Jun 022014
 

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L’Occintane’s latest release is inspired by Brasil’s biodiversity. This L’Occitane au Brésil collection derives from a partnership that brings together Brazil’s local culture with L’Occitane’s knowledge of nature. As a line that places natural products as the centerpieces of its products, this collection includes two lines based on distinct ingredients.

First is L’Occitane’s Jenipapo line, which is based on the jenipapo tree, which has golden flowers. The product in this line are sun care products for the face and body made with extracts of this flower with protecting and hydrating properties.

For Jenipapo - ingredient

The products in the Jenipapo line are:

· Face Protection Veil SPF 30 ($28)
· Protecting Body Oil SPF 15 ($30)
· Protecting Body Jelly Milk SPF 20 ($30)
· Lip Gloss SPF 25 ($12)
· Perfumed Oil Roll-On ($22)
· Body Lotion ($25)
· Shower Oil ($25)
· Jenipapo Soap ($7)

JenipapoI was able to test two products from the Jenipapo line–the L’Occitane Jenipapo Face Veil SPF 30 ($28) and the L’Occitane Jenipapo Body Oil SPF 15 ($30). As expected, these embodied natural luxury. They were very refined, well-formulated, and effective. Their scent retained a natural, refreshing scent that gave not hint of chemicals–both are very pleasurable, light, and fresh.

L'Occitane Summer Items01

The Jenipapo Body Oil comes in a spray bottle and gives a touch of sun protection at SPF 15:

L'Occitane Summer Items02The scent is light, floral and crisp, which is exactly what I want in a summer scent. I’ve purchased other body oils from L’Occitane’s summer releases. This one is quite light and easy to use, I like the spray bottle very much.

L'Occitane Summer Items06

Thoughtfully, there a spray top and plastic bottle that can be tossed into a bag without fear of spillage or breakage.

L'Occitane Summer Items08

This applies as a light transparent oil, and leaves skin glowing. This is designed for the body, not the face.

L'Occitane Summer Items09

The Jenipapo Face Veil SPF 30 is a light, non-greasy sunscreen for the face. Although I’m more of an SPF 50-type, I enjoyed using this during runs to the gym or under foundation on an in-the-office day. The light, refreshing scent fades after about 1/2 hour, and I assure you it didn’t smell a bit like sunscreen. Instead, it was crisp, light, natural and refreshing

L'Occitane Summer Items16The texture is light and thin (no breakouts!). Loved it.

L'Occitane Summer Items15

The other line is based on the Brazilian Vitória-Régia flower.

Vitoria RegiaThe Vitoria Regia line includes:

· Day Flower Eau de Cologne ($55)
· Day Flower Shower Gel ($20)
· Day Flower Body Lotion ($25)
· Day Flower Soap ($7)
· Night Flower Eau de Cologne: ($55)
· Night Flower Soap ($7)
· Night Flower Petal Soap ($8)

Overall, L’Occitane au Brésil collection another lovely set of summer releases. Natural luxury–what could be better? Well worth a look.

amazonia

These products were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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May 292014
 

 

Zelens Sunscreen1aThe geniuses at Zelens have just released a new skincare-savvy sunscreen, the Zelens Daily Defence Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF30 ($65/1.70 oz). Now that Memorial Day is officially behind us, I hope that you are taking your sun protection very seriously. This offering from Zelens combines a number of lovely qualities that makes it easy–actually, make that quite pleasant–to add sun protection to your morning routine.

Zelens Sunscreen2This sunscreen was developed by Dr. Marko Lens (you can read his interview with A Model Recommends here), who included antioxidants in the formula to reduce free radical formation, helps prevent sun damage, reinforce the skin’s natural barrier and combat the signs of premature skin aging. Zelens Daily Defence also includes hyaluronic acid for moisture and is oil free.

Zelens Sunscreen5

The feel is a touch moisturizing without any greasy feel–like velvet. It wears well under makeup, giving me a very smooth, non-drying surface that did not seem to interfere with my foundation’s longevity. There is a scent (slightly sunscreen-ish) that fades after about an hour. The product is supposed to be used as the last step in your skincare, either alone or just before applying foundation.

Zelens Sunscreen7Unlike some of my stronger sunscreens, the Zelens Daily Defence sinks right into my skin. In the above picture, a few more swirls and the left blended portion would be invisible. According to the line, the formula uses:

…organic UV filters are encapsulated in silica-based capsules, which are invisible in formulation and on the skin. . . . Encapsulated filters have a low chemical load since the encapsulation process prevents direct skin contact (encapsulated organic filters remain on top of the skin surface) resulting in a reduced dermal up-take and low allergy potential.

Imudilin®
A pseudodipetide with cytokine-like activity. Stimulates the signal transduction pathway in the cells, improves the immune cells’ response and restores the immune defence.

