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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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 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
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 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
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!
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.
Earthwise Beauty has evolved significantly over this past year alone if you see my first blog post from 2016 here, but as always you will find meticulous sourcing practices, top quality quality ingredients & innovative formulations. Besides many exciting new product launches (Cistus & Moonlight Face Mist, Nap in the Meadows Face Serum, Passion Eye Serum, Pacific Northwest Body Oil, Ruby Facial Oil, Farizad’s Veil), Earthwise has also upgraded their labels to higher quality scratch-free ones that are durable. This is a brand that obsesses over every aspect and detail of their products and one that you can wholeheartedly trust that they will only bring you the best products & ingredients. I’m also super excited that Earthwise Beauty is participating in an OBL CLUB product testing campaign so you might be the lucky members who’ll test & review an Earthwise product!
The founder of Earthwise Beauty, Ava Zhan, is also sharing her work diary with OBL readers so you can see what it’s like to be in her shoes for a day. To read the first installment of my new series “Diary of a Ladyboss” scroll down to the end of this post.
The first product I’ll be highlighting in this post is their newest facial oil, Ruby that just launched in Mar 2017. This is a lightweight powerfully hydrating oil perfect for daytime use and designed to be paired with their Farizad’s Veil SPF powder & the warmer months in general. Perfect for all skin types & quick absorbing, the oil has a subtle resinous & fruity scent and is made of sun-protective buriti & pequi oils, wrinkle-reducing and sun-damage-correcting raspberry, buriti, rosehip & primrose), noncomedogenic oils particularly recommended for skin types prone to congestion (milk thistle, guava, rosehip, cranberry). sunflower-derived vitamin E. Turmeric CO2 extract and whole-plant celery CO2 to reduce inflammation. I find this oil lightweight but not too lightweight for even the driest skin types and it leaves no orange tint. I add a few drops on top of my moisturizer and before applying makeup. I also like using a tiny amount as a hair defrizzer because it absorbs quickly into my hair without leaving it looking greasy. Ava also mentions in an Instagram post that this oil is perfect for hair as well as skin.
You can also order this facial oil with a raw ruby gem sourced from India. Ruby enhances personal power, charisma, and confidence, aids in creative output and enhances leadership qualities, and corresponds to the heart chakra.
Organic Psidium guajava (guava) seed oil (India), organic Silybum marianum (milk thistle) seed oil, Vacinnium macrocarpon (cranberry) oil*, organic whole-fruit Rosa canina (rosehip) oil, Plukenetia volubilis (sacha inchi) seed oil*, Rubus ideaus (raspberry) seed oil*, organic pequi fruit oil, wildcrafted Moringa oleifera seed oil, blue tamanu oil* (India), organic buriti fruit oil, turmeric supercritical CO2 Select extract* (India), vitamin E (from certified non-GMO sunflowers), organic primrose seed CO2 Total extract, organic celery CO2 Total, wildcrafted mimosa flower absolute (artisanally extracted in Grasse, France).*Certified organic.
Carrot-a-Day is Earthwise’s all time bestseller and they came out with a new formulation for sensitive skin. The original one would cause reactions for some people and as a brand who truly listens to their customers’ needs they created a gentler formula for sensitive skin types. They use a milder natural preservative and have taken out carbomer though the original has less than .5%. The original version has a thicker aloe base while the Sensitive version is suspended in a semi-liquid, instantly absorbent cold-press aloe juice that has just a touch of thickness with natural xanthan gum.
The serum is great for dry, aging & acneic skin and contains anti-inflammatory German blue chamomile, helichrysum (3 types: Corsican (the first choice for pain reduction, including painful acne breakouts), Croatian, and Albanian) which is one of the top essential oils forspot reduction & wrinkle reversal (and is also used in wound and burn healing by medical aromatherapists). Because it’s semi-liquid it can replace your toner and it has a rather strong herbal carrot scent. I’ve used both the original and now sensitive versions and found that they both hydrate, firm & refresh my skin. I apply a few pumps and spread across my face and wait for it to dry. It provides an instant cooling effect and once dry my skin feels slightly more taut/firm.
Ingredients Cold-press aloe barbadensis juice*, carrot seed oil*, natural non-GMO tocopherol (vit. E from sunflowers), Italian everlasting oil*, German blue chamomile oil*, spearmint oil*, naturally derived Polysorbate 20, potassium sorbate (natural preservative, food grade), xanthan gum, rosemary extract, ascorbic acid (vit. C), citric acid.
