As the summer starts winding down, I want to share what I have been reaching for day in and day out over these past few months. These are favorite products of mine, that meet the highest eco-standards, perform beautifully, and will continue to be in my rotation even when the weather starts getting colder.
I’ve been using many Acure products over the years, but in these last few months I’ve expanded my Acure arsenal and decided to share them in a YouTube review.
I would love it if you watched my review, but here’s a preview of my roundup.
I have been on a rose geranium binge as of late, and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon. It embodies so many scent profiles, that it seems to suit a myriad of moods. It has a rosy floral note as the plant’s name suggests, and it also sparkles like lemon and comforts with an herbaceous backdrop. This leads me to Kahina’s sophomore perfume release, Essaouira, which has a glorious rose geranium as its focal point. If you are familiar with Kahina, you might know that this philanthropic company is steeped in Moroccan culture so this perfume is aptly named Essaouira, a temperate village on the Moroccan Atlantic coast. Although I have never been to this free-spirited and whitewashed destination, Kahina’s latest all natural fragrance inspires a longing to make that trip.
There were so many lovely green beauties to choose from this year, but these seven products rose to the top of my 2015 favorites list. All of them are 100% natural and without parabens, phenoxyethanol, phthalates, or petrochemicals. So let’s get started!
I’ve been really impressed lately with Target’s natural beauty offerings, and a few of them are in my frequently used category. Boots makes a couple that I completely adore, the Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm, and the Botanics Organic Hydrating Cream. The former is 97% organic and the later is 81% organic. Both of them have very clean ingredients that are free parabens and phthalates, and are amazingly inexpensive. I have tried many cleansing balms including Eve Lom, Omorovicza, and Diptyque, and the Boots Botanics Cleansing Balm is my favorite. (You can see in the pic below that my jar is almost empty and I’m ready to bust out my new one). The scent is light and grassy, but doesn’t linger, and the olive oil, shea butter, jojoba oil, and sweet almond oil melt easily on the skin and feel soothing as you massage it on your face. A cloth is included, which you run under hot water, and then lay it over your face for a minute, then smooth the balm away. I always notice how soft my skin is after I use this. Continue reading “Natural Beauty Finds at Target”
It’s New Year’s Eve, and I’d like to say that one of my resolutions is to start posting on a regular basis again, but I’m not one for resolutions. I will say in earnest though, that I do hope to post more in the new year, and it feels good to be here now, sharing my newest find with you all.
My blogging break was due in large part to the all consuming nature of our house remodel. We had to move out of our home for the entirety of the process so I chose about five or six perfumes to take with me for what I thought was going to be four months of nomadic life around Portland. It was six. But I did something counterintuitive to most perfume lovers, at least it was counterintuitive to me. I didn’t wear my selected perfumes. Actually, I didn’t wear any perfume at all.
Some of you may know that it’s been a year since my last post, and I have to thank Ayala of Ayala Moriel Parfums for asking me to take part in this Rose Blogging Event for Valentine’s Day, even though Scent Hive has been in a deep slumber. I needed someone to reach out and get me to dust off the old blog, so I really appreciate her kindness. I come to this post with a giddy sense of anticipation but admittedly with a bit of hesitation as well. I’m not sure if this means I will get back to blogging on the regular, or just every now and then, but I do know that I am excited to share this lovely, dozen full of roses with you all.
One of the most commonly asked questions here on Scent Hive is; What is my favorite foaming cleanser? Up until this point, I’ve never had an emphatic answer. There are several that I really like, Kahina Facial Cleanser and John Masters Rose Foaming Face Wash being among them. Both of those do a great job of cleansing, smell terrific and are gentle on the skin. But they don’t foam, I mean really foam into a lush lather. It might be a psychological thing, but there are times when I want that serious foaming action. Whether it be after a hard work-out or in the summer when my skin can get a little oily, I want a cleanser that delivers the soapsuds!
I bought a bottle of Nahla Beauty’s Forest Mint Cleansing Milk several years ago when the company’s name was Talulah Skincare. I was very impressed with it at the time, but since I try so many different skincare lines, it fell off my radar. Then I found a 15% off coupon at Leaping Bunny (the promo page is still up so check it out) which renewed my interest.
