Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Five Questions: Laurel of Laurel Whole Plant Organics

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It's official - Laurel Whole Plant Organics is HERE! I am such a fan of the line that I just had to know everything about the rebrand... so I asked! I wholeheartedly agree with Laurel's three must have products. And pretty much everything about her philosophy on natural beauty. Without further ado, meet the lovely Laurel -

Five Questions:

1. What have been the most exciting changes you've seen in natural beauty?

The most exciting changes I've seen in natural beauty are the movements towards luxury and efficacy. More and more consumers are becoming open to the idea that natural beauty IS effective, (usually MORE effective in MHO!) than clinical beauty. And I love that natural beauty is also becoming more accepted in luxury markets! The ingredients in natural skin care truly ARE luxurious - so I love that is finally being recognized.

2. What inspired and continues to inspire the particular products in your line?

I'm mostly inspired by my own customers. It never gets old hearing that our products have helped their skin. When I'm feeling down or overwhelmed by what I have taken on, I usually think about them. I still hear from people every day who have been told to use harsh chemicals on their skin, and have for years without seeing results. I am constantly researching, and thinking up new combinations that will be most effective --- and most importantly encourage women to take time for themselves. I'm really inspired by self-care also, and how important that is to our spiritual health.

3. Describe your daily skincare/beauty routine.

My 'Daily' routine can sometimes be a little rushed! I'm the first to admit I should be spending more time on my own skin!! But absolutely daily, I wash my face with our Laurel Normal/Dry Cleanser, I mist with our Normal/Mature Elixir, and I moisturize with one of our Facial Serums ... depending on how my skin is looking that day, or what I think it needs. The other green beauties in my cabinet that I use each day are definitely Josh Rosebrook - which has changed my hair! I also love a little local soap maker near me called Artha Soaps... which has made me a permanent bar-soap-user.

4. Name three products you can’t live without.

This is such a tough one! I think I have to go desert island on this question, and break it down to ingredients! Because I literally love each of our products so much (as well as so many other brands), I would hate to exclude any of them! 3 ingredients I couldn't go on without would be Rose Hydrosol, Coconut Oil, and Raw Honey.

5. What’s next for Sequoia Beauty (now Laurel Whole Plant Organics)?

Sequoia Beauty is rebranding on April 15th (ed. note – HAPPY LAUNCH DAY!) as Laurel Whole Plant Organics!!! It has been such a long journey, and so much hard work! I am beyond happy that it is finally here! I really wanted to reinvent our packaging and look. Our ingredients are so incredibly luxurious; and our Sequoia packaging didn't fully reflect that. Aside from updating the look, we are updating all our existing formulas (new plant science is always emerging to keep up with), and there are several new formulas in the upcoming year to get excited about! Our California Body Oil is one of those which is launching on April 15th, and that is pretty special. We formulated it with the intention of self-love and self-acceptance, and it also truly highlights California and our surroundings where we make the products. 

But there's more...

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Laurel wants to give one lucky reader a bottle of her new California Body Oil! I can't even explain how spectacular this body oil smells. You just have to try it. 

The rules are simple:
Don't forget to share, share, SHARE! Everyone could use a little Laurel WPO love in their lives. 

This giveaway is open to everyone so don't hesitate to enter! It closes exactly one week from today on April 22, 2014 at 6:00 a.m. CST so don't dilly dally. 

Good luck!

Monday, April 14, 2014

An Introduction: Laurel Whole Plant Organics

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Laurel Whole Plant Organics is a genuine, authentic, and an incredibly rare find. The commitment to purity and efficacy is unparalleled. In fact, the entire line was reformulated to eliminate unnecessary emulsifiers and preservatives so that all remaining ingredients were beneficial to the skin in some way. A rare find indeed. Laurel, the lovely founder, was generous enough to send me a few goodies to try prior to her new line's launch (which is happening TOMORROW!) Needless to say, I was ecstatic. Here are a few highlights - 

First off, the Day and Night Balms are next level silky. The formulas are robust and expansive, bursting with bright, rich oils, butters, and herbs. The Day Balm contains 29 beneficial active ingredients, including red raspberry seed oil, cranberry seed oil, carrot seed oil, and jojoba oil. In addition to hydrating and rejuvenating the skin, these oils contribute natural protection from the sun! And when the day is done, smooth on the luscious Night Balm. With 27 active ingredients, like rosehip, borage, rose, sandalwood, and myrrh oils, this delicious smelling balm stimulates, soothes, and softens the skin. In sum, everything from the texture to the scent of these balms will have you rushing home to slather them on! 

If you are in need of a little more anti-aging oomph, try the lovely Antioxidant Facial Serum. This light, but powerful serum includes a "whole plant blend of: Gotu Kola, Comfrey, Calendula, Nettle, Rosehip to stimulate collagen production, reduce sun damage, encourage healthy cell reproduction." The scent is also warm and inviting making it the perfect serum to apply before dozing off at night. (At least that's the way that I like it!) If your skin is oilier, you will find this lightweight serum adequately hydrating, but if your skin is dry like mine, try layering it beneath the Night Balm

Quite possibly my favorite product that I sampled, the Eye Balm nourishes the delicate eye area like nothing I have ever tried. It contains 24 active ingredients, including bilberry, fennel, licorice, and nettle to reduce puffiness AND brighten dark circles. I covet eye balms because I find the area around my eyes is prone to excessive dryness. Because dry skin around the eyes leads to more visible fine lines, I can barely contain my excitement over this hydrating, softening balm. It's such a fantastic discovery. 

Last, but certainly not least, the California Body Oil cocoons the skin with ultra-hydrating oils (think avocado, rosehip, and red raspberry seed), while stimulating the senses with a captivating combination of rose, sandalwood, vetiver, scotch pine, and cedarwood essential oils. The result is an earthy, woodsy, overwhelmingly gorgeous scent. If dry pine needles are your thing, you will LOVE this oil. (Who isn't crazy for that scent?!) 

