Thursday, May 30, 2013

Spring Cleaning: Purify Pores & Revive Lifeless Skin with Facial Toners, Scrubs & Washes

Cardboard chaos.

As a beauty blogger, dozens of product samples arrive at my home almost on a daily basis. After I open the packages, the cardboard containers get stacked and stored in the basement. However, it doesn't take long before I feel like I'm buried in boxes. In fact, I recently decided enough was enough. 

That's when Operation Spring Cleaning commenced. This annual ritual serves as an opportunity to discard the old and freshen up with the new. In this case, I cleared out the cardboard chaos (see pics below) and created lots of needed uncluttered space. 

The removal process brought about two benefits. It helped refresh the basement and brighten my outlook. The same can also be said about cleansing rituals for your skin--especially the face. Sloughing dead skin stimulates cellular turnover, deep cleans pores and restores lost radiance.

Before summer arrives next month, we'd like to present 12 top facial toners, scrubs and washes to help you jump-start a spring cleaning ritual for your skin. They're designed to banish blemishes, and excess dirt and debris, and bring about a vibrant glow to your complexion. 

Shine on beautynistas!

Lotsa boxes await their fate.

Flattened and ready to be recycled.

SHINE: Abrioné by VB Cosmetics Microdermabrasion Facial Scrub. BEAUTY: Gently scrub, resurface and soften your skin with sea kelp extract, grapefruit and lavender oils, and aloe vera gel. BEACON: No animal testing.

SHINE: CellCeuticals NeoCell Micro-Resurfacing Skin Treatment. BEAUTY: Pineapple and papaya extracts, and volcanic micro-minerals help promote cell renewal and smooth the skin for a more radiant appearance. BEACONNo animal testing and vegan. Free of artificial colorants and fragrances, sodium lauryl sulfate, phthalates and parabens.

SHINE: Éminence Organic Skin Care Stone Crop Gel Wash. BEAUTY: Diminish blotchiness and blemishes with stone crop plant and juice, and shea butter. BEACON: No animal testing. The company plants one tree for each product sold through its Forests For the Future program.

SHINE: Gingi Make-Up Removal Clarifying Cleanser. BEAUTY: Aloe vera gel, seaweed algae extract and sweet almond oil help to deep clean your skin and remove cosmetics without the usual drying effects. BEACON: No animal testing.

SHINE: Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment. BEAUTY: For a smoother and softer complexion, this treatment gently polishes your skin with lactic acid, papaya, pineapple and pumpkin extracts, and aloe vera leaf juice. BEACON: No animal testing.

SHINE: Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser. BEAUTY: Glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids dissolve dry surface cells to minimize dull skin and maximize radiance. BEACON: No animal testing.

SHINE: Nature Pure Labs Brightening Facial Fruit Wash. BEAUTY: Rejuvenate your skin by removing residue and impurities with salicylic acid, and aloe vera leaf, lemon peel and apple fruit extracts. BEACONNo animal testing. Free of parabens, and artificial colors and fragrances. 

SHINE: Pevonia Botanica Ligne Speciale Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser. BEAUTY: Rose flower and safflower seed oils, and jojoba and horse chestnut seed extracts help tame toxins and gently polish your face without irritating the skin. BEACON: No animal testing. Supports the Beauty Bus Foundation.

SHINE: Refineé Micro-Derma Peel. BEAUTY: Stimulate your skin's renewal process by deep cleaning your pores with aloe vera extract, vitamins A, C and E, and green tea extract. BEACONNo animal testing. Supports the Noreen Fraser Foundation and Look Good...Feel Better.

SHINE: Sanitas Lactic Cleanser. BEAUTY: Lactic and hyaluronic acids, vitamin C and citrus oil help diminish discoloration and hyperpigmentation, and step up skin's suppleness. BEACON: Contains no parabens or preservatives. Supports the Cinderella Foundation

SHINE: Somme Institute Transport. BEAUTY: These soft cotton pads unclog blocked pores and exfoliate dead skin cells with green tea and aloe vera leaf extracts, vitamin E, and orange and lime fruit extracts. BEACON: Free of parabens.

SHINE: Vie Collection Smoothing Toning Lotion. BEAUTY: Lactic and hyaluronic acids, castor oil and vitamin E maximize cell renewal and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. BEACON: No animal testing.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Stop & Smell the Roses: Refresh Your Skin & Soul During National Meditation Month

Photo by Tevaprapas Makklay

Say it low and slow..."Ommm." Feel the healing vibrational energy?

The sacred seismic chant of om helps you gently reverberate your way into a soulful meditative state. This single-syllable mantra comes in handy this month as May marks National Meditation Month. The celebration encourages us to still our busy lives through relaxation, which helps restore a sense of inner peace and balance--and ultimately improves our overall health. 

