English Naturkosmetik

News and reviews from the world of organic beauty: 17

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Dear international readers of Beautyjagd,

Welcome to the next English-language edition of Beautyjagd! This is a condensed version of the most important articles that have appeared on my blog over the last two weeks. For more information about this new format, click here. And now: enjoy the best of Beautyjagd in English!

Best wishes
Julia

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Hi everyone and welcome to the next installment of Beautyjagd in English!

Fragrant Beauties 2: The Double Artichoke

Last Sunday I started my new article series Fragrant Beauties: short profiles of antique perfume bottles from the 19th century. The first flacon I wrote about was Morning Glory and today I’d like to show you the next treasure: the Double Artichoke! As you can see, the flacon is made from milky glass and has a slender green neck. It is decorated with gold paint and was made in the second half of the 19th century. Even the stopper is shaped like an artichoke blossom! The bottle is comparatively large – it is 21 cm tall – so I think it might have contained an Eau de Cologne rather than a highly concentrated perfume. I love the design; I can totally imagine this very cool flacon on my dressing table 😉 .
[Click here for more pictures and the original German article Duftende Schönheit 2: Die doppelte Artischocke.]

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Happy Birthday, Primavera!

Organic aromatherapy brand Primavera is turning 30! Congratulations to company founders Ute Leube and Kurt L. Nuebling!! I like and admire Primavera for much more than just their beauty products. From the very beginning, the company has been following the principles of fair trade and sustainability. In 1986, when Primavera was founded, there were almost no high-quality organic essential oils available in Germany. So Primavera began to work directly with growers and distillers across the world; initiating fair trade and organic agricultural projects in various countries and building partnerships with their suppliers. And they still do this today.

At Vivaness trade show this February Primavera launched a limited edition anniversary collection to say thank you to its customers and its partners. The new fragrance blend is called Alles Liebe (Lots of Love) and is an homage to the Taurus rose cultivation project in Turkey. Taurus is a mountain range in Anatolia; it is close to one of the regions where the famous Damascene roses are cultivated and harvested. The Taurus project – a 3000 sq m rose garden where around 50 small farmers grow and harvest roses – was initiated in 1990. A few years later, Primavera began to support the Taurus project and today it is a flourishing organic business. Primavera still sources its rose water, rose oil and other herbal ingredients from the Taurus project.

Anyway, Alle Liebe’s fragrance composition is built around accords of Damascene rose but interestingly enough, it is not a classic rose perfume. The limited edition collection offers an essential oil, an air spray and a massage oil which also contains jojoba oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil and almond oil blended with mandarine essential oil, rose oil and benzoe siam – an intriguing, relaxing and quite seductive fragrance! A glass bottle of the massage oil contains 50 ml and costs 12.00 Euro. I received my Alle Liebe oil at the Vivaness stand; the limited edition is also available in organic stores and of course online, for example on the Primavera website.
[Click here for the original German article Happy Birthday, Primavera!.]

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New shea butters from Vegane Pflege

In the past six months I have written several times about vegan online store Vegane Pflege – you can read the articles here and here. Today I’d like to introduce the brand’s recently-launched range of shea butters in cooperation with Vegane Pflege founder Anne Schaaf. Anne has created 15 different shea butters. Each variant is composed of organic shea butter and a specific plant-based oil: raspberry seed oil, for example, baobab oil, hemp oil, argan oil, pomegranate oil, watermelon seed oil, cherry seed oil, rosehip kernel oil or prickly pear seed oil. I tried out several of the shea butters over the past few weeks ; they are great all-purpose moisturisers: you can use shea butter for practically everything! As a body moisturiser after the shower or as an intensive treatment for face, cheeks or lips, for rough skin patches like elbows or knees…..shea butter is also very suitable for men or babies.

Anne uses unrefined, non-scented and certified organic shea butter as the base for her moisturisers. If you have ever tried out pure shea butter you’ll know that it has a rather distinctive smell. In Vegane Pflege’s shea butters the native shea smell is not particularly strong, although the different oils have their own specific scent.

