Ever since my most beloved face cleanser underwent a formula change, I’ve been searching. See, I was one of those who practically cried when Kahina changed. Yeah, I know. Not a world-shattering problem, right? But when you rely on a product to do an important function for you every day, and you love every single thing about it, it’s a serious bummer when you can’t get it anymore. I don’t mean to dis the updated Kahina cleanser formula, it’s nice—but it’s not perfect for me. I want my cleanser to wash off all my makeup at the end of the day, including eye makeup, in one step. It needs to leave my skin feeling soft and hydrated, not squeaky or tight. It has to be unscented, or only have the mildest scent, which I love, and that does not stick around. It must suit my sensitive countenance, and of course be super clean, vegan, and gluten free. Dang, I am demanding.
I looked high and low, in brick-and-mortars and online boutiques, studying reviews and the recommendations of natural beauty bloggers. I bought lots of things, and thought I came close a couple of times.
I tried both soap-based and detergent-based cleansers. I became determined to hone my DIY skills and create a complicated brew, but in the time I had to spend on this, was unable to find success. I ended up revisiting the oil cleansing method, and was quite pleased with using coconut oil all through the winter. But the weather change made me yearn for a nice, light cleanser.
And then, as if by magical convergence of all things clean and gluten free, Julie Longyear posted some brilliant comments on this blog, with links. Who is this free-spirited chemistry goddess, I wondered? I followed the links to some very helpful information on her blog, and discovered she is the founder of Blissoma Solutions. The brand name rang a bell, and I located several very favorable reviews on Fig + Sage, which I recalled reading. I hadn’t tried the brand at the time, because I thought the essential oils would be too much for my skin. Recently, though, Julie created a new group of products for ultra sensitive/reactive skin. I immediately ordered the set, and (cue the rising music) found the Holy Grail.
Free – Rejuvenating Herbal Gel Cleanser and Makeup Remover: In short, it meets all my demands. While the instructions say to moisten skin first, I prefer to just put it right on my skin and massage it in, as with oil cleansing, then wipe it off. It takes off all makeup with ease and gentleness. If I don’t have any makeup to take off, I follow the instructions and use it like you’d typically use a cleanser, splashing it off with water. The scent is unusual, and I really love it. It just smells like its ingredients, not like it’s trying to smell like anything. My skin feels wonderful afterward, ready for the rest of my routine of hydrosol, serum and oil. If you have oily or combo skin, you might not even need to do any other moisturizing at night, but I’m the dry/mature sort. I wouldn’t call it a gel exactly, maybe something between a gel and a cream cleanser. I love the pump container, not a typical pump but basically a giant serum bottle. I’d call the price mid-range, at $26.99 for 4 oz.
I’m also loving the Amend serum, and I’ll do a thorough review after I’ve used it a bit longer to really see the effects—and I have a few honorable-mention face cleansers that are great enough to post about soon. But for now…
Have you tried Blissoma? What do you love?
A few readers have requested more on this topic, and once I started reading about it I really wanted to find a solution. I can’t say I’ve found one, but I hope this helps and leads to some great comments that will help those suffering. Though I have not had the condition myself, I’ve had numerous skin issues in my life, including psoriasis on my face. Not pretty. Anything right out there, front and center on your face, can degrade quality of life. Let’s see if we can come up with a natural solution.
The good news is that there are stories out there of people who have significantly reduced or eliminated their PD. The bad news is many report it gets worse before it gets better. Anecdotally, natural treatments seem to take a few days to a few weeks to make a difference. So, how do you know if a new treatment is in the “worse-before-better” stage, or if it really is a bad idea? I have a hard time with that one, because my skin doesn’t really do “worse-before-better.” It does “hmm-I-think-this-is-working” or “OMG-my-skin-is-on-fire.” Can anyone help with how to know if you should tough it out, or move on?
Since there may be different triggers for PD in different people, there is no one solution. But a good place to start is to eliminate common triggers. Eliminate topical and nasal steroids, fluoride, SLS*, isopropyl myristate**, and petrolatum/paraffin based products. Try to eliminate ALL sources of these ingredients, not just from the obvious things like face cleanser and toothpaste. Your shampoo may get on your face, and anything you touch can spread around. Minimize exposure to UV light, wind and heat. Oral contraceptives and gastrointestinal issues may also be at the root of the problem for some. Whenever I see skin issues, the first things I think about are hormonal and digestive system imbalances. I’m not going to try to cover those aspects in this post, but look at those possibilities if topical treatments don’t help you.