Photo by Hamachidori

You don't need to get into a sitting lotus position to achieve a tranquil state of mind. Floral aromatherapy possesses the power to place you in the proper meditative mood. Skincare products that contain rose petal water, oil or extract refresh not only your skin, but your soul as well. Call it a transformational twofer!

So don't forget to stop and smell the roses this month. And, while you're at it, check out these ahh-mazing flower power products. 

SHINE: Fleur's Rose-Jasmine Shower Gel. BEAUTY: Jasmine floral water and Moroccan rose petal extract soothe and soften your skin, while also allowing you to enjoy an aromatherapeutic cleansing experience. BEACON: No animal testing and vegan. Free of fragrances, dyes, sulfates, petrolatum, alcohol, mineral oil and parabens.

SHINE: Julie Hewett Pure Persian Rose Water. BEAUTY: Set your makeup, rehydrate your face and renew your skin with pure Persian rose water. BEACON: No animal testing.

SHINE: LATHER Bulgarian Rose Phyto-Nutrient Elixir. BEAUTY: Bulgarian rose water, aloe vera leaf juice and red algae give you and your skin revitalizing results. BEACON: No animal testing. Free of sulfates and parabens. 

SHINE: Pevonia Botanica Ligne Rose RS2 Gentle Cleanser and Gentle Lotion. BEAUTY: Rose flower oil, and green tea and chamomile extracts help remove impurities, and calm rosacea and sensitive skin types. BEACON: No animal testing. Supports the Beauty Bus Foundation.

SHINE: Phytomer Rosée Visage Toning Cleansing Lotion. BEAUTY: Remove makeup, cleanse and tone your skin, and balance pH levels with Sorenia, which is aromatic marine water, rose flower water and Oligomer, which is freeze-dried seawater. BEACON: No animal testing.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Spring SPF: Make the Most of Community Giving & National Skin Cancer Awareness Month

The tangerine grove at E. Waldo Ward & Son.

Citrus fruit makes me smileespecially oranges and tangerines. These sweet spheres of succulence pack a lot of flavor, nutrition and healing health benefits into each bite. So imagine my delight when I discovered an organization that recruits volunteers to harvest citrus fruit for needy community members. 

Los Angeles-based Food Forward engages in "fruitanthropy" to pick, donate and distribute produce for humanitarian purposes. Volunteers rescue excess fruit, such as oranges, grapefruits and tangerines, that would otherwise go to waste from the properties of local homeowners. The produce then gets distributed to food banks and homeless shelters in the Southern California area. Since its founding in 2009, the grassroots organization has harvested almost 1.5 million pounds of fruit.

I recently participated in a weekend pick at E. Waldo Ward & Son in Sierra Madre, Calif., which produces marmalades, jams, jellies and marinades from fruit trees located on the 30-acre property. The ranch was originally built in the late 1800s by Edwin Waldo Ward Sr. to fulfill his dream of making his own English-style marmalades. The business is now run by Ward's grandson and great-grandson, and they generously donated the fruit from one of their abundant tangerine groves to Food Forward. The harvest yielded approximately 1,200 pounds (see pics below).

Outdoor activity requires lots of sun protection. As May marks National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, we've compiled the latest spring SPF sensations. They're designed to shield your skin from the harsh rays of the sun and provide transparent application while also helping your complexion maintain a youthful glow. Plus, as an added benefit, the manufacturers follow no animal testing practices.

When you give back to your community, you get so much more in return. The same can be said about the health of your skin. If you give it the products it needs for overall well-being, you'll see radiant results for years to come.

Volunteers wear large shoulder satchels to temporarily store the tangerines, which ultimately speeds the picking process.

 Clipping the tangerines with garden sheers, rather than pulling them from the tree, helps save the integrity of the fruit.

Ladders allow volunteers to retrieve more fruit from the tops of the trees.

Once the fruit comes off the tree, the stems and leaves need to be trimmed.

The boxes fill up quickly with ripe fruit.

Volunteers then load up the tangerines, so they can be transported to local homeless shelters and food banks.

Group pic of our group pick.


SHINE: CellCeuticals PhotoDefense Daily Skin Protector SPF 55+. BEAUTY: Protect and pamper your skin with active ingredients, such as avobenzone and oxybenzone, and moisturizing fruit extracts, such as pear and pumpkin. BEACON: No animal testing and vegan. Contains no artificial colorants or fragrances, sodium lauryl sulfates, phthalates or parabens.

SHINE: Coola Mineral Sunscreen Rose Essence Moisturizer SPF 20. BEAUTY: Titanium dioxide, coriander and acai fruit oils, and cucumber fruit extract minimize sun damage and early signs of aging. BEACON: No animal testing. Free of paba, parabens, petroleum and phthalates. Supports Save Our Seas.

