Beauty: BioActive Externals

Youthful and Ageless

Two key words that jump out to grab our attention in the packaging of many skincare lines.  After all, we all strive to be youthful and ageless for as long as we can.

If we’re being true to ourselves we should know that we cannot rely on one miracle topical product to turn back the clock.  But we keep hoping.  I think even with *good genes the key ingredients to staying youthful is remaining curious, being active, refrain from stress (as much as humanly possible), eating and sleeping well, hydration and the bioactive externals like good clean skincare.  Basically looking after yourself as well as you can because you’re all you’ve got! Keeping this in mind, and aside from my own products, I’m always open to checking out new and improved skincare regimes.  I also love the ritual of applying them morning and night.

After having met and listened to Suzanne Somers promote her Suzanne Organics skincare line which is exclusively at Clark’s Nutrition in Rancho Mirage, Ca., I felt obliged to try a few products.  If only because Suzanne is her own best testament to the products and philosophy behind them.

Makeup + Skincare by Suzanne Organics

I’ve been using her ageless serum which is loaded with sea algae followed by her Bioactive Moisturizer which among other active natural ingredients is loaded with CoQ10, Argan (last year my sis brought Argan oil back from the Atlas mountains of Morocco for me) oil and sea buckthorn berry which acts as a superfood for your skin.  Of course you have to eat whole food for your skin to look its very best but let’s just agree that the ingredient listing is excellent.  It feels great on my face too. The whole collection is Toxic Free.  The coco-mango body butter is my absolute favourite. Find out more at: link below

*Having good genes doesn’t mean you’ll live longer, it just means you’ll look better doing it.


  Formula uses only pure, organic ingredients

  No animal testing

  No synthetic fragrances

  Beech Tree Bud Extract supports the skin cells. This organic extract moisturizes the skin and assists in the look of wrinkle reduction by supporting the skin

  Argan Oil is one of the rarest oils in the world, this desert plant restores moisture so skin can survive dry climates, such as air-conditioning or heating

  Just as this plant protects itself from the desert heat, the oil from the tree’s fruit helps our skin to be protected from the elements.

  Sea Buckthorn Berry is a rare plant that contains essential fatty acids, Omega 3,6,7 and 9! Our skin loves these essential fatty acids and to find all of these essential fatty acids in one plant is remarkable


If you’ve been fortunate enough to try her line I’d like your comments.

Polished Beauty

Beauty with a Purpose – from Cult Favorite Skincare Label Tatcha

It’s something that was sent to me in the new Box of Style – second go around for Spring. I don’t have to go out looking for new product, it now comes to me and keeps on getting better. I’m happy that it’s an exfoliant with a history and a mission to empower women, as well as make them look well, more polished shall we say?

What it is: a non-abrasive, water-activated enzyme exfoliant with rice bran and licorice, so even those with dry skin can use it. Which helps to encourage cell turnover, lighten the appearance of dark spots, prevent breakouts or clogged pores, and prepare the skin for any treatments to follow.

Founder Victoria Tsai’s Mission Statement

“When I thought of geisha, I had always pictured them with their iconic white makeup. When I met them in person, I realized that underneath that makeup is baby-soft, smooth, luminous skin. Caring for their skin is part of their artistry, passed down and honed through generations. Their rituals and ingredients are timeless and beautiful—they view skin as a brilliant organ, able to care for itself with a little bit of gentle cleansing and nourishment. I fell in love with this approach and wanted to pay homage in creating Tatcha.”

Western Vs. Eastern

“Western skincare is a lot like Western medicine, using drugs to treat an issue after the fact. Eastern skincare is like Eastern medicine, focused on prevention and keeping the body in balance to avoid disease before it starts. Classical Japanese beauty rituals were born from the geisha’s rituals, which are natural, elegant and spare. Even with elaborate performance makeup, her ritual is no more than four steps: melt away her makeup, polish, plump and nourish skin. The ingredients follow the same philosophy, with streamlined formulas of active ingredients, minimally manipulated to their most efficacious form. Whether it’s oil from a camellia flower, steamed wild rose or brewed green tea, each ingredient serves a purpose.”