Shea butter is traditionally manufactured by women and this process is crucial for the quality of the shea butter: after the shea nuts are harvested, they are hulled, roasted and then finely milled. Water is added to the mass which is then kneaded into a yellow-white dough. This dough is heated up; the shea fat settles on the surface and is then skimmed off and filtered. Shea nuts grow wild, by the way; the shea trees grow mostly in the South of the Sahel desert in Africa, from Senegal all the way to Uganda. The most important ingredients in the shea butter are oleic acid and stearic acid; depending on the nut type these acids occur in varying percentages. Shea butter also has a particularly high percentage of unsaponified ingredients – sometimes up to 11% – which are excellent for the skin. In refined shea butter these phytosterols, tocopherols (vitamin E), antioxidant catechines and gallic acid are mostly filtered out so it is important to select unrefined shea butter for your skin care. The unrefined shea butter used by Vegane Pflege has anti-inflammatory properties so it is recommended for dry and atopic skin and for skin whose barrier function has been disrupted. You only need a small amount of shea butter, by the way; it melts very quickly once it is massaged into the skin. And another tip: shea butter turns liquid at around 30 C so make sure you don’t store it next to a radiator or in direct sunlight!

I had a hard time deciding which shea butters I wanted to try out but in the end I settled for the following varieties:

♦ Shea Butter & Raspberry: I love raspberry seed oil! It contains a high percentage of alpha linoleic acid, vitamin A and vitamin E so this oil acts almost like a UV filter. It is also great for after-sun care. And although the raspberry seed oil does not smell as fruity as the actual berry, the shea butter still seems to have a very light raspberry scent.  A jar of Shea Butter & Raspberry contains 50 gr and costs 13.90 Euro.

I was also curious about Shea Butter & Elderflower: I had never heard about this oil so I immediately researched it. Elderflower oil comes from the little seeds of the elderflower berries; it has an even higher content of linoleic acid than raspberry seed oil and also contains moisturising and regenerating phytosterols. The Elderflower butter is slightly darker than the Raspberry Butter; it has a very light fruity scent but no particular elderflower fragrance. This butter is suitable for sensitive skin. A 50 gr jar of Shea Butter & Elderflower costs 13.90 Euro.

♦ Shea Butter & Prickly Pear contains the expensive and very rare oil of the prickly pear. It is particularly good for mature and dry skin since the high percentage of phytosterols helps to bind the moisture inside the skin. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. The fragrance is pure shea butter! And because the butter melts so quickly you only need a pearl-sized amount for the face. 50 gr of Shea Butter & Prickly Pear costs 15.90 Euro.

♦ Baobab is one of the current „superfoods“ over here in Germany. The oil is pressed from the seeds of the baobab tree (also called „monkey bread tree“): it has a balanced fatty acid profile and a high percentage of unsaponified ingredients so it protects and smoothes the skin – perfect if you have dry or mature skin! I read that baobab oil is also good for skin suffering from impurities (because of the anti-inflammatory properties). This butter has a slightly nutty fragrance. Anne also recommends it for skin care if you’re pregnant, especially for the skin on your belly. A jar of Shea Butter & Baobab contains 50 gr and costs 14.90 Euro.
[Click here for the original German article Osternest mit Sheabutter von Vegane Pflege.]

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Beauty Notes, 18.3.16

Remember the post about the Christmas beauty gifts from myself to me? Well, one of my presents was the Blueberry+Jasmine Facial Serum Concentrate from Canadian brand Odacité – and I am just finishing the second bottle of the serum. It is beautifully light on the skin, feels velvety soft and I love the jasmine fragrance (of course!). The Odacité oils are composed of a plant-based fatty oil and selected essential oils – my Blueberry+Jasmine Concentrate contains blueberry seed oil, essential jasmine oil, litsea cubeba, mimosa and ylang ylang. Odacité recently expanded its distribution in Germany; the Facial Concentrates are now also available in the online shop of my current cooperation partner, Spatacular. Spatacular is a Beauty Bar in Düsseldorf: they offer a range of organic face and body treatments and are also the founders of the Puritybag subscription box. I like the idea of a Green Beauty Bar; Spatacular’s founders Jennifer Douglas and Ana Gabriela Davidt were inspired by examples from the US – and although Jennifer’s professional background didn’t have anything to do with beauty retail, she was so fascinated by this kind of organic city spa/perfumery that she decided to open her own store.

On the photo next to the serum you can see the Nail Polish Starry Starry Night from US brand Essie. I had bought the polish at a Boots drugstore on my recent trip to Eastbourne: Starry Starry Night is part of the limited edition Retro Collection which presents the best-selling Essie polishes of the last years – it is actually from 1997 (almost 20 years ago!) and the dark blue lacquer with the silver and blue glitter particles really looks a little bit like the night sky. The Retro Collection will also be available in Germany soon.

