Greetings, lovelies! Once again, I must apologize for being so M.I.A. as of late. If there was a blog award for most negligent blogger, I fear I would be on the receiving end. In my defence, I have three jobs and a child, and we are still settling in after our cross-country move. Of course, holiday madness ensued for everyone and I finally have some time to breathe, so I want to do two things:
1) I want to wish you all a very happy 2014! 2013 was the year I started blogging, and you have all been so supportive! I began as a writing exercise and a way to organize my thoughts on beauty- which at the time were just beginning to change. I never imagined it would become such a love affair, nor that so many of you would follow me. I truly love blogging, and reading all of your amazing blogs.
2) I want to introduce you to the BEST OF GREEN BEAUTY 2013 series. In this series, I will cover all my favourite green (non-toxic, eco-friendly) beauty products of last year. Can you believe we are calling 2013 “last year” already? Wow.
2013 was also the year I took a good, hard look at what I was putting on my skin and made an informed decision to say goodbye to many of the tried and true products I loved, seeking to replace them with non-toxic alternatives free from a list of ingredients I personally have chosen to avoid. Parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, formaldehyde, fragrance, and talc are just a few. What I discovered blew my mind and continues to put me in awe. There are some absolutely outstanding non-toxic products out there, and I feel very fortunate to have tried many of them.
We’re going to start with skincare. The following are the best and brightest green skincare products I tried last year, revealing fresh, glowing, and youthful skin more radiant than I’ve ever seen in the mirror before. And as a 34 year old writer, photographer, and sleep deprived mother to a redheaded powerhouse two-year-old, that’s saying a lot. So these gems deserve major kudos. I also want to add that although these are my favourites from 2013, they remain that way this year, and I’m sure they will continue on as hall-of-famers, due to their outstanding quality and commitment to ingredient safety, high performance and honesty.
Celtic Complexion creme, Coconut Creme Cleanser, Vida de Fleur Liquid Moisturizer and Youth Infusion Serum.
Ah, Celtic Complexion. This is the newest addition to my skincare stash, and though it arrived on my radar late in 2013, it earns a place in my favourites because it’s just that good. This rich, luxurious line of organic, non-toxic skincare is blended by hand in founder Jennifer Devlin’s North Carolina kitchen. Made with the finest, purest ingredients, such as organic coconut oil, organic Shea butter, jojoba oil, carrot seed oil and Bulgarian rose, this is the most nourishing, natural skincare I’ve ever tired. And it helps that Devlin knows her stuff; she’s a master aesthetician and formerly worked behind the counters of some big names in mainstream beauty, before researching ingredients and being shocked by what she was putting on her skin, not to mention the dirty tricks used in the industry, such as packing products with water instead of nutrients. Devlin branched out on her own and created her masterpiece, a labour of love she calls Celtic Complexion. Makeup artists, authors and clients alike sing Celtic Complexion’s praises, and after trying the line and falling madly in love, it’s easy for me to see why. The customer service is second to none, as Jennifer strives to personalize and customize each client’s experience. She even has a bottom-of-the-jar guarantee. If you’re not thrilled by the time you’ve used up her product, she will cheerfully refund you. That’s how confident she is, and she’s got good reason.
I love everything from Celtic Complexion, but here are my absolute favourites, pictured above. All Celtic Complexion products have a light scent that comes from their natural ingredients. I’m not great at nailing down specific scents, but I detect a lot of coconut and just soft, buttery scents. Nothing intrusive or harsh. Another thing worth mentioning about Celtic Complexion is that although the ingredients are kitchen-friendly, these are not simple formulas that you could just whip up at home. Jennifer has spent painstaking hours of research and hands-on formulating to get the perfect concentration and best blend possible. Yes, you could grab some of the ingredients, but many of the ingredients Jennifer uses are sourced from all over the world, for industry insiders, and she has worked hard to find the best of the best to pour into her lovingly made, expertly formulated products.
