• Chris

SOME HAIR + SKIN FAVORITES!

What started as an Instagram post quickly needed to become a blog post, because there have been some outstanding new products that deserve a thorough mention. There has been so much fantastic product coming through as of late. Some of these are new launches, and some are just new to me, but they have all been just incredible. I'm really learning more about how to master my hair now that it's long, because it's never something I had to think about before. I've been giving my skin a general break from potent products, but there are a few that I'm going to mention here that I like enough to consider using in a more regimented fashion. After all, I am 24 now, mom!

HAIR

ACT+ACRE COLD PROCESSED SCALP DETOX

While I personally still cringe at the word ‘detox’ labeled on any beauty product whatsoever, this scalp treatment is phenomenal. The lightweight ester base carries with it sunflower, moringa, and baobab oils plus holy basil extract which has long since been used in ayurveda for its skin and hair regenerating properties. Act+Acre also notes Amaranth Oil and Ylang Ylang. I like that this treatment is so fluid and spreadable, and because it’s dispensed with a nozzle applicator that you shake to use, I can do my entire scalp in less than 5 minutes. While I love hair treatments made with richer plant oils, they can sometimes take forever to apply. I’ve found the entire Act+Acre system to be pretty incredible for my hair, but the Scalp Detox really stands out. The timing couldn't be better either - I've been using more oils and serums on my scalp than ever before, and have had pretty tremendous results in maintaining overall balance in my hair. The idea of soothing, replenishing, and protecting my scalp from the potentially drying effects of shampoo really appeals to me. It's also worth nothing that the Act+Acre Shampoo & Conditioner feel like they are enriching my hair as I've been testing them out. More to come...

BRIOGEO CURL CHARISMA LEAVE-IN DEFINING CRÈME

My hair is on the thick/coarse/dry side, but my roots get oily quite quickly so I have to be careful with what I use on her. Even though I personally would love to be able to use multiple products in my hair at one time, she disagrees. I can use one, or at most two before things start to get weird. Enter Briogeo! What I love most about this curl cream is how complete it is on its own. Some curl products I've used in the past will define my curls but not control frizz, or keep my hair sleek but not styled the way I'd like, or too stiff to look natural. This curl cream actually checks all of the boxes, and is so easy to apply directly onto clean damp hair. I can count on this to delivery a huge boost in curl definition and softness, plus a touch of volume and all-day hold that you can't really detect. The scent is nice and refreshing, and fairly neutral. I'm going to have a snobby blogger moment and say that since I was gifted this curl cream, I had no idea that it was only $20. I would pay double for this, because it really is that good. And on the topic of blogger moments, this product has by far gotten the most response when I post the results of using this cream on Instagram!

REVERIE MILK LEAVE-IN TREATMENT

Beyond the gorgeous wonderland-like label design, Milk is really quite impressive. There is a lightness to the texture, but it certainly doesn't lack moisture. This adds a softness and gentle shine to the hair, though it doesn't provide much hold (and doesn't claim to either). I'll apply 3-4 pumps from the ends of my hair up, or comb the product through so it distributes evenly. I'll often apply extra product at the ends of my hair for extra softness and silkiness, and I don't get weighted down or lose my curl definition. The sandalwood and herb scent is super lush but doesn't linger on the hair for too long. Sometimes I'll even use this as a quick rehydrating treatment before shampooing, which is also fabulous!

I got my bottle from the inimitable Sarah Kahn Hair in Seattle, but you can get REVERIE at Sephora as well.

SKIN

SUNDAY RILEY A+ HIGH-DOSE RETINOID SERUM

As many of you know, I have been a fan of Sunday's Luna oil since the day it launched four years ago. Never before had I used a retinoid treatment that delivered such immediate benefits, until I tried A+. So far every time I’ve used it, I’ve woken up with skin that feels totally retextured and more firm the next morning. Not only does it absorb quickly, but it does so without leaving the skin feeling dry or tight. Sometimes I find Luna to be mildly drying because it contains so much grape seed oil, but that's also what helps it be so toning and refining. A+ delivers that refinement for sure, but you're left with more of a soft, plump, glow the next day. There is CoQ10, Honey Extract and Sodium Hyaluronate on the ingredient list, and a 6.5% retinoid complex: "5% retinoid ester blend, 1% liposomal-encapsulated retinol blend, and 0.5% blue-green algae." My skin responds extremely well to Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, which is the retinoid that appears to be highest on the ingredient list. I still need to test this out with consistent use to see long-term results, but so far I'm really quite impressed. But then again, Sunday Riley knows how to do a serum doesn't she?