Many people are prescribed antibiotics and/or antifungals for perioral dermatitis, and they seem to work for a while, though the problem typically returns. As I was reading about a potential fungal problem in PD, I immediately thought of my go-tos for yeast issues: dilute apple cider vinegar and coconut oil***. Turns out there are people out there using these successfully. I know what some of you are thinking – I’ve heard it advised not to use oils on PD, so perhaps it’s not the solution for everyone. Some people don’t like the ACV, but prefer a yogurt mask. Based on what I’ve read, if I had PD I’d be trying to eliminate the common triggers I mentioned above, eating healthy unprocessed foods and anti-inflammatory herbs/spices like turmeric and ginger, and experimenting with these topical treatments:
- ACV (experiment with the dilution, try something like 1 part ACV to 2-3 parts water)
- Coconut oil (unrefined and organic if possible)
- Calendula oil (here’s one from Mountain Rose Herbs)
- Zinc soap (here’s one to try that also contains calendula)
- Yogurt mask (leave on 15-20 minutes once or twice per day)
Have you successfully tried any of the above remedies for PD? What has worked for you?
*sodium lauryl sulfate, a surfactant, detergent and emulsifier commonly used in cosmetic products like shampoo and toothpaste
** a synthetic oil used in many cosmetics to create a slick, non-greasy feel and allow other ingredients to penetrate the skin
*** it might seem like antifungal creams would help, but those typically have a mineral oil/paraffin base and isopropyl myristate
A little while back, Alexandra, Siobhan and I professed our love for Juice Beauty’s CC Cream. I’ve been into a couple of Juice’s other products for the past few months, too. The brand really seems to be rocking it this past year or so. Here are two current favorites…
Irresistible Glow Facial Highlighter: This is from the Alicia Silverstone collection (vegan), which has appeared on NMDL before. It’s a stick packaged in a sturdy paper tube, and there’s just one color, described as a universally flattering peachy-pink. I am not a big believer in one-color-fits-all products, and until I found this I’d never had any luck with such a thing. But I absolutely LOVE this! I use just a tiny bit on my cheeks, and it suits pale, olive me very well. It gives a little color, and a glow without being sparkly. It’s very subtle when applied lightly, though you can definitely layer it. It does last, I don’t think I can say quite all day, as is typical of creamy stick products, but I have never needed to reapply during a workday. I would love to see it on darker skin, as I do think it would work.
Conditioning Lip Color: This feels so wonderful on, and is probably the only lip color I’ve ever wanted to reapply just because it tastes good. It smells and tastes of vanilla with a little bit of fruitiness, and feels super creamy and nourishing, like a balm. It comes conveniently packaged in a skinny silver tube, and it’s not technically vegan as it does contain beeswax. The colors are limited to two, but against all odds they both work for me. The pink is a very sheer shimmery pink, not quite Bardot but approaching ice queen. I like to use RMS living luminizer on my lips, and the effect is a lot like that but with a touch of pink. The fig is aptly named, a nice deep shade with more pigment than the pink but barely any shimmer.
We’d love to hear from you if you’ve tried this limited color palette – are these shades really universal?
So, right up front: in my opinion, there’s no such thing as a truly clean nail polish. Not even those water-based (and, in my opinion, entirely useless) polishes.
Fig + Sage wrote a great piece about this some time ago, and I don’t think I can really add anything to their points. That said, I love me some pretty nails, and after many years of going sans polish to keep away from toxins in the pregnancy/baby years, I found Zoya. This is in the category of “clean enough” for me* (remember this post?). Normally I won’t use anything on my body that I couldn’t eat, but there is something about nail polish I really love, so I break the rule occasionally. I’ve been “doing my nails” on a weekly basis since I was 11 years old, and it’s a very important ritual for me. It was the one girly thing I did as a youngster. It’s quite meditative, and I always do it myself – no salons. Sometimes it just means a nice file and buff routine, but these days it often includes Zoya. It’s the only brand I regularly use, and they have all the bases covered, including remover. The polishes are much less expensive than other clean-ish brands, typically $8-9.00 a bottle.