Coconut Creme Cleanser
A thick, creamy cleanser, yellowish beige in colour, that gently and effectively removes makeup and impurities. This cleanser leaves my skin velvety soft immediately. I can actually feel the skin soften as I rinse the cleanser away. It’s very luxurious, and I feel like my skin is truly deep-cleaned each time I use it. It’s honestly the best cleanser I’ve ever used. A lot of cleansers remove dirt and clean the skin well, but tend to be drying. This one performs like a champ AND moisturizes at the same time. Beautiful. For very dry skin, Jennifer suggests applying a pearl-sized dollop of raw coconut oil before applying the cleanser, for an extra hydrating cleanse.
Ingredients: Organic aloe juice, organic coconut oil, organic green tea extract, cetearyl olivate, sorbitan olivate, certyl palmitate, organic olive oil, xanthan gum, palm stearic acid, essential oils of yang yang, lavender, rosewood, tangerine and bergamont.
*I am currently using up a scrub that I have, and once that is finished, I will get right on the Celtic Complexion exfoliant, which I’m sure I will adore.*
Celtic Complexion Creme
Jennifer calls this amazing moisturizer the “cornerstone” of her line, and it’s no wonder she’s so proud of it. With just one application of this miracle in a jar, skin feels refreshed, nourished and satiny-smooth. It leaves me looking radiant, if I do say so myself, and full of the natural glow my skin was meant to have. The texture is interesting, as at first it feels a bit chunky, which is much different from most moisturizers, but you can watch as it literally melts into your skin, giving you a silky, moisturized finish that lasts all day. It’s thick and concentrated (again, no water), but surprisingly not at all greasy. Perfect for those with sensitive skin and dry skin, as it moisturizes without irritating. A must-have.
Ingredients: Organic Shea butter, organic coconut oil, organic jojoba oil, vegetable glycerin oil, natural vanilla extract, organic tea tree oil, carrot seed oil, sandalwood oil, grapefruit oil.
Via de Fleur Liquid Moisturizer
For extra-thirsty skin, this combined with the Complexion creme is a dream come true. A concentrated liquid moisturizer with a dropper applicator, this instantly imparts a healthy dose of moisture to extremely dry skin, soothing, smoothing and hydrating right away, and lasting all day. A few drops is all you need to reap all the rewards inside this glorious little bottle!
Ingredients: Squalane oil (derived from vegetarian sources), evening primrose oil, jasmine grandiflorum, jasmine sambac.
Youth Infusion 7 High Potency Serum
No product is ever going to take 20 years off your face, and unlike most brands, Celtic Complexion owns up to that. No false promises are made here; this is not going to give you surgery-like results, and any product that stakes that kind of claim is not being truthful. What this serum WILL do is soften fine lines, hydrating and plumping your skin to bring back a beautiful, youthful glow. At 34, the signs of aging are of course creeping in on me. This serum has really helped. I definitely notice my skin looking smoother, my lines are softened, and my skin has more of a lift to it. When you nourish your skin with healthy, quality ingredients like the ones Celtic Complexion uses, you are not slapping a bandaid solution on your skin. You are using handmade, lovingly formulated skincare created by someone who truly cares about you and your skin. Eliminating toxins from your skincare routine and caring for your largest organ with skin super-foods like the ones in this line is going to make you look younger and more radiant, naturally. The better you take care of your skin, the longer it will be beautiful, moisturized, clear and smooth. That’s why a line like this is well worth it. Think of your skin as an investment, deserving of the very best. Celtic Complexion, for me, and for many others, is the very best.
About the Youth Infusion 7 High Potency Serum: “There are over 400 known essential oils in use today. Of those, there is a very small handful which are considered the crown jewels for complete skin rejuvenation. They are the rarest on earth, and also the most costly. Youth Infusion 7 High Potency Serum uses a proprietary blend of these precious oils, which will transform your skin at the cellular level.”
Ingredients : Fractionated coconut oil, carrot seed oil, Indian rose oil, Indian sandalwood oil, frankincense oil, borage seed oil, evening primrose oil, Bulgarian rose oil. Directions: Apply 9-12 drops morning and night to face, neck and décolletage. May be used alone or followed with a moisturizer.
