LIEBSTER AWARD AND NOMINATIONS

I’m so excited to be participating in the Liebster Awards! Jade from Nepriticus graciously nominated me along with other really wonderful beauty bloggers. If you haven’t read Jade’s post, it’s fantastic. Not only is she a true green beauty but I have learned about many lines from her as well and if you are not following her on twitter (@nephriblog) you are losing out!

The Questions

1. What is your nighttime skincare routine?Yuli May Lindstrom Clinique

Night time is my favorite time to experiment with potions. There are always things I am trying but I will stick to regulars. When I shower, I am using the Yuli Halcyon cleanser which is so light and gentle but really makes my skin feel clean and removed from the day. The gel smells refreshing and gently foams into skin leaving my skin very soothed. I have also gotten May Lindstrom’s Honey Mud and been using it kind of as a mask pre-cleansing for long days, as with all things May, it is fun to experiment with the cleanser/mask before showering because it is hard to keep water out if you bring it into shower. I’ll do a full review on these two products soon.I also have a Clarisonic that I use some days with Yuli Halcyon. I have the gentle delicate brush head because I like to have to stimulate circulation and do not use so much to exfoliate.After shower I use toner immediately. I used to not do toning because I thought it was superfluous or as some mention mostly aromatherapy. I experimented with toners from many lines and ended up addicted to the Yuli Cocoon Elixir. I remember after skiing at Lake Tahoe and my skin was red, and I sprayed this afterward and took a nap, I woke up and my skin was bright with no redness.

I do a serum (or two). Mainly antiage and pigmentation serums for me right now so I use a retinol my dermatologist prescribed, Yuli Cell Perfecto, and Clinique Dark Spot Corrector. For anyone looking for a supercharged serum to fade acne scars just try a retinol + Cell Perfecto, it is no joke.Isun Antipodes
I am currently using a face oil as moisturizer from a line called Isun. It goes on pretty thick and smells nice so I only need a little. I haven’t seen benefits that I do not get from other oils but this is still quite nice. If I need more, I use the Antipodes light facial day cream which can be used at night. It’s very light and smells like vanilla.

After I now take care of my body too because my arms and legs became dry so I used the Yuli Harmony. I know… another Yuli product, but they’re all so good and trust me, for me to spend that amount of money it has to be worth it and they are. Admittedly unlike the cleanser and toner which I have compared to other brands before purchasing full sizes, their body oil is the first body oil I have used. I just couldn’t pass up the technology they used. Normal body oils make me feel like why am I spending this much for oil for my body but I loved their herbal infusion (triple infusions!), flower complex, gemstone treatment, and a lot more, just go to their site. At $80, I just felt like it was too tempting to pass up and I’m glad I purchased it because my skin has never been smoother or softer.

2. What do you do to relax or unwind from stress?

Stress is one of those things that gives me stress because it is so intangible (?). I find it’s habits I have to commit to in order to minimize stress like turning off my computer and phone by 9 PM, forcing myself to watch mindless television shows (Hello Bravo and E!), going outside every morning to just breathe in the fresh air for 2 minutes in silence.

3. How did you get into green beauty?

I got into green beauty through food first because there are a lot of chemicals and unsavory processing in the foods we consume. I volunteered at a hospital during the weekends and I noticed a disproportionate number of regular sick patients had very similar lifestyles which included unbalanced diets, poor physical fitness and the third surprised me – cosmetics! A lot of the women I met with stage 1/2 cancer and hormonal problems had a specific fondness for their products, and it played a large part in their normal lives. Later I learned that 60%-80% of the chemicals in cosmetics were found to be linked to cancer. It traced back something my mother always said off the cuff whenever we would walk into Sephora, “Being in this environment every day can’t be good for your body” and that is when everything made sense to me regarding the switch to green beauty. Like most people, I started with the green washed stuff first like Origins and then discovered Whole Foods and Spirit Beauty Lounge which are the two main places my skincare comes from today (also love Embody Beauty and Shen Beauty).

At first it was hard to justify the price tag for many green beauty items, especially if you love Spirit Beauty like I do but the quality of the products are undeniable and I’d rather pay more for something that works really well than for something that isn’t as good and poor for my health. Now I love the luxurious green lines and have found that sticking to investing in those “must have” products rather than indulging in many products will make it more affordable and I’m able to have what I think are the best products money can buy.

