Summer 2016 All-Natural Skincare: Evening Routine

eveskinsummer2016This is the evening portion of my current summer skincare routine.  My morning routine is described in this post.  These are the products I’ve primarily been using the past several weeks.  As a reference, my skin is normal – not dry nor oily, and though I’m not prone to breakouts, I do have a stray blemish here and there in the summer.

The very first thing I do is remove all of my makeup with coconut oil, and for about six months I’ve been using Cocovit. This does a great job at removing not only all my face makeup, but all my eye makeup, too (you can read about my love of this product here). After I massage the oil into my skin, I wipe it away with a hot wet cloth.  I’ve used other oils in the past, but have found that when it comes to single ingredient makeup removers, I vastly prefer pure coconut oil over others, such as jojoba oil.

Once my makeup is removed, I do my second cleanse with the Meow Meow Tweet Tea Tree Charcoal Bar Soap (pictured setting atop of the Cocovit).  I actually purchased this soap hoping it would be a more affordable alternative to the excellent Osmia Organics Black Clay Facial Soap, and while I’m not sure that they are equals (OK, they aren’t), the MMT works really well.  It lathers very nicely but is never drying to my skin.  I love ingredients like charcoal and tea tree oil for summer when my skin needs the extra cleaning power.

Après cleansing, I immediately spritz my face with a hydrating toner.  Lately it has been the 100% Pure Jasmine Green Tea Tonique.  Toners are one of my favorite products to try, so I’m not yet loyal to any one particular toner.  I do really like the Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator, though (but I must confess that I’m not a fan of the white plastic bottle packaging as I prefer glass bottles).

serums

Top: Pacific Night Serum, Bottom: Juice Beauty Booster Serum

Next, I use a face serum, either Pacific Face Serum with Retinol (this product does not exactly exist anymore…I do believe that the Marie Veronique Gentle Retinol Night Serum is an equivalent product.  Correct me if I’m wrong.) or Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Booster Serum. Serums typically are lightweight and are quickly absorbed into the skin – these two products are no different and do just that.  I use these products as a targeted treatment to prevent fine lines and pigmentation.

Next I use an oil on top of the serum.  This summer I’ve alternated between the Skin Owl Mangosteen Beauty Drops or Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum (which to me is an oil, not a serum) and they are both very nice.

indigobalm

Above: Mahalo Rare Indigo Balm

Occasionally I’ve been using the Mahalo Rare Indigo Balm on my face (maybe twice a month) and I will often use it on my neck and décolletage.  I plan on primarily using this product during the fall and winter, though, due to the fact that it is a balm and therefore much heavier than an oil.

oloeyebalm

Above: One Love Organics Eye Balm

Lastly, I smooth a little One Love Organics Vitamin E Eye Balm under my eyes.  This is my favorite under-eye treatment I’ve used in natural skincare.  It is so thick it’s almost a paste, which I love.  A little bit truly does go a long way and one pot typically will last me around 8 months.

My night routine may seem long and tedious, but it isn’t in actuality.  Furthermore, it is a self-care ritual that I enjoy.  Taking care of my skin is a small thing I do each day, just for me, and it’s relaxing and beneficial mentally and physically.

What products do you love for your night skincare routine?  Have you used any of the products listed above?

My Love for Cocovit Coconut Oil

cocovitI admit that I’ve never been wowed by coconut oil in and of itself.  I’ve used many products containing coconut oil, and I’ve cooked and baked with coconut oil, but I never really had a strong opinion about it, other than it seemed like a nice product to use in multiple ways.

When I ordered my ANFGB Goodebox in August 2015, a jar of Cocovit Coconut Oil was included in my box.  I was instantly enamored with the beautiful packaging.  Though the jar is plastic, it is one of the most heavy-duty plastic jars I’ve ever come across – so much so that it resembles a glass jar to me.

cocovitjarAt first, I used Cocovit a few times as a hair mask (and really enjoyed it!), but as the months went on, I kind of forgot about this little jar sitting in my medicine cabinet.  I finally pulled it out one day a few weeks ago, when at my wits end with my dry skin, I pulled it out and put some on my face where I was dealing with dry patches.  There was something about the texture, the pure, clean coconut scent, and the way it melted into my skin that really surprised me.  It didn’t leave a greasy, unpleasant “film” on my skin.  After that, I started using it every night for my makeup remover and began to really notice that this is a truly excellent coconut oil.

Though this retails for $38 for a full-size 8.8oz jar, I have several reasons for justifying this price tag.  First, 8.8ozs is a very generous amount – this will last a while, because a little goes a long way.

Second, this is a stellar multi-purpose product – it doesn’t just have one purpose or use – it can be used in so many different ways – conditioning hair mask, makeup remover, shaving oil, moisturizer, cuticle oil, lip balm, oil pulling, minor burn ointment – this list goes on!  Cocovit  lists many more of the uses of coconut oil on their website, such as uses for Health.

Third, as I was debating whether or not to buy the full-size jar, I was reading some articles about Cocovit, one of which was Sarita Coren’s wonderful blog post she wrote here.

cocovitopenCocovit, unlike most producers of coconut oil, uses no heat or chemicals before, during, or after the coconut oil pressing process.  This product is fresh, 100% raw, and therefore retains it’s nutrients, enzymes, antioxidants, and a higher percentage of lauric acid (which is excellent for acne prone skin).

Not only this, but the ethics of the company are what made me truly want to give them my money.  The Cocovit coconut farm provides good employment to more than thirty locals in South India, where people are paid a living wage and safe, fair working conditions.  There is a lot to be said for this.

Hopefully this illustrates my love for Cocovit coconut oil.

