I am about 8 months late with this review and can’t WAIT to tell you about this power serum! Which is a great segue into my next bit of info. I will always provide the amount of time I’ve used a product so readers can get a better sense of whether its a newer discovery or a tried-and-true staple of my routine. This lets you know that I’ve spent time with the product and have experienced the product in a range of seasons and the fluctuations of skin/hair that come with those seasonal changes. I am very careful with the products I review and usually try to experience a product’s long-term performance and value, especially when it comes to scar-reduction and complexion brightening products. With that out of the way, let’s move on to why this so impressive!
I had heard rave reviews about Mun’s No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum, but as a product with a ‘luxe’ pricepoint, I was glad to receive a sample at last year’s A Night For Green Beauty event to see for myself. After just two nights’ use, I knew that this product was a holy grail item.
You guys, it’s confession time: I’ve found myself at a few more farewell happy hours in the past two weeks than normal and I’ve relied on this oil to erase any sign of inflammation/wine-fueled late nights. As long as I apply at night, I roll out of bed looking like I went to the best yoga class ever then ate kale for dinner.
While this serum has just three oils, they are each luxurious powerhouse oils on their own and are from high-quality sources. All three ingredients are also certified organic.
Prickly Pear Seed Oil – This is where the wrinkle-smoothing and damage preventation properties are. Also known as Barbary Fig Seed oil, this stuff is loaded with vitamin E, linoleic acid (great for acne-prone skin), and antioxidants, its the new anti-aging “it” oil. I like to think of it as the ultimate reparative oil since it treats stressed out skin and penetrates to protect against environmental damage. Just FYI, the Mun website says it takes 1500 pounds of the fruit to make just 1 liter of this precious oil. And to close the loop, the by-product is used to feed livestock (now imagining cows batting their lashes with beautiful, glowing complexions. AWWWWW).
Rose oil – A soothing treat for all the rose-lovers out there. Rose is one of the best ingredients to fight hyper-pigmentation because of its high vitamin C content.
Argan oil – this lightweight oil is pretty much a miracle for most types of skin because of its balancing, anti-inflammatory properties.
While I’ve used argan oil on its own, this oil blend works much more effectively and my skin responds better to this magic potion. I find this serum to be lightweight and fast-absorbing on my normal/dry skin. Real talk: when I apply it before bed, I wake up with a supple, bright, complexion. every. time. I also love falling asleep with the scent of rose. Within a month of using the serum about 3 times per week, I noticed fading of brown spots and evened-out skin tone! When I have/feel a pimple coming on, I use this serum which calms it down and prevents scarring. Witchery, I tell ya!
One thing to note- because vitamins C and A are known to cause photosensitivity (increased susceptibility to sunburn) I only use this oil at night. In general, if a product has ‘brightening’ properties, its important to stay out of the sun or use sunscreen. If you tan or scar easily, like me, its probably best to save brightening products for your nighttime routine.
You can purchase the serum at The Detox Market
. If you want to sample the serum before committing to the full size you can order a sample from Integrity Botanicals (3 free samples with purchase) or Spirit Beauty Lounge (order customer samples)
*Affiliate links appear in this post. When you click the link, I receive a small commission from any purchases you decide to make. While the samples were gifted, I purchased the full size product and all opinions are my own. I only provide reviews for products and lines that I use, trust, and love!
I did it! I did my own wedding day makeup and I am incredibly happy with how it turned out. I made this decision for a few reasons. The first, was authenticity. I wanted to feel like myself in pictures. 87% of Pinterest search results for ‘bridal makeup looks’ are my worst nightmare. I didn’t want to look “bridal” and all the pale pink and nude shades that go with it, or worse, overdone smokey eye. I wanted a natural, yet glammed up, old-Hollywood look using the beautiful, natural products I love. Like if Beyonce and Elizabeth Taylor had a makeup baby.
I approached a couple of eco-makeup artists to see if they could help execute this look but both were going to be out of town on my wedding day, so that was a bummer. And when I began to research non-eco artists, many were crazy overpriced and felt like I’d look like an overdone cartoon of myself.