From Blue to Pink! Remember my December post about the Face Balm Amaranth? This is another Sponsored Post in cooperation with Eva Silvana Kruck, founder of Myrto Naturalcosmetics. Myrto has just launched the Duo Pink Palmarosa: it’s a set of Body Wash and Body Lotion. Palmarosa is also called „Indian Geranium“, it’s a plant which belongs to the family of sweet grasses. The aromatic leaves of these sweet grasses (which can grow up to 3 meters high!) have a fragrance that is reminiscent of rose blended with grassy undertones. Palmarosa essential oil is very mild and is therefore especially suitable for sensitive skin; the scent also helps to deal with stress (and I can always use a dose of that!). The Body Lotion does not just smell of palmarosa, by the way; it has a very subtle fruity scent. It is based on water, shea butter, argan oil and almond oil; the formula also includes pectine derived from fruit fibres and oat-based beta-glucan which works as an emulsifier. Eva Silvana therefore recommends the products especially for sensitive skin. The Body Wash is also mild: it is based on two tensides (wash active amino acid and sugar tenside) and is scented with fruity notes combined with lavender. The perfect fragrance for spring! The Pink Palmarosa set costs 29.50 Euro, it is only available through the online store of Myrto Naturalcosmetics. Both products are also available separately, of course.

Also pink: my latest discovery in my local organic supermarket denn’s Biomarkt! I couldn’t resist the gorgeous rosé colour of the new Streichcreme Rote Beete Meerrettich (Sandwich Spread Beetroot-Horseradish) from denn’s‘ own label brand dennree. The vegan spread is delicious on bread, I have almost finished the jar (I do love horseradish!).

Contouring and Strobing are two major makeup trends at the moment as you probably know. I had completely forgotten that I had bought the Sculpt & Glow Contour Duo from UK brand Lily Lolo back in January (either at najoba or Ecco Verde, I can’t remember). Anyway, I saw a photo from Liz from The Green Spirit and suddenly remembered the Contour Duo. And believe me, I can use some bronzing at the moment! I’m very pale and a bit tired (it’s been a really long winter). Liz has shown swatches of both colours on Instagram; on my skin tone the champagne-coloured highlighter has a subtle shimmer without any glitter and the bronzer is a neutral and slightly warm beige brown. Compared to the Lily Lolo Contour Duo, the Bronzing Powder from Dr. Hauschka has much pinker undertones. The ingredients of the Contour Duo are based on glimmer and a processed oil, the product does not contain talcum. You can buy the Contour Duo in various online stores, for example through Biomazing; prices vary. I paid around 18 Euro for my product.

And here are some of the organic beauty news I discovered last week:

  • Ilia Beauty will launch a limited edition Spring/Summer 2016 soon, focussing on products with sun protection filters. I like the white packaging. More information is available here.
  • French organic brand Lamazuna is launching a limited edition solid shampoo which is scented with a chocolate fragrance! Click here for more info.
  • A new organic perfumery has opened in Munich: Tobs Organic Beauty carries international premium beauty brands like Amala, Absolution, Und Gretel, Kahina, The Organic Pharmacy, Twelve or Vestige Verdant.
  • Drugstore retailer Müller’s certified organic beauty brand Terra Naturi has launched a new limited ediiton: Hollywood Diva. Mexicolita has already posted some pics on Instagram.

[Click here for the original German article Beauty-Notizen 18.3.2016.]

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Fragrant Beauties 3: Anna-Green

After the Morning Glory and the Double Artichoke the next article in my new blog series is all about bright green luminousity! Seriously, the glass of the perfume bottle you can see in the picture above is a very special glass: the colour is called „Anna-Green“ (or sometimes „Anna-yellow“), a transparent greenish-yellow colour which was created in the first half of the 19th century. Anna was the name of the daughter of glassmaker Franz Anton Riedel who first made this uranium oxide coloured glass popular in Europe. And yes, you have read correctly: the perfume flacon is made from so-called uranium glass.

Remember that radioactivity was only discovered in the 1930s; in the 19th century no one suspected that uranium might be radioactive. Uranium glass was very popular in Europe throughout the 19th and early 20th century: it was made into cups and dishes, jewellery and accessories; when you expose objects made from uranium glass to black light they start to fluoresce which looks amazing! And don’t worry, the radioactivity of this perfume bottle is super low, it doesn’t pose any danger to the collector or to me as the photographer 😉 . The octagonal glass flacon was produced in Bohemia around 1840; the foot of the bottle is decorated with a star. The bottle (including stopper) is 18 cm tall.
[Click here for the original German article Duftende Schönheiten 3: Annagrün.]

