January 2015 archive

THE EYE CREAM LOW DOWN

So I thought I would do a quick post about the eye creams I reach for most often. Last year is when I started using an eye cream faithfully to start preventing that whole aging process thing we all hear about so much. Well I’m 29 now with two little ones and I think it’s safe to say that eye cream has gone from bottom of my list to one of the most important!! It’s amazing the difference a little dab of eye cream does, and it really is imperative that you treat the most delicate area on your face with some potent and nourishing eye cream with quality ingredients! And your in luck because below is my list of my four favorite eye creams, and why you may want to think about including one in your skincare routine!


Palmetto Derma Retinol & Peptide Infused Lifting Eye Cream: My lovely friend Molly of http://www.maisonpur.com sent me this lovely eye cream in a sweet little gift package and boy am I glad she did! The PD website describes this as a , “jar jam packed with an innovative formulation of peptides, botanical, pure plant oils, organic vitamins & minerals.” While the oils and botanicals soothe, the ocean based Retinol and fruit based Glycolic Acid firm and repair. It’s incredibly soothing, my only complaint would be is that I like my eye creams slightly thicker as this takes awhile to really blend into my skin. But once blended it is totally worth it, my eye area feels nourished and hydrated. Retail: $68 http://www.palmettoderma.com

Beautycounter Anytime Eye Cream: Now this eye cream has more of the creaminess I’m looking for. Since the two base ingredients are organic coconut oil and aloe, hydration is the main thing you will get from this eye cream. I think this is a great basic eye cream for those just starting out. It doesn’t have any crazy anti-aging ingredients but it will brighten up your eye area by deeply hydrating! Retail: $32 http://www.laurenvanloo.beautycounter.com

100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream: Well the name pretty much says it all! With the interesting addition of organic coffee, this eye cream is perfection for those dealing with dark circles or not getting enough sleep, and yes it really does work. The texture is creamy, it blends nicely and the addition of rosehip oil helps with makes the eye area more youthful! You can also dab this on in the morning for an extra boost before your makeup, just let it sink in before doing so. Retail: $21 http://www.thegreenkiss.com

Dr. Alkaitis Organic Eye Creme: There are no words to explain my love for this eye cream. The funny thing is that I always end up with samples of this and I have so many fricken eye creams that I can  never pull the trigger on buying a full size of this, but the time will come very soon because it’s just too good!! This eye cream is ultra-thick, ultra-rich and insanely nourishing, so much that after I dab it on I can see it glisten like its gobbed on there, even though its not! It is formulated with their herbal eye renewal complex that includes wild rose buds, linden blossoms, mate and green tea. I know this eye cream is a must have for VS supermodels and I can see why, it’s the real deal and if I had to pick a favorite from my list this would be it! Retail: $65 http://www.spiritbeautylounge.com

I hope this give helps you navigate the eye cream world and helps you figure out what will work for YOU, based on your age, wants, needs, etc. Hope you all have a wonderful week free birds with lots of good vibes!! Xx-Lauren

SKIN ANALYSIS: COMBINATION/ MILD ACNE

It’s that time again and well overdo for another skin analysis. Part of being an Esthetician is being able to analyze a client’s skin, then determine what products will work best for them. I hope that people start catching on that going to an esthetician monthly is just as important as seeing your hair stylist!! Maintaining your skin is imperative and it changes constantly, so the needs of your skin will change as well. I have so many clients, friends and family always asking me why one product will work  wonders on their skin then all of sudden kind of stop working. The best way to answer this that your skin gets adjusts and gets used to products after awhile and it’s important to introduce your skin to a new routine. I recommend switching things up every six months. Now don’t freak out when I say that because if you have holy grail products that you love thats great, when I say switch up I mean maybe integrate a new serum, or maybe a new cleanser!

Now that we got that out of the way lets move onto the skin analysis. I decided to use my sister’s skin type as an example, and I have decided she has combination skin with some mild acne issues. Combination skin is when your skin is plagued with an oily t-zone and some dry patches as well! Fun right?! Well don’t fret because this skin type is quite common, and not that hard to treat if you stay faithful to your skin routine! The most important component in treating combination skin is finding balance. You want to balance out the sebum production overload in some spots, yet deeply hydrate the flaky dry spots! Well I think I’ve found the products to do it, and let’s not forgot they are all clean and green!!


