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The Kari Gran miracle

Let me start with this: I’m a seriously lucky lady to be able to try hundreds of gorgeous natural beauty brands as a JOB. I mean, really, can you say dream career? I’m continually amazed by evolving quality, design, and effectiveness of green beauty products, and thrilled to be part of such an exciting and important industry. I’m used to being impressed, but every once in a while, a brand comes along that really knocks my socks off.

Enter Kari Gran.

This simple, elegant line was born when founder Kari Gran delved into the world of natural skin care following her diagnosis with an autoimmune disorder. After developing a thorough understanding of the skin’s most basic needs and the elements that nourish a healthy complexion, she created a three-step daily ritual that works for any skin type. You will recognize and be able to pronounce every single ingredient used, and the regimen feels like a mini aromatherapy spa treatment.

Kari Gran Cleansing Oil, with its combination of sunflower, avocado, castor seed, lavender, and vitamin E oils, removes dirt, grime, and makeup, and balances the skin’s natural oil production. I apply 8 pumps of the oil into my palm, and liberally massage onto dry face and neck. This is the most relaxing part of the ritual; the gentle massage truly soothes the mind and relaxes the soul. I then soak a Pai Organic Muslin Face Cloth in hot (not scalding) water and apply it my face and let it cool, then rinse and repeat. The final step is to gently wipe my face and neck to remove excess oil while lightly exfoliating. No messy, splashing water or bending over the sink—one of my biggest face-washing pet peeves.

I have to admit, I’ve never been a toner user. It always just felt like an extra, unnecessary step. Now, though, I don’t go a day without Kari Gran Hydrating Tonic. I spritz three to five pumps of this elixir of distilled aloe vera leaf, organic vegetable glycerin, and organic lavender oil (Kari makes two scents—lavender and rose) onto my freshly cleansed faced, and my skin quite literally drinks it in. It makes the application of serum even more effective, allowing it to smooth on easily and penetrate in an instant.

And let’s talk about Kari’s Essential Serum. It might just be the best thing I’ve ever smelled. For real. A delicately balanced but potent combination of 15 plant and essential oils known for their nourishing properties, Essential Serum can be used in the morning and evening, on the face and neck, and around the eyes in place of eye cream. To create a custom moisturizer, mist 3-4 pumps of Hydrating Tonic in the palm of your hand and add 1-2 pumps of Essential Serum, and voilà—fresh, custom-made moisturizer. It can also be mixed with mineral makeup powder to create tinted moisturizer.

The three steps are, quite simply, a joy to perform. Once a day, cleanse the skin with oil, and follow with toner and serum. It’s that easy. I’ve tried many, many products, and my skin has never looked or felt more healthy, radiant, and renewed. If you're nervous to invest in full-size product right off the bat, the Kari Gran Starter Kit is the perfect way to try the signature 3-part system.

Posted in acne, face oil, natural skin care, product review, toners

One Love Organics Summer Skin Collection

Summer is almost here and we are headed to the beach, the lake, the pool…anywhere there is a body of water to play in. We love summer! 

However, summer is a veritable onslaught of heat, pollution, chlorine, water, sun, and salt—all of which can damage skin and cause unsightly problems. One Love Organics developed their Summer Skin Limited Edition Collection to address the most common summer skin concerns to keep skin clear and radiant all summer long.

The collection is available June 16 through September 16, while supplies last.

Gardenia Daily Body Serum
A mist of intensely moisturizing precious oils
No flower expresses the grace, charm, and soul of the South better than the vividly fragrant blossoms of the Gardenia. Gardenia Daily Body Serum provides a mist of precious oils that intensely nourish the skin, leaving it refreshed, beautifully scented, and soft to the touch. The convenient spray-on body oil dissolves into skin within mere seconds thanks to its fine-mist spray applicator and lightweight, non-stocky, non-greasy formula.

