Painted Lady Butterflies took over the Front Range this September, gracing the sky with an orange tinge and dainty wings. They frequented rose bushes and comfrey alike pollinating as they made their way south to Mexico for the winter. What struck me the most was their presence up in the mountains on a harsh, cold day, which they evidently have to cross before the first frost hits. Its rather amazing how something so small and seemingly unequipped for such a long journey can accomplish such a feat. Even amongst nature we find examples that “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass“.
Performance. Purity. Pleasure.
These three P’s are the summation of REN Skincare.
If you don’t know this brand, you should.
Around since 2000, these skincare products are innovative, pure and all around enjoyable to use.
Whilst perusing Oh My Cream! in Aix-en-Provence, one of their in-house estheticians recommended I try the Clarimatte Cleanser and provided me with a sample of the Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask which, I loved so much I purchased a bottle later while in New York.
Why I love REN?
REN Clean Skincare products are full of skin-loving plant and mineral derived actives. This means that my sensitive, breakout-prone skin is happy and calm. I also have peace of mind knowing that the products are free from any harmful ingredients. Skin issues are stressful enough without having to worry about toxic ingredients!!
The Clarimatte Cleanser has redefined my skincare routine. After removing my make-up, I use one pump of the purifying, antibacterial cleanser. I have noticed a dramatic improvement in underground bumps on my face and the appearance of my pores.
The actives in this product include:
- Flavonoids from Mayblossom decongest the skin
- Salicilin from Willow Bark provides mild exfoliation and antimicrobiol properties to purify problem skin, reduce pore size and minimise spot formation
- Guaiazulene from Blue Cypress Essential Oil calms redness and soothes minor irritations
The Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask is a cocktail of pineapple, passionfruit, lemon and grapes. These fruits contain Alpha Hydroxy Acids with create multiaction exfoliation that leave the skin feeling firm, radiant, smooth and brighter. The aroma is delicious as well as the smooth texture of the mask.
The actives in this product include:
- Natural fruit acids from passion fruit, lemon, grape and pineapple, along with
- Papain from papaya exfoliate the outer layer of the skin, encouraging cell turnover and smoothing fine lines
I love the Phyto Teint Eclat foundation from Sisley Paris. Formulated using plant extracts and essential oils. The formula is oil free and non comedogenic. Each ingredient is individually selected to create an effective lightweight coverage.
My experience using this product has been overall positive. I switched to Sisley from a Chanel foundation. I prefer the Phyto Tenit Eclat because I prefer the natural formulation which is light, uniform and creates a silky finish that is fairly successful at hiding imperfections.
- Mauve flowers: hydrating, emollient
- Linden tree: emollient, soothing
- Gardenia: softening, hydrating
- Coated pigements: long lasting, color integrity
- Soft-focus pigments: light reflecting, softening of imperfections
Before I left for a summer in New York, I stopped by Oh My Cream!, a concept store that sources high quality beauty gems that aren’t readily available in France. Interspersed among familiar brands easily available in the US, I discovered a few new companies I am really excited about.
One such company is Pai Skincare, an organic skincare company out of the UK crafted for highly reactive or sensitive skin. (ME!) The company states that its products are carefully formulated with ingredients with proven remedial and skins soothing properties and that they avoid harsh chemicals and alcohol.
I was looking for a product that would help with blemishes I have been battling. I focused my selection on natural skin care products that would be gentle on my skin. I also wanted a product that would easily integrate into my skincare regimen. The in-house esthetician at Oh My Cream ! suggested I try the Copaiba & Zinc Perfect Balance Blemish Serum.
Each night, I apply the concentrated serum to a freshly cleansed face. I apply a cream over the top if my skin feels tight and dry. Otherwise, it is recommended that you apply the serum alone. I have been using the product for three weeks and feel that I had notice subtle improvement in my skin tone and skin congestion.
The active ingredients:
- Copaiba: anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory with antioxidant properties all target persistent blemishes.
- Zinc: reduces skin shine, blackheads and congestions
- Hyaluronic Acid: deeply hydrating to ensure skin tone and suppleness
While searching for a hair product that is formulated with nature in mind, I discovered Christophe Robin, a line created by Christophe Robin a color artisan in Paris.
