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Beauty Obsession: Pacific by MVO

Marie Veronique Nadeau and actress Shiva Rose

Here’s a confession: parenthood has done a serious number on my skin. In a bad way. It’s been impossible to get enough sleep (not good for my skin!), plus I rarely remember to wash my face at night before I finally collapse onto the bed (also not good), and I’ve caught every cold that Baby has brought home from daycare.

It’s like I can see my skin aging. (OK, OK, that may be a slight exaggeration.) Still, it’s depressing to watch my skin become so unhappy.

But it means I can honestly say I’ve put several products from the newish line by Marie Veronique Organics to the test. It’s called Pacific, and it was developed to address the specific issues facing aging skin (ahem)—everything from wrinkles and sagging to dehydration and hyperpigmentation.

I’ve been a fan of MVO for a few years, and in particular, of the MVO mist, which I keep in my purse when I’m going to be out in the heat—a quick spritz is seriously refreshing on a hot day. (Pro tip: Spritz it lightly over your mineral makeup for a dewy, fresh-faced look.)

I also love the story behind the products: Founder Marie Veronique Nadeau (that’s her on the left in the photo above) is a former chemistry teacher, who wanted safer, chemical-free products. She started by making her own sunscreen, and her skincare line has grown from there—each product is free of parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals, waxes, dyes, fragrance, and nanoparticles.

Read on for mini reviews of six products in the Pacific line.

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Beauty Obsession: Shamanuti

I don’t think of myself as complicated, per se—although I do admit that I have combination skin. And that can make skincare a bit complicated.

However, I still like Shamanuti’s* tagline: “Simple skincare for complicated creatures.” Clever, no? And I do also have to admit that I’ve been a fan of activated charcoal for a while. It’s the best friend of a girl with skin like mine that can’t make up its mind. Is it dry? Oily? No. It’s both.

So I was understandably excited to test out two Shamanuti products—especially considering that my skin has been particularly indecisive lately, because: hormones. (See also: pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum skin craziness.) Which I think makes me the perfect person to test these products out. My crazy skin has given both of them a true challenge. Read on for my review!

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Beauty Obsession: Forager Botanicals

When I was a tween, one of my favorite beauty products was perfume. It just seemed so grown up and so glamorous—a spritz of scent on your pulse points. I scoured magazines for the perfect, lush-smelling sample. I haunted the fragrance counters at the mall. If there was a school dance coming up, I spent a lot of time testing to find the perfect scent to wear. My fragrance obsession is one beauty habit that lasted through the years. I still marked special days with special scents—I even bought a perfume on my honeymoon that smelled like my wedding bouquet.

Fast-forward to three or four years ago. After I made the switch to natural and organic beauty, I noticed that I’d become much, much more sensitive to synthetic ingredients—particularly fragrances. If I get into an elevator with a perfumed person (or even just get too close to a perfumed friend or coworker), inevitably I’ll develop a coughing or sneezing fit. Sometimes I even feel like my throat is going to close up. It’s not fun, and at times it can be downright scary. (I am also now officially the annoying person who avoids entire sections of the mall if there are certain smelly stores in that direction. I’m sure you can guess the biggest offenders.)

The other sad result of my new sensitivity is that I don’t use perfume much anymore—only on special occasions, and then only the truly organic fragrances. But I’m drawn to fragrance like a moth to a flame, and I’m always on the hunt for a new one that 1) doesn’t leave me breathless or winded, 2) smells lovely on me, and 3) gets compliments when I wear it.

Read on for details on the newest additions to my fragrance stash, from organic line Forager Botanicals*.

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Beauty Obsession: Alki Organix


I’ve written extensively about the skin benefits of honey, here and elsewhere, and I’m a sucker for products with honey in them. In particular, I especially love facial products with honey, since the antiseptic and antibacterial qualities in honey are particularly effective against cystic acne. (Which I decidedly do not love.)

So I was excited to try a few of Shirley Makela’s products, created for her new company, Alki Organix. Shirley is a holistic health and nutritional coach, and like so many creators of natural and organic cosmetics, created her line out of a desire to find products that would soothe and nurture her sensitive skin.

The result is a product line with supremely natural ingredients, using really soothing ingredients like certified organic sunflower and virgin unrefined coconut oils, certified organic witch hazel, grape seed oil, mango butter, meadowfoam seed oil, and honey as a base. (And no water. Just pure, potent ingredients.) Read on for the scoop about her Manuka Honey Facial treatment (and a small bonus write-up on my favorites of her skin balms that I tried). —Aleigh

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Beauty Obsession: Sweet Leaf Bath

I’m a big fan of exfoliation—in moderation—and since I regularly do battle with cystic acne, I’m a big fan of gentle exfoliation in particular. Through trial and error I have proven the rule that too much exfoliation (or exfoliation that’s too harsh) is not a good thing for my skin. I also look to my skin to dictate whether or not to reach for a scrub or my Clarisonic. Lately I’ve been opting for a gentle exfoliation treatment 2-3 times a week, including a great weekend facial mask treatment.

I’m a new fan of the affordable, generously-portioned products from Sweet Leaf Bath, a Canadian company from founders Rose Creamer and Stacey Guymer that makes its products in small batches—with extremely clean ingredients.

What I tried: Adzuki Bean & Rice Bran Face Polish, $16.95*

First impressions: As per usual, I went straight for the ingredients list, and liked what I saw. Here it is in all of its glory: Organic Adzuki Powder, Organic Rice Bran, Cucumber Seed Extract, Custard Apple Fruit Extract, Ginkgo Biloba. Simple, clean, easy. The adzuki  bean powder and rice bran make for an extremely gentle and soothing exfoliant…after my very first use my skin felt smooth, but not dried out or irritated in the slightest.

What caught me by surprise: This is going to sound weird, I know, but this product smells like fresh green beans to me. (Not in an unpleasant way!) Just sort of fresh, earthy, and like veggies at the farmers market. The instructions on the jar say to scoop out a little bit, mix with water, and scrub. I also tried tapping a little out into the ceramic jar that I got with this facial mask, mixed it up, and applied that way. Either tactic works well, but I find mixing it in a bowl helps me with portion control.

Bonus: Sweet Leaf’s products are made with pure, organic, and fair trade-certified ingredients. (They’re licensed by FairTrade Canada.)

*This product was sent to me for review, but I only write about cosmetics I think are truly worthy of being shared with you. View my full disclosure here, and my review policy here.

(Image via Sweet Leaf Bath)

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