Must-haves for Fall!

Greetings, beauties!

Fall is the season of change and transition. The days get shorter, the leaves start to change colors…and it gets colder!  But what does that mean for your skin? Do lackluster skin, low levels of moisture and cracked lips sound familiar? Fret not, I got you covered with some great products you’ll need this season.Fall essentials picmonkey

 

Undo sun damage

Best post-summer care. After all the excesses of summer (sunburns due to sun worshiping!), it’s time to get your skin into rehab and give it the nurturing it yearns for. I Kahina brightening serum pic monkeylove using Kahina Giving Beauty‘s Kahina Giving Beauty Brightening serum*,  if you give it time and are consistent with your routine, it will help fade discoloration and hyperpigmentation, which will in turn even out your skin tone. I did notice a slight change around my jaw, where it was darker.  If you have acne scars, this will help you tremendously. I love the silky texture of this serum, it absorbs fast and leaves your skin feeling velvety . This argan oil based serum also protects against future environmental aggressors (thanks to the antioxidants blend) and lessens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  If you’re familiar with Kahina Giving Beauty, you know it’s a powerhouse and you can’t miss, whatever the product. This brightening serum is a hit!

Ingredients:  aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice*, water/aqua/eau, argania spinosa (argan) oil*, undaria pinnatifida extract, lactobacillus ferment, glycerin*, pancratium maritimum extract, oryza sativa (rice) seed extract*, spirulina platensis (algae) extract*, butyrospermum parkii (shea) nut butter*, sodium hyaluronate, diglycerin, pinus pinaster, cetearyl glucoside, rosa damascena (rose) flower oil*, pelargonium graveolens (geranium) leaf/flower oil*, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower oil*, santalum spicatum (sandalwood) wood oil, tanacetum annuum flower oil*, vanillosmopsis erythropappa (bisabolol) wood oil, boswellia carterii (frankincense) resin extract, maltodextrin, mentha spicata (spearmint) leaf extract, sclerotium gum, hydrogenated lecithin, p-anisic acid, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract*, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, xanthan gum

Price: 72$/30ml | http://kahina-givingbeauty.com/

Reveal new skin

‘Tis the season for pumpkins!  Pumpkins have so many benefits whether you take them internally or externally. Elaa Skincare’s Pumpkin Elaa Skincare Pumpkin mask 2 Pic MonkeyRadiance/Renewing enzyme mask* is by far one of my favorite exfoliating masks! Pumpkins are filled with enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) that remove impurities and dead skin, which promotes skin renewal and will give you the most radiant skin. Pumpkin seed oil contains the fatty acids necessary to moisturize and protect your skin. This mask also has raw Manuka honey, perfect to heal any cracked or dry skin, irritations, burns as well as eczema and psoriasis. There’s also a plethora of spices, such as ginger, cinnamon and turmeric. If you have sensitive skin, it might tingle a bit upon first application, so proceed with caution:do a patch test before. Elaa Skincare is a an organic brand focused on raw, living and active ingredients as well as superfoods. Believe me, this mask is a treat! Everytime I use it, I’m amazed that my skin can look so radiant and glowing.

Ingredients:  Organic Aloe Vera, Organic Raw Pumpkin, Raw Wild Manuka Honey Active MGO 450+, Apple Alpha Hydroxy Acids, Organic Pumpkin Seed Oil, Organic Calendula Oil, Organic Turmeric, Organic Green Tea Extract, Radish Root Ferment, Organic Veg Glycerin, Sclerotium Gum (100% natural vegan gum – a polysaccharide produced through fermentation), Organic Cinnamon, Organic Ginger, Organic Nutmeg, Organic Allspice, Organic Vanilla, Organic Essential Oils of Mandarin, Cinnamon Bark, Clove, Ginger, Nutmeg.