NIGHT ROUTINE:

CLEANSE & EXFOLIATE: I really like Acure Organics Facial Cleanser gel superfruit + chorella growth factor for combo skin. It’s a gel formulation so it works great for oily skin, yet it’s packed with antioxidants and organic olive oil so it won’t dry you out! It’s gentle, yet strong enough to remove makeup. I recommend using this in conjunction with a Konjac Sponge for a natural, gentle exfoliation that will leave your skin clean, smooth and balanced.  Retail: $14.99, $11

http://www.acureorganics.com, http://www.urbanoutfitters.com

TONE: For this skin type you don’t need anything harsh that is going to strip your skin of it’s natural oils, because you need those oils to balance. I recommend Kari Gran Hydrating Tonic because it hydrates and calms the skin. Just spray a few times all over the face and let it sink in. Available in lavender or rose. This tonic is going to play a role in balancing the skin as well! Retail: $35 http://www.karigranskin.com

TREAT: Now in the picture it looks like my sister is just dealing with singular blemishes, but what is hard to see is the tiny bumps she has sporadically all over her face, which is why she needs to treat with a serum and not just a spot treatment alone. I recommend Kypris Clearing Serum. Personally speaking, this serum is a life changer for those suffering from problematic skin. It’s packed with apple fruit extract, willow bark, tea tree oil and I could go on forever! Bottom line, this serum is gentle but very effective and will do a wonderful job at balancing, which is what we want to do for this skin type!! Retail: $55 http://www.beauteabar.com

SPOT TREAT: For the peskly larger blemishes that stick out like a sore thumb, I recommend Indie Lee Blemish Stick. It has witch hazel and menthol which make for a potent blemish fighter, and it really does work! It dries out the blemish without drying out your face, and that is key! Retail: $28 http://www.thegreenkiss.com

HYDRATE: After you treat your skin you MUST hydrate and the absolute best I can recommend for this skin type is Kypris Beauty Antioxidant Dew. It is a light, milky, creamy serum that is packed with antioxidants and perfectly balances your skin while bringing instant radiance! This is an absolute favorite of mine and I use it faithfully. For combination skin this can be used as your moisturizer, just double up in your night routine and use liberally on face AND neck! Retail: $60 http://www.beauteabar.com

DAY ROUTINE:

Now for daytime I recommend the exact same routine as above, except you don’t necessarily need to exfoliate again unless you like to exfoliate twice a day. Also, after you hydrate in the morning be sure to follow up with a non toxic sunscreen! My favorite is Beautycounter Protect Face Sunscreen SPF 30. http://www.laurenvanloo.beautycounter.com

WEEKLY:

Ok so once a week I recommend doing a face mask for deep cleansing and even better exfoliation. My favorite for this skin type is the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Deep Pore Cleansing Mask. I like to form a paste with organic green tea for an extra antioxidant booost! This mask is very powerful and you will feel tightening and tingling. I recommend leaving on anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on your skin! Also, your skin WILL be slighty pink when you rinse off the mask, and it’s good because it means the blood is flowing and circulating in your face! That makes for one good mask!! Retail: $10http://www.amazon.com

Well there you have it free birds! I truly hope this routine helps some of you out who have been trying to find that precious balance for your combination skin! Please remember that since I cannot analyze everyone as individuals, I cannot guarantee that this will work for everyone. Please feel free to email me at lv.freelovebeauty@gmail.com with any skincare related questions, I’m always happy to help as your resident online holistic esthetician! Peace and love! Xx- Lauren

UPDATE ON LANDON

Many of my readers and followers know all about my son Landon and his health issues we have battled and continue to battle. If you are new to my blog, you can  click on OMS in the menu it will give you a detailed background about my son. OMS is a tricky syndrome, it hides beneath the surface and reappears when Landon gets a common cold or even when he is really tired. Although I haven’t seen any symptoms for about a year since he got his tumor removed and began monthly doses of steroids, the fear I have is always there. Some of the challenges I have been facing lately as a mom is the fear of what I can’t control, fear of the unknown, and learning to accept the fact that my son will never be “normal”. Many parents of children with special needs or syndromes and disorders say that you will go through a mourning period when your child gets diagnosed, and it’s true. You mourn the “loss” of the way your child was, and learn to accept the future and the obstacles you will face. Now I’m going to get really raw here for a minute and say how tired I am of hearing people say, “well it could be worse.” I mean that is such an audacious thing to say to a mother who has been through basically a war zone with her child, in and out of hospitals, and even questioned the mortality of her own child she gave birth to not that long ago. The truth is that I KNOW it could be much worse, because I’ve seen worse, being in and out of a hospital I have been faced with worse and it shook me to my core. When I take Landon to the oncologist every couple of months I see what some people’s reality is, children with ports and getting their chemo while my son runs around free as a bird. While I sit in the waiting room I look around, and I notice it is overflowing with sick kids, literally some have to wait outside because there is no more room, what the hell is wrong with this picture? Why does it seem like cancer is becoming an epidemic? Anyways, this is the whole point of my blog as you all know, to help everyone reduce the risk of serious illnesses by reducing the toxins in their home, food and beauty routine! Here are a few random favorite pictures of Landon, time sure does fly!!











