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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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Natural Beauty Faves: January 2012

It’s taking me a while to get adjusted to the fact that 2012 is really here, but I have some big plans. First up, a new email newsletter! I’m not planning to launch it for a few weeks yet, but if you’re interested in the newsletter-only goodies I have planned, you can go ahead and sign up here. Here are the products I’m loving this month:

  • Florere Deodorant Cream. I raved about this stuff a little while ago and I’m still loving it. My mom and sister both took it for a whirl while I was in Pittsburgh over the holidays, and I think they were both impressed.
  • Hydrea London FSC Certified Classic Long Handle Body Brush. This was a Christmas present from my Aunt Jackie (thank you!). I’d been meaning to try the dry brushing technique I’ve been reading so much about, and so far I’m liking it but it’s too soon to tell much of a difference aside from feeling really invigorated. More on this brush (and the technique) soon…
  • Broo Shampoo & Conditioner. I just discovered this craft beer body care and shampoo line (it’s straight from Asheville, one of my hometowns), and so far I really like it. It’s not cheap, but the shampoo is so foamy that I really only need a tiny amount, and it’s super moisturizing. Look for a full review of this little hoppy duo soon!
  • 100% Pure Red Wine Resveratrol Eye Cream. I bought this at Ecolicious when I bought the Florere Deodorant Cream. With my (genetic) dark undereye circles, I’m always on the hunt for a new eye cream to try, and I really think the price is affordable for a quality eye cream, especially for such a large container. Plus, in addition to resveratrol (the age-defying substance in red wine grapes), it has hyaluronic acid, vitamin E and tons of antioxidants.

What products are you enjoying lately? —Aleigh

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Fare of Face: Lucky Foods for the New Year

On January 1, to celebrate the new year and help improve the chances that the next year will be a great one, people all over the world eat foods that are considered lucky. Many of these lucky foods have health benefits beyond just luck—so much so that you can often find them in your beauty products! Here are some new year foods that feed your skin and bring you good luck.

Pomegranate. In Turkey and throughout the Mediterranean, pomegranates are eaten at the New Year to bring abundance and fertility throughout the year. For your skin, pomegranates have powerful antioxidant properties. To try: John Masters Organics Pomegranate Facial Nourishing Oil or Saaf Organic Ultimate Moisture Face Serum.

Citrus. In China, citrus fruits are associated with prosperity because the word for “tangerine” sounds similar to “luck” in Chinese. Your skin loves citrus, too: it’s used in a long list of organic, natural products, including Kimberly Sayer Aromatic Night Repair Cream and Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser.

Grapes. At midnight on New Years Day, merrymakers in Spain eat twelve grapes; one for each stroke of the clock to bring luck each month of the year. Both Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser and 100% Pure Red Wine Resveratrol Eye Cream (which is in my bathroom right now!) include grapeseed extract to moisturize and beautify.

Legumes. Resembling coins, legumes like beans, peas and lentils are symbolic of money—eating them at the New Year is hoped to symbolize earning power for the months to come. If you’re extra superstitious, try using Pangea Egyptian Geranium with Adjuki Bean and Cranberry Facial Scrub—the adzuki bean is also great for skin clarity and exfoliation.

What foods do you eat to celebrate the new year? —Aleigh 

(Image via Dey Alexander)

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Link Love Friday: Confessions

Yesterday I did something I’ve never done before: I went to a dermatologist to get a cortisone shot for a painful cystic acne bump that I’ve been trying to get rid of for more than a month. (Seriously, a month! Cystic acne, I hate you.) I’m disappointed that I had to resort to a treatment that I’m sure wasn’t remotely natural, but after exhausting all the tools in my natural beauty arsenal, I felt like it was my only option. (Aside from continuing to live with it for potentially several more months.)

There’s more to this story, though—as I was walking out of the dermatologist’s office, I was handed a bag of topical samples and a prescription for a topical acne medication. As soon as I could get in front of a computer, I looked up the ingredients in both products: one had methylparaben, the other had methyl methacrylate. I might bend the rules once for a cortisone injection (I’m undecided if I’d ever do it again, although I’m pleased with the results), but there’s no way I’ll be using either of those topical products. And it’s frustrating to me that powerful prescription-strength skincare contains such bad-for-you ingredients.

So, there’s my confession for this holiday week! Here are the things I’m reading+enjoying:

  • According to The Green Beauty Guide, if your skin becomes aggravated after using mineral makeup, it could be from bismuth oxychloride. Luckily, if you have this problem and you love mineral makeup, there are several product lines that leave this ingredient out. Have you had this problem?
  • Siobhan at No More Dirty Looks just started using a vaporizer—and she loves it. If your skin tends to be dry, it sounds like a great idea.
  • Jen at Honey Kennedy did a roundup of cobalt blue items and it’s just gorgeous! (I mentioned in this post about where the name Indigo+Canary came from that indigo is my favorite color, but really just about any shade of blue makes me happy.)
  • Detoxing seems to be on many people’s minds this time of year. I think I’m going to take on the Whole Living detox challenge that starts next month, and earlier this week, Cynthia James wrote about detoxing for the Gaiam Life blog.

What are you reading+enjoying this week? Happy holidays, everyone! —Aleigh

PS: There’s still time to sign up for the 30 Day Reinvention Project, featuring natural beauty advice from Indigo+Canary, along with really great tips and techniques from 10 really inspiring women.

(Image via Markus Schöpke)

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