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A cat in the bathroom: News from marie w.

The colour cosmetics brand with the little black cat, marie. w., has introduced a beautiful porcelain cup in cooperation with New York-based artist Nicole Pouliot. The design is called „Cat in the Bath“, check it out on the picture above – isn’t it cute?! Maria Wissler, founder of marie w., had met the artist through a friend of hers. Marie and Nicole are both cat lovers and that is how the idea of a design cooperation came about. You can keep makeup tools, eyeliners, mascaras, lipsticks in this cup; it is 7 cm high and the circumference is 6 cm. I received my cup as a Christmas present from Maria but it is now also officially on sale in Germany. The cup is available through various online stores, for example at Naturdrogerie, or directly through the online store of marie w.. The price is 19.80 Euro.
[Click here for the original German article Katz‘ im Bad.]

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Living Nature: Sensitive Cleanser and Toner

I first read about New Zealand brand Living Nature’s new Sensitive range on their company website last autumn. This January the products were finally introduced in Germany and I immediately ordered the Cleanser and Toner. However, I have only now had the time to try them out properly. As you know, I test the products I write about as thoroughly as I can and often over a longer period of time. I actually draw up sort of a test schedule, particularly for the face care products! Anyway, I had some other products to „finish“ before I could get to the Living Nature cleanser and toner – and what can I say: I am thrilled! I think this could be a fabulous product range if you have sensitive skin or if you need (or prefer) to omit certain ingredients from your skin care.

The Sensitive range comprises four products: a cleanser, a toner, a day cream and a night cream. The products are based on coconut oil and harakeke gel, a typically New Zealand ingredient (harakeke gel is made from New Zealand flax). You can see what the flax grass looks like on the packaging: harakeke is moisturising and soothing, a little like aloe vera gel.

The Sensitive Cleanser is packaged in a tube, the texture is creamy and a bit gel-like. You massage the cleanser onto the wet skin and then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Since the product doesn’t contain any essential oils it is almost without fragrance. My skin felt clean and not at all dry; I have also managed to remove my non-waterproof mascara with the cleanser (I applied the cleanser on a cotton wool pad and wiped it across the eyelid). Still, for my regular eye-makeup removal I prefer my usual micellar cleanser. The BDIH-certified Sensitive Cleanser is based on water, coconut oil, plant-based glycerin, beeswax and sugar tensides. The ingredient used as a preservative is also very mild. A tube of the Sensitive Cleanser contains 100 ml and costs 27.90 Euro.

The texture of the Sensitive Hydrating Toner really surprised me: I had expected a liquid to spray onto the face but the Toner is packaged in a tube and has a whitish gel-like texture. You apply the toner to your face, pat it in and wait for half a minute until it is absorbed. My skin felt super soft and really smooth; I think in summer this could also be a good base for makeup. If you like you can apply a cream on top of the toner but I felt it was almost moisturising enough. Like the cleanser, the toner has a barely-there herbal fragrance. The Toner is also certified by BDIH; it is based on water, coconut oil, plant-based glycerin and processed jojoba oil, plus larch extract and harakeke gel. A 100 ml tube of the Sensitive Hydrating Toner costs 34.90 Euro.

In Germany you can buy Living Nature products through the Living Nature online shop or in various online perfumeries, like Najoba or Naturdrogerie.
[Click here for the original German article Living Nature: Sensitive Cleanser und Toner.]

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Beauty Notes, 25.3.16

On the occasion of this year’s International Women’s Day (8th March, to be precise) I received a press release from chocolate brand Original Beans. The Amsterdam-based company highlighted a very special chocolate variant: Femmes de Virunga is a darker milk chocolate (55%) with cocoa beans sourced from the Eastern Congo in Africa. When you read about either of the two Congos in the media, it is almost always in the context of a violent conflict/civil war/natural disasters. So I decided to do a little more research into Femmes de Virunga and Original Beans‘ fair trade projects in Africa. And I was impressed! Original Beans sources the cocoa beans from women-owned cooperatives for fair prices; they also support the cooperatives with education programmes. For each tablet of chocolate that is produced the company plants a tree; foil and cardboard packaging are from FSC-certified wood cellulose and can be completely recycled. The chocolate is also excellent. It contains the necessary ingredients to make a good chocolate and nothing else: cocoa mass, raw cane sugar, cocoa butter and, in the case of my milk chocolate Femmes de Virunga, milk powder. That’s it, no emulsifiers or vanilla extract. Just high-quality basics. The chocolate is manufactured in Switzerland, by the way, and it tastes divine. If you have the chance, try it! By German standards it not the cheapest chocolate on the market; I paid 3.99 Euro for the 70 gr tablet in my local organic supermarket. But personally, I think it’s worth it 😉 . More information is available on the Original Beans homepage.

