Christmas Gift Guide

Christmas Gift Guide

     It’s that time of year again, and I decided to make a Christmas Gift Guide as I have found them to very helpful.  I included a few items that are suitable for both genders and encompass a variety of budgets.

     The first should come as no surprise due to my exuberant love of Zoya! I just love the idea of receiving one of these beautifully curated holiday boxed trios.  Not only is Zoya non-toxic, but it also wears better than any I have ever tried before. With the EWG announcing that yet another nail polish ingredient has been linked to endocrine disruption, Zoya remains a great option as it does not include TPHP. The set sells for $25 which is a wonderful deal for full sized nail polishes.

     The second item is my all time favorite toner, the Devita’s Moroccan Rose Facial Toner. Now, toner may seem to be an odd gift, but for someone with whom you are very close with and has a love for luxurious skincare products, it may be just the perfect gift. It comes beautifully packaged in a box and glass bottle, which makes the price of nearly $23 totally worth it.

     My husband bought me this 5mm Manduka LiveON Matt for my birthday this year and I truly adore it. It is made from 100% recyclable material, and when you are done with it can send it back to be recycled. It retails for $58 but the 3mm one is on sale for only $36!

     The Foreo Luna Mini is my go to skin cleansing devise. I literally threw out my Clarasonic when I received this as a gift from my husband for Christmas last year.  I have only charged it 2 times since I first opened it 11 months ago. You never need any replacement heads, so even with the high price of $139, it is very economical. They have larger more skin type tailored version for $199.

     Another perfect gift for a dear friend with a skincare fetish is Worker B’s Honey Wash.  I originally resisted purchasing this because I thought that because the main ingredients are raw honey and kukui nut oil which I already have, I could just make it myself. And I tried, but when I received a free sample there was no comparison.  It retails for $36.

     Lastly, the GRID Foam Roller is actually not something I can personally recommend as I find it too hard, large, and difficult to use. So why is it on this list?! Because my husband loves it.  Literally every single night this bad boy comes out and my husband is able to get a deep massage that I am not strong enough to do. So if you have a man in your life who likes deep massages, for $65, you might just be able to hit the spot.

Honey Cleanser

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I recently had the opportunity to try a raw honey facial cleanser by Worker B.  I have been wanting to try a cleansing mud for a while but many of them are very expensive.  This one however meets my ingredient requirements and doesn’t break the bank.  I have cleansed with raw honey before , but this was an entirely different experience.

This cleanser has a very delightful understated aroma.  The consistency is not like using pure raw honey. This is because of the unique formula including skincare oils.  This honey wash seems to melt onto your skin.  It is an effective cleanser and has been quite good at treating my hormonal outbreaks.

It has the best of both worlds of honey cleansing and oil cleansing.  It removes more easily than oil cleansing.  My previous experience with honey cleansing was a mixed mag. Just using raw honey was difficult because of the sticky consistency.   I also would experience a breakout after consistent use for a couple of weeks.

I have not used this product consistently so please take note.  I use it for about a week a month during which I would normally breakout from my monthly cycle.  I highly recommend the “normal to dry” formula due to it containing non comedogenic oils that are perfect for acneic skin.

Ingredients: Raw Honey, Organic oils of Rosehip Seed, Kukui Nut and Sesame Seed, Worker B Propolizer Tincture and Organic Elderberry Extract

Available at: http://www.worker-b.com/shop/skincare/raw-honey-face-wash-normal-dry-skin/

Devita Moroccan Rose Toner

 

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    I have previously posted about S.W. Basics toner and while I still love it, it was time to try something new. Because I only oil cleanse and moisturize, I don’t get to experiment with new cleansers and moisturizer. Toners, and such are the only products I can switch up and try out new brands.  When I discovered this toner I was a bit hesitant over the price ($17 on Vitacost).

     I read multiple reviews and finally decided to give it a go.  Immediately upon opening it I hated it. The rose smell was so strong! I wanted to return it. I decided to give it a go because my skin was badly broken out and I wanted to see what it could do. Within a couple days by skin was noticeably clearer and very soft. I also noticed that I hadn’t been bothered by the smell either.

     So I kept it and it has been a  few months now. My skin is still soft, and has experienced less breakouts. I do not mind the strong rose smell anymore. It has lasted quiet well and proved its high price. I am only about a 1/5 of the way through the bottle and think it will last me the rest of the year at this rate.


Ingredients:

Aloe barbadensis* (aloe vera gel), hamamelis virginiana distillate (witch hazel) extract, lactic acid (natural fruit acid), maleic acid (natural fruit acid), glycolic acid (natural fruit acid), camellia acid (Japanese green tea) leaf extract, allantoin, rosa centifolia (rose) essential oil, salvia officinalis (sage) essential oil, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) essential oil, anthemis nobilis (chamomile) flower essential oil.


     As you can see, it is non-comdogenic. There are anti-microbial essential oils, acids for resurfacing, nourishing and moisturizing ingredients aloe vera, and witch hazel extract to minimize pores.  If these ingredients interest you , you may want to give it a try. Let me know if you have tried it or the other scent (cucumber) and what your thoughts are on them. Also, let me know if there are any other toners you love.

