Monday, October 20, 2014

An Introduction: AS.AP

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I feel terrible that it has taken me this long to discuss AS.AP with you - a beautiful line that has found its way into almost every aspect of my skincare routine. There is not a single AS.AP product that I have not fallen completely in love with. A rarity indeed. Perhaps it's the small batch distilling process, maybe it's the masterfully chosen ingredients - whatever it is, there is something deeply special about this line. Rather than simply throwing together pretty ingredients, AS.AP's products are thoughtfully crafted so that their effects are more than superficial. The essential oils incorporated into each blend actually address the underlying problems stressing our skin. Let's get into the weeds, shall we?

Face Cream #6 - Meet my new favorite day cream. The light, fluffy texture absorbs easily leaving behind little to no shine. More importantly, it keeps my skin happy and hydrated the entire day. Additionally, it layers beautifully beneath sunscreen and makeup. While most skin types could use this cream morning and night, those with dry skin (me!) may require a little more oomph at night. I recommend layering it over a more hydrating serum. I chose #6 because it contains essential oils proven to fight acne-causing bacteria, including lavender, sandalwood, and grapefruit. And while I love it, my adventurous side has me itching to try Face Cream #3 next - the combination of rose, myrrh, and frankincense sounds fantastic! 

Lavender Aromatic Water #20 - Oh lavender, how I love thee. I never expected to fall so hard for such a well-known scent, but I have to say, lavender is one of my favorites. That's why I had to try AS.AP's rendition. English lavender is distilled on site to create this breathtaking aromatic water. Though this can be used for everything from insect bites to ice cream, I went the more traditional route using it as a toner/mist. And what a beautiful toner it is - calming, healing, and cooling. And once again, while I loved it, I'm thinking of sampling Clary Sage or Rose next. (As an aside, if you haven't tried lavender ice cream, you are missing out. I'm willing to go so far as to say that it's the best flavor ever. EVER.) 

Cleansing Oil #5 - A small bottle, yes, but a little goes a long way. And one look at the ingredient list had me ridiculously excited to cleanse my face. Jojoba, borage, calendula - I can't think of a more perfect combination of oils. The feel is light and it spreads easily over the skin. Unlike some cleansing oils that cling to the skin for dear life, this one is easily removed with a few swipes from a damp washcloth. And it removes makeup with ease making it the ideal first step in your double cleansing routine. 

Lip Balm #9 - I am obsessed with this tiny little jar of lip balm. OBSESSED. It's far and away my favorite lip balm in my collection. It's soft, cushy, and insanely moisturizing. I use it day and night. A simple perusal of the ingredient list may leave you scratching your head and asking "what makes it so amazing?" And I really don't know. Maybe it's the honey or maybe it's the craftsmanship. I'm leaning towards the latter. I purchased #9, which is scented with rose geranium and myrrh, but I am loving the sound of Lip Balm #7, which contains lavender and vanilla. (Did I mention that I like lavender?)

Body Butter #6 - Last, but certainly not least, I received a small sample of Body Butter #6 with my order. The texture is rich and almost creamy, yet somehow manages to avoid the heaviness and greasiness typical of most body butters. It might be the choice of lighter oils like jojoba and almond that make this body butter such a success. I really can't say, I just know that I love it! I might just have to buy this one in bulk come winter. It's fantastically hydrating.  

Oh and did I mention that Amanda, the founder/creator/distiller extraordinaire, included a small sample of silver-tinged lavender essential oil with my order. Perfect for dotting onto blemishes and anywhere else that needed a hit of antibacterial action. Just another perk of purchasing straight from the distiller! 

Truly a beautiful line that I cannot recommend highly enough. In fact, I'm planning my next purchase as I write this!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

An Introduction: Spa Heroes

So you love subscription services, but sometimes samples just don't cut it? Hey, I hear you. Especially when it comes to serums, creams, and any other products claiming to miraculously transform my skin. It's going to take more than 1-2 uses to convince me. That's where Spa Heroes comes in. Each box contains a full-sized product valued between $50 to $100 plus a few surprises. And that's really just the beginning. Spa industry pro and founder Jeannie Jarnot is serious about your skin health. That's why every product chosen contains only smart, beneficial, high-performance ingredients. But don't just ask Jeannie, ask the panel of spa experts that also vetted each product. Spa Heroes is serious business. 

My first Spa Heroes box contained a full-sized Sumbody Truth Serum plus a few delicious-smelling samples. The Truth Serum is a true serum, featuring a water-like texture. It absorbs quickly and easily into skin with zero shine. Perfect for layering or for those crazies that avoid oils. This serum promises to brighten, tighten, and plump and if you subscribe to Spa Heroes, you'll have an entire bottle to see if it lives up to those lofty claims! (I also have to mention that I am in LOVE with the sugar scrub sample that was included. It made my bathroom smell like citrusy heaven!)  

Subscriptions cost $39/month and all Spa Heroes subscribers receive a 15% standing discount at the Spa Heroes Shop. 

*Sample generously provided, but The Seed only speaks the truth. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Desperately Seeking...

