The Kari Gran System

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Photo: Bette Walker

I’ve recently been sampling the Kari Gran product line and I’m really impressed.  Let’s discuss.

First, we need to talk about their Lip Whip.  Like, Holy $#*+!!!  Where has this stuff been all my life?!    Throw away your Rosebud Salve right now.  Best lip product in a pot ever made, right here.  It really is a “whipped” balm, so it’s soft and light and easy to apply.  No digging required.  Lip Whip is incredibly moisturizing (it’s still on your lips when you wake up the next morning) and it’s kind of thick, in a good way.  Organic beeswax locks in moisture to heal dry, cracked lips and a host of other organic oils nourish and rejuvenate.  It also looks so pretty on.  I really love the tinted version, which gives that subtle, slightly pink, your-lips-but-better look.  Cost: $15.

As for Kari Gran Skincare, the ingredients are impeccable.  Everything is non-GMO, Organic, wild-harvested, etc.  It is suitable for most skin types, especially normal/dry/sensitive.

I really love the Cleansing Oil.  (I’ve made it pretty clear that I am a big fan of double-cleansing, but you can read more about it here.)  I often use coconut oil to double-cleanse, but I love the way this oil feels and smells and honestly, it is nice to have it ready to use in liquid form from a pump bottle.  Cost: $30 for 3.4 oz.

The Hydrating Tonic is a very effective toner, especially if you have dry skin.  It is completely water-free and alcohol-free, which means it is super-moisturizing.  It feels and smells great and the high aloe vera content makes it great for a slightly sunburned face or cuts/scrapes.  Cost: $35 for 3.4 oz.

The Essential Serum is packed with high-quality, superstar ingredients like Camellia, Rosehip, Calendula, and Seabuckthorn oils, which make the serum perfect for signs of premature aging and moisture loss.  The texture is medium-weight and silky.  If you’re looking for a moisturizing, anti-aging, well-priced serum, you just found it.  Cost: $60 for 3.4 oz.

If you’re curious, or you’ve been thinking about trying a new skincare routine, try the Kari Gran Starter Kit, which lasts about two weeks.  (It’s also a no-brainer for travel.)  I love how simple it seems, but it really does have all “the right stuff”.  (NKOTB, anyone?  That song will be in my head all day now.) Cost: $35.

Happy Thursday!

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Lift Hair Texture & Volume by Josh Rosebrook

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PUMP IT UP.

I’ve got a little head, a big face and fine hair, so I love me some VOLUME.  Josh Rosebrook makes pretty amazing skincare and haircare, so I was extra excited when he sent me his new LIFT Hair Texture & Volume Spray to try.*

I’ve been using it for almost three weeks; every time I wash my hair, I comb it out, spray the LIFT spray all over the roots, comb again, and blow-dry.  I love it.  It makes my hair full and swingy, but still soft and silky.  And it smells heavenly.

Josh says: An herbal synergy of horsetail, lavender, sage, thyme, rosemary and peppermint gently stimulates the follicle and scalp. When the hair follicle is stimulated, the bulb is nourished through increased circulation, creating a stronger, thicker hair shaft. 

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It also passes the Bare Beauty test with flying colors (all of Josh Rosebrook products do).  It’s paraben-free, sulfate-free, synthetic-free, alcohol-free, gluten-free, vegan and color-safe.

Ingredients: Distilled water, organic non-gmo yucca starch, organic herbal infusions of: lavender, rosemary, horsetail, sage, thyme, peppermint, burdock and oregano, non-gmo  xanthan gum and potassium sorbate, saponified coconut oil, organic essential oils of: lavender, ylang ylang and proprietary blend of other organic essential oils. 

Cost: $22 for 4 0z.  Purchase it here.

* I never have and never will write a sponsored post (that’s when someone pays a blogger to write about their product).  Vendors sometimes send me new releases to try, but I only write about products I find to be Clean and effective, so you can always trust my reviews.  :)

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Bruise Easily?

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Happy Friday!  Two weeks ago, we were skiing at The Homestead with friends and we had the best time.  I had a fall (or two), nothing serious, I mean, I was laughing while falling.  However, I bruise so badly and so easily, that by the following day, my hip, leg and bum looked like I was hit by a speeding automobile.

This weekend, we are going to Harbor Island and I am NOT about to bare a black-and-blue bottom.  (I am fully aware that this post already sounds very bratty. #champagneproblems)  Last week, I remembered that I had a sample of Plantlife Relieve Arnica Gel, so I’ve been slathering the bruised area with it twice a day, hoping it would work a miracle.  I really wish I had taken before and after photos.  The bruises are completely GONE.

