A sneak peek at the shelf where I keep my most-used products in my medicine cabinet, including some items I have yet to review. This gives you a good idea of how far along I am in my better beauty journey!

  1. Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Cleanser - I feel pretty meh about this. I bought it as part of a kit and I’m not super thrilled about any of the products in it. Just trying to use it up so I can try something else.
  2. 100% Pure Red Wine Resveratol Scrub + Mask - I got this recently and have only used it a few times, but so far, I love it. Smells awesome and feels soft on the skin.
  3. Juice Beauty Green Apple Blemish Clearing Peel - This is part of the kit I mentioned in #1, and I’m not a huge fan of it.
  4. 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream - I’m not typically an eye cream person (I don’t think I have the issues that eye cream tries to address), but I wanted to try this because it’s one of 100% Pure’s best-selling products. I’ve only used it once or twice but so far, so good.
  5. SheaMoisture Reconstructive Finishing Elixir - I did a lite review of this product here, but I continue to use this more as a body oil than for my hair (it’s a bit heavy even for my course/medium thick/frizzy hair).
  6. SheaMoisture Thickening Growth Milk - More on that in this post, but all in all, I still like this stuff.
  7. 100% Pure Purity Hydrating Tonique - I reviewed this pretty thoroughly here. I like it well enough, though I’m not sure it helps a ton with breakouts. 
  8. Crystal Body Deodorant Stick - Just posted a review of this stuff. Definitely liking it!
  9. Glow by Dr. Brandt Overnight Resurfacing Serum - Not necessarily part of a better beauty regimen but this stuff is absolutely my HOLY GRAIL acne treatment. Hilariously, it doesn’t seemed to be designed for acne (it’s marketed more at aging skin) but out of all the non-Rx acne products I’ve tried, this one works wonders on my skin. I buy it as part of the Glow kit from Sephora and use the daytime product too (which didn’t make it into the pic). I keep buying itduring bad skin months despite its ridiculous price tag. The crazy price – $65 for one ounce of product – is why I only let myself buy it when my skin is particularly bad. But seriously, guys, this is the only thing that I can count on when my breakouts get bad and I’ll probably continue to suck it up and buy it because it’s amazing.
  10. Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Face Cream - Now we’re getting into the more conventional products. I got this as a gift and I can’t say I notice a difference when I use it – which I haven’t been doing lately because the Glow serum mentioned above seems to work for both aging skin AND acne. It’s seriously a miracle product.
  11. Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover - Just your standard eye makeup remover. I’m sure there are better options out there, but I’ll finish what I have before I scope out a more natural version.
  12. Clean & Clear Popped Pimple Relief Drying Paste - I bought this out of desperation while traveling and I don’t like it at all. I should throw it away but sometimes I try it again just to make sure I hate it (do you ever do that?). It looks ridiculous on (BRIGHT white) and seems to make pimples, and popped pimples, look worse in the morning. Boo.
Healthista Beauty: Hydroxatone BB Cream

Health is not just about nutrition and fitness – it’s also about how you take care of the rest of you. Healthista Beauty is a new series focused on beauty products with real health benefits.

I’m sure I’m not the only on who’s been fascinated by BB. BB, or “beauty balm,” is the new makeup/anti-aging sensation that many brands (Garnier, Smashbox, and Clinique, to name a few) are starting to make.

BB cream originated in Asia Germany, and then was popularized in Asia. In Asia, any skin imperfection is considered a blemish, hence the name. In the U.S., BB tends to stand for “Beauty Balm.” BB is a multi-tasker that acts as moisturizer, foundation, and sunblock.

Before trying BB, I was most interested in that last item. Why? Well, let me tell you a little story. Several months ago, my mom’s doctor discovered a basal cell carcinoma on her nose. Basal cell is very common and very treatable type of skin cancer, but it scared me because my mom has always been super vigilant about sunblock as an adult. I, on the other hand, was always pretty lax about it in my teen years. And I’m pale, so I know I’m pretty high risk.

(My mom was treated and the BCC was extracted, but not without several procedures and having to wear a large bandage on her face for weeks.)

After my mom’s experience, I vowed to wear broad spectrum sunblock (SPF 30 or higher) on my face every single day. One problem: I didn’t own any.

I had been using Trader Joe’s 15 SPF face lotion, which is good, but not great. That’s when I started seeing ads for BB cream that promised to even skin tone and protect with 30-40 SPF protection. One specific BB that caught my attention was Hydroxatone’s BB Cream, thanks to Dori’s impressive before and after videos (watch Part I and Part II). I was fascinated that she was able to wear it before a race and still look impeccable afterward.

