Natural Products for Hyperpigmentation

Natural Products for Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is the darkening of certain patches of skin caused by an increase in melanin deposits. The main cause is UVA/UVB exposure, but a combination of factors including excessive heat exposure, fluctuating hormones (like melasma during pregnancy), acne and general conditions of inflammation, can act as triggers. People with deeper skin tones and freckles (*raises both hands*) are more susceptible to hyperpigmentation.  That being said, I take common-sense precautions like wearing sunscreen and hat, but I live my life and go on long hikes and hand by the pool.  

But before you dive in we’ve gotta set some rules, hunny:

These products are designed to be active and the tradeoff is increased photosensitivity, so a zinc oxide sunscreen of SPF 30 is a must.

2. These should not be used in conjunction with any other retinol/peels/acid treatments.

3. If you are experiencing acute skin conditions like extreme acne, perioral dermatitis, or eczema, hold off on using these active products until the condition is under control. Your skin is stressed and the last thing you want to do is apply a product that stresses it out even more. Stick to nourishing, gentle products.


My maintenance mode product. This retinol alternative exfoliates and brightens, and hands down, has delivered the best results in reversing sun damage, scarring, and breaking up hyperpigmentation. The actives include fruit-derived enzymes that resurface the skin, increasing cell turnover. And like retinol, it is slightly drying, so make sure to use a rich facial oil or cream to replenish moisture in between uses. Shop here.


I was nervous to use a product that has retinol in it, but after  speaking to Marie Veronique’s director of education and learning the science behind retinol, (read this incredibly informative article) it’s clear that there’s a lot of confusion about which forms of retinol are both safe and effective. This formula includes encapsulated retinol, not to be confused with retinyl palmitate, which bioaccumulates in the liver. I’d wanted to incorporate a more active product to address photodamage and this is the most “gray-area” product I’ve used since switching to clean products, so if you’re nervous about using a retinol, I would skip it.  Shop here.


This peel is my reset button that brightens and decongests. I was nervous to try it because it’s so active, but with my first use,  I noticed a significantly brighter complexion, especially areas on my cheeks that show the most signs of hyperpigmentation. With AHAs and hyaluronic acid, it resurfaces and plumps. My face was red for about an hour, so definitely save it for bedtime. I only use this 2-3 times a month since it’s really intense.  Shop here.

4 Products To Solve Your Winter Skin Issues

4 Products To Solve Your Winter Skin Issues


It has finally hit 50 degrees at night which means that us Angelenos now have to wear a medium-weight jacket over our dresses we’ve been wearing since summer. Even though it’s not very chilly here, my skin tends to dry out from indoor heating, hot water, and living in a really arid climate, and dry skin can turn into painfully itchy skin. Check out my roundup of therapeutic products that will alleviate all your winter skin issues and are great to take with you on your travels!

Dry, windburned, or cracked skin and eczema: True Organic of Sweden’s All You Need Is Me
For those of you who can’t seem to find a lotion heavy or moisturizing enough, this stuff is for you.  True’s stand out ingredients are castor, shea, olive, and blueberry seed oils, and zero fillers, making this balm ultra effective since it’s so concentrated.  I’ve been using this waterless balm on my hands, elbows, knees, cracked heels and general rough patches and they’ve been magically softened up! True also suggests using this on hair and to treat everything from diaper rash and insect bites to sun and windburn. Skip the toxic jar of Vaseline and use this single product as your family’s winter skincare cure-all!

Cracked, dry cuticles: Lilian Eve Cuticle Oil Pen
A la Karen Smith, my nail beds suck. Really, I have painfully dry, hang-nail ridden cuticles that will make even the most polite nail technician gasp with concern. This oil pen has rescued me! While it’s a simple product made with just Argan, apricot, and jojoba oils, the ease of application via the handy cuticle brush pen really wins me over. For me, half of the battle is remembering to oil my claws so I leave this on my nightstand and apply before bed.

Prevent dry ends: One Love Organics Healthy Locks Dry Shampoo Powder
Two words: greasy bangs. Since I followed through on a whim to cut my own curly fringe/bangs, I now understand the greasy bang struggle that my straight-haired counterparts have dealt with. This dry shampoo stands out for me because of its gorgeous, subtle scent and the incredibly velvety consistency of the powder. OLO’s dry shampoo is great for soaking up excess oils at the root of the hair in-between washes, preventing my ends from being dried out from too much exposure to hot water.  I sprinkle a little at the crown of my head and then add oil to my ends and I’m set!

Calm irritated facial skin: Keys Luminous Hydrating Moisturizer
This is one of the first natural products I tried and it has been a staple in my winter routine for about three years now. With therapeutic ingredients like avocado oil, Shea butter, blood orange and carrot seed oils, this formula is wonderful for calming sensitive, dry skin. It’s perfect to use as a daytime moisturizer since it is thoroughly hydrating and protects against drying environmental factors. It also provides a moisturizing base for makeup without being greasy.

Do you have any special wintertime rituals to soothe skin? Share, below!


*Affiliate links appear in this post which means that I receive a small commission from any purchases you decide to make. I only provide reviews for products and brands that I use, trust, and love and all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting MDG!

Witchcraft in a Bottle: Mun No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum

Witchcraft in a Bottle: Mun No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum

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! 

The Clean Hits: Alima Pure Makeup

The Clean Hits: Alima Pure Makeup

clean hits 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.


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.


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!


The Summer Glow Essentials

The Summer Glow Essentials

Summer makeup from Ecobrow, Alima Pure, and RMS

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.

summer glow, makeup, alima pure, RMS luminizer, Ecobrow


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!)


