Spotlight: Naturaleve

With a range of Soil Association-approved, 100% organic skincare products, Naturaleve’s line is completely free of parabens, petrochemicals, and artificial preservatives.

Behind the Brand: Specifically created with a super-concentrated blend of natural and organic oils, the products in this line “melt” into your skin—which makes them ultra effective.

The Products: You’ll find a bunch of good-for-your-skin ingredients like Rose Geranium, Evening Primrose Oil, Pomegranate Seed Oil, Red Mandarin, Ginger, and Chamomile in Naturaleve products. We especially love the Multi-Task Rescue Balm with Mandarin Oil (it’s great for dry skin, stretch marks, sunburns, and anywhere you might need a little extra moisture), and the Rejuvenating Balm with Rose Geranium Oil, packed with ingredients known for their anti-aging and skin rejuvenating properties.

Bonus: We’re offering a free Sweet Lips Lip Balm to Beautorium shoppers who spend $30!

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Win What You Love: A Beautorium blog giveaway!

This week, we’re launching our first-ever Beautorium blog giveaway. We’ll be giving away 5 Beautorium products to 5 lucky readers!

There is a catch, though–you have to participate to win.

The details are below. Please read them carefully, because if you don’t, your entry might not qualify. (And we don’t want that.)

  • How to enter: Visit Beautorium.com and post a review of your favorite beauty product. Then, come back to our blog and post a comment on this post including your first name, city, state, and a link to your product review. NOTE: Please shorten the URL via tinyurl.com to be sure that your link works! No anonymous entries, please, and also be sure to use a valid email address when you comment, as that is the email address that will be used to contact you for your prize.
  • What you win: If you’re selected as one of our winners, you’ll win the product you reviewed–so be sure to review something you love!
  • Winners: 5
  • Giveaway Ends: Monday, February 1, 2010 at 5p.m. EST.
  • Special Notes: US residents only, please. Multiple entries are allowed, so feel free to write several reviews and post the links here!

On your mark…get set…GO!

Spotlight: Melvita

Named for the words “honey” and “life” in Latin, Melvita is all about products made with ingredients that come from the hive, blended with other organic ingredients from nature.

Behind the brand: Founder Bernard Cheviliat is a beekeeper and biologist—which means he brings a scientific background to the products Melvita creates. One of the first companies in the world to earn the ECOCERT certificate for organic products, Melvita has been a trendsetter since its beginning in 1983.

The products: From Moisturizing Day Cream (formulated with royal jelly and rosehip oil to protect against aging) to the Hydrastim Moisturizing Gel, which combines aloe vera and the extract of the Amazon river plant, mourera fluviatilis, with hyaluronic acid and other organic ingredients that keep your skin at its ideal moisturization level, Melvita’s products are made with ingredients that are responsibly harvested, packaged in recyclable materials, and strives to promote ethical, humane, and fair-trade partnerships.

Bonus: Melvita operates according to the “precautionary principle,” which means that the company will not use ingredients until they have been clinically proven as safe. (If there’s even a hint of debate on the safety of an ingredient, they leave it out.)

-Aleigh Acerni

Face Fare: Lucky Foods for the New Year

Each year, to celebrate the New Year and to help improve the chances that the next year will be a great one, people worldwide eat specific foods that have traditionally been considered lucky. Although the foods vary, many of them have health benefits beyond just luck—so much so that you can often find them in your beauty products! We’ve rounded up the lucky foods that feed your skin and bring you luck.

Pomegranate. In Turkey and the Mediterranean, pomegranates are eaten at the New Year to bring abundance and fertility throughout the year; pomegranates have powerful antioxidant properties. To incorporate the pretty (and potent) fruit into your beauty routine, try John Masters Organics Pomegranate Facial Nourishing Oil or Saaf Organic Ultimate Moisture Face Serum.

Citrus. In China, citrus fruits are associated with prosperity because the word for “tangerine” sounds similar to “luck” in Chinese. Your skin loves citrus, too: it’s used in a long list of organic, natural products, including Trilogy Age Proof Replenishing Night Cream or Evolution Sugar Cane & Maple Alpha-Hydroxy Facial Exfoliant.

Grapes. At midnight on New Years Day, merrymakers in Spain eat twelve grapes; one for each stroke of the clock to bring luck each month of the year. Both Afterglow Organics Lip Love lipsticks and Exuberance Radiance Facial Cleanser include grapeseed extract to moisturize and beautify.