Beegan (contains therapeutic, wildharvested honey) 

Price: 24$/30ml or 45$/60ml|http://elaaskincare.com/

 

Recharge your skin

As the colder temperatures set in, my skin gets dehydrated. I generally have normal to very dry skin, so I’m always reaching for a facial oil. Putty alone pic montage However, my skin also needs to be quenched. Enters Graydon Moffat and her genius brand, Clinical Luxury. If you follow my Instagram account, you know how gaga I am for this Canadian brand. I’ve reviewed the Serum, here. I’m an oil and balm hoarder, but I love this brand’s creams and lotions. They are made with the most natural ingredients that literally feed the skin.  The Putty* is a great pick, if you want to transition from your summer gels and light lotions to this season’s heavier creams and facial oils. It’s the perfect balance of liquids (mainly aloe vera juice and rose water) and oils (avocado, buriti, seabuckthorn oils among others). This lotion is so soothing you’ll forget about your skin woes! The Putty is amazing for all skin types, but is ideal for sensitive/reactive skins. If you have any dermatological issue, it will help calm redness and irritation.  I like the light and fluffy consistency, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a very moisturizing cream. When I need an extra boost of moisture in the winter, I simply add 3 drops of the Serum to the Putty, and voilà!

Ingredients: purified water (aqua), vegetable wax: (caprylic/capric triglyceride, glyceryl stearate, coco-caprylate/caprate, dicaprylyl ether, sodium olivoyl glutamate, cetearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol), cetearyl alcohol, beeswax (cera alba), citric acid, aloe vera (aloe barbadensis) juice, vegetable glycerine, vegetable emulsifier: (lauryl glucoside, polyglyceryl-2 dipolyhydroxystearate, glycerin), manuka honey (leptospermum scoparium), jojoba (simmondsia chinensis) seed oil,avocado (persea americana) oil, grapeseed (vitis vinifera) oil, hemp (cannabis sativa) seed oil, rose water (rose damascene), cocoa (theobroma cacao) butter, shea (butyrospernum parkii) butter, calendula (calendula officinalis) oil, arnica (arnica montana) oil, argan (argania spinosa) oil, buriti(mauritia flexuosa) oil, st. john’s wort (hypericum perforatum) oil, seabuckthorn (hippophae rhamnoides) oil, tamanu madagascar (calophyllum inophyllum) oil, vitamin e (mixed tocopherols) oil, xanthan gum, vegetable derived preservative: (glyceryl caprylate, glyceryl undecylenate) spiked with a soothing blend of all-natural essential oils including: helichrysum (helichrysum italicum),carrot (daucus carota) seed, chamomile (anthemis nobilis), lavender (lavandula angustifolia) and nothing else!

Price: 32$/50ml | 59$/240ml| http://clinicalluxurybynature.com/  and  http://www.clementinefields.ca/ 

Butter up!

Ooooh! This body butter is a dream for your skin! I don’t know how I ever made it without it! The texture is off the charts! I’m talking about a luscious, sultry texture making your skin feel like it’s cashmere!  Made of a combination of shea and cacao butters as well as  Metta Body Butter pic monkeyjojoba and coconut oils it just melts onto your skin when you apply it, while the warm, relaxing scent comforts you.  I’ve said it enough times: I have the driest skin.  So, this Metta Body butter* is a godsent. It truly restores my skin’s elasticity, keeps my skin moisturized for hours on end. No more ashy skin either!  With each application, my skin gets smoother and softer.  I have old scars left from minor surgeries that are getting less noticeable. Even though there’s a thick consistency to this butter, it sinks quickly into my skin and leaves no greasy residue on my clothes. I’m going to use this butter all through the winter.  I can’t do without it anymore!

Ingredients: Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Vitis Vinifera (Grapeseed) Seed Oil*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Essential Oil* (contains linalyl acetate, linalool and limonene as naturally occurring components of lavender essential oil) * denotes certified organic ingredient

Price: 47$ | http://store.mettaskincare.com/

Keep that summer glow!

