Green Beauty Regime, Take One – Pai & Stark Skincare

So it’s been almost a month since I started using nearly all green / organic beauty products and guys – it’s been sort of KICKASS.

This could get really rambly, really quick – so I’m gonna jump right in because otherwise we’ll both be here all night.  First, let’s start with the cleansers that have been keeping my skin fresh and clear over the past little while.

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Stark Skincare’s Grapefruit Cleanse + Hydrate Balm ($40CAD) was the first full-on green purchase I made back in September.  I ordered directly from the brand’s site, as they were having a promo I think, and also picked up my konjac sponge at the same time (though, I don’t use the sponge with the balm because I worry that the thickness of the balm will gunk it up <– obviously not a scientific determination).  I was nervous at first because it smells REALLY GOOD, kinda citrusy (but not in a fake way, in a MMMMMMMmmmm way), and you know how scared I am of fragrance – but, awesomely, I’ve had ZERO problems with this product.  I even took it on a trip to Newfoundland a few weeks ago as both my cleanser and moisturizer (as it is designed to handle both tasks) and was pleasantly surprized at how great my skin was the entire time, which is a feat in itself (travel can be rough on my touchy skin).

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The balm itself is quite lovely – it has a smooth, buttery texture, with little bits of raw cocoa butter that sort of get massaged in with everything else.  Truth be told, I don’t love these little bits, only because they don’t dissolve as fast as I’d like, and sometimes fall in and around my sink – but that’s just me being nitpicky.  In fact, they’re the ONLY thing I don’t love about the balm – everything else is fan-freakin’-tastic 🙂  You just massage a small amount into the skin, wash it away with a soft cloth, and voila!  Clean skin (that truly does feel clean) which also feels hydrated and cared for.  I use it mainly for this purpose – as a cleanser – and I am exceptionally impressed that this creamy balm removes all traces of makeup, dirt and oil AND hasn’t caused one breakout or reaction.  SOLD.

Ingredients of Stark Cleanse + Hydrate Balm: Shea fruit butter, virgin coconut oil, cocoa seed butter, soybean butter, candelilla wax, camellia seed oil, sweet almond oil, arrowroot powder, orange peel wax, vitamin E, pure essential oils.

Pai’s Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser ($50CAD) was a freebie I received when I put in my Fresh Faced order for a few other Pai goodies late last month.  I wasn’t interested in it as my skin isn’t really dry (as this seemed best suited for), but figured I’d try it out nonetheless.  Winter is coming, after all.  Surprizingly, I quite enjoy it, and similarly to the Stark balm, it’s thick, creamy texture – that feels a bit heavy, like it might not cleanse and then wash away properly – is actually quite effective.  I have been using this as my second cleanse after the Stark balm (also wiping it away with a washcloth), and again, I’ve had no breakouts whatsoever – and in fact my pores are more cleaned out than ever!  Interestingly, it contains castor oil, which in my research I’ve discovered is anti-bacterial and a great humectant (binding water to the skin), and despite being a thicker oil is almost entirely non-comedogenic.  So that’s probably why I haven’t experienced any breakouts!

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Overall, it’s a great gentle cleanser that great for all skin types, even despite it’s thickness.  The only drawback I’ve found is that it doesn’t quite remove tenacious eye makeup – but for that, we have removers, right?

Oh, and it smells divine too – faintly like lemons (I think that’s the geranium in there!) 🙂

Ingredients of Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser: Organic rose water, water, organic camellia oil, organic castor oil, organic sweet almond oil, coconut- and corn-derived emulsifier, organic shea butter, organic vegetable glycerin, natural vitamin E, corn extract, basil extract, organic lavender oil, organic geranium oil, organic may chang oil, organic rose oil, natural lactic acid (from sugar beet).

Next up, we have the hydrators.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I still have a few non-organic items I need to get through, but overall these are my go-to items that I have been wearing daily.

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Pai’s Geranium & Thistle Combination Skin Cream ($48CAD) was seriously designed for me.  It’s formulated to clear and rebalance oily and combination skin, and my goodness does it ever do it well!!  This is the perfect day cream for my often ‘glistening’ skin – it absorbs quickly, leaving a velvet-like finish, and I don’t see any shine until nearly the end of the work day (when normally I’d need to blot by about 11am).  It contains Borage oil, a dry oil loaded with antioxidants that is one of the best oils for barrier repair, and which also helps reduce collagen destruction (woot!).