I have a problem dear readers. And I need your help. When times get tough, and my hair goes flat - I find myself crawling back into the toxic arms of my old favorite shampoo and conditioner. I know, I know, I should be better than that. But in my defense, I just can't seem to find a natural shampoo and conditioner that works for my thick, but somehow fine at the same time hair. Believe me, I've looked. I've even touted a few on this blog that I considered "holy grail." However, the love never lasts. Within a few weeks, I notice my hair becoming dull, lifeless, and flat. 

Which is where you come in - tell me your favorites! What works for you? Which brand should I try next? HELP!

Monday, October 13, 2014

An Introduction: One Seed Perfumes

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I have vivid memories of wandering through Sephora sniffing various perfumes and taking home numerous samples trying to find that *perfect* signature scent. I've always been drawn to complex scents that have a sort of intangible quality - something surprisingly captivating that you can't quite pin down. Upon going green, I found the fragrance options to be a little one note and disappointingly fleeting. Lucky for me (and you!), things have changed - natural perfumers have gotten more crafty, creating scents with added depth. As a result, I can safely say that my Sephora days are behind me and my natural fragrance collection is ever-expanding. (Who needs a signature scent anyway?? Some days you feel a little spicy, some days you feel downright floral!) Which brings me to the point of today's post - meet the new fragrance love in my life, One Seed

One Seed perfumes are 100% natural, GMO-free, cruelty-free, small batch, Australian made fragrances that will sweep you off your feet. And did I mention that they are offered in a spray format? I love that. (Spray toners were a slippery slope into spray deodorants and now I cannot even be bothered to roll or dab on a perfume.)  And while I typically find one to two perfumes in a collection that I adore, I am completely enamored with four One Seed perfumes. That's right. FOUR. Here's a little insight into my favorites:

The first perfume that I sampled from One Seed was Slow Fire and I fell in love. I immediately ran over to my husband, put my wrist under his nose, and said sniff. The scent is that gorgeous. (If your curious as to his response, he replied that it was the best perfume that I have ever tested. This is a lot coming from a man that hates anything scented.) Slow Fire is best described as warm and almost creamy. It is the perfect scent for crisp fall and cozy winter days.  

I didn't think that it would be possible to top Slow Fire until I tested Bohemia. This scent offers the depth and complexity that I crave. Not for the faint of heart, this spicy scent features notes of amber, smoked tea, and dark chocolate tempered by the sweetness of orange and the warmth of vanilla. If I were forced to pick a signature scent, Bohemia would definitely be it.

But like I said, who wants to be spicy all of the time? Some days, a little floral is in order. And on those days, I reach for Courage. This is a gorgeous scent that really highlights the delicate and charming qualities of ylang ylang, magnolia, and jasmine. Not too powdery or sickeningly sweet, Courage is floral at its most beautiful. It's a great pick for year-round wear.

Let's face it, floral is not for everyone either. Some of you just want a grassy, vibrant, sparkly scent. I hear that. Some times I do too. And Hope is the scent that best captures all of those qualities. Lime and lavender impart a brightness that is set against a backdrop of grounding elements, including sandalwood, oak moss, and ambrette seed. When you think spring and summer, think Hope.

And I would be remiss if I did not mention Frangipani. While a bit too sweet for my tastes, this over-the-top floral scent was clearly crafted by a skilled artisan. Black currant, apricot, clementine, frangipani - I have never encountered a more delightful blend of notes. For those of you that are drawn towards classic blends of floral and musk, Frangipani is for you.

Last but not least, don't let my preferences sway you! Go with your gut when choosing your favorite One Seed perfume. You really can't go wrong.

*Samples generously provided, but The Seed only speaks the truth.  

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Look: Country Wedding

I had the pleasure of attending a beautiful, outdoor, rustic-themed wedding recently and I've been dying to share my makeup ever since! While I typically stick to neutral shadows, this time I decided to amp it up in the eye area. Here is the look - 

Skin - I left the skin bare save for a few spots I covered with RMS "Un" Cover-Up. This is still my go-to concealer. It hides blemishes with ease and seamlessly blends into skin. After concealing and applying RMS "Un" Powder to any areas with excess shine, I tapped Kjaer Weis Radiance Highlighter over my cheekbones and brow bones. The silver, taupe color is exquisite and brings so much life to my face. I've never tried a highlighter quite like it! 

Eyes - I started by lining the inner and outer rims with Noir by Antonym Waterproof Pencil. I received this gem in my Petit Vour box and I haven't been able to stop using it. While it's not entirely smudge proof, it's the closest I've found. I then applied Kjaer Weis Eye Shadow in Green Depth to my eyelids. It's a rich, deep shade of green so it appears sophisticated, rather than childish. I finished by applying two coats of Kjaer Weis Mascara to my lashes. (I have to admit - I am in desperate need of a refill. Shh... don't tell anyone!) 

Lips - After applying a light layer of my new lip balm obsession, I swiped on Nudus lipstick in 27 Kisses. This neutral lipstick deposits the most beautiful, "your lips, but better" shade. And I adore the formula - Nudus lipsticks contain a blend of healing oils and butters and are pigmented with "ancient ayurvedic bioactive color extracts." While I only own two shades at this point, I clearly need more!

If you're lucky, I will post a picture of this look on Instagram!