I received my bottle a few weeks ago, and I now find myself asking; Why did I wait so long to order again? This milky smooth cleanser whips up into a luxurious lather which feels so soft and nourishing. My face is thoroughly cleansed after use, and never feels dry or taut. Its scent is indeed minty, but not a cooling way. It’s more herbal than menthol with hints of sage and thyme. I love that the first ingredients are hydrosols of rose, calendula and St. John’s wort. You’ll find jojoba oil a bit further down the list which adds to the preferred gentle touch I mentioned.
Now that Forest Mint Cleansing Milk is back in my possession, you can be sure I won’t be without it again. Its gentle efficacy and superb foaminess will keep me coming back for more, but Nahla Beauty’s commitment to using all natural ingredients that are handmade in small batches as well as their exceptional customer service is what ultimately has turned me into a devoted customer.
If you have oilier skin or combination skin in the summer months like me, you might want to consider Nahla’s Geranium Sap Purifying Cleanser. I bought this cleanser last summer while visiting the Strange Invisible Perfumes boutique in Venice, Ca. when my skin was “acting up”. It helped get some blemishes under control, but never dried out my skin. The Geranium Sap cleanser is definitely stronger than Forest Milk, so if you have very dry skin, I don’t recommend it. During the colder months I only use it when I need a really deep cleansing. Its scent is strongly redolent of geranium, so do take that into account. I adore the vibrantly herbaceous scent, but I’m sure it’s not for everyone.
Nahla Beauty does offer samples and sample kits, so I encourage you to go that route if you’re looking into this line for the first time.
Forest Forest Mint Gentle Foaming Cleanser is $36 for 4oz. Geranium Sap Purifying Cleanser is $32 for 4oz. They’re a little on the high end, but so worth it as a little goes a very long way with both of these cleansers.
Another year is coming to a close, so it’s time to wrap it up with a Best of 2011 list. Truthfully, there were gobs of fabulous releases this year, particularly in the natural fragrance realm, which makes me giddy and thrilled for all those indie artists devoted to the alchemy of botanical perfume. In the interest of keeping your attention- and since long lists are rarely a pleasure to read through- I’ve distilled my Best Of list to 10.
Muguet de Mai by DSH Perfumes. When I asked Dawn Spencer Hurwitz if she would be interested in creating an all natural muguet scent for a May Day blogging event, I had no idea such a stunningly beautiful, complex, and true-to-life lily of the valley perfume would emerge. Muguet de Mai is like turning over a rain soaked tree branch in the forest to find a protected cluster of freshly blooming lily of the valley, densely floral while teeming with the fecundity of the soil’s riches. Muguet de Mai is a marvel and I can’t thank Dawn enough for taking me up on my offer, and for creating my favorite perfume of the year. Muguet de Mai is available at DSH Perfumes, $125 for 5ml antique parfum presentation.
To Bee by Roxana Illuminated Perfume. The scent of beeswax, whether it’s burning in a candle or suffusing the skin as a perfume, is one of those aromas that I find instantly soothing. Its honeyed and resinous warmth calms my nerves and slows my breath. To Bee achieves this effect beautifully and is enhanced by many essences, but most notably tonka, ambrette and oud. Even though To Bee is lovely on a cold wintery eve, it’s truly a seasonless scent. I first discovered To Bee in the heat of July when summer’s warmth amplified its delightfully ambery sweetness. To Bee is available in solid or liquid perfume at Roxana’s etsy shop. I particularly love the solid perfume locket for $30.
Dimanche EDP by Strange Invisible Perfumes. Dimanche was first released as a limited edition parfum in 2010, but in early 2011, it was made available in EDP concentration. The EDP is also limited edition, but the Strange Invisible Perfumes boutique still has a small quantity in stock. Dimanche opens with a cool and crisp iris, then proceeds to warm-up in the middle with hay, rose, and honey. A not-too-sweet amber dusted with cocoa awaits in the drydown, making for an olfactory experience that is multi-layered, compelling and alluring. Dimanche EDP is available only via the SIP Boutique. $270 for 50ml. Please call 310.314.1505 for phone orders.
Orcas by Ayala Moriel Parfums. Orcas is a fragrance that sweeps you off your feet and carries you along the rugged beauty of the Pacific Northwest coastline. Within Orcas, you will discover spruce, moss, rosemary and seaweed that are herbaceous and invigorating. Violet leaf and cedar are also in this seafaring perfume which cast complementing green and woody tones. Wearing Orcas this winter has me longing for a summer drive along the northernmost parts of Highway 101. It’s a little melancholy since those months feel very far away, but put on some Nick Drake and a dabbing of Orcas, and wallow in its wistful beauty. Orcas is available at Ayala Moriel Parfums, $120 for 15ml splash bottle.
