To A Brand New World

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Beauty

Hello!

You may have noticed me going into a brief hiatus recently and that is because I was working on something new! I have decided to move from WordPress.com to a brand-new website at Squarespace. It’s bright, shiny, and I love it. There are exciting things happening on the new site and I can’t wait to share with you all.

Thank you so much for following me and I sincerely hope you will follow and subscribe to my new website!

Find me here: naturallymarcy.net.

Warmly,

Marcella

Brooklyn Brand Spotlight: skinnyskinny organics

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Beauty / Brooklyn Brand Spotlight

One of my favorite aspects of the Brooklyn-made movement is the focus on active and effective ingredients. Yes, it matters that packaging is pretty and attractive, but its the quality ingredients and formula that matter more. Certified organic, fair trade, cold-pressed, extra-virgin, wild-crafted – these terms are something I look for in the ingredient lists of my skincare products. I’m incredibly excited to feature skinnyskinny as a Brooklyn brand that you need to know about!

I believe skinny skinny has one of the most unique approaches to natural skincare. They go beyond the normal ingredients you usually see in skincare (essential oils, butters, hydrosols) and include herbal extracts in their products. I was raised on nourishing bone broths, soups, and teas that were infused with potent herbal extracts from ingredients like ginseng and chrysanthemum that my Chinese grandmas (both maternal and paternal) made. So, I’m a huge believer of herbal extracts and their effects on the general chemistry of skincare products.

If chemistry, herbal extracts, and facial oils excite you, then take the plunge and read on about my experience with skinnyskinny products!

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(From Left to Right: Organic Anti-Acne Treatment, Organic Rosemary & Helichyrsum Toner, Organic Skin Serum for Oily/Congested Skin. These three products make up a collection perfect for oily/combination and blemish-prone skin types.)

The products:

1. Organic Skin Serum for Oily/Congested Skin ($76)

skinny skinny Organic Skin Serum Oily/Congested Skin

(The Organic Skin Serum for Oily/Congested Skin is a light-golden oil. It smells sweet and herbaceous, but not overpowering. It actually relaxes me when I put it on.)

Ingredients: Oils: Black Cumin Seed Oil*, Babassu Oil*, Evening Primrose Oil*, Extra-Virgin Pumpkin Seed Oil*, Flax Seed Oil*, Red Raspberry Seed Oil*, Baobab Oil*, Sunflower Seed Oil* Extracts of: Echinacea*, Ashwagantha*, Lotus Leaf*, Hydrangea*, Dandelion*, Amla*, Calendula*, Arnica*, Chrysanthemum*, Hibiscus, Kudzu Root*, Holy Basil Krishna*, Vanilla Bean*, Aloe*, Nettle* Essential Oils of: Bergamot*, Helichrysum, Lavender*, Rosemary*, Carrot Seed Oil, Palmarosa, Thyme*, Patchouli*, Cypress*, Naioli, Chamomile*, Tea Tree*, Lemongrass*. *Certified Organic

The Organic Skin Serum is packed with oils that are known to be effective for blemish-prone skin. Black cumin seed, pumpkin seed oil, and evening primrose oils are all high in linoleic fatty acids (some studies have shown that oils rich in linoleic fatty acids are very beneficial to acne-prone skin types). I had great experiences with black cumin seed oil on my skin so I was excited to see it being featured as the very first ingredient in the Organic Skin Serum. Some of the Ayurvedic herbal extracts in the serum (Ashwagantha, amla, and holy basil krishna) are things that I have never tried before.

*Excerpted from my exchange with skinnyskinny on the amazing ingredients of the Organic Skin Serum: herbal extracts “brings different capabilities to the serum. So for example, Chrysanthemum extract stimulates microcirculation, which aids in oxygen exchange. It is also enhances that moisture barrier and softens skin. It’s the chemistry of these combinations that make the serums so different from other face oils available, green or otherwise.”

I have been using this Organic Skin Serum daily for more than a month and I love the way it balances my problematic skin. I still have half a bottle left so I can’t say it reduced the appearance of my acne scars but this serum is great at minimizing the amount of breakouts I get. It’s a very lightweight serum that sinks in immediately and 3 drops usually does the trick for me. Sometimes though, the dry parts on my combination skin beg for more moisture so I add 1-2 drops of another serum.

The Organic Skin Serum is one of skinnyskinny’s more expensive products but I think the quality of the ingredients justifies the price. As a person who is constantly battling with blemishes and hormones, I like investing in a facial oil that works effectively over time to heal the skin. I can definitely see myself repurchasing this calming and nourishing facial oil.

 

2. Organic Anti-Acne Treatment ($24)

Organic Anti-Acne Treatment

(The Organic Anti-Acne Treatment is a colorless oil. It smells intensely of herbal essential oils!)