IMG_0496IMG_04972nd picture – after being rubbed in.  No shiny!

It also seems to give me that elusive glow that I’ve been trying to achieve all summer in vain (glowing goes quickly to greasy when you’re an oilier skin type), which is awesome.  Again, I’ve had absolutely NO adverse reactions to this moisturizer – it hydrates perfectly without being too heavy for day, and I haven’t had a single bout of eczema since I started using it.  BAM.   The scent of this one doesn’t blow my socks off – it’s kind of earthy with a slight lemony twist (again, the geranium)- but it’s not offensive in the least so there’s no problem there.  I would (and will) repurchase this in a heartbeat.  That is a rarity ’round these here parts – even great products usually get replaced for shiny new ones – so that’s saying something!

Ingredients of Pai Geranium & Thistle Combination Skin Cream: Purified water, organic jojoba oil, coconut- and corn-derived emulsifier, organic thistle oil, organic borage oil, natural vitamin E, organic vegetable glycerin, corn extract, manuka oil, basil extract, organic geranium oil, organic juniper oil, organic lavender oil, natural lactic acid (from sugar beet).

Another product that is HIGHLY worth the repurchase is Pai’s Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil ($35CAD).  Rosehip oil is a dry oil notorious for its ability to heal and repair the skin; it also contains trans-retinoic acid, which is converted to vitamin A in the skin to boost the healing process.  The function is similar to retinol, but with less irritation.  The oil is supposed to help improve the appearance of scars, sun damage, and fine lines.

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Now let me tell you.  I had two rather large pimples sprout up on my right cheek a few weeks back – they started as tiny clogged pores, and I stupidly tried to squeeze them ~d’oh~.  I was bummed that they were going to leave a scar (as acne usually does for me), especially as I was going to a wedding in a couple weeks.  Well lo and behold, no word of a lie, but not only did those full-on pimples run their course in record time (I’m talking like, three days MAX), but the scars also significantly faded before the day of the wedding – so much so that all I needed to cover them was a bit of foundation.  Truly, I was shocked at how quickly the turnover was, as it usually takes months before my acne scars disappear.  Miracle product?  I’m thinking YES.

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On top of all that fabulosity, I find that this oil is, again, perfect for my oilier skin, and I can use this as my sole hydrator each evening without requiring an additional moisturizer.  It sinks in fairly quickly, and the scent – which to me smells sort of like green tea – dissipates within minutes as well.  And again, no breakouts, only great skin!  What’s not to love?  I haven’t noticed any anti-aging effects yet, but I mean…I don’t really have a lot of ‘aging’ to fix just yet, so…yea.  But overall, I absolutely love this oil and will repurchase in a heartbeat.  And at $35??  Ummmm it’s kinda the cheapest one around guys!

Ingredients of Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil: Organic rosa canina (rosehip) seed extract, organic rosa canina (rosehip) fruit extract, mixed tocopherols (natural vitamin E).

So Pai is sort of knocking it out of the park for me.  Both the moisturizer and the oil were also Beauty Award Winners according to Bazaar magazine in 2011.  I usually take those ‘award’ thingys with less than a grain of salt (editors are basically paid to talk up certain products), but turns out in this case the awards were well justified!

As you can order samples from Fresh Faced for $0.75 each, I put in an order a couple weeks ago to try out most of May Lindstrom’s line (quick synopsis: meh on The Youth Dew {which is great – saves me $125!!!}, enjoyed The Cleansing Dirt and The Problem-Solver…but not enough to purchase at the moment), as well as a couple products from One Love Organics (the Easy Does It cleanser is lovely and a multi-tasker for face, body, and hair – I MUST buy for travel; and the Active Moisture Vitamin C Serum is quite nice!).  I love this option, as I can decide just what I want items from my massive list I want to spend my money on….though truth be told I’d kinda like to own one of everything! 😀

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I’ve been having such a great time experimenting and trying out new products, more so than I ever have in the past.  It’s such an amazing feeling to be able to just jump right in with something new and not have to worry about how my skin will react.  So far, I haven’t had one set back in all the items I’ve tried, and my skin has honestly never looked or felt better.  Even in circumstances like traveling where I’m not in my usual surroundings (which means, bedsheets washed with fragrance free/dye-free-everything-free detergent; no pets; etc), I’ve found my skin’s resilience has improved ten-fold, and I have hardly had a blip on the radar in terms of skin’s reactivity.  I’m not knocking ‘regular’ products in the least – I think they have some great technology out there, and in some cases are more effective than organic skincare products – but for me, the reduction in inflammation (which additionally can speed up aging) and the freedom to try anything without fear, is an absolute dream.  Plus, I have been having more fun with my skincare rituals that I ever have, and washing and treating my face has never been so enjoyable 🙂

Aside from the brands I’ve mentioned, are their any other green/organic lines I should be investigating??

