Morning Routine

 

As much as I enjoy trying new products, nothing beats having reliable favorites that are also a pleasure to use. The above are products that I come back to time and time again, and right now, each one is being used in my morning routine.

After many attempts at finding the perfect facial cleansing oil, I finally settled on Laventine’s just over two years ago. Its high quality, natural ingredients, subtle but lovely aroma, and exceptional efficacy made it the clear winner. I use it every morning when only a gentle cleansing is needed and oftentimes at night to wash away makeup prior to a foaming cleanser. Laventine allows for a wonderful facial massage which aids in its purifying action. I remember reading a post over at IndiePerfumes that delved into the benefits of Ayurvedic facial massage. I’ve never done the full massage described in that post, but I do a mini one quite often which is relaxing and restorative.

After cleansing with the oil, I pat my face with a towel very gently so my skin still feels hydrated from rinsing. I then warm up a large pea-sized amount of Dr. Hauschka Quince Day Cream in my hands and apply it all over my face, making sure it’s most liberally applied under my eyes. I mentioned this moisturizer in my “favorites list” last spring, and still feel the same way. Even though it feels lightweight, it hydrates like a cream and its effects last all day.

It’s now time to swirl my EcoTools Bamboo Finishing Kabuki around the pan of my Jane Iredale PurePressed Base and then spritz it with some evanhealy Rose Geranium Hydrosol which imparts a slightly dewy finish to the mineral powder. Applying the powder with the EcoTools Kabuki is unbelievably soft and gives moderate coverage since its fibers are not too dense. This makes it really easy to blend, and also build coverage if you prefer more. A few other pluses about this brush are its price point ($7), it doesn’t shed, and it holds up well after cleaning.

As for the PurePressed base, I can’t say enough good things about that either. It has an SPF of 20, a very natural look and does an excellent job at covering up “spots” -say it with a British accent like Lisa Eldridge- as well as dark circles. That’s why I concentrate the Quince Day Cream under my eyes as I apply a good amount of PurePressed Base atop my often visible dark circles with the EcoTools kabuki. In the photo, you’ll see a smaller brush below the kabuki, and that’s my Giorgio Armani Blender Brush. I adore its shape, soft bristles and its ability to blend foundation in hard to reach areas, like the eyes.

After all that, which just takes a couple minutes, the variety begins. It might be simply an eyeliner, mascara and lip balm day, or possibly more with eyeshadow, blush and lipstick added. Either way, I’m set for the day.

Visit The Non Blonde for a full review of the Giorgio Armani Blender Brush.

Laventine Facial Cleansing Oil $24.95 for 8oz
Dr Hauschka Quince Day Cream $35.95 for 1oz
Jane Iredale PurePressed Base $52 for refillable compact. (My first lasted 2 years! Worth the money)
evanhealy Rose Geranium Hydrosol $23.50 for 4oz.
Giorgio Armani Blender Brush $48

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Recent natural skincare finds.

Patyka recently underwent some restructuring, and the result is a brand new look and a complete revamping of their product lines. Disappointingly, it also brought about the discontinuation of their perfumes which is such a shame as Ambré was a uniquely light and warm amber fragrance that I now have to use sparingly. But, as is often the case with change, there are new things to embrace, so I have approached Patyka’s transformation with an open mind. So far, their White Grape Body Lotion is my favorite. It’s more like a body milk, very light and absorbs rapidly. It’s amazingly effective for such a light lotion as a pea sized drop spread over the top of my hand turns parched winter skin baby soft. And true to its name, the scent is just like sweet grapes. Not that of sticky sweet purple grape juice but rather freshly crushed green grapes gently dusted with powdered sugar. So if you’re looking for a fresh and fruity body moisturizer but don’t want to smell like a cheap tropical cocktail, consider Patyka’s White Grape Body Lotion. Oh, and here’s another thing that sets it apart from the crowd, it’s 99.95 % natural and 20.26 % organic.

