Tag: oil

The Beauty Of It Is + Spirit Beauty Lounge + Burt’s Bees bring you three weeks of ‘for the love of green beauty’ gift giveaways!

February 6th, 2014 — 6:31pm


Happy Valentine’s Month beautiful readers!

I’ve never won anything. (At least not anything that I really wanted.) Have you? Spirit Beauty Lounge and I have teamed up to make it happen for 18 of you! Let the ‘for the love of green beauty’ gift giving begin!!

Every weekday for the rest of this month you have the chance to win one of the beautiful gifts featured above.  There’ll be a mixture of our favorites in green beauty, from skincare and haircare to makeup and nail polish from brands like Lina Hanson, Kjaer Weis, Tata Harper, Ila, W3LL people, Rahua, RMS, Mun, Strange Invisibles, Maya Water, Vapour Organic Beauty, Soapwalla Kitchen, Chocolate Sun, Alima Pure, Tatcha, Dr. Bronners, Kure Bazaar, BKR.

It’s super simple to enter; just click through the prompts on my Facebook page. The first giveaway is the delicious face oil from Mun… you won’t be disappointed!!!




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Serum vs Oil: What’s the difference?

November 18th, 2013 — 2:53am


Are you confused by what makes a facial serum different from a facial oil? Are you overwhelmed by the ever-growing number of both kinds of products on the market, particularly the green beauty market?  Don’t know where to begin your research to find the perfect oil and/or serum for you? You’re definitely not alone. This photo shows just some of my favorites from my ever growing collection, and is an indication of just how many delicious – and different – options are available (and potentially overwhelming!)

I love a good glow, the kind that only comes from super hydrated skin. I start 90% of my makeup applications on skin that I’ve prepped with a facial oil or serum, including my own skin. But what defines one product an oil, and another a serum?  The woman behind the eponymous skincare line, May Lindstrom, explained it wonderfully well:

  • A face oil adds hydration and nutrition.
  • A serum does something bonus – it brightens, slows the onset of lines and wrinkles, it tightens, it exfoliates, etc.
  • Serums can be essentially a face oil blend with an extra ingredient(s), or it can be an oil-free base of aloe or an emulsion of oils and floral waters, or any number of other things. Serums vary wildly in texture and use. Some replace your face oil (because it’s basically one), and others are sticky and do not wear well alone at all and must be layered with a face oil or cream.

So where should you start when you make the decision to incorporate an oil and/or serum into your routine?

  • There’s a great resource/reference site called rank and style that uses algorithms to search the internet to determine which products are selling the most and getting the best blogger, editor, and industry  recommendations, and then synthesizes all the info they collect to put out top 10 lists on just about everything, from specific items like puffer jackets or yoga mats, to all-natural face oils or brown ankle boots. I must admit I was skeptical at first, but I knew that since I’m familiar with all of the natural serums on the market, this would be a great list to test how spot-on their data collection really is.

    I was super happy when their list, which you can check out here, included all great, all truly green options, all of which I can give my stamp of approval.  I didn’t include them in my pic above because I’d used up my stock of them, but in addition to those you see, I’m also huge fan of the serums from Tata Harper and Burt’s Bees, which came in at numbers 3 and 5, respectively (very different price points, but both really great).

  • You may know me to mention this site: Spirit Beauty Lounge from time to time (that means all the time). I’ve gotten to know Spirit over the years and hands down, she’s the most knowledgable person I know when it comes to all things green beauty.  Check out her thoughts and recommendations on oils and serums here  and here. She’ll send you samples so you can see which your nose (the aromatherapy aspect is key for me) and your skin respond to the best before you commit to full containers – but I can assure you, there’s not one on her site that I don’t like.

    A funny side note: A while back Spirit and I were at lunch and she asked which serum I was using. I told her I was fearful of serums because of my constant outbreaks, and that I’d basically stopped using everything on my skin. The look of disappointment that spread across her face told me that my understanding of serums was off, and she promptly schooled me. I’ve been using serums ever since and have seen a HUGE improvement in texture, lines, and coloration of my skin, and even a decrease in outbreaks. Who knew?

