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Real Beauty

Tips and tricks for natural body care

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I don’t know about you, but I am constantly bombarded with advertisements about products that will help me obtain more youthful skin. And why not—isn’t that what most of us crave? But as much as we want to believe in a magic cure-all to younger-looking skin, the truth is that it’s all up to how well we take care of ourselves (good diet and lifestyle choices). With all of this in mind, it doesn’t mean I want to stave off specialized body-care products. It’s good to treat your skin with healing oils or vitamins from time to time. Enter Youth Bloom Gel from Larénim Mineral.

Larénim Mineral is a natural makeup and body-care company started by Kristen Corcoran, who developed the product line after struggling with numerous irritable skin issues such as acne, rosacea and expanded pores. This natural beauty line includes a bevy of skin-healing serums as well as a full collection of natural makeup.

Larenim Youth Bloom Serum

Photo courtesy Larénim Mineral

Larénim Mineral’s Youth Bloom Gel Ingredients

This handy little serum is a blend of active ingredients designed to help minimize the appearance of dull, aging skin. Let’s take a closer look at each ingredient it uses.

aloe barbadensis leaf juice, glycerin, sodium hyaluronate, citric acid, (lysolecithin, sclerotium gum, xanthan gum, pullulan), (propanediol, ornithine, phospholipids, glycolipids), (*lecithin, carnosine, tocopherol, silybum marianum fruit extract, *alcohol), helianthus annuus (sunflower) sprout extract (and) *sodium benzoate, pantethine, *potassium sorbate, polylysine, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract

Of the ingredients used in this product, only four were flagged for moderate concern by the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database: lecithin (ranks 3 to 4; contamination concern with nitrosamines, which ranks 6), alcohol (ranks 3), sodium benzoate (ranks 3) and potassium sorbate (ranks 3).

Two beneficial ingredients that stood out to me were the antioxidants milk thistle extract and sunflower shoot extract. Bright and spiky, milk thistle is best known for improving liver health. These same medicinal benefits may also help benefit the skin. Research from the University of Colorado Cancer Center show that milk thistle extract may protect against skin cancer and photo-aging induced by exposure to UV radiation. Another bright and cheerful flower, sunflower shoot energizes the skin and may delay aging, according to Mibelle AG Biochemistry. This formula is also loaded with amino acids and vitamin E to help boost dull-looking skin.

My Thoughts

As far as serums go this one was a wonderful treat for my skin. It wasn’t too sticky, as serums often are, as well as moisturizing. The cream consistency is a little thick and gelatinous, making it easy to apply. I have been layering it with one of my favorite moisturizers before bedtime, and while I haven’t noticed any major changes to my skin, I enjoy how it makes my skin feel and haven’t had any major breakouts since using it. Plus, this is a preventative product, so I was mostly concerned with how it made my skin feel. It blends well and it’s not scented with fragrance. Instead, it has a natural and light earthy aroma to it. Buy this serum for $26 online.

Gina DeBacker HeadshotGina DeBacker is the associate editor at Mother Earth Living. She loves that part of her job entails testing beauty products enriched with natural ingredients.  


Photo By lordog/Courtesy flickr

I just wanted to step back and present you with this hilarious turkey cupcake. I'm a turkey baby, so this is the perfect combination of Thanksgiving and birthday celebrations.

Have a great, green holiday. Eat in moderation and remember to reheat your leftovers in glass (not plastic!), and I'll be back with you on Friday to discuss the ups and downs of Black Friday. Do you think we can make it a "Green Friday"?

Gobble gobble!


NOW Solutions 2 in 1 Correcting Eye CreamBecause of my fair skin and deep-set eyes, it often appears that I have dark circles under my eyes. To combat this problem—and to keep people from telling me that I look exhausted all the time—I’ve started adding an eye cream to my daily skin care routine. I’ve tried other products and have been less than impressed with the results, so when NOW Foods sent me a sample of their 2 in 1 Correcting Eye Cream from their new NOW Solutions personal-care line to test, my hopes weren’t high. Whether a result of my low expectations or excellent product performance, I was pleasantly surprised, however.

I tend to feel sheepish using skin care products labeled “anti-aging,” but as the skin around my eyes is extra delicate, I appreciate the boost that products like the 2 in 1 Correcting Eye Cream provide. NOW Solutions claims that the product tightens and brightens. While tightening isn’t yet a concern for my not-yet-mature skin, brightening was high on my list of wants from an eye cream—and the 2 in 1 Correcting Eye Cream didn’t disappoint. I’ve been applying the cream under my eyes (and occasionally to my eyelid and brow bone when I get a little too much product on my finger) both morning and night, and I’ve noticed a definite lightening of the usual dark circles under my eyes.