Legumes. Resembling coins, legumes like beans, peas and lentils are symbolic and money—eating them at the New Year is hoped to symbolize earning power for the months to come. If you’re extra superstitious, try using Pangea Egyptian Geranium with Adjuki Bean and Cranberry Facial Scrub—the adzuki bean is also great for skin clarity and exfoliation.

It’s not too late for a little extra New Year luck! What foods do you eat to celebrate?

-Aleigh Acerni

Ditch Your Old Standbys: Six Products to Try in 2010

The new year is here, and it’s a great time to switch up your beauty routine—instead of reaching for your old standbys, why not give some natural, organic products a try?

1. Saaf Organic Hydrating Face & Lip Balm. Ditch your chapstick for the organic version, which calms dry, irritated skin on your lips (and face) without those junky synthetics. This beauty is packed with steam-distilled essential oils of lavender, chamomile, geranium, natural Vitamin E, and black seed oil (and anti-irritant). It can even fade the appearance of old scars and blemishes.

2. Trilogy Age Proof Replenishing Night Cream. Don’t slather synthetic chemicals on your face overnight: those products seep into skin while you sleep, so why not do your face a favor with a more gentle, organic nighttime treatment? Your average cold cream’s got nothing on this blend of bio-actives helps your skin regenerate overnight to restore elasticity and suppleness while smoothing fine lines and wrinkles. It pairs avocado, certified organic rosehip, and marula oils for a combo of essential fatty acids, and includes hylauronic acid to plump skin.

3. Exuberance First Love. If you’re looking for a way to test out organic products, look no further than this palette of Exuberance’s ten favorite facial products—the perfect way to find your personal favorites before making a full-sized commitment.

4. Melvita Purifying Roll-On Deodorant. For years, there’s been a lot of fuss over the aluminum, zinc, propylene glycol, and phthalates in your average deodorant, especially considering it’s a product that most of us use every day without fail—sometimes two or three times a day. Most have warnings that they’re not to be used on open wounds (and post-shaving, don’t most of us have tiny open wounds?), but it’s hard to give up your old standby when you’re not sure if a new product will be as effective. Never fear: even Health.com likes the newest organic deodorants, and so do we!

5. Korres Materia Herba Toning Cleansing Foam. Show your skin some love in the new year—this cleanser makes skin of all types happy, with purifying ingredients like hamamelis extract and centaurea flower-water.

6. Trilogy Everything Balm. Useful on everything from soothing dry, cracked skin to strengthening nails, conditioning lips, and even on delicate baby skin, if you add one new product to your beauty arsenal in 2010, this should be it.

What’s your beauty resolution for 2010?

The Gift That Does Everything: Our Five Favorite Multi-taskers

Don’t know what to get for the girl who has everything? We’ve got some suggestions. You really can’t go wrong with any of these options—they’re all great for any skin type, and they all do so many great things for your skin, we don’t see how you could resist them!

1. Trilogy Everything Balm. The name says it all: even The Guardian considers this stuff “the ultimate multipurpose cream.” Use it to moisturize lips, dry skin, and cuticles, as a massage oil, or to soothe delicate baby skin.

2. Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil. Ideal for all skin types (even sensitive, scarred, or sun-damaged skin), this organic rosehip oil is clinically proven to improve skin moisture, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and improve skin smoothness. What more could you ask for in a skincare product?

3. Revolution Organics All-Over Body Balm. Bragging over 22 uses from your nose to your toes, Revolution’s Body Balm does everything from relieved chapped lips and dry spots to preventing stretch marks, strengthening nails, improving skin texture, taming unruly eyebrows, conditioning hair, and priming skin for makeup.

4. Sophyto Skin Energising High Potency Concentrate. This lightweight skin supplement is great for inflamed, sensitive, or sun-damaged skin, helps minimize fine lines and wrinkles, acts as a cushioning agent against damage, and smoothes and softens skin.

5. John Masters Pomegranate Facial Nourishing Oil. A blend of 12 organic plant and essential oils, this product rejuvenates dull, dry skin, acts as an anti-inflammatory, helps spur the formation of new, healthy skin and hair, bolsters the skin’s immune system, and stimulates collagen production.