I recently bought the Blütenrausch Lavendel Hand & Fuß Maske (Flower Rush Lavender Hand & Foot Mask) from Leo & Lilo, an organic beauty brand from the city of Bonn in Germany’s Rhineland area. I had already tried out Leo & Lilo’s hand creams with camellia and with peony; the mask is a new product. As the name indicates, the texture is rich but surprisingly non-greasy; it leaves a protective, soft film on the skin. Leo & Lilo recommends that you apply the mask before going to bed, slip on a pair of cotton wool socks or gloves and then leave it on overnight. I prefer to use it as a regular hand and foot moisturiser before going to bed and that works fine. The mask is based on water, lavender water, olive oil and shea butter; I think it is vegan since I can only find plant-based ingredients listed on the packaging. It moisturises quite well although it is not as rich and hydrating as, for example, the Baobab Foot Cream from Martina Gebhardt. I also like the lavender scent. The product is available in organic stores or online, for example through Ecco Verde or Stararoma ; I paid 6.95 Euro for my Hand & Foot Mask.

A few weeks ago I received the body scrub L’Or Rose Gommage Silhouette from French brand Melvita. Two years ago I had first written about the L’Or Rose Body Oil and Body Serum: I really like the peppery-fruity-spicy fragrance. Yesterday I tried out the body scrub; I was surprised by how thick the texture is: upon contact with water the gel turns into a cream. It contains milled argan nuts and sugar crystals; my skin felt very soft afterwards. And I LOVE the peppery-citrus fragrance! The 150 ml tube of Body Scrub costs 18.00 Euro; in Germany you can buy it directly through the Melvita online store or through other Melvita retailers.

I also have to mention one of my all-time favourites: ever since I first tried out the Lip Balm from Martina Gebhardt in 2011 (I wrote about it here – German only, sorry!) I’ve been a fan. I always have a little jar at home and also take it with me when I am travelling. The lip balm costs 7.90 Euro.

I read a lot of international beauty blogs – for example, Into the Gloss or Caroline Hirons – and kept coming across excited reviews of a new face oil: the Active Botanical Serum from US brand Vintner’s Daughter. I’m a curious person so I decided that I simply had to try out this oil – so, during my last order at UK online store Naturisimo I spent 5.99 GBP on a 1 ml travel size of the Botanical Serum. Vintner’s Daughter founder April Gargiulo comes from a vineyard in Napa’s Valley in California and the Botanical Serum is based on grapeseed kernel oil – quite appropriate! The product also contains 21 other fatty oils and essential oils which come from organic agriculture and controlled wild harvesting. The Botanical Serum is said to have anti-inflammatory properties, strengthen the capillaries and boost cell regeneration. Well, the 1 ml was barely enough for two applications so I can’t really judge as to the results but I did like the texture – rich but not greasy – and my skin felt velvety afterwards. I also liked the fragrance which smelled like lily, hyacinth and a little jasmime. So far, so good: now we come to the price. A 30 ml flacon costs 200 Euro (!) – I guess they are looking at the Chanel/Dior/YSL demographic. Still, I like the oil and the 5.99 GBP were worth the test. In Europe you can buy the Botanical Serum at Niche Beauty or through Naturissimo.

And here are some interesting organic beauty news I found last week:

  • Drugstore retailer Rossmann’s certified organic own label brand Alterra is launching a new Sun Milk SPF 30, Sun Cream SPF 30 and an After-Sun Lotion.
  • And Alverde, the organic own label brand of drugstore chain DM, has announced a new limited edition: Frühlingspoesie (Spring-Time Poetry) which will offer pressed eye shadows, marbled blushers and a moisturising face masks.Nur mal kurz gucken and Pura Liv have both published previews of this limited edition.

[Click here for the original German article Beauty-Notizen 25.3.2016.]

Good-bye everyone and see you in two weeks!

Julia

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