Sunday, July 28, 2013

Why You Can Buy Everything You Need From All-Natural Sellwood Soap Co...

Uhm...what's going on in Portland?

I'm not sure, but we're two for two with Portland-made lines that were recently sent to me.

First Schmidt's Deodorant and now Sellwood Soaps!  It's not very often that I fall in love with an entire line.  It's happened, but very infrequently.  With minimal to no packaging (big plus), excellent, and I mean, excellent homemade products that are ridiculously affordable, Rachael Gruen's line is a must for those of you who want to buy all your skincare from one place.


"We're gonna need a bigger mold!"  

I loved this lil guy!  I've already asked Rachael to figure out how to make these bigger & she's working on finding a bigger mold!   What are they?  These are just little bars of moisture that you rub all over your body, hands, wherever. They work wonderfully, aren't greasy AND there's no real packaging,  just some wax paper and a little box to recycle.  My skin was super hydrated and I found it so easy to apply post-shower that I was bummed when it ran out.  Coconut oil, shea butter and beeswax are just some of the stellar ingredients.  Big fan.  $6.75 1 oz.

The Handmade Soap
I received the Vetiver Rose Soap, but she's got lots of scents: Citrus, Lavender Oatmeal, Complexion Soap and specialized soaps for acne-prone skin, one for your hair, for your pooch and even for laundry. I'm a total sucker for a handmade bar of soap (and a sweater knitted for me...anyone knit?) This soap is so moisturizing, smells wonderful and feels so smooth on the skin that I'm kind of feeling bad for the soap I made myself as it sits in the shower in defeat. "The Winner takes it all..." $6.50

This was a quick favorite.  Filled with sugar and amazing oils such as sunflower, rose hip, orange, rosemary and vetiver this scrub is WONDERFUL.  Can you please trust me on this?  The reason I love it so much is the fact that it totally exfoliates, but the oils from the scrub stay on your skin so there's absolutely no need to apply moisturizer after.  It smells so great and for $12, it's a no-brainer.  

The Facial Oil

Okay, no excuses.  For all of you out there who want to try a facial oil, but have found quality ones to be too expensive, here you go.  This oil, containing ingredients like rose hip, argan, avocado, olive oil and tamamu oil is fantastic.  It's hydrating, absorbs quick and gets the job done.  It's also $22 for a good-sized bottle.  

The Lip Balm

Even the lip balm nails it.  It's smooth, hydrating and I love these ingredients:  Olive oil, beeswax, shea butter, cocoa butter.  $6 for a tin that will last you quite some time.

*I received these products to test.  All opinions are mine!

Giveaway is closed. 

1.  "Like" Sellwood Soap's FB Page   AND...

2. Either below in the comments or on my Facebook page, tell me what makes you so gosh-darn lovable!

This contest ended Friday, August 2, 2013 at 12 noon. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My Natural Beauty Q & A...with Myself!

I just read Chalkboard's Q & A with green makeup artist, Katey Denno and I found myself answering all of the natural beauty questions as I read them.  So, I wanted to do my own Q & A...with myself!  Yes, there's probably a straight jacket fitting I need to get myself to, but it's fun.

Obsession of the Moment:  My Earth Tu Face Eye/Repair Serum.  I'd been using another eye cream for a long time, Naturopathica's Vitamin K Eye Cream, which I still love, but started using this after I was sent it for review.  

Can't Travel Without:  My DeVita Solar Moisturizer in SPF 30 and Solar Body Block SPF 30.

Everyone knows how much I love this stuff.  Feels like a lotion, but it's an SPF...using anything else is a total drag...and sticky!

In a Pinch I:  I'll use organic Coconut Oil to take off my makeup, to hydrate my hair, to moisturize my body, to hydrate my skin.  I find that I wake up with thee most gorgeous skin if I use this all over my face, wipe it off and go to bed.

Always in My Evening Clutch:  A pink gloss.  I'll use either Sublime by RMS Beauty, Revolution Organics' Truth or Jane Iredale's Sugar Plum.  I'm also loving Call Me by Ilia Beauty.

Beautifying Snack/Meal:  My morning smoothie:  Almond Milk, coconut oil, calcium/magnesium, flax seeds or chia seeds, a banana and berries!  Also, good fats - avocado and olive oil.

Beautifying Drink:  A tall glass of powdered organic wheatgrass from Amazing Grass.  It tastes like someone emptied their lawn mower into your water, but you'll live.

For Ultra-Glamorous Effect:  I take my Dr. Hauschka Plum/White Duo Liner and use the white highlighter in the corners of my eyes.  I'll also line the inside upper lid with the purple and as the day - or night goes on, it smudges to give a slight smokey eye.

A Perfect Pout:  Jane Iredale's Lip & Cheek Stain in Forever Pink with a gloss over it.  You can't lose.

