This is NOT a "chemical free" or "natural" sunscreen. While it is not currently rated on the EWG Cosmetics Database, all of the ingredients can be looked up on that database. For example, Dimethicone rates a 3 and Hexylene Glycol rates a 4. What are those things anyway?! Icky ingredients aside, this is my go to sunscreen for my face. Of the more natural sunscreens I have tried, this is the only one that doesn't give me a weird cast or cause me to completely break out. I still get some small bumps, which I control with ACV. I'd prefer Pratima's Neem Rose Face Screen to this if it didn't make me (more!) pink. It is more natural and more breathable than the Josie Maran and the small pimple situation is comparable… but the pink! Anyway, this screen blends / soaks in quickly with no lasting whiteness. There is definitely a dewy quality to the look. I do not use anything over it. If I am only going to be in the sun for a short time, I'll only cover my forehead, nose and cheekbones, thus avoiding the risk of pimples. I bought the travel size of the product at Sephora. It was not on display. I had to request it. A little goes a long way and $14 is a much more approachable way to try out an expensive sun screen.
Treatments -Unlisted Brand - Skin Laboratory – HQ+
jabritao 5/23/2012 1:55:00 PM
I have mixed thoughts on this peel. The results were very good. The hyperpigmentation I have from old acne marks faded dramatically (though the change was not transformative). Many people commented on how good my skin is looking. This peel did not seem to change the brown spots I have from sun damage, but that was not my reason for trying the peel. I am concerned about using products containing Hydroquinone, a known carcinogen. It rates an ominous 10 on the Cosmetics Database. If I had known more about this ingredient before, I probably would not have tried the peel. The peel contains alpha-hydroxy acids that can increase the risk of sun damage. I try to avoid the sun and use sunscreen while using a peel but when the peel takes 2 or more months to complete, as this one does, avoiding sun exposure can be difficult. It can take months for the body to replace the pigment that protects skin from the sun depending on the depth of the peel. While I was using the peel, I had very few new acne cysts, which is typical for me while I am using peels in general. This is an appealing side effect. I don't know how this peel would rate on the Cosmetic Database. I have a feeling not well. From the website: The HQ+ peel is formulated specifically with pigmentation in mind because it has added ingredients which help to fade pigmentation differences and even skin tone. If you suffer form old acne marks, age spots, or melasma, this peel will be the most effective in helping you. Acne Scars, Actinic Keratosis, Melasma, Oily Skin and Scarring
I like that this product is so highly rated on the Environmental Working Group's Cosmetic Database; however, I would definitely not repurchase. The formula is thick and it feels heavy on my skin. It leaves a very noticeable whitish / sickly mauve cast that doesn't go away. It is also difficult to get it off in the shower.
Masks -Unlisted Brand - Mountain Rose Herbs – Facial Scrub
jabritao 12/12/2011 1:15:00 PM
Even though 'scrub' is in the product name, I am categorizing this product as a mask. I think it is nearly impossible to use as a scrub. It clumps and crumbles. However, as a mask it is lovely. It has a fresh herbal smell. I most often use it when I am experiencing an acne flare up. I'll do an ACV wash and follow it with this mask, which not only gets rid of the vinger odor but also smooths and calms my skin. I am uncertain as to whether or not it helps get rid of acne. It definitely does not contribute to acne. It is gentle on my relatively dry and sensitive skin. It is a little difficult to use in the way that all powdered clays and masks are. From the website: An excellent deep cleansing exfoliant for treating all skin types, especially beneficial for oily skin and for problems associated with acne. This all natural facial scrub will help tremendously in removing impurities, dirt, contaminants, and excess oil. May either be used as a facial scrub or as a facial mask. Simple to use - add spring water or an herbal infusion, apply to the face, and gently rinse off. Your skin will feel softer, cleaner, and refreshed!
Scrubs -Unlisted Brand - Mountain Rose Herbs – Cleansing Grains
jabritao 12/12/2011 1:06:00 PM
Mountain Rose Herbs Cleansing Grains are a part of my regular routine. The rose scent is absolutely divine. I use them every other day for facial cleansing while in the shower. They are too messy to regularly use outside of the shower. These cleansing grains are comparable to others – I also really like Herbaliz Cleansing Grains. I wish that the Mountain Rose Herbs cleansing grains were less coarse. My sensitive and dry skin would appreciate it. I suppose I could try to take care of that myself with a coffee grinder... From the website: A 100% natural way to beautify your skin without harsh cleansers or perfumes; our cleansing grains were specially formulated to tighten the skin, remove dead cells, and unclog pores. Originally part of or herbal facial kit, we have decided after numerous requests to offer this for individual sale and use.
Toners -Unlisted Brand - Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar
jabritao 10/6/2011 10:50:00 AM
This is just one more little cheer to add to the chorus. Whenever my breakouts get really out of hand I turn to ACV. I use it straight – eventually I may get around to making one of those concoctions with the hope that the smell can be overcome w/out losing the potency. What ACV does better than any other 'natural' solution in my medicine cabinet is pull up cystic acne w/out the drying effect of other measures. And it does it quickly. As a bonus, ACV as a toner evens out my skin tone, seems to heal the aggravated spots and softens my skin. I do not use ACV all the time. The smell is just too overwhelming. The first time I applied it straight, my face turned bright red for an hour at least. After, say, 10x, this no longer happens but it can be a touch pink for 15-20 min. I also use it in the areas I get seborrheic dermatitis. After a few applications the problem corrects.
