Early last fall Siobhan and I went to an event hosted by Tata Harper. At some point Siobhan turned to Tata and whispered, “Is it true that you’ve developed a love potion?”. My heart skipped a beat and all the other chatter faded away as I learned that come February, my pulse points would revel in a new Tata Harper blend.
The creation story behind the Love Potion is quite sweet. As told by Tata that evening in November, the Love Potion was inspired by a very pretty young lady who works at her laboratory. Despite all she had going for her, guys weren’t asking her out, so one of Tata’s chemists had an idea to create an aromatherapy blend that would help his colleague out in the love department. The seed was planted and the blend went into full development. Tata figured, what woman wouldn’t want a Love Potion? I have to agree.
Don’t let me mislead you. The Love Potion was created to do more than simply reel in the suitors. Its true purpose is to help you feel positive and radiant because as Tata knows, we’re most attractive to others when we are confident in our own unique beauty. The Love Potion was formulated with 10 aphrodisiac essential oils that are supposed to heighten sensuality, inspire an inner sense of beauty, and help you focus your body and mind on feelings of love and warmth. Judging by the essential oils included in the blend, I knew the Love Potion would do as promised as long as the composition of the fragrance was right.
I am an ardent fan of every Tata Harper aromatherapy treatment, but this new scent is more complex than the others. There are layers to discover, and they are well structured and balanced. Both sensual and energizing, the opening notes of jasmine, orange peel, grapefruit, and ylang ylang create a first impression that feels flirtatious, even tender, to my nose. The first moments are rich and sweet, though not cloying. It’s the headiness of the jasmine, the sugary ylang ylang, and enlivening spritz of the citrus at play. Then comes an undercurrent of a unique herbaceous aroma that again is rich and inviting — possibly the davana and cedarwood. This gives way to hints of soft dried grass and rose that get tangled in the timeless scent of sandalwood and frankincense, both of which dry down to a powdery puff of warmth with a faint floral finish.
To top it all off, the Love Potion is offered in two sizes: the standard 5ml green bottle with the roller ball top that can slip into the tiniest pocket or purse, and an ultra-feminine 10ml perfume bottle with a pink puffer that atomizes the blend with a glamorous flourish. Chic yet playful, the 10ml bottle comes with a tiny booklet that offers ideas on how to “inspire love every day” and includes a diagram that illustrates where you should apply the potion during moments of intimacy, ooh la la. If you really want to splurge, Tata Harper is offering a limited edition Love Potion gift set to celebrate Valentine’s Day. If you live in New York City, lucky you, ABC Carpet and Home carries it, too. Remember, Tata’s fragrance comes from flowers, not chemicals, and that alone inspires love in my book. The Love Potion is a beautiful addition to the Tata Harper aromatherapy line.
Stark Skincare holds a special place in my little green heart. The Cyprus Purity + Defense Oil was one of the first oil blends I ever purchased, so I consider it the gateway to what is now the most prominent tool in my skincare routine. Going a day without putting oil on my face? Unthinkable. Packed in brown glass jars, the branding is irresistible to me. It has this art school vibe, and it would sit well next to old Hitchcock movie posters.
Given its special place in the pack, you can bet I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one of the newest editions to the Stark lineup, the Neroli Midnight Oil. Isn’t that a seductive name? Let me tell you, the scent is incroyable! It’s a balanced, calming citrus floral that’s a tiny bit spicy and utterly soothing—like lullaby in a bottle soothing. Sweet dreams everybody. But seriously, let’s talk about neroli for a minute. This precious, healing essential oil has serious therapeutic properties. The scent of neroli relieves anxiety, and topical application (properly diluted, of course) will rejuvenate tired skin thanks to its ability to stimulate cell-regeneration.
The blend also includes antioxidant rich oils from the seeds of raspberries, blackberries, pomegranates, black cumin, mangoes, and cucumbers. Heavy hitters like camellia (green tea) seed oil and evening primrose oil form the base of this gem and treat a range of issues from hormonal acne to scars. Good on paper, but how does it feel and perform? This oil has an excellent weight. It’s not too heavy or too light, and all skin types would benefit from nightly use. To earn a place on my vanity, an oil must sink in effortlessly and leave a velvety finish. The Neroli Midnight Oil does this, plus helps my skin feel nourished and calm. A couple of drops are all you need, though like Rebecca, you may be tempted to wear this like a perfume.