Earthwise’s other serum which I believe launched last year provides deep hydration, strong anti-inflammatory action, anti-oxidants, anti-aging benefits, issue repairing effects, and sunburn and sun damage repair. The super light blue shade of this product is instantly calming and its name, like many of Earthwise’s products, is highly evocative. The sensorial product yearns to transport you to a peaceful meadow where you lie down, feel the warm sunshine on your face and see the clear blue skies as you drift off into blissful slumber.
This serum is very lightweight and liquid-like but its ingredients are so fresh and potent that most noticeably I feel it increasing my blood circulation seconds after I apply. My face feels slightly heated and I can tell it’s working its magic. It contains Turmeric CO2 supercritical extract, anti-inflammatory, Yarrow Oil, German Blue Chamomile Oil, Elderberry extract to delay skin aging and reverse UV damage. and Galbanum which is an essential oil made from galbanum resin, an ancient wound-healing agent. I apply 1 or 2 pumps and apply all over my face with circular massage motions. The one downside of these liquid like serums is that you can easily use up the product quickly so I suggest using just 1 max 2 pumps for each use.
Aloe leaf juice*, elderberry fruit extract, turmeric CO2 Total supercritical extract, polysorbate 20 (naturally derived), lavender oil (* and †), yarrow oil*, Italian everlasting oil†, German blue chamomile oil*, potassium sorbate (natural preservative), organic geranium bourbon oil, geranium rose oil*, copaiba balsam resin†, galbanum oil*, xanthan gum, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), wildflower essences†.
Perfect for the warmer months, Ambrosia del Cerrado is a liquid moisturizer (toner-moisturizer cross) and has a unique consistency different from both the Nap in the Meadow and Carrot-A-Day. It’s like a bouncy viscous liquid and comes in a dropper bottle so you feel like you’re applying golden dewdrops to your skin. The aloe-based formula is great for oily, combo, acneic & dry skin and most noticeably contains hand-extracted pequi fruit oil from the cerrado savanna in Brazil (rich in vitamin C, betacarotene, vitamins B1 and B2), Buriti oil from Brazil (anti-aging results & improves the appearance of brown spots and scars), Moringa pod oil (wide range of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients).
I’ve tried the Ambrosia del Cerrado a year ago and again this year and found that it leaves my dry skin feeling refreshed, supple & hydrated. This product does not contain any essential oils for those of you who are looking for essential oil-free skincare products.
One of my favorite cleansers is the Earthwise Marshmallow Suds Face Cleanser which is especially great for sensitive & dry skin types. A blend of oils and herbal extracts, this cleanser has a unique silky, viscous, creamy consistency and a beautiful white shade that almost symbolizes purity. It lathers well and feels deeply nourishing & soothing with marshmallow root, healing calendula petals, and anti-inflammatory chamomile flowers. I remove all my makeup before using this cleanser because I’d rather use a wipe or oil cleanser to remove makeup so the powerful ingredients of this cleanser can better penetrate my skin.
I still consider the Blackstrap Molasses one of the most powerful and effective masks I have tried. I have had a number of people try this mask with me and they also were surprised by its effects. If you want immediate noticeable effects this mask is one to try – it resurfaces, brightens, smoothes & clarifies skin. It also detoxifies, firms and provides powerful anti-aging benefits. The shiny black Hungarian Moor Mud & Moroccan Rhassoul Laval Red Lava Clay base looks as if someone literally scooped up the mud and clay from Hungary and Morocco, placed it in this jar and handed it to you, completely fresh & unadulterated.
Cistus & Moonlight Face Mist is another new mysterious creation. So what is Cistus? Cistus essential oil is known to be great for skin firmness and comes from a variety of rock rose that grows in the wilderness of Spain and Portugal. It has a sweet resinous honey like scent and helps with minimizing pores, skin firmness, fighting acne and more. The sourcing of this ingredient is unique in that Ava does not purchase it from a supplier’s website but directly from a person in Portugal’s countryside who distills these plants. She then adds a touch of aloe juice and enhances it with a variety of gem & wildflower essences such as Rainbow Moonstone Gem Essence, (regulates hormones & mood swings), Mangano calcite gem essence (heals emotional wounds), Clear quartz gem essence (clears toxic energies & lifts the mind), Alaskan monkshood flower essence (helps with fears & clarity of one’s purpose), and Pacific Northwest pink phlox flower essence (enhances one’s innate gentleness and sweetness).
I apply a few spritzes of this and enjoy the unique multifacted scent of the cistus. It’s undoubtedly quite different from your average hydrosol as it contains the vibrations and energies of different flowers & gems to provide not only a skin enhancing effect but also a mind/body/spirituality one.