I emailed Dori (she works for Hydroxatone) to ask her if she thought their BB would make my oily skin any oily-er (I usually need very mattifying products!). She said the Hydroxatone BB was mattifying, and she also generously offered to send me a sample in exchange for my review. I was super excited and agreed. Dori recommended I go a shade darker than usual because Hydroxatone’s BB runs light. I’m pretty fair and usually go for light makeup shades, but I went with medium on her advice.

It was a good choice – the shade works perfectly on me. And even more exciting, the BB does everything it promises to do!

It has broad spectrum SPF 40, which is the primary reason it was so appealing to me (always look for broad spectrum, kids), but it also evens my skin tone and smooths. I did a quick before and after to show you the difference (please excuse the Photobooth pic and wet hair). I just dot it all over my face in a very light layer and then apply more wherever I need a little extra coverage. This is without any other product at all on my face:

Without looking overly makeup-y – you guys know what I mean! – the BB smooths, evens, mattifies, and protects. You can tell in this before and after that my under-eye circles are less visible, my skin is less blotchy, and everything just looks more creamy. Even more wondrous: It doesn’t make my skin oily or contribute to breakouts at ALL! It actually seems to help control the oil. I’m officially in love.

I’ve worn the BB every day since I got it, and I definitely plan to buy more once my first bottle runs out. I know lots of other brands have come out with their own versions of BB, but I’ll probably stick with Hydoxatone’s since I know it works for my skin.

Have you tried any BBs yet? What did you think?

Healthista Beauty: Intrinsic Organics (GIVEAWAY!)

Health is not just about nutrition and fitness — it’s also about how you take care of the rest of you. Healthista Beauty is a new series focused on beauty products with real health benefits.

A few weeks ago, I got an email from a woman named Kelly about her new company, Intrinsic Organics.

I started Intrinsic Organics last year out of my own desire to find fabulous and functional products that met my own strict standards. Initially, I was looking for “vegan” products. I was shocked to discover how many still contained tons of petrochemicals and synthetics. Going a little deeper and searching for products that were organic, natural, free of parabens, sulfates, and animals, I found it nearly impossible to find products that I loved, or that didn’t completely break the bank.

Kelly, the owner and founder of Intrinsic Organics, started the company out of her own need to find organic beauty products that were chemical-free, affordable, and actually work. She experimented until she got the right formulas, testing every version on friends and family. As a consumer and mother, Kelly’s incredibly picky about what she puts in and on her body, and Intrinsic Organics products are 100% organic, right down to the essential oils. There are absolutely no synthetics, dyes, or petrochemicals in the line.

Kelly and her husband, Mike.

Of course, I had to try the products out for myself, and Kelly generously sent me a sample so I could share my thoughts with you all. Kelly sent me a sampling of a few products: Orange Ginger Body Butter, Lemon, Lavender & Chamomile Gentle Sugar Scrub, and Chocolate Mint Lip Balm.

After using them for a week, I can say I genuinely love the products! The body butter is so moisturizing and actually lasts all day. I was shocked that my legs still felt moisturized in the afternoon after applying the body butter in the morning. The scrub is super exfoliating and leaves my skin incredibly soft. My absolute favorite, though, is the lip balm. The flavor is yummy and nothing makes me lips more moist or soft. It’s just an awesome bonus that every single ingredient in these products is organic.

I always preach about reading the ingredient list of any packaged/processed food you buy, but products should be no different. They absorb into your skin, so any chemicals in the products you use are actually going into your body. I don’t like the idea of that at all! I’m the first to admit that not all the beauty products I use are organic or chemical-free, but now that I know about Intrinsic Organics, I’m going to make it a point to purchase as many organic/toxin-free products as I can (many from their line!). Kelly, please start making hair products and face wash! :)

One of the very best things about Intrinsic Organics is the whole line is affordable. Seriously. Check out the catalog! Everything is reasonably priced. That’s so key for people who want to start using natural products but can’t afford to spend $30 on some lotion.


Now the fun part: Intrinsic Organics has agreed to give away a set of lotions and body scrubs to a Healthista reader!

All you have to do to be entered to win is “Like” Intrinsic Organics on Facebook and then email me (NO REBLOGS) letting me know you’ve done it. You have until Friday at 12pm EST, so get to it! I’ll randomly select a winner on Friday afternoon. This prize is worth it, I promise. ETA: Commenting is down! Please email me to let me know you’ve liked the page.

*The fine print: Must be 18 or older to enter. Only valid to U.S. participants. Approximate prize value $60. This giveaway isn’t associated or sponsored by Tumblr.