Summer is over, but SO WHAT? There’s no reason for you to lose that glow, girl! Face Glow* pulls double-duty: it’s skincare with the attributes of a cosmetic product. Graydon The Glow montage I’ve been loving it ever since I started testing it! It’s amazing in the summer, but it also works all year.  First, it is NOT a highlighter, so don’t expect that strobing effect (read: highlighter on steroids)!  Face Glow is a lotion that will instantly brighten your skin and impart a nice subtle glow. Graydon uses brown mica: a free flowing lustrous powder with a shimmering copper appearance, used to reflect light, which creates a pearlescent effect on skin.  Nourishing ingredients such as pumpkin, raspberry and seabuckthorn oils moisturize while giving your skin the fatty acids it needs to look fresh and young. Your skin will also be protected against the environmental elements.  I really can’t say enough about this product: I use it as a primer or alone, for a fresh-faced look.  I even put a bit on my decolleté. The possibilities are endless! Ladies, you need this in your handbag!
 Ingredients: purified water (aqua), non nano zinc oxide (zinc oxide), shea (butyrospernum parkii) butter, mica + iron oxide, vegetable wax: (caprylic/capric triglyceride, glyceryl stearate, coco-caprylate/caprate, dicaprylyl ether, sodium olivoyl glutamate, cetearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol), vegetable emulsifier: (lauryl glucoside, polyglyceryl-2 dipolyhydroxystearate, glycerin), vegetable glycerine, cherry (prunus avium) kernel oil, aloe vera (aloe barbadensis) juice, buriti (mauritia flexuosa) oil, cocoa (theobroma cacao) butter, rice bran (oryza sativa) oil, pumpkin (cucurbita maxima) seed oil, raspberry (rubus idaeus) seed oil, seabuckthorn (hippophae rhamnoides) oil, spirulina (spirulina maxima), vegetable derived preservative: (glyceryl caprylate, glyceryl undecylenate), green tea (camellia sinensis), rosemary co2 extract (rosmarinus officinalis l), xantham gum, citric acid and nothing else!

Price: 32$/50ml |http://clinicalluxurybynature.com/

 

This fall, be patient with yourself and with your skin… Have you spotted some favorites? Feel free to suggest and share your Fall must-haves!
Until next time,

Arabesque xo

*PR Sample

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Treat yourself to a bath ritual !

Greetings beauties!

I’m back! So happy to be back blogging and to be out and about doing what I love, sharing my passion of green beauty. I have so much to talk about in the coming weeks (e.g. overdue reviews), but I respectfully ask for your patience. Please, bear with me. Thank you!

Now, let’s get started!

Because I’m still in convalescence and in need of much TLC, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to delve into bath rituals. With all the superb bath concoctions the green beauty industry has to offer, my bath time has now become a ritual.  I’m usually drawn to showers, simply due to the fact that they are less time-consuming. Nevertheless, the benefits of baths rituals go far beyond hygiene; taking a bath is a simple way to unwind, to detox our skin and to restore it.  I’ve been incorporating them as part as my sleep routine, and they have improved my sleep. Here’s a look at 2 bath rituals I indulge in…

 

Detoxify and Restore…

Brand: Malaya Organics

Product: Organic Decadent Bath Salts in Lavender and Vanilla Absolute

Fun fact: In Sanskrit, Malaya means a “garland of flowers”. How beautiful!

Armed with an impressive background on herbalism, natural perfumery, product formulation, aromatherapy and research, natural beauty and founder of Malaya Organics, Katya Slepak created a facial and body line of products with the purest ingredients to nourish and to restore the skin.

Salts open pic monkey

I really can’t get enough of  Organic Bath Salts in Lavender and Vanilla Absolute*. WARNING: it’s addictive! For me, everything has now become an excuse to take a bath using Malaya Organics‘ Bath Salts.  Truth be told, I was originally afraid of bath salts because I thought they would dry out my crocodile skin.  Not the case with these natural goodies!! Bath salts are usually beneficial to detox and aid in the remineralization of the body.  This was the first time I’d use bath salts… (I know, I know…I’ve been missing out!). As I pour the salts into the running water, I’m captivated by the blend of floral and sweet notes of lavender and vanilla. Party for my senses!! Within minutes soaking, I’m relaxed and I can feel my body releasing tension and giving into comfort and ease.  All of a sudden, time stops and nothing else matters.