Why Choose Tatcha

“We develop every formula and our key active ingredients from scratch in-house with some of the most famous skincare scientists in the world, like a couture dress. The ingredients are pure and clean because of our classical Japanese heritage and because I was pregnant when we were beginning our R&D and needed a collection that is body-, animal- and earth-friendly. Finally, we believe that beauty begins in the heart and the mind. We have a 1:1 partnership with Room to Read: Every full-size skincare purchase funds a day of school for a girl in a developing country. Thanks to amazing clients and friends like Rachel Zoe, we have funded over 1 million days of school and counting.”

Have you tried it?  What exfoliant are you using and/or recommend?

photos/story: Zoe Report


Beauty: the instanatural

Message to those of you who PAY ATTENTION to my beauty posts:serum1

don’t think I’m repeating myself because my last post was about skin serums.  I promise it won’t be a weekly event.  Well it might; just not on serums every time.  But I was excited to share this one with you too because you knowI’m an authority on the subject this is one of my specialties

Last week I mentioned some ridiculously affordable serums from Canadian beauty start-up company Deciem which offered one active ingredient in each bottle.  Great if you want let’s say…Vitamin “C”, or Hyaluronic Acid, etc..

But let’s say you just want MORE

You might want to consider the Age-Defying & Skin Clearing Serum from Instanatural for just under $25.

As skincare products go this is a pretty appealing price and name.  I mean anything with “age-defying AND “skin clearing” claims must be at least looked upon.  This is the holy grail of skin ingredient listings:

Retinol? Salicylic acid? Niacinamide? Vitamin C? Hyaluronic acid? Tea tree oil? Lavender? In one little bottle?

One beauty editor experienced what she referred to as a skincare-induced bout of hyperventilation. These were all the ingredients one could wish for in one product to plump skin, make it brighter, clear blemishes and blackheads, and hide fine lines.

The serum has a milky consistency to it and a lovely citrusy scent.

Granted, I have yet to try it (still trying to get through all the rest of the products that I’ve either purchased or were sent to me for review).  But I can tell you that it’s high up on my list.

What are your all-time favorite skincare products?

beauty:  these are no Ordinary serums

You know what they say; if something seems too good to be true, it probably is…except maybe in this case!ordinary1

We woman already pay a lot for upkeep and that includes our skincare regime.  And our skincare regime usually includes an expensive serum.  So if you found out you could buy a serum with a really good active ingredient for only $6 you wouldn’t believe me right?

On average a regular glycolic acid-based serum costs around $42. An antioxidant serum of choice costs about $163. These are hefty prices, sure. But they’re serums. Paying top dollar for high concentrations of anti-aging ingredients is just the way it goes, isn’t it?

If you ask Toronto-based beauty brand Deciem, the answer will be a resounding No.  The brand has released a new collection of serums that promises the same ingredients as luxury products, except these SKUs boast prices as low as $6.

The new line is called The Ordinary and offers a total of 10 serums, the most expensive of which is $15. Since launching earlier this month, the brand has sold over 43,000 units.  I wonder why?

Self-termed “the abnormal beauty company,” Deciem positions its image on the fringe of the beauty market. What makes The Ordinary’s serums unique is their simplicity—each bottle contains only one or two active ingredients, like vitamin C, hylauronic acid, and retinoid (all of which we’re used to seeing in our pricier serums). Deciem’s founder Brandon Truaxe says that because of the low ingredient count, the products can be manufactured and packaged more affordably.ordinary3

So where can you buy them? Deciem sells all of its ranges on the company website, as well as choice retailers around the globe (U.S. brick-and-mortar locations are in the works). Though the company is fairly under-the-radar stateside, it has become wildly popular in the UK, mostly due to the success of their hand and body care brand Hand Chemistry.

Want to experience the budget-friendly wonders of The Ordinary? Shop some of their serums below!

 The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 ($7)

If you’re aiming to give your skin an intense dose of moisture, cart this $7 hyaluronic acid serum.

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% ($6)

This skin-protecting vitamin C serum miraculously comes in at less than $6 per bottle.