Beauty Tool:  My Eco-Tools Retractable Foundation Brush.  I love this because you can keep it in your bag and it stays clean.  I also love it because the aluminum has been recycled.

Weirdest Beauty Habit:  Covering my face with plain, fatty yogurt.  It leaves my skin so bright and pretty that if I have a date or party, I'm definitely making the time for this before I have to apply my makeup.

In The Shower I Keep:  My Preserve Razor, NYL Gentle Sugar Body Polish, Dr. Bronner's Organic Peppermint Shave Gel, SkinnySkinny Rosemary Mint Foot Scrub, Acure Brightening Facial Scrub Sea Kelp, Rahua Shampoo & Conditioner, Sebon Organics Shampoo & Conditioner, Vetiver Rose Sellwood Soap and my own Turbinado sugar and coconut oil body scrub!

On My Bedside Table:  S.W. Basics Cocoa Lip Balm, KYI Chamomile Lavender Whipped Shea Butter Mask (I use it for my face and hands) and Badger Foot Balm.

Once A Month I:  I put on an exfoliating enzyme mask by Naturopathica's Sweet Cherry Brightening Enzyme Peel just to give my skin a fresh start and follow with my Kahina Argan Oil.  

After A Long Night Or Rough Weekend:  I need my sleep, lots of water and a good foot scrub in the shower.

On Little Sleep I Rely On:  Amala's Hydrate Treatment Oil to moisturize and my Studio 78 Concealer to cover up any's my favorite concealer, hands down.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My Summer 2013 Natural Loves: Dr. Woods, SkinnySkinny, Sellwood Soap & Earth Tu Face & More!

I'm super fortunate that my best friends have rented a summer home on the beach, yet again. Because I have lots and lots of natural products, I have to scale down and just bring the essentials.  This is what I find I've been taking with me the last few weekends:  

1.  RMS Beauty Lip Shine in Sublime  It's a perfect pink with a hot pink pop to it.  I don't even need a mirror...just dip my finger and dot on my lips.  I even wrote a post on it here! $20

2.  John Masters Haircare Lavender & Avocado Intensive Conditioner   After a week in Turks & Caicos with new highlights, salt water and heavy sunshine, I realized that this is a great conditioner as my hair was in perfect condition when I got back.  I don't use this everyday, but at least twice a week when I've been at the beach or in the sun.  Hydrates your hair, but doesn't weigh it down...big plus, yes?  $22

3.  SkinnySkinny Rosemary Mint Organic Foot Scrub    This is a nightly routine for me in the summer:  Unlike most foot scrubs (I've tried 'em all) this has got lots and lots of pumice and isn't greasy.  You'll have hydrated, soft feet post scrub.  Need more details, read here!  $26

4.  Dr. Woods Pure Peppermint Castile Soap  This is great for it's many uses!  After you use most body washes you generally need to apply moisturizer.  Not true with Dr.  Woods.  This leaves your skin so hydrated and soft, there's no need for anything after.  I'm a convert.  I even purchased a large bottle for my dad because he's got dry skin and I don't see him using moisturizer anytime soon.  Can also be used as a shampoo, for face and more. $8.50

5.  Jane Iredale's Lip & Cheek Stain in Forever Pink   This stain is a must-have.   If you want a pink tint at the beach without looking made up, you're going to want to go for Forever Pink Lip Stain.  It's not sticky, it hydrates, looks so pretty and can be used on the cheeks as well.  $25

6.  Sellwood Soap Vetiver & Orange Facial Scrub In a word, it's awesome!  I was just introduced to this company (full review to follow soon) and find myself thinking each time I use it, "This line is so perfect, you need nothing else."  This homemade scrub will exfoliate and leave your skin moisturized with it's sunflower and rose hip see oils.  Oh, and when I got some on my lips, I tasted the sugar...bonus! $12

7.  Earth Tu Face Palma Rosa & Aloe Face Cleanser  I love this company.  You need so little of this super smooth hydrating face wash.  It's so easy to use and has stellar ingredients: Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Jojoba Oil, Aloe Vera, Vitamin E...and the list goes on.  Made by two herbalists in California, these are the kinds of businesses we want to be supporting!  8 oz. $48 (travel size $28)

8.  Solar Recover Spray hydrator full of essential oils! I use this year 'round, but most often in the summer.  It's great post-sun and pre-moisturizer.  I even use it in my hair and on my face if I forget my toner.  I've gotten a ton of people hooked on this.  A must!  $13

9.  DeVita Solar Protective Moisturizer  I don't go anywhere without this.  I've got both the face and body moisturizers and until you try them, you just won't understand how these are just like regular moisturizing lotions...nothing spf-y about them!  Read more here. $25 (but if you search, you can get it for less)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A New Vegan Skincare Line To Adore: KYI - Hydrating, Effective and...Affordable!