Have you tried any of Cocovit’s products?

Mini Review of ANFGB Goodebox #2

anfgbgoodeboxIf you aren’t familiar with A Night For Green Beauty, read about it and the August 2015 event here.  To coincide with the ANFGB event, organizers partnered with Goodebox and released 5 limited edition boxes filled with products from companies that will be at the event.  When I saw the offerings in Box #2, I jumped on it!  I paid $145 total for everything that I received, and that included shipping.  Considering that the retail value of the package was $310, I think it’s a fantastic deal, not to mention the proceeds went to support this charity. Read on for my impressions so far on these fantastic products!

Osmia Organics Luz Enzyme Facial Soap (retail value $24) – When I think of facial bar soap, I think of my skin feeling dry and tight afterwards, which is not pleasant.  However, Luz is not your typical bar soap.  The scent is pleasant and complex, it lathers beautifully, and feels completely luxurious on my skin.  I think this would be a fabulous soap for dry, sensitive winter skin.  Want proof?  I always have to immediately use toner and oil on my face after I wash it, no matter what I use, because my face will start to feel dry.  However, after I use Luz to wash my face, I often forget that I haven’t put any oil or serum on my face because my skin is so hydrated and soft.  I’m completely sold on this.  The bar is petite for the price, but the ingredients and efficacy help to justify the price tag.

Strange Invisible Perfumes Body Wash in Lemon & Neroli (retail value $45) – This is probably my least favorite product from the box.  I’m not a big fan of body wash in general, as I prefer bar soap for washing my body.  Additionally, the scent is just OK to me – and for a body wash that retails for a staggering $45, I would have to seriously love it to justify that price.  The ingredients are top notch, to be sure, and it lathers beautifully.  I would absolutely LOVE to sample their perfumes…but I’m just “meh” about this body wash.  Let me end by saying that I will definitely use it up, though!

Josh Rosebrook Lift (retail value $22) – As soon as I heard about this relatively new product, I was thinking, “I must have it” because I have super fine, thin hair that has no body or volume the day I wash it.  There are a few things about this spray – the spray nozzle is great and delivers a fine mist; the scent is subtle but nice; the product doesn’t feel tacky or sticky at all…and does it give lift?  Yes, it does!  It isn’t va-va-voom, at least not for me, but it definitely gives me more body that I have on my own.  This product is absolutely a “win”.

Graydon Hand and Foot Relief Cream (retail value $18) – This was one of the products I glanced over when I got my package.  Another hand cream? I wasn’t too excited about it.  However, after the first use, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this.  It sounds like an oxymoron to say something is very lightweight but very hydrating – but somehow that is what this cream delivers.  I cannot wait to use this in the fall and winter on my notoriously dry skin.  Lastly, I am in love with the packaging.  A sleek tube with black label and a fantastic pump make this a joy to use.

Axiology Lipstick in Worth (retail value $26) – I knew I would receive either the shade Worth (bright red with coral and orange tones) or The Goodness (light pink creamy matte with light glimmer) and I was really hoping I’d get The Goodness.  So, naturally, I received Worth.  When I rolled up the tube, my heart sank a bit.  I’m quite fair and the strong orange red just looked disastrous.  I learned that I cannot apply this heavily nor on dry lips.  I have to apply balm first, then a sheer layer of Worth.  The result?  Amazingly beautiful orange-red lips that will be perfect for fall.  I don’t own any lipsticks like this shade and so I’ve made peace with getting Worth and expect to use this a lot during autumn.  The packaging is first a recycled paper tube which houses the lipstick tube itself. The lipstick is in a gorgeous sleek gold metal tube that has a unique pop-up mechanism that helps to avoid both the top coming off or the lipstick getting smooshed up into the top of the lipstick tube (lovely description, eh?).  The formula is fantastic, absolutely every bit as good as something like Ilia.

Cocovit Coconut Oil (retail value $25) – I’ll start by saying I haven’t had a chance to use this product in all the ways I want to – yet.  I did learn that it cannot be kept in my bathroom in the summer, because I opened it one day and liquid coconut oil spilled all over my bathroom sink – and you better believe I scrapped every bit I could back into the jar.  After that, I put it on my vanity where it won’t melt.  I’ve used this to shave, which was fantastic for my legs, but not so fantastic for my gummed-up razor.  I might experiment with oil-pulling with this, but I’m on the fence about that one.  I do plan on using it as a deep treatment for my hair one day very soon.  And I definitely plan on taking some of the suggestions for use from the Cocovit website.  Come winter, there is a good chance I will also use it on my face, since I get very dry skin and my skin seems to do very well with coconut oil.  This product is fantastic because it is so versatile.

True Nature Botanicals Pacific Night Serum with Retinol (retail value $150) – This was the star in the night sky for me, the product that pushed me over the edge to say, “Yep, gonna buy this box.”  I wanted to try this several months ago when I first heard about it, but could not stomach that $150 price tag, especially when I had never even sampled it.  This was my opportunity to get an amazing deal on it, so I jumped for it.  Safe, gentle retinol in an all-natural serum?  Yes, yes, yes!  And though I’ve only been using this 3-4 times a week for about 3 weeks, I’m already a huge fan of this lightweight serum. I use one pump after I apply my regular face oil/serum at night.  I will only know over time what difference it really makes, and in addition, I don’t have any wrinkles at all yet, so I won’t see any difference there.  I wanted this mainly as a “preventative maintenance” type of product.  I won’t lie – I want to age very well and I’d love to keep any wrinkles to a minimum.  I plan on reviewing again once I’ve used the entire bottle.  But so far, I love this product.

 Have you tried any of these products?  Are any of them on your wish list?