Saturday, May 18, 2013

Skye Botanicals: delicious skincare by Master Herbalist Monica Skye Miller

If you haven't made Monica Skye Miller's acquaintance, you are missing out! She's one of the most big-hearted, kind people I have ever met. Famous in the fragrance community for her generosity and for her endless supportive bolstering of indie perfumers, Monica is also a Master Herbalist and perfumer herself. And she's a bee keeper's wife. And she's a loyal and sweet friend.

Monica was generous enough to send me samples of her honey (delish!), and her skincare products, and her thyroid supplement. I'll get to the honey and thyroid supplements in another post. Today, I am focusing on the skincare. Take a look at the picture above: there's plenty to talk about. :)

Monica's company, Skye Botanicals, is chock-full of what she calls "the cosmetics equivalent of slow-food". Flowers come from Martha's Vineyard farms (Monica lives on the island), biodynamic herbs come from Costa Rica, wildcrafted botanicals come from Africa, and various herbal extracts, flower essences, hydrosols, and saponified butters come from all over the world, handmade where they grow. What does it all mean? It's all directly from the source, made from hand from start to finish (except the part that nature took care of!).

As a third generation herbalist, Monica knows just what to put into her ingredients for just the right results. I have to say: I am impressed.

Let's take the products I tried, one at a time...

  • Mandarin Face Polish
    mandarin [via]
      This cleansing exfoliant is a new "must" in my routine. It contains spherical jojoba beads that give provide the right amount of texture, gently scrubbing away dead skin cells and dullness. Consistency-wise, I'd compare it to a sugar scrub; the jojoba beads are soft and dissolve nicely, scrubbing but not scratching. And it smells divine (hello? mandarin oil!). It's not just smoothing: it's also softening. Delish. I love it.

    • chamomile  [via]
    • Chamomile Cleansing Lotion
      I'm not terribly big on creamy cleansers. I prefer, thanks to my combination skin, a more squeaky-clean gel-cleanser type of product. However, this lotion is really, really good. It's creamy, it's silky, and it leaves my skin feeling lovely - not tight. Even on my oily bits. Though if we're being totally honest, I prefer...

    • African Soap Face & Body Wash
      Ah, this is so "me". I've been reading about African Black Soap for a long time. It's widely believed to be healing and good for irritated skin. Monica's product - a liquid cleanser, not a solid soap- has a delicious orange scent laid over an earthy scent that reminds me of clay masks. It feels gentle, looks like oddly-thick coffee, and leaves skin super clean but not dry. And no breakouts! 

    • yarrow [via]
    • Yarrow Toner
      After cleaning, toner is always nice to... um, I've never really been sure why we want to use toner. But Monica's is soothing and refreshing. It tightens the skin and soothes and heals the skin. It has benefits I've never noticed in other toners, which basically just seem like spritzing or splashing expensive water onto my face. It has a mildly astringent scent to it that seems slightly reminsicent of vinegar, if I'm being honest. It's short-lived, though.

    • Chamomile Facial Creme
      more chamomile [via]
        Time for my favorite! I simply adore this product. I have gone on record with my love for Argan Oil as my primary moisturizer (specifically: this one). I have to admit, I have added this sucker into the routine. It gives a lightweight moisturization  ("creme" is somewhat misleading, as this is a thinner fluid not a heavy cream) that neither overwhelms my skin nor leaves it thirsty. And the scent, a very herbal chamomile + vanilla, is beyond! I now use it as my night cream with the Argan on top. It sets the perfect tone for sleepy time and is vaguely similar to the scent of LUSH's Dream Cream - so if you revel in the herbal loveliness of that product like I do, you'll really love this facial cream!

      • vanilla beans [via]
        Vanilla Lotion

        And last but not least, moisture for all over: Vanilla Lotion is perfect from fingertips to toes. Again, lightweight and perfect. It has a slight herbal-tinged vanilla scent to it - almost the opposite of the Chamomile Facial Creme, which has a vanilla-tinged herbal scent. Delicious. Hydrating. Not sticky or greasy, but softening and smoothing. 

      As a makeup artist, I almost always have tons of skincare sitting around the house. The fact that I've ignored most of them for Skye Botanicals choices is pretty damn telling. As a person who is trying to strip chemicals and unpronounceable ingredients from my diet and my world, I am sold on these products. I feel good on the outside and the inside! I look forward to purchasing full-sized products as soon as I can. It feels good to be supporting small businesses, and by buying from a company like Skye Botanicals you are helping them from all over the world! Besides, natural, simple products really are best...

      Now, get ye to Skye Botanicals and try them yourselves! 

      Tuesday, April 16, 2013

      Zoya polishes - Boston Marathon tribute mani

      Today I used Zoya's Pixie Dust* in Liberty and Solange
      to show a little support for those impacted by
      yesterday's Boston Marathon tragedy. 

      via Vine

      *I don't feel that it's appropriate to "review" the products today,
      but suffice it to say they wear as lovely as the other Pixie Dusts I have reviewed.

      products provided for consideration for review
      for more details consult my Info/Policies tab

      Saturday, March 30, 2013

      L'Occitane Honey Products - Oh honey, I screwed up.

      Oh, snap. I suck and now you may not be able to buy these awesomely-scented lovelies from L'Occitane en Provence. I didn't realize they were the dreaded Limited Edition... This is what happens when something is So Good it makes it directly into my handbag or onto my nightstand.

      If you're a fan of the lovely scent of honey slathered all over your body and hands, go to the nearest L'Occitane shop and use big, sad eyes and see if they can hunt up some of this stuff. If that doesn't work, try a trembling lip and see if you can squeeze out a tear...

      see? it's pink.
      weird, right?
      The Honey Whipped Body Cream seems to have already left the L'Occitane website, but that doesn't mean there might not be a pot hiding in your local shop, right? It's not my favorite of the two, if that softens the sting (which it doesn't do nearly as well as this scrumptious softening lotion would-oh, oops. nevermind). So, anyway, the Honey Whipped Body Cream is surely whipped and fluffy, but it's a little hard to spread (if I'm being very picky) and it's pink, which is not what one thinks of when one thinks of "honey". See? You didn't need it!*

      *You totally did. :(

      told you!
      The Honey Hand Cream is even honey-er than the fluffy pink stuff, and the scent lasts longer, too. It's  based on the tried-and-true L'Occitane Shea Butter formula, oomphed-up with honey. I likey.  It is currently still available online (yay!) so at least there's that, and/or you can try it in mango (!) or rose. Oh, the Honey Hand Cream has the cutest bear on the front, if you dig that kind of thing.*

      *I totally do. :)

      Anyway, sorry I slept on that one. Apologies to the L'Occitane rep who so kindly sent me the samples to review (does it help that I loved them? *weak smile*). And apologies to you honey junkies who are stomping your feet right now. 

      ps: did you notice the braille on the tin of honey whipped body cream? does l'occitane always do that? if so, props!

      Disclosure: sample provided for consideration for review,
       which does not impact my opinions. See my policies for more info.