The Ordinary “Buffet” ($15)

At less than $15, this peptide-packed serum is the brand’s most expensive SKU.

What’s to lose?  The only bad thing is if you don’t like it you haven’t lost much money trying something new.  If you do like it………. GREAT!


beauty: TIDAL



Among my Winter Box of Style findings was a full size Sunday Riley Brightening Enzyme Water Cream.  I’ve been curious about trying this product but thought I don’t really need it,  I already have my skincare routine.  But after having been complexionally (yes, it’s a word I created) & seasonally skin stressed with having to take antibiotics and now being in dry desert air, it has become my morning skin savior to pack major moisture before adding sunscreen.

That’s why I’m putting it in my beauty post.

Apparently it’s also a solution for dark spots, dryness, fine lines and wrinkes. But personally it’s for sucking in more moisture.

If you want to know more…
Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream delivers an intense water drench with two forms of hyaluronic acid and tamarind extract, creating visibly hydrated and plumped skin. Papaya enzymes smooth and exfoliate while alpha-arbutin and giant white bird of paradise extracts work to diminish the appearance of hyperpigmentation and illuminate the complexion.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Phthalates

“I was inspired by the skin-plumping power of water creams, but I wanted to make something special. I formulated Tidal to be a brightening treatment, infused into a water cream for a cutting-edge answer to both alternative signs of aging, including hyperpigmentation. The quest for the ultimate, all-skin-types moisturizer was born. Papaya enzymes smooth the skin and gently exfoliate for immediate improvement in texture.”—Sunday Rileytidal3

Other than the price of $65, this product is cruelty-free

I guess that’s all you really need to know.   You can buy it at Sephora.

Style & Beauty in a Box

Just received my Winter Box of Style.  Just in time because this curated product assortment will take me (and others who purchased it) from day to night this holiday season and well into the new year.

The full winter Box of Style on display, featuring a Soia & Kyo cable-knit hat, exclusive Dylanlex Zoey necklace, Clinique Lip Color and Primer in Berry Pop, D.L. & Co. custom The Zoe Report Birch candle, Dagne Dover exclusive leather card case and Sunday Riley Tidal Enzyme Brightening Water Cream. 

The full winter Box of Style on display, featuring a Soia & Kyo cable-knit hat (I chose mine in winter white out of 3 selections), exclusive Dylanlex Zoey necklace, Clinique Lip Color and Primer in Berry Pop, D.L. & Co. custom The Zoe Report Birch candle, Dagne Dover exclusive leather card case and Sunday Riley Tidal Enzyme Brightening Water Cream.

I started sharing contents/info about the Spring box set and so this season completes my final round of box sets for the whole year.  Every 3 months I could not believe what was inside each of the boxes. The variety was always useful, stylish, current and thought given to the season. After all it is curated by stylist & editor-in-chief Rachel Zoe and her team.

This year, In a private bungalow at the storied Chateau Marmont, Rachel decided to host a glamorous dinner party specifically to celebrate her pride and joy of the season – the winter Box of Style.

Here are some of the highlights:

The tablescape at dinner.

The tablescape at dinner.

Flanked by ever-fashionable friends like Jessica Alba and Nicole Richie, Rachel toasted to her latest launch—which features the exclusive, Swarovski-crystal-studded Dylanlex “Zoey” necklace that several attendees donned throughout the night—and enjoyed an evening among great company.

Jessica Alba, Nicole Richie and Rachel Zoe (in jumpsuit).

Jessica Alba, Nicole Richie (in middle) and Rachel Zoe (in gorgeous jumpsuit).

Because it's not a party without bubbly.

Because it’s not a party without bubbly.

Jessica Alba showing off her exclusive silver-plated Dylanlex Zoey necklace, which features gorgeous Swarovski crystals and has a retail value of $200.

Jessica Alba showing off her exclusive silver-plated Dylanlex Zoey necklace, which features gorgeous Swarovski crystals.

