You may have noticed I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve had big things brewing at work (unrelated to my NMDL life), and some extraordinary stress to match my new level of responsibility. This has made my skin situation sketchy at times, but in the midst of it all, I discovered a game-changing product line.

I have the lucky conundrum of too many products to try, whether purchased in a fit of extravagance – which happens far too often – or generously given to me by a company. It’s one thing to try a new shade of lipstick. There’s a low level of commitment there, and you know if you love it right away. Skin care, on the other hand, can be tricky. I’m choosy about what I’ll bother with in the first place. With all my sensitivities, past damage to overcome, and 46-year-old skin hoping for a miracle, it takes some good game to make me to want to try something new. In the most rare of circumstances, a line has that magical combo of a big bang right off the bat, luring me to stick with it for a long slow ascension to truly better skin. Hi there, KYPRIS!

When I first saw mention of this newish company, I raised an eyebrow at the hype and rolled my eyes. I should hang my head in shame at this initial reaction, but my skin looks so good I kinda have to hold my head high.

Using the products consistently for several months, along with many e-mail and Instagram interactions with founder Chase Polan, certainly have left me believing that KYPRIS embodies, as it says on the website, “beauty with a soul supported by science.”

Perusing the detailed information on the website, one can see the thoughtful attention to pure, potent, mindfully sourced ingredients in each product, and in the way the line works together. The elixirs have beautiful oil combinations, including the outstanding prickly pear (aka Barbary fig), antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, plus collagen-supporting and brightening vitamin C. They are designed to work with the serums, which hydrate while intensifying the elixirs’ effect. The discover link on the webpage will guide you to the right combination of products based on your particular skin concerns (it gave me the same results as a personal consult with Chase). You’ll notice that the lovely amber and cobalt glass bottles are large, twice or more the volume I’ve typically seen in upscale serums and oils. KYPRIS wants customers to be able to see the long-term effects with one purchase, which I totally get, but that means you may need a compelling reason to take the leap. On to the product reviews…

Moonlight Catalyst:  A serum designed to use overnight to refine and exfoliate without the harshness of a retinoid, it is superb for “stressed, experienced, or imbalanced complexions.” Stressed and experienced, that’s my skin for sure. I initially received a PR sample, used it once, and immediately ordered the full size. I couldn’t believe how soft and glowy my skin was!  This is the best combination of gentle yet effective exfoliation I’ve ever experienced.  I’ve been able to minimize any other form of exfoliation, a critical move for a sensitive sort.  I have happily repurchased a new bottle recently, as with this one you need one to two full droppers to combine with an elixir or other oil. I mist on a hydrosol from my collection, mix a dropper of the serum with 2-3 drops of elixir in my hand, and spread over my face, neck, and upper chest, patting any excess onto the backs of my hands. This way, the bottle lasts about 1.5-2 months. The scent is unique and very light, maybe a touch fruity. It results in a lovely smelling concoction when blended with an elixir. If you want to just dip a toe in, this is the place to start your KYPRIS journey. ($70/1.69 oz or 50 ml)

Beauty Elixir I (1000 Roses) and III (Prismatic Array):  Considering my sensitivities, the obvious choice for me seemed to be Prismatic Array, with the same high performing actives as the other elixirs, but no essential oils. It simply smells like its ingredients, wonderful and a little nutty-spicy. Pretty quickly, though, Chase got me hooked on the idea of 1000 Roses, with its promise to help “skin challenged by time and the elements such as unruly hormones or pollution.” Thus is the power of the rose. Rose as a scent, though, is hit or miss for me, with many products containing it smelling much too strong. This one, though, hits it just right. Mellow and a little spicy, it says rose without a flowery smack to the face. This is the one I use most often, morning and night, and in over 4 months I’ve used up not quite half a bottle. Usually when an oil-based product has instructions to use 2-3 drops, I use more on my dry skin. I noted that my skin was not particularly dry after several weeks of use, and though I have to admit it’s been a very mild winter here in NorCal, I don’t recall having this much moisture in my skin for decades. I am using the recommended 2-3 drops now, and very successfully. I’m still no spring chicken and have wacky hormones, but overall I like my skin better than any time since puberty started. Even my deepest wrinkles don’t seem so obvious, and the brightening – oh the brightening! I’m pretty well known around here for my love of skin brightening products. I usually do at least one round of my DIY potion each winter to keep the old damage at bay. I didn’t need or want it this year, and in fact, with KYPRIS in my routine, I’ve seen improvement beyond my expectations. ($150-225/1.69 oz or 50 ml)

I love the idea of mixing products for enhanced absorption and synergistic effect, and it also allows flexibility.  A favorite elixir works day or night, for a variety of skin types, when paired with the appropriate serum.  And the results!  This skeptical gal is impressed.  Have you tried anything from KYPRIS yet? Check back with us tomorrow for a special Friday Deal!