What is Arnica?  Good question.  The short answer is that it is the homeopathic (read: original) version of Icy Hot or Bio-Freeze.  The long answer: Arnica is a flowering plant found in Europe that increases circulation by stimulating white blood cell activity, thereby decreasing the amount of healing time and reducing inflammation and bruising.

Plantlife Arnica Gel is absorbed quickly and isn’t at all greasy, so it’s perfect to apply before bedtime or ever right before you dress for the day; no stains, no oily mess.  It’s also great for sore muscles and some swear by it when it comes to post-surgery and post-childbirth.  I can tell you one thing, it’s a miracle worker for the common bruise.  Cost: $18.  Purchase it here.

Have a great weekend! I’ll be posting some pretty pics from Harbor Island, follow along on Instagram! @barebeautyblog

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Ayurvedic Lipstick: Nūdus

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Ever wish the lipstick that you wear all day was also a lip treatment?

For me, there is nothing worse than lipstick that dries up and dries out my lips.  It feels bad and it looks worse.  Trying solve the problem, I’ll apply more of the culprit, and all I can see are dry, flaky lips under a mask of color.  Yuck…

That will never, ever happen if you are wearing Nūdus lipstick.  Nūdus founder Diana Goltsman Saltoun worked for two years to perfect her “Lip Euphoria” formula, a blend of 27 active naturals including cold-pressed, food grade  pumpkin, kiwi fruit, raspberry, pomegranate, argan and moringa oils.

And let’s talk about this PIGMENT.  Nūdus colors are so rich and so highly pigmented, you won’t believe they are 100% natural, let alone Ayurvedic.  Yes, that’s right; these lipsticks contain special mix of ancient Ayurvedic pure bioactive color extracts from flowers, fruits, herbs and minerals. Each color extract has a dual purpose of bioactivity and therapeutic function. The extracts not only provide longer lasting colors, but safer active moisturizing properties, based on the technology of an ancient progressively vibrant traditional medicinal system.  Isn’t that so cool??

The term “small-batch” is soooo overused lately, but we have to talk about it, because what other lipstick company makes all their product by hand – no machinery – in small batches?!  I know, I am totally geeking out right now, sorry :)

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Here are some of my favorites.  Clockwise from top left: Naked (the perfect nude that erases all color from the lips), Halo (a classic light pink rose), 27 Kisses (the most universally-flattering color of all time) and Fairy Tales (a classic, not-too-bright-coral).  Cost: $35.  Purchase them here.

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Clean Program Homemade Buckwheat Granola

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For a family road trip a couple of months ago, I made the Buckwheat Granola from Clean Eats.  I won’t lie; I had to buy almost everything the recipe called for and it took a little effort to make it.  However, it made a very big batch of cleanse-friendly, vegan, best-I’ve-ever-had (literally!) granola.  I would highly recommend making this for a road trip or vacation where you know there won’t be many healthy options.  You can eat this granola like cereal with some almond milk, sprinkle it in your smoothie or yogurt, or just eat it by the handful.

| Buckwheat Granola | (makes 1/2 gallon)

  • 3 cups buckwheat groats, soaked for 2 hours, then rinsed in a strainer until the water runs clear
  • 1 1/2 cups raw pumpkin seeds, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups raw sunflower seeds, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups raw almonds, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
  • 3 crisp apples
  • 1/4 cup mesquite meal
  • 1/4 cup ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut nectar
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt

 

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Soak the groats, seeds and nuts the night before you wish to prepare the recipe.  Once they are drained and rinsed, process them in several batches (I love my Vitamix, which is currently on sale, but you can also use a food processor).  Roughly pulse them to break them up, but stop before they are completely blended.  You don’t want them puréed, just roughly chopped.  Once all groats, seeds and nuts are processed, set aside in a bowl.

Wash and grate the apples (I roughly pulsed sliced apples instead), adding them to the groat, seed and nut mixture.  Stir to combine, then add the mesquite meal, cinnamon, coconut, coconut nectar and salt.  Combine thoroughly.

If you have a dehydrator, you can spread the mixture in a thin layer over the screens and dehydrate it at 200*F for 6-8 hours, or until crisp

If you do not have a dehydrator, preheat oven to 275*F.  Spread the mixture on to a parchment lined baking sheet or baking dish and bake it for 4-6 hours (mine took at least 6.5 hours), or until crisp.  Once crisp and cool, store the granola in an air-tight container.  It will keep several weeks.

