December 31, 2018

Goodbeing's December Natural Subscription Box – A Hit or Miss?

UPDATE [5.29.2019] – The Goodbeing Box as a monthly subscription has been discontinued since April 2019. Although this subscription box is no longer being offered, the products from this month's box are still available in the clean beauty marketplace. I hope you enjoy these photos and reviews!

Happy New Years Friends!

I have two subscription boxes in front of me that I’m excited to reveal, to launch us properly into 2019 – Goodbeing’s December Discovery Box and the Clean Beauty Box by Art of Organics. I’ve shared the skinny on some of the upsides of subscription boxes in my previous posts – like receiving a greater total retail value of products than what you pay per box. However, what a subscription box also entails is that you might not absolutely need or love all the products that you receive that month. Was this month's Goodbeing box a hit or miss?

The five goodies in this month’s box and their retail value:  
Jivi’s Magnesium Body Butter [$18] 
MyChelle Dermaceuticals’ Wrinkle Spot Treatment [$36] 
Uniful’s Creamy Concealer [$24] 
Ursa Major’s Bright & Easy 3-Minbute Flash Mask [sample size] 
Ursa Major’s Hoppin’ Fresh Deodorant [$12.50]

Well... I have to be honest and say that this box included items that I really liked, a few that made me feel "eh" [shrugging shoulders], and a few that I found unwearable. 

Here we go! Let's take a look! 

Uniful’s Creamy Concealer

Starting off on a good note is this clean concealer by Uniful Beauty. It comes in three shades and Goodbeing sent me the lightest color ["fair"]. This shade is a tiny bit light on me and I would be curious to see if the next shade darker [in "light"] would be a better match. But for how I use it – not necessarily to cover up blemishes, but to apply around the eye area to lighten up the under-eyes just a touch, and also as an eyelid primer for eyeshadow – this concealer color works well. This extra coverage also came in handy this past month when I caught a cold while traveling [...achoo!] and needed to neutralize the redness around my nose.

Looking at the ingredients list, the majority of this concealer is formulated with certified organic and nourishing natural oils like coconut, argan, jojoba, sunflower with different iron oxides for the pigmentation. If you're sensitive to comedogenic oils, I would do a test patch before going all out with this concealer. 

It's been a while since I've posted about foundations so I think we'll be taking a closer look at this concealer and a couple others in a separate blog post soon. Check back in a little while for a more in-depth look at Uniful Beauty's Creamy Concealer, 100% Pure's Fruit Pigmented Foundation, Beautycounter's concealer and some new tricks and tips I use with my foundations these days to get the most skincare benefit and glowing application every time!

Jivi’s Magnesium Body Butter

I’m going be an Honest Abe and let you know that this body butter by Jivi was a disappointment for several major reasons. When I switched over to clean beauty, my hope was to discover products that would feel as luxurious and effective as the established skin care products/brands that you’d find at a department store. The experience of a product – the physical packaging, smell, texture of the formula, and visible results – should [in a perfect world] come together in a way that brings harmony, satisfaction and joy to the consumer. [Gaelle Organic, Bristol & Sussex, and Twelve Beauty are a few up and coming, indie companies that I think have accomplished this or come close]

Some upsides of Jivi’s Body Butter are that it is 100% natural and 93% organic. This product is so safe that Jivi says it’s edible! It’s hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic – great for those with sensitive skin – vegan, cruelty-free, and uniquely infused with magnesium to help relax muscles for a “good night’s sleep.”

My box came with the Chocolate version – scented and formulated with cocoa butter. And as I mentioned, this product was a disappointment and I have yet to get a good use out of it. The initial smell was pungently chocolate [which I didn’t mind] but after the body butter is spread on the skin it has a subtle after-smell of bitter herbs. The texture and color reminded me of thick hummus and when I went to spread it, it took a bit of elbow grease to smooth out some of the clumps that had formed.

But actually [this was the worst part], once the product dried on my skin, it started flaking off everywhere. I had to hop back into the shower to rinse this off before reapplying another body lotion/butter. This tin of body butter doesn’t expire for another 12 months so I’ll try to figure out some creative ways to put this product to work – I’ll keep you updated – but as of now, this will be stored away until further notice.

Ursa Major’s Hoppin’ Fresh Deodorant & Ursa Major’s Bright & Easy 3-Minbute Flash Mask

I'm the type of person [if these exist] that doesn't usually smell bad. As a professional dancer and living in hot and humid Florida, oh boy, do I have opportunities to sweat. But smell? You'd have to ask my dance partners or my husband for a second opinion but, really, some days I can go without deodorant without smelling different by the end of the day.  

That being said, though I can't attest to the odor masking efficacy of this deodorant, I do love the way this one from Ursa Major soothes the underarms with its formulation of Aloe Vera, absorbs the sweat naturally with Kaolin clay and how it smells of Mint and Eucalyptus. It smells like a walk in a pine forest and tingles a little on application to make your underarms feel cool and refreshed as well.