It was so crazy looking through all of those pictures and seeing him grow! I didn’t really include too many from when he was two, because he was sick most of that time and I just didn’t capture too much of it on camera. Back to my point above, the truth is I am SO grateful that Landon is stable and doing well, but I still wouldn’t wish this reality on my worst enemy. It has been alomst a year since my little man had his tumor removed so he had a routine urine analysis last week to make sure another tumor had not returned. I felt sick all weekend, that familiar feeling I had when Landon was in the hospital. All my fears were coming back to the surface and I felt helpless, suffocated and broken down all over again. My husband and parents would reassure me but nothing breaks the state of mind your in when you are waiting for lab results, nothing. Landon’s urine came back good so he continues to be stable and we are hoping to ween him off of steroids in about four months, with hope that his OMS symptoms do not return!! This blog has turned out to be such an amazing outlet for me to vent about my frustrations, hopes, fears but mostly turn my son’s syndrome into something positive, and to remind everyone to spread the positive vibes because you never know what someone is going through underneath the surface!


For more information on OMS syndrome visit http://www.omsreasearch.org where you can also donate to help find a cure for this rare disease!! I also want to thank my faithful followers, readers and great friends I have made for the constant love, support and positivity you all give- it means more then you will ever know!! Peach & love always!!!

DIY NATURAL SKINCARE AT HOME & ON A BUDGET!!

The comment I get a lot when talking about to switching to organic is , “but organic is soooo expensive!” In my opinion it all depends on your perspective. We buy all organic now and our grocery bill is no different then it used to be, simply because we have cut out all the processed unecessary junk that we used to buy. No more cookies, donuts, frozen junk, soda, etc. Anyways my point is that you can go organic on a budget, even when it comes to your skincare routine!! Below I have included some of my favorite and must-have pantry items that are extremely multi-functional and can be used as effective skin and body care as well!! When products are multi-use, it keeps the budget on track and your skin and health on track as well because it simplifies our daily routines!! In fact, I always have all of the items below in my pantry and use them  frequently  on myself and my kids as body care!!

Organic Virgin Coconut Oil: I cannot even begin to express my love for coconut oil. I use it for everything! When my babies have dry skin i use it moisturize, i use it with essential oils for my babies as well, in cold weather it brings dry skin back to life, I use it to cook and this is random but I put it on my c-section scar everynight(it helps heal the scar!) This is also my favorite oil to make face and body scrubs with!! My favorite brand is Nutiva because its GMO-free, virgin and organic so it’s extremely pure. You can find it on http://www.vitacost.com or any health food store usually carries this brand!

Organic Raw Honey: I think most of you know raw honey can work wonders for the skin! Raw honey has amazing antibacterial properties and full of antioxidants therefore it can benefit people with acne, aging skin, large pores and will bring back the glow to your skin!! I love using honey and bananas for a quick and highly effective face mask! Just throw half a banana, a couple of tablespoons of raw honey  into a bowl and mash well. Apply to clean skin and leave on 20-30 minutes! The banana is soothing and will help balance skin. Again, make sure honey is RAW, otherwise the beneficial properties will not be there!!

Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar: Almost everyone I know has this on hand but many don’t know that this works as an amazing toner to help balance your skin, reduce pore size and keep blemishes at bay! I also recommend this for anyone dealing with dark spots or age spots, mix 1 tablespoon orange juice with 2 tablespoons ACV and it makes for a fantastic lightener. You can find this at most grocery stores, I see it everywhere now!

Organic Cane Sugar: The reason I included this on my list is because you can make the most amazing and beautiful scrubs with sugar!! My favorite scrub recipe comes from my friend Jackie Parks, owner and creator of WellBody Skincare.

1 cup granulated or raw sugar

1 tsp honey

1/4 cup carrier oil (coconut, grapeseed or olive oil)

10-15 drops of any essential oil

Well there you have it free birds! I hope this helped show you that organic skincare doesn’t have to cost a ton of money, it can be simple, fun and effective using the purest ingredients found in your own pantry!! Any more questions on these products or recipes please fill out the CONTACT form or email me at lv.freelovebeauty@gmail.com

SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCE: WHY POLLUTION & ILLNESS DON’T SMELL SO GOOD

Ok so this post may not be all that fun, but I have made it a mission of mine to do in depth posts on common toxic ingredients found in our cosmetics and it is that time again!! Since I’ve already covered parabens and petroleum, I thought fragrance was the perfect ingredient to cover next, since I find fragrance to be one of the more difficult things for people to give up! In fact, even when you think you are doing good by buying “unscented” or “all natural” items, fragrance is that one ingredient that is very sneaky and can be lurking in between the lines. What do I mean?