Ingredients: Babassu Oil*, Niaouli Oil*, Thyme Oil*, Tea Tree Oil*, Helichrysum Oil*, and Lavender Oil*. * certified organic

This anti-acne treatment is potent stuff. Every time I apply the treatment to a blemish that is close to my eyes, they water immediately. But, any and all the tears I shed are worth it because this treatment works! I find that my hormonal acne and stress-related blemishes heal in about 2-3 days if I’m diligent about applying the anti-acne treatment. It doesn’t zap the zit to death overnight but eventually the blemishes heal and there’s no sign of scarring!

The only thing I dislike about this product is the packaging. The anti-acne treatment has a rubber orifice reducer that dispenses limited drops of product. In theory that sounds okay and fine, but when you actually do try to shake out some of the product, the product leaks unhelpfully into the side of the top. I found the best way to apply the treatment is to take a Q-tip, place it snugly on the hole, shake vigorously until the Q-tip is saturated, and then apply it straight onto the blemish. Whew, it’s a lot of work to get the product out! I wish the treatment came with a regular dropper or at least a roller-ball applicator so that it’s an easier job. Despite the terribly annoying packaging, this anti-acne treatment is something I would still repurchase. I love the fact that its affordable and it heals my blemishes quickly and efficiently.

 

3. Organic Rosemary & Helichrysum Toner ($24)

Ingredients: Distilled Water, Rosemary Hydrosol*, Witch Hazel (wild-crafted, alcohol-free), helichrysum hydrosol*, apple cider vinegar*, essential oils of rosemary*, helichrysum*, and lemongrass*, baking soda. *certified organic

The Organic Rosemary & Helichrysum Toner is heavy on helichrysum in both forms, hydrosol and essential oil. Helichrysum is known for being a great anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial ingredient, so it’s great that its being included in a toner for oily and problematic skin types. While helichrysum is an incredibly healing ingredient, it’s also one of those scents that you either like or tolerate for its effectiveness. The combination of rosemary and helichrysum makes this toner smell very strongly of medicinal herbs. Sometimes, when I’m spritzing my face with the toner, the overall strong scent tickles my nose and I feel like sneezing. Achoo!

When I feel like I want a more effective blemish-healing toner, I reach for this one. I have to say, I’m not 100% in love with the scent but if you’re a fan of helichrysum, this is the toner for you!

 

Bonus product feature: Organic Styling Wax in Light Hold ($22)

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(The styling wax is a semi-hard product that is golden in color. I keep unscrewing the top off of this product to smell. The subtle scents of citrusy lime, spicy clove, and black pepper makes this one sexy hair wax. It’s a very unisex smell but I don’t think I want to share it with a guy.)

Ingredients: hemp seed oil*, virgin coconut oil*, soy wax (non-gmo), candelilla wax, cornstarch*, essential oils of lime*, clove*, black pepper* and lavender* *certified organic

The haircare products at skinnyskinny are also incredible! The Light Hold Organic Styling Wax is a delicious-smelling product that is subtly scented. I didn’t realize until I tried this hair wax that lightly-scented natural hair products are actually really hard to find. Sometimes, I don’t want to smell like I have hippie forest fairy hair, you know? I take the smallest amount of product, let it melt gloriously all over my hands and scrunch it in my wet waves. No crunch, no frizz – just perfectly styled hair. It’s a winner.

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The skinnyskinny products you see in this post can be purchased at their website: skinnyskinny.com!

Disclaimer: The products seen in this post were given to me by skinnyskinny for review purposes. I only choose to accept and review natural and organic skincare brands that fit my beauty standards.

Potent and Pure: Odacité Serum Concentrates + The Detox Market Giveaway

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Beauty / Giveaway

Odacité Serum ConcentratesOdacite Bl + COdacite Jo + L

The Odacité serum concentrates makes the two parts of me so very happy: the plant-based beauty lover and the science-junkie. Not only do I get to spoil my skin by the very best organic and cold-pressed virgin plant oils, I also get to know where and how each of those oils were produced! Using the nifty manual that is inserted in every Pure Elements packaging, I can find out the extraction method, cultivation method, country of origin for both elements that make up the serum.

Our skin is often much more complicated than just being “dry” or “oily”. Sometimes we need to address different issues like hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and sensitivity. To make choosing a little easier, Odacité has this brilliant “Table of Pure Elements” where you can match up your skin concerns to the serum you need.

Because I have very acne-prone skin, The Detox Market recommended that I use Black Cumin + Cajeput and Jojoba + Lavender which makes up a package for pimple prone combination skin.

I’ll break it down to show you how and why these two serums might need to be in your skincare regimen.

The source: The Detox Market, of course!

