Friday, April 30, 2010

Earth Day Beauty

Some of you know that I just started blogging for a web site called Daily Lounge. You can read my post about Earth Day beauty here.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Searching for the Perfect Package

I loved this article about earth-friendly cosmetics packaging by Camille Sweeney that ran in Thursday's New York Times. Aside from highlighting sustainable packaging, it introduced me to Tata Harper Skincare, which, while pricey, I can't wait to try.

Clearly, as Sweeney reports, plenty of cosmetics companies have found ways to make their packaging more eco-friendly. But even those making the effort (and happily, that includes major prestige brands like Estée Lauder) are still searching for the perfect sustainable package.

In the meantime, if we can't yet have eco-friendly pumps for our facial cleansers, we can choose products with minimal packaging—and pass on the cute little store shopping bags used to tote them home.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

3 Great Finds From the CEW Beauty Awards Product Demo

Attending the Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) Beauty Awards Product Demonstration is always a treat—after all, it's a chance to check out more than 550 new beauty products. While "natural" isn't one of the 31 categories, I found several items worth writing about. Here's what captured my interest:

  • Number 4 High Performance Hair Care Fleurs de Temps Volumizing Shampoo. 100% vegan, gluten free, sulfate free, and paraben free. And it smells great.
  • Origins Multi-Grain Makeup SPF 14. I confess, I love the fact that this product has the words "multi-grain" in its name. And indeed, it contains a blend of finely-milled grains and oats in a super-soft loose powder formulation. What it doesn't contain: oil, talc, or fragrance.
  • sukispa facial lift ultimate firming cream. At $150, this is definitely a splurge, but founder Suki Kramer's skincare products are loaded with natural ingredients. This one's on my beauty product wish-list.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lotions & Potions

Back in December, Allure magazine ran a story called Underground Beauty that featured "under the radar" beauty finds. Several of the picks were eco-friendly, and I was especially interested in one: Lotions & Potions Rosemary Mint Foaming Handsoap, which is paraben-free and contains no SLS.

I visited the web site and discovered that some of the product pages didn't contain ingredient info. So I wrote to Victoria Slone, the Chicago-based company's founder. Her response came in less than an hour!

"We totally understand wanting to be sure the product you're purchasing is all natural!!" she wrote. The ingredients of the Foaming Handsoap are as follows: De-iodized water organic olive oil, kosher vegetable glycerin, organic aloe leaf juice, organic essential oils, Vitamin E & Rosemary Extract.

I ordered the soap, as well as a lip balm. The soap foams up nicely and has a fresh, herby scent. And I am absolutely in love with the vegan, organic lip balm (I got the coconut lemongrass version). The formula is creamy, soft, and really absorbs into your lips.

I'm not a big fan of ordering beauty products online—it's not eco-friendly, and when I need, say, a new body wash, I generally want it right away. But I'll make an exception for Lotions & Potions. It's a small, woman-owned business with great customer service and, more importantly, products that are worth the wait.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Perfect Winter Body Scrub

A few years ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Lisa Price, the founder of Carol's Daughter, about the expansion of her beauty business for Crain's New York Business. Lisa's story is inspiring, and her products are incredible.

My current favorite is: SweetHoneyDipChocolateBrownSugah Scrub. Brown sugar crystals, a blend of natural oils, and a chocolatey-honey fragrance make this a great body scrub for cold weather: The scent is warm and yummy and lingers lightly on the skin without being too overpowering. The sugar exfoliates, and the oils provide excellent moisture — no lotion necessary.

The scrub is paraben-free, and contains no petroleum, mineral oil, or artificial color. (In fact, the only potentially icky ingredient in the product is the generic "fragrance.") So scrub away — and be prepared for a post-shower chocolate craving.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Great Pumpkin

As I flipped through the pages of EcoBeauty the other day, I couldn't wait to try one recipe in particular: the Pumpkin Pie Mask. Given the timing—and the fact that I already had a can of organic pumpkin puree in my pantry—it seemed only appropriate to debut my DIY beauty experiment with this mask.

Pumpkin, by the way, is a skin-care powerhouse: According to EcoBeauty authors Lauren Cox and Janice Cox, it contains antioxidants, has exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids, and even helps skin retain moisture. Here's the good-enough-to-eat recipe:


1/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons vanilla yogurt or sour cream
1 tablespoon honey

Mix together ingredients to form a smooth paste. After cleansing skin, apply about 1 tablespoon of the mask on your face, avoiding eyes and mouth (um, why? It's edible! But maybe your lips don't need exfoliating antioxidants). Leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water. Use as often as needed—about once a week, or every other week if your skin is dry or sensitive. Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Maybe it was just the specific brands I used, but my mask's consistency was less of a paste and more of a liquid. Still, I love the way it made my skin look and feel. I recommend following the treatment with a good moisturizer. I also recommend cutting the recipe in half: Even though I used more than 1 tablespoon on my face, I still have enough left over that I probably won't use it all up in two weeks. But I'll certainly try. This one's a keeper.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

DIY Beauty

I'm not usually the do-it-yourself type. I dread putting together IKEA furniture, have never refinished anything in my life, and greatly offended my husband once when I suggested that we hire a handyman to install a pot rack in our kitchen.

But when it comes to DIY beauty, I'm all for getting my hands dirty in an effort to get my skin clean. Making your own beauty products can be easy, inexpensive, and—more importantly—an effective way to care for your skin. Why pay for a pricey, preservative-filled face mask when you can whip up your own using ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen?

Two books have become DIY beauty favorites of mine, thanks to their great recipes, pretty pictures and can-do enthusiasm: EcoBeauty by Lauren Cox with Janice Cox, and Naturally Beautiful by Dawn Gallagher. EcoBeauty emphasizes the fun of DIY beauty—in fact, the book's subtitle is "Scrubs, Rubs, Masks, and Bath Bombs for You and Your Friends"—while Naturally Beautiful, with its subtitle of "earth's secrets and recipes for skin, body, and spirit" takes a more New Age approach to DIY beauty. Both are available online.

I'll be posting about my own experiences trying the various recipes from these books. In the meantime, let me know if you have a favorite DIY beauty recipe to share.