I’m An Eye Serum Convert


IMG_0566Years ago, I thought I didn’t need or want a specific product for my eyes.  I just used whichever face product I liked (I’m so sensitive I’d rarely put anything on my face that couldn’t be near my eyes). I admit I still am not an eye cream fan, but a nice light serum can be very pleasant and helpful.

When people talk eye products, they often want something that alleviates dark circles. I want to say right up front that I personally have never experienced any product that helped in that area. The only thing that ever helped with my constant just-got-in-a-bar-fight look was eliminating processed and sensitivity-aggravating foods.  But there are other things an eye product can do for you.

When I looked for an eye serum, I was after something unscented, that provides a little moisture, but not too much under makeup, and that kicked the butt of my morning puffiness. I have found three eye serum products that I love. They take a few minutes to sink in, but that actually works out well, because…

…I started doing a little eye massage every morning. Using one finger on each eye, I pat the serum all around, then massage from the outer corner to the inner corner in little circles, both above and below. This seems to get fluids moving, and assists the serum in depuffing. I’ve tried the massage with random products, and a serum really does make a difference.  Here are my top choices:

Blissoma Bright – Eye Vitalizing Nutrient Serum: I reviewed this some time back, but I’m going to plagiarize myself a bit for the sake of comparison. Just a few minutes after a little eye massage, my puffiness is dramatically better.  The consistency is very thin, so I pump it out slowly and carefully. About half a pump per application works for me.  The texture is perfect for under makeup – you’ll be moisturized but not remotely greasy.  With regular use, I feel I look more awake throughout the day.  Can’t beat that!  The way I use it, the bottle lasts a couple of months.  ($45.99/.5 oz)

Kahina Giving Beauty Eye Serum:  This review by Pemberley Jones convinced me I had to try Kahina’s Eye Serum.  I’m glad I did.  The texture of this one is easy to work with.  It’s pleasantly light, but half a pump holds together nicely on the finger.  I do experience some pilling if I layer it on top of other products, so this is definitely a first layer.  It does help with puffiness, but excels at softening the skin, yet firming the eye area.  And I am a sucker for violet glass packaging. ($78/.5oz)

La Bella Figura Decouverte Under Eye Repair Serum:  As an oil based product that does have a light scent, this is different from the other two.  Sink in time is longer, but this is my favorite for a truly luxurious eye massage.  When my eyes really need some pampering, this is what I reach for.  Application with the pretty glass roller ball packaging is unique.  It can be rolled directly on the eye area or on a finger, and the amount is easy to control. ($115/.33oz)

I said I love them all, right? So how to choose? Honestly, I keep going back and forth between them.  They all accomplish essentially the same missions.  If you want to use a serum at night and/or firming and fine lines are a priority, I’d go with Kahina. If morning puffiness is more of an issue for you, I think Bright has the edge.  If you are yearning for luxury with your results, go LBF.  They all have good long-term results.  With any of these choices, you will have a winner.

Have you tried these? What’s your favorite eye cream or serum?





Shampoo Wishes And Conditioner Dreams

5884058333_4009fe0d4a_zWhen my holy grail fragrance free shampoo and conditioner was phased out in a rebranding, I was super bummed.  It can be a challenge to find gluten free, vegan products, especially in fragrance free forms that cater to dry skin and curly hair.  And I lost more than a shampoo and conditioner – my basic bath products must be multi-functional.

I guess I’m pretty demanding.  I need my conditioner to function as a rinse-out, leave-in, styling product, and shave cream.  It has to work for a good, soothing scalp scrub on no-poo days.  I like my shampoo to double as a body wash.  And, in case it’s not obvious, the ingredients must be very clean.  Pony and cupcake optional.

3711NDEDesert Essence Organics Fragrance Free Shampoo:  This works well for my once or twice a week shampoo habit, and as my daily body wash.  Desert Essence actually makes a separate body wash, which is fine, but the ingredients are nearly identical, and I prefer the extra moisture that comes with a shampoo.  This product could lean more toward moisturizing than it does, but since I don’t shampoo often I’m happy with it.  It lathers more than many natural shampoos.  It’s a solid performer, and, I think, would please those with normal or oily hair as well.

3712NDEDesert Essence Fragrance Free Conditioner:  The shampoo meets my basic needs, but the conditioner is definitely a holy grail product!  I’m not sure why the company doesn’t have it in the organic line packaging, as it does have several organic ingredients.  It’s very thick and moisturizing – the perfect curly girl conditioner.  It’s awesome for a scalp scrub, and makes me feel clean and fresh without the need for a daily shampoo.  It leaves my hair very soft, and makes  a great shave cream.  It’s perfect on days I use henna, to rinse out the last bit of graininess.  On its own it’s a nice moisturizing leave-in and a great styling product.  I also love to mix it with other styling products to get the consistency and performance I want on any given day.  A pump of this makes my Rahua Hair Wax and John Masters Shine On even more versatile.  A great trick to add extra moisture (and scent if you like) is to mix it with a few drops of your favorite oil.  A bit of May Lindstrom’s The Good Stuff makes this heavenly on days I want scent.

