A few months back, I entered a phase of having stress breakouts.  This was something more than just the very specifically timed hormonal breakouts I’ve been used to.  Although Annmarie Gianni’s oil really works for those hormonal breakouts, it can be drying if used too often on the more sensitive parts of my face, plus I’m not in love with the scent.  I decided to try some new products.

There’s no better way to feel beautiful and confident than to have clear, glowing skin.  A healthy lifestyle is the best way to get there, but ya know I need a little extra help sometimes.  These two products are the perfect solution for me.

Blissoma Smooth A+ Perfecting Serum: I love this brand!  Everything I’ve used feels immediately soothing and wonderful on the skin.  This serum lets me add a layer of blemish protection without piling on too many oils.  I generally put this on between my face oil and sunscreen during the day, or between oil and a balm at night.  Usually I can just use it once a day, but if things are particularly harrowing I may use it twice.  It sinks right in and has a matte finish, yet is not drying at all.  It both prevents and treats blemishes, and I find myself with fewer blackheads and diminished pores.  The scent is very light – mainly I detect rose and frankincense.  This stuff is pretty perfect. ($25.99/1 oz)

Osmia Organics Spot Treatment: I didn’t even know I wanted a spot treatment until I tried this on a whim, while ordering some luscious Osmia body oils.  The Spot Treatment is an overnight wonder, without the drying or the overly strong scent some spot treatments have.  I mostly smell rosemary and citrus.  I’ve had success with this whether applied to bare skin, between layers of other products, or on top of everything. ($20/.16 oz)

It feels satisfying to have found blemish treatments so good I can stop looking for something else!  Have you tried these?

Meet Ruby! Her skincare and hair routine is clean, but her makeup routine is… not so clean. We love her honesty, and we can all identify with her transition to clean products. That said, Ruby has some recommendations for clean products we’ve never even heard of! Go Girl!

Name: Ruby

Age: 21 as of October

Current weather: The cooler evenings of fall are approaching, along with what will soon be weeks of rainy winter in British Columbia!

Hair: Thick, wavy, oily

Skin: Fair, oily and blemish-prone; my pale complexion lends itself to some sensitivity and mild redness as well.

Favorite star from the past: Not necessarily a personal favorite, however, my mom says I can resemble a young Julie Christie and she’s a babe, so you won’t hear me arguing.

In the shower…

I wash my hair as infrequently as possible in a desperate attempt to get my scalp to regulate the amount of oil it produces—yet tragically, after over a year of doing so, I still cannot manage to do it less than twice a week. (And I’m still in the sad hair boat of having it fall almost completely limp the day after) I’m currently using up the last bit of my Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic duo, the minty scent is quite unisex, and the conditioner is absolutely divine—so luxurious in texture and moisturizing ability. After reading the most recent review on here for Rahua’s Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner, I ordered some samples from Spirit Beauty Lounge, and suspect it will be finding its way into my shower in the near future.

Every Saturday night, I apply coconut oil from mid-shaft down, twist in a braid, and sleep on a towel. After a double hair cleanse and a massage of conditioner into my ends the following morning, I grab a bar of natural soap and do a quick swipe over my pits and bits. I’ve been debating between opting for the body wash route or trying yet another brand of soap; does anyone else get that squeaky clean feeling? I’ve tried half a dozen different clean bars (Moksa, various Etsy retailers) and can’t seem to escape it. Not to mention scent selection! Maybe I want to lather myself up in jasmine instead of vetiver and patchouli… I’m far too lazy to apply body lotion outside of the shower, so if my skin feels like it’s getting on the drier side—I’ll just slather it in coconut oil before my final rinse. I also like to mix it with some form of grit (coarse salt, sugar, SNAP anyone?) whenever I want to scrub, it kills two birds with one stone and eliminates that itchy post-exfoliation sensation that I get.