While not included in the OBL CLUB product testing campaign, i had the opportunity to try a sample of Earthwise’s new eye serum last winter. This essential oil-free formula is made from unrefined oils & butters that are highly nourishing, hydrating & firming. If you’re looking for a far from average potent eye product that is made of powerful hard-to-find ingredients the Passion Eye Serum is made of amaranth oil (source of squalene and linoleic acid) , green coffee oil (treats puffiness and dark circles), of whole-fruit (not just the seeds) rosehip oil, premium grade whole-fruit (not just the seeds) passionfruit oil, seabuckthorn berry CO2 extract, murumuru butter, andiroba oil & Brazil nut oil.
The reason Amaranth Oil was selected to be the first and main ingredient of this eye product is because it’s very high in proteins (13%), linoleic acid (49%; key for youthful, wrinkle-free, and acne-free skin and in squalene (8–12%). I found it to be super rich and nourishing, instantly smoothing out fine lines and plumping up the haggard looking skin under my eyes. I used this oil only at night as it did sting my eyes if it got in.
If you’d like a deeper look into how Earthwise sources their ingredients and develops their formulas head to the founder Ava’s blog here. In her latest blog post how some suppliers do not have a system for monitoring inventory freshness & how those with little experience may not even know what some plant oils should look and smell like, and how to check whether their sample is fresh, unrefined, unbleached, and unadulterated. It’s very insightful and shows you how important it is to trust who you purchase from and that their values align with yours.
Affiliate code OBL saves 15% at checkout on their website
DIARY OF A LADYBOSS FEATURING AVA ZHAN
a weekday in the beautiful Pacific Northwest
6:15 Am waking up, getting my older son ready for kindergarten, getting breakfast ready for everyone
7:45 Am dropping Roman off at a distant school
8:15-9 Am on phone calls on the road, sometimes with friends, often with our freelance designer and printer representative
9 am I’m in a meeting with employees: prioritizing projects for the day, reviewing long-term projects, and periodically all kinds of financial reviews with our finance specialists.
10 am -2 pmWorking on new product formulas, making batches of currently sold products, making flower and gem essences, sometimes getting to wander the meadows to check on various wildflowers or to infuse batches of products in a shady and hidden spot in our ponderosa pine forest, but also advising customers on best product options for their skin type, corresponding with marketing partners, and lots of art direction (reviewing the work of our photographer, graphic designer, and printers, and working closely with these artists to arrive at visuals and packaging that we all love and that communicate who we are), searching for new artisanal ingredients and print materials suppliers and testing their samples upon arrival.
Late afternoons and evenings are primarily family time, but sometimes I harvest wild herbs with the help of family members or employees, drying and processing herbs, and also attend to our own “starter” garden. Late evenings is when I read books on herbalism, essential oils and their safety, flower and gem essence healing, and natural perfumery.
I add a few drops of this around my eye contour before bed when this area is looking particularly shriveled and I wake up to smooth & hydrated sleepy eyes I love using products specifically formulated for the eye area even though much of it IS marketing. I appreciate that eye products are specifically formulated for the super fragile eye area and are richer than average. The pimple serum I’ve been using to spot treat small zits that I get around that time of the month and I feel that it helps clear up my skin quickly without leaving any acne marks left behind.
The new gemmed luminizers in Moonstone Glow & Rose Gold from 100% Pure are absolutely beautiful. I like them way better than rms Living Luminizer. Instead of adding oily mica to your face this luminizer brings so many beneficial ingredients to your skin, including actual gemstones (search for gemstone if you’re curious about why I like gemstones and gemstone-infused skincare) AND a gorgeous tint to your skin. This will be great for the summer months when my skin goes from dry to the oily side. Moonstone is my favorite out of the 2 new shades though I’ve been leaning towards Rose Gold more as summer approaches.
Affiliate code OBL5 saves 5% in the entire store at checkout til Apr 21.
Oryza Sativa (Rice) Starch, Silica, Persea Gratissima Oil (Avocado Butter), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Extracts of Punica Granatum (Pomegranate), Vaccinium Macrocarpon Fruit (Cranberry), Fragaria Vesca Fruit (Strawberry), Rubus Idaeus Fruit (Raspberry), Prunus Serotina Fruit (Cherry), Prunus Armeniaca Fruit (Apricot), Prunus Persica Fruit (Peach) and Vitis Vinifera Fruit, (Cabernet Grapes) and Matricaria Chamomilla Leaf (Chamomile), Punca Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Lycium Chinese Fruit (Goji Berry) Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Mica (natural shimmery mineral), Labradorite (Natural Mineral Stone), Moonstone (Natural Mineral Stone), Australian Opal (Natural Mineral Stone), Pyrite (Natural Mineral Stone), Sunstone (Natural Mineral Stone), May Contain Iron Oxides.
