Beauty Report: Current Faves

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SOME CURRENT FAVES: 1. rose & apricot hair milk 2. green tea & calendula leave-in conditioning mist 3. ellovi lip butter 4. ellovi body butter 5. frankincense hydrosol 6. complexe de fleur 7. weleda cold cream 8. rose geranium lip balm 9. Shevanti body balm

There are a few products that I’ve been using almost daily for a while now, so I thought I’d do a little roundup of some of these helpful gems. Do you have any current faves?

HAIR: My hair is pretty thick and a little wavy. After a drizzly walk outside it has a tendency to get frizzy or “puffy” and since each strand is fairly fine and there are so many of them — I’m easily tangled. I’ve been a fan of John Masters’ avocado and lavender conditioner for years (you can usually find it at Whole Foods) and decided to give a couple of his products that aren’t available in local shops a try. I love the Rose & Apricot Hair Milk and Green Tea & Calendula Leave-in Conditioning Mist that I bought.

How I Use: I wash and towel dry my hair and then run a dime-sized blob of the hair milk through to the ends, including my bangs. Then I brush my hair. If you need a good brush, I really can’t recommend the Mason Pearson brushes enough — they are hair magic. Then I spritz a little bit of the leave-in conditioner mist over my hair and scrunch the ends of my hair to encourage the waves. I shower every other day or every two days and in-between I just mist a little more of the conditioning mist. This routine has been great at controlling the puffiness and tangles! The Rose & Apricot Hair Milk and Green Tea & Calendula Leave-in Conditioning Mist also smell amazing.

FACE: I’ve talked about the fact that over the past couple of years I’ve developed rosacea. It’s usually a mild condition, but there are occasional flareups that have left me with painful welts and swelling. It has been hard to find things that don’t irritate my skin — even beautiful, all organic dream products often cause irritation. I tend to have dry skin and have been loving Balm Balm Frankincense Hydrosol, In Fiore Complexe de Fleur and Weleda Cold Cream.

How I Use: I have a tendency towards very dry skin and my majorly moisturizing and most intentional beauty routine happens at night. I really look forward to climbing into bed after washing my face at night to slather on some goodness. First, I spritz on the frankincense hydrosol and let it dry — I LOVE the centering scent of frankincense. Then I use the dropper to put a few Complexe de Fleur serum drops on the back of hand before dabbing onto my face with my index finger. After this, I often apply an oil or balm and then go to sleep under the mist of my humidifier. I’ve just added the Weleda cold cream to my routine and I use it about 3-4 times of week now instead of the serum and balm ritual. The cold cream is very heavy and works incredibly well during the times when nothing else seems to hydrate my skin enough. I always wake up with super soft skin and the cold cream is inexpensive compared to the other products that I’ve been using.

BODY: Continuing on the dryness theme, we move on to MY ENTIRE BODY. One of my very favorite and most luxurious beauty product splurges is my In Fiore Shevanti Body Balm. The scent is AMAZING and you do feel a bit like an Egyptian queen getting ready for the day when you as you rub it into your skin or as my friend Tamera said, “It basically smells like you’re preparing yourself for ancient sacrifice.” YES. Super moisturizing and all the amazing oils make it feel pretty magical. I have also been enjoying Ellovi Body Butter. It’s a beautiful and very moisturizing butter that has very few ingredients. It smells dreamy and feels gentle, but really does a good job getting in there and softening the rough bits.

How I Use: Pretty basic stuff! For the Shevanti body balm, I smear it all over my limbs, shoulders, chest, belly and hips — then rub it in while in a blissed out crazy scent haze. Then I do whatever face moisturizing routine I might need while it sinks into my skin a bit before putting on my clothes. On truly indulgent days, I allow myself enough time to climb back into our warm bed in my bathrobe while the balm sinks in. With the body butter I use it more often and especially love to rub extra on my heels and elbows. It’s also lovely everywhere else and the scent is pretty addictive. I have the original, but would love to try the vanilla version next.

LIPS: I have a lip balm problem — I really do. If it sounds lovely, then I cannot usually help myself — I have to try it out. I am not loyal to any brand in particular, but do have some current faves — Ellovi Lip Butter and Balm Balm Rose Geranium Lip Balm.

How I Use: Liberally, all day long. Like I have a lip balm applying tick. It helps me concentrate while I apply — I swear! Out of the two, the lip butter is far more moisturizing than the balm, but they both smell lovely and do a good job.