My personal favourites are:

The knit factor - Soia & Kyo Olivia Cable-Knit Beanie, Retail Value: $50

The knit factor – Soia & Kyo Olivia Cable-Knit Beanie, Retail Value: $50

the first winter layer - Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream, Retail Value: $65

the first winter layer – Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream, Retail Value $65

 Clinique Berry Pop Lip Color + Primer, Retail Value: $24

Clinique Berry Pop Lip Color + Primer, Retail Value: $24

Added Bonus: purse-size Viva La Juicy fragrance in this season’s assortment.

Thank you team Zoe

Photos: Zoe Report

Beauty: Narcissiststick

Essentially speaking….

sometimes we need a little help attaining a perfect complexion. Sometimes even a lot of work. We can take a few shortcuts to looking flawless by using mineral powder or liquid foundation (both good) to even out our skintone but for simplicity sake I say….STICK IT!foundation1

What’s New? Well….


If you’re like me you want minimalist makeup with instant gratification.

W3LL PEOPLE is an uncommon beauty dream team founded by an elite makeup artist, cosmetic dermatologist and tree hugging entrepreneur, passionate about making positive choices in life, particularly when it comes to self care.

Skin, our largest organ, absorbs about 80% of what we put on it. This crucial fact drives their mission to create super premium quality cosmetics without the use of potentially harmful artificial chemicals found in most conventional makeup. A modern approach built on simplicity, authenticity and performance.

State-of-the-art, all-natural formulas effortlessly deliver flawless coverage and soothing protection that’s unbelievably light. foundation2

 This feel good, creamy foundation instantly melts into skin giving it a fresh, healthy glow. The modern stick design is ideal for portability and mess-proof application on the go. The New breakthrough formula delivers a weightless, satin, soft-focus finish while balancing skin tone and diminishing imperfections. Made with pure, natural and organic ingredients, so there’s no film, no grease, no crease just diva-friendly perfection.


  • Key ingredients: organic sunflower oil, castor seed oil, organic beeswax, silica, mica, safflower seed oil, aloe extract, vitamin E, organic green tea essential oil, organic chamomile essential oil

Price: $28.99 USD

Beauty: for the pumpkin obsessed

American Thanksgiving is exactly one week away. So if you cannot wait for that slice of pumpkin pie until then, the beauty obsessed can check out this fun and flavorful assortment of pumpkin bath and beauty products. pie1Give thanks for a delicious assortment of fall-inspired scentual lip balm, bath soap, cuticle oil, you name it, it probably exists.  Something to consider while sipping your Starbucks pumpkin-spice latte.

This multitasking product can be used as a body wash or bubbles for your bathtub. Both ensure you’ll be left with a sweet fall scent once you’re done pampering yourself.pie2

This blend of pumpkin puree and extracts exfoliates dead skin, while fruit extracts leave you with a natural-looking glow.pie3

Natural pumpkin extract is a great anti-aging agent that also helps skin feel smoother. As a sheet mask, the nutrients will really absorb into your skin and guarantee a youthful finish.pie4

This cuticle oil works as a vitamin E treatment that promotes strong and healthy nails. The dropper guarantees no messes, and it literally smells just like a pumpkin-spice latte.pie5

Indulge your pumpkin-spice cravings by getting a taste of it with this lip balm. Its hydrating beeswax and nutrients will leave your lips smoother than ever.pie6

Nourish your palms with this silky hand cream. It’ll leave them smooth and lightly scented with a hint of autumn.pie8

Pumpkin enzyme works powerfully to exfoliate skin and helps combat dullness, aging and congestion.pie9

If you’ve ever wanted to smell like an actual pumpkin pie, this is your chance.pie10

Bath bombs are everywhere and the trend isn’t stopping anytime soon. Turn your bathtub into a fizzy, pumpkin-scented pampering session with this bath-o’-lantern.pie11

You’re Welcome!

Beauty: my sister went to Morocco and brought me back liquid gold…

Recently and straight from the source – oil that is! Moroccan Argan Oil from the Atlas Mountains. On a camel no less…

and took a Selfie

and took a Selfie to prove it

In recent years, an incredible oil from Morocco called Argan oil (Argania spinosa) has become such a hot commodity that a New York Times editorial termed it “liquid gold.”

“I love gold and I definitely love a beauty product with multiple purposes.”