Two months out from the big day and no artist booked to paint my face (procrastination was a prevalent theme in our planning process), essentially without any options and a limited budget, I nervously committed to doing it myself. I already owned most of the colors/products I’d need, and it would also save some money. All I really needed was practice.#nopressure
If you’re on the fence about doing your own makeup, here are a few things to think about that really helped me along the way:
1. Find your inspirational look
I would say this is the determining factor. If you’re sure of what you want it will be so much easier to get the shades you need or ask for advice at the beauty store. Many of the looks that inspired me came from editorial spreads, bloggers, Instagram, and looking at the work of makeup artists I admire as opposed to other people’s wedding makeup.
I adore celebrity eco-makeup artist Katey Denno’s work and found a few looks of hers that inspired me. Her blog was also extremely useful in recommending products. If an artist has enough faith in a natural lipstick to look beautiful in photos on the red carpet, then I figured it would hold up for my wedding look. I settled on an old-Hollywood inspired feel and knew I wanted a true red lip and subtle cat-eye. Rrrowr.
Think about the look you want and experiment with it a few times before the big day. Try/buy new colors now. Remember to take a few indoor and outdoor pictures to see if you need to add more/less, depending on the look you want. For me, it all came down to perfecting the cat eye and adding a bit more color to my cheeks than I normally would.
3. No new shades
Okay, you can buy new colors, but give yourself enough time to try them out, as I mentioned. You’ll have practiced a few times and know what looks good. Stick to the plan the day of and you’ll be confident in your application skills.
4. Be multi-dimensional
While you may want to have a little extra coverage to achieve a soft “airbrushed” look, this means the face can look a little flat in photos, especially against a white dress. I used blush, contouring powder and a highlighter on my cheeks, all applied a little more heavily-handed than usual. But it gave my face more depth that came out just right in photos!
5. The week before: prep your skin
I was extremely stressed the month before, but I didn’t get any pimples! I attribute this to drinking apple cider vinegar every morning and using essential oil aromatherapy ( I used a few drops of lavender with peppermint- instant tension relief!). And also, the the goddess of weddings smiling upon me.
Take care of any detox/exfoliating masks no less than 3 days before the wedding. This will give your skin time to chill out in case there’s any irritation or detox-related blemishes. And two days before, exfoliate. I used my trusty Clean Dirt from May Linsdtrom. Again, use your routine products – don’t introduce anything new to your skin to avoid a freak out.
6. Don’t forget to clean your brushes!
This will ensure a fresh palette and no clumpy brushes that could result in streaks. It’s a common-sense step, but I was so busy, I almost forgot! Use this genius trick to dry them properly!
Now to the fun part: The products I used!
After washing my face, I applied African Botanics Marula oil. I went to my salon to get my hair done which allowed the oil to set for a couple of hours.
The bridal suite at my venue had gorgeous lighting so I chose to apply my makeup there. I applied Kjaer Weiss Foundation in Illusion with a Beauty Blender (yes. this tool lives up to the hype! more on this in another post). This foundation offers heavier coverage, but still feels lightweight. I first used a concentrated amount to conceal under my eyes and a few lingering brown spots, then blended everything out with the Beauty Blender, which gave me a nice, even complexion. Note: I did NOT want to cover my freckles. If my freckles start to look “masked” I know that I’ve applied too much foundation.
Freckled ladies: If anyone ever tells you to cover up your amazing freckles/angel kisses (which two MUA said to me when I wad younger), go bananas, tell them they’re crazy, and then immediately walk out of wherever you are.
I then applied a very light dusting of Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation in Beige 4, just to set everything and reduce shine in photos.
I used my trusty Ecobrow Wax in Penelope, just a more defined, thicker brow to get the old Hollywood feel. In general, always make your brows a bit darker when you’ll be taking photos. They make your eyes pop and defines features.
Applied first was Alima Pure’s Chai eyeshadow to the entire lid. What really made them pop was contouring the outer lid with W3ll People’s Sparkling Plum shadow for a bit of depth. This shade offered the perfect amount of smolder, without looking too dramatic.