4. A recent good read? If not a read, a recent good TV show or movie?

I am trying to get through the Three Kingdoms series, which is the only casual read I have time to enjoy. I really like recording TV shows and watching it all at the end, like a DVD box set. Right now I’m getting through Girls which I don’t always like but I like that it doesn’t try to make New York look like it is a party all the time. I am trying to get into Downton Abbey, but I have not been able to!

5. You can only eat one thing for the rest of your life. What is it?

Sushi! This is a cheat answer because there are so many options for rolls that you can have everything! My roommates used to vote for where we should have dinner and they never needed my vote but I always wanted to go to one of the sushi places near us, even if we just went  few days ago, that is how much I like it!

6. What is your favorite face oil?
Yuli Modern Alchemist

This is the toughest question on here! How do you pick just one especially when part of the beauty of face oils is that there are so many and they’re all so unique and interesting? I think the one ‘gem’ I’ve discovered is Yuli Modern Alchemist. It isn’t a pure face oil made from plant oils because they also put other ingredients in there like Coq10 and Tamarind seed extract. The reason I like it is because the smell and texture reminds me of May Lindstrom’s beautiful Youth Dew but there are a lot more ingredients like a essential fatty acid complex and anti aging retinols and the price tag is actually less than the Youth Dew. Another thing I like about this serum and the brand is that they exclude a lot of ingredients that cause issues even if they are natural – WINNING! My skin is really really taken care of with this serum, I am smitten with the results.

7. All-time green beauty favorites?

Yuli Pure Mask

Yuli Pure Mask is exceptional. It’s just amazing. I love that it is very cooling and soothing but also very purifying which is suitable for my skin when it acts up. It really does everything from clearing pores, zapping acne, lightening complexion to feeding skin. The small size makes it perfect to take on travel, and you only need a little of the powder so it lasts quite long.

8. Your skin is freaking out. What do you do?

The Pure Mask is amazing for any freak out (my review). Other than that I am very good about ‘putting the bottle down and stepping away’. I think doing a lot will make it freak out even more. Maybe I drink more water and sleep.

9. What is something new (product, brand, experience, anything) you want to try soon?

May Lindstrom Aurelia Antipodes

I have been meaning to take the plunge into green perfumery. I keep my eye on some things from Tsi La and Strange Invisibles but I am afraid of being disappointed because the natural perfumes I have tried at Whole Foods have all been disappointing (Vanilla + Alcohol) and do not last long. I really want something that will stay for a few hours so it can be worth the very very high price tag.

This year I am on a mission to try more high end green brands. I currently have 3 of May Lindstrom’s products (Problem solver, Clean Dirty, Honey Mud), just purchased Aurelia Miracle cleanser and De Mamiel cleansing balm. I’m quite enthused by the amount of fantastic green products out there.

10. Something(s) (product, experience, anything) essential to you for every day?

Not related to beauty, but I always speak to my parents on the phone every day usually after dinner even when I have exams and papers. I go over my day and calling after dinner lets me be able to tell them “Yes I ate” which if anyone else has Asian parents, knows is very important to them! I feel like this really helps take my away from my personal stresses at school and gives me perspective.

 

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Sunday Ritual

Sunday

 

I woke up this morning in a positive adventurous mood. The Oscars are in town tonight and I have finished schoolwork so that means a fun evening is waiting. After a light breakfast of wheat bread toast with avocado and honey plus a banana, I decided to indulge myself in some beauty.

I began with a dry face then rubbed May Lindstrom’s Honey Mud as a mask to my skin. As the clays, chocolate, and honey went to work on my skin I checked e-mails and flipped through my favorite beauty magazines while drinking my favorite Chrysanthemum tea. It is like a chocolate pudding treat in the morning which is perfect for  Sunday.

After 15 minutes, I rinsed off the Honey Mud then followed with a gentle but thorough cleansing courtesy of my new favorite cleanser from Yuli, Halcyon. With 2 pumps of the gel (shown on the brush head), I gently exfoliated and cleansed my skin at the same time, which allows the gel nutrients to penetrate farther and bring out the bad stuff to the surface. The scent is so refreshing and spa quality that I can’t help but smile and unwind.