SHINE: IT Cosmetics Color Correcting Cream SPF 50+. BEAUTY: This multitasking moisturizer evens your skin tone and helps you steer clear of sun damage with titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and grape and pomegranate seed oils. BEACON: No animal testing. Paraben and fragrance free. Supports Look Good...Feel Better.

SHINE: Juice Beauty SPF 30 Oil-Free Moisturizer. BEAUTY: Zinc oxide, hyaluronic acid, and aloe, apple, pomegranate and white grape juices soothe, shield and soften skin. BEACON: USDA Organic certified, vegan and no animal testing. Free of parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, pesticides, artificial dyes and synthetic fragrances.

SHINE: Murad Essential-C Sun Balm SPF 35 | PA+++. BEAUTY: Defend your skin from dehydration and damaging UVA and UVB rays with avobenzone, tangerine peel oil, sweet almond oil, vitamins A, C and E, and broccoli extract. BEACON: No animal testing.

SHINE: Pevonia Botanica Ligne Soleil Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 30. BEAUTY: Nourish your skin and nullify environmental effects with titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, vitamins C and E, and green tea and aloe vera leaf extracts. BEACON: No animal testing. Supports the Beauty Bus Foundation.

SHINE: Prana SpaCeuticals Reflect SPF 45. BEAUTY: Zinc oxide, hyaluronic acid, sesame seed oil extract, and vitamins C and E safeguard and soften your skin. BEACON: No animal testing. Free of parabens and SLS.

SHINE: Refineé Daily Defense Cream SPF 30. BEAUTY: Prevent sunburn and signs of premature aging with titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, aloe vera leaf juice powder, green tea extract and vitamin E. BEACON: No animal testing.

 SHINE: Skin Authority Sunscreen Moisturizer SPF 30. BEAUTY: Avobenzone, oxybenzone, algae extract, vitamin E and aloe vera leaf juice help hydrate, create a protective barrier and control blotchy skin tone. BEACON: No animal testing. Supports Look Good...Feel Better.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Glow Gift Guide: Must-Have Mother's Day Skincare Sets & Kits

Photo by Gareth Simpson  

Mother's Day arrives on Sunday. This means you've got less than seven days to pick out one or more gifts for the special ladies in your life--your mom, mother-in-law and/or maternal mentor.   

No need to stress. We've compiled a Glow Gift Guide of skin/body care sets and kits. These serums, SPFs, eye creams and lotions serve to protect, nourish, heal and soothe--all the things moms typically do for us. They also help her maintain a youthful appearance. 

There's no better way to say thank you than with skin care. We hope you agree. Have a Happy Mother's Day!

SHINE: Apothederm Anti-Aging Skin Care System 4-Piece Kit (Firming Serum, Hydrating Eye Cream, Moisturizing Cream and Moisturizing Cleanser). BEAUTY: Quench thirsty skin, smooth fine lines and wrinkles, and reduce visible signs of aging. BEACON: No animal testing. Free of parabens, phthalates and fragrances.

SHINE: Caldrea Coconut Fig Leaf Body Wash and Body Lotion. BEAUTY: Reawaken radiant skin with chia seed oil and fig fruit extract. BEACON: Free of parabens and phthalates.  

SHINE: Gingi Eye Treatment Gift Box (Instant Eye Lift Mask and Instant Eye Lift Cream). BEAUTY: These eye care essentials contain hyaluronic acid and cucumber extract, as well as aloe vera gel and shea butter, to maximize elasticity, and minimize puffiness and fine lines. BEACON: No animal testing.

SHINE: Malie Organics Anti-Aging Facial Set (Anti-Aging Firming Elasticity Cream and Anti-Aging Cream Cleanser). BEAUTY: Hawaiian coffee fruit extract helps repair and revitalize skin to reveal a natural glow. BEACONNo animal testing and vegan. Free of petroleum, sulfates and parabens.

SHINE: Pevonia Botanica Myoxy Caviar To Go Timeless Renewal (Timeless Balm Cleanser, Timeless Repair Lotion and Timeless Repair Cream). BEAUTY: Promote regeneration, restoration and age-defying results with this travel-size trio. BEACON: No animal testing. Supports the Beauty Bus Foundation.

SHINE: Prana SpaCeuticals Reishi Mushroom Serum and Reishi Mushroom Shield SPF 45. BEAUTY: This dynamic duo protects your skin against sun damage, and prompts cellular vitality and longevity. BEACONNo animal testing. Free of parabens and SLS.

SHINE: Skin Authority Bright Skin Duo with Gift Travel Tote (Age Defying Moisturizer SPF 18 and Brightening Serum). BEAUTY: Lock in luminosity, shield skin and diminish existing discoloration. BEACON: No animal testing. Supports Look Good...Feel Better.

