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Product Review: Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum

Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum

Have you ever noticed that sometimes the universe is really good at reminding you to take your own advice? Here’s my recent proof: I just got a big dose of “told you so” from myself, via this post on the common ways we sabotage our skin. Guess what? I was guilty. I knew all those rules, and yet somehow I still thought I could overexfoliate and use acne products too harsh from my skin to beat it into submission — even though my complexion was giving me so many signs that it was overly dry and irritated. (See numbers 3, 4, and 8 on my list. Nice going, Aleigh.)

Happily, I was offered a chance to try a new facial serum*, and it came at the perfect time — just as I was remembering all over again why I fell in love with facial oils and serums in the first place. They are so healing, and literally all skin types can benefit from the right one.

Read on for my review of Active Botanical Serum from Vintner’s Daughter!

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Out, Out Damn Spot! 6 Natural Brightening Treatments

Natural Brightening TreatmentsI have two friends who recently requested natural product recommendations to help combat melasma spots. One developed the dark spots on her face during pregnancy (totally worth the trouble). The other received them as a fun surprise side effect from a new, insurance-prompted birth control switch (not awesome).

There’s no one-treatment-fits all approach to any skin condition, especially one like melasma that has several potential causes, so it’s important to pay attention to what ingredients generate the best results for your skin — and which ingredients are irritating or ineffective on you. I’ve done the research in the hopes of helping out some friends, but I’m happy to share the results with you as well!

Here are six natural, organic, and nontoxic brightening treatments to help fade dark spots and even out skin tone. (Please note: This post contains an affiliate link, which means I could earn some money — at no cost to you — if you click on it. View my full disclosure here.)

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How Pregnancy (and Parenthood) Ruined My Skin

pigtails pregnancy ruined my skin summer day indigo+canary

Hi guys. Remember me? The girl who used to have a little natural beauty blog? We had a pretty good thing going for a while, right? Well … surprise! I’m wading back into the water, and it’s feeling pretty great.

I have missed you all desperately, but it turns out that parenting a tiny human + working a pretty demanding full-time job + busting a move with a freelance side hustle + serving as a board member on a (fantastic) nonprofit organization called Circle de Luz has pushed Indigo + Canary down a few notches on the priority list. (PS: You must, must, must watch the video on the Circle de Luz site. I’m serious. In addition to featuring the story of one of Circle’s adorable participants, it also won an Emmy Award!)

However, a few of those things have changed: My tiny human is a little less tiny (although still pretty darn cute, I must say), I’m rotating off the nonprofit board now that my three-year term is complete (although I am still a volunteer and contributor — they can’t get rid of me!), and so I’ve got a little bit of hustle left. And Indigo + Canary is where I want to put it! Because, as it turns out, becoming a parent didn’t change a thing about my raging addiction to clean/natural/organic beauty products.

Just how did parenthood and pregnancy ruin my skin, exactly?

Sigh. Here’s my sad-but-true tale of skin woes, in chronological order:

  • Before pregnancy: A condition I have — polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) — made my skin pretty awful sometimes. People with PCOS often have out-of-control hormones, and I was no exception. It took a pretty regimented system to keep my skin from being a mess, but a combination of medications + thoughtful skincare products helped a lot. Unfortunately, I still had to deal with regular cystic acne, usually during my period. (Cystic acne is no joke.)
  • During pregnancy: My skin was perfect. My skin was flawless. My skin was freaking amazing. Pregnancy sort of “cures” PCOS, temporarily, and that was my experience. Some women experience terrible breakouts, discoloration, and other terrible things during pregnancy, but not me! (I did have other pregnancy complications, however, so I would not say I enjoyed being pregnant.)
  • After pregnancy: All was fine for a few months, but as more time went by, I started to notice my breakouts were getting more severe and more frequent.
  • Post-breastfeeding: By this point, forget about it. My skin was a mess. It was inflamed. I woke up to new blemishes every single day, and almost always had at least one or two cystic acne blemishes to deal with. It got so bad I would re-apply makeup several times throughout the day, and by the end of a workday, I would want to sob when I looked at my face in the mirror.
  • Now: Fast-forward to this morning, and I can see that I’ve made progress, but I’m still completely frustrated by what’s happening with my skin. I frequently have breakouts across my cheeks, which was never a problem area pre-pregnancy. Plus, I have the normal hormonal breakouts near my mouth and chin — with awful flare-ups right around my period.