I can't thing of a single thing that I don't love about Laurel Whole Plant Organics. I admire Laurel's dedication to her craft and can't wait to try every single one of her newly updated formulas. 

Remember - the launch is tomorrow!!! (And check back here for something very special from Laurel Whole Plant Organics.)  

*samples generously provided 

Friday, April 11, 2014

S2S for OBT

Happy Friday lovely readers! Check me out on Organic Beauty Talk dishing about sesame oil and a few of my favorite products that contain this detoxifying, soul-healing oil. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Review: R. L. Linden Limited Edition Seasonal Box - Spring!

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Spring is here people! At least it is in San Antonio, Texas, where I am currently chilling for work. (If you are ever in San Antonio, check out Vegeria Vegan Restaurant and Revolucion Coffee + Juice. The former is entirely vegan and gluten free and the latter serves fresh pressed juices and fancy coffee drinks!) Anyway, it's downright hot here! You have no idea how happy that makes me. But there is one thing that makes me even happier than warm weather - limited edition, seasonal products! I am game for anything that will help me and my skin transition into a new season. (After this winter, I can use all the help I can get.) Add R. L. Linden into this mix and you got something that's guaranteed to be special. 

The R. L. Linden Limited Edition Spring Box contains the Awakening Garden Aromatherapy Spritz, Thousand Petal Hair and Body Oil, Rites of Spring Greens Tea, and Seed Bombs (which I haven't used, but plan to as soon as I plant my balcony garden). 

No surprise, but the Thousand Petal Hair and Body Oil is every bit as magnificent as it sounds. It contains a great combination of skin softening oils, including jojoba (infused with marshmallow root!), avocado, red raspberry, rice bran, and meadowfoam seed PLUS a hush hush blend of essential oils AND an infusion of precious stones. As you can imagine, it makes a fantastic body oil. But you know what?! It makes an even better hair oil. I applied a few drops to my dry mane, completely forgot about it, and woke up the next morning wondering why my hair was so freakin soft. Let's make this limited edition oil a permanent part of the R.L. Linden collection, please!!! 

And if you think the Thousand Petal oil smells good, wait until you catch a whiff of the Awakening Garden Aromatherapy Spritz. I have been spraying it nonstop since I received it in the mail. I mainly use it under my pits or as an allover body mist, Bath & Body Works style, but you can use it on linens, on your hair, anywhere you like. This mist has confirmed what I already know - R. L. Linden needs to make spray perfumes STAT. (My only gripe with this mist is that the scent doesn't last very long... why?!?) 

Last but not least, no one does tea like Lynn and the Rites of Spring Greens Tea is no exception. It's minty, fresh, and contains my favorite detox herb - dandelion. This herbal tea is delicious any time of the day, but I especially love it first thing in the morning. 

Who's ready for the Summer box??

*sample generously provided

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Five Questions: Julia Noik of African Botanics

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No surprise after yesterday's review, but I'm a huge fan of African Botanics. As a result, I jumped at the chance to pick founder, Julia Noik's brain. I have a deep admiration for her commitment to sustainability and sourcing quality, raw ingredients. Without further ado - 

Five Questions:

1. What have been the most exciting changes you've seen in natural beauty?

Consumers are becoming more aware of what they are using on their skin. It is also great to see the exposure of global raw beauty ingredients that are becoming recognized for their potency and performance.

2. What inspired and continues to inspire the particular products in your line?

Our inspiration comes from nature, our homeland and it's people, South Africa. We explore Southern Africa where we source the purest plant-based, sustainable ingredients with a proven record of safety, efficacy and sensory pleasure. These exotic ingredients are full of pure essential goodness, rich in botanical activity that encourages healthy and radiant skin. Our mission is to promote, preserve and share South Africa's rich beauty and exceptional floral wealth and all it's natural resources. I love working with all the co-ops and women who produce our oils and wild-harvest our extracts in a sustainable way. It is amazing to see how it enriches our continent and allows us to showcase and share the fruits of our labour with pride on a global stage.

3. Describe your daily skincare/beauty routine.

I believe that healthy skin comes from the inside out. Skin reflects the state of our internal health, so it is important to keep our body and mind balanced and happy. Eating a well balanced diet, incorporating a green juice, drinking Rooibos Tea, and my daily yoga practice gives me lots of energy and keeps me going for hours. When it comes to skincare, I moisturize with a high-quality oil like our Neroli infused Marula Oil, which penetrates deep in to the skin and provides daily antioxidant protection. I use an SPF 30 all year round as we live in LA and have plenty of sun. To remove makeup, sunscreen and pollution, I use our Pure Marula Cleansing oil with a Clarisonic cleansing brush and that works really well. I follow that up with Neroli infused Marula oil and Resurrection Eye Creme.

4. Name three products you can’t live without.
  • Neroli infused Marula Oil. It is a multi tasking anti-aging oil that I use twice a day because it moisturizes, provides antioxidant defense, and is anti-inflammatory. Plus it smells divine.
  • Firming Botanical Body Oil. I use it twice a day after my shower. It is a pure luxury, from sensory point to deep hydration, it's a real treat for the whole body.
  • Intense skin repair balm, I always take a small tub everywhere. I use it on our kids too. It is great for those dry skin patches, irritated skin, burns, and little scrapes.

5. What’s next for African Botanics?

We just released 4 new products this spring. They are high performing, anti-aging and cutting-edge formulas for the face and body. Our creative juices are always flowing and we try to push the envelope further. We always have something exciting planned.

Thanks Julia! Your answers and inspiring spirit made my day!