Taking a Tea Break? Pair it with a Quickie Facial Mask.

While many of us have visions, or good intentions, of finding more time for leisurely walks in the park and cups of tea sipped over long conversations with friends, most of the time we're walking for exercise or errands, and gulping tea simply out of thirst. But that doesn't mean that the reality of our day to day routine can't still be infused with beauty.

Take this month's Beauty Heroes box, and its contents from True Nature Botanicals. The gentle Exfoliating Moisture Mask found inside smooths and brightens skin in the time it takes to brew a cup of tea.

I'm a major devotee of facial masks (raw honey is my absolute fave), and this mask definitely earns its hero reputation for quickly transforming skin. I loved its silky, light texture, its super-luxurious scent of jasmine, tuberose and neroli, and its fast action time (2 to 5 minutes, depending on your skin type). And I really loved the result—skin that's extra soft and smooth (exfoliation from beet-derived lactic acid) without dryness, thanks to ultra-hydrating avocado and mango butter and soothing green and white tea.

So my favorite tea pairing of the moment isn't a cookie, it's this facial mask. If time allows, maybe a good book or magazine as well. But I'll take tea + a facial any day. Try it for yourself by subscribing to the Beauty Heroes box, or grab just the mask in the Beauty Heroes store. PS This mask is valued at $90, and you also get an amazing .25 oz facial oil from True Nature Botanicals that contains potent antioxidant ingredients like astaxanthin and chia ($28 value) if you subscribe to the monthly $39 box. But I think its the sheer joy and the extra self-love moments I get each month from this box gives it the most value. It's those little self-love moments that help keep our beauty and health in balance.

Summer Product Obsessions

what's been on my vanity, tucked in my purse AND stocking my bathroom cabinet during this SUNNY SUMMER SEASON? Here are the natural and organic products that have become my absolute favorites for beauty early this summer...

Axiology Lipstick in Attitude, $26

I'm loving this bright, uplifting shade of pink! Axiology totally hits the mark with this gorgeous natural lipstick, from its sleek brushed gold tube that clicks into place, to the ever-so-slightly iridescent raspberry pigment. Of course the best part is all of the high quality natural butters, oils and waxes that go into the vegan formula. They feel ultra-moisturizing, and deliver smooth, even color. I may not be ready to branch out to the brand's purple Desire shade, but Attitude is sure to be my go-to color for awhile.

 

Gemstone Organics Face Creme in Rose Quartz, $37

I was so intrigued when I first heard about Gemstone Organics. While I don't pretend to know the first thing about gemstones, I find them physically beautiful, and their presence uplifting. I wondered, could their qualities influence the look, feel and results of a facial creme?  I first tried the brand's Jade creme, which actually ended up being a bit too powerful for my delicate skin type. Gemstone Organics partner Sara Clement sagely advised that I give the Rose Quartz creme a try instead, and the experience was a perfect fit. Rose Quartz, intended to soothe and brighten skin while reducing stress and boosting happiness, has been healing and nourishing to my skin, and gentle while still possessing power and potency. I've been using it sparingly, on days when my skin feels in need of an extra moisture infusion. I'd still recommend the Jade cream for dry yet blemish-prone types, since the strong presence of thyme is known to target acne! And when it comes to gemstones, I must say that I am captivated by the hands-on love and ceremony that the brand's partners devote to the creation of their gemstone essences— it most assuredly reflects in the quality of their cremes overall.

Beautycounter Tint Skin, $38

Anyone else find it reeaally hard to come by a perfect natural foundation? Tint Skin comes close to perfect for me, and the fact that it's available in eight skin tone shades makes it a product I can recommend to the vast majority of my clients. (Nobody likes to be left out!) The formula provides a considerable amount of coverage— enough that I can mix it with moisturizer to stretch the small tube just a little farther when I only want a light layer of makeup on my skin. So far, Tint Skin is my top pick for natural foundation that rivals conventional lines— without unwanted ingredients like PEGs, parabens, and chemical sunscreens.

PiperWai Natural Deodorant, $13

I first met my Philly neighbor and co-founder of PiperWai Jess Edelstein when she pulled up to my house on her scooter, toting a bag of deodorant samples for one of my Beauty Food Supper Clubs. Jess is a pavement-pounding real estate agent by day, but she and co-founder Sarah Ribner put more energy and passion into PiperWai than most brands get on a full-time schedule. This team of childhood friends truly believes in their deodorant, and rightly so. It works, thanks to activated charcoal, milk of magnesia and nearly a dozen bacteria-busting essential oils. Now I'm not a product diva, but I don't love that I have to apply it with my hands (the extra 30 seconds it takes to leave my 1 year-old unattended and run to the bathroom to wash up leaves ample opportunity for him to get into trouble).  But a stick applicator may be coming soon. The brand recently celebrated a fully-funded Indegogo campaign, and developing an applicator is one of their major goals. Stay tuned, but if you're in the market for a natural deodorant, this is a must-try today!

Cosmedix Reflect SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen, $45

I have no problem slathering a thick sunscreen all over my face when I'm at the beach, but that approach just doesn't work for me everyday. I was thrilled to find this super-light liquid mineral sunscreen from Cosmedix. It comes in a spray pump, but don't plan on misting it all over your face (too much potential to breathe it in— avoid spraying sunscreen over your face or body). Instead, follow the package directions and spray a few pumps into the palm of your hand, then pat it on. The ingredients are astonishingly simple: the base is micronized titanium dioxide and water, with a few key antioxidants added. On days when I might otherwise forgo sun protection in an effort to streamline my routine, I reach for this quick-applying liquid as a practical solution.