It makes me so happy to find these basic products in a fragrance free version.  An extra bonus is that they are quite inexpensive.  At $8.99/8oz, and add on that it’s not hard to find them on sale, it’s a good bulk purchase.  The upside down squeeze bottle packaging is utilitarian, so I bought glass pump bottles to dispense the products.  Much more convenient, and prettier.

What are your fragrance free favorites?

image via


Water Based Moisturizers

IMG_0518I’m the president of the fan club of face oils.  Since they are best applied on moist skin, my obsession for them matches well with my obsession for hydrosols.  But last winter I started needing some additional help with my dry skin, especially right around my lips.  Just like your lipstick rubs off in the course of the day, any product you’ve applied around the lip area can wear thin.  A sip of kombucha here, a mid-morning snack there, and even before lunch I’m unpleasantly dry.

I went searching for something I could dab on those especially dry spots throughout the day as needed, something quick and easy to apply that would sink right in.

These moisturizers all have a water and/or aloe base blended with very light oils, antioxidants, vitamins, various botanicals, etc.  They sink in fairly quickly, and work well applied alone, layered with an oil, or my favorite – mixed with a drop or two of oil first, then applied.  The method will all depend on your skin type and the season, of course.  Adjust as needed.

Blissoma Pure:  This “sensitive skin soothing complex” is my favorite.  It seems so quiet and unassuming with it’s simple name and unscented nature.  But the performance is impressive.  It’s got the perfect thick-but-not-too-thick texture, and is the best product I’ve tried for calming after hair removal.  Just a simple tweeze of the eyebrows can set my skin to complaining, never mind that darn upper lip area, and applying Pure lets me go on about my business without inflammation.  It mixes well with any oil for extra hydration, and won’t compete with other scents.  On its own, or mixed with an oil or balm, it is the best for moisturizing my extra dry spots.  I like the simple packaging – a glass bottle with a nice pump that lets you easily use just a bit if you don’t need a full pump.  ($25.99/oz)

Graydon:   This Canadian brand makes two of my honorable mention moisturizers.  The Putty is light in texture and lightly scented.  For this texture, it is remarkably moisturizing and reparative.  I recommend it if you want a light texture with a powerful anti-inflammatory punch, and enjoy just a suggestion of scent – from carrot seed, chamomile, and lavender EOs.  The Berry Rich Cream is more substantial in texture, but still doesn’t feel too heavy on the skin.  With no intentionally added scent, it gives one just a hint of berry from the blueberry and red raspberry seed oils. (each $29/1.7oz or 50ml)

Osmia Purely Simple Face Cream:  I’m not one for herbal generally, but this is nice – light and refreshing.  The texture is too light for my mature skin, but would be a great choice for normal to oily types, or those with issues of perioral dermatitis. ($60/1.7oz)

Have you tried these?  What’s your favorite water-based moisturizer?


The New Highlighters In Town

IMG_3248I’m a big fan of the highlighter/illuminator category of cosmetics, as you may have noticed way back in this post.  Both of these new kids are from well known clean beauty brands and are gluten free.  One is vegan.  They are quite different from one another, and different from any other highlighter I’ve tried as well.  I think they will both work on a variety of skin tones, though to different effect.

One of my favorite uses for a highlighter is to press it gently into my un-mascaraed lashes and all around the eyes, close to the lash line.  On its own it makes me feel polished and standard workday appropriate, adding brightness to the eyes and making me look awake, even when that’s barely true.


KW on top, LBF on the bottom (both applied very heavy so they show up for the pic!)

Kjaer Weis Radiance:  This is my first Kjaer Weis product.  I’ve been wanting to try the brand for a long time (I drool for the packaging alone), but the presence of carmine in the cheek and lip colors held me back.  The highlighter does have beeswax, but is otherwise vegan.  When I heard that there was a new highlighter on the market with a little lavender to it, I knew I had to have it.  Radiance is very creamy and feels nice on the skin, and that pearly beige and lavender undertone is really unique.  It is the most shimmery highlighter I own, and that makes it more of an evening or special day treat for me.  But it is gorgeous and a worthwhile purchase.  ($56)

La Bella Figura Brazilian Denise:  This is part of LBF’s new “more than makeup” line, and is versatile addition to a brand I already love.  It is more gold than the other highlighters I’ve tried, so if you desire that warm honey look, I highly recommend it.  It also stays on the best of any highlighter I’ve used, with its drier texture, and remained nearly unchanged at the end of the day.  It does have what I would consider a strong scent, from the flower wax that keeps it vegan, so be aware of that if you are sensitive.  Keep in mind, I’m practically the scent police – most people probably wouldn’t think much of it.  ($38)

Have you tried these?  How do you use a highlighter?