SHINE: vbeauté Eye Never Eye Creme, Buying Time Everyday Creme and Undercover Agent Anti-Wrinkle Protecting Serum. BEAUTY: Utilizes Swiss Alpine Rose Botanical Technology to boost hydration levels and counteract the effects of aging. BEACON: Contains no parabens, fragrances, gluten, oats or nuts. 

SHINE: VenEffect Anti-Aging Lip Treatment, Firming Neck & Décolleté Creme and Anti-Aging Eye Treatment. BEAUTY: Smooth, soften and supersize the suppleness of your lips, eye area and neck/décolleté with grape and grapefruit seed extracts, and peptides. BEACON: Contains no parabens.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Support National Be Kind to Animals Week with Cruelty-Free Cosmetics

Photo by Michael Day

Can a zebra change its stripes?

Figuratively, it's now happening in the beauty industry. After more than 20 years of campaigning by ethical retailers and organizations, the European Union recently banned the sale of cosmetics and personal-care products that have been tested on animals. The union includes 27 member nations, which represent a major portion of the beauty market.

“This is a great opportunity for Europe to set an example of responsible innovation in cosmetics without any compromise on consumer safety,” said Tonio Borg, the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Affairs, in a statement last March. 

Although opponents of animal testing hail the move as an historic event, no ban exists in the United States. Given the anti-regulation climate on this side of the pond, legislation seems highly unlikely. However, the European ban sends a strong message worldwide in support of cruelty-free initiatives, and many makeup manufacturers voluntarily institute no animal testing policies.

May 5-11 marks National Be Kind to Animals Week, which was started by the American Humane Association (AHA) in 1915. The annual event commemorates the role animals play in our lives and promotes ways to continue to treat them humanely. The AHA also encourages people to appreciate wildlife, report animal abuse, be a responsible pet owner, and adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue.

In honor of National Be Kind to Animals Week, we have assembled our favorite cruelty-free cosmetics. They not only enhance your look, but they also change your outlook about how you can make a difference as a compassionate consumer by purchasing products with no animal testing. 

These beauty items have definitely earned their stripes. Enjoy!

SHINE: Emani Crushed Minerals Color Dust (Goldfinger). BEAUTY: You're as good as gold since this pigment can go on sheer or be applied with a wet brush for a more intense finish. BEACON: Vegan and no animal testing. Contains no parabens, synthetic fragrances, petrochemicals, FD&C dyes, glutens or talc.

SHINE: Éminence Organic Skin Care Kiss Lip Gloss (Plum Kiss). BEAUTY: Shimmer your smooch with a soft mauve shade. BEACON: No animal testing. The company plants one tree for each product sold.

SHINE: IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness. BEAUTY: This correcting cream camouflages redness from rosacea, broken capillaries and blemished/irritated skin to promote a flawless finish. BEACON: No animal testing. Paraben and fragrance free. Supports Look Good...Feel Better.

SHINE: Jesse's Girl Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner. BEAUTY: A Japanese calligraphy-style brush allows you to define your eyes with precision application. BEACONNo animal testing.

SHINE: (Clockwise from the top) Mineral Fusion Sheer Tint Foundation (Neutral), Pressed Powder Foundation (Olive 1), Loose Powder Foundation (Cool 2) and Concealer Duo (Warm). BEAUTY: Create a seamless smoothness and an even skin tone. BEACON: No animal testing. Free of gluten, parabens, SLS, phthalates, artificial colors and synthetic fragrances. Supports the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

SHINE: Purely Pro Cosmetics Blush (Orgasmic) and Gel Liner Pencil (Mallard Green). BEAUTY: Enhance your cheekbones and eyes with colors that transition well from day to evening. BEACONNo animal testing. Supports Dress for Success

SHINE: RevitaLash Volumizing Mascara (Raven) and Raven 12-hour Eyeliner (Raven). BEAUTY: Dramatic duo--A high-performance formula finish for your lashes and a retractable pencil with the precision of a liquid liner for the edges of your eyes. BEACON: No animal testing. Supports Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure and Cancer and Careers.

SHINE: Sormé Treatment Cosmetics Mineral Botanicals Eye Color (Amethyst) and Extreme Volumizing Mascara (Black). BEAUTY: Glam up your glance with lush lashes and luscious lids. BEACONNo animal testing. Supports the Noreen Fraser Foundation and Look Good...Feel Better.

SHINE: VMV Hypoallergenics Two True Hues Skintelligent Eyeshadow Duo (Rule of Plum). BEAUTY: Enjoy a concentrated pop of pigment for your peepers. BEACONNo animal testing. Free of fragrances, phthalates, dyes and parabens. Supports The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

SHINE: Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics Ultimate Concealer (Deep). BEAUTY: This creamy corrector banishes blemishes and diminishes dark circles. BEACONNo animal testing. Contains no alcohol, artificial fragrances and dyes, parabens, petroleum, mineral oil or talc. 
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