Stark’s Grapefruit Cleanse and Hydrate Balm — the “GF” — has been on my wish list for eons. I held back for fear of the coconut oil. If coconut oil works for you, go bananas with this stuff. If coconut oil doesn’t work for you, you still might be surprised—no clogged pores or breakouts for my coconut-sensitive skin after two solid weeks of nightly cleansing. The GF is a multipurpose product. Use it as a cleanser a la the oil cleansing method, or use it to hydrate and butter up that pretty face of yours. After all, it contains some of the most protecting oils and butters on the planet, including a new edition to the formula — mango seed butter.
I have written before about my love of the oil cleansing method. While cleansing with a balm is similar, it’s a more intense experience that has proved better suited to my skin’s needs during this vexing winter weather. Add to that the sparkling scent of grapefruit essential oil, and I’m melting in a puddle of love. Thanks to a recent revamp of the formula, the GF wipes away clean leaving a matte finish, no trace of oil. This will be great for those of you who want to cleanse with an oil or balm but prefer the finish of a water-based cleanser. Still, after cleansing with the GF, my skin could easily go without additional oil or moisture, but what fun would that be? The GF and the Neroli Midnight Oil make a perfect pair.
Here’s a little surprise—NMDL is celebrating Stark’s birthday this Friday! If you’re dying to try Stark for the first time or restock on favorites, do wait for our Friday Deal!
Raise your hand if you have no experience with acne. That’s what I thought, which is why I gave a little cry of shock when we got an email from a reader who has no experience with breakouts but is now battling acne thanks to her pregnancy hormones. A few weeks ago we asked you to weigh in on how to fight dry skin during pregnancy. We know you must have some insight here, too. Here is sweet Sarah’s note:
It sounds like Sarah is doing an incredible job taking care of herself and her little bean. I’d love to know what her skincare routine looks like. Even though her skin has always been agreeable no matter what she’s done, it could be that her routine isn’t able to address this kind of thing. While it’s true that most of the discussion on this site about hormonal acne has occurred in different contexts — quitting the pill, etc. — some of the same things might help when hormones rage thanks to pregnancy. I wouldn’t know, since I’ve only had puppies… that’s where you come in.
What do you think? Should Sarah just expect her skin to act out as long as she’s pregnant? Are there steps she can take that will help normalize her skin while pregnant?
There’s kind of an unspoken theme among clean beauty enthusiasts: wash your hair as infrequently as possible. It’s almost like it’s a goal we aspire to, something that earns you bragging rights if you can actually manage to get your hair and scalp to a happy place while only washing every few days. Of course, I speak from the perspective of a woman with fine hair that gets oily if you look at it the wrong way. Some of you, like Alexandra, have the kind of hair that begs not to be washed. (You lucky things!)
When we wash and how we wash ultimately depends on two factors: your hair type and the products you use. One of those is completely out of your control; the other is all about trial and error. This can be a slow, frustrating, and expensive process. That’s why we cherish this community and your comments on the subject! Help a sister out, right? We got an email from Leticia, a “confused reader” who has been following the blog, reading through all the advice on cleaning up your hair routine, and has a very valid question for us all: but why? Take a look at what she has to say:
I have been following your blog for a little while now… really wanting to move all of my products to “clean” ones but do it slowly and not break the bank! So I thought I’d look through your site and see what others are using. After reading through several routines, I started noticing that people aren’t shampooing very often; or they only shampoo their scalp and condition their ends; or they only condition every couple days; and what’s with the oils I’m seeing people putting in their hair and leaving overnight?? I love reading through the routines, but I guess I am just wishing they would say WHY they do what they do, you know?
I generally shampoo and condition every other day with dirty products… does this mean it will change as I use clean ones? How will I know? Why would you only shampoo your scalp and not the rest of your hair? And why not condition all of your hair? Doesn’t the conditioner replace what you stripped out with the shampoo? Or does the “stripping” not occur with clean products? Do you have a good resource that may talk about some of the why’s behind our products, not just products themselves?