Pretty Pores Complexion Toning Mist
Energizing toner for a healthy summer glow
100 percent pure fruit water extracted from the heart of organic pink grapefruits, Pretty Pores Mist is purifying, naturally astringent, and offers the antioxidant power of vitamin C to energize skin for a healthy summer glow. This material was made fresh for One Love Organics, and they cannot get another batch until next summer! The mist has a very faint aroma of fresh grapefruit and it infuses the skin with valuable plant nutrients such as bioavailable vitamins, antioxidants, trace elements and mineral salts found naturally in the fruit. With a natural pH of 4.9, Pretty Pores Complexion Toning Mist is perfect for spritzing the skin post-cleansing to help skin return to its natural acidic state and to infuse the skin with nutrients before moisture application. Best for oily, blemish-prone, and combination skin.

Healthy Locks Dry Shampoo Powder
Refresh, cleanse, and promote strong, healthy hair
If there's ever a time for shiny, vibrant, luscious hair, it's summer. But precious locks may take a hit this time of year: Sun, water, heat, and chlorine can be damaging, leading to fading colour, split ends, and a brittle, dry texture. Wash as infrequently as possible during the summer months, using Healthy Locks Powder to freshen hair between shampoos. With a unique blend of highly absorbent Georgia kaolin clay, hyularonic acid, and silica rich bamboo extract, Healthy Locks Dry Shampoo Powder softens, strengthens, and nourishes hair between washes, during travel, or for an anytime pick-me-up.

Apple a Day Brightening Facial Cleanser
A pH-balanced lather to clarify, brighten, and tone
To help prevent the excess oil and breakouts that often accompany hot weather, One Love Organics recommends a cleanser with a gentle blend of acids to help break down oil and impurities, leaving pores clean and unclogged. Using a cleanser with aggressive acids, particularly in the summer, can contribute to accelerated sun damage, so look for one with a low, not high, concentration of acids. Apple a Day has a pH of 5.3 and contains a low percentage of malic, glycolic, and lactic acids for a product that is effective over time but is not harsh or drying. Cold–pressed apple oil, apple fruit extracts, and a blend of gentle acids come together in this perfectly pH balanced formula to clarify, cleanse, and tone the skin. Apple a Day Brightening Facial Cleanser promotes a complexion that is as bright and clear as a perfect summer’s day.

Posted in natural hair care, natural skin care, one love organics

May Lindstrom Skin: Behind the Brand

If there's one brand at Fresh Faced that truly celebrates beauty, it's May Lindstrom Skin. From the moment you crack the lid on a jar of her cult-favourite The Problem Solver, or apply a few pumps of her luxurious Youth Dew, you know you're about to gift yourself with something special. I was thrilled to go behind the brand with May to explore what inspires her to create her unique, indulgent, and beautiful skin care products, and to ask her advice about achieving work/life balance. A note to the wise here: I couldn't cut a single word of May's responses; her outlook is as lovely and wise as her gorgeous line.

FF: What inspired you to launch May Lindstrom Skin?
ML: This line was born out of a desire to create blissful bookends in my day, a time-out morning and night that was just for me. Having formulated for years out of necessity (I am blessed with highly sensitive and chemically reactive skin), I yearned to create something that was simply luxurious and lovely. My foundation in purity and simplicity is solid, but it was time for me to embrace playfulness and beauty in my potions. I wanted to feel something when I picked up a bottle and entered my cleansing ritual. I wanted to feel peace, joy, and celebration all in that one moment. And I wanted to share that with every woman I loved and cared about so she could feel this, too.

FF: Can you share your personal beauty philosophy?
ML: I believe our skin has the ability to heal itself if we let it. It is our responsibility to provide abundant nutrition and hydration and to be gentle in our care. By limiting our exposure to harsh chemicals and extreme treatments, we open up to gentler methods. I build each of my products on the same philosophy and ingredients that have been treasured and shared by women all over the world since the beginning of time. I trust in Earth's bounty and the wisdom of those who came before me.