I also received Ursa Major's Bright and Easy Flash Mask in the sample size. I was only able to get one use out if it and I don't know if it made a long lasting change to my skin but, overall, I enjoyed the experience and the idea behind this mask. It only takes three minutes for the mask to be effective [unlike most other masks that take 15-30min], and because it's not clay based, it washes off easily and without leaving dirt residue around the sink. It smells softly refreshing and feels like a light, fluffier version of a silicone primer – the gel gliding smoothly and cooling to the skin. I would be interested in seeing if this product, used over a longer period of time, would have visible benefits to the skin. 

MyChelle Dermaceuticals’ Wrinkle Spot Treatment

This small but mighty tube has introduced me to MyChelle’s skin care collection, and piqued my curiosity for their entire anti-aging line. First of all, may I commend MyChelle for packaging their serum in a roller-ball format? This makes for a very convenient application, perfect to pack for trips, evenly distributes the product, and makes my skin feel cool and refreshed on contact.

“Tri-Peptide blend of anti-aging Pentapeptide-18, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, and Acetyl Hexapeptide-30, and soothing fruit extracts to help smooth and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Cooling rollerball applicator helps deliver instant hydration to target fine lines and wrinkles around the eye contour and lip area.” – MaChelle

For those of you with sensitive or dry skin – as a friendly warning – this product contains Alcohol pretty high up on the ingredient list. The Wrinkle Spot treatment burns my eyes and irritate the sensitive skin around my eyes but feels okay when applied on my smile lines. Since I've been slowly transiting out skincare products with alcohol, I'm not sure if I would have picked this product up myself, but now that I have it, I am curious to see if this serum will make a difference in slowing the down the signs of aging around my mouth area.


Are you the type of person that’s excited by a blind date, takes spontaneous trips, or feels the thrill from detective novels and mysteries unknown in suspenseful movies? I usually would answer “no” to most of these questions [haha] but I AM willing to take a small leap of faith and risk $25 for clean beauty’s sake. I enjoyed 4 out of 5 products from this month's Goodbeing's clean beauty subscription box and look forward to what January's box will bring. 

Wishing you a BEAUTY-full Day!

*The December Beauty Box was gifted by Goodbeing for an honest review.

All images © 2018 Grace Song Photography

December 26, 2018

What Not To Do – PART II – Facial Oils

Hi Friends!

Welcome back to PART II of this season's "What Not To Do" series where we'll be covering some basic information on how to correctly and safely get the most out of your skin care products.

Today, we'll be focusing our attention on one of my favorite type of skin care products – FACIAL OILS.

100% natural face oils are wonderful substances and I use them day and night in my skincare regimen. They are excellent at injecting antioxidants from the carrier oils and botanical extracts directly into your skin, and keeping your face supple, bouncy, and glowing all day long by sealing in the moisture on your skin. They work to nourish AND protect your skin's epidermis.

But did you know that your facial oils and oil based serums could be suffocating your skin?

Facial oils are usually suggested to be applied at the very end of your skin care routine. Why? Let's think simple chemistry – because water and oil repel each other. The differing densities [water being more dense than oils] and differing polarities [water being a polar molecule while oils are non–polar] are several reasons why oil and water just don't mix.

Can you observe that the [yellow] oils have floated to the top while the [blue] water settles to the bottom?

What this means for us in skincare is, because many creams and lightweight liquid serums are formulated with water as the foundational ingredient, most of the time it makes sense to apply them first before applying the facial oil. The oil will seal in the H2O from the toner, serum, and moisturizer and keep your skin moisturized for a longer period of time.

But, if you were to apply a layer of facial oil on clean, dry skin without taking the appropriate steps to hydrate [infuse H2O] into your skin first, you may end up with dry, suffocated skin!

Here are just some quick tips I keep in mind when applying facial oils:

PAIR OILS WITH H2O – Pair the oil with H20 for optimal absorption - whether you're coming out of the shower and slightly damp or you spritz on a toner, serum, or a lotion based moisturizer, apply the oil along with some water-based product to help with absorption.

LESS IS MORE – Only use a couple drops per application [2 – 3 drops max].

PRESSING TECHNIQUE – Gently massage and firmly press the oil into your skin to help push it into your pores instead of just sitting or sliding on top of the dermis.

AVOID CERTAIN OILS IN THE MORNING – as I mentioned in PART I of "What Not To Do," avoid applying oils with certain ingredients that may trigger a photosensitive reaction when it interacts with sunlight.

I absolutely recommend facial oils for all skin types [dry, combo, & oily] and would love to know which facial oil you think I should try next. Please let me know your favorite facial oil in the comments below!

And I wish you all a BEAUTY-Full Day!


Today's post highlights OSHAN Essentials' luxurious oil collection for the body, face, and hair.

All images © 2018 Grace Song Photography

December 5, 2018

December's Clean Beauty Box by Art of Organics – Twelve Beauty Review

Hi Friends!

It's still 70–80 degrees in Florida, hot and muggy, but something about the quality of the sun, even here, has shifted to winter. The low, long dramatic shadows caused by sunrise and sunset anticipate the darker and cooler months ahead, the reflective season of Advent, and the celebration of all things Christmas.