 

All photos: Bette Walker

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PiperWai are you still using antiperspirant???

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Photo: Bette Walker

No, seriously.  Why?

I’ve been using PiperWai Natural Deodorant for three weeks and it is amazing.  While I don’t have sensitive skin anywhere else, it seems my underarms are very much so.  Most natural deodorants cause me to break out in a red, itchy, burning rash – not cute or comfortable.  But PiperWai contains skin-conditioning plant-based butters and oils as well as ingredients like magnesium, activated charcoal and essential oils that balance pH and neutralize odor.  The scent is very pleasantly unisex and it won’t stain your clothes, promise.  Cost: $11.99 for 2 oz.

Ingredients: Cassava (Tapioca) Starch, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Oil), Magnesium Hydroxide, Butryospermum parkii (Shea) Butter, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Rosewater, Witch Hazel, Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E), Sodium Bicarbonate, Activated Carbon (Charcoal), Proprietary Blend of 11 Essential Oils

Wondering why, exactly, you should switch from antiperspirant to a good natural deodorant?  I can give you lots of reasons:

  • Aluminum compounds in antiperspirant plug the sweat glands, but sweating is a natural and essential bodily function.  It helps the body detoxify and keep itself cool.
  • Aluminum compounds are a heavy metal.  They add to the body’s toxic burden.  They are also a neurotoxin and there are several studies that link them to breast cancer (as in, they can be found in cancerous breast tissue).
  • Conventional deodorants with antiperspirant contain phthalates, parabens and triclosan, which are all known endocrine disruptors.

I know I talk about deodorant a lot, but it is one of the most important switches you can make.  When I find a good one, I just have to let everyone know about it.  This is an easy switch for girls and guys – it’s natural, inexpensive and it WORKS.

Do you have a favorite natural deodorant?  Wondering if yours is Clean?  Let’s talk!

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DN UNIK at Abe’s Market for $2

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Every day at 11:00am EST, Abe’s Market offers their awesome Try it for $2 deal.  You can try up to three products for $2 each and they ship for free!  On Monday, March 2nd, they are offering products from the French skincare line, DN UNIK.

DN Unik is a Clean, (they are accredited EcoCert) anti-aging skincare line that works particularly well for those with drier skin.  All of their products contain Hyaluronic Acid derived from the fermentation of a mixture of algae plants.  (Many think Hyaluronic Acid is the fountain of youth, as it draws moisture deep into the skin.)

DN UNIK sent me some full-size products for review a few weeks back and I thought I would share my favorites with you:

For the last few weeks, one or two nights a week, I break from my nightly retinol regimen and use DN UNIK Age-Defying Serum with 100% Hyaluronic Acid for a moisture boost instead.  This serum is light (read: not greasy), but creamy and incredibly moisturizing.  For those with extremely dry skin, it works very well with their night cream.  Cost: $65.95 for 1 oz.

I’m very picky about eye cream, but I must say I am impressed with the DN UNIK EYE Contour Serum with 100% Hyaluronic Acid.  It feels light when applied and absorbs quickly but moisturizes all day long.  It is also a great base for eye makeup.  Cost: $52.95 for .5 oz.

The other day I noticed my skin was really dry and flaky from too much of a good thing.  I’d been using retinol every night and salicylic acid during the day, and I’d just gotten an enzyme peel facial.  Oops…  It was the perfect opportunity to try DN UNIK Moisturizing Facial Mask with Linseed Oil.  It has a rich, creamy texture and immediately sinks into the skin.  I left it on for about 15 minutes, and my skin felt refreshed, hydrated, soft and smooth for the rest of the day.  Cost: $43.95 for 1.69 oz.

**DN UNIK lists “parfum” on their ingredient labels.  Rest assured, this is natural, not synthetic, fragrance.**

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They Might Be (Green Beauty) Giants

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There is a new kid on the Green Beauty block, people.  Credo Beauty, a start-up out of San Francisco, aims to present non-toxic beauty as essential, not an alternative.  With a gorgeous, easy-to-navigate website as well as a brick-and-mortar store and spa that will open in April, Credo Beauty offers a selection of over 50 truly natural beauty and personal care brands.  I had a virtual sit-down with Credo’s Founder and CEO, Shashi Batra, recently.  As one of the founding members of Sephora, you might see where he is going with this…  Just imagine a beautiful venue full of luxurious, effective, non-toxic beauty products with a knowledgable staff to guide you – in every major city in the country!  Wouldn’t that be amazing?!  Read on to learn more about Shashi’s fascinating and accomplished background as well as Credo’s future plans.