Cologne du Maghreb by Tauer Perfumes. I recently reviewed Andy Tauer’s all natural cologne a few weeks ago, but it is so remarkable, that I can’t help but mention it again so soon, as it really is one of the Best of 2011. I love how CdM’s deliciously vibrant citrus notes are savored from its opening notes to the drydown. Orange blossom and cedar are then enjoyed in the middle stage of CdM’s development, and the drydown is more than worth waiting for. To quote my review, “… in the end, this classically styled cologne morphs into an amber fragrance replete with sweet yet animalic labdanum that still continues to be green and citrusy-floral. It’s really amazing and beautiful and appropriate for both men and women.” Cologne du Maghreb is available exclusively at Indiescents. $65 for 50ml atomizer flacon.
Best Skincare, High-End and Luxurious:
I hand this award to Tammy Fender without a moment’s hesitation. Her eponymous skincare line was launched several years ago, but it’s a 2011 find for me, so on this list it goes. The product that I am most crazy about and would gladly shell out 95 clams for, is the Antioxidant Creme with Neroli & Orange. Click on the link and you’ll find the full list of ingredients that reads like a juice bar menu, as well as information on highlighted ingredients like algae extract and carrot seed. I am totally addicted to the glorious neroli scent of this facial moisturizer. It smells just like the orange blossom seasons I remember from my childhood, and it sends me into a relaxing sleep. The consistency is a cream-gel hybrid that feels nourishing as it rapidly absorbs into the skin. I use this at night as I don’t want to use my little jar of precious up too quickly, but if I had my druthers, I’d use it day and night. Tammy Fender Antioxidant Creme is available at her website, $95 for 1.9oz glass jar.
I am also loving the Tammy Fender Cleansing Milk which is rich and thick and possesses an aromatic lavender scent that vacillates between sweet and herbal. I know lavender can be an irritant to some, so if that’s the case, this cleansing milk is not for you. As for me, I love lavender and my skin loves it as well, so I slather it on, massage it in, and let it cleanse, which it does very well. Tammy Fender Cleansing Milk is available at her website, $55 for 6.7oz glass pump bottle.
Best Skincare, Drugstore Deal:
Burt’s Bees has come out with a really nice line of sensitive skincare that’s worth attention. I have the Sensitive Facial Cleanser and the Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream and am highly impressed with both. The cleanser is similar in consistency to the Tammy Fender Cleansing Milk, albeit without the high price tag or the lavender scent. But, the ingredients are just shy of being all natural (99%), and some of the “natural ingredients” are highly processed and nowhere near the food grade, organic quality of Tammy Fender’s line. Having said that, $10 is a much more accessible price point and it works great. Available at Burt’s Bees, $10 for 6 oz.
The Burt’s Bees Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream does a nice job of moisturizing given its lightweight formula. Like the Cleansing Cream, it’s 99% natural- not at the Tammy Fender level of natural- but for $15, you get a lovely cream that wears well under powder or liquid foundation, and has been keeping my skin soft even in this winter weather. Soothing aloe, shea butter and moisturizing rice extract provide efficacious hydration, and is fragrance free. It’s available at Burt’s Bees, $15 for a 1.8 oz pump.
Best Body Moisturizer:
Pear, Fir and Coffee Body Oil and Hair Elixir by Aftelier Perfumes. Scent Hive readers might remember that I included this gem in my Holiday Gift Guide. Now it’s making an appearance on this list because not only does it make a great gift, it also happens to be my favorite body oil of the year. (Body oils are my preferred mode of skin hydration, BTW). So why do I love this one so much? It’s that quirky mix of notes, pear, fir and coffee, that excites my senses as this trio of fruity, balsamic, and earthy essences play against each other in a truly unique way. The luscious blend of fractionated coconut and jojoba oils provide superb hydration and act as excellent carriers for the botanical essences. I wish my sample wasn’t tapped out as I am dying to use it in my hair since it’s also billed as a hair elixir. I guess that means my shopping cart over at Aftelier.com might be getting some action real soon. Aftelier’s Pear, Fir and Coffee Body Oil and Hair Elixir is available at Aftelier.com, $40 for a 3.5 oz glass pump bottle.
Please visit the blogs listed below as they are also sharing their “Best of 2011” picks. I can’t wait to see what they favored this year!
Best of 2011 image by Roxana of Illuminated Perfume