Next I applied the Modern Alchemist serum from Yuli, which is really a gem I’ve discovered in green beauty. There are so many wonderful plant oils like argan, rosehip, avocado, baobab, prickly pear, and rose and great ingredients like CoQ10 and omega-lipids. I have not found a serum with better ingredients, period. This is in the stratosphere of premium serums like May Lindstrom Youth Dew and Mun Aknari Night Serum with the attention to detail and the beautiful texture and fragrance (like a honey rose) but is more forgiving at $125 for 30ml (versus $95 for 15ml of Mun and $120 for 20ml of Youth Dew) so it is my secret weapon.

Last step is the Antipodes Rejoice Light Day Cream which is quite medium-thick texture compared to normal moisturizers which is perfect step in the routine to keep my skin moisturized. The vanilla scent seems to blend very well with the other products and I love the ingredients (manuka, avocado, lavender, macadamia, jojoba).

This simple yet very luxurious green beauty ritual beyond indulges my skin and I am sitting here with perfectly soft and plumped skin planning what to wear tonight!

Wishlist

wishlist

 

Kahina Fez Body Serum | Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum | Dr.Alkaitis Trial Kit | May Lindstrom Problem Solver | YULI Liquid Courage

Kahina Fez Body Serum: Never been a body oil user, but I am so intrigued by the Moroccan flavor of Kahina’s Fez Body Serum with cumin, clove from spice markets in Fez, Morocco and patchouli, sandalwood, ylang ylang scents from antiquity.  I wonder how the warm, calming aromatherapy will work the Kahina famous argan oil to moisturize and smooth dry skin. Some of my favorite fragrances of neroli and rose are also in this oil so I am sure I will love it come winter!

Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum: I discovered a sample of this and finished using it in 2 days because it was so good! There are 29 active natural ingredients in this anti-aging treatment. It is pricey but you need less than one pump of cream to use on entire face! Although I am not getting wrinkles or fine lines, I want to prevent my skin from developing them and using this makes me feel my skin drinking the anti-aging brew. It smells like the most luxurious and light cream I’ve ever used, kind of what I think concentrated jasmine and green tea smell like. The extracts slow aging, build collagen which slows starting in our 20s (OH NO!), and gives skin back its glow!

Dr.Alkaitis Trial Kit: I have been interested in this line for a while but after a not so impressive experience with the Cellular Repair Mask, I think I will buy the kit to try everything at once to see if this is a good line for me. I am most interested in the Soothing Gel, Nourishing Oil, and Toner but I have seen good reviews on the moisturizers too. The Soothing Gel seems great as a moisturizing gel that also kills acne. The nourishing oil is a steal and has a lot of beneficial medicinal herbs. I think the price is a great deal for trying a good size of almost the entire line for a few weeks. The mini dark green plastic 1oz bottles are also very cute!

May Lindstrom Problem Solver: Every time there is a 20% off sale, I rush to try and get this (and fail :-(). I have used a sample before but maybe I did not do it right because it was clumpy and burned around my nose and cheeks. I see those pictures posted online of people with their May masks on and it just looks like so much fun! Maybe it is the jet black color, the beautiful instruction from May which instructs the wearer to claim their time, or the delicious cacao scent but I cannot get the Problem Solver out of my mind. The fusion of bamboo charcoal, cacao, and warming spices are one of the most active I think I have seen and I can’t wait to get my hands around this number that May calls a “hero” and a “superstar”.  

YULI Liquid Courage: I’ve been a fan of everything from them and I love antioxidant skincare so Liquid Courage seems like a total stunner. The 1st ingredient is a seed complex, which contains the densest concentration of antioxidants without irritating skin. There is also an unheard of Black Garlic Bio-ferment which is said to contain 6 times the antioxidant and protective properties of regular Garlic. The superb ingredients also include a natural CE Ferulic Acid treatment with Ferulic Acid from Acai Berries and Argan, a chiral form of Vitamin E that makes it stable and highly absorptive, and a form of Vitamin C that is called ‘the most advanced form of lipid-soluble’ Vitamin C which penetrates deeper into skin and remains stable from oxidative and sun exposure, it is also 5 times more potent than the leading form of Vitamin C. Every ingredient is like.. the newest greatest, this is a dream team that shows off the power of YULI’s innovative green technology prowess.

May Lindstrom – The Clean Dirt Review

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I haven’t touched this blog in a while! I have been in exclusion mode from papers and finals, and have not made many new discoveries. I did purchase a bottle of May Lindstrom’s The Clean Dirt after reading rave reviews from No More Dirty Looks and Spirit Beauty Lounge. May Lindstrom’s line is really sensual and artisanal, I count her Youth Dew facial oil as one of my favorites so I was so excited to receive this in the mail from Spirit Beauty.