The ingredients: I have heard of black cumin seed’s bacteria-fighting and healing properties for acne-prone skin so I was the most excited for Bl + C.  As for Jo + L, some of the serums I have used in the past had a jojoba oil base but I didn’t appreciate it fully until now. Jojoba oil absorbs really well in my combination skin, which is great because my pores get easily clogged with blackheads.

The packaging: The luxuriously dark violet glass with a bent spherical point pipette makes my heart flutter with excitement every time I use the serums! The spherical point pipette makes it easier to measure out one exact drop. With the regular droppers, sometimes I accidentally squeeze out too much serum and have no idea what to do with the leftover oil.

I was a little taken aback at how small these serums were initially. I thought would breeze through these tiny 0.17 oz/5 ml serum concentrates very fast but I’m so surprised that I haven’t. Despite their small size though, these Odacité serum concentrates are plenty nourishing.

The method: I have been using the serum concentrates as an “Intensive Treatment” without mixing it into anything for one month. After washing my face with a cleansing oil and spritzing on a jasmine mist, I carefully massage 3-4 drops of both serums (2 drops of Bl + C and 2 drops of Jo + L) into my skin. On days when my combination skin is more oily, 3 drops do the trick.

The combination of Bl + C and Jo + L makes an incredible calming aromatherapeutic experience, especially when I used them at nighttime. Bl + C smells earthy and slightly medicinal, while Jo + L is sweet and floral from the lavender essential oil. They are perfect for lulling you to sleep at night but they are also great for daytime too. The smell isn’t strong and fades away quite quickly if you’re worried about it lingering.

The results: Honestly, for the past two months, my skin has been on its best behavior. I had less cystic acne breakouts (other than period pimples) because of my gentle skincare routine and I was really happy with my skin! So when I started using Bl + C and Jo + L as intensive serum treatments, I thought I wouldn’t get dramatic transformative results. However, after an entire month of using these two serums, my skin feels even more healthy and more balanced than before (picture proof of what my skin looks like now is here if you’re extra curious). I think by two month’s time, my skin will look even better with the help of these two amazing serums.

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And finally the fun giveaway part:

  Win an Odacité serum concentrate of your choice.

  Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here!

Details: Giveaway runs from Friday, August 29th and ends Monday, September 11th, 2014 at 12AM EST, open to international participants. The Detox Market is responsible for the shipment of prize. One winner will be chosen by random through Rafflecopter and contacted through email by Naturally Marcy within 24 hours after the giveaway ends. If no response is received from the selected winner 48 hours after the email is sent, another random winner will be selected. All information provided by entrants is confidential and will not be shared with other third parties.

Beyond Skincare: An Introduction To The Detox Market

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Beauty

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(Photo courtesy of The Detox Market.)

 Doesn’t The Detox Market’s West Hollywood store look like heaven on earth to you? (Photo courtesy of The Detox Market.)

One of the things I love to do when I have the chance, is to visit physical locations of green beauty stores. I do the majority of my shopping online but there’s nothing quite like touching and smelling the products before you actually buy them. And mysteriously, I always manage to come out of physical stores with a lighter wallet. Hmm…

I haven’t heard of The Detox Market until I read Jade of Nephriticus’s wonderful blog post about her trip to the store in West Hollywood. And since then, I’m so in love with the concept of The Detox Market that I want to be in California soon to see it! Any California-based green beauty want to meet me there? So, an entire space devoted to high-quality non-toxic beauty products, detox teas, and juice cleanses? One word: paradise. Until then, I have to be content with perusing their website and dreaming about all of the things I want to try. Most of the brands featured in The Detox Market are luxury and high-end but I appreciate that they have affordable brands like Soapwalla (a Brooklyn favorite), Hurraw! (creamy and luscious vegan lip balms), and 100% Pure too.

I love the Detox Market’s philosophy about “detoxing” your beauty routine and other aspects of your life. The move from conventional “dirty” products to “clean,” “green,” and “detoxed” beauty products is a lot about choosing smarter and healthier alternatives. But choosing these alternatives doesn’t mean giving up gorgeous packaging and good ingredients. The Detox Market has curated an excellent collection of products that make your green beauty routine enjoyable and exciting. Having everything under one roof and carefully selected by discerning beauty experts, just makes the transition to a detoxed life easier.

There are a couple of brands that caught my interest when I was looking at The Detox Market’s website:

1. Odacité: I firmly believe that blended fresh with high-quality, active ingredients is something you should demand of your skincare products always. I love how Odacité is committed to only providing the best ingredients: cold pressed and virgin plant and seed oils so that the oils are active and potent. My stellar experience with the Bl + C and Jo + L serum concentrates (review coming very soon), made me want to try another serum concentrate, Peach Cypress (Pe + C) for healing acne scars. And the Spring in Tokyo serum (reviewed by the lovely kimberlyloc) is something so luxe and gorgeous, I could only dream about trying it one day. I mean, my birthday is technically only three months away, right?

