Tell me you don’t squeal inside—if not out loud—when a box arrives at your door containing what some would call a “beauty haul”.  It’s no coincidence that subscription boxes of curated goodies have taken off over the last few years. Siobhan and Alexandra have their very own over at Quarterly. There’s just something alluring about a one-of-a-kind package that is prepared with love by passionate people.

R.L. Linden & Co. has their own take on beauty boxes, and while the contents aren’t a surprise, these limited edition boxes are something I look forward to with the change in season.

Obsessed with all things herbal and botanical, the duo behind R.L. Linden & Co. is brimming with ideas for healing and nourishing beauty products. Naturally, they channel this creative energy into their seasonal box, which allows them to share beyond what’s in their permanent collection. The Autumn box launches with the equinox today. Here’s a peek at the collection.

Lavender & Frankincense Cuticle Oil — I never would have pegged myself as a cuticle oil girl. I’ve never purchased it. Leave it to R.L. Linden to change that. It makes sense, given that they make custom products for the nontoxic and uber stylish nail salon, Base Coat.  Apricot kernel, rice bran, and herbal infused jojoba oils strengthen and heal cuticles while lavender and frankincense set a peaceful vibe. Keep it at your bedside and set a little ritual for yourself.

Rest Your Bones Bath Soak — This soak is pure, unadulterated heaven. Therapeutic salts, rosemary leaves, juniper berries, ginger root, arnica flower, powders of linden flower, rose, and nettle — these are just some of the rejuvenating and alleviating ingredients at play, and I am kind of devastated that this is limited edition. To keep the botanical debris in one place, I put a serving of this soak in a small muslin bag and drop it in the bathtub, but you could use a tea ball infuser instead or just let it float. This bath soak leaves my muscles buzzing like I’ve had a massage, and it is equally fitting just before bed or post strenuous activity.

Auntie Elder’s Immune Brew — Brewing this tea puts me in the mood for crisp fall evenings and my favorite sweaters, and when the season finally catches up to my taste buds I will savor the full effect. Elderberries, cinnamon chips, orange peel, vanilla bean, Oregon grape root, cardamom seeds, and rosehips marry in this fortifying and warming brew that is aromatic and deep berry red. Brew it on the stovetop and your home will smell inviting and cozy. R.L. Linden also includes a recipe to make a syrup from the blend.

RITUAL No. 2 Perfume Oil — This is R.L. Linden’s second natural perfume oil from their Denver-inspired scent collection, and this one is an ode to their friends at Ritual Chocolate. Expect a luscious gourmand aroma at first, with a top note that is similar to the chocolate cherry soda of my dreams. The perfume drifts toward a creamy soft spice note before drying down to a sophisticated finish that is completely different from where it started, but harmonious with the blend and quite alluring.

The R.L. Linden & Co. limited edition Autumn box goes on sale today for $48. It’s the perfect compliment to fall, so let the season begin!

30

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

16

Happy Friday Deal From Lina Hanson!

lina

 

Friends, this is a Friday Deal to remember. Lina Hanson has a reputation for her luxurious formulas with scents to match — gentle and uplifting, with a hint of seduction — the kind of scents that make you smile every time. The Global Body Serum got a glowing review from Siobhan, who kissed her coconut oil days goodbye for this supreme moisturizer, and Susannah agrees that it embodies all her favorite traits in an oil blend and was love-at-first-try.  Rebecca found a new staple in the Global Baby Serum (so not just for babies!). How the oils in the Global collection can sink in so swiftly yet hydrate so completely is beyond us, but we imagine it has everything to do with Lina’s deft hand at blending the perfect ratio of expertly chosen ingredients.

While we are pleased as Punch to bring you a Friday Deal from Lina Hanson, the real treat today is a sneak peek at Satori, Lina Hanson’s first perfume oil! Satori launches later this fall on the Lina Hanson site, but you’ll receive a sample of this gem when you place an order this weekend!

Satori is both sensual and bright and features warm vanilla and sandalwood with notes of crisp and refreshing citrus and ginger. Asian Yuzu lifts the blend and boosts self-confidence with a burst of citrus. Ginger energizes the mind and brings a hint of spice to the experience. Sandalwood (sustainably produced, of course) grounds the blend and gives it a soft, seductive finish. This blend is 100% gorgeous, and you can be one of the first to try it.

So here’s the deal… Lina Hanson is giving you 20% off your order, plus a sample of the soon-to-launch Satori perfume. This offer is available through Monday when you use the code SATORI at check out. Note: for international orders, please email info@linahanson.com .