Vitamin E
Zelens uses an ester of Vitamin E and acetic acid (tocopheryl acetate). It demonstrates strong antioxidant activity.

Vitamin C
Zelens uses a precursor of Vitamin C, tetra-isopalmitoyl ascorbic acid. This stable form of Vitamin C acts as a powerful antioxidant. Effectively suppresses UVB-induced skin pigmentation and helps lighten pigment spots and brightens the complexion. Stimulates collagen production.

Botanical Antioxidant Complex
A proprietary botanical complex containing active molecules from 6 different plants: Shiso (Perilla frutescens), Green tea (Camellia sinensis), Centella (Centella asiatica), Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), Pine (Pinus Strobus) and Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia). The following active molecules were extracted from the plants:
• Rosmarinic acid (from Shiso)
• Polyphenol Epigallocatechin gallate, EGCG (from Green tea)
• Cichoric acid (from Echinacea)
• Pycogenol (from Pine)
• Glycoside – Asiaticoside (from Centella)
• Flavonoids (from Ginkgo)
Botanical antioxidant complex demonstrates strong antioxidant activity to help reduce formation of hazardous free radicals and prevent oxidative damage.

Overall, I found Zelens Daily Defence to be a lovely skin screen. I’ve noticed that some sunscreens can make my skin dry, especially if used in dry mountain air and the formula is heavy on physical sunscreen ingredients. Zelens is a godsend for sunscreen in dry temperatures–I used this for a few days in the Lake Tahoe area this weekend, and loved it. I can’t wait to take it to the mountains of Colorado in a few weeks. It makes my skin feel moisturized, and look rested after the day. No breakouts. I’m excited to keep using the product to see whether there are any long-term results.

Available for order on Zelens website, and pre-order on Space.NK.  Here is the ingredient list from the Space.NK website:

AQUA (WATER), ETHYLHEXYL METHOXYCINNAMATE, ETHYLHEXYL SALICYLATE, CYCLOHEXASILOXANE, GLYCERIN, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, BUTYLOCTYL SALICYLATE, BUTYL METHOXYDIBENZOYLMETHANE, OCTOCRYLENE, ISONONYL ISONONANOATE, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, GLYCERYL STEARATE, PEG-100 STEARATE, DIMETHICONE, MICROCOCCUS LYSATE, PERILLA FRUTESCENS LEAF EXTRACT, SODIUM HYLAURONATE, GLUTAMYLAMIDOETHYL IMIDAZOLE, ASCORBYL TETRAISOPALMITATE, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, CENTELLA ASIATICA EXTRACT, ECHINACEA ANGUSTIFOLIA LEAF EXTRACT, GINKGO BILOBA LEAF EXTRACT, PINUS STROBUS BARK EXTRACT, LECITHIN, SILICA, HYDROGENATED PALM GLYCERIDES, CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, PVP, POTASSIUM CETYL PHOSPHATE, SORBITOL, CETEARETH-20, ACRYLATES/C10-30 ALKYL ACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER, SODIUM POLYACRYLATE, PARFUM (FRAGRANCE), LINALOOL, SORBIC ACID, CHLORPHENESIN, PHENOXYETHANOL, BHT, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, DISODIUM EDTA

This was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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May 062014
 

L'Occitane Mother's Day1This time of year can be delightful or stressful, depending on your ability to come up with quick and thoughtful gifts. Mother’s Day, co-worker’s birthdays, graduations, and end-of-the-year teacher gifts always have me heading for the L’Occitane boutique. There is something so elegant and beautifully done about these sets–they always seem appropriate, appreciated, and amazing.

L'Occitane Mother's Day2This particular set features a new scent from La Collection de Grasse—the L’Occitane Neroli and Orchidee Collector’s Set ($85). According to the line:

A tantalizing and lovely fragrance, Néroli & Orchidée Eau de Toilette blends the scents of two precious white flowers in a beautiful harmony. A heart of radiant neroli essence from the Mediterranean is blended with caressing white orchid absolute from Madagascar. Fruity bursts of orange and heart notes of peach complete the sensuous bouquet, which lingers delicately on the body throughout the day.

This is a gorgeous summer set, the scent is truly lovely. I cannot imagine anyone who wouldn’t be over the moon opening this box.

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It would cost $113 sold separately and includes:

-Néroli & Orchidée Eau de Toilette 2.5 fl.oz
-Néroli & Orchidée Shower Gel 6 fl.oz
-Néroli & Orchidée Body Milk 6 fl.oz

L'Occitane Mother's Day6

Liz and I love L’Occitane’s Lemon Verbena line beyond reason. This Verbena Body Salt Scrub is insanely good and worth every penny:

L'Occitanelemon2

There are also little goodies like the L’Occitane travel sizes, which are perfect to tuck into a larger gift (or for yourself as the summer travel season starts to get underway). Isn’t a little relaxing luxury a lovely way to go by planes, trains, and automobiles?