FF: Please tell me a little bit about your ingredients and how you select them.
ML: My collection is handcrafted using the freshest and finest quality nutrient-rich ingredients I can find. I purchase raw ingredients in their fresh and active state from a small handful of suppliers who work directly with farms from all over the world to ensure sourcing in a mindful and sustainable manner. With the plant ingredients especially, this is incredibly important. It is imperative to fill each and every bottle with the most vibrant raw materials possible. That sometimes means a lot of searching and alternating areas of the world I source from for each ingredient as seasons fluctuate and certain crops are more or less abundant.

FF: Are there any products you can't leave home without?
ML: The Blue Cocoon. It has a permanent spot in my purseand another in my bathroom and on my nightstand. It's beautiful under makeup or a bit over the top to add glow, as an eye and lip treatment, ​run through my hair to smooth flyaways, to define my curls, and to envelop me in the most beautiful scent.

Also, a great multitasking lip-to-cheek colour. Kjaer Weis in Goddess is stunning and surprisingly wearable.

FF: What is your top tip for glowing skin?
ML: For me, diet is key. Eat wellnutritionally dense food, and plenty of it. Drink tons of water and create moments of peace in your day to just be. Breathe. Consciously.

My own skin has been a work in progress my entire life. As someone with severe chemical sensitivities, the world of beauty products can be a terrifying place. My current "glow" comes from finding balance. I cleanse with The Clean Dirt, alternating with days of using The Honey Mud or simply water and fingertip massage. I believe in taking vacations from product, even my own. I do regular treatments with The Problem Solver. I use The Youth Dew twice a day, every day. It's my little miracle item.

FF: How do you balance running a business with family and other priorities?
ML: I will admit this is an ongoing challenge for me, an incredibly important one. My days are intensely busy and are spent working long hours personally filling bottles, mailing packages, discovering new ingredients, and playing with future blends for the line. I love what I do, so it's hard to leave my studio at the wrap of the day, and at the same time, I can't get home to my sweet baby girl soon enough. I often feel like I didn't have quite enough bandwidth to give my all to my daughter, my husband, the pile of emails from clients and stockists. I'm often a step behind and mildly overwhelmed, but I do my best to breathe through it, to actively count each and every blessing, and to treasure the miracle that is this life.

FF: Your products have become cult favourites with Fresh Faced customers. What new treats do you have in store for 2014?
ML: On the horizon is the much-anticipated release of The Jasmine Garden​. ​This gorgeous mist is beautiful after cleansing and before oils, again after oils, to set makeup, to spritz throughout the day to refresh. Formulated for the face, I can't help but indulge head to toe! The scent is truly a dream. Soft, sweet, freshlike a garden of lush flowers in the tropics, somewhere near a field of cocoa beans drenched in rain. Very romantic.

Posted in may lindstrom skin

The Pimple and the Pill

Let me start with this: For decades, when we thought of birth control in Canada, the pill was the first thing to come to mind. But modern demands have allowed accessibility to several other methods of birth control—IUDs, the patch, the ring—that are similarly dependent on hormone manipulation. And so, despite the title of this post, all of these methods can affect what is happening on your skin.

Generally speaking, hormonal birth control contains a combination of estrogen and progesterone that helps reduce androgens—male sex hormones like testosterone—in the bloodstream. Androgens trigger an excess production of sebum, which blocks pores and can cause breakouts. It’s important to keep in mind, of course, that every single body is different, and that there are many, many kinds of birth control, all with varying levels of estrogen and progesterone. (It’s also important to keep in mind that I am not a doctor! Please consult yours before you start or stop taking birth control.)

I know from experience that everything can look pretty peachy—literally—on the pill. Throughout my twenties (and a few years on either side), I had pretty decent skin—seemingly naturally. When I made the decision to go off the pill, however, my skin went completely bananas: horrible cystic acne (not to mention back-ne!) that left me embarrassed and confused. It took forever for things to clear, and I soon figured out that my skin was simply an outward reflection of the battle taking place inside while my hormones worked to find their own balance. I definitely wasn’t alone in my struggles, either.