After the bath…

Citrus and Bloom 2

This bath ritual is not complete without the delectable Citrus & Bloom Organic Moisturizing Body Oil* .  I’m dreading the day where I’ll be out of this oil! I use it after a bath or shower, but also in lieu of perfume: it moisturizes my skin and leaves a fresh fragrance. The scent of this body oil is subtle but still very alluring; the sweet citrus notes enliven my spirits as notes of Jasmine and of Neroli bring a soft feminine floral touch.  My skin is left moisturized, revitalized and soft.  I’m feeling peaceful and centered, and I smell sooo good!  Aaahh! Ready to hit the sheets! 

Ingredients (Organic Decadent Bath Salts in Lavender and Vanilla Absolute):

Himalayan Pink Salt^°, Pacific Sea Salt^, Mediterranean Sea salt^, Epsom Salt, Coconut Oil*, Lavender Oil*, Vanilla Absolute*, Vitamin E Tocopherols (GMO Free).

*Certified Organic
^Sun Dried
°Hand Mined

Price: 38$/ 16oz | available at  http://malayaorganics.com/

Ingredients (Citrus & Bloom Organic Moisturizing Body Oil):

Jojoba Oil*, Sweet Almond Oil*, Sunflower Oil*, Safflower Oil*, Argan Oil*, Avocado Oil*, Rosehips Oil*, Herbal extracts – [Arnica Flower*, Plantain Leaf*, Calendula Flower*, Chamomile Flower*, Yarrow Leaf and Flower*, Lavender Flower*, Elder Flower*], Proprietary blend of Essential Oils and Absolutes *^ including – Bulgarian Rose Absolute*, Neroli Oil*, Jasmine Absolute*, Grapefruit Oil*, Vitamin E Tocopherols (GMO Free).

*Organic
^Wildcrafted

Price: 68$/4oz | available at http://malayaorganics.com/

Indulge in a milk bath…

Brand: BEING

Product: Release Milk Bath

I consider this product my special treat after a grueling hospital treatment.  When I get home, I’m so exhausted, I’m in pain, I’m anxious and a little down, but this is the perfect antidote! BEING is a minimalistic 100% natural, socially responsible brand whose creator, Cynthia Cortina, believes in “BEING”  in the moment by creating self-care rituals that give us a sense of purpose and depth in life.

Bath ritual: As part of my ritual, I do dry brushing before taking a bath to help shed impurities; then, I quickly rinse in a shower before heading in the bath.

When using Release Milk Bath*, I create my own sanctuary, a sacred moment that brings healing to my skin and peace to my BEING Release prise 2 2015-07-29, 3 35 38 PM
soul.  Once comfortable in the water, I take time to reflect on my day, I pray, or whatever else comes naturally to me, in that moment. It’s not about taking a bath for the sake of hygiene, it’s about taking time for yourself, a true self-care moment that comes from within and that will impact your life in a positive way…

Remember the television ad: “Milk, it does a body good!” Turns out, it wasn’t so far fetch, except, it had nothing to do with our bones! Historically, milk baths have been used by the most notorious queens, such as Cleopatra (who used fermented sour milk, yikes!) and Elizabeth I of England. Milk baths can improve skin’s appearance. The lactic acid in the milk removes dead skin cells and encourages skin cell renewal.  The cocoa butter and coconut milk in Release Milk Bath will soften and moisturize your skin. This aromatic bath product also helps me release any tension thanks to the Sandalwood essential oil.  I probably use more than I should, but I really can’t resist the “creaminess” of the water and how it glides on my skin. The subtle scent of coconut takes me back to my teenage years when my grandmother used to make us creamy coconut pudding. My favorite part is seeing the rosebuds here and there laying in the water. There’s a certain sensual and sexual appeal to a milk bath with rose petals caressing your skin! Roses have a way of making a woman feel like a woman! It works for me! After a couple of minutes drenched in this milky concoction, I’m feeling like myself again!