Want to know more about Lina Hanson and her skincare line? This video will touch your heart.

The GRIND : Lina Hanson from Said Who? Productions on Vimeo.

What have you tried from Lina Hanson? Are you as excited about Satori as we are?

GRESSA Skin Foundation + Contouring Serum

You know when you decide that you just HAVE TO HAVE the perfect cheetah-print scarf so you start googling and online searching and Instagram-stalking people you know who have something kind of like the ideal picture you’ve created in your head? But after an embarrassing amount of time, you realize that the thing you’re visualizing is either going to cost you as much as your monthly grocery budget or doesn’t exist? (What? Don’t other people do this?) You come away dejected and annoyed, and you try not to think, “Just one more keyword search…” because you know you’re not going to find anything different than the 12,682 options that you’ve already viewed.

That’s how I felt about liquid foundation. I’d tried brand after brand, and nothing that was liquid + beeswax-free gave me the coverage, staying power and airiness that I desired (yes, I know that expecting a liquid foundation to not be heavy was a tall order). Then I met Svetlana Sanchez, founder of GRESSA Skin, at A Night For Green Beauty and my beauty world was changed.

GRESSA’s new Minimalist Corrective Serum Foundation is unlike anything I’ve ever put on my skin. To be completely honest, I have no idea how it works. It comes out of the black, eyedropper bottle with the consistency of a very light serum—it’s kind of runny, and you have to be careful not to drip it all over the bathroom counter, lest your husband walks in and inquires, “Why is the sink all peach colored?” But as soon as you start gently patting and rubbing it into your skin, it transforms into an airy, powdery, full-coverage-but-barely-there skin enhancer.

Webster should replace whatever picture is next to “melt” in the dictionary with an image of this foundation because there is no other word to describe how it interacts with your skin.

You need only a few drops of the tinted serum (chock-full of skin healing ingredients like GRESSA’s Healing Complex, broccoli seed oil, lemon balm and neem) to cover your face, which is another magical mystery. It spreads and blends like a lightweight oil, but it packs a full-coverage punch that not even my pre-beeswax-allergy-love Kjaer Weis could match. It’s mind-boggling every time I apply it—even on days when my skin is upset and splotchy, and I have a large red blemish growing on my cheek, GRESSA’s foundation gives me a clean slate (I use the No. 5 color, for reference). I don’t even need as much spot concealing as I do with my other foundations.

The only con to this serum foundation is that it seems to stick to any flaky, dry spots I have on my skin. It doesn’t happen immediately, but by the end of the day, my dry spots appear a little darker than the rest of my skin, like they’ve sucked up extra pigment from the foundation (but, most foundations do quite poorly with flaky spots, so I’m not complaining).

Now, onto the Minimalist Contouring Serum Bronzer, the second of three face makeup products in the Minimalist line (the third is an Illuminating Serum that I haven’t tried yet). This is currently my favorite way to warm up my face. My body is still clinging to my summer tan, but I so religiously applied sunscreen to my face this summer that it’s accidentally two shades lighter than my arms and legs. This serum helps remedy that unbalance.

GressaSwatches+Selfie

Left: Me, with foundation in No. 5 + bronzer on, no retouching or editing, in natural light by a window. Right: Swatches of bronzer and foundation in No. 5.

What I love about GRESSA’s serum is its color. So many bronzers are warm-toned, giving you that orange-y look if you apply even a little too much. GRESSA’s contouring bronzer is a red-based brown that more accurately mimics a real tan than any makeup I’ve ever used (save for in high school when I used to pressed powder for dark skintones as a bronzer because I wanted a cool-toned, matte look). The first time I used the serum, it was the night after A Night For Green Beauty and Suannah and I were sharing a hotel room. I applied it, blended it (which was as easy as blending the foundation) and asked her what she thought, nervous that the dark brown color was way too intense for my skin. “It just looks like you have a tan,” was her reply. Do you know how long I’ve been waiting to hear those words?!

The contouring serum also actually makes contouring easy because it’s so blendable and the color is so spot on. A little dotted line blended down each cheek, on my brow bone, down the sides of my nose and near my hairline achieves that enviable, just-back-from-the-beach glow.

Now, application: You can apply both the foundation and contouring serum with your fingers or your can buff them into your skin with GRESSA’s Immaculate Buffing Brush (I like my Sigma Kabuki Brush to smooth out the contouring I’ve done). I’ve experienced great, all-day staying power for both products, though I know that Susannah, who has more combination/oilier skin than me, noticed it doesn’t stay around as long.

