FridayDeal-Mani-PediKit

Nail polish has always been a hot topic of convo in the green beauty world: It’s pretty, and some of us have had a really hard time giving it up, especially when you consider the awesome pampering feeling you get from a mani-pedi after a stressful week or before a big event. Who wants to give that up?

But even some of the five- or seven-free brands we consider safer to use than conventional polish still contain chemicals that you don’t want near your skin if you’re, say, growing a baby inside of you (or if you’re a complete purist—more power to you!).

That’s why Conscious Beauty is teaming up with Scotch Naturals and Organic Bath Co. to give you an incredible Friday Deal. No longer do you have to worry about interacting with potentially dicey ingredients in the foot scrubs, base coats, colors and top coats when you want to get your nails done professionally. Instead, bring a clean, green Mani-Pedi Set with you and be sure you’re getting a toxin-free experience.

Scotch is one of the cleanest brands on the nail-polish market. The line is water-based, with absolutely no chemical solvents, so you can count on it being safer than three-, five- or seven-free brands in terms of purity. Says Merlyn Ellis, co-founder of Conscious Beauty, “I like to recommend this product for the purist, children or expecting mothers.”

If you’ve been around the green beauty world for a while, you know that just because you give up toxins doesn’t mean you have to give up quality products. Thankfully, Scotch Naturals falls into that category of knocking your socks off (in a good way!), sans harmful chemicals.

Pair that with Organic Bath Co.’s organic sugar scrub body and you have a winning team of products to tote to your next mani-pedi. The scrub is lovely and luxe and comes in a few lovely scents (my favorite is RefreshMINT, an invigorating essential oils blend that wakes you up, and gives you a bit of a do-over after a not-so-great day). Plus, they’ve got fair-trade ingredients like sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil and sunflower oil. Yum-my.

Convinced you need to add these products to your arsenal? Here’s the deal: From now until Sunday at midnight PT, get 20% off a BYOB Mani-Pedi Set from Conscious Beauty, Scotch Naturals and Organic Bath Co. The set, usually priced at $70, includes one Sticky Base Coat, your choice of one color and one On the Rocks top coat from Scotch Naturals, plus your choice of one sugar scrub (RefreshMINT, Stress Less or Zesty Morning scents) from Organic Bath Co. Oh, and there’s that cute little reusable bamboo spoon as a bonus. Just use code NMDL at the checkout.

ScotchNaturalsOnce you snag your very own BYOB kit and get ready to bring it to your next profesh mani or pedi appointment, prep yourself for a convo with your manicurist about how to use these cleaner products. Because Scotch is water-based, application of the line requires a few additional steps that you wouldn’t implement with traditional spa brands. To make sure you get a great experience, we’ve compiled a few tips + tricks for a long-lasting mani-pedi. Share these with your manicurist and you’ll be golden.

Application

  • Make sure nail bed is completely clean and free of cuticle oils or alcohol that are often applied in salons prior to application of the unique, sticky base coat. This will ensure a proper base.
  • Scotch calls it the “Sticky Base Coat” for a reason: It doesn’t dry or feel like most base coats. Trust us though—it works and it’s a key part of the system.
  • Wait about two minutes at minimum in between each coat. This allows the polish to set a little before each application.
  • You may need three coats to achieve a completely even look. Err on the side of more coats, as once you apply the base coat, the polish sets even more.
  • After your mani, avoid long stints of contact with water such as washing the dishes, or bathing. Says Merlyn, “I usually do my mani/pedi in the late afternoon or evening and it will stay for around six or seven days beautifully!”

Removal

  • Due to the awesomeness of the Sticky Base Coat, removal can be a challenge. But rest assured that your long-lasting mani or pedi will come off with the proper steps.
  • Soak your nails in water (or better yet, plan on removing the polish after a nice shower).
  • Directly spray the nail beds twice with the Scotch Naturals Soy Remover.
  • Let the remover sit on the nails for a couple of minutes—you’ll start to see the polish lift off the nail a bit.
  • Using a paper towel or something that has a little bit of traction, wipe the polish off your nails (it should come off in clumps and sheets, like it’s just peeling from the base).

