Review: Pure + Remedy Skin So Bright Skin Brightening Serum

Friday, January 25, 2013

I am going to tell you about a product I've been using twice daily from a new company called Pure + Remedy. You know how fussy I am about skin care.  I literally receive a dozen pitches a day here at Chic & Green with people wanting me to review their facial products. Ingredients are so very important to me and I admit I am very selective with the products I will try.  If they contain parabens or other nasties, I won't even try them.


Once in a blue moon, I am sent products I get super excited about and go on and on about to the point where you probably even get sick of me raving about them. Pure + Remedy just may be quickly turning into one of those favorite natural skin care brands.

I am so happy to have had a chance to communicate with the woman behind Pure + Remedy, Michelle Pitmann.  She has been a dream to talk to and was happy to tell Chic & Green more about her company:

"The therapeutic properties of botanicals and natural ingredients are the very foundation of our line of products. I am aware that there are numerous natural/organic skin care products out there, but I tried to differentiate our products by focusing on targeting specific concerns/symptoms, and providing the right remedies with the right formula (every botanical extract and ingredient that goes into our formula has an important function for the specific symptom one may have)..."

Michelle also has a background in chemistry and biochemistry, so I love that she really knows her stuff. This is crucial in the skin care industry. She truly knows what she is talking about and brings her education background together with her passion for natural and holistic ingredients.

I was sent three products for review. I am not wanting to mix and match right not so I can give fair evaluations of each. In fact, I do have one Chic & Green volunteer tester, Cheddy, trying out the Precious Drops Super Hydrating Serum for me because the ingredients look ideal for her skin. I will report back at a later time on this one and the Damage Repairing Facial Serum. Right now, I am sticking with the one I have been using myself twice daily.

Number one, the products I was sent are all serums, which I adore.

Here is what Michelle says about her serums:

"And as you may already have noticed, our products are made in the form of serums, treatment gels and moisturizers (will be available later this year) only. This is because I wanted to make the wholesome ingredients in our products to be readily absorbed and become available to your skin immediately. All of the products are lightweight (with some viscosity), fast-absorbing, and gentle enough for sensitive skin and for daily uses. As you mentioned, I also tried to make the packaging attractive (simple yet sophisticated) and minimal (got rid of any unnecessary packaging parts)."



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My Review

My skin is luckily well taken care of and quite healthy. I've long lived by the philosophy that we're given only one skin, so we better treat it with love and respect. That said, the one complaint I have had lately is that my skin doesn't have that natural radiance and glow. It needs a bit of help in that department. I miss that natural "glowing" look and admit that I do take care to find ingredients and products to give me that boost.

I don't have wrinkles, acne or other issues. I do have one pigmentation spot on my left cheek and I do have a little bit of dullness to my complexion. Those are my key skin care complaints.

When my box of serums from Pure + Remedy arrived, I was thrilled to read the ingredients listing of the Skin So Bright serum -- no nasties at all, but loads of healthy ones!

There is hyaluronic acid, kojic acid, salicylic acid, licorice, kiwi, apple, grape, and strawberry...aloe...so many fabulous ingredients. And these ingredients work.

What I Like About the Product:

*Lightweight, non sticky texture

*Glides across skin with ease

*Absorbs quickly

*Non-greasy


My Observations So Far:

*Skin texture has improved already. It feels uniformly smooth (like it would after applying a primer).

*Skin looks healthier.

*The pigmentation spot has already faded with twice daily use -- and it has not been one full week yet.

The CHIC & GREEN Bottom Line:

On a grading scale, this serum earns an A+. I do not give this grade to many skin care products. It is well-deserved. I am anxious to try the other serum and to hear and see my friend's results from her testing of the Precious Drops serum. I will keep you updated! I will say, though, that if my interaction with the company is any indication, you will be more than happy with your customer service at  Pure + Remedy. This is definitely a company you'll want to add to your "to try" list!



*Disclosure-I received the products at no cost for review consideration. I am not affiliated with this company in any way and all opinions, as always, are my own.