I used to be skeptical of toners. They seemed like a superfluous step in one’s beauty regimen, and frankly, I didn’t want to spend the time or money on another “step”. My opinion of toners has changed dramatically since I started blogging and became exposed to beautifully crafted hydrosols and toners. For clarification sake, let’s look at Mandy Aftel and Daniel Patterson’s book Aroma, which provides this detailed definition of hydrosols:

Hydrosols, a by-product of the distillation of flowers, roots, barks, branches, needles and leaves of plants, are what remain after the essential oil is separated from the water used in distillation. Hydrosols contain only a tiny amount of the oil, but they have plant-based properties and nutrients, which make them very different from regular water to which a few drops of essential oil has been added. Hydrosols are lighter and evaporate faster than essential oils and offer a different, more subtle olfactory experience.

Hydrosols can be used as toners, but toners are typically refreshers or astringents that contain several ingredients and a hydrosol might be one of them. (The Makeup Diva provides a very thorough discussion of toners that I recommend reading). Skye Botanicals Yarrow Toneris an example of a toner that contains a handmade hydrosol from locally sourced Martha’s Vineyard yarrow. It’s both astringent and soothing with its combination of yarrow, witch hazel, lemon balm and chamomile. Skye Botanicals Rose Petal Toner doesn’t utilize a hydrosol, but its combination of rose essences, aloe vera and seaweed extracts are incredibly calming and balancing. A spritz or two of either toner augments the moisturizing power of my serum and I have been using them nightly, alternating with my other favorite, evenhealy’s Rose Geranium Facial Tonic Hydrosol.


Speaking of evanhealy, just when I thought my love for this line couldn’t get any bigger, I went and tried their Chamomile Eye Care Cream and found that indeed, I could love it a little more. It’s a shea butter based eye cream that’s whipped and airy but incredibly moisturizing. If shea butter makes you concerned about clogging pores, it’s listed in the middle of the ingredient list, so it’s not heavy and has not caused me any undereye milia which occurs easily when I use dense creams. An additional plus is the absence of eye irritation which is another common problem for me and eye treatments. Like all of evanhealy’s products, the Chamomile Eye Care Cream is 100% all natural and contains no GMOs, parabens, petroleum-based products, synthetic fragrances, or animal testing.


Patyka’s White Grape Body Lotion is available at SpiritBeautyLounge. $55 for 8.4oz

Skye Botanicals Toners are available at SkyeBotanicals.com and select Whole Foods. $28 for 4oz. (Check out this article on Monica Miller, owner of Skye Botanicals for more information on her all natural products and business mission.)

evanhealy’s Chamomile Eye Care Cream is available at evanhealy.com and select Whole Foods. $30.95 for 0.5oz. Here’s another Scent Hive review on evanhealy skincare.


Posted by ~Trish

Disclosure: Patyka sample was from a SpiritBeautyLounge order. Skye Botanicals samples were sent to me for consideration by Skye Botanicals. The evanhealy sample was given to me by a Whole Foods SA. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.


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Holiday Gift Guide 2010

Can you believe the holiday season is already upon us? Thanksgiving will be here in a heartbeat, and the first night of Hanukkah is December 1st. So it’s time to hop to it and get gifting. I’ve gathered together some of my favorite bloggers (links below) to offer our recommendations for those special items on our to-give lists, and maybe even our own wish-lists. My list includes many price points ranging from $6.50 for a gorgeously scented soap to $325 for a precious limited edition perfume, with lots in between. As you might have guessed, all of my recommendations are 100% natural which means no petrochemicals, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, or parabens.


Urban Eden (Now Oilve and Oud) Shahrazad soap ($6.50 per bar) I recently reviewed Urban Eden soaps and at the time I had just started using my bar of Shahrazad. At this present moment, I have but a tiny sliver left and recently placed an order for another bar so I can continue to bask in its plentiful floral spiciness. Tuberose, frankincense, and cardamom are the standouts in this richly lathering soap that’s perfect for this time of year.

 


Gabriel’s Aunt tea light sampler. ($9 for a set of 10) After you spend some time at the Gabriel’s Aunt etsy shop, you’ll be glad you can choose 10 different tea lights in your sampler. Nikki Sherritt, creator of GA, has so many scrumptious scents to choose from that it really is hard to pick only a few. My favorite isRoyal Couple ($25 for 8oz candle), a rose and jasmine blend that warms a room with a finespun throw. You can read more about her liquid and solid fragrances here and here.