Girl, we totally understand! You’re not the first reader to seek similar advice, but the whole question about why we do the things we do could be incredibly valuable in helping someone understand which advice might be best suited to their hair type and personal needs. And who better to explain than YOU, dear readers. So let’s hash it out in the comments, shall we?
What’s your hair routine? Do you shampoo? Condition? Apply oils? Let us know WHY your routine works for you!
As fate would have it, my purse was stolen one week ago today. I was out celebrating friendship and a birthday with my girlfriend at a posh little Vietnamese restaurant in one of the burgeoning areas of D.C., the 14th Street Corridor. Like seemingly every restaurant in D.C., there was an hour plus wait for a table so we sat at the spacious bar to have dinner. The bag I was carrying was a little crossbody number that can also be used as a clutch, and I tucked it right behind my back. At several points in the evening, I had a nervous thought about my purse being too exposed, but I rationalized that I was in a very nice place surrounded by nice looking people. Ha! Always listen to your intuition.
Oddly, before the theft my friend and I were having a conversation about loss and how to deal with it. This past year she was in an accident that totaled her car. Nobody was hurt, but the car had a lot of sentimental value to her and she was surprised by the grief and sense of loss she felt. She told me about a Mexican tradition for processing loss in which you write a letter to the thing you are grieving over and then burn it. This post is my own cathartic way of letting go. It’s my love letter to my purse and everything in it. Here we go…
The bag: I love a stylish purse, but it must be practical, too. The Hobo International Leanne crossbody is something I’ve carried for a couple of years now. I bought it before a trip to San Francisco for my friends’ wedding. It had a cool chain strap that you can tuck inside if you want to carry it like a clutch. It was compact but roomy enough for all my essentials. Mine was a tan leather that had acquired a fantastic patina from use.
The phone: In 2010 I was stuck in bed for a few weeks recovering from a major surgery. My cell phone was all busted, so just before the surgery I ordered a new iPhone 4s. It was something to look forward to during a scary time, and when it arrived a few days after I was released from the hospital, it kept me pleasantly distracted from physical discomfort. Last year I cracked the screen, but it still worked and I didn’t see any reason to replace it.
The Makeup: Mostly lippies here, with a few additional items I always carry. This represents the best of my collection, items I’ve been slowly acquiring that had become my can’t-live-without staples. Tata Harper Be Adored Lip Treatment, my first purchase from Eco Diva Beauty, I’ve been obsessed with its perfect rosy tint and unbelievable conditioning abilities. Worth every penny. W3LL People Nudist Colorbalm Stick #8 Poppy, also conditioning but with more of a pigmented, waxy finish. The color is bright and happy without being overdone. W3LL People Universalist Luminous Colorstick in Moonstoon Glow, my go-to illuminator that nourishes your skin while adding a subtle glow to cheeks and eyes. I bought both directly from W3ll People after sampling them. In case you don’t know, they have an excellent sample program, and the new packaging is truly an upgrade. Ilia Beauty Tinted Lip Conditioner in everyone’s favorite Bang Bang. This was my first Ilia purchase, which I ordered from NuboNau. It made me fall in love with the brand. When I’m going for a feminine yet edgy look, this bold lippie is what I grab. Ilia Beauty Lip Gloss in Peek A Boo, a nudish color that works on me when no other nudes do. Did you know that you can use Ilia’s lip conditioner and lip gloss as a blush? It works, and the color payoff and staying power is impressive. La Bella Figura Travel Therapy Botanical Mood, the most soothing and uplifting scent inlcudes blood orange, rose otto, and blue tansy. It is highly addictive, as Nicolle has attested. Fortune of all fortunes, I have an extra bottle at home. At least I wasn’t carrying LBF’s Positano Perfume Oil, my latest scent obsession. I purchased both scents directly from the lovely ladies at La Bella Figura.
Phew, that’s it. I’ve started to rebuild, but it will take some time. Yesterday I ordered two new Ilia Beauty Tinted Lip Conditioners from Eco Diva Beauty in colors I’ve long wanted to try — Shell Shocked and Crimson and Clover. Sometimes you need a fresh start, even if you weren’t looking for one.