The Best & Worst Part of Pink Eye = New Makeup!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The harsh realization of getting over pink eye came today when I was going through my makeup bag--I had to toss a bunch of stuff or else I risk re-infecting my eyes.


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Out into the trash went my mascara, three loose mineral powder eyeshadows, a loose powder concealer,  and a powder liner. Ouch. While I can wash my makeup brushed thoroughly, I contaminated my makeup. With every dip of my makeup brushes into the pots of mineral makeup, I was putting those nasty germs (unknowingly--I didn't realize I would have pink eye) into the powder pots. Please remember this should you ever get pink eye -- you cannot keep using your makeup after your pink eye has cleared because the germs will still be in the makeup and products like mascara, especially, are a breeding ground for that sort of thing!

The upside? New makeup! It can be fun choosing new things, so I went to Target and bought a couple of things this morning and last night I placed an order at  beauty.com.

First of all, I splurged a bit on eyeshadow. Or not. Now that I am thinking about it, the $27 palette is a better buy, as it works out to be less than my individually purchased mineral shadows. I also am wanting truly matte shadows for daytime.
I ordered the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette 1 with all matte colors. I will let you know my thoughts after it comes!

I needed to replace my concealer as well.  I have found that over the past couple of years, my skin needs a great deal more hydration, so I decided not to get a powder concealer this go around and I ordered Vapour Organic Beauty Illusionist Concealer in shade 030. I read to go up a couple shades because even the most alabaster tones were reporting that the light shades were even too light for them.

Did I mention I also had to toss my powder foundation because I have my sweeping it over my eyelids as a base? Yep. I have been dipping my big fluffy eye brush in that pot, too. I decided to try a product I used to use ions ago--before it was paraben-free. Now that it is paraben-free, I wil try it again: Laura Geller Balance N Brighten Baked Color Correcting Foundation in Fair. Now, purists--this IS not a natural product, nor do they claim it to be. It is on par with Smashbox or Tarte, I would say in terms of "naturalness". It is not a crunchy-natural product. It also isn't a bargain.  You know how I love a bargain.  The thing is, I have felt like crap for the past couple weeks, I have a regular source of income from my writing, and I don't splurge on other stuff for myself. So I will treat myself to 3 more expensive makeup products. I just remember how much I used to adore this powder foundation because of how light and airy it was -- and how radiant it makes your skin look. Granted, it has been about 7 or 8 years since I last used it, but I am going by the stellar reviews.

Today at Target, I bought my favorite mascara: Organic Wear Jumbo Lash Mascara. It is less than $10 and is the first EcoCert-certified mascara on the market. I go back to this time and time again and have decided that this is truly my favorite natural mascara.

I plan to review all of these in the coming weeks. Speaking of reviews-- I am trying some really fabulous natural facial care products from a line called Pure + Remedy.  I will review them soon for you!


Monday Morning Musings

Monday, January 21, 2013

from the MLK, Jr. Memorial in Washington



It is a quiet morning.  It's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, so the boys are off from school. They're enjoying a bit more time with my mom after spending the weekend with her and I am sitting on the sofa with pink eye, a majorly LONG case of the sniffles, and am covered with my blankets sipping tea & honey.

The bright side? I have been doing a bit of work (actually, this is giving me energy!) and am watching coverage of the Inauguration.  How stunning is Michelle Obama's coat?  I cannot wait to see her dress. Sasha and Malia look stunning, too. It's funny because I was cold and threw on an old hoodie from Old Navy -- a rich purple with magenta letters...the colors of the girls' coats. Also looking forward to the Inaugural balls tonight...how about you?

I'm excited to watch President Obama, a man I am so proud of, to become sworn in again today.  I have the big pooch curled up at my feet, the fire's crackling, and my boys will be home soon. I honestly cannot complain. It's been a long couple weeks of everyone being under the weather in this house. I will be back this week with more posting-- I promise!

Have a beautiful day, my friends.

Peanut Butter & the Food Safety Modernization Act

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Do you eat peanut butter? It is a popular choice in this house. We do eat other nut butters, but I just love my green spinach smoothies with peanut butter, cocoa, and banana in the morning. Here is a neat way to look at the recent problems with peanut butter in the US. Thanks to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), these incidents should be far less common!

