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5 Firming Facial Masks I Love

Technology makes staying in touch with far-flung friends so much easier. Lately, that’s meant the most fun three-way text conversations with two of my besties. Our conversations touch on everything from pop culture to food, but there’s one topic we consistently revisit: skincare.

Which is how I received a request for a roundup of skin-firming facial masks. Here are my top five*. Do you have a favorite? Please share! —Aleigh

Una Biologicals French Green Clay Masque, $10

Since they arrive in powdered form, Una’s facial masks are long-lasting—it’s easy to mix up just as much as you need. (Just don’t use metal utensils or a metal container. If you use powdered masks regularly, you may want to splurge on a set like this one.) This super-clean masque’s main goal: to firm up your skin as it cleanses.

Dr. Hauschka Firming Mask, $52.95

Dr. H’s firming mask has potent rose water, rose petal extract, rose wax, and rose essential oil to help tackle fine lines and promote elasticity in the skin, plus mango butter and beeswax to hydrate and moisturize.

Acure Organics Argan Stem Cell + CGF Facial Mask, $15.99

I’ve mentioned this mask several times, and the truth is that I honestly just love it. The formula is thick and luxe, a little goes a long way, it lasts a really long time, and it’s packed with really potent ingredients, including French green clay, Argan stem cells, sea buckthorn oil, chlorella growth factor. Plus, it’s affordable. It has skin firming benefits (from the French green clay), but its primary benefits include detoxifying and skin renewal/anti-aging properties.

ilike Sour Cherry Gel Mask, $40

I haven’t yet met an ilike (pronounced “ILL-ick-a”) product I don’t like. This enormous product line features a huge roster of facial masks, and is used in many natural/organic spas because it’s pure and there are so many options that it can be very tailored to each client’s skin. This sour cherry gel mask has great firming, brightening, and pore-refining qualities—perfect for mature, dry, and/or loose skin.

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel, $45

OK, so this is technically a peel and not a mask. However, even though it’s more of an exfoliating treatment and not a moisturizing one, it still offers skin brightening and firming qualities, plus it’s a good option for skin with hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and uneven skin tone.

*Note: If you have sensitive skin, be sure to test a small patch of your skin before you go all out with a facial treatment. Many of these masks are really potent and not necessarily the best fit for sensitive skin. 

(Top image via Auntie P; remaining images via brands+boutiques)

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7 Favorite Products of 2012

There are so many wonderful natural and organic products on the market, and I’m a big fan of each and every one I review on Indigo+Canary. But there are always a few extra-special products that I find myself thinking about well after my review has been completed, that I go back to over and over again. Here are my seven favorites from 2012 (in no particular order).

Broo Shampoo & Conditioner. I still love everything that originally attracted me to these products. When I’m not testing out a new shampoo or conditioner, they are what I come back to, especially now that my hair is starting to be a bit on the dry side. (Side note: my sister now swears by these two products, too. Success!)

Black Pepper & Rose Organic Dry Shampoo by SkinnySkinny. One beauty resolution I’ve had no problem sticking with is Julie’s rule to wash my hair only twice or three times a week, and my SkinnySkinny dry shampoo is the reason why. I still get compliments on it all the time—it just smells great.

Omega Woman, Evening Primrose Blend by Nordic Naturals. I have become a bit of an evangelist about omega-3s, and this blend in particular. It doesn’t just help me get glossy hair—it helps me keep my hair full. (I have major shedding issues!)

Balancing Facial Serum by Co-Op 108. For me, 2012 was definitely The Year of the Facial Oil. I discovered that it works so well, even on my tending-to-oily skin. Now, a great facial oil is part of my daily complexion plan. I love Co-Op 108’s blend for its lightness, ingredients, and that it smells ever-so-faintly of lemongrass.

Acure Organics Cell Stimulating Facial Mask. If you’re looking for an affordable natural facial mask, this one from Acure is a great option. You can get a bunch of applications out of this large jar. It’s so thick and luxurious, it feels spa-quality. And your skin will look and feel smoother and softer once you rinse it off.