Have you tried Scotch Naturals or Organic Bath Co.? Share your favorite color of scent—or which one you’ll snag with this awesome Friday Deal!

Deluxe Beauty Box 3

Another Monday, another Deluxe Beauty Box from Goodebox and A Night for Green Beauty! We wanted you to be some of the first to get the deets on the next round of amazingness from some of the #ANFGB participating brands. The boxes go on sale at 9  a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET so sign up NOW to receive notice and get on the list to snag one for yourself!

The box features six full-size products from natural beauty brands that are participating in A Night For Green Beauty (August 7 in LA! Be there!). The third box in a series of four, these products are worth more than $350—and you can snag them for only $110 (includes shipping + handling). And, just like with boxes 1 + 2, #ANFGB and Goodebox are donating all the proceeds to Baby2Baby. Kind of the best of all worlds, right?

So, what magical products grace this box? Let us tell you:

  1. La Bella Figura’s Modern Radiance Concentrate
  2. Osmia Organics’ Black Clay Facial Soap
  3. Beautycounter’s Lustro Face Oil 2
  4. Strange Invisibles Body Wash
  5. Indie Lee’s Calendula Eye Balm
  6. S.W. Basics’ Exfoliant

Don’t forget to take photos of your Deluxe Beauty Box and tag #ANFGB, #Baby2Baby, or #Goodebox. A few lucky lovelies will be selected as winners in upcoming contests to celebrate #ANFGB. And, don’t give this too much thought—the second Deluxe Beauty Box sold out in 19 minutes! Make sure you don’t miss out on this awesome offer.

Buy it now on Goodebox’s site! But hurry!

Wound Healers: Product reviews of PRATIMA and CV SkinlabsHard as we all may try, it’s impossible to avoid at least occasional blemishes, red spots and general skin wounds (unless you’re Blake Lively. Girl looks like she has perfect skin!). Some of us may fall more solidly into this category than others, but at some point, we all end up seeking relief.

I’ve been battling a small army of skin issues recently, and while nothing I’ve tried has been preventative in the least, I have found a few stand-out products that will gently boost my skin’s resolve, encouraging it to heal itself after a trauma has occurred. Let me tell you about them.

1. PRATIMA Skincare’s Sandalwood Soothing Lotion. All my tried-and-true blemish-fighters have failed me as of late. All the good oils and herbal combos I was using to clear my skin up are waving their white flags at the hormonal cysts, the resilient blackheads and regenerating whiteheads my face is throwing at them. Now, my current skin condition isn’t “acne,” per say—it’s more like my skin is being wounded from the inside out, thanks to some poor liver functioning and possible gluten cross contamination (anyone have any tips here? Me and my naturopath are at our wits end). So I stopped treating it like acne and started using this Sandalwood Soothing Lotion to calm it. Lo and behold, this natural calamine lotion keeps a cyst from coming to a head, relieves pain and itching and reduces redness. It treats bug bites and cuts and burns and makes you breakfast in bed (wouldn’t that be nice?). This is like a first aid kit in a bottle.

2. CV Skinlabs Rescue + Relief Spray. I got this a few months ago when I was looking for something to soothe the uber-dry, itchy skin on my face (thanks, #polarvortex). I kind of dismissed it at first because it doesn’t have an uplifting scent like most of the liquids I spray on my face. But then I tried it on a persistent scalp rash and haven’t looked back. It’s like souped-up pure aloe, with water lily, mushroom, turmeric and cucumber, so it calms inflammation, reduces redness and relieves itchiness. I also use it on razor burn and I just bet it would dominate as an after-sun spray.

3. PRATIMA Skincare’s Revitalizing Turmeric Cream. Seeing a trend here? Turmeric is killer at wound-healing, internally and externally. This suuuuper thick cream is a huge treat as an overall facial mask and if you use it as a moisturizer, it decreases redness and dryness over time. The ghee in it also boosts skin’s ability to heal. I’ve been using it as a treatment on popped (yes, I pick when there are whiteheads!) blemishes overnight and it speeds up healing time  by at least two days. Only sorta funky note: It’s intensely yellow and that color lingers on your face. I don’t use it in the morning, under makeup, for that reason. And it bled from my face to my comforter one night. Just use caution.