2. Josh Rosebrook: I tried a sample of Josh Rosebrook’s Styling Cream before which I absolutely loved (hello, soft and shiny defined waves), so the rest of the haircare products are high on my list of things to try. The first four ingredients in the ingredient list for the Nourishing Shampoo reads like a pure botanical dream: vitamin infused organic aloe gel, distilled water, organic african black soap, and organic hempseed oil. As a chocoholic, I also can’t resist the siren call of the Cacao Antioxidant Mask.

3. mv skincare: I remember reading Lilly of Genuine Glow‘s review of mv skincare’s Rose Hydrating Mist and being so in love with it. Facial mists are something I have slowly been using regularly to prep my skin for my serums and I’m attracted to the ones formulated with the best active ingredients. The Energizing 9-Oil Skin Tonic contains two of my favorite oils for skin: Camellia and avocado oils, which are vitamin-rich and full of healthy fatty acids.

4. Treat Collection: Gorgeous nail polish is my secret beauty weakness. While I’m still hesitant to put pigmented colors on my face, I am very okay with putting on bright and beautiful nail polish on my nails. The Treat Collection has so many “5-free” colors (54!) that there has to be a shade that you will love. The shades that stand out most to me are: Smokey Nail, Statement, Date Night, Dinner With Friends, and Paris Paris. Is it super obvious that I love classic and glam red nails?

5. Kusmi Tea: Whenever I feel stressed out or just in need of some warmth, I always make a cup of tea. Nothing soothes a soul quite like tea! Kusmi Tea’s Kashmir Tchai was spicy and herbal goodness but I also would like to try their Rose Green Tea, Detox Tea, and Euphoria Tea (a tea named after intense happiness should definitely include chocolate!).

These five brands are only a small fraction of what The Detox Market has curated. I normally get more excited for the products than the stores I get them from, but I think the The Detox Market is special and fills a great role in the green beauty world.

Visit The Detox Market’s website and fall in love with their incredible selection of green beauty products. And don’t forget to check out their Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook page for more advice and tips about maintaining a stylish and detoxed lifestyle. The Detox Market occasionally features sales and discounts on their website, which is a quick way into my heart because having a green lifestyle shouldn’t have to hurt your wallet all the time.

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Special Note: Keep an eye out for an extra special post, coming out later this week, where I review two brilliant Odacité serum concentrates and give you a chance to win one of your own!

Honest Talk: The Pursuit of “Perfect” Skin

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Honest Talk

Assorted Makeup

Even after two years of discovering and using green beauty products, I don’t have perfect skin. That’s the honest truth.

Don’t get me wrong, I have definitely come a long way in terms of how my skin looks. My skin is absolutely more balanced and less prone to acne than on a non-green routine. I feel more confident in myself than ever before. But I still could go on and on about the things that are in my way of having perfect skin: acne scars, large pores, unwanted facial hairs, and rough and textured blemishes that won’t go away no matter what I do.

I think the hardest thing to grasp is that our individual pursuit of perfect skin is faced with so many obstacles. Yes, one of those obstacles might be that g-word (genes). But it’s also the environment we live in, our diet, our health, and our stress levels.

Plus the most scary thing is, we live in a world where every part of our body and complexion is scrutinized under the largest magnifying glasses you can think of. We get beauty magazines that publish toxic articles on which body parts you need to fix immediately (or risk being unattractive) or at least make better through products. On top of that, we read critical comments about the shape of our eyebrows and the cuticles of our nails. Our cuticles! But nothing hurts more than feeling the social pressure of having terrible skin. You might not actually hear those things said about you but, somehow inside, you internalize the anxiety and the doubt. Even worse, you might take that negativity and apply it to someone else, in real life or on the internet.

I’m extraordinary lucky to surround myself with friends and family who don’t care about those things and have told me they don’t care on multiple occasions. If I could give you one piece of advice about beauty, it would be that surrounding yourself with people who think the best of you (even without makeup), is better than any product you can buy out there.

I would say that the pursuit of perfect skin is not always fruitless nor is it something we should feel ashamed about. There is nothing wrong with chasing “flawlessness,” or wanting to heal your skin through skincare products. If you found something that changed your skin for the better, that’s incredible! I’m thrilled for you and I would love to know which product has helped you. But overall, I think it’s healthy to make sure your relationship with your skin and the products you use is something you are happy about.

So think about it! Sip on some coconut water, eat some watermelon, and try not to worry about how your skin looks this summer or ever. It’s what I’ll be doing.

Please feel free to chime in with your thoughts and comments in the comment box! How do you feel about your relationship to your skin? Have you tried to achieve perfect skin through products or other means?  I would love to hear what people think about this topic and I promise this is a judgment-free space.