Full disclosure: I may end up lowering this rating once I have used the product for a longer period of time. Also, I applied Jane Iredale's Pure Lash Conditioner, prior to the Longest Lash Mascara. While looking for a natural mascara option, I ran a comparison between this mascara (left eye) and the Rilastil one (right eye), one coat each. I like a very natural look with mascara. I do not want to look like I am wearing mascara at all. The Jane Iredale mascara evenly coated and lengthened my blonde eyelashes. The look was clean and elegant. The Rilastil was better for instant volumizing but it also looked thick and unnatural. I was told that both are tar free. As far as the appearance of the mascara goes, it is a matter of taste. I asked a good friend which she liked. Unlike me, she preferred the Rilastil. I put the mascara on at 3pm. By 9pm, some, but not much, of the Rilastil mascara was flaking off. I decided to leave them both on all night to see what happens. The Jane Iredale mascara never flacked. Both still looked pretty good on day two. Edit: I have been using the Dark Blonde color for a few months now. I have a number of complaints: 1) It is gloppy and sticky. Perhaps this is b/c my tube, purchased from SkincareRX, who I like a lot, is older? Perhaps it's b/c it's a slightly different formulation than the black? Either way, it is messy and difficult to apply. In addition to it getting around my eyelashes, it's also gotten in my eyes a number of times. I've never had that happen before! I have my first case of pink eye in 14 years. Coincidence? 2) The tube is annoying. If the mascara has fewer preservatives, I'd rather have a *smaller* container. I'd always like a smaller container for mascara since I have to travel w/ it from time to time. I think the larger container is JI's way to have an excuse for charging $30 per item. 3)The lash brush should be a better quality for the high price. I do still like that it is a more natural product that rates well on the EWG Cosmetic Database.
While looking for a natural mascara option, I ran a comparison between this mascara (right eye) and Jane Iredale's Longest Lash Mascara (left eye). I like a very natural look with mascara. I do not want to look like I am wearing mascara at all. The Jane Iredale mascara evenly coated and lengthened my blonde eyelashes. The look was clean and elegant. The Rilastil was better for instant volumizing, but it also looked thick and unnatural. I was told that both are tar free. As far as the appearance of the mascara goes, it is a matter of taste. I asked a good friend which she liked. Unlike me, she preferred the Rilastil. I put the mascaras on at 3pm. By 9pm, some, but not much, of the Rilastil mascara was flaking off. I decided to leave them both on all night to see what happens. The Jane Iredale mascara never flacked. Both still looked pretty good on day two.
Moisturizers -Pratima - – Sandalwood Soothing Lotion
jabritao 9/13/2011 12:09:00 PM
I am partially writing this review just so that this product is in MUA's database and that people who have reviewed <20 products can still say something about this one. I think this lotion is best for people with truly oily skin who are looking for a top layer of treatment and protection. On my dry, acne prone cheeks, this lotion did not do much. Of course for me, not doing much is leagues ahead of most other moisturizers, which tend to cause break outs. I have friends with rosacea who regularly use and repurchase this lotion. It can be used as a spot treatment to dry out a blemish. I find myself wondering if pure calamine lotion would do just as good of a job. I think with the right skin profile: inflamed and/or oily, blemish prone skin, that this could be a very nice product. This is from the website: "A Signature PRATIMA product derived from the Calamus root works with healing Comfrey and Neem to provide dramatic and immediate relief from acne, blemishes, irritations and inflammation. Botanicals of Chamomile and Sandalwood leave the skin soothed and calm. Also works well for cuts and bug bites."
This facial oil gave me my first break from under the jawline acne in a year. After a few weeks of use, with Pratima's liposomes, I had almost no new pimples and my acne marks were fading. It improved the appearance of my skin greatly overall, but my cheeks were still needing more moisture. Pratima recommends using a moisturizing cream after the oil, but I did not find complimentary product that worked perfectly for me. Also, either this and/or Pratima's Neem Purifying Cream caused my chin – the true wildcard of my complexion – to be disturbed and prone to nodular acne. When I started to run low, I decided to start making my own facial oils to save money. A $34 bottle seems to last ~4 months for me with twice daily use. My homemade concoctions have been great for other parts of my face. They were fun and easy to make too. I made a neem oil blend that still smells like curry despite diluting it with kukui nut oil and masking it with various essential oils. My version does not keep nearly as many pimples away. Despite the simple sounding ingredients, I have concluded that I cannot replicate Pratima's formulation and that her product is the best I can do for this problem area. I gave this 5 stars because when it works, it works very well. I think it is best on truly oily skin that does not need much added moisture. By way of Pratima's magic, it does not have the unique neem oil smell. I will repurchase. In the store this is currently called Acne Essential Oil. From the website: "The ultimate skin healer, Neem’s anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties work with Camphor and Basil to prevent and heal blemishes and balance problem skin conditions. Organic Brahmi and essential oils of Sandalwood and Rose help soothe irritations and clarify skin. For best results, use with Lipsomes and follow with PRATIMA Soothing Lotion."