Beauty Report: Velvet Lips

Wonderful cruelty-free, natural makeup brand, Alima Pure, just launched a collection of six dreamy Velvet Lipstick shades. My friends at the Portland-based company sent me a set of samples over the holidays and I’ve been enjoying testing them each out — Beatrice (a deep merlot), Georgia (a vibrant raspberry), Emma (a neutral flushed pink), Lucy (a creamy rosy nude), Iris (an earthy muted red) and Stella (a bold garnet).

My personal favorite is definitely Stella — a classic 1940s brick red. It’s a blue-based true red, but there are some coral tones that soften it and, I feel, make it a shade that would also look good on people who lean towards orange-y reds. So pretty! I also love Beatrice and Iris — I think both are pretty universally flattering. Some people shy away from a bold, wine-colored lip and I think Beatrice would be a good one for taking the leap because it’s a little more sheer and you can control how dark you want it to go. Iris is just a good muted red — that looks really soft and understated. Another favorite is Lucy — a color that I personally don’t look good in, but it’s one that I’ve always wished worked on me! It’s a light, soft color that would be amazing paired with a bold 1960s cat eye eyeliner or smokey eye. More HERE.

A SWEET DEAL
Purchase one natural Velvet Lipstick from Alima Pure and get $5 off a second Velvet Lipstick. No code necessary. Now thru Sunday, Feb 1 at midnight PST. Shop HERE.

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Images courtesy of Alima Pure.

Shop Visit: Spruce Apothecary

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Tucked neatly into the charming Union Way shopping corridor, in the heart of Portland’s West End, you’ll find Spruce Apothecary. Spruce Apothecary was opened during Summer 2013 by Craig Olson and Sean Igo, owners of beloved Portland housewares shop, Canoe. Spruce is a bright, clean and compact space that manages to house a large assortment of apothecary items without feeling crowded.

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I made my first visit shortly after they opened and was so happy to finally have a local alternative to a certain chain that shall remain nameless. In particular, they carry one of my favorite clean skincare brands, UK-based REN. Unlike the unnamed chain, they really carry REN! I actually had no idea before visiting Spruce Apothecary just how extensive the REN line is. It turned out that darn chain was only offering a fraction of their products.

In addition to REN, you’ll also find skincare from amazing brands like Malin + Goetz, Ursa Major and Sachajaun nestled next to beloved standards like C. O. Bigelow and Herbacin. Even cult Japanese line, Yu-Be — which I love for preventing and/or calming upset skin — has a strong presence.

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Those who, like me, suffer from seriously parched skin in the winter months should be aware of shop manager Silvia’s recommendations too. For the body she loves the handcrafted, small batch Fig + Yarrow’s Yarrow Buttercream for being rich and soothing. Also great are Santa Maria Novella’s Crema Idrasol and REN’s Moroccan Rose Otto Ultra-Moisture body oil (which smells like heaven in a bottle!) and for the face, REN’s Anti-Aging Cream — which I have used before and can attest to being great stuff.

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Spruce Apothecary isn’t just a mecca of lovely skincare, you’ll also find perfumes from Santa Maria Novella, D. S. & Durga and Portland’s Imaginary Authors sharing space with Marvis toothpaste in all the flavors, seasonally relevant bath salts from Kneipp, Mason-Pearson hairbrushes and there was even a petite grooming section just for le bébé.

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There are also plenty of options for men, including colognes and a selection of shaving products, such as shaving brushes and bowls. I made a special note of Italian line Proraso as a British friend of mine has long regarded their shaving foam and shaving creams as the best he’s tried and regularly stocks up whenever he’s in Italy. Thankfully for us Portlanders, no passports are required.

Spruce Apothecary is located at 1022 W. Burnside Street and is open Monday through Saturday from 11AM–6PM and 11AM–5 Sundays. You can also follow Spruce Apothecary on Facebook.

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Shop Visit is a Honey Kennedy series about shops and studios found in Portland and beyond. This post is by Honey Kennedy contributor Allison Burt-Tilden. Stop by her lovely blog Votre Grande Soeur

Commodity

A few months ago, Commodity, sent me sampler sets of their new fragrances to try. While I honestly haven’t gotten around to sampling every single scent–I have a few faves so far. I really like Pinot, Mimosa, Tea, Wool and Whiskey. I love that you have ten days to apply the cost of the sample pack towards the cost a full bottle after you’ve tried them. I also love all these sweet drawings for each fragrance and their clean, simple packaging for their full-size bottles is fantastic–so pretty to see sitting on your vanity or dresser. More HERE.