What’s your favorite multi-tasker? We’d love to hear about it if you’ve found a new/different use for a favorite product!

-Aleigh Acerni

Easy Ways to Fight Holiday Stress

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but as the holiday season ramps up, so does holiday stress. Here are some ways to help you feel merry this year.

Give yourself a little something. There are tons of sales out there; treat yourself to something you’ve been eyeing instead of putting it on your wish list—and don’t let yourself feel guilty. Holiday shopping is much easier when your mood is merry, too.

Put yourself in time out. This might be our favorite tip, especially if it involves a nice, hot bath and a few chapters of a good book. For extra relaxation and stress relief, try adding soothing oil to your bathwater: we are year-round fans of Dr. Hauschka’s Lavender Bath (its lavender essential oil is great for calming nerves, anxiety, and stress), we love the combination of lavender, chamomile and bergamot in Rain Africa’s Essential Oil Relax, and Weleda’s Pine Reviving Bath Milk is soothing and puts you in the holiday spirit with the scent of Silver Fir.

Get off your feet. If you need some help in the relaxation department, head for the experts. Book a facial, massage, or manicure—something to help you feel pampered and calmed. Go ahead, you have our permission!

Let the early bird get the worm. Don’t wear yourself out trying to make every holiday party, every great sale at the mall, and keep up your already hectic schedule. Instead, look at your appointment book with an editor’s eye, and choose the events and activities that are most meaningful. Make apologies for the rest, and get some extra shut-eye—a well-rested body is better able to cope with the added stress of the holidays.

Take advantage of online shopping. If the thought of battling holiday crowds at the mall makes you cringe, don’t do it. You can find great deals online, and you don’t have to spend half an hour searching for a parking spot. (We’ve even made it easier for you: Starting today for a limited time, get free shipping site-wide at Beautorium when you spend at least $50—just enter the code “ship4free” at checkout!

Happy Holidays!

-Aleigh Acerni

Turkey Day Foods Your Skin Is Thankful For

Once again, it’s the time of year when we sit down to a meal with family and friends to celebrate the things for which we’re thankful. As you make your shopping list for Thanksgiving goodies, consider this: many of the foods you love on Turkey Day are just as good for your skin as they are for your belly!

Cranberry. Whether your taste buds prefer your turkey with cranberry or without, your skin can’t get enough of them—they’re a great source of antioxidants, which can prevent redness and inflammation, and slow the signs of aging. The powerful berry is a favorite in natural skin care, from Pangea’s Egyptian Geranium with Adzuki Bean and Cranberry Facial Scrub, which also has rosemary frankincense, and almond, to Melvita’s Extraordinary Day Cream for Dry Skin and Red Flower Essential Omega Fresh Berry Oil Serum, which also includes raspberry, strawberry, juniper berry, fir, rosemary and lavender.

 

 

Apple. We love fresh apples in the fall, and try to sneak them into our stuffing (and our pies!) every November. But there are other ways to sneak antioxidant-rich apples into your daily routine: Try Juice Beauty Organic Facial Wash, which also has honey, grape juice, olive oil, and carrot or John Masters Herbal Cider Hair Clarifier & Color Sealer.

 

 

 

 

Corn. No cornucopia is complete without corn in some form (you’ll definitely find cornbread on our table!). Corn is great for your skin, too. You can find it in John Masters Blood Orange and Vanilla Body Wash and Mandarin Maximum Moisturizer, and fructose made from corn is even in Afterglow’s Pure Soul Mascara, along with beeswax and rosemary.

 

 

 

Honey. We douse our cornbread in nature’s best sweetener, honey. But honey is also great for your skin—it has antibacterial properties, making it a great option for acne-prone or delicate skin, and it’s super moisturizing. No wonder it’s a favorite addition to natural skin care products, like Nature’s Bioactive Berry White Peat Exfoliant and Dr. Hauschka Rhythmic Night Conditioner.

 

 

 

Root vegetables. Iron-rich root veggies like carrots and beets are at their best in the fall. Red Flower’s French Lavender Purifying Body Wash includes sugar beets, and Cattier Beauty Concentrate is packed with organic carrot oil, naturally rich in Vitamin A.

 

 

 

Herbs. No turkey is complete without seasoning, and some Thanksgiving favorites are sage and rosemary. You can find both in Dr. Hauschka’s Rosemary Foot Balm, and rosemary is added to a number of products for its ability to tone and tighten skin.

