. May 2014

Effects I Experienced

This is really hard to say. I use a lot of great skincare products, mask multiple times weekly, eat a healthy diet, drink lots of water etc. so I can’t claim that this vitamin gave me glowing skin. I did read reviews by people saying that this is the one product that helped clear their cystic acne, hormonal acne and breakouts. What I can say is if you’re looking for a quality fish oil that is designed to work more quickly than supermarket fish oil out of sheer potency, why not give this a try.

RED CARPET

Red Carpet is the number 1 selling supplement at SEPHORA and is designed to give you glowing skin & shiny hair in 6 weeks. It’s a Vitamin E- focused product (from sunflower oil) with ALA (from Black Currant Seed Oil) and its highlights include:

Rich in plant-based omegas
Vegetarian formula
Hydrates hair + skin cells

The Science Behind It

Black Currant Seed Oil is an excellent source of GLA (gamma-linoleic acid) and ALA (alpha linolenic acid). According to University of Maryland Medical Center, GLA stimulates healthy skin and hair growth, and is a strong anti-inflammatory. ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid, also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, known to prevent heart disease and stiff joints. Sunflower seed oil contains Vitamin E and fatty acids that promote shiny hair and glowing skin. As an antioxidant, Vitamin E neutralizes free radicals that damage collagen and dry the skin. According to the University Maryland Medical Center, a healthy dose of Vitamin E can prevent premature aging and damage. Research suggests that Vitamin E improves capillary growth, which increases follicle circulation and moisture for fuller hair that is free split ends. Sources: “Vitamin E.” University of Maryland Medical Center. January 2012. Beoy LA, et al. “Effects of tocotrienol supplementation on hair growth in human volunteers.” Pub Med. NCBI. NLM. NIH. December 2010. “Gamma-linoenic-acid.” Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide. University of Maryland Medical Center. July 2011. “Black Currant.” WebMD.

Effects I Experienced

My hair does look healthier and air dries with less frizz but, again, how can I really know it’s because of the supplements or because I increased the number of overnight oil treatments or because I switched in a new shampoo/conditioner. One thing I feel like I DID notice that I feel I can say is because of these supplements, is that despite my use of top-tier organic skincare products, I will still have seriously haggard looking dull skin at about 1am before doing my nighttime skincare routine and going to bed. When I was younger my skin looked plump, fresh, vibrant no matter how late it was and no matter how little sleep I got, but now it totally shows on my face in the wee hours of the night. After about a month of taking these supplements I felt like when I’d go look in the mirror at midnight or 1am before going to bed I was starting to look more like my old self in that my skin didn’t look as zombie like anymore. Even if my eyes look tired, my skin didn’t look as sunken in, dry & dull.

GIVEAWAY FOR 2 WINNERS

Enter on my Instagram post here. Ends Mon May 15, 2017!

Details:

2 winners will receive a @humnutrition supplement of their choice! Simply:
– Follow @humnutrition & me
– Tag friends (each tag is an entry)
Bonus: For 10 extra entries repost with #oblhum.