 

Wing and Prayer mini sampler ($10 for three 1/8oz rollerball) This has got to be one of the best bargains in the natural perfume world. $10 for three nicely sized fragrances? That’s a steal that we all need to take advantage of! I adore Flowers, a gardenia fragrance with sweet notes of linden and beeswax as well as Bella, a soft blend of verbena and neroli. An individual bottle is $35 for a 1.78oz spray which is also an incredible value for such gorgeous, all natural scents.

 

Scented Djinn Sahar ($25 for 5ml) This beauty boasts jasmine, sandalwood, and champaca infused with honey and vanilla. Sounds pretty right? It’s also calming and cozy and I love to wear it on cold fall mornings. I reviewed Saharthispast spring if you would like to read more.

 

evanhealy Sweet Blossom Hydrating Oil($29.95 for 4oz) Smoothing this body oil over freshly showered skin is a pleasure of which I will never tire. Frankincense, neroli and a light touch of ylang ylang intertwine to create a comforting scent that will put a smile on the lucky recipient’s face. And not only is it beautifully fragranced, it is made with cold pressed, organic oils of sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, jojoba and apricot kernel so it feels as good as it smells.

 

Organic Apoteke Droseros Hydrating Mist ($30 for 5oz) Hyrdosols have become a part of my daily skincare routine. Sometimes I spray it on my skin when it’s dry and I want to apply a body oil (such as evanhealy’s above) and I also mist my face with a hydrosol before using my serum. Currently, Organic Apoteke is my favorite because it’s soothing and hydrating. But honestly, I really love it because it smells so darn good. It’s like there’s a magic honey ingredient in this mist that lasts for hours and swirls around my skin amidst delicate rose petals. I’ve got this in the travel size, and you can be sure it’s going with me on my next plane ride.

DSH PerfumesÉpices d’Hiver ($40 for 1 dram/5 mls or $120 for 1 oz) Épices d’Hiver was launched by DSH Perfumes last fall, and got a lot of wear during the cold months, which here in the Northwest can last well into May. So suffice to say, I wore it many a day. Now that the rain and cold are upon us once more, Épices d’Hiver is back in action, providing me with a cozy spicy go-to fragrance suffused with nutmeg, hay and woods.

Ayala Moriel Parfums Palas Atena ($48 for 4mls or $120 for 9ml flacon) Palas Atena was the first Ayala Moriel fragrance that I fell for, and it still ranks high on my list of favorites of her creations. It’s a classic floriental with notes of patchouli, amber, champaca, cinnamon, jasmine, lavender, neroli, sandalwood, and sweet orange. Each essence flows into the next, moving in continuous harmony like a high quality vintage fragrance.

Intelligent Nutrients Aromatics in Focus ($50 for 0.85 oz) Feel free to spritz this alluring aromatic all over yourself. Mist it on your face, your skin, and your hair and let its organic vitamin e and castor oils hydrate while organic flower oils intoxicate. The neroli jasmine duo is swoon worthy, and so well loved, that I can’t imagine anyone not being thrilled to open up this 100% organic scent.

 

Roxana Illuminated Perfume’s Rosa Solid ($72 for 5.3 gm solid in a refillable silver compact) Oh lovely Rosa! Such a precious compact made even more so by its contents. If you are a rose lover, or know one, you should feel compelled to give Rosa a serious gander. Rose otto from Turkey and an absolute of rose bourbonica from India grace this sensual solid perfume, as well as woods, oud, vetiver and leather. Its rich and earthy bouquet is full but wears close to the skin. One of my favorite rose perfumes.

 

Aftelier Perfumes Candide ($150 for 0.25 oz which includes a 2ml mini, the mini is sold separately for $45) Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes has just launched Candide, and made a personal appearance last night at Bendel’s in NYC to celebrate its release. And believe me, she has much to toast as Candide is truly beautiful. It radiates with sparkling notes of pink grapefruit, blood orange and raspberries all wrapped up in sueded jasmine petals. Its lush and enticing, but cheerful and flirtatious as well. A suggestion of frankincense affords a bit of grounding, but to be sure, Candide is lighthearted through and through.