“I see a lot of ladies in their late twenties and early thirties getting off birth control and having pretty back breakouts,” says Julie Clark, a holistic health practitioner aromatherapist, and the skin wizard behind Province Apothecary. So what can be done to help ease the path to balance? “We start on a new skin care routine where we help balance sebum production, and help clear out the congestion. Patience is very important. It can take several years for your skin to adjust to a new routine and show signs of improvement. Not picking will really help as well, because there will be less scarring—and this takes a long time to heal.”

There are a few other things you can do to help your body find its new normal. “Birth control throws the bacteria in our gut out of balance, which can lead to an overgrowth of bad bacteria and a number of subsequent side effects,” says holistic nutritionist Tara Miller. “This imbalance is often responsible for anything from digestive distress to brain fog to a number of skin issues like acne, eczema, and psoriasis.” The majority of Tara’s clients see significant improvements in the health of their skin once they clean up their gut and restore its proper balance, which can be done by eliminating possible dietary allergens and introducing probiotics. “Since bad bacteria feeds on sugar,” Tara says, “avoiding sugar, especially refined, is most important to digestive healing.” The idea is that once your gut is in check, everything else can begin to achieve equilibrium.

In the meantime, don’t let it get you down! Take a good dose of patience along with your daily greens, and remember that your body wants to find harmony; it just might take a little while to get there.

Cleansing: It's the balm

Now that facial oils have gone mainstream, beauty buffs are moving on to the next big thing: cleansing balms, which take all the moisturizing and soothing benefits of oils and pack them in a firm emollient base. Cleansing with a balm is not much more complicated than using milk-, gel-, or oil-based cleansers: Simply massage a dime-size amount onto dry skin and gently wipe away with a warm wet cloth—preferably muslin—or rinse with warm water.

So what’s the big appeal? Balms are very effective at removing all forms of makeup, including mascara. They’re super hydrating, very gentle, and pretty economical, too—a little goes a long way. And those of you who’ve tried oil cleansing will find balms easier to manage; it’s nice to avoid the inevitable drips and spills that happen when super silky oils slide through your fingers.

One Love Organics Skin Savior Beauty BalmStark Grapefruit Cleanse and Hydrate BalmReady to get your balm on? Try One Love Organics Skin Savior Beauty Balm, a Fresh Faced bestseller, or Stark Grapefruit Cleanse & Hydate Balm.

Posted in natural skin care, one love organics, stark skincare

Get the look: Classic smokey eye

When paired with a soft, fresh-faced (pun intended) pink cheek, the classic smokey eye gets a day-to-night versatility with this gorgeous look put together using only Kjaer Weis makeup. Here's how to recreate it at home:

On a clean, moisturized face, start with skin-perfecting Kjaer Weis Foundation, layering on as much coverage as needed, where needed. Skip the powder—Kjaer Weis Foundation sets to a perfect semi-matte finish.

For eyes, sweep Kjaer Weis Eye Shadow in Cloud Nine from lashline to brow bone. To create depth and shape, brush the brand's medium-brown Wisdom shadow from the lashline to the crease, up toward the brow and in toward the nose. Using a thin brush, define the eye by applying Kjaer Weis's darkest shade, Onyx, along the upper and lower lashlines. Blend Onyx into Wisdom on the top lid until the two colours seamlessly meld into each other. Finish with mascara.

As a counter to a done-up eye, keep the cheeks fresh and rosy by patting Kjaer Weis Cream Blush in Blossoming in a circular motion into the apples of the cheeks.

A pale pinky-nude lip completes the look. Combine Bliss Full Lip Tint with a dab of foundation to create the perfect lipstick-like texture. Apply with a Kjaer Weis Lip Brush.