PS: Thanks Mari & David for the bottle!

KLUR SYMMETRY FLUID

Anti-pollution is on everyone's minds, and it make sense. Our ozone layer is shot to shit and it seems there's more smog than there is fresh air in some places around the world. So it makes sense that you'd want to protect your skin from harmful free-radicals, which are rogue molecules (oxygen, hydrogen, etc.) that attach to healthy skin cells and cause damage. Here, Lesley used vitamins, plant extracts, and both synthetic and plant-derived antioxidants to neutralize this damage and 'shield' the skin. Not only will you get protection, but all of the ingredients together should, in theory, deliver more evenness of tone and overall radiance to the skin, which can only be a bonus. You often hear that sunscreens are only enhanced when paired with antioxidant-rich products, and this would be the perfect thing to layer under your moisturizer and SPF. It's lightweight, gel-like, and leaves an incredibly smooth and even finish on the skin. I can't recommend KLUR's products enough - all of the formulas go above and beyond and are rich with skin-beneficial ingredients.

DEVIANT SKINCARE CLEANSING CONCENTRATE

I can guarantee that many of you have seen this gorgeous gold-stamped jar floating around your Instagram feeds, and all the praise you've read alongside it is completely deserved. Our dear Natalie Smyth (@roadtoglow) created Deviant and launched this gorgeous green goo. This is one of the most wholesome cleansing experiences I've had in a long time. The green balm starts as what I'd call a encyclopedic example of a cleansing balm - oily but not too thin, buttery but not too rich, and extremely smooth on the skin. You -want- to massage it into your skin because the softening and comforting benefits are so immediately apparent. Then you can add water if you'd like to transform it into a creamy milk, after which it will in fact rinse clean. I love using a wash cloth, but have skipped it on more than one occasion and still had incredible results. It's hard to describe just how soft and slick your skin feels after using this, but it's addictive. There's a skin-like layer of moisture left behind, not film-y or residue-y. I can see this being especially nice as a comforting balm mask in the cooler months, but the lightness and clean rinse makes it perfect for Spring and Summer too. When I'm not at home, I miss using this cleanser and that's how I know it's one to hold on to!

PS: Don't even get me started on the Facial Oil! It is, in fact, everything one could want in a nutrient-dense earthy-smelling facial oil. Sunday Riley Juno fans should take note!

SANTA MARIA NOVELLA ACQUA DI ROSA

I'm sorry but sometimes there's nothing better than sweeping, splashing, or misting straight Italian rosewater on your skin after cleansing - especially when it's brutally hot outside. Only now that I'm nearing the end of this huge 8.4 fl oz. bottle from Santa Maria Novella am I starting to realize just how essential this has become in my skincare wardrobe. It's straightforward and simple, so you can really do anything you want with it. I really like using it when I'm craving something refreshing. It neither hydrates nor dries my skin out, so I think of it in neutral terms. It pairs great with something more balancing and toning, or with something designed to nourish and replenish the skin. I've even decanted a bit into a spray bottle and used it as a room freshener. Of course it's worth noting that this is a pretty fragrant formula, so those with hyper-sensitive skin may not get along with this Rose Water. I buy mine from New London Pharmacy in Chelsea, but you can also get Santa Maria Novella at Smallflower.

PS: In the time that I have been writing this post, I have since bought a bottle of SMN's May Water. Thanks white wine! Will keep you posted.

5YINA LUCENT SUMMER BEAUTY OIL

This gorgeous oil balances richness with extreme balance, so it's perfect for getting a balanced but glowy complexion. At its core, it's a nourishing and softening camellia oil paired with an astringent grape seed oil to deliver exactly what it promises: balance but glowy. You also get an expert blend of TCM darlings: ginseng, snow mushroom, lotus, and licorice of moisture, evenness of tone, and dewy antioxidant protection. I test a lot of oils and oil-serums, and many of them seem to sit at the same indistinguishable frequency, but Lucent has really stood out to me. It's one of those oils that seems to be so rich with nutrients that it instantly revitalizes your face. There's a gorgeous golden hue from rosehip and sea buckthorn that I find always delivers a huge boost in radiance.