The Clean Dirt is a powder-to-paste cleanser that uses clays, warming spices, and healing salts to cleanse the skin and act as a natural microdermabrasion. It is called a stimulating exfoliant that you can use daily to get skin soft and glowing.

I’m most impressed by two things: the foaming mousse action which helps the product apply onto skin and the delicious cookie scent. The overall feel of the product is truly luxurious and great for waking up skin. I know that some discussion was had regarding the pricing and the ingredients but I appreciate the large bottle size and the fact that this is made really well! The product feels warming and stimulating the moment it goes onto skin, thanks to warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, turmeric. I didn’t get any irritation from the spices so I was really happy! Post-wash off, skin truly does feel refreshed and glowing. I love incorporating this into my routine especially if I feel like I’m getting stressed (since that causes imbalances in hormonal and sebum production which leads to acne).

The slight drawbacks are that I would not say this is a daily cleanser, maybe a twice a week cleanser because it is too abrasive when used regularly for my skin. I think if your skin is very active with acne, you should probably upgrade to the Problem Solver which is much more of a treatment mask since this product might irritate skin that is already damaged. Another recommendation that comes from experience is using a dark towel to wipe your face because this does leave a yellow stain that I have not been able to fully wash off my white towel yet. I’m also not sure if this is technically a cleanser since it is more similar to masks, but I can understand why she is differentiating it since she also has a Problem Solver mask.

Has anyone else tried The Clean Dirt?

The Best Facial Oils

What better way to begin this than to cover the world of Facial Oils? Facial Oils are the newest must-have “it” item for most beauty enthusiasts. If used correctly they moisturize, correct, prevent, and treat all skin types! As someone who has oily skin, I was initially reluctant to try these beautiful oils but I’ve found that my skin absolutely loves the stuff and drinks the precious drops with abandon. Below, I’m compiled a list of what I consider to the best and most interesting facial oils on the market today:

RODIN Olio Lusso Facial Oil ($150/1oz)

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A top favorite on most beauty editor’s lists, this oil is a blend of 11 essential oils. Those who love Jasmine will be especially delighted with the scent! This luxurious blend is all about the experience of treating ones skin right. I noticed skin was left wonderfully hydrated and non-irritated. As the first facial oil I tried, this opened up my eyes and let me take the plunge with experimenting with facial oils. This celebrity favorite brand is used by Chanel Iman, Gwen Paltrow, and nearly all the Victoria’s Secret Angels.

Stylist Linda Rodin the creator, just wanted to create a very simple line of pure products and started when she tried to create her own custom blend of oils for her face. Through a year of trial and error, she concocted this blend which is now one of the most in demand high end beauty products. Just a few drops of this product morning and evening yields skin that is indulged and pampered. I also put this in my hair to catch a whiff of the beautiful heady jasmine throughout the day.

Who it’s for: Those who want the Creme de la Mer of Facial Oils, particularly with older more mature skin. Think Oscar de la Renta and Donna Karan crowd for the established money set.

Buy here

Sunday Riley Juno Transformative Lipid Serum ($125/1oz)

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Sunday Riley is a professional who has worked in the marketing side of the beauty industry. Sunday Riley Modern Skincare is one of the fastest emerging brands and is a media darling, with the founder Sunday Riley being hailed by some as the next Bobbi Brown. To know her line is to see the rise of the next great beauty brand.

Another beauty editor darling, Sunday Riley Modern Skincare is a line of products that uses botanicals and advanced chemistry. Juno is known as their “do-it-all” oil and it is composed of 12 oils ranging from Watermelon Seed Oil to Blueberry Seed Oil. This oil is the star of her skincare line, used in many routines as a base, primer, moisturizer – all showing the awesome power of a good facial oil. This fruity concoction is a lighter texture than Rodin and also does not have any distinguishing scent – it smells like what you would expect oil to smell like. Juno’s high lipid content helps to really protect and sooth skin which is perfect for most skin types. After using this, I noticed my skin had that glow that most people who use this talk about. Perhaps more than any other oil because of it’s lack of scent, I find myself blending this with more things including moisturizers and foundations. This is truly a very versatile oil that will add a boost to anything.

Who it’s for: the Barneys girl who can afford the best and has a place for the beautiful bottle. The Vogue beauty editor, and women who want to smile just seeing the beautifully made, expensive to touch bottle. Think Jason Wu, Derek Lam, and Stella McCartney crowd for the youthful sophisticated girl on her way to big things.