“Over the years, I have tried to develop my product range for colored hair, based on the properties of rare or ancestral natural resources (prickly pear oil, lavender, chamomile and lemon) to offer deep nourishing treatments for hair that also maintain vibrant color.”
I had a hard time finding a shampoo that was sulfate, paraben, silicone, SLS and colorant free – I literally read every bottle of shampoo. It was refreshing to find a brand that fulfills all of my criteria, is well formulated, nourishing and suitable for highlighted and color treated hair.
I love the “crème lavante au citron”. The cleaning mask smells lovely and leaves my hair soft and regenerated. It doesn’t have any sulfates, which is a plus for colored hair. I leave the product in for about 5 minutes (longer if I have time), and gradually emulsify the product my massaging the cream into my hair. I add a little water as I go to help the process. It is necessary to let the product work in the hair before rinsing otherwise your hair will feel heavy. After having used the shampoo for a couple of weeks, I notice that my color is bright and my hair has less static, soft and light.
As a blonde, my color has a tendency to turn slightly bronze or yellow. Several years ago, I used a purple shampoo once a week and recently. I was looking for something similar but again with natural qualities. I really like the “soin nuanceur de couleur”, which is a mask specifically formulated to to remove said tarnished blond hues. This is a miracle product! I was a little nervous before using it. However, the treatment worked very well. I found that yellow in my hair diminished and that my friends saves me a trip to the salon.
I am looking forward to testing out more from Christophe Robin.
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Sisley Paris made its way into my beauty cabinet a few weeks, and I love the products I have tried so far.
Ecological Compound: This lotion is marvelous! It is relatively simple as it is formulated with several plant extracts such as Ginseng, Rosemary, Hops and Horsetail. I find that it is hydrating, nourishing and has really helped to improve my skin’s elasticity and tone.
Eye and Lip Balm: This smoothing hydrating balm has drastically improved the hydration around my lips and eyes. I am notorious for forgetting to nourish these areas and this cream has really brought a freshness to my look.
Floral Toning Lotion: To be used as a makeup remover or after cleansing to wipe the skin clean. A calming and softening blend of Roses, Cornflower and Witch Hazel, this product is perfect for sensitive skin such as my own.
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Feng Shui is a Chinese philosophical system of harmonizing the individual and their environment by manipulating Qi through space and placement. It is one of the Five Arts of Chinese Metaphysics, classified as physiognomy which is the aesthetic assessment of a person’s character or personality, usually based on the face but also refers to a person, plant or terrain. QI, life force, plays an essential role in Feng Shui. It refers to the life force or élan vital that surrounds us all. It is this force that we are trying to harmonize. In yoga, we call this energy Prana, which flows in and out of the body by way of the breath.
It is also the name of a tea that I found in Nice several months ago… Rather fitting considering it was my tea of choice to infuse my facial steam this evening.
So Qi and faces in mind, I have struggled with acne since I turned 23 or so. It came upon me unsuspecting and was rather startling. In retrospect, it was a combination of stress and life circumstances. Although I have always been healthy and active, this experience was a drag. All the same, it gave me the chance to learn a great about what balance entails for myself.
I believe that when situations present themselves in our lives they come for a reason. Usually they have some lesson ingrained in the nooks and cranies that requires introspection and perhaps change on our part. Such was the fate of this experience – or just a lot of facial inspection.
On the horizon of 27 (whaa!), my skin has finally been able to regain a sense of balance. Looking back on my 23 year old self, it is striking the parallel I could make with this experience and other areas of my life at the time. Remarkable how our internal state affects our physical state. Likewise, how wonderfully powerful that our internal state can also effect our physical state.
One of the more positive aspects of this experience is that I have been able to become fairly well acclimated with skin care regimes, nutrition and the slew of products available on the market today. A field that I love and an interest that I would like to continue developing.
This is my Feng Shui Facial.
Facial steaming is a nice way to wind down a Sunday and prepare for the week ahead.
All you need:
- Steaming Hot Water (herbal tea or lemons slices)
Cover you head with the towel as you hold you head above the steaming water. This will open your pores and prepare the skin for a subsequent facial mask. Its also a nice opportunity to deeply inhale and exhale (think Prana) and let the week behind you go.