  • Finally, this cheat sheet article on Birchbox.com, in which Los Angeles aesthetician, Rita Csizmadia is interviewed, really helps break down why you should be using an oil/serum, and specifically which types of oil are best for your skin.


We’ve all been made to fear oils and oil-based serums – especially those of us who break out easily – because of oil-free product-marketing that has been heavy in the media for decades now. I can attest, however, that for *most* people, incorporating a serum or an oil into your weekly (if not daily) routine is beneficial. The only times I’ve seen problems is when A. I applied oils to models who don’t frequently exfoliate, therefore the oil or serum wasn’t able to penetrate into the skin, onto which I then piled foundation, concealer, and powder for a day – or week! – of photographing,  or B. when I used a very active serum – one that is chock full of high doses of plant extracts – on highly sensitive skin (like my own), and the skin just straight away had an allergic reaction to it, and got all red and bumpy.

If you have eczema or rosacea you may benefit greatly from a gentle face oil or serum, and you may want to top it off with a moisturizer to help strengthen and protect the external layer, as well. If you’re acne-prone, do not fear – the most wonderful thing about oils and serums is that they penetrate quickly, which means they don’t have waxes and other heavy components to sit on top of the skin and clog pores.

Finally, know that if one oil or serum breaks you out in pimples or a rash, that doesn’t mean they all will. Keep trying until you find one that doesn’t, and remember that you don’t necessarily need to use it daily. Sometimes a bi-weekly application is more than enough to keep those deeper layers of skin hydrated and plump.

There are numerous variations in ingredient lists, and it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with which oils and extracts are right for your skin. The above links will help you do just that.


  1. On freshly washed skin that is still damp from washing, OR on freshly washed skin that has been spritzed with a hydrating spray, apply a few drops of your product with your freshly washed fingers.
  2. Gently glide the product across your forehead, cheeks, chin, and give yourself a gentle massage, gently pressing it into your skin, making sure to bring it down onto your neck, and the area of skin below your collarbone, even down to your chest. You’ll notice that a little product goes a long way when you apply it to damp skin.
  3. Allow the product to sink in for a few minutes before applying your moisturizer (if you determine you still need one) and your makeup, and if you’re a nighttime applier, be sure to complete your regimen long before your face hits your pillow to allow maximum absorption time.

Let us know what you’re using that you love, and how you would describe your skin before and after you discovered oils and serums, here, on the Facebook page for this blog.

Do I need to include a disclaimer line here? Just in case, here goes:  You all know I’m not a dermatologist, nor a scientist. I’m just a person who looks at, touches, and learns about different skin on a daily basis. I also ask a ton of questions and do a ton of research. Finding an aesthetician, dermatologist, or holistic health care practitioner you feel you can trust is wonderful, but I believe we each have the responsibility and the ability to do some of the research about what’s going to benefit us by ourselves, for ourselves.



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If you’re looking for me, I’ll be at Enfleurage, learning to blend essential oils into beauty products. Wanna come?

June 25th, 2012 — 3:39pm

A friend recently tipped me off to this really neat store in the west village here in NYC. It’s called Enfleurage, which loosely translates to a process by which the fragrant compounds exuded by plants are captured and preserved.  I’d always wondered how that was done! A little research informed me that it’s quite a complex process developed by the French in the 19th century.

This small boutique offers a range of hands-on classes designed for anyone who wants to learn more about aromatherapy and essential oils. Why would I want to do that, you ask? Because then you can:

  • Stop using synthetic fragrances in the home
  • Stop using artificial fragrance for personal scent
  • Get rid of an upset stomach or headache without drugs
  • Use essential oils for basic first aid
  • Naturally build up your immune system
  • Naturally regulate and balance your mood
  • Start making your own beauty and household cleaning products
  • Save money and reduce manufacturing and packaging waste
  • Alleviate the effects of stress, anxiety, and depression without medication
  • Transition to a more eco-friendly lifestyle

I attended a free Sunday morning class with two others and loved every bit of it. Christina, our instructor, was incredibly well informed, really good at sharing information, and let us smell, touch, and feel everything. I, of course, asked a bunch of questions, and the lovely woman answered every last one and gave us each a handout she’d made with information about carrier oils, essential oils, astringents and toners, and talked to us about how to use them if acne is your issue, dryness is your concern, or you get eaten alive by mosquitos and need help stopping the itch. I can’t say enough good things about the class and the info with which I came away.