Note: while testing this product, I've been researching whether or not micronized titanium dioxide is truly safe protection. While many sources, like the EWG, vote for zinc oxide as the number one best form of sun protection, titanium is a close second. Both titanium and zinc "provide strong sun protection with few health concerns," and "don't break down in the sun," according to the EWG. And in its micronized form, titanium dioxide appears to be safe. There does exist a 1996 study that raised concerns on nano materials in sunscreen, but subsequent studies have not substantiated those concerns. For the time being, this feels like safe, wearable protection to me!

"EWG carefully studied all scientific publications and government safety assessments on the risk of nanoparticle penetration from zinc and titanium in sunscreen. The current weight of evidence suggests that these nanoparticles do not penetrate the skin, diminishing concerns for their adverse effects for sunscreen users."


Meet UK Skin Guru Antonia Burrell and Join Our Live Q&A

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If you love safe, effective, science-backed green beauty and you haven't heard of Antonia Burrell Holistic Skincare, it's because, well, her products are seriously hard to come by here in the US. I'll call them exclusive. If you aren't a client of the famed (and chicly-curated) Shen Beauty in Brooklyn, you haven't even seen Antonia Burrell Skincare on shelves in the US. And you're missing out!

With famously flawless faces like that of model Jessica Stam and HRH Princess Tatiana of Greece in her hands, Burrell has a lot at stake. But her clients rave about her famous Natural Face Lift Facial (make a trip to Urban Bliss Spa in Notting Hill to experience it) and product line.

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Winter Product Obsessions

 

Winter's still hanging on here on the East Coast— we're so close to spring, yet so far!

 

So what's been on my vanity, tucked in my purse or stocking my bathroom cabinet during this season of record-setting chills? Here are the natural and organic products that have become my absolute favorites for beauty this winter...

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Autumn Product Obsessions

What's on my vanity, tucked in my purse (or diaper bag!) and stocking my bathroom cabinet this season? Here are the natural and organic products that have become my absolute favorites for beauty this fall...

Ilia Sheer Vivid Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20, $42   

I'm always on the lookout for exceptional foundations and tinted moisturizers that meet my natural standards, so when I heard that Ilia was releasing a new product, I had to check it out. This tinted moisturizer has light, buildable coverage (hence the 'sheer vivid' moniker), and SPF 20 from zinc oxide (12%) and titanium dioxide (2%). The first time I wore it, I felt like my skin stayed strangely tacky (I'm not a fan of powder in the fall and winter), even though the formula is slightly matte.  Sure enough, on subsequent tests I found that it leaves a layer of dewiness on the skin, thanks to its moisture-attracting hyaluronic acid. While that took a little getting used to, the product doesnt look greasy on your skin. It covers lightly and evenly— no streaks. A winning combo!

Pursoma Hot Tub Bath, $34

I'll admit it— I was a bit intimidated before using this mix of potent detoxifying bath salts. After all, the brand itself calls the blend, complete with spicy organic ginger root powder, 'no joke.' Fortunately, I met Pursoma's amazing founder Shannon Vaughn at an eco-beauty event we co-hosted at Brooklyn's Shen Beauty, and she promised me I could handle it. At the first sign of a fall cold, I dumped this warming mix of ginger, sea salt and French clay into my bathwater, soaked as long as I could, and wrapped myself in a heavy robe to sweat out the toxins. I awoke the next morning feeling awesome (and in need of another bath after all that sweat!). Keep one around for cold & flu season.

Organic Bath Co. Stress Less Organic Sugar Scrub, $27

When I'm not taking toxin-flushing ginger soaks, I like to chill out with more relaxing aromatherapy. This Stress Less sugar scrub combines Fair Trade sugar with super-hydrating organic oils and a mellow lavender scent, from organic essential oil. I'm using it this fall to smooth my skin (cell turnover naturally slows down when the weather cools) and remind myself to breathe deep. 4-7-8 breath anyone?

Zoe Organics Mama's Ritual Roll-On Aromatherapy Oil, $26

Being a mom makes me wonder, what did I ever do with so much free time before?! Caring for an energetic 9-month old who desperately wants to walk on his own, I totally get why Zoe Organics wanted to create their new 'Mama's Ritual' line of products. If I dont reserve a few daily moments for myself, I might forget how amazing it feels to just sit quietly and breathe in the calming scents of sandalwood, geranium, lavender and peitigran. This oil blend helps me to be present too, because when mama is cared for, she's better at caring for everyone else.

 

Farmaesthetics Warming Oil, $18

The ultimate cold weather body oil. Infused with clove, lavender and orange, this rich oil produces a mild circulation boost in your skin a few minutes after applying. It's just enough to chase away a chill, and give you a just-left-the-fireside glow. It's also intended to rev up a stagnant system, warm the spirit and open the heart, and I feel like it does just that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Dramatic Ways to Make Over Your Beauty

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We’ve all had moments when we feel stuck in a beauty rut.

Our solution usually involves a new hue of lipstick, a dramatic change in hairstyle, or a fresh shade of hair dye. But this year, I challenge you to be more creative. We can do better than those tired, old ways of thinking about beauty! To really freshen up the face you show the world, I’ve got some life-changing strategies that will change the way you think about your beauty, and help you achieve a more radiant glow than you’ve ever imagined.

Make these the steps you take to inspire radiant beauty this year...

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