Well first lets cover what synthetic fragrances are. So synthetic means fake, and many of these lovely “scents” that you are smelling from your candles, body wash, shampoo, lotions, lipstick, perfume, etc. are all FAKE FAKE FAKE scents. Unless that scent is derived from an all natural essential oil from a plant, herb, flower, etc. OR plant based oils, then that scent is not real, not natural, and NOT safe!! Like I said before, fragrance can be found in almost anything from body care, cosmetics, laundry detergent all the way to car fresheners and household cleaning products.

So why is it bad for you? Fragrance is known to trigger allergies, asthma, birth defects, central nervous system disorders, migraines and have also been found in breast milk. Certain types of fragrances are known to be hormone disruptors which can lead to cancer or other serious health issues. Not only do synthetic fragrances cause health issues but they cause environmental issues as well proving to increase air and water pollution significantly, indoors and outdoors. So what should you be looking out for on the ingredient list? Typically fragrance will be listed as “fragrance” of “parfum” or sometimes even “natural fragrance” which is not natural at all! Now don’t worry, you don’t have to give up the wonderful world of beautiful scents when you make the nontoxic switch, you want to see completely natural ingredients like, “calendula officinalis flower extraxt, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, and olea europaea fruit oil). In my personal opinion, essential oils and flower extracts provide the most amazing scents that take aromatherapy to a completely other level!! Below I have included a list of my got-to basics to help you filter out the fragrance of some of your most commonly used essentials!!

The Honest Company Bar Soaps: ($4.95): Made with organic shea butter, triple milled, cold-pressed organic coconut, palm, olive and argan oils. My entire family likes these bar soaps! They are super affordable and a wonderful option to siwtch out that yucky body wash. They offer lovely scents like tangerine vanilla and juniper sage (all from extracts and essential oils)!! http://www.honest.com

PF Candle Company: ($18)($11): This is a small batch, hand poured candle company based out of Los Angeles. Their candles are soy wax and they use oils for scent! You don’t have to give up candles!! With scents like fig & jasmine and gardenia & coconut you can’t go wrong! http://www.pfcandleco.com

Beautycounter Hydrate Body Lotion: ($22) This is bit pricy for a lotion but SO worth it. The scent is citrus-mint and it’s amazing! It also hydrates really well. This is definitely a pampering type of lotion and worth every penny! http://www.laurenvanloo.beautycounter.com

DoTerra Oils & Diffuser: ($44.95 for diffuser) (oils vary in price) Getting a batch of essential oils is something I highly recommend for everybody! We use them for almost everything in my household! We use them topically to heal, in diffusers for aromatherapy, and on the babies for calming. Just make sure the oils you are using are therapuetic grade which means they are the real deal and not laced with anything synthetic!! I recommend Doterra personally!! You can find a nice diffuser on amazon also!! http://www.amazon.com http://www.doterra.com

Rahua Shampoo & Conditioner: ($32-shampoo) ($34-conditioner) Rahua offers high quality hair care and body products that are nontoxic. I’m not much of a hair girl but these products work well for me, keep my hair soft and healthy and I love their signature scent, a gorgeous mix of leaf extracts and seed oils!! http://www.rahua.com

Lurk Perfume Oils: ($55-$225) These are a wonderful option for a natural perfume!! Each scent is hand blended and poured using only pure essential oils in a base of organic jojoba. My good friend Molly just wrote an amazing post on her blog http://www.maisonpur.com about this product line and it also features an interview with the owner! It’s a must read, you must check it out!! http://www.lurkmade.com

Ilia Beauty Lipstick: ($26) Now many of you know there are a lot of toxins in mainstream lipstick brands and one of them is fragrance! Many times lipstick will have a strong smell coming from it that may seem appealing, but you really don’t want those hidden toxics on your lips!! Ilia is a beautiful option compromised of organic beeswax, organic oils and extracts and it performs just as good, if not better, then the lipstick your used to!! http://www.spiritbeautylounge.com

So there you have it! Hopefully this helps you navigate your way around synthetic fragrances and into the natural world of oils and extracts!! And what an amazing world it is!! Please feel free to email me at lv.freelovebeauty@gmail.com with any additional ingredient questions!! Additional information can be found at http://www.ewg.org, http://www.beautycounter.com and http://www.safecosmetics.org.