I could soak all night long… Alas, when I do manage to get out of the bath, I generously mist Hold On Floral Tonic*.  Technically, Hold on tonic prise 2it’s a face mist, but I mist all over, whenever!  The main ingredient is rose water, so it makes for a great companion to the Release Milk Bath.  I finish with a body oil or body butter.

Ingredients (Release Milk Bath): 

coconut milk, cocoa butter*, sodium bicarbonate, rose petals*, rose absolute and West Indian sandalwood essential oil

*certified organic

Price: 34$ USD or 44$ CAD

Ingredients (Hold on Floral Tonic):

rose water*, calendula extract*, aloe vera*, vegetable glycerin, essential oils of rose geranium and neroli*

*certified organic

Price: 30$ USD or approx. 39$ CAD

both products available at http://livebybeing.co

 

Final Thought…

Bath rituals are now treasured moments of self-care where time stops.  We live in such a fast-paced society; I don’t to wake up one day wondering where the heck has time gone by. YOLO, people, YOLO (e.g. You Only Live Once!)!!  Don’t wait for New Year’s to make that resolution, start today! We owe it to ourselves to pamper and nurture our skin, body and mind. Give yourself permission, go on…  Treat yourself!

Arabesque xo

*PR Sample

 

Giving Back series: Botanical Me

Greetings everyone!

Botanical Me sisters

Jill and Carly: Botanical Me

I started this Giving Back series because philanthropy is inherently part of my value system. I find it fascinating to learn about how men and women of the Green Beauty community use their platform to help those in need. Today, I want to share the mission of two humble and selfless women, who, in reality, are heroines of the modern day (they just don’t wear capes!).  I’m so proud and honored to feature the work of my friends and sisters, two beautiful souls:  Jill Hansey and Carly Lodkey,  sisters and founders of  Botanical Me.

Their brand offers natural, plant-based beauty and body care that heal, inspire and most of all, give back! Botanical Me is a beautiful range of beauty oils, pure essential oils, lip balms, and pulse-point roll-ons. In addition, the brand offers gift items such as chocolate, tea, and honey imported from Africa. Each skincare product leaves your skin protected and nourished, while your spirits are calmed and renewed. Through Botanical Me, Jill and Carly literally save lives: they have a strong partnership with Malaria No More, an organization dedicated to eradicate malaria in the world. The “ME” in Botanical Me actually has a double meaning. First, ME stands for Malaria Eradication, which is connected to their charity work to stop malaria deaths. Then, the “me” is also about a person’s journey to better health and awareness of toxins and chemicals in beauty products.

Botanical me set 2

Botanical Me’s range of products.

How it all began…

Jill and Carly had already been operating their retail store in San Diego for 8 years before Botanical Me was born. One evening Jill was having a conversation about malaria with her husband, who is a native of Nigeria and a malaria survivor. She had a “light bulb” moment that she and her sister could use their business as a platform to help people.

It is wonderful! We’re honored to be a part of their charity and contribute to their life-saving work.  There are so many blessings:  a broader world view, greater humility, increased empathy, a feeling of being part of something bigger, meeting other cool people from all walks of life who are also inspired to make a change. Just thinking that something we have done has saved even one child’s life and given a family a healthier tomorrow is beyond words.

– Jill & Carly, founders of Botanical Me

What is malaria ?

iStock malaria kills

Credits: iStock

Malaria is a blood disease caused by a mosquito bite (Plasmodium parasite) and can be transmitted from person to person. It affects the lives of over 200 million people around the world every year.

Symptoms: fever, headaches, vomiting, if treatment is not administered, illnesses such as anemia, hypoglycemia and death can occur.