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin. Our favorite way to end the Thanksgiving meal is with a big slice of pumpkin pie (and another slice for breakfast the next morning!). Packed with Vitamins A and C, pumpkin boosts the skin’s collagen supply and makes for a clear, bright complexion. Add them to your daily routine with Cattier’s Elixir Vegetal, Pangea Egyptian Calendula and Blood Orange Facial Cleanser, and Juice Beauty’s USDA Organic Facial Moisture Concentrate.

 

 

 

And don’t forget—once your Turkey Day meal is done, relax with a nice, long nap. Beauty sleep is great for your skin, too!

-Aleigh Acerni

Spotlight: Marina Cosmetics

It’s all about the pout for Marina Cosmetics. One of the most vulnerable areas of the face, your lips have no oil glands, and no natural defense against dryness, which means they’re one of the first places to show signs of aging. Enter Marina Cosmetics, which founder Kristen Null-Croner created out of a desire for natural, hydrating, anti-aging care for lips.

Behind the brand: The sea is restorative not just for its soothing sights and sounds; its waters are full of natural minerals and plants with a variety of benefits for your skin. Marina Cosmetics honed in on two specific marine-based ingredients: Antileukine and Organic Sea Kelp, which work together to keep your pout looking youthful while protecting your lips from things that can speed up the aging process, like UV rays, sunburn, and chafing.

The products: Hydrating Lip Gloss and Sea Perfected Lipstick, both in a variety of shades that work well with any skin tone. The entire line is dermatologist tested, hypoallergenic, and paraben-free.

The benefits: Marina Cosmetics’ two marine-based ingredients are in every formula. Antileukine aids in decreasing wrinkle depth, prevents sun damage, stimulates collagen production, blocks inflammation, boosts hydration, and promotes both firmness and smoothness, while Organic Sea Kelp is high in silicon, essential vitamins and minerals to prevent wrinkles.

Bonus: Both the Hydrating Lip Gloss and Sea Perfected Lipstick are water-resistant, so they’re just as perfect for a wintertime getaway to your favorite tropical hot spot as they are for everyday wear.

-Aleigh Acerni

Parabens, Phthalates, and Breast Cancer, Oh My!

breast-cancer-ribbonYes, the pink-washed month of breast cancer awareness is over, but that doesn’t mean breast cancer just goes away. Every day of every month there are new women diagnosed and beginning the fight against breast cancer. So why not start today, right now, learning about how you can increase your odds of avoiding that nasty enemy? One important step you can take is to do your best to steer clear of the synthetics and chemicals that emerging science has linked to breast cancer. We’ve got the details on two of the main guilty parties for you.

Why aren’t these ingredients banned?

In the United States, testing of cosmetics is voluntary—the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers the cosmetics industry to be a self-regulating industry. According to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database, 89% of ingredients used in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety by any publicly accountable institution. That means the burden is put on you as a consumer to take responsibility for protecting yourself—and often, that’s not an easy task.

Public Enemy No. 1: Phthalates. According to Breast Cancer Action, phthalates “have been known to cause a broad range of birth defects and lifelong reproductive problems in laboratory animals exposed to these chemicals during pregnancy and after birth.” They’re used as solvents in many cosmetics, but you can also find them in food packaging, building materials, and children’s products, and in cosmetics items including deodorants, nail polish, and fragrances. This substance can mimic natural hormones, disrupting the normal hormone process—possibly even causing early puberty in girls. In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on the Environment reported that phthalates are carcinogenic.

Public Enemy No. 2: Parabens. Breast Cancer Action characterizes parabens, like phthalates, as “chemical preservatives that have been identified as estrogenic and disruptive of normal hormone function.” Exposure to external estrogens has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. The Skin Deep database considers parabens a high hazard, rating it a 7 on a scale from 1 to 10, where 10 corresponds to the highest concern. Traces of parabens have been discovered in breast cancer cells.

icon_pink_smallWe’ve discussed safety as a reason to incorporate organic products into your beauty routine before, and that logic still stands. After all, more than 60% of what you put on your skin is absorbed into your body. If you have a family history of breast cancer, or feel that you’re especially sensitive to synthetic ingredients, swapping out some or all of your daily products for organic ones could give you peace of mind—and leave your skin just as lovely.

-Aleigh Acerni