Out of the shower…

I have forced myself to only splash my face with water in the morning; my skin doesn’t appear to be any worse off and it saves my cleanser! I do several mists of Evan Healy’s Lemon Thyme Hydrosol (I have decided to try Immortelle, however, after reading Kim’s experience) and follow with Jurlique’s Calendula Cream (I’ve re-purchased this over five times which is INCREDIBLE when you consider I am a complete and utter product junkie and am always hunting for that next best product). I’m fairly lucky when it comes to my hair in that it can air-dry, without product, into soft waves. (Which is darn lucky because if it didn’t, I would endure endless bad hair days since I’m inept in that department—there are three styles in my world: down, ponytail, and sock bun.) If any frizz does arise, I can usually quell it with the help of a boar bristle brush. (I just broke down and purchased a $100+ Mason Pearson brush and lemme tell you, ignore the seemingly endless blog posts that tell you it’s worth it, because it’s not.) My Nourish deodorant has run out and I’m waiting on my Living Libations order to come through and simultaneously hoping that I like it but also hoping that I won’t … over $55 after shipping for 5 ml of the stuff! The former was good but not great, I loved the femininity of the Almond + Vanilla scent but found it would take religious re-application. I tried Miessence prior to that and after developing a red rash on my underarms, realized that I have a sensitivity to baking soda!

My current night routine is in a bit of an upset at the moment; I ran out of Blissoma’s Mild Rice Cleanser, which was treating my skin pretty nicely, especially the congestion my forehead would experience. Despite this, it’s only natural that I would try a *different* cleanser because as all fellow product junkies know, what if something worked even better? I temporarily returned to the last remaining dribbles of Sunday Riley’s Ceramic Slip Cleanser (I didn’t love this as much as I hoped, too foamy, but your face indeed feels like marble afterwards) and now begins my foray into samples. My first was the Sevani Ageless Radiance Refining AHA Cleanser, which smells deliciously of citrus but was also possible for what may have been my worst breakout in months. I still can’t pin down if it was this product that caused such an upset as there’s nothing I can outright blame in the ingredient list, however, I’m also not itching to give it a second try anytime soon.

I’ve switched to a sample pot of Kahina’s Facial Cleanser and can’t find a single thing that I dislike! It possesses a lovely lotiony texture, removes makeup with ease, and doesn’t appear to be aggravating my acne-prone skin. I’m waiting for a sample of Aurelia’s Miracle Cleanser and then I’ll make the final cleanser call. (I’ve heard amazing things about Aurelia’s muslin clothes, so even if the product itself doesn’t work for me, I’ll probably end up grabbing a package of those—they have a set for Monday through Sunday, how cute is that?!) I bought Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Soothing Gel a while back but it seems to have abruptly stopped doing anything for my face so now I apply ISUN’s Clarifying Serum most nights (if you haven’t tried this product and have a similar skintype to mine, DO SO, it helps to regulate sebum production and gently eases breakouts). I was hesitant about buying it at first considering there are virtually no online reviews but after loving the ingredient list and now on my second bottle, this seems to be an item that will be on my permanent regime. Every few nights I’ll use Arcona’s The Solution, which helps with any hyper pigmentation from leftover acne scars and helps give my pores that “refined” look. Whew, still with me?

Finishing touches…

Here is where it gets dirty; being fair-skinned with cool undertones means that I *never* have an even complexion without the aid of base makeup. There will always be a bit of redness everywhere—around the nose, lower cheeks, chin—you get it. This is the primary reason why I wear foundation. Every. Day. It’s horrible, I know and it’s not even *that* bad but I don’t feel confident without it. If I could only own one cosmetic item, it would be Estee Lauder’s Double Wear Foundation. It disguises redness exceptionally well, doesn’t slide off my face by the end of the day, and is easy to sheer out to lighter coverage when I use my beloved BeautyBlender sponge. I want to give RMS Uncover Up a solid try but the beeswax in it makes me nervous to use it on my whole face. I think that a non-clean foundation will be the hardest product for me to let go of in my beauty routine—even though I prefer the satin/dewy finish that comes with a lot of the natural ones, I want the staying power that comes with chemicals. *sigh*

I use a combination of Giorgio Armani’s High Precision Retouch with Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage for under eye darkness and then on any blemishes I mix the latter with some of the amazing MUFE Full Cover Concealer. I use Jane Iredale’s PurePressed Base to top it off with some MUFE HD Powder in my oilier areas. I’m still navigating the territory of blush—with natural rosy cheeks, I’m nervous about applying anything that could exacerbate this. I just tried a sample of “Spark” from Vapour and I’m waiting on a tester of “Modest” and “Smile” from RMS. Any other peachy-shade-of blush recommendations? For eye makeup, I pop some of RMS’ Living Luminizer along my brow bone and inner eye corner. I have decided that in the realm of eyeshadows, I could solely use UD’s Naked Palette and be happy (I just discovered that Silk Naturals has a dupe for the entire Naked 2 Palette, so be proud because I will be switching to that eventually!). I’m a big fan of the cat eye which I achieve with Bobbi Brown’s Gel Eyeliner and then finish it with a coat of Josie Maran’s mascara after a thorough curl with my shu uemura. And that’s pretty much it! I don’t tend to wear anything on my lips but lip balm unless I’m doing something dramatic in which case I love Aveda’s Rare Orchid or the dreaded Russian Red from MAC