  Sparta Systems Infographic courtesy of Sparta Systems

Golden Globe Makeup: Zooey Deschanel

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Yesterday, I showed you a natural way to achieve Adele's Golden Globe makeup look using products I believe will give you the same results.

Today we are super lucky because I am able to share the exact products used on actress Zooey Deschanel -- and the products are all paraben-free from Tarte.


Photo Credit: Getty Images



So what exactly did makeup artist to the stars Jorjee Douglass use? Let's find out!


She first prepped Zooey's skin with Pure Maracuja Oil. This helped to keep her skin smooth with a radiant glow without being a greasy mess!


Then she used the Amazonian Clay BB Primer in Fair.  Not only does this product provide sun protection, but it delivers the ideal canvas on which to apply the rest of her makeup.


Jorjee used the 12 Hour Foundation on Zooey as well.

The Maracuja Creaseless Concealer in Fair was used to conceal any circles under her eyes.




To give the star a luminous glow, the Maracuja Blush & Glow Brightening Luminizer and Cheek Tint in Candelight, which is a stunning shimmering champagne hue, was applied.


This was finished off with Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder.


Zooey's eyes were done with a beautiful quad called In the Buff, which is part of the Beauty & the Box Amazonian Clay quad collection. I have personally used this collection before and the texture is to die for.


Zooey was given a cateye with a twist-- a great liner look on top with a Twiggy-inspired liner on the bottom -- using multiplEYE Lash Enhancing Liquid Liner.

They finished this off with Lights, Camera, Lashes 4 in 1 Mascara.


For her brows, the makeup artist combined to shades to get just the right one for Zooey -- Taupe and Medium Brown of the Amazonian Clay Waterproof Eye Pencils.


On her lips, a fresh coral shade called Bold was applied. Over the top of her lipstick, the makeup artist used LipSurgence Lip Luster in Delighted.

To shop, just click on the photo of each item and you'll be directed right to it.


*Full Disclosure, Tarte is one of the very few companies I am an official affiliate of.  As always, opinions are my own. If you make a purchase via this blog for Tarte, I receive a commission.

Golden Globe Makeup Looks: Naturally

AdeleGoldenGlobes


Adele's makeup was fresh and glam at the same time on Sunday night when she accepted her Golden Globe award.

How to get her makeup look with natural products?

Here are some recommendations--

1. Honeybee Gardens eye palette in Rock the Smokey Eye

2. Noella Beauty Works blush in Bella

3. 100% Pure Pink Caramel Lip Gloss

4. Original Moxie Sweet Poof volume spray

5. Au Naturale pencil liner in Midnight

6. Organic Wear Jumbo Lash mascara in Ultra Black

3 Tips for Sore Throat Relief

Monday, January 14, 2013

Tom has been under the weather since last Tuesday. Sore throat. Cough. Runny nose. Fatigue...Thankfully, he is almost better.  Unfortunately, he passed his sore throat on to me. Saturday night I felt awful. My throat was so swollen and sore than I could hardly swallow.


By Saturday night, I was desperate for relief. The throat lozenges were gone...salt water gargle wasn't helping. I remebered something from the news the other night about elderberry for flu-like symptoms. I went to Wegmans and found Zand Elderberry Zinc Herbalozenges for under $2 in the Nature's Marketplace section, looked at the ingredients (GOOD--no nasties at all) and bought them.

I also was on the Internet looking for home remedies. I tried eating marshmallows, which was one suggestion. I could hardly swallow them and they ended up doing nothing.

I also found an at-home remedy of lymphatic drainage massage. It was 2am and I was exhausted, but I would have done anything for relief.

I went to one of my favorite health and wellness blogs, Organic Authority, and found a post about relieving a sore throat naturally. Part way down through the post, the guest blogger Steven Horne, a Registered Herbalist, shows readers how to administer lymphatic drainage massage to the throat area. I followed the steps and found relief (and less swelling to my giant glands) within an hour. I literally could feel the built up "yuck" moving away and downward.