 

Strange Invisible Perfumes Elektrou ($325 for 0.25 fl. oz. pure perfume • Available in-store or by phone only. Call toll free: 800.919.7472) Strange Invisible Perfumes has lured me in once before with these limited edition gems. I caved and bought Dimanche last spring, and have not regretted it for a second. It exudes two notes that I can’t seem to get enough of, hay and honey, in a surprisingly sophisticated and provocative manner. Well, if you wish you’d jumped at the chance to get Dimanche, Elektrou is quite similar, with a few distinct differences. Dimanche’s opening is on the sharp side due to the edginess iris sometimes possesses. Elektrou on the other hand is immediately soft with its vanilla and smooth amber accord. Sandalwood plays a large roll in Elektrou’s suppleness, emanating a sensual ease. It’s going to take serious restraint that I am not sure I have to keep myself for purchasing Elektrou as I want every scarf I own to smell just like it. It’s a splurge no doubt, but one that the perfumista in your life (which is probably yourself) will adore.

Please stop by the following blogs for more gift ideas.

Perfume Shrine

IndiePerfumes

Roxana Illuminated Perfume

All I Am- A Redhead


Posted by ~Trish

image courtesy of Roxana Villa.

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Puja Fragrance by evanhealy


Evan Healy is the woman behind my new favorite skincare line and given her dedication to sourcing only the highest quality botanical ingredients, the olfactory aspect of her skincare is not surprising. The true surprise is how much I have come to love her fragrance line with the inspired name, Puja.


Puja is a Sanskrit word that means adoration, which has its origins in the word Pu-chey, or “flower-action,” the offering of flowers to a deity. I am utterly crazy for the vision that “flower-action” elicits,  as well as the Puja fragrances themselves. There are a slew of choices in this fragrance line that Evan has carefully selected from India, each one unique and entirely all natural. Puja includes attars, botanical essences which are hydro-distilled in sandalwood oil, and a few that are hydro-distilled in vetiver oil. Ruhs are also offered which like authentic attars are made only from traditionally hydro-distilled botanicals, minus the sandalwood.


Currently, there are three vetiver attars available at evanhealy.com and I recommend vetiver admirers take note. My favorite of the trio is the Ginger Lily/ Vetiver attar. The vetiver in this fragrance is incredibly full and alive. It’s simultaneously crisp and warm; dense and refreshing. Ginger Lily/Vetiver is teeming with beautiful contradictions tempered only by its own inherent vetiver earthiness as ginger lily’s spicy floral verve remains boundless.


I have long been a devotee of vetiver, so it took me aback when I found myself more strongly drawn to the sandalwood attars. The sandalwood in the Puja attars is ethically harvested and provides an addictive creamy canvas for botanical essences like Night Queen, saffron, rose and jasmine. While the vegetal warmth of the Night Queen flower and the lushness of the jasmine blossoms entice with their redolence, it’s the sandalwood itself that has embraced me with a fervor.


But of all the Puja fragrances, only one consumes me with a sensual grasp I cannot shake, Summer Rose Attar. Summer Rose is like the taste of a sweet sandalwood delicacy on your tongue as it opens with gentle rose enveloped in a milky veil. The heart of this rosy attar belongs completely to sandalwood which becomes even more creamy and soothing while maintaining its potency as an aromatic wood. In the drydown, rose emerges once again, but unlike the powdery softness of the topnotes, this rose has a pulpy citrus quality that is unexpected but altogether gorgeous.


It’s truly no exaggeration when I say that I’m addicted to the Summer Rose Attar.  I stand before my collection each morning with every intention of applying a different scent, but I am continually lured by my bottle and its habit-forming contents. In fact, I have come to think of it as my totem attar. And now that fall is upon us today, it will be even harder to resist the comfort and beauty of Summer Rose.


Puja fragrances are available at evanhealy.com. Prices vary depending on the attar, but Summer Rose Attar $18.95 for 0.8 ml or $66.95 for 3.6 ml.


Posted by ~Trish

Image from evanhealy.com

Disclosure: Samples were sent to me for consideration by evanhealy. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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Evan Healy saved my skin.