I realize this is yet another glowing review of a clean beauty product, but I’m at the point where I’m only going to write about things I want everyone I’ve ever met to try (and my husband and sister are quite sick of hearing me talk about the amazingness that is this foundation + bronzer duo).

Plus, it already captured the attention of a few Refinery29 editors, so I’d say it’s worth shouting about from the rooftops. With that in mind, will you try out this new skin-enhancing makeup from GRESSA?

 

We love how this mom-to-be is caring for herself with a mix of gorgeous clean products and lovely ingredients you can pull straight out of the kitchen cupboard. Anna’s routine is an inspiration for its simplicity, and her thoughtful preparations have us feeling vicarious anticipation for her little one to arrive. So sweet!

Name: Anna

Age: 24

City: Lynchburg, VA

Current Weather: Late summer humidity still hanging in the air.

Skin: Fair and dry.

Hair:  Growing out chemically dyed blonde

Favorite Star From the Past: Not from the past but I love Drew Barrymore’s spirit.

I am well into my third trimester expecting a little girl! Although my routine has been relatively clean prior to the pregnancy this transitional time has challenged my internal and external beauty routines even further. My hope is that my daughter will love herself for who she is inside and out and that starts with my example!

During this pregnancy I’ve tried to simplify my beauty routine and view it from the inside out. I kick start my day with oil pulling and dry brushing. While I’m still oil pulling I pour myself a huge glass of warm lemon water and start fixing breakfast. Our diet is focused on seasonal whole foods that are organically and locally grown. We subscribe to a CSA share that delivers right to our apartment door on a weekly basis and on Saturdays my husband and I walk to the farmers market together to fill in the gaps from our CSA share. I feel beautiful and energized when I am eating right and staying hydrated. My biggest beauty splurge has been a water filter for our city water. (We went with a Berkey.) I try to drink at least a gallon a day starting with warm lemon water. If I start my day this way my whole day feels more organized and purposed. It already seems like a lot but all of this takes 10-15 min tops!

I moisturize my face and growing belly in the morning with whatever oil strikes my fancy (macadamia nut oil is my favorite!) If I am feeling really indulgent I will use Lotus Wei Infinite Love Serum on my face and body. What ever oil I have left over on my hands is then distributed to the ends of my hair. My perfume is also Infinite Love by Lotus Wei. I don’t normally use a deodorant but if I am going to be in an extra sweaty situation Soapwalla does the trick! My makeup routine is my favorite clean beauty switch because it is so simple and I still feel like myself after! Three products and two min. and I am done! I use RMS un-coverup in 11 under my eyes and around my nose for redness (I am still in the same pot after about a year and still have more to use! My color is closer to 00 but RMS didn’t carry that shade when I purchased. Even though 11 is a little dark for me it blends really well and it is not a noticeable difference when it is all blended. Can’t wait to repurchase though!) I follow with RMS living luminizer down the center of my face and RMS lipshine in Bloom on my lips and cheeks. I don’t normally use mascara but when I do I like the RMS lengthening mascara.

During the day I carry around Bach’s Rescue Remedy Pastilles and have some stocked away in the diaper bag already! If I had some extra dough I would repurchase Lotus Wei’s Joy Juice Elixir — it is an AWESOME pick me up!

My night routine is much simpler — I only wash my hair once a week with either clay/ACV or egg whites so in the evening I will just hop in the shower or bath with a shower cap and use Dr. Bronners to wash off the day. (My husband likes the Peppermint and I like the Rose and we have the unscented for baby.) I brush in the evening with Toms of Maine Fluoride Free toothpaste but I am not fully satisfied with their ingredient list. Any suggestions for a cleaner toothpaste? I moisturize with a heavy organic shea butter for my face and body (remember I said I have dry skin!) and head towards bed where I mist with Lotus Wei Quiet Mind (which is my husbands favorite scent!).

​Growing out my chemically blonde hair has been a bummer but I have been tinting the length of my hair with black walnut powder from Mountain Rose Herbs to help darken the light blonde with success! I really wanted to avoid any red tones as I have a very light ash brown naturally and the Black Walnut tint has been wonderful.  This is a once a month treatment as the tint fades over time.

I am also planning on incorporating many of the items from my everyday routine into my (prayerfully) natural hospital birth. These items include: coconut oil (for massage, stretching, and for baby), camomile tea with Bach’s Rescue Remedy drops, and Lotus Wei Quiet mind spray.

Thanks for reading and for the great community here at NMDL! I am always learning and inspired by each one of you.

Thank you for sharing Anna! Wishing you and your new bundle health and happiness!