I got mine through the June Box Walla, "A Summer in Hangzhou," but 5YINA has it on their site now too.

LA BELLA FIGURA THE CLEAN SLATE WITH BLUE TANSY

For those who know, you know. For those who don't quite yet, you're in for a treat. This is a buttery balm cleanser that transforms from rich and emollient to creamy and frothy with just a splash of water. La Bella Figura describes it as a rinsable cleansing balm and they don't disappoint. I have never used a balm that so completely transforms in texture, and so quickly at that. In my mind, this is both my first and second cleanse in a single step. You do have to be generous with your application if you want that emollient glide, and the jar is in fact only an ounce of product, but the unique experience really makes it stand out in a sea of precious cleansing balms. If you don't like your cleanser to produce bubbles, this isn't for you, but I also wouldn't say those with dry skin, like myself, could totally get along fine with The Clean Slate without fear of dryness. I have the been using the version with Blue Tansy, but have the classic edition waiting in the wings!

DR. JART+ CERAMIDIN LIQUID

For all you super thick toner lovers out there, myself included, this one is for us. It's quite viscous and emollient, yet somehow it doesn't manage to cloak the skin with richness. As with all Ceramidin products, the addition of lipid-replenishing ceramides are great for compromised skin, whether that's a cleanser that's too harsh, too much time in the sun, or damage from free-radicals. For those with oily skin, you may find this is enough to be a lightweight moisturizer during warmer months. Drier skins will appreciate the nourishment and moisture boost this can provide under serums and creams. It also plays will with facial oils, if you want to boost hydration and then lock it in. I haven't tried the Ceramidin Cream yet, but I've heard it works wonders.

GLOSSIER SUPER BOUNCE HYALURONIC + B5 SERUM

I can't -not- shout about Super Bounce. I've loved it since it was only half an ounce, and now with the full ounce bottle I can now be as generous as I want with application and not have to worry that I'll run out in a week or two. What starts as a slightly milky emulsion quickly melts into a fast-absorbing fluid that leaves behind a touch of softness. It hydrates completely and doesn't pull moisture out of the skin the way some hydrating serums can feel like they do. Out of all the Supers, this is the one I use the most because I am more prone to dehydration than anything, but I think the entire collection is great for those who just want a mild daily serum to add to their ritual. Super gentle and easy to use.

NATIVE ATLAS ZAHARA REWIND TONIC

I had been wanting to try Native Atlas for some time now, so when my dear friend Bella presented me with a bottle of their new Zahara, I squealed with joy. It's got everything you want in a resurfacing toner: calming herbs, willow bark, silver, and fruit enzymes. The experience is quite mild, but certainly smoothing and clarifying. It leaves the perfect balance on the skin - not dry or tight, and just moisturized enough. The level of tingle is super subtle, and I think this is one of those exfoliants that you could use every day and not overwhelm your skin. There is an ever-so-subtle herbal scent with this tonic, but it's pretty understated and doesn't linger. I do notice a very mild cooling effect when using this, which I personally love. I'm going to keep using this to see how I like it in the long run!

ROUTINE. SUPERSTAR NATURAL DEODORANT

I think I might have finally found a near-perfect deodorant. It was Josh Collier who introduced me to this deodorant as he swore it was the only one he's found to work, and I see why now. Though I'd much prefer a stick application, I can't deny that the formula is pretty powerful. It does have a bit of baking soda in it (Routine. offers versions that don't), but I've never found it to irritate my underarms. The coconut oil base is loaded with arrowroot powder and other absorbents to really minimize on the slickness of the underarm area. The scent is really yummy - teeming with earthy cardamom, intoxicating tonka bean, and spicy vetiver. I find that this does in fact keep my underarms dry for most of the day. There's no weird wetness during the day that leads to irritation cause from friction. I can't recommend Rountine. enough, especially if you find a scent and formula that you love!

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