4. CV Skinlabs Body Repair Lotion. I didn’t mention this before, but this entire line was formulated for cancer/chemotherapy patients. After such treatments, skin is really sensitive and needs calming products that also don’t contain other harmful ingredients. Thus, CV Skinlabs. And thus why the line is so gentle and effective at healing and calming skin. The Body Repair Lotion is practically perfect for right after I’ve shaved my too-dry legs. It helps prevent razor burn + it doesn’t have a scent that requires all other fragrances bow to it. I love that for when I want to layer a body oil on top for an added boost, though the lotion itself is totally enough moisture. This would also dominate as an eczema or after-sun treatment.

So there you have it. When things get red, itchy and bumpy, I turn to these lovelies for some relief. Now tell me: What’s your first-aid-kit-in-a-bottle product?

Stress Relief

There were lots of things this past holiday season that kind of pushed my anxiety button (full disclosure—it’s not that hard to find. I’m the kind of classic worrier who spends a half hour trying to fall asleep but failing because the next day’s to-do list, and all the ways it won’t get done, is bumbling around in my head). It was the first time I’d ever understood the stereotypical busyness of that time of year: There were countless parties and events to attend, including a host of before-Christmas festivities with my immediate family because my new husband and I were to spend the holi-day visiting his out-of-town family. There was twice the presents to be bought and wrapped, twice the budget to finagle, packing to be done, work projects to complete and travel plans to be made—all with an expected air of merriment and relative calmness. Oh, and did I mention I was going through the third of five rounds of supplements that were meant to kill the low-grade infection that was zapping all my energy and making me sleep at weird times of the day?

Unable to sustain things, I broke down. A few times. In the bathroom. While decorating the Christmas tree. Before work. During work. After work. When my husband moved the wash cloths from their designated place under the kitchen sink. I just couldn’t pull myself together (despite being very deliberate about taking down and alone time, more than even little old introverted me usually needs).

So, I decided I needed a little help to combat my tension, exhaustion, stress and anxiety. Here are the four things that helped me stop worrying, stop feeling overwhelmed and gave me the energy to make it through even that cat commercial from the Animal Humane Society without crying.

  1. Bach’s Rescue Pastilles: Now, there’s a chance that these are just a placebo, but every time I pop one of these black-currant-flavored jellies into my mouth, I feel an almost immediate relief of stress. Its main ingredient, Helianthemum nummularium (or rockrose), is known for giving courage and helping to bring you back to the present. Impatiens glandulifera, another key ingredient, helps when you lose patience with problems (or people), and the inclusion of cherry plum (Prunus cerasifera) balances your mind when you feel out of control. I needed all those things.
  2. Alexis Smart Flower Remedies, LifeSaver: We talk a lot about naturopathic medicine and aromatherapy here on NMDL, but we haven’t ventured much into the remedy realm. As a disciple of natural and homeopathic treatments, I’ve tried a few homeopathic remedies in my day (cactus and cancer—yes, cancer—to name a couple), but haven’t had any miraculous, fixed-all-my-problems-from-childhood experiences like you’re sorta supposed to. My money ran out before I could achieve such actualization and though I see a naturopath regularly, I haven’t ventured back into the remedy realm. Then I heard about Alexis Smart, an LA-based practitioner who mixes flower remedies by consult or sells her most popular blends online. I was intrigued because LifeSaver, one of her “Calm” blends, seemed to suite my current stresses perfectly—and unlike homeopathic remedies, floral blends don’t cause a relapse into old symptoms or habits before they start working. After only two weeks of use, I could feel a huge difference in my perspective. I was calmer; I could juggle all my work projects, even when they overlapped. I didn’t snap when my husband used the wrong spatula on our new frying pans. I didn’t lose sleep over our budget. I could take care of myself and not worry when that took all of my energy. The amazing side effects have lasted and continue to improve—and I no longer have a heavy weight on my chest when I examine my to-do list.
  3. La Bella Figura Travel Therapy Mood Booster: I’ve already sung the praises of this little roller-ball, but I seriously am addicted. While I haven’t tested its power on airplane travel, I did use it on the 10+ hour Christmas Eve car ride, and let me tell you, it kept me sane. I think it even made the trip seem faster, if that’s possible. It’s a powerful mood booster, as its name suggests, and it smells divine. I haven’t been this obsessed with a fragrance since my pot of Malibu Barbie solid perfume. And that was when I was 8.
  4. Yoga Studio App for iPad: As any serious yogi will tell you, yoga relaxes. It forces you to become present, to forget about your worries and to breathe. I’ve had this app for a while now and I use it at least four times a week. It has beginner, intermediate and advanced levels of relaxation, strength, combination and flexibility classes, with the option of creating your own flow. Taking a break during my work day for a 30-minute yoga class in my living room changes how I interact with my to-do list. It gives me back control and calm and allows me to de-stress without the cost of a yoga-studio membership.