800px-Malaria_No_More_logo

Credits: MalariaNoMore.org (logo)

malaria-2 standard tribune com

Child with severe malaria symptoms. Credits: Standard-Tribune.com

According to MalariaNoMore.org:

  • Malaria is one of the top 3 killers in the world;
  • Every 60 seconds, a child dies of malaria, it means 453 000 children per year, so that’s 1 300 kids who have their lives cut short every day because of a mosquito bite!

Why it also concerns you…

If you think you’re safe, and therefore think to yourself it isn’t your problem because your country isn’t a malaria risk zone, think again! This matter concerns ALL of us. In 2013, there were an estimated 198 million cases of malaria worldwide, mostly women and children. Although malaria was eliminated from the US in 1951, MNM  makes a census of 1500 cases annually caused by returning travelers.  Because of what we’ve been shown in the media, we often associate Africa to poverty and death.  However, it is a beautiful continent, the second largest one in the world actually.  Africa offers such a wide range of natural resources, some of them, such as shea butter, are included in our coveted green beauty products. It’s our duty and responsibility to protect that land and its people.

Web_Jill_Africa_

Jill in Africa

There is hope!

So, you know the bad news about malaria, it’s lethal.  Now, onto the good news, malaria is not only curable, but it is a preventable disease! MalariaNoMore.org concurs that over the last decade, malaria mortality rates have fallen 58% among children under the age of 5.  That’s good, but the goal is to complete eradicate malaria. Jill and Carly often travel to Africa to import natural ingredients and they donate 10% of their profits to Malaria No More. The proceeds directly impact the daily lives of those they seek to help. Here’s how…

Mosquito_Netting wikipedia

Mosquito nets prevent from getting bitten at night. Image: Wikipedia

The funds go towards: 

  • providing diagnostic tests;
  • buying medicine and treatment; did you know that a full course of malaria treatment costs only 1$ and can cure a child in 1 to 3 days?
  • buying mosquito nets; don’t forget that malaria is caused by a mosquito bite, and the Plasmodium parasite bites at night between 9pm and 5am, so nets are an important prevention tool;
  • creating education programs.

The sister duo chose to partner with MNM because this organization has focused strategy and the widespread government, media and pharmaceutical relationships in Africa that are needed.

Why helping Botanical Me is very personal to me…

Radiologie cathéter malaria post

I’m getting prepped for a femoral venous catheterization, before an apheresis treatment.

I was born with a genetic blood disease commonly called Sickle Cell anemia (SCA). Essentially, unlike normal round/oval red blood cells, mine are shaped like crescent moons, semicircular (hence the name “sickle”, a sickle is a tool made with a crescent-shaped blade). Normal red cells travel easily through the blood vessels to take the oxygen to every part of the body.  However, my sickled cells get stuck in the blood vessels, which means the oxygen doesn’t get through. This causes a lot of deep chronic pain and it damages my bones, my muscles and my organs.  Sickle cell anemia is a disease mostly diagnosed in patients of African descent.

So, what does that have to do with malaria?

While my illness can be debilitating, it confers me somewhat of a protection against malaria. How? It is very complex. Researchers are still trying to understand the mechanisms that create SCA patients’s resistance against malaria.  Let’s just say that my sickled red blood cells are not “healthy” or viable enough for the parasite to implant and lodge itself in my bloodstream.

Final thought…

Every time I think about Jill and Carly, I am reminded that this life is not about my ego, but that it’s about finding my purpose and answering my higher calling. When they are not are not busy saving lives, the Botanical Me duo is learning more about the wonders of nature. Women like them make the world go round! I urge you to support their brand and their cause, your kindness will save lives. When you purchase a product from the brand, you’re taking care of yourself (at a budget-friendly price, might I add), but more importantly, you are saving a child, a woman or a man’s life. Please give back!

 

Until next time, take care!

Alex xo

To support MalariaNoMore, click here. Let’s defeat malaria! World Malaria Day is April 25th 2015.

Note: all information and statistics on malaria are sourced from MalariaNoMore and CDC

Images, unless stated otherwise, are courtesy of BotanicalMe.