As I write this post sipping on a cup of hot cocoa while wearing flip flops and summer shorts with the fan on full blast, I can't help but think that CHRISTMAS CAME EARLY THIS YEAR. Opening this month's Clean Beauty Box by Art of Organics rushed me back to my childhood Christmases – the innocent thrill and excitement of stuffed stockings, half eaten cookies, and gifts under the Christmas tree.

The Clean Beauty Box is a wonderful way to discover and experience high-quality, ethically sourced, and [most importantly] consumer-safe self-care products. Each month, they collaborate with skin care and beauty brands to provide a themed [this month was winter skin care] and curated collection of 2 to 4, full sized products, right to your front door. No chimney required for this gift's delivery!

Their beauty discovery service not only helps us in navigating the ever-growing skin care market by researching for us in advance products that are "clean" – non-toxic and cruelty-free – but it also offers them to us at a fraction of the actual cost. For example, this month's box has a retail value of a whoppin' $168 but the monthly subscription starts at only $39-$41 per month.

NOW, THE UNBOXING    [Drumroll please...]

The Clean Beauty Box collaborates with a visual artist each month to design the pamphlet and box's slip cover. December's adorable floral print illustration is brought to us by Ms. Vashchuk design studio, The Tiny Garden.


Art Of Organics might have saved their best collaboration for last because this month's partnership is a full brand feature of a rising star in the beauty community, known for their luxurious, plant based skin care line, TWELVE Beauty.

The December box includes their Rapid Eye Treatment, and the Rewarding Body Balm!

TWELVE Beauty's nine–piece skincare collection uses only the most essential and purest active ingredients drawn from nature to formulate products that effectively protect and restore the skin as it ages. Dr. Pedro Catalá, the founder of TWELVE Beauty is a cosmetologist and pharmacist with an extensive research background in botany and plant extracts.

"The entire TWELVE collection... is completely free from parabens, sulphates, silicones, petrochemicals and glycols. All formulas are plant based and meet stringent requirements on green chemistry. They are also naturally scented with floral extracts and traces of essentials oils and use only natural emulsifiers." –


You can read all about the unique botanical peptides in this eye cream's formula that "firm, lift, and drain the skin below the eye" in the helpful pamphlet [pictured above] provided in the Clean Beauty Box. But here was my experience and 2¢ on the Rapid Eye Treatment by Twelve Beauty:

EXPERIENCE – It has a silky, smoothing, easily spreadable texture, and is very lightweight, yet not watery. It feels similar to a silicone based face primer, but without any silicone in it. The creamy serum absorbs into the skin quickly but instead of drying out completely, I can still feel a moisturizing layer protecting and nourishing the skin. A lentil sized amount of this eye cream/serum is more than enough to spread across my entire eye area.

BENEFITS – I don't have dark under-eyes or bags [yet!] but I'm definitely starting to notice fine wrinkles around the eye area, especially on the bottom inner corner of my eyes. I have always, and very conveniently, blamed my most current concealer for the crepiness and the accentuation of these fine lines, as I've attempted to cover them up with makeup. But instead of putting a bandaid on the problem, this eye serum treats it.

This eye cream has become a regular player in my evening and morning routine. When worn in the morning, I can really tell the difference in the quality of my under-eyes. That usually "crepey" area looks more plumped, and the fine lines are hardly noticeable.

Also, I've been using the Rapid Eye Treatment as a lip treatment as well. I apply it on my lips as a moisturizing layer before applying a heavier beeswax based lip balm to seal the moisture in. I'm breaking all the rules here! Haha!


EXPERIENCE – The texture of the Rewarding Body Balm is almost like a... cold cream. It's not dense [like straight-up beeswax] but it's not very lightweight either, like a regular body lotion. It's a rich and thick emulsion, yet still whipped and mousse-like in texture, and spreads easily on the skin without leaving a greasy residue. It has a very subtle, refreshing and cool fragrance, like pine and peppermint – with the scent intensity reduced to low.

BENEFITS – As I mentioned earlier, it's still somewhat warm and muggy in Florida but, I, being blessed with naturally dry skin [do you notice a hint of sarcasm?], my body needs all the help it can get, all-year-round. If neglected, my skin starts to look and feel like an elephant's – dry, cracked, itchy and irritated. This body balm has an immediate softening and soothing effect on my skin and maintains its moisturized state throughout the day.


There are several clean & green, thoughtfully curated, subscription boxes available – the most reputable ones being the Clean Beauty Box by Art of Organics, Beauty Heroes' and Boxwalla's Beauty Boxes – that allow us to discover quality beauty products for a fraction of the retail price. So whether as a treat for yourself or as a gift from someone special, I hope you'll have an opportunity to experience the December Clean Beauty Box by Art of Organics!

Wishing you all a BEAUTY-Full Day!


*The Clean Beauty Box was kindly gifted by Art of Organics 

All images © 2018 Grace Song Photography
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