Here’s a photo of me, without foundation, two weeks after changing my skincare regime entirely to Celtic Complexion products. The photo has been slightly edited for colour and light, but my skin has not been retouched. I’m not perfect, but I have to say, I feel like I look pretty good for 34!
I have a special, exclusive code for 35% off your first Celtic Complexion order. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want this code, which is valid until January 31st. www.celticcomplexion.com
Delizioso Skincare Mangosteen & Acai Luxurious toner
Another of my greatest beauty discoveries of 2013 was Delizioso Skincare. Two young women from London, Ontario (Canada) who happen to be sisters, founded this beautiful, high-end line of toxin-free cosmetics, skincare, and baby care. You’ll see a lot of Delizioso Skincare makeup in the rest of this series, but I had to mention their amazing toner because it’s my favourite. Fresh, non-sticky and with a light, lovely scent, this toner is refreshing and balancing. It eliminates redness and evens my skin tone quickly. I also love that it has a spray applicator, it makes it so much easier than dispensing onto a cotton pad. Just spray and go! So simple, so pure, and so effective. I’m a big, big fan. These ladies take non-toxic beauty seriously and it shows.
Natural Beauty Skincare Micro-Gel Exfoliant
Made on-site in a little North Vancouver shop called Nature’s Creations, the Natural Beauty Skincare line is simple, pure and elegant. This scrub really attacks visible pores and smooths out the texture of the skin, with one use. It has a delightful, natural scent of lavender and lemon. I love the way my skin looks and feels after using this product. You can literally feel it working as you use it. The texture is gritty, like most scrubs, but doesn’t feel harsh or painful like other scrubs can. Its gentle ingredients provide a very effective, yet non-irritating exfoliation. It is water based, and I prefer to steer clear of water-based products, but because it performs so well and the other ingredients are so fantastic, I make an exception for this. Mostly, the issue I have with water is big-name brands diluting their product by means of cheapening it so that they can charge people an arm and a leg for glorified water. The majority of these brands not only use up to 80% water in their formulations, but they avoid filling the rest of their product up with nutrients which are beneficial for this skin. I know that Natural Beauty Skincare truly care about their customers, and I trust their formulas because I’ve seen the results. I wouldn’t use a water-based moisturizer, because when the water evaporates, the effects of the hydration wear off, but for an exfoliant, I don’t mind once in a while. This is a gem of a scrub. Ingredients: water/aqua, argentum metallic (colloidal silver) aqua, lithium magnesium sodium silicate(diatomaceous clay), veg.glycerin, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba), citrus limonum (lemon) peel oil, lavendula officinalis(lavender) flower oil.
Best multi-use product: Beeseline
Made by the founders of the aforementioned Delizioso Skincare, Beeseline is a very emollient, non-sticky, never greasy, all natural alternative to petroleum jelly, which is something I won’t touch with a ten-foot pole. Petrochemicals? Contaminants? No, thank you. Especially not when I can get a natural product that performs just as well, if not better than petroleum jelly, and doesn’t feel sticky or icky. I’m also not a fan of petroleum jelly’s scent, it’s just so….synthetic. Beeseline, which I use in my hair, on my lips, as a shaving cream (I really could go on and on), feels like butter and smells faintly of coconuts. Made up of only three ingredients (wildflower honey, coconut oil and beeswax), this is an essential in my medicine cabinet. Did I mention it also makes a great topical agent for minor cuts and burns, and a fantastic diaper cream? Love it. Like Beeseline, Delizioso Skincare, and Elegant Rebel Beauty on Facebook and comment below if you’d like to enter for your chance to win some Beeseline!
And there you have it! My favourite green skincare products of 2013. Don’t be surprised in the least when you see them all on my favourites post this time next year. They’re that good. Stay tuned next week for my favourite non-toxic lip products of 2013!
Clean, moisturized, youthful love,
*all photos by Stephanie Deline*