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Shashi Batra, Founder & CEO, Credo Beauty

BB: You were a founding team member at Sephora; have you always been interested in healthy, Green living, or, did your trend forecasting and market research background open your eyes to a different way of life?

SB: I was not always interested in healthy/green living. However when I moved from NY to SF in 1998 I only just started to understand what green living was all about. The move was more than a geographic change, it was a move out of the traditional power center where all the beauty conglomerates are headquartered. Being submerged in the NY business culture was really the obstacle to seeing the reality and the dangerous impact of the traditional beauty brands. The move out West also made me appreciate the profound connection we all have to the environment, how beauty and healthy living can be completely interdependent. However even at this time in Sephora we could not find the brands that could give us a significant green beauty platform and the age of information was not prevalent enough to justify pursuing it. So consumers and merchants alike were not aware of the harmful impact that had been our legacy of bad habits. It was with my move back to NY to be the President of Victorias Secret Beauty where I decided to follow my convictions. When I arrived there in 2008 we started taking immediate steps toward packaging sustainability. In the beginning they were small steps (See article http://www.greenerpackage.com/recycling/victorias_secret_tackles_sustainability) but by 2012 we converted more than 75% of the unit packaging in a $1 billion dollar business into sustainably sourced and recyclable.  In 2009 I launched the first ever Victorias Secret naturals/organic project. It was under the younger Pink by Victorias Secret banner and it was great product in completely sustainable packaging (see article http://www.treehugger.com/organic-beauty/victorias-secret-launches-an-organic-line-of-beauty-products.html). While that was too early for the mass market and clearly talking to the wrong psychographic (Victorias Secret customers), it was my first step to really believing what the future needed to be one day.

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Credo Beauty’s first store, opening April 2015, on Fillmore Street in San Francisco

BB: It seemed to be only a matter of time before a group of experienced merchants with enough capital and vision decided to embark on launching the Green version of Sephora.  What are the players’ backgrounds and how did you all come together to launch this venture?

SB: The primary investors are family friends who formed the Next World Group. They do some VC work and love sustainable consumer brands as well. They also manage a significant philanthropic family foundation that is focused on eradication of extreme poverty and cleaning up the environment. The main operators and also co-owners of Credo are myself and Annie Jackson. Annie was a merchant at Sephora and worked with me when we started that venture as well.

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BB: What currently sets Credo Beauty apart from other Green Beauty retailers?

SB: Our holistic approach. The total experience: the store design, the service (on floor and off the floor treatments), telling the brand stories and the connection to community. We have the most comprehensive collection of brands that have great product and a true raison d’etre for what they do and where they source their ingredients. They are different from the first generation of natural brand visionaries because they focus on beauty and efficacy as a critical part of their brands – in design, packaging, texture and scent. We call this the naturals 2.0 movement and our goal is to give them a national platform that is as authentic and transparent as they are.  The Credo name is reflective of the belief that there is a better way to look beautiful with both style and substance. It’s a belief in a holistic vision for what beauty is: looking good and feeling good.  One of our unique features is a section we call ‘Healthy Swaps’. We present the list of popular products made by conventional brands and we recommend a healthy alternative to it. If a conventional product is not on our list, our customers simply enter the name on the healthy swaps page and we respond with a healthy alternative. Additionally, we will soon be announcing our philanthropy project. We are working on a partnership with an organization that is directly relevant and core to our mission and what we curate. We expect this to be more than a superficial alliance that is simply talked about during one designated month of the year. This partnership will be integral to our brand and one that we give exposure to daily as part of a holistic approach of what we stand for. We are really excited about the potential contribution we can make as a collective group with our partner brands.

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BB: Who researches and sets the standards for health and sustainability at Credo?  What is the process and what standards has the company adopted thus far?

SB: Annie works with several organizations to make those decisions. Primarily, we do not carry products that include anything from our ever evolving ‘never list’ of ingredients. Additionally since there are many sophisticated ways of hiding harmful ingredients, we partner with the NY Institute of Aromatherapy and rely on their expertise to evaluate the hidden dangers in more complex formulas. On packaging sustainability we look for at least one of 3 fundamentals…recycled, recylable and reusable. We don’t always find them, but we work with our brand partners to encourage and support them to achieve this.