Posted in get the look, kjaer weis, natural makeup

Flower alchemy 101

 

Plant-based alchemy is nothing new—you already experience it every day. When you take in a deep breath, the oxygen that fills your lungs is created by plants, trees, and flowers. Flower alchemy is simply another way of receiving the nourishing properties of plants: Instead of taking in oxygen, you’re taking in pure flower essences—liquid energy that transforms your mood and mind through your acupuncture meridians.

Yeah, but what are they, exactly? Flower essences are herbal infusions made from the flowering part of wild plants, bushes, or trees. The whole idea is that the body operates like a finely-tuned instrument. Sometimes it rings with perfect pitch—everything in perfect alignment. Sometimes it needs a little re-tuning. Flower essences act as a natural tuning fork—bringing the body back in tune with a subtle electrical vibration. 

Katie Hess, the founder of Lotus Wei, says that for every mood and feeling, there is a flower that can shift your mood and physiology. Her work is rooted in more than 13 years of study and observation. Simply said: Choose a flower, change your life. So if you're feeling stressed, or heartbroken, or exhausted, or distracted, or restless, or overwhelmed, there's a flower remedy that can help. They're not just hocus pocus—they're powerful, they're practical, and they work.

Below is a handy guide to choosing the right flower essence for your mood. Pick one that relates to your feelings and emotional state at the moment. If not all symptoms pertain to you, that's okay—the formula will still be effective in treating the symptoms you do have. Lotus Wei's six transformative remedies are available in four formats: flower elixirs (to be taken sublingually), balancing serums, transformative perfumes, and energy mists. Maybe today you need love, or compassion, or focus. Maybe tomorrow it's trust, joy, or vitality—or all of the above!

 Your Mood Flower Essence Transformative Effect
Feeling overly serious; heavy with responsibilities; too busy to play; lack of fun, laughter, or sheer enjoyment every day Joy Juice Magnifies joy, happiness, freedom, and letting your inner child play. Deepens your enjoyment of everyday experiences and simplifies life. An instant cheerful boost that clarifies your path and dissolves worry and complication, so you can experience more freedom and fun.
Being hard on yourself; not appreciating yourself; feeling hardened, bitter, heartbroken, or irritated; yearning for love and affection Infinite Love

Magnifies self-love and appreciation; makes you feel beautiful and attracts love. Helps you to be kind to yourself; helps you feel beautiful and take time to take breaks; enhances charisma and magnetism; dissolves heartbreak and softens hardening of the heart; attracts love and opportunity. 

Fatigue, exhaustion, compromised immune system, weakness, cramps and irregular cycles, feeling invisible, or lots of travel and/or computer use Pure Energy

Magnifies radiance, vitality, and chi and strengthens your presence; boosts immune system and balances reproductive system; protects you from others’ stress and re-energizes you after computer, cell phone, and air travel fatigue.

Creative blocks, procrastination, distraction, difficulty focusing, avoiding big priorities, or leaving projects unfinished Inspired Action

Magnifies fearless creativity, innovation, inspiration, and thinking outside the box. Increases motivation, productivity, drive, and the ability to complete unfinished projects; enhances decisiveness and trusting your intuition. 

Sleeplessness, restlessness, thinking too much or too much in your head, distraction or hard to pay attention Quiet Mind

Magnifies feeling more connected, quiets the mind and enhances clarity and awareness. Dissolves tension and helps you experience deep rest and sound sleep; be in your perfect zone and zen; enhances efficiency, clarity, and effectiveness.

High stress, feeling overwhelmed, lack of support or confidence, nervous, out of balance, going through change or transition Inner Peace

Enhances your ability to fully express yourself and let it all hang out; feeling comfortable and confident in every situation; offers fresh perspectives after long periods of stress; calms and stabilizes during times of change and transition.

 

Posted in fragrance, lotus wei, natural skin care, wellness

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