Their more recent collections are 5-Free (missing the five most toxic chemicals typically in polish) and wear like crazy. I have tried some of the older formulas, and the ones from the last couple years are definitely superior. If I use their “regular” shiny finish polishes, I always do the base/top coat to maximize wear. Some of the polishes, especially the ones with some sparkle, can go 5-7 days with only minimal tip wear. I love the new matte finish polish look, but until recently the wear time was only a few days. Well, no more! With this new collection, I have gone a SOLID WEEK with fabulous looking nails. That means dishes, laundry, brain dissections (hey, I’m a science teacher), and a generally active lifestyle without trying to be careful. Seriously. I’m in love.
Zoya PixieDust: They describe this line as textured, matte, and stunning. Agreed. The first group that came out was so tempting, I had to buy the full collection. When the summer palette debuted recently, I bought a few of those, too. They all look great with 2 coats, but 3 is better to give the full impact with saturated, rich color. There is no need for any base or top coat, and they dry super fast. Typical of my tastes, the black and grey are my favorites. But they are all beautiful. The finish is like sparkly colored sugar sprinkled on your nails. My favorite part is the layering of color. I almost never wear pink or red polish, but the red over the black is just so delicious. Really, any of the lighter colors layered over the darker ones look good. The pic above is one coat of Liberty over two coats of Dahlia (after 6 days of wear!), and the photo doesn’t do the color justice. I get tons of compliments when I use these polishes. My current obsession is with the beige shade (Godiva). My toes are sporting it right now, and they look like I dipped them in sparkly gold-beige sand. My first time removing the PixieDust polish involved a lot of rubbing (much more so than regular Zoya). But I figured out to pour a little remover in a tiny glass bowl and dip for just a minute, and it comes off fairly easily. Toes are harder to dip, so I just let the remover-soaked cotton pad sit on the nail for longer than I would with regular polish.
*I received a full list of polish ingredients from the company, and entered all the info at Skin Deep, including the “may contain” stuff. The polish rates a 5, the remover a 3. I tend to think the polish number is a bit high, because not all the “may contain” ingredients are in every polish.
So, you may have noticed that I’m super into healthy living. And I really want to pass on relevant information to my kid and pretty much anyone who will listen to me. I love my products, but as we always note on NMDL, it’s what you put in your body that is most important. I’m not an expert in nutrition, but in teaching college level human anatomy and physiology to healthcare-career directed students for the past 20 years, I’ve learned a thing or two about the topic. Michael Pollan has been incredibly important in pointing out the research that validates my intuitive knowledge of food based on my personal experiences. I routinely recommend his books to my students. There’s one in particular that is fantastic for everyone. You don’t need any background in nutrition to get potentially life changing information from Food Rules.
I first read Food Rules aloud with my son years ago, when he was about seven. I would read one rule, then he’d read the next, and we picked together which ones we thought we could best follow.
There are 64 rules, but you don’t have to use them all to get significant benefit, and they are all super simple and straightforward. Pollan describes each rule with a bit of science or historical significance, but the details are covered in his other works, namely In Defense of Food (Omnivore’s Dilemma is another great read). Pollan is a journalist, not a nutritionist, but is well respected for his research into food and the food industry.
Here are my favorite Rules, the ones I do my best to follow:
#14 Eat foods made from ingredients that you can picture in their raw state or growing in nature. I personally take this one a little further – I prefer to eat food as close to the way it grows out of the earth as possible, meaning mostly raw.
#25 Eat your colors. That one is pretty obvious (and delicious).
#30 Eat well-grown food from healthy soil. And if eating animals (I don’t, but my family does) make sure the animals were themselves healthy.
#33 Eat some foods that have been predigested by bacteria or fungi. I love many fermented foods, like kombucha and miso.
#46 Stop eating before you’re full. I digest much better if I shoot for 75-80% of what would make me feel “full.” Basically, I’m not aiming for full, I want to feel “not hungry.”
#54 “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper.” I modify this by eating a substantial breakfast, but I like lunch to be my biggest meal of the day.
If you’ve read the book, which Rules do you follow? Or have you created your own?