Foreo Luna Mini

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     I began researching this product as soon as I discovered its existence last fall. By the time November came around I was convinced I wanted it and began dropping hints to my husband for a Christmas gift.  Of course I was very surprised that I actually received it because it can be hard for a man justifying spending so much on a skincare tool, especially after all of the money I wasted on the Clarisonic.

     I was elated when I opened it but a little nervous that it would turn out to be another waste. Fortunately, he got it on sale on Black Friday and that helped to alleviate some of my apprehension.  So I have been using it consistently for 4 months. I love so many aspects of it, I need to just list them out for you:

1)  There are no upkeep fees, like purchasing replacement brush heads with the Clarasonic. It is 1 and done!

2)  I charged it Christmas Day from a laptop with a USB cable and haven’t charged it since even though I use it twice a day!

3) It is waterproof so I keep it and use it in the shower.

4) It is silicone, so it is super easy to clean.

5) It works!  My skin has significantly improved since using it.  And it is very comfortable to use.

6) Last but not least, it is simply a stunning device. From the colors to the simple packaging, it is just a well thought out product.

     So there you have it! Let me know if you are interested in trying it, or already have one and what your experience has been. I would love to hear from you!

Skin Care Oils

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     So far I have been oil cleansing on and off for about 2 years now. I have tried other methods in between but nothing seems to work as well for me long term. Sometimes I still mix it up by skipping it a couple days and a scrub, or mask instead. The most important part of oil cleansing is probably choosing the right oil for you. I already did a post about the benefits of oil cleansing but this post should help you to choose an oil should you decide to join the pack.

     The first step is to consider your skin type. If you are acneic like I am, you will want to choose one that is non-comedogenic. People do this by looking up oils with a low comedogenic rating.  I however have found that some of these assigned ratings are just not accurate.  Instead, becoming a  little  bio-chemically savvy is probably your best way to go.  Yes it takes a little effort, but in the end you will have more knowledge to make better decisions for your skincare needs.  Please refer to my post on fatty acids if you need a bit of a bio-chem refresher.  By looking at the breakdown of different oils, you will be able to take many different factors, and find an oil that meets all of your requirements.

     For example, if you look up the fatty acid profile of a specific oil, you can see what fatty acids and their percentages make up the oil. You will want to look for ones that have shorter chains, and unsaturated fats.  The longer chain oils can get stuck in the pores, and the saturated varieties are rigid and can also get stuck. Coconut oil is made up of primarily these types of fatty acids in the form of Palmitic and Stearic Acids.  That is why I would never recommend coconut oil to someone with acne problems.  Regardless, I wouldn’t recommend anyone without acne problems to even chance it with oils high in these acids.

     Another way to look at it even further is to look at the balance between Oleic and Linoleic fatty acids. If you have acneic skin, it tends to be lacking in Linoleic acids and excessive in Oleic acids. You can help balance this out by choosing oils that have higher levels of Linoleic than Oleic fatty acids. If you do not have acne problems, you can use a balanced oil, meaning the ratio of oleic to linoleic is relatively equal.

     Another factor to consider is the pH of the oil. Choosing an oil with a pH that is relatively close to what is ideal for your skin will help to not disturb the acid mantle balance.  Most people know that the ideal for skin is a pH of 5.5.  However, research has demonstrated that its natural state is actually below 5, around 4.7 to be exact.  Researchers have found that this is actually a healthier level for the skin, and it helps to preserve beneficial bacteria on the skin. Choosing an oil with a pH near to 4.7 will be another way to narrow down your oil options.

     Another way to investigate an oil is to look at it’s phytochemical properties.  Does it have exceptionally high levels of Vitamin E or A?  These components can be pore clogging and irritating to those with sensitive or acneic skin. Is your skin neither of those too and is instead aging? Perhaps an oil high in these components would be a good option for your to nourish your skin and promote rapid cell turnover.

     There are a few other factors that can go into choosing your oil. First, you want it to be preferably organic, cold-pressed, non-deodorized, and packaged in a glass amber bottle to preserve the integrity of the oil. An oil that meets these requirements will not have to have preservatives added to it, unless it is a delicate oil and has a short shelf life naturally.  Choosing an oil with a longer shelf life is preferable as then it will need a preservative and should be kept in the refrigerator.

     So what is the holy grail of skincare oils?   For me it is Kukui Nut Oil. I have tried it from both Beauty Oils and Russel Organics. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a few things to get an oil you really want. For example, Beauty Oils has cold-pressed, 100% pure Kukui Nut oil, non-deodorized, but it is not organic and is in a plastic amber bottle. Russel Organics sells what is presumably organic pure 100% pure Kukui Nut oil in a glass amber bottle for 2x’s the price.

     So, let me know what skincare oils work for you. One that I have wanted to try for a body oil is Jojoba. Supposedly it’s unique fatty acids mimic sebum and are easily absorbed and non-pore clogging. Perhaps as I try new oils, I will write another post reviewing different oils. Until then, please let me know about what oils you use, or are interested in.  A great resource to use when researching oils is Mountain Rose Herbs, as they provide the pH, and fatty acid profiles for many oils.