Most women are familiar with the hot selling Moroccanoil haircare products that pioneered a new category in the beauty industry. You can hardly walk by a hair salon that doesn’t sell it. The products are infused with nourishing antioxidant-rich argan oil.  Moroccanoil has grown into an iconic beauty brand in less than a decade.

I do not know what amount of argan oil is inside each of their products, but Argan Oil (extracted from the nuts of the fruits of the Argan tree) in general is an all around multi-use product with curative properties revered for centuries in Morocco, the only place where the Argan tree is naturally found . In the southern regions of the country, pure Argan oil is celebrated for everything from soothing skin redness to curing rheumatism and more.

Women preparing the Oil

Women preparing the Oil

You can use it on your skin, you hair, your nails and even cook with it (using a different variant of the oil my sister has informed me). See below.

I’ve been sourcing out healing oils from all over the world for the face oil used in my own skincare line.  Many of which I’ve researched and found from my very own travels – for “Skin so Divine” and Argan was included in the mix.  Before this  I bought the Josie Maran Argan Oil at Sephora because it was the only one I could readily find that admits to being 100% pure.  But at $60 for 1.7 oz/50 mL it can get quite costly.  And that’s only for one oil. It’s the rarity of this Moroccan oil that makes it more expensive than most others.

Nuts from the Argan Tree

Nuts from the fruit of the Argan Tree

For face it’s rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids to deeply hydrate and nourish skin.

Traditional Uses of Morocco’s Golden Oil

Traditionally, Argan oil has been used topically to:

Protect against and heal skin infections
• Clear up acne
• Ease eczema
• Hasten recovery from chicken pox
• Heal cracks and burns

One of the Rarest and Most Unique Oils in the World

The Argan tree is known throughout the Berber state in Morocco as the “Tree of Life.” Pure Argan oil is made from the kernels of the nuts from argan trees.

Atlas Mountains

Atlas Mountains

The Tree

The Tree

Today, Argan trees grow exclusively in the semi-desert soil of the Arganeraie Biosphere Reserve. Due to this small and specific growing area, the trees are protected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)—and pure Argan oil is one of the rarest in the world.

The pure Argan oil industry is almost as unique as the oil itself. All Argan sold today comes from cooperatives operated by Moroccan women (see bottom for more info.), and the cooperatives share profits among the local women of the Berber tribe. The money goes toward health care and education, as well as other good works. For example, Argan oil profits established an ecosystem reforestation project so that Argan can be sourced conscientiously and the supply will not run out.

Even more incredible is that revenues from pure Argan oil sales are reported to feed 10% of the Moroccan population.

Wonderful for Skin, Hair, and Nails…and the World

“Recent scientific studies have shown that the benefits of Argan oil has antimicrobial properties, and can be used in treating damaged skin and inflammation,” said Majda Alaoui Sosso, director of one of Morocco’s oil cooperatives.

This is in part due to Argan oil’s rich stores of essential fatty acids, or EFAs, which support the health and beauty of skin and hair (while also, when taken internally, boosting heart and brain health and regulating hormone levels and other critical functions).

Pure Argan oil is easily absorbed, and it regulates the pH balance of the skin, which in turn protects against sun exposure and other damage. It also reduces skin inflammation and thus helps control and reverse skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis while also diminishing scars.

Pure Argan oil’s proven and observed benefits for hair, skin, and nails are extensive, and include, to name a few…

  • Dry Skin: Nourishes and moisturizes dry, scaly, flaky skin and protects against infection.
  • Oily Skin: Regulates sebum production to keep the skin’s natural oils at a healthy level. With regular use, the skin will no longer look or feel oily.
  • Irritated/Itchy Skin: Protects skin from allergens that may cause itchiness.
  • Acne: Controls overproduction of acne-causing sebum and soothes the inflammation brought about by acne; also prevents the ugly scars acne can leave behind.
  • Aging: Stimulates renewal of skin cells and boosts elasticity while smoothing wrinkles and lines.
  • Sun Damage Rich in antioxidants that protect cells from UV light.
  • Eczema and Psoriasis: Helps alleviate inflammatory symptoms associated with psoriasis. Also addresses immunity problems and allergies that trigger eczema symptoms.
  • Hair: Repairs damaged hair. Moisturizes instantly, and prevents split ends while restoring shine. Increases hair growth and helps control, cure, and prevent dry and itchy scalp.
  • Scalp: Keeps scalp healthy and well nourished. A few drops will protect against dandruff. Keeps the roots of the hair hydrated, protected, and well nourished.
  • Nails: Keeps nails strong and healthy and restores natural shine while easily resolving brittle nail problems.