Ingredients such as vitamin C and vitamin K, which help to firm up the skin and reduce thinness, contribute to the product’s ability to lighten under-eye circles. The safety and quality of ingredients is always a concern for me when considering any kind of personal care product. While Skin Deep, my go-to resource for info on safe products, hasn’t reviewed NOW Solutions 2 in 1 Correcting Eye Cream, a quick search of all the ingredients resulted in only one red flag: Retinyl Palmitate, or vitamin A. When exposed to sunlight, vitamin A breaks down to produce toxic free radicals that can damage DNA.  


I like the ideas behind Kahina Giving Beauty and I was excited when the marketing director of a natural skin care and supplement distribution center asked me to try it. The line features handpicked ingredients by women in Morocco, specifically very high quality Argan oil. The line boasts ethically and sustainably sourced raw materials; certified natural and organic formulations that incorporate organic materials whenever possible; recycled and recyclable packaging; and donations to the Moroccan women who work to provide the raw materials. This sounded great to me, so I shelved my Dr. Hauschka for 10 days to give the line a try.

For 10 days I used Kahina Facial Cleanser, Toning Mist, Brightening Serum, Eye Serum, and Facial Lotion. I am 39-years-old with combination skin, a fair complexion and freckles.

Kahina Giving Beauty Skin Care

I read and reread the ingredients as I am an ingredient hound and must know absolutely what I am putting onto my skin. Here is what I found.

The Review

The Cleanser is in a base of aloe vera leaf juice and argan oil, containing bamboo and papaya, which I like. The first thing I noticed was the scent. Yum. It smells of neroli and chamomile. 1 point for Kahina.

The Toner is sticky and advises to avoid contact with your eyes. It is a base of aloe vera juice and rose water with rice seed extract, white tea and glycerin. Pretty good ingredients, but very sticky. 1 point against.

The Brightening Serum is also a base of aloe vera juice, argan oil and glycerin. It smells of rose geranium and frankincense, which I love. It also contains some potent, nourishing ingredients like spirulina and shea butter. It’s also sticky and cautions to avoid spraying into the eyes.

The Eye Serum is a base of water, argan oil and glycerin. It contains the powerhouse sea buckthorn and carrot oil combo I love for sun repair and anti-aging. It smells like ylang ylang and neroli, yum but again TOO STICKY! Take the glycerin out of everything for goodness sakes!

The Facial Lotion is a base of water and argan oil, with glycerin, shea butter, alcohol and beeswax. It smells like honeysuckle. It is light and non- sticky.

I also received a tiny dram, each, of Argan Oil and Prickly Pear Seed Oil. These high quality oils absorb easily into the skin with no residue or stickiness! I enjoyed these very much.

The Verdict

Kahina Giving Beauty smells delicious, has quality ingredients and is definitely ethical, but very sticky! I would recommend this line only to those who can stand having sticky glycerin on their faces all day. If you really want to try something, go for the pure oils.

Shar VedaShar Veda is an Ayurveda Lifestyle Counselor & Health Educator, Yoga Therapist, and herbalist living in Ashland, Oregon. She works with at risk teen-aged girls and offers compassionate health and lifestyle counseling anywhere in the world via Skype and or the good old-fashioned telephone. Shar has had the great gift of studying with leading teachers in Ayurveda, Yoga, and herbalism for nearly 20 years. However, it was her adopted grandma, Doe (English-American and Blackfoot Native), who instilled within her profound appreciation for the supreme power of loving touch, healing arts, and world family. Visit her website for a video, full bio, and photos or find her on Facebook!


Dr Hauschka Daily Revitalizing Eye CreamIn my quest for an effective eye cream that will diminish some of the dark circles and fine lines that have started creeping up, I’ve been testing a number of different products. One of my favorites is definitely the Daily Revitalizing Eye Cream from Dr. Haushcka’s holistic skin care line.

Dr. Hauschka claims that its Daily Revitalizing Eye Cream will prevent signs of premature aging while hydrating the skin and refining delicate lines around the eye. A quick look at the ingredients list reveals a number of components that help make this possible: nourishing avocado, jojoba and sweet almond oils; skin-soothing calendula extract; moisturizing shea butter. It also contains pineapple extract, which has antioxidant and exfoliating properties, both of which can help diminish fine lines.

On a personal note, I’ve been pleased with the performance of this product. I use it daily and definitely have noticed that the skin under my eyes seems brighter than normal—making me appear less tired. And those fine lines are looking smaller, too! (Or at least, they’re not getting any deeper.) Apart from its effectiveness, there are three things I love about Dr. Hauschka’s Daily Revitalizing Eye Cream: its formula is smooth and fast-absorbing, meaning I can apply it immediately before putting on makeup; the squeeze tube makes it easy to get exactly as much product as I need without wasting any; and the tiny tube doesn’t take up much space in my tiny bathroom! The only drawbacks? At $52 a pop, the Daily Revitalizing Eye Cream is a little pricey for me—although one tube will last the better part of a year, so it’s a good investment. The product also contains fragrance, the ubiquitous and mysterious ingredient that is usually a sign of chemical involvement.