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Winter Face Stuff

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LOVELY SKIN STUFF: 1. cleansing water/makeup remover 2. foaming cleanser 3. gentle cleansing milk 4. cleansing gel 5. clarisonic mia and gentle brush head 6. thirst quenching serum 7. moisturizing sorbet cream 8. intense moisture rescue cream 9. eye cream

My skin routine has changed a bit since my last big post about Face Stuff in October, so I thought I’d go over what has been working for me lately (here is a recent photo of my face). As always, I’d love to hear what works (or even what doesn’t work) up in your own grill.

First of all, let me say that I know that this roundup isn’t exactly thrifty. There are probably less expensive–and still natural–product remedies (which I always love to hear about!), BUT with my new, highly frustrating skin condition, rosacea, I had a bit of a meltdown a few weeks ago. Then, while staying at a hotel HALF A BLOCK from Sephora, I just went for it.

I had started to feel like a scaly lizard and, more importantly, started to feel those self-conscious thoughts creeping back into my head. Not OK!!! I didn’t want to feel all the badness all over again and what I’m realizing with this rosacea fuckery is that if you don’t remedy the current issue–it will build on itself and quickly get much worse. Anyone else out there relate to this? Like, you can actually FEEL the dry skin on your face growing. Or else, I maybe need therapy… for dry skin mirages and, possibly, a stampede of other issues.

At any rate, I knew I needed to step up my gentle exfoliation routine AND I needed major lasting moisture. I already owned a couple of the Caudalie products that I really love and my good friend, Tunisha, is a Caudalie consultant at Nordstrom in Seattle. I texted T an SOS and she gave me the thumbs-up on these potions I’d picked out and gave a few pointers. I know it kind of looks like it, but this post is not sponsored by the brand or anything–I just happen to think they are great. I’ve always had such a hodgepodge of products, but right now it feels nice–and a lot less chaotic–to have so many things from one lovely line.

SUMMARY: I’d say, if you are going to invest in just a few of these things, go for the Clarisonic, the Caudalie Thirst Quenching Serum and the Caudalie Moisturizing Sorbet Cream first. This combination is what has been most transformative for me. And drink lots of water! More details about these and everything else I’ve been using below.

DAILY FACE CLEANSE: First I remove my makeup with the Caudalie cleansing water (Tunisha said, “Dude. This is what all the French girls swear by!”). It smells so good and doesn’t sting my eyes–which alone feels like a victory. I grabbed a bottle of the instant foaming cleanser which is working nicely morning and night. Tunisha told me to mix the foaming cleanser with the Caudalie gentle cleansing milk when I wash my face at night. Mixing these two together will keep your face soft and hydrated before you apply your moisturizer (see below) before going to sleep.

GENTLE EXFOLIATION: My routine for washing my face has stayed about the same, but I now use my Clarisonic twice a week instead of once–with the lovely Nuxe honey gel. I still use the gentle brush head or delicate brush head–I can’t imagine why anyone would want anything rougher than those. They really do the job! I imagine I may go back to once a week in the spring and summer–once the wintry dryness stops.

MOISTURE MOISTURE MOISTURE: After I wash my face–both morning and evening–I apply this amazing Caudalie thirst quenching serum. Along with increasing my exfoliation, this has been the game changer for my skin. For daytime: Once the serum has fully dried, I apply the same Shiseido eye cream I mentioned before and then I apply my beloved moisturizing sorbet cream before I put on my makeup. For nighttime: After I wash my face and it has dried completely, I apply the Caudalie thirst quenching serum. Then, if I am feeling extra dry, I apply the intense moisture rescue cream before going to sleep. If I feel I want something lighter, then I put the moisturizing sorbet cream over the serum instead. AND I also love their amazing conditioning lip balm, but more about that later.

ON THE INSIDE: I’ve been concentrating on drinking as much water as possible–all day! Adding a few splashes of apple cider vinegar to my pitchers of water seems to help my skin and digestion as well. Also, teaspoons of coconut oil in my tea (SO GOOD) or just melting in my mouth once a day.

Hope this helps! If you happen to go to the Downtown Seattle Nordstrom for Caudalie–give my love to my pal, Tunisha! She’s amazing–you’ll learn A LOT from this sweet lady. ♥