I’ve been using this honey mask almost everyday after removing makeup and cleansing, so I have 3 cleansing steps most days now. This honey mask is so moisturizing that I feel like I’m also using a hydrating mask at the same time. Raw honey, white halloysite clay, Collodial Silver, Cacao aboslute oil & macadamia nut oil envelope your skin & infuse it with enzymes and nourishment. It has a silken pudding-like texture that I have not found in any other mask product. May’s products will undoubtedly make you fall in love with taking care of your skin.
I’ve been using this deodorant for almost a month now, switching between the Cold-Pressed Rose & Juicy Bamboo versions, and though it took me a while to get used to the wet texture, i must say i really enjoy it now. This is a 99% natural & vegan dedorant with no baking soda – instead it has activated charcoal to draw out toxins & natural fermentation technology to fight odor-causing bacteria. Deodorants are a hit and miss for people so what works for 1 person may cause an adverse reaction for another. I used this on a day where I had a 5am workout, had to take an hour plane ride to a meeting and sit in an office all day without being able to take a shower in between and I had no stench at the end of the day. This deodorant is an everyday product & it’s designed to detox your armpits in 30 days so I do recommend you give this a try if you are having difficulty switching to a natural deodorant. They have a travel size versionfor just $9.50 but note that the print on the packaging fades off quickly unlike the full size deodorant.
This new cleansing balm is an excellent way of removing makeup, dirt & grime if you have super dry skin. My skin becomes parched during the winter/spring months and this balm cleanses effectively while hydrating my skin. I take a pea sized amount, spread it all over my face, let it sink in for a minute or 2 and then wipe of with a cloth. The texture reminds me greatly of more solid Vaseline. If you’ve tried the EVE LOM cult cleansing balm, which is super emollient and mushy, this is more dense.
The picture above has 3 of their newest products but I have not used the other 2 enough yet to give a full opinion. The brushes, however, I’ve gotten well acquainted with and they are so soft & luxurious. The vegan teddy round brush pictured above blends makeup effortlessly is great for applying mineral powders like foundation, blushes & bronzer.
You’ve probably seen these on my Instagram from the giveaway I did a while back. Tampons contain dioxins, which are byproducts of the bleaching process involved in the manufacturing process and are deemed “Highly toxic & a known human Carcinogen” by the World Health Organization. Each tampon contains a small amount but the cumulative effect of using tampons increases your risk for disease.
They can also contain polyester, adhesives, polyethylene (PET), polypropylene and propylene glycol (PEG), contaminants linked to ▶Infertility▶Cancer▶ Birth Defects as well as GMO’s.🚨 Toxins that enter your vagina can end up in your bloodstream as the vaginal walls are highly permeable.
CORA makes 100% Certified Organic Tampons that are biodegradable & hypoallergenic (available at Targets nationwide). I found them to be just as absorbent as regular tampons. The application is not as comfortable due to the applicator stick but it’s minor. They’re also part of an incredible social program – for all tampons sold each month they purchase the equivalent in natural, sustainable pads from local partners in India. This employs women in rural villages & urban slums in India to produce biodegradable natural pads which are then distributed to girls in local schools who wouldn’t be able to afford them otherwise. .
This toner stands out in the world of toners because it’s a cross between an essence and a toner. I have a brand review of Whamisa here that includes this product but had to include it in this top 10 favorites list. It has a viscous bouncy like liquid texture that deeply hydrates my skin and dries quickly.
This is a love it or hate it type BB cream because it’s so thick and I love it. It gives you a dewy luminous look, has cool pink undertones & blurs imperfections. I’ve shared more of my thoughts in a previous foundations post.
Max and Me is a high-vibrational eco-luxury skincare line from Austria and this mask if one of my favorite products from their line. It’s designed for stressed-out, irritated, dull and thirsty skin and to treat difficult skin issues. This line is up there with May Lindstrom as one of those brands that make you deeply fall in love with your skin ritual. The creamy clay & honey blend can be used as a face wash or as a mask and I prefer to use it as a mask because well it’s $240. I add a little bit of water & mix to turn it into a paste and then apply all over my face for about 30 minutes. I’m always left with brighter clearer skin without fail.