Spring Makeup Essentials: Ilia, Alima, and More!

Spring Makeup Essentials: Ilia, Alima, and More!

Review of Ilia Lip Conditioner in Jump

Ilia Lip Conditioner in Jump


Alima Pure Eye Shadow in OrchidAlima Pure Eye Shadow in Orchid

Alima Pure Eye Shadow in Orchid


The sun is shining, puppies and kittens are playing in the grass, ice cream is being shared by lovers on the street, etc. etc. Spring has arrived and up until a couple of weeks ago, I found myself still wearing my dark berry lip shade and dark ensembles. And I’m not Lorde so I’ve gotta brighten up my situation.

I’ve decided to spruce up my spring makeup options and have found the PERFECT magenta shade for lips from Ilia in Jump. I think it would be flattering on all tones, but especially those with darker hair and olive/tan skin. As you can see in the picture, the color really pops, dispelling the myth that natural lip color lacks pigment: Ilia gets it right!

I finally ordered eye shadows from Alima Pure and I adore them! I ordered Luminous Shimmer shadows in Chai and Martinique and a Pearluster shadow in Orchid. Chai (shown here) is very close to my skin tone, so offers more of a shimmery, nude look. It’s perfect for everyday, casual looks for the office. Orchid can be used wet or dry. In the photos, above, I applied a bit of my Keys Luminos moisturizer right before applying Orchid to bring out the metallic effect. Just beautiful! All three shades compliment each other very well.

Get the Looks

Face: RMS Uncover Up in 33, Alima Pure Bronzer in Trinidad, Alima Pure Blush in Honey Rose

Lips: Ilia Lip Conditioner in Jump

Brows: Ecobrow in Penelope

Eyes: Alima Pure Eyeshadow in Orchid,  applied Alima Pure Eyeshadow in Chai to the rims of bottom eyelids, Josie Maran Gogo Mascara



Review: The Miraculous Rare El’ements Essential Conditioner

Review: The Miraculous Rare El’ements Essential Conditioner

All my fellow curlies understand the miraculous nature of finding a clean, effective product that helps you tame your curls, resulting in the oft-sought after Good Curl Day (GCD). When experiencing a GCD, It almost makes one believe that there is a god solely dedicated to doling out justice by way of human hair and that you need to sacrifice a small rodent, or something, to keep the good fortune coming. OOH-kay, off  topic.

Let me introduce you to Rare Elements Essential Conditioner. It will give you a GCD. Over and over again. It is, by far, one of the thickest, most luxurious, rich and moisturizing producst I’ve found. My curls feel completely hydrated after letting it soak for about 5 minutes in the shower. Last night, I left it in for two hours and the only way to put it is that my curls emerged hydrated to the 6th power. Oh, and it has SLIP. You’ll be able to detangle in half the time, compared to whatever conditioner you are using now.  Essential oils give it a lovely, unique scent, yet does not overwhelm.

If you’ve clicked the link to the Rare Elements site, you’re probably suffering from sticker shock and cursing my name whilst shaking your fist to the heavens. Okay – this conditioner has a ton of hype, and I had read nothing but praise about it, especially from women with thick, curly hair like mine. I had wanted to try it for months, but never felt comfortable with shelling out $44 on conditioner. I am planning my wedding and every penny I spend elsewhere, I self-guilt into feeling like I should have saved it for the wedding budget. Me in line paying for anything: “That’s the cost of my Aunt Dottie’s dinner, “This is the cost of a portion of a centerpiece purchased on Etsy”. So, yeah, I get that I’m pushing some expensive-ass hair goop.

However, in my opinion, the conditioner is completely worth the money. I finally caved and purchased it at The Detox Market, (along with my new FAVORITE summer lip color by Ilia – review to come!) but it is available on plenty of green beauty sites.

I received a few compliments on my curls last week, which is when I started using the stuff. No co-inky-dink there! Oh yeah, and I noticed that I don’t need to use as much styling product because there’s not as much frizz to control.  The consistency is also very thick and concentrated and I only use about a quarter sized dollup, which is nothing compared to the amount I have to use for most products (think: a laundry load’s worth of quarters – or 1/4 of the cost of Crazy Uncle Pete’s Jack and Coke he will drink at my wedding that I will pay for).

If you have curls like me, or thick, thirsty hair, I promise this conditioner will do the trick for you. Enjoy!



Get the Best Beauty Sleep Ever: Take A Mustard Bath

Get the Best Beauty Sleep Ever: Take A Mustard Bath

Mustard bath remedy for sleeplessness, detoxification and soreness

Mustard bath is insomnia’s worst enemy and I’m surprised it doesn’t have more buzz. I’ve gotta show this miracle product some love!

What is mustard bath, you ask? The main ingredient is mustard seed powder which heats up, opens pores, drawing out impurities from tissues. A blend of therapeutic essential oils are added, giving the powder a minty smell, will clear your sinuses and soothe any soreness or muscle tension, and increase circulation.

I add about 1/4 cup to piping hot bathwater and soak in it for 20-30 minutes. Get ready to sweat! Oh, and you’ll probably feel loosey-goosey afterwards, in a good way (the same feeling after a deeply relaxing massage, but more intense!) so it’s best to soak right before bedtime.

I took a mustard bath last night and I’m happy to report that I woke up this morning feeling like a Disney princess awakening, glowing and fresh, from a thousand year slumber. Yeah, that good.

I buy Dr. Singha’s Mustard Bath powder which is already inexpensive, but since it is made up of essential oils and mustard powder, I’m sure it would be very easy to make your own. Here’s a great DIY recipe!