What am I doing about my awful post-pregnancy/parenthood complexion?

Well: Trial and error. I can tell that I’ve made some improvement. I’m taking baby steps to get back to my original pre-pregnancy regimen of medication + topical treatments (because my old frenemy PCOS is back with a vengeance), but I’m still not comfortable with my skin, and it’s a daily frustration. Lately, however, I’ve tried a few products that seem to be helping a lot.

So if you’re in the same boat, first off: I feel you, girl! It super duper sucks. But maybe these products will help give you some relief too.

Fig + Yarrow Foaming Cleanser, $19.99: I love that this foaming cleanser is at Target, because I already make a weekly pilgrimage to the big red bullseye for pull-ups, wipes, and toddler snacks. It has activated charcoal, which has antibacterial and detoxification properties, making it a pretty powerful acne-fighter.

Osmia Organics Detox Exfoliationg Mask, $50: My Osmia fandom knows no bounds. This exfoliating facial mask has activated bamboo charcoal and manuka honey for a great balance of detox/cleansing/moisturizing properties. If you like facial masks, this is a must-try. I use this or the Acure Organics scrub about once a week.

Shea Moisture Natural African Black Soap, $3.59: Another Target find, this one is supremely affordable and leaves my skin feeling clean but not overly dry. It has oats to help soothe and calm my skin, but it’s also moisturizing in all the right ways. I use this one in the shower and the Fig + Yarrow at the sink.

Acure Organics Brightening Facial Scrub, $9.99: I love this scrub (and Acure products in general), but a word of caution: when you have regular breakouts, you have to be careful about scrubs, which can further irritate already angry skin. If you use a scrub mid-breakout, it can very well make your breakout worse. I use this scrub very sparingly, and only when my skin is in not-great-but-not-horrific shape. I love how smooth my skin feels (and how my makeup just glides right on my skin) afterwards. Hint: I also make sure to give some attention to my neck and decollete, because those are two spots that often show early signs of aging.

Did your skin freak out after (or during) pregnancy? What are your go-to products? Please share! I’d love to know your secrets.

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Beauty Obsession: Andalou Naturals

I’m always on the lookout for new facial cleansers, especially ones that are gentle but still effective on my dreaded hormonal acne. So when Alex from Andalou Naturals reached out* to see if I’d be interested in testing out one of their products, I zeroed in on their clarifying cleanser, which is meant for normal, oily skin. (That’s me.)

What I tried: Andalou Naturals Citrus Kombucha Cleansing Gel, $12.95

First impressions: It’s pleasantly foamy, and smells, well, citrus-y! In fact, this cleanser contains lemon juice, Vitamin C, apple extract (apparently from a rare Swiss apple) and the extract of French Burgundy grapes for their renewal and regeneration properties, plus antioxidants from a cocktail of berries including acai, aronia, bearberry, bilberry, black elderberry, goji, rosehips, and sea buckthorn. Some of these berries, like aronia (also known as “chokeberry”) are completely new to me, and as I researched them, I discovered that there are a TON of berries out there that I’ve never heard of. Did you know that the bilberry is associated with the improvement of night vision? Me either.

What caught me by surprise: I couldn’t smell the kombucha at all. If you’re not familiar with it, kombucha is the yeast that goes into kombucha tea, a fermented concoction of tea, sugar, bacteria, and yeast—and it can be kind of stinky. First created in China thousands of years ago, it’s long been touted for its health benefits, including boosting the immune system, preventing cancer, and improving digestion, although there is some debate as to its effectiveness. When it comes to skincare benefits, I don’t think it’s a stretch that the yeast’s active enzymes might help clarify your skin in a way that’s similar to how probiotics in yogurt help balance your digestive system. And like other kinds of tea, it’s also an antioxidant, and works to firm and brighten skin.

Bonus: After using this product for a while, I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my skin, especially when it comes to a few problem areas. In particular, I had a flare-up of dry, flaky skin along my temple, and it has completely disappeared. (Sweet!)

Have you tried any of the products from Andalou Naturals? Do you seek out products containing kombucha? —Aleigh


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

 (Image via Andalou Naturals)

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Link Love (Good) Friday

I’m a busy bee at work this week, so I’ll get right to some Good Friday Link Love! Here’s what I’ve been reading+enjoying lately:

Happy holiday weekend, everyone! What have you been reading this week? —Aleigh


(Image via dullhunk)

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