I decided to use two dirty products for my mascara and eyeliner. As of now, I’m not aware of waterproof/smudeproof mascara or eyeliner in the green beauty world (that could change!). I just didn’t want to risk having black smudges in my wedding pictures in case I started bawling. I created a subtle cat-eye with Stila’s waterproof liner and used a sample tube of Makeup Forever Smoky Lash Waterproof mascara.
My favorite part of my look: Ilia Lipstick in Strike It Up was love at first try for me! The blue tones make my teeth look glow-in-the-dark white and just brightens up my complexion. I have found my perfect red! I knew the lips would offer drama so I tried to keep everything else subtle.
I applied a bit of RMS Living Luminizer on the apples of my cheeks and my brow bones. Then an ever-so-slight swipe of Alima Pure’s Contouring Powder in Sombra in the hallows of my cheeks (or where I wish I had them on my round face 🙂 I then finished with a generous dusting of Alima Pure Blush in Honey Rose.
There you have it! Thinking of doing your own makeup? Have any other suggestions that I missed? Leave a comment!
Photo credits: NorrisPhoto and my talented sister-in-law, Alice Helms
*Affiliate links appear in this post and throughout this site. When you click the link, I receive a small commission from any purchases you decide to make through the partnering merchant. Unless noted otherwise, I originally purchased the product(s) and all opinions are my own. I only provide reviews for products and lines that I know, trust, and love!
A few readers have asked about products and D.I.Y.s that will help with acne situations. I struggle to answer these questions simply because acne is a symptom of a larger internal imbalance. Based on my research and reading more holistic approaches to managing acne and blemishes, this is a two part problem: there’s the stuff you put on the outside that can either soothe or aggravate acne, but the more important part is dealing with the underlying causes which are diet and stress levels because they affect hormones, on which this post will focus. In part II, I’ll provide topical oils and products that can help clear up the skin. It’s a long one, so grab a beverage and settle in.
I have been rather lucky; I’ve never dealt with serious acne, even as a teenager. I did deal with a moderate case of cystic acne about two years ago in my late twenties. My attempt in this post is to pool my research and to share what worked for me, which I learned from holistic approaches.
Most skin care products formulated to eliminate acne can worsen the condition, due to the drying ingredients. The skin is slightly acidic and most mass-produced products mess with the pH balance or completely strip skin of its natural oils, sending the skin into panic mode. While what we put on our skin is very important to combat environmental damage and to retain moisture, topical products are only a fraction of the cause of most acne cases.
Most dermatologists and Western doctors do not treat the skin as an integrated system and will prescribe detrimental drugs like peeling agents, Accutane or, for women, birth control pills to “fix” hormonal issues, while completely ignoring the underlying cause(s). With this method of treatment, blemishes on the facial skin are managed temporarily, but the food allergy or the high-stress lifestyle only continues to fester in the body in other ways. More pollution has been added to the body from these serious, disruptive medications or chemicals that may bring another set of side effects into the picture. Now, we have a toxin masking one symptom, only to push the sickness to cause harm in another part of the body.
Yes, you are what you eat, and it will show up on your skin. Many naturopaths and Ayurvedic practitioners will say that acne begins in the gut. The overproduction of sebum and bacteria is just the effect of acne. Because our skin is a sensory organ, it is constantly processing what comes in and out and is the best way to tell if someone is healthy at first glance. You’ve seen it: the person that has naturally glowing, dewy skin…that’s a reflection of a healthy internal ecosystem. When we ingest toxins or foods which are difficult for our bodies to digest, this shows up on our skin because what happens in our gastrointestinal system directly affects our hormones. The profound relationship between the food we eat and hormone balance is just now being understood. The resulting inflammation, toxicity, etc. is the root of the problem.
I was surprised to discover that acne is very much a U.S. problem because of the prevalence of processed foods in the average American diet. The rest of the world doesn’t consume it in the large amounts that the typical American does. There are hundreds of studies that show relief of participants’ acne conditions when placed on a low-glycemic diet (no grains, sugars, processed foods, etc.). This is because our bodies are more efficient at digesting complex carbs. Many scholars are starting to believe that it has more to do with one’s environment than their genetics. Although, some will tolerate dairy and grains, or even if they have trouble processing, it may show up as another ailment like weight gain or IBS, rather than blemishes.
The other main acne trigger is our emotional well-being.