You know me. I try to live a green lifestyle, but I still believe in mainstream medicine in addition to complementary medicine. I vaccinate my kids, for example. So sometimes I am skeptical of herbal remedies and "super crunchy" stuff...

The throat massage combined with the elderberry reduced my sore throat by about 75% yesterday and now it is about 90% gone and other than being tired, I am so much better than a couple days ago.

What else helped me?  Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup!



Easy peasy and oh so yummy! I make my soup with a Lemon Pepper Rostisserie Chicken from Wegmans.

First, in a stock pot you'll need to melt a bit of butter and olive oil.  In this, I saute an onion, diced celery and carrot slices with a bit of garlic. Then I add in chicken and two cartons of Wegmans Chicken Culinary Stock. Add in a bit of salt and the juice of a lemon, along with some basil and thyme and after simmering on low for a couple hours, you'll have delicious soup. A few minutes before you're ready to eat, boil water in a separate pan and throw in some egg noodles that you can later add to the bowls of soup.

Just thought I'd share in case this helps you: elderberry lozenges, lymphatic drainage massage & soup! They have really, really helped me!

What's In It Wednesday: What Smells?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

We're going to talk about scent today....or lack thereof.



This topic stems from a chat I was having with a friend last week. I had recommended a Fragrance Free product to her and she remarked that she was surprised because her nose picked up a scent.

My first thought: "A-ha! My next blog post for What's In It Wednesday!"

This one is for my friend Susan.

Yes, she is right. Sometimes you DO pick up a scent from a product which has been labeled "Fragrance Free". This is not a bad, thing, though.

Labels can be confusing. Afterall, there are Unscented products and Fragrance Free products.  It's important to differentiate between the two because there is a major difference in terms of safety.

Fragrance Free is what you are looking for. This means that no artificial (synthetic) fragrances have been added to the product.  As we know, artificial fragrances are one of the most potentially harmful ingredients we can encounter and they are linked to many health issues, from asthma to cancer. Nothing has been added to remove the natural scents from the butters, oils, and other natural ingredients in the products.  In other words, you may smell some of the product's ingredients such as the olive oil or shea butter.

Unscented does not mean fragrance free.  In fact, if you smell absolutely nothing in your skin care or beauty products, it may be even MORE harmful than you believed. Why? It sounds silly, but unscented products typically have added fragrance agents used to mask the other smells. These masking fragrances are usually composed of toxic phthalates. 

Phthalates are an industrial plasticizing agent. Here is what is on the Cosmetics Database page about phthalates: "More than two decades ago, scientists began building a body of work indicating that phthalates are reproductive and developmental toxicants in laboratory animals, particularly in males. Early studies focused on phthalates' ability to cause testicular atrophy (e.g., Gray and Buttersworth 1980). New studies are confirming these findings in humans (Swan et al. 2005, Main et al. 2005)."


Phthalates have been linked from everything to testicular cancer to liver cancer, but they are still in almost all synthetic fragrances, including masking agents which cause a product's other natural scents to disappear.



So when you're shopping for skin care, be sure not to fall for the "unscented" label.  It must say "fragrance free" or "free of artificial fragrances" to actually mean it.

Review: Badger Balm for Sensitive Dry Skin

Monday, January 7, 2013

Never a dull moment in our house.  Friday evening started off as loads of fun. After dinner, the boys were running around Ben's room playing with a Nerf football. All of a sudden, there was a bang, followed by Nick screaming and Ben yelling, "NICK NEEDS ICE!"

Tom grabbed the ice and I ran upstairs only to see blood dripping all over the floor and all over Nick. He tripped on Ben's area rug and landed smack on his face on our hardwoods.

In the process, Nick bit his lip in multiple spots.  One of those went all the way through, making what was essentially a horizontal hole in his face right under the lip. I drove him to the ER.  Thankfully, we are just a couple of minutes from a fantasic (and newly renovated) pediatric ER at a good hospital. We didn't even have to wait--they took him right back and he was stitched up.  In fact, we were home in less than an hour. It also was enough to loosen a baby tooth enough for it to come out last night.