L'Occitane Mother's Day8

L’Occitane has a few more hours of an overnight shipping deal with the code “Overnight” (expires tonight, May 6).  Alternatively, you can get a little treat set for $20 with any $45 purchase and the codes NEROLIPURPLE or NEROLIPINK.

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Bottom line: Highly recommended and good to the last drop.

The L’Occitane Neroli and Orchidee Collector’s Set and Lavande Bath Gel were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

 

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Apr 132014
 

Coconut Oil1

Ever since Into the Gloss did a post on oil-pulling, the media has been buzzing about this ancient technique. Essentially, one holds an oil in the mouth for about 2-3 minutes (some say up to 20 minutes). Just like using an oil cleanser, the teeth and gums are cleansed. Others claim that this technique actually reduces plaque, whitens teeth, and reduces bacteria in the mouth.  Liz and I set to investigate.

Coconut Oil3

The braver of the two of us (Liz) started about a week ago using coconut oil. After seeing her results after only a week, I decided to jump in. I’d heard that coconut and sesame oils tasted the least awful, so I picked up a jar of coconut oil at Whole Foods ($11) to try it. As you likely know, it’s solid at room temperature. I dig a tiny bit out with a spoon, hold it in my mouth until it melts, and hold it there while I check my email. I’ve gone about three minutes to a maximum of ten. I promise:  It doesn’t taste completely terrible at all (unless you hate coconut).

My results after a week of use:

  • My teeth are much whiter.
  • I like these results without the use of harsh peroxides or other chemicals that seems to strip off staining. Some make my teeth very sensitive. Instead, the oil seems to act a lot like an oil cleanser by washing. I’m not having any sensitivity.
  • There is definitely less plaque, although I’ll always floss like a good girl.
  • Bonus points for dabbing some of the coconut oil on the ends of my hair and pinning it up before my morning shower. The oil is a nice deep conditioner.

Overall, not bad for 11 bucks. So long as I remember to use this consistently, I’m looking forward to having whiter, healthier teeth using this method.

 

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Apr 132014
 

It’s hard for me to believe that I used to use harsh products to tackle clogged pores and acne. Are there people who don’t have their Sea Breeze regrets? I envy them. I used to wonder why my skin seemed even oilier when cleansers and toners were supposed to help. Little did I realize that my skin was over-producing oil because I was using products far too harsh for my skin.

Amarate daily exfoliator

Recently, I was sent two products that have helped me to cleanse my skin effectively without the harshness. One is Amarte Daily Exfolipowder ($35/2.8 oz.), which is powder crystals that turn into a cleansing paste when combined with water.

amarate cleanswer

According to the company:

Daily ExfoliPowder® helps you discover your true beauty with a refined, plant seed-based exfoliant that removes dry skin and reveals the smooth, radiant face beneath. This Wonder Wash is delicate enough for daily use so you can always be your spectacular self.

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I was surprised to find that this gentle cleansing powder seemed to remove all of my makeup. It felt as gentle as a cleanser as I’ve ever used. Once I mixed the powder with water, there was no scratchiness, stinging, or roughness.

Amarate powder cleanser 4

I also love fact that a powder can be packed for travel, as this cleanser doesn’t start out as a liquid. Overall, thumbs up on this one.

seba 3

The other item is Sebamed Deep Cleansing Toner ($14/5 ounces). Although this does contain alcohol as a second ingredient, the product advertises a 5.5 ph. It feels as comfortable as water, and there is no stinging.

seba md 1

According to the line, the product “offers antibacterial action and is therefore extremely effective in preventing the developement of pimples. Panthenol encourages skin regeneration and hamamelis soothes it. Silk proteins and allantoin act as moisturizers.” Overall, this is a rather nice toner that feels gentle and seems effective.

Ingredients for Amarte Daily Exfoliopowder:  water, Zea mays (corn) starch, sodium cocoyl isethionate, sodium lauroyl aspartate, titanium dioxide, Phaseolus radiatus seed extract, Oryza sativa (rice) bran extract, Triticum vulgare (wheat) bran extract, Salix alba (willow) bark extract, Pinus densiflora (pine) extract, pearl powder, arbutin, genistein, elemental sulfur, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, sodium palmitate, phenoxyethanol
Fragrance: summer fruit

Ingredients for Sebamed Facial Toner: Water, Alcohol, Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Polysorbate 20, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Lactate, Allantoin, Hammamelis virginiana bark/leaf/twig extract, Hydrolyzed Silk, Cucumis sativus fruit extract, Hydroxypropyl Oxidized Starch PG-Trimonium Chloride, Urea, Caramel, Fragrance (Parfum), Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Levulinic Acid, p-Anisic Acid, Cl 42090.

These products were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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