During the last six months of grad school, I dealt with cystic acne, those pimples that form underneath the skin and stay there for a solid week or so. There’s nothing you can do except wait it out 🙁 It was the pits. This horrible bout of adult acne happened because I was constantly stressed, neglected my body, and ate poorly. After graduation, I got back into a routine of eating and exercise/yoga and I haven’t had a cystic pimple since. However, I did have some serious scars from those suckers. I researched natural ways to fade scars and hyper-pigmentation and found out about rosehip seed oil, which I’ll talk about in part II.
The condition of the skin reflects what’s going on inside our bodies. Any imbalance, or lack of self-care will show up on your face in a few days. I still experience normal hormonal breakouts that coincide with my cycle, but I only get one or two spots around the jawline, and they are manageable and go away within a couple days.
What to Do?
1. Check your hormones:
Identifying any hormone imbalances can clue you and your doctor in on not only why you’re experiencing adult acne, but other issues. If you have insurance, ask your doctor to check for imbalances during routine blood work to identify or rule out any serious issues, like a thyroid problem.
If your tests come back “normal” and you still feel “off”, then definitely listen to your gut and look into seeing an alternative medicine practitioner, like an acupuncturist. Most major cities offer sliding scale practices, so those of us without this coverage can still seek the benefits without going broke. If you’re in L.A., try this wonderful place!
Whatever you decide, I also would recommend the book Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life by Claudia Welch. She describes the symbiotic functions of hormones and writes about how stress, food and synthetic medication and hormones wreak havoc on the hormones of modern women. She also offers solutions rooted in Ayurvedic, Chinese, and Western medicine. My mind was blown after reading this and is must-read for every woman.
2. Exercise your lymphatic system
The lymphatic system does not have a pump, like the cardiovascular, so the system can be sluggish and not working to purge toxins and junk out as efficiently as possible. If you are sedentary, so is your lymphatic system.
– Exercise – take a vigorous Vinyasa flow class
– Drink water – this will help flush out nasties
– Dry brush – the nodes sit just underneath the skin, and the long, exfoliating strokes encourage blood flow to the area.
3. Clue in to your skin
From the lovely athletic line and my former employer (yay!) Lorna Jane blog, the location of the breakout can clue you in on whats going on internally. For example, cystic acne is more hormonal and stress related. While topical solutions may help temporarily, there’s probably an imbalance of some sort happening.
Chin and jaw line: Hormonal, especially when the spots go down the neck.
Forehead: Bowel congestion and constipation.
Between the eyes: Liver
Cheeks: Various causes, including genetic
Back: General toxicity and candida
Whiteheads on the face: Can be digestive
Large cysts on the face (without heads): Indicates a hormonal imbalance
4. Eliminate known acne-causing foods
While some people say that detoxing is a great idea to get rid of acne, I’m not a fan because this is not a sustainable solution. Yes, your acne may subside, but you then have no idea which foods were triggering the blemishes.
Instead, there’s so much literature that supports eating a low-glycemic or dairy-free diet. Grains and dairy can cause inflammation and therefore trigger bacteria, which shows up on your skin.
– Try cutting out grains for a week. If that doesn’t help, try cutting out all dairy.
I’ll post part two next week, filled with blemish and scar-reducing products and DIYs that have worked for me.
It just kills me when I have to spend money on gas, laundry, or deodorant. And while I did find an effective natural deodorant, Soapwalla, (read about this and the danger of most deos here) it’s $14 bucks a pop and I’ve been trying to balance my beauty splurges by committing to D.I.Y. one beauty product for each expensive product I buy.
I ran out of my trusty Soapwalla and after a few days bare-pitting it and some gentle encouragement from my dear fiancee to perhaps set a higher standard of personal hygiene for myself, I finally broke down and gave homemade deodorant a shot, not really expecting it to be all that effective.
I put this formula to the test with a hike and a few yoga classes and holy kerschmolies, it works! And not in a funny Portlandia way. Really.