Upcoming classes (that aren’t free) include: Natural Beauty Products for the  Body, Natural Beauty Products for the Face, Essential Oils for Detoxification, and this past weekend the class was on Aromatherapy for the home, and taught attendees how to switch from synthetic to natural home fragrance, reduce or eliminate the use of harsh commercial cleansers, discover strategies for natural odor, insect and pest removal and control, and how to change their atmosphere and mood with fragrance. Students were allowed to make two customized essential oil blends to take with them. So cool, right?

Even more cool – in addition to her NYC aromatics shop, the owner has her very own distillery in Oman, where she specializes in aromatics from the natural world like frankincense and agar wood, in particular. I would love to visit her Oman shop not just because I’d love to see that part of the world again, but more importantly because she makes ice cream infused with various oils and sells them to local businesses! Amazing.  I keep up with her super cool life on her blog:  www.absolutetrygve.com

A few things I learned during the class:

  1. Franincense is most useful in skin care for its wound healing and cell regeneration properties. It plumps up the skin, which makes it good for anti-aging products. It’s also great to heal fresh scars.
  2. Tea tree is a very powerful anti-viral, anti-fugal and anti-bacterial oil, but still gentle enough (for most people)  to be used straight on the skin (although I’d keep it away from mucous membranes – ouch!) I’ve been using it on blemishes with great success.
  3. Geranium has a balancing effect on hormones internally as well as astringent properties when used externally. Because most acne is a result of hormonal fluctuations and the excess sebum our skin produces because of that hormonal ebb and flow, a geranium hydrosol (water/botanical face spray) would be great for those of us suffering with acne to add to our regimen.
  4. Sea Buckthorn Oil is known to combat dryness and wrinkles because it contains high levels of vitamins A, C, and E, which means it does a great job repairing skin and regenerating cells. A+ for those with eczema, psoriasis, burns and sun damage.

What exciting information will I learn next time? I can’t wait!




A bowl of frankincense! I had no idea that it’s resin from scraping a tree that’s unique to Africa and the Middle East.


A box of sandalwood sticks.  I never thought about the fact that that delicious scent comes from actual wood!


A nice welcome from some greenery in the window.


Sweet little Buddha sitting next to an aromatic oil-heating bowl.


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My current bedside table must-haves.

March 8th, 2012 — 5:09am

I’m so sleepy, and I should be in bed, after having spent another long, but great day on set, and then going out to see a friend’s band play in the East Village here in NYC tonight. However,  I just walked into my bedroom, saw these products so perfectly – and accidentally – arranged on my bedside table, and thought: I have to share these tonight. The best part about them is that they’re all from companies who share a focus on creating products with natural, non-toxic, and/or organic ingredients. Go green beauty market, go!

I’ve been sleeping *so* well lately. I love falling asleep to the scent of Tata Harper’s Aromatic Bedtime Treatment (I often don’t even put it on me, I just inhale deeply from the bottle a few times and it gets my brain right into lullaby mode) , and waking to still enjoy the smell of my super soft skin, thanks to  the Dr. Hauschka Lemon Lemongrass lotion (not to be confused with the Lemon Oil, or Lemon Lotion – this is new and smells BEYOND incredible) and Rose Oil that I mix and massage all over me. But what’s closest to my bed, is one of my all-time favorites, and the last product I use every night. I never go to sleep in the Winter without covering my hands and feet with Weleda Skin Food, which keeps them baby soft. Everyone who works with me knows that I’m never far from a tube of this amazingly scented, super rich lotion. There’s one here, one in my work makeup kit, and one in my purse at all times.

I should finish tomorrow’s post on the amazing red-lip look I gave Christy Turlington to walk the carpet on Monday night, but I don’t think my eyes will focus for much longer! I promise to have that ready for you very soon.

If I can finish this post in the next 2 minutes, I’ll still have just enough energy and brain power to wind down by reading a few more pages of the Patti Smith book. Night, night!

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