Everything is a process—I could be doing better but I could also be doing a lot worse. I’m confident that in the coming years, my entire beauty routine will be squeaky clean!

It’s true, Ruby. Everything is a process. Keep it up! We bet our readers will have some fun clean makeup recommendations for you, too.

Let’s face it—summer is in full swing. Whether you’ve been hanging at the beach, the lake, poolside, under a sprinkler on the lawn, or none of the above, you’re probably catching more rays than you were a few months ago. We know what it means to walk that line between getting your vitamin D and protecting your tush. If your skin needs some extra summer love, our Friday Deal from Blissoma and Nature of Beauty is for you!

So here’s the deal: Nature of Beauty is offering 20% off all Blissoma products. Even better, you can purchase the Blissoma Amend Skin Repair Collection, which includes the Facial Solar Anti Aging Serum and Amend Body Lotion, for $50! (Hint, the lotion is basically free.)

The promo code for the Amend duo is NMDLAmend and the code for the Blissoma line discount is NMDLBlissoma20. You can use both promo codes for one order, so you don’t have to choose between the two offers! The deal runs through Monday.

We know you’ll love the purity, effectiveness, and performance of this vegan line. And this is the perfect season to try both versions of Amend. You’ll be giving your whole self a healthy UV protection boost! Check out Rebecca’s review of the Blissoma facial and eye serums from earlier this week. And if you want to know more about the Amend Body Lotion, here’s a great review from Fig + Sage!

This brand is total love for me. Blissoma makes my long-sought holy grail of face cleansers, and much more…

The products I’m talking about today are vegan and gluten free, with nothing added for scent – so they just smell pleasantly fresh.  Check out the product links below to discover the active ingredients.  You can buy founder Julie Longyear’s Natural Anti-Aging Ingredients You Should Know Booklet.  For $10 you’ll learn about the best anti-agers, plus get product recommendations (not just Blissoma, other brands too), AND you get a coupon code for $10 off your next order. I’ve referred to the booklet a dozen times since I got it, and used it in product searches as well as in formulating DIY creations.  So far the booklet is only available from Blissoma’s home site, Irie Star, and much of the Blissoma range is also available from The Nature of Beauty.

Amend – Facial Solar Repair Anti-Aging Serum:  It’s a rare product that I put on my skin and immediately fall in love.  Amend instantaneously feels so soothing, and wonderful, and just right.  I love my oils, but I felt the need to add a more moisturizing serum to my routine this season, and this is just the ticket.  Some lines around my lips developed this year, after a cold and dry winter, and this seems to make a bigger improvement than anything else I’ve tried.  It plumps me right up, and I feel like after several weeks of use my skin does look healthier and perhaps a touch younger.  I need about one and half pumps to get the right amount to spread easily over my face and neck, and with that the bottle lasts around a month. ($48.99/1 oz)

Bright – Eye Vitalizing Nutrient Serum:  It’s only within the last couple years that I’ve been interested in products specifically for the eye area.  I always figured whatever I was putting on the rest of my face was good enough.  In many ways, that’s true.  But, in spite of a really clean diet and very few crazy nights these days, I sometimes wake up with puffy dark circles.  I have found one or two products that help, but I must say this one blows them away.  As soon as I wake up, I splash my face with water, pat dry and smooth on the serum.  Just a few minutes later, the puffiness is dramatically better.  It’s a very thin consistency, which I find unusual for an eye product.  But I got used to that, and I’m just careful as I slowly pump it onto my fingers (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!  I estimate the bottle will last a couple of months.  ($45.99/.5 oz)

I love that these products have an immediate effect, and are packed with actives for long-term benefit.  If you’ve tried them, tell us what you think!  And if you’d like to try them, I’d wait ‘til Friday (hint, hint).

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?