BB: You are a father to two daughters.  What do you hope Credo Beauty will teach them?

SB: For my daughters and all the girls in the world, the single most import thing we can do in the personal care category is live up to the responsibility of educating the next generation about being beautiful and healthy. It is our role to engage this generation into the naturals 2.0 movement. To do it with emotion and beauty, something the original pioneers of natural beauty did not do. We need to provide beautiful brands and products with style and substance to forever change the way people think about and shop this category.

Thank you, Shashi!

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Which Toner is Right for You?

What are toners?  What do they do?  Are they really just a waste of money?  As you can imagine, I get these questions a lot.  I first wrote about toners almost two years ago here and now, more than ever, I am a big believer in toners/mists/hydrosols.  Not only do they prep and  moisturize skin, they restore pH balance and make the products you follow up with even more effective.  I don’t need to use as much face oil or moisturizer when I prep with a toner; the product moves around my face more easily and absorbs more evenly.  I also use a mist to set or refresh my makeup and I even spray my Beauty Blender with it before applying makeup rather than just soaking it in water.  Read on for some toners – it was hard to name just a few – that I’ve loved over the years.  If you are just starting venture into toner territory, don’t be afraid you will choose the wrong one.  Virtually all Clean toners are suitable for all skin types.  Unless you have extremely sensitive skin, you truly cannot go wrong.

May Lindstrom Skin The Jasmine Garden Botanical Mist contains colloidal silver, an antibacterial agent, which makes it perfect for those who have acne-prone skin.  This toner also smells like a dream: the jasmine, rose and ylang-ylang are totally addictive and you’ll want to spray yourself constantly.  Cost: $60 for 3.38 oz.

One Love Organics Vitamin D Moisture Mist quenches dry skin with a patented, time-release delivery system while Vitamin D from Shitake mushroom soothes skin and provides antibacterial protection.  Cost: $39 for 2 oz.

Dr. Alkaitis Organic Herbal Toner is the perfect elixir for sensitive or inflamed skin.  More of a gel consistency, this organic “skin food” (yes, you can eat it) can be used as a moisturizer for those with more oily or blemish-prone skin.  Cost: $55 for 4 oz.

Acure Organics Facial Toner with Rose and Red Tea zaps excess oil and shine without stripping skin.  This balancing toner is the perfect place to start if you are young or just making the switch to Green skincare.  Did I mention that Acure is now sold at Target?!  Cost: $13 for 2 oz.

Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence is great for aging skin.  Bioidentical Hyaluronic Acid literally draws moisture into the skin and creates a more plump appearance.  This is one of the first Green toners I tried and I still love it.  Cost: $85 for 4.1 oz.

I’ve loved all these toners even though some of them weren’t “targeted” for my skin type, so don’t be afraid to experiment!

Do you have a favorite Green toner?  Tell us about it!

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If You’re Sick (Or Just Hungry)

 

Sometimes, I just want to write about food when it’s not Friday.  Soooo, my “Good For You Friday” posts might be a little random going forward.  My acupuncturist gave me this recipe for Garlic and White Bean Hummus and it is SO GOOD.  She always tells me to eat tons and tons of garlic whenever I get sick, which is a bit of a tall order, don’t you think?  I mean, how can one consume a whole bulb of garlic or more per day?  Not only does this hummus solve that dilemma, it is so delicious that you can serve it to guests and even hummus-haters will be converted.  Also, try serving it to your little ones; Annabel loves it.

| Garlic and White Bean Hummus | (makes about 2 cups)

  • 1 can cannellini beans or other white beans, drained
  • 4 bulbs of garlic
  • juice of 1.5 lemons
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 3 teaspoons fresh rosemary or herb of your choice, chopped
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat over to 300* F.  Cut the tops of the garlic bulbs off with a knife, exposing the individual cloves.  Place the bulbs in a baking dish, exposed side up.  Drizzle with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper.  Bake the bulbs for 30 minutes, or until the garlic is golden brown and soft.  Remove the bulbs from the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes.  Squeeze the cloves directly into a blender or food processor (I love my Vitamix).  Add the beans, lemon juice, olive oil and blend until smooth and creamy.  Then, add the rosemary, salt and pepper and blend again.  The hummus stays good in the fridge up to a week.BareBeauty1.16.15-103

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All Photos: Bette Walker

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