Nick is a trooper and he is in GREAT spirits, but the injury has made it so he cannot quite close his mouth all the way. This, combined with the dryness of our heat and the cold temperatures, has made his lips so chapped and dry (not to mention those sores from his wounds).

Plain old lip balm won't cut it.  I don't apply petrochemicals to my boys (like Aquaphor), so I knew I needed something I could quickly find at Wegmans.  Online, there are so many options, but we didn't have the luxury of waiting. I thought I could whip him up something and realized I was out of beeswax, so that wasn't an option either.

I went straight to the Nature's Marketplace aisle at my local Wegmans and bought a tin of Badger Balm for Sensitive Dry Skin.  It is USDA Certified Organic and 100% natural. It was $5.99 for a 2 ounce tin of concentrated product.

This has been just what my sweet boy needed.  We needed something non-irritating and ultra gentle, something without peppermint (which might sting his wounds), and something that would soothe and protect him.  We've been applying it to his lips and the skin all around (he lacerated the area called the vermilion border).

We've been fans of Badger Balm for quite a while.  I just never have purchased this most basic one.  We've tried the Headache Soother Balm and Baby Balm before.  I also love their sunscreen and bug spray.  All utilize the aromatherapy benefits of essential oils.

The Unscented Badger Balm is simple.  It is also effective.  It has helped Nick's sore, chapped, and wounded lips heal. It gets an A+ in my book! Online it retails for $7.99, but like I said it is $5.99 at my Wegmans.  If you are looking for an effective balm for chapped, crack, damaged skin I highly recommend this product!

*Disclosure: I purchased this product with my own money and am not affiliated with Badger. All opinions are my own.


Acure Organics Hair Care Review

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I was unfamiliar with Acure Organics until early last year.  I had heard some positive buzz and then when there was a good deal in a flash sale online, I ordered the facial cleanser for me to use in the summer when I get some oily spots.

After trying the cleanser and enjoying it (although it really is meant for truly oily skin rather than combination skin), I started trying other items from the brand.

You may have noticed that their eye cream, lip balm and a shampoo all were named in my Best of 2012 skin care awards on December 31. Acure Organics has quickly become one of my go-to natural (and truly organic!) skin care brands.  But how is the hair care?


AcureReview



If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you will know that I have been a HUGE fan of Original Moxie when it comes to hair care.  And it is a brand I really do love.

That doesn't mean I don't try others. And, truth be told, I am so glad I ventured out a bit.

Acure Organics makes some of the best -- if not THE best-- hair care products on the planet.  For ME to say that about another brand is a big deal. Yep, a BIG deal. These are my new favorite hair products. Because of the price, this is going to be my go-to hair care brand for shampoo and conditioner.

A bit about the products: fair trade, color safe, phthalate free, paraben free, gluten free,  vegan, cruelty free, SLS and sodium chloride free as well.


I am first reviewing the Lemongrass + Argan Stem Cell Shampoo.  Would you believe the #1 ingredient in this is Organic Acai Berry? Seriously! Most "acai" products have only trace amounts and it is the numero uno ingredient in this product.  The ingredients are absolutely stellar--from Rooibos tea to CoEnzyme Q 10 to aloe vera. Argan Oil too! And it lathers well.

My hair is left super shiny. And soft...But not greasy and unmanageably soft. I adore it.  It is great on color-treated hair.  I also need to use just a tiny amount (still have a pixie).

As for the scent...I will be honest and say I didn't like it that much at first.  It has really grown on me. The fact that this product works so beautifully outweighs the fact that I don't LOVE the lemongrass scent.


Price $10.99 for 12 ounces
Performance Grade: A+
Ingredients Grade: A+

Note: This is the best of the Acure Organics shampoos, in my view.  I have tried the other ones. Do NOT get me wrong--they are ALL very good, but this one works the best for me!

I also am in love with the Leave-In Conditioner.  I have been using this one for several months.  In fact, it is the same $9.99 bottle I bought in the late spring.  My impressions--this leaves your hair silky smooth and super shiny with a couple quick spritzes.  The argan oil and olive oil really enhance shine without weighing my hair down.