Andalou Naturals Citrus Kombucha Cleansing Gel. I use this foaming gel with my fingers and my Clarisonic—it works equally well. I have witnessed this cleanser’s ability to clear up my skin without drying it out, and I love that I can close the pump to easily pack it for travel.

Osmia Organics Facial Calibration Serum. My other favorite facial oil of the year. Sarah calls this a serum, but it’s not thick or heavy—it’s light and delicate, a blend of kukui, safflower, macadamia nut, rosehip seed, grapeseed, shea, acai, and black seed oils.

What are your favorite beauty discoveries of 2012? If you’ve added a new favorite to your natural beauty routine, I’d love to hear all about it. —Aleigh

(Image via AndreaRenee)

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Beauty Obsession: Cell Stimulating Facial Mask

I like to spend my lazy Saturdays going to the farmers market, doing a little cleaning around the house…and relaxing on the couch for a bit with a great facial mask. (You too?) Anyway, on a whim I snapped up a jar of this great little facial mask from Acure Organics, and I’m so glad I did.

What I tried: Argan Stem Cell + CGF Facial Mask from Acure Organics, $15.99

First impressions: This is luxurious stuff. The texture is really creamy and thick, like a whipped mousse—perfect for slathering. And it has some powerful skin-healing and anti-aging ingredients: Moroccan Argan stem cells, CoQ10, and Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF). Add to that Seabuckthorn Oil for moisture and French Green Clay to draw out impurities and cleanse your skin, and you have a recipe for a soothing, healing facial mask that feels just as amazing as it sounds.

What caught me by surprise: It smells (lightly) minty! At first I thought perhaps the CGF smells like mint, but after a quick study of the ingredients list, I spotted a sage and spearmint essential oil blend. Mystery solved.

Bonus: I can absolutely tell an immediate difference in my skin after a session with this stuff. My face feels smoother, softer, and healthier. And it doesn’t feel uncomfortably tight or itchy as it dries.

Do you use facial masks? What’s your favorite? —Aleigh

(Image via Acure Organics)

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Beauty Obsession: Acure Organics Hair Care

A few weeks ago I snapped up several Acure Organics products—including their Moroccan Argan Oil + Argan Stem Cell Shampoo and Conditioner ($10.99 each), which I’d been coveting for months.

Spoiler alert! I’m about to add one of my own.

First impressions: When they arrived, I immediately cracked open both bottles to see how they smelled. For some reason I had become absolutely (and irrationally) convinced that they would smell like coconut. (I despise coconut in just about every form.) I was relieved to discover that both the shampoo and conditioner smell deliciously almond-y, a scent I happen to adore.

The ingredients lists are delicious, too. There’s acai, blackberry, rosehips, pomegranate, aloe, sugar beets, plus argan oil, pumpkin seed oil, and sea buckthorn oil. (And no sulfates, parabens, or pthalates.)

What caught me by surprise: I know I can’t be the only person who reads the shampoo and conditioner bottles nearly every time I’m in the shower…and I love when people and companies don’t take themselves too seriously. And I spotted this little gem in the directions on my shampoo bottle: “Feel free to belt out some horrible 80s tune that you listen to when nobody’s around. Whatever, you totally do it.” 

Now that I’ve been using my Acure shampoo and conditioner for a few weeks, I can officially say that I’m hooked. I think the price is reasonable, and I love that the shampoo is foamy and the conditioner is sleek. Most importantly, I love, love, love that my hair, which has been somewhat dry and frizzy as it goes through a weird texture evolution from super straight to somewhat wavy, feels moisturized and healthy again.

Bonus: There’s an Acure shampoo and conditioner combo for every type of hair. Next on my list? The Pure Mint + Echinacea Stem Cell Shampoo and Conditioner.

Have you tried any Acure Organics products? —Aleigh

(Top image via Acure Organics, bottom image by me)

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