Buy here

Sjal Sapphir Concentrate Anti-Aging Facial Oil ($175/1oz)

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Sjal is comprised of a mother and daughter team who merge their interest in Eastern holistic medicine with Western science. Their spa is New York is one of my favorite in the world, so tranquil and calm. Sjal products are very expensive but also do not cause me irritation. Their products are known to use natural ingredients mixed with something insanely expensive, like a moisturizer made of shea butter but infused with diamonds.

So it should be no surprise that Sjal’s entry into the facial oil market sets it apart from other brands in that it uses actual Sapphire gemstones in the treatment process. Base oils are marinated with the Sapphires for months before they are put into the product which Sjal believes helps to transfer the energy into the oil. The oil itself is special for its pure Chamomile, and high citrus content not found in other oils. The scent is a refreshing blend of the bitter orange peel, rosemary, and lavender oils. I have only used a sample of this and found the oil to be light but very potent! I do get some initial redness but it fades very fast and my skin is happy for the rest of the time.

Who it’s for:  Bohemian downtown girls with a trust fund, New Age health enthusiasts. The girl with enough jewelry that she’s now looking for some bling for her face.  Think Carvan, Etro, Kenzo crowd for refinement with exoticism.

Buy here

May Lindstrom The Youth Dew ($120/.68oz)

A new natural beauty brand created by celebrity make-up artist May Lindstrom, and with a following that includes natural beauty guru, Spirit Demerson, the owner of spiritbeautylounge, and beauty editors from Harpers Bazaar, and People Magazine. May Lindstrom’s line of just 4 products are designed to deliver a precise treatment plan of all natural ingredients.  Her products are pretty unique in that they have many functions, a cleanser that is actually a mask, a mask you apply with a foundation brush, a body oil with mica powder to even skin tone, and finally their facial oil which is blended to deeply hydrate even the most parched skin.

The Youth Dew is a silky hydrating oil that is a blend of 20 essential oils. Made for dry/mature skin types, this is perfect for keep skin dewy in the cold winter. There is also time-stopping COQ10 infused into the oils. The rose and lemon scent is intoxicating, and the fragrance is perhaps the strongest of all the oils on this list but your skin will drink every drop of this incredibly nourishing oil. I personally felt this oil was very silky and rich- with Avocado oil, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, and Jojoba Oil. Standouts are definitely kukui nut oil and rose absolute which gives this product its rose scent. I found that this soothed dry patches around my cheeks and absorbed easily.

Who it’s for: The green beauty who prefers the apothecary to Barneys. The effortlessly cool LA girl. Spirit Beauty Loungers. Think DVF and Missoni crowd – chic, luxurious, refined but down to earth girl with a earthy palette.

Buy here

YULI Modern Alchemist ($125/1 oz)

YULI is the epitome of a cult line. They rely solely on word of mouth, preferring to let results speak rather than advertising. And how results have spoken, YULI’s devoted following is well deserved with a diverse clientele ranging from David Furnish and Elton John, to fashion designers such as recent Project Runway favorite Melissa Fleis and emerging designer Alexander Lewis, to the Silicon Valley and Wall Street jetset crowd. YULI is special in that it doesn’t rest on being a green line that uses natural ingredients, true to her chemist background, Yun and her team incorporate each product with the latest in skin technology that rivals the big Swiss brands.

Modern Alchemist is the perfect example. The base is an exquisite facial oil using a blend of rare skin nourishing botanical oils such as Argan, Baobab, Borage, Indian Fig, and Cloudberry. The green technology driven company then infuses the already power-packed potion with a Bio-retinol complex, an Omega-Lipid complex, COQ10, Hyaluronic Acid, and Plant Sterols. This isn’t just a simple facial oil, the luxurious serum is deeply penetrating and instantly uplifts tired dull skin, making it gorgeous and was positively glowing. The glorious golden fluid smells faintly of rose flower petals, made my skin feel like velvet, softened wrinkles, faded fine lines, and gives the wearer the enviable baby-soft skin like no other. This liquid gold is a testament to the power of science + nature.

Who it’s for: Professionals – Silicon Valley, Wall Street types who demand performance over hype; well read beauty junkies who want the most well curated ingredients list. Think The Row, Altuzzara, Alexander Wang crowd of cutting edge, sleek sophistication, infused with modernity.

Buy here