Your turn: When you’re at your most stressed, what do you turn to to calm down and refocus? What helps you feel less overwhelmed and more prepared to face life?

A little while back I had a natural-beauty girl date at a restaurant here in New York. It was with Kahina’s founder Katharine who has, over the years, become a friend. If you’ve never met her, here are some things to know: She has an easy laugh, she’s emotionally generous, and she has the envious glow of a woman who seems to love life, love the work she does, and love herself. She just has that thing (and by thing I don’t just mean argan oil, though that probably plays a small part).

(Psst, also. Kahina is our Friday Deal tomorrow, so if you’re going to get this new product or gift it, hold your horses till tomorrow when we reveal the codes.)

That night, she was so excited to tell me about her long-time-coming new product: a body serum. It took some doing because getting the oil mix just right for deep hydration but also a bit of a glow can be tricky when argan oil is the foundation of your line. That’s because argan oil is so incredibly good at absorbing into your skin — as anyone who uses it on their face can tell you — which  means when you apply it alone to your body, especially when the air is super dry, it could leave you a little…wanting.

To get an oil blend that is rich and hydrating without being greasy or clothes-stainy? Not so simple. But leave it to Kahina to figure it out.

The new Kahina Giving Beauty Fez Body Serum is, in a word, delightful. A few of us tried it and agree that it’s amazingly hydrating, but its real selling point is the smell, since you’re going to be wearing it all over you. Here’s what Nicolle had to say:

“I never thought I’d say I loved smelling like cumin and clove, but the FEZ Body Serum has a luxurious, spicy scent that calms and de-stresses. A little on my neck and chest before bed helped me relax and sleep better.”

Mmm. I agree. There’s something very end-of-day to the smell, perfect for unwinding and warming up in cool weather. But I’ve also recently been revisiting some of my books on Ayurveda, and after some recent travel, seasonal change, work stress, and a nasty cold, I came to the conclusion my Vata dosha was out of balance. (Pretty sure my Pitta is wacked too, which is awesome.) Maybe Fez could help?

I was keen to add abyanga back to my daily routine. It’s a kind of self-massage ritual that you perform with therapeutic body oils, and you can find out more about that here if you want to try it (you do!). It can be a bit of a messy pain to do it the old fashioned way, and I wouldn’t want to use up all my oil in one shot. But since Fez has such a warming, soothing fragrance, I thought it would be nice to, post-steamy-shower, apply it, abyanga-style, in slow circular motions starting at my feet.

I did that for a few days and while it’s too soon to know if it’s rebalancing my Vata (LOL),  I can say this: I feel calm, I smell good, and today, anyway, I feel like I’m doing something good for myself.

If that’s not an ideal natural beauty product, I don’t know what is.

What’s your favorite Kahina product? Some other body oil you love? (And any Ayurvedic dosha-balancing tips are welcome, too. Ahem.)