I made up some little bottles of the pure oil to use on its own as well as combined it with the other essential oils which make up the Divine Facial Oil…which by the way, is simply divine.

Thank you Lisa  XOXO x 10  (also for the authentic Moroccan Tagine which I love).

Photos: Lisa King

Another Selfie with a close friend. Step aside Kim!

Another Selfie with a close friend. Step aside Kim!

IN THE KNOW: the tree + production for Argan Oil:

Argan trees live for about 15-200 years and grow up to be nearly 30 meters in height. Around the 30 or 50 year mark, the trees start producing fruit. The trees yield fruit once a year and one tree will usually yield 1 liter of Argan Oil. One liter of oil takes 10 to 12 hours of manual work to make!

The production of 100% organic Argan Oil is a complex, labor intensive process. The Argan fruit is harvested and the peel and the pulp are discarded. What is left is a hard-shelled, oval nut which is cracked by hand. The emerging kernels are ground into a paste from which oil is cold pressed. The freshly extracted oil may be left to sit for 2 to 3 weeks after which clear oil is poured into dark bottles and exported around the world.

This harvesting and cold pressing is done by local women from the Berber tribe of Morocco who are organized into co-operatives. Fair-trade Argan Oil provides Berber women with a stable source of income, financial independence and better opportunities for education, health and personal development.

More than two million people rely on Argan trees for economic sustenance and the Argan Oil trade has reformed the entire region by providing access to a stable income.

Culinary Argan Oil

The culinary variant of the oil is produced by roasting the nuts first and then grinding them to a sticky paste where the oil comes out of. By roasting the oil gently, it will get a deep nutty aroma and flavor. The oil is very good for the heart and brains as it boasts a healthy rich array of omega-3 fatty acids and 3 times more vitamin E than olive oil. It is also amazing for digestion and can be sprinkled on salads, grilled fish & meat stews to get a delicious nutty flavor. I have some of this too. UPS: cooking oil varieties.

Source (in part): underground health reporter, Lisa King & myself

beauty: an apple a day

Going Green

juicebeauty4I’m striving to get my Vitamin C any way possible especially during the colder months. Luckily I love apples. Green Apples have multiple beauty benefits aside from being good for one’s overall health as they also help keep your teeth and gums healthy.  It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to call it a natural beauty remedy.

  • If you’re a person focused on your beauty and skin health, then you’ll certainly reap the benefits of green apples. They contain vitamins A, B, C, as well as E. They also help keep your skin fresh and glowing.

juicebeauty1And even though we’re lucky to see a ray of sunshine now, we should still be applying a moisturizer with SPF daily.  At this time of the year I lower the amount to at least SPF 15.  This is the lowest SPF you should consider. In my opinion anything less is a waste of time and anything higher than 30 (unless you ski) may not be necessary either.

So I was really pleased to receive a full size Green Apple Brightening moisturizer with SPF from natural beauty company, Juice Beauty.  It was in my Spring Box of Style but I just only started using it.

I just received my Fall Box of Style which I’ll share with you next week….it’s amazing!juicebeauty3As it so happens the brand’s new creative director of makeup is Gwyneth Paltrow.  She should know a thing or two.  Apparently she benchmarked every item against conventional versions (mostly prestige), pushing the company’s chemist, Mimi, to match their efficacies. “It can’t be that the makeup is organic and that’s why you should use it,” she says.  “It has to be as good or better than anything else.  That’s how you’re going to move the needle in a real way.”

 So guess I’ll be trying some of the makeup next….

Have you tried any of their products?  If so, which ones and how do you like them?