Also, this is SO cheap to make and smells like coconut-orange frosting. So here are the tools you need to get into the homemade deodorant game:
1 tbsp Shea butter
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
1-2 tbsp baking soda
2-3 drops tea tree oil
5-10 drops of essential oils of your choice (I used 3 drops peppermint and 5 drops bergamot)
1 sanitized small glass jar that you’ll use to store the deodorant
1. Add Shea butter to glass jar and heat until softened (I microwaved for 20 seconds – feel free to use a double boiler; I was too lazy to do this when I made it)
2. Add all ingredients except for essential oils and stir, making sure the powder and baking soda are mixed thoroughly. Add more baking soda, if desired (I prefer a thicker paste consistency)
3. Gradually stir in essential oils to achieve the desired strength of scent
Your homemade deo is now ready to keep your pits company! The tea tree oil and coconut oil act as natural preservatives but make sure to use within 2 weeks so the deodorant stays fresh and effective.
I have so many wonderful products on my bathroom shelves that I want to feature and give adequate attention to each brand. To do this, I’m launching The Clean Hits segment! I will feature products from brands that absolutely WOW me to spread the wealth and I couldn’t think of a better brand to kick off this segment than Alima Pure.
THE BRAND: ALIMA PURE
I really can not sing enough praises about this line of mineral makeup. In addition to creating beautiful shades of makeup that are high quality and affordable, Alima Pure also takes meaningful steps to operate as a truly eco-minded and sustainable company. In addition to providing certified natural cosmetics (natural by high Euro standards, yay!), they are also:
- A certified B-corp
- A member of 1% for the Planet,
- A carbon-neutral business
Alima Pure encompasses the health, beauty, social and environmental philosophies
that I’d like to see in all truly natural beauty lines.
WHY I LOVE IT:
I was originally drawn to Alima when I found out how many foundation shades they have (over 60!) and under $25! I ordered a few samples of the Satin Matte Foundation to color match my skin (at $1.75/piece, you can order quite a few). They also have a custom sample package if you use their Foundation Selector tool.
If you are beginning to transition to clean makeup, this is such a great line to start with. My biggest challenge was replacing my holy-grail status Lorac wet/dry powder that took me forever to find as most conventional lines didn’t offer a lot of undertone options in their deeper shades. I was once turned away from the Clinique counter because the ding-dong counter girl couldn’t find a shade that matched my skin -not that I’m traumatized, or anything….*smashes ALL the Clinique bottles*
If you are overwhelmed or need direction (about makeup, probably not on life), one of their makeup artists will recommend shades for you. They also send samples with orders of full-size products.
Their eyeshadows, blushes, and bronzers are also amazing! Can you tell I’m smitten?
Satin Matte Foundation – Buildable coverage with smooth finish that never creases. I use Warm 4 and Beige 4, depending on whether I’ve been outside – I’ll sometimes even blend the two.
Eyeshadows – Alima’s eyeshadows have a cult following within the green beauty community. They offer beautiful shades that range from slight shimmers to deeply-pigmented bold options.
My most frequently used shades are Chai – a shimmering rose gold that is wonderful for an everyday subtle glow and Orchid, a gorgeous, soft fuschia that is stunning on brown eyes (hurry – it’s a limited edition color!)
Bronzer – I use Trinidad, the darkest bronzing shade offered. It’s great way to prolong the summer tan on deeper-toned skin. I also use it for a contour effect (which I’m still perfecting). While it’s a bit too light for me, I’ve heard rave reviews about Belieze, suited for light/medium skin tones.
Navy Eyeliner – Included as a surprise sample in a past order, the subtle hint of color convinced me to stray from my black eyeliner rut. This stays-put and doesn’t smudge! I love applying this shade as a bold cat eye, paired with a bright pink lip.
Have you tried Alima’s products? Anything to add to these picks? Comment below!
Apple cider vinegar is a beauty and health wonder juice that I believe to be straight from Mother Earth’s bosom. Thanks, girl. Its benefits have been touted by both the naturopath community and supermodels. I will try anything in the middle of that Venn diagram (if you haven’t read Miranda Kerr’s Top Shelf, enhance your quality of life and do it now!).