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  1. #1 by BeautyReflections (@BeautyReflectTS) on October 20, 2013 - 2:49 pm

    You can get samples from Fresh Faced? SO DOING THAT! I loved the Pai products I’ve tried in the past! Thanks for reminding me how great they are! Might have to get some more soon! Glad you are loving your results and having fun!

    • #2 by Latoya on October 21, 2013 - 3:39 pm

      Thanks Tracy! I really, really am. I daydream about washing my face hahaha…or maybe that’s just me being weird lol

      Sent from my iPhone

  2. #3 by Larie on October 20, 2013 - 2:56 pm

    I’ve heard great things about Pai, and I’ve been curious about it, but these brands are so, so pricey and not available from multiple retailers, so it’s hard to jump, sometimes.

    • #4 by Latoya on October 21, 2013 - 3:39 pm

      Yea, understandable Larie! I think the price used to freak me out a bit too, but the peace of mind for my crazy skin has kind of made price not an issue for the most part (except for The Youth Dew…totally nuts). If I see any sales/deals I’ll letcha know!! 🙂

      Sent from my iPhone

  3. #5 by naturaleasehair on October 20, 2013 - 4:52 pm

    Thanks for the information on these products. I prefer organic green products whenever possible. I’ve tried the Tumeric mask for an even skin tone and works as a gentle exfoliator as well.

    • #6 by Latoya on October 21, 2013 - 3:39 pm

      Hmm I’ll have to look into that!! Sounds like it could be good 🙂 Glad you liked the post!

      Sent from my iPhone

  4. #7 by My Lucite Dreams on October 28, 2013 - 9:56 pm

    Yay for clean skin care! The stark cleanser sounds delicious. I have also been meaning to pick up the Pai Rosehip Oil, though have trouble separating from my RMS Beauty Oil and OLO Moisture Serum, which I am surprised you didn’t find too hydrating. All great brands, you also must try Osmia Organics! A good budget line I’m loving is Shea Terra Organics. Loved the post and am looking forward to the next installment.

    • #8 by Latoya on November 4, 2013 - 5:15 pm

      Ok, putting Shea Terra on my list, thanks for the reco Taylor! Just ordered the Osmia Detox mask, due to your glowing review. I did end up liking the OLO serum a lot for day use – gave me a great dewy glow. I just have so much dryness around my mouth and on my neck I need a serious powerhouse in those areas!

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

  5. #9 by Denise on November 4, 2013 - 10:00 am

    Okay, I’m not huge on natural/organic products in general (this is the one area of cosmetics that I am not super familiar with), but the Pai skin cream and oil sound AMAZING. Like, totally up my alley in terms of efficacy and what they do. Will definitely check ’em out when I’m done my current skincare stuff (love that Fresh Faced has free shipping in Canada on orders over $75!). 🙂

    • #10 by Latoya on November 4, 2013 - 4:47 pm

      Yea, I’ve been throwing a lot of money at the site lately lol – plus, since they do samples they’re kind of rocking my sensitive skin world! lol. The Pai products really are excellent; while I’m all over the organic thing, I still have high standards an want my products to work. These two are definitely hitting the mark 🙂

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

  6. #11 by Eugenia on January 17, 2014 - 12:55 am

    I think I’m going to look into ordering that Pai Rosehip seed oil – sounds perfect! I seem to recall a long time ago when we were having a conversation about a some eczema you were experiencing, and I mentioned how you should look into both rosehip seed and borage oils – glad to see that these ingredients work so well for you! They’re both quite high in GLA’s and as far as rosehip seed’s oil anti-ageing properties, this effect was first noticed on the hands of Peruvian rosehip seed pickers, which displayed remarkably youthful skin as compared to the rest of their bodies. I’m sold!

    • #12 by Latoya on January 27, 2014 - 4:18 pm

      I got into taking the seed oils internally but didn’t get into then topically until I started this whole green movement, Eugenia. I’m loving them!! The Pai oil is so great and so cost effective, you really must try!

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

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