This gives me adequate conditioning.  Again, I have short hair.  Pre-pixie, I may have needed another conditioner as well.  The leave in spray is sufficient for me.

Price: $9.99 for 4 ounces
Performance Grade: A+
Ingredients Grade: A+


Where to Buy:

Acure Organics Website

Drugstore.com (I order from here because I get back "drugstore dollars" and can use with ebates too)

Disclosure: I have purchased all of the Acure Organics products on my own.

C & G Resolutions

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I don't particularly care for New Year's Resolutions.  Quite frankly, I believe in living each day one day at a time.  Each day is a fresh start and there is no time like the present to make a change. Whether it is to work out more or create more art, I believe you should just make that change rather than waiting for a certain day on the calendar.



That said, there is no reason you cannot make some simple resolutions when it comes to skin care and makeup!

Some beauty & skin care resolutions you can make:

*Resolve to wash your face each and every night. No exceptions! Dermatologists recommend removing makeup each night for several reasons.  First of all, if you do not remove your makeup, your pores will not have a chance to "breathe".  Your pores will become clogged with the ingredients in your makeup, no matter how natural it may be.  The sebum will become trapped in your pores and you're risking a breakout.  Leaving on eye makeup can cause other issues, such as redness, irritation, and even infection.

Environmental contaminants also lurk on the skin, so a gentle cleansing is in order. 

You also may begin to look older if you do not remove your makeup at night.  Why?  Your skin cells regenerate at night at a faster rate than daytime.  If your skin cannot breathe because of makeup left behind, the cell regeneration process won't be effective, making your skin look older over time

* Resolve to try a new lip color!  As much as I love Captivate by Silk Naturals, I tend to wear it almost all the time. When I was not paying attention to ingredients years back, the staple shades for me were Estee Lauder Divine Wine and MAC Spite. I tend to have "comfort colors".  Those are the equivalent of dark bootcut jeans and a black sweater for me -- my go to outfit many days. So be adventurous! The other day I wore a red called Bombshell from Silk Naturals.  Even if it is just on the weekend, promise yourself you'll try a new shade.

*Resolve to exfoliate. Exfoliation is one of the most overlooked steps in one's skin care regimen. It is a must do, though. Exfoliation need not be painful or harsh. As an aesthetician, I have seen the negative results of harsh chemical peels, prescription skin care creams, and microdermabrasion. I firmly believe that a natural approach to exfoliation is best. 

Everyone needs to slough off dead skin cells. Without doing so, skin becomes thickened, uneven, and will lose its radiance. You should exfoliate between 1-3 times per week. Using a gentle scrub, you will be able to remove the top layer of dead skin cells to reveal a more radiant and even tone. Skin will appear more youthful and brighter.

*Resolve to use sunscreen, even on cloudy days. 

Natural sunscreens generally are more costly than drugstore chemical-filled and potentially harmful sunscreens. This is true.

What is so important to remember, though, is that a good sunscreen is going to be your best anti-aging product. Since much of aging can be attributed to UV damage, sunscreen is imperative.

Most people will not hesitate to spend quite a bit of money on a night cream or serum or on a handbag or shoes. In fact, I know of people who will spend $250 on a handbag, but do not want to spend the money on an effective natural sunscreen.

Think of it this way: you only have one skin. It should only make sense that you take care of it. Sunscreen can help prevent skin cancer AND help prevent the signs of aging. Not many products can say that!

The following brands offer high-quality natural sunscreens: Badger, EcoLogical, L'Bri, Soleo, and Raw Elements.

*Resolve to green your routine. I know it can be hard to eliminate harmful products "cold turkey". Take small steps.  Use up what you have right now in your vanity and then when it is time to replace products, choose more natural alternatives. Every time you replace a natural product for a harmful one, you are doing yourself a healthy favor!

*Resolve to eliminate artificial fragrance once and for all! If you choose to eliminate only one ingredient, make it synthetic fragrance. Read here to find out why.


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