When I get in the habit of drinking ACV for an energy boost (described, below), I swear my skin looks brighter and I feel less congested when I wake up. It has worked wonders for my hair. It detoxifies, closes the cuticle, which softens and adds shine. Raw, fermented ACV (a.k.a with the mother, like Braggs) is simply apple juice sugar that has tuned into vinegar. It is rich in enzymes, minerals, specifically potassium, which alkalizes, and balances and prevents inflammation in many parts of the body. ACV acts as an antibacterial, antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties, which is why it’s great for everything from boosting immunity to curing candida.
The acidity of apple cider vinegar actually balances your skin and hair’s natural pH levels.
D.I.Y. toner: use this ratio to start – 1 part ACV to 4 parts water. Those with sensitive skin will stick to this ratio. If you want to power up, use a 1:3 ratio. Acne, skin irritation are treated with this solution and has been said to fade acne scars.
I use this D.I.Y. to balance my scalp, remove product build-up and increase shine:
Mix 1 part ACV with 2-3 parts water in a spray bottle. After shampooing or co-washing, apply to wet hair and let it sit for 3-5 minutes then rinse out. I prefer not to use conditioner on the days I use this ACV rinse since I’m trying to let my hair “breathe’ for a day or so. It does smell, but it will fade away. Hair will feel bouncy and light, once dry.
Morning energy boost: Dilute a tablespoon of ACV with 8 oz of water and drink on an empty stomach.
Immunity boost: Add a tablespoon of ACV to a cup of hot water with lemon and honey.
This mask brightens and soothes, blah blah blah…
Let’s get to the real reason I like it so much: I adore feeling like a kid playing with my food and then smearing it on my face. It’s also great fun to look like an oompa loompa for 15-20 minutes of your day. It can really challenge your beliefs. It’s also great fun to startle your s.o./roomie/family once you’ve applied bright orange goop to your head. Just sorta slowly peek at them from around a door sill with orange face, Milford-man style, and wait for them to notice. It’s great fun.
But seriously. As a natural anti-inflammatory, turmeric is a great topical solution for minimizing puffiness and soothing skin. Honey is a humentant with powerful moisturizing properties and the lactic acid in the yogurt softens and sloughs-off dull skin. I’ve never experienced any staining from the turmeric but those with lighter skin may want to do a patch test, first. My skin always feels rejuvenated after applying this mask.
What you’ll need:
1 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tbsp honey (raw honey is best)
1 tsp turmeric
Mix all ingredients and slather on your face. Leave on for 15-20 minutes then rinse with lukewarm water. I like to use muslin cloth when I rinse for a little extra exfoliation.
I prefer a natural, glowy look on the weekdays. And simplicity. Unless zig-zag liner becomes a trend featured on Into the Gloss, bold eyeliner is not happening at 7:30 am on a Tuesday.
Here are my five Summer must-haves that deliver a warm, polished glow to my skin.
Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation in Warm 4 – Most mornings, I apply a thin veil to even out tone, but when I am going for a more dramatic look, I can build the base for a more “done up” look.
Alima Pure bronzer in Trinidad – this shade is great for my already medium tan skin. It evens out areas on my cheeks and gives me the “oh-yeah-I-totally-did-physical-activity-outdoors-this-weekend” glow.
Ecobrow Defining Wax in Penelope – I rarely leave the house without my brows done. It’s the feature that makes me feel “together”. The Ecobrow founder named the shades after gorgeous actresses. Yes, Penelope, as in Penelope Cruz. Speaking of, you guys should watch “Twice Born” on Netflix instant play.
RMS Uncover-up in 33 – The perfect concealer. It delivers great coverage while delivering moisture. I dab this under my eyes. It has a dewy finish, but if I want a matte look, I’ll finish with Alima’s Satin Matte Foundation
RMS Living Luminizer – If you haven’t tried this, you must. I was skeptical because I thought it would bring back nightmares of glitter gel sold at the mall, circa 1996. Wrong, so wrong. It’s a sheer moisturizing balm. A small dab delivers a subtle sheen that is so gorgeous. I dab on my browbones, cheekbones and on my cupid’s bow to enhance my glow. There are many days I use only this on my face and feel brightened. It also lasts forever! Still on the fence? Perhaps Giselle and Miranda will make you a believer.
Lips – my DIY lip balm recipe (coming soon!)