My skin was acting strange this summer. It was simultaneously dehydrated and oily, and was not soft to the touch. I always drink lots of water, so I figured a search for an all natural skincare line that would address my skin’s needs was in order. Evan Healy’s line, eponymously named evanhealy, had been on my radar for nearly a year, but I’d never fully explored her website much less try her products on my skin. Honestly, I don’t know what took me so long.


The evanhealy website is full of great information and void of gimmicks. It’s all about less is more, pure ingredients, beautiful scents, and consumer education. You’ll find a link to audio files on the evanhealy website that describe many of her products and how best to use them. After being duly impressed with Evan’s philosophy -”the less you interfere with the skin’s own ability to achieve balance, the better”- I decided to reach out to her about my skin troubles. She recommended her Rose Face Care for my dermal woes and was generous enough to send me a kit for review on Scent Hive.


If you’ve read my “About” page, you know I don’t do negative reviews. My primary focus here is on products made by indie, all-natural-ingredient-using artisans and I have no interest in creating negative press about a small business, especially in this economic climate. So I love, or at least like, everything I mention on Scent Hive. In the case of evanhealy, I love (and adore, and treasure) this line because my skin loves this line! The Rose Face Care Kit was the ideal recommendation for me since its primary action is to “re-establish a healthy hydro/lipid balance to combination skin,” which is what my skin so desperately needed.


My love affair started with the Rose Cleansing Milk. It’s a smooth, clay based cleanser that lathers slightly and smells of fresh rose geranium and a touch of rosewood. Coconut oil, white kaolin clay, aloe vera and rose hip oil create a soothing cleanser that gently removes dry skin. My skin feels clean and supple after its use and the lingering scent allows the pampering feeling to last a little longer.


The love only grew as I discovered the Rosehip Treatment Facial Serum in Rose and its ability to hydrate my skin and make it glow with such a small amount. In the morning, its effect is like a primer, giving a smoothness to the application of my tinted moisturizer and boosting its hydration. At night, I apply the Rosehip Serum after spritzing with evanhealy’s Rose Geranium Facial Tonic Hydrosol which nourishes the skin with antioxidants. When I use the serum and hydrosol together, I wake up with hydrated, well rested skin.


For added moisturizing, the Rose Vetiver Day Moisturizer is exceptional. First off, it smells amazing. The vetiver is earthy and grassy while the rose and rose geranium are floral and luxurious. I have been using less than a pea size amount mixed with my tinted moisturizer on days that I need a little extra hydration and it not only does that job, but imparts a dewy finish that looks healthy, not greasy.


Finally, the love continues for the French Rose Clay Mask, a clay powder that you mix with water to create a paste. Of all the evanhealy products, this was the one I was skeptical about. I’ve used many masks over the years, a few have been helpful but never extraordinary, so when I applied a thin coat of this clay mask I didn’t have high expectations. I was proven wrong as my skin was clearer and softer than I had ever remembered- save for post-facial smoothness. Rhassoul clay (Moroccan lava clay) apparently lives up to its reputation as a detoxifier, exfoliator, and glow enhancer. I’ve also added a small amount of the French Rose Clay Mask to the Rose Cleansing Milk which augments the milk’s exfoliating action and boosts its lather. I like this routine after a hard work-out or a really long stressful day.


So there you have it. My new skincare love that’s all natural, mostly organic, and lovingly made. Yesterday morning I ran out of the Rose Cleansing Milk and felt a little panicky. My skin has responded so well to the evanhealy regimen, that I hated to miss even a day. Thankfully, I had placed my order just in time. My package arrived yesterday afternoon with a full bottle (as well as full sizes of everything else from the Rose Care Kit). The way things are going, I don’t think I’ll ever be without it.


Reviews of Evan’s Puja fragrance line and bodycare will follow. I also bought a Blue Face Care Kit with my order as it seems perfect for transitioning into the colder months when my skin leans dry and sensitive. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Rose Face Care Kit is $29.95 at evanhealy.com. It provides 7-10 days of treatment.

Posted by ~Trish

Disclosure: A Rose Face Care Kit was sent to me for consideration by Evan Healy. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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