Looking to splurge on a new organic skin-care system? I recently started using the ORGO 7 Serums by Organic to Green, which is a seven day skin regimen working to maintain a healthy complexion. If you’re a fan of skin serums, you will love this array of organic formulas.

First things first: What is a serum?

A serum is a lightweight, water-based formulation of natural ingredients. Unlike a facial oil, which is a concentration of pure plant oils (whether it be a single plant or a blend), a serum contains extra beneficial ingredients for the skin such as antioxidants, peptides and skin brighteners. More often than not, serums are brimming with anti-aging ingredients. Varying in texture, some serums should first be layered with a facial oil, cream or other moisturizer as serums can leave your skin feeling slightly sticky.

The best part about a high-quality serum is that most of the fluid is eliminated, leaving you with a high concentration of active ingredients. As such, most serums can cost a pretty penny (active ingredients are typically more expensive than thickeners), but when applied properly a small bottle can last for a long time.

ORGO 7 Serums
Photo courtesy ORGO Beauty

ORGO 7 Serums: Ingredients

This set of seven botanical serums from ORGO targets common skin deficiencies. It includes:

Sunday: Super Hyaluronic Hydration Serum
Designed to increase the suppleness and firmness of skin.
Ingredients include purified water, hyaluronic acid high molecular weight, hyaluronic acid low molecular weight, *phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin

Monday: Anti-Aging Multi-Peptide Serum
Designed to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
Ingredients include seaweed extract, purified water, hyaluronic acid, acetyl hexapeptide-8, pentapeptide-18, dipeptide diaminobutyroyl benzylamide diacetate, acetyl glutamyl heptapeptide-1, palmitoyl oligopeptide, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7, *phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin

Tuesday: Youth Collagen Serum
Designed to boost the quantity and quality of collagen as we age.
Ingredients include chondrus crispus (seaweed) extract, purified water (aqua), hyaluronic acid, pseudoalteromonas ferment extract, hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed soy protein, tripeptide-10 citrulline, tripeptide-1, *phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin

Wednesday: Botanical Stem Cell Serum
Designed to increase the longevity of skin cells and prevent wrinkles.
Ingredients include chondrus crispus (seaweed) extract, purified water (aqua), hyaluronic acid, malus domestica fruit cell culture, xanthan gum, glycerin, *lecithin, *phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin

Thursday: Antioxidant Plus Red Tea Serum
Designed to protect against pollution and environmental damage.
Ingredients include purified water, hyaluronic acid, red tea extract, *phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin

Friday: Oxygen Infusion Serum
Designed to help stimulate skin renewal and blood circulation.
Ingredients include purified water, perfluorodecalin, perfluoro poly methyl isopropyl ether, *isoceteth-20, *phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin

Saturday: Essential Protection Serum
Designed to protect the skin’s barrier.
Ingredients include cyclomethicone, octyl cocoate, dimethiconol, glycoceramides, ceramides, cholesterol

A few ingredients raise moderate concern (*) according to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. These include phenoxyethanol (ranks 4), lecithin (ranks 3-4) and isoceteth-20 (ranks 3).

My Thoughts

I loved the variety of products in this set, my favorite probably being the Antioxidant Plus Red Tea Serum—it smelled divine. I also love that ORGO’s products are packaged in reusable glass. Plus, there are seven bottles of skin-beneficial goodies that can easily last you more than a year.

Although the serums are lightweight, my skin was definitely a little sticky after using each one. You will want to layer them with your favorite moisturizer, as is the case with serums in general. Also, you may only want to splurge for this product if you are worried about aging skin. Otherwise, a high-quality blend of more cost-effective facial oils may be suitable for your skin-care needs. Buy this skin-care set for $350 online.

Gina DeBacker HeadshotGina DeBacker is the associate editor at Mother Earth Living. She loves that part of her job entails testing beauty products enriched with natural ingredients.  


Instead of greasing up your hair with synthetics, such as petroleum-based silicone, why not add a little texture and style to your hair with organic ingredients that actually work?

That's what John Masters Organics thought when it came to its new product, Shine On. It's a slick leave-in treatment that uses organic sea kelp and carrot seed oil to add shine, volume and a touch of silkiness to dull hair. As always, John Masters Organics products are free of GMOs, parabens, DEAs, MEAs and TEAs.

John Masters Organics Shine On
John Masters Organics Shine On keeps your hair soft and shiny. Photo Courtesy John Masters Organics.

Even if your hair is baby fine (like mine), Shine On won't weigh it down (and you only need a dime-sized amount, anyway). This 4-ounce jar will last a long time, so the $30 investment in it will easily amount to less than a dollar a day.

Shine On is available at Whole Foods Market and online. If there's not a Whole Foods near you, remember that online customers can take advantage of free ground shipping.

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