KYI - Know Your Ingredients

I'm very excited about all of these new and natural brands that I'm being introduced to lately, but even more excited to read about their founders and their quest for good.   

The latest brand is KYI (short for Know Your Ingredients).  KYI was founded by one woman, Samantha Addonizio, an attorney and mom (strong woman it!)  who wished to create a "Whole Food" vegan skincare line because, like many of us, she was disappointed after reading the ingredients on her skincare labels.   With only three products, currently, she's clearly taken her time creating them.  All three are effective, pure, fun to use, smell divine, are available in unscented and are incredibly affordable for such quality products.


(A Super Hydrating Cream)
Don't let the name of this fool you.   This isn't a "wash off" mask, but rather is a super moisturizer, the big guns of hydrating, if you will.  You can apply this at night and sleep with it on.  My skin was so incredibly soft the next morning that I kept touching it.  You can also use it as a spot moisturizer on feet, hands, elbows or even to condition dry hair and add shine. I would liken the consistency to that of a thick balm-like cream.   

I love multi-functional products.  It is a sure sign that you're using something ultra-pure. Three simple ingredients: Refined shea butter, jojoba oil and essential oil (if scented), in the Whipped Shea Butter Mask.  It also comes in a pretty big jar for  $20 4 oz! 
This, after a shower...perfection.


The Sweet Almond Softening Oil was, by far, my favorite product.  I have a lot of body oils by natural companies, but the scent of this (I tested the Litsea Cubeba, a citrus scent) was amazing, the smooth application and the gorgeous dewy look it left on my skin was unmatched. This is now sitting on my bathtub and I apply it post-shower.  I also love the packaging, as it's so smart to put this in a pump.  The ingredients are simple: Sweet Almond Oil (and essential oil if you get one of the scented ones).  I would definitely re-purchase this!  At $20 for 8 oz, it's super affordable!


KYI's Argan Oil has the added benefit of Vitamin C.  It left my skin soft and hydrated and I loved the scent (I tested the Orange Grapefruit).  It also comes in Unscented, but if you love citrus, you'll want the Orange Grapefruit oil.  
Again, minimal ingredients: Argan oil, Vitamin C and essential oils if scented.    This, too is a multi-functional product.  You can use it as a moisturizer, to smooth hair and to tame frizzies.  Anyone who is going in the sun during the day needs to be using this at night as it really will hydrate.  The texture is very light and it absorbs fast.  The Argan Oil Serum comes in Orange Grapefruit and Unscented.   And a great value at: $45 2 oz.

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Perfect Natural Deodorant That Smells Like Lime, Lavender, Ylang-Ylang. Schmidt's Natural Deodorants Review!


It seems as though everyone who is interested in using toxic-free products is in the market for a natural deodorant that actually works and works well.  Because everyone's body chemistry is different, it's honestly just a matter of trial and error.  What works perfectly for you, might make your friend smell like she's been doing aerobics.   In leather.   In Death Valley.   All day long.  

When Mia of Schmidt's Natural Deodorant contacted me, I was really interested because their products looked very cool, simple and modern.  I was also drawn to the number of scents they had, but being that I have hyperhydrosis and my temperature gauge is a little off, I know that many deodorants don't work for me.  But because I know how much we'd all love to find the Holy Grail of deodorants, I was willing to take one for the team.  ;)


Well, very.  I wore this for several days in a row in 90 degree heat in NYC.  I also wore it to my Pilates class yesterday (a Pilates class where the owner has an issue with turning on the A/C, apparently) and many walking trips across town.  I detected nothing unpleasant.  And, after coming home and cooling down, there still was nothing there.  Very cool.
Now, one of the main ingredients in this deodorant is baking soda.  Some people have issues with baking soda, many do not.  I've used other deodorants with baking soda that have irritated my skin.  Schmidt's did not.  In fact, it felt great going on...not grainy like others.  One thing is that my body chemistry turns body powders and baking soda yellow on white fabrics.  It comes out in the wash, but I chose to only wear darks while testing since I know that about my body.


I love the fact that this brand has so many scents.  I've listed them below with a few words that I would use to describe them:

Ylang-Ylang + Calendula: calming, pretty, can't stop sniffing this, fresh

Cedarwood + Juniper:  slightly woodsy, relaxing, gorgeous
Bergamot + Lime: bright citrus, very limey, perfect for summer, clean
Lavender + Sage:  pretty, light, subtle floral/lavender
Fragrance-Free:  natural


The deodorant is a solid cream and comes with a little spatula to remove the product, but you can also use your fingers.  Granted, some people like having their deodorant in a container that they can just swipe across their pits, but honestly, this is a natural product and I didn't mind it at all.  In fact, I'm thrilled to know that it's toxic-free and that the glass container can be re-used when you're finished.  You only have to apply a pea-sized amount, which also makes the $8 price a steal.