My skin is complicated. I can get acne rosacea on my cheeks and hormonal acne on my chin and jawline. My skin tends to be dry overall, but oily on my forehead and below my jaw. I have been using kukui nut oil as my summer moisturizer. I blend the kukui nut oil with essential oils (for this trial run I used rose, geranium, ylang ylang, & sandalwood) and put in a bit of carrot seed oil and rosehip seed oil (which definitely congests my skin when undiluted). It is a nice, light moisturizer for summer. I have had no new breakouts with it. The oil does not, however, prevent acne so I am using other products (tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, clay masks, neem oil) to manage that. I have seen other reviewers complain about the odor. Garden of Wisdom's kukui nut oil is only lightly scented and completely overpowered by the addition of essential oils.
I dove into Pratima's stuff this year after deciding to stop using all products rated more than 2 on the Environmental Working Group's Cosmetics Database. Friends of mine have been loyal patrons years and years. Of all the products of tried, the Healing Neem Oil is the clearest winner. I sometimes get acne on my shoulder and my upper arms (w/out treatment I'll have 2-4 active blemishes that I am prone to mindlessly picking). I also have mild Keratosis Pilaris (KP). This oil keeps both conditions fully under control, and thus my picking is also under control. I use it every other day or less. It's easiest to apply right after a shower when my skin is still damp. It has an astringent aroma derived from the basil oil. This nearly 100% masks the pungent curry-like smell of neem, the most active ingredient. The herbal smell of this oil sticks around for about an hour. I find straight neem oil, or my homemade concoctions, have a smell that persists far longer. I usually apply the oil well before leaving my house since I prefer not to carry any aromas on my skin, hair or person. Testimonials on Pratima's website mention using it for bug bites, razor burn, etc. I have not tried it for things like that. I did try using it on my face. I think the avocado oil in it made it too rich (or the lavender oil made it too drying?) and my skin became congested. Seborrhoeic dermatitis occasionally affects my scalp at the hairline and behind my ears. This oil has been very good at healing those outbreaks. It's expensive up front, but the bottle is still 1/3 full after 6 months of regular use. Those who can travel to the NY salon may obtain free samples of all of Pratima's products. Recommend. From the website: "A cure-all for chronic skin conditions, irritation and blemishes with pure Neem, Basil, Avocado and essential oils of Sandalwood and Lavender. Neem is antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. The oil contains fatty acids, which promote wound healing and maintain the skin’s health. Neem is truly a cure-all and can be used for most skin ailments including the following: Hives & rashes, cuts, wounds, scrapes & abrasions, acne, shaving & waxing irritations, sensitive scalp, for additional sun protection, cold sores & blisters, infections & skin diseases, athlete’s foot & warts, as an insect repellent, for bug bites, pet skin irritations, as a plant insecticide, and more..."
Shampoo -Unlisted Brand - Destiny Boutique – Protein Shampoo, Citrus
jabritao 8/17/2011 3:21:00 PM
I found this product on the bodysense.com website, which helpfully organizes products based on their EWG Cosmetics Database rating. This shampoo is rated 1. Generally I rotate through 3-4 shampoos. I don't know if I would want to use this one every day, but it is perfect for my rotation. The protein in it is very volumizing and the shampoo does not leave any residue. I use it when I want my hair to look thick and wavy. If I want it soft and velvety, I'll use one of my other shampoos. I use a rich or leave-in conditioner after this shampoo to keep down frizz. It suds up nicely for a natural shampoo with no SLS. The citrus scent is lovely. It is also available in Lavender and Ylang Ylang.
This was my first time buying an Essie polish. It applies rather streaky but it takes so long to dry that the streaks soften out. I only needed two coats to get the opaque coverage I wanted. The finish is smooth, hard and high gloss. I LOVE the color. I was looking for an orange that did not scream orange. The Essie website describes the color as "heart pounding red orange". I see a lot of creamy coral in the color too. I think my tan skin brings out the orange in the color and my paler skin brings out the sun-kissed peach in it.
Scrubs -Unlisted Brand - Herbaliz - Cleansing Grains
jabritao 6/9/2011 8:20:00 PM
I have fallen for this product. I use the grains as my cleanser whenever my skin feels oily or I have flaking skin. The grains gently absorb my face oil. My skin sometimes flakes when larger zits are healing. The flaky skin looks worse under powder, which I use to cover the blemishes. These cleansing grains delicately take the dry skin away so that I can subtly use my powder. I am also less likely to pick on my face – terrible habit – if there's not dry skin. The only drawback of this product is that it is messy to use. In the shower, I like to use the grains on my neck and behind my ears. My skin is medium sensitive, and although it flushes when I am scrubbing, it calms down as soon as I stop. The Herbaliz website says that they have made the cleansing grains finer so that they will be more comfortable for people with sensitive skin.