LEARN WHY GOTU KOLA SHOULD BE ADDED TO YOUR LIST OF GO-TO ANTI-AGING ORGANIC INGREDIENTS

by Christina


WHAT IS GOTU KOLA?!

I'm going to start off with admitting I really knew very little about this ingredient until I ran across it a couple of times recently in some organic and natural beauty products! As I often do, I decided to look into what Gotu Kola is and what it actually does- is it something that's really beneficial to your skin?! I wanted to know these answers and see for myself if it was true...

So what exactly is IT?! It's actually an annual plan from the Mackinlayaceae subfamily of Apiaceae (carrot family)- and yes those are about as hard to pronounce as they seem they would be! It's commonly known as Asiatic pennywort of Indian pennywort in English, but the plant is native to wetlands in Asia and known as dhal, jackfruit, or pumpkin curry in those parts of the country.Gotu Kola is also utilized in cooking preparation in many countries such as in Sri  Lankan cuisine, Indonesian, parts of Vietnam & Thailand, Malay cuisine, and Bangladeshi as well!

The roots and other parts of the Gotu kola plant contain high amounts of triterpenoids like brahmic acid; triterpenoids are coupounds that contain precursors of steroids and usually come from plants and animals. These roots and the entire plant is at maturity in 3 months and harvested manually based on its growing cycle. The flowers are white or pinkish to red, in small clusters that bear little, warty fruit. Gotu kola needs low,wet areas to grow- which is why it thrives in areas of India and Southeast Asia. The unfortunate result of the way in which the plant grows in water however, is that it's highly susceptible to bacterial contamination.


GOTU KOLA BENEFITS TO SKIN:

This herb has been used for centuries in many ancient cultures for the treatment of many skin conditions- we are now discovering there might be some truth to what we've considered folk medicine for many years! Gotu Kola is a prime example of that viewpoint- it's benefits are numerous, but only as of recently have we really began to study this plant and what it has to offer. 

There have been some recent medical studies done at the University of  Maryland Medical Center that showed how Gotu Kola is able to increase blood flow and reduce the appearance and number of varicose veins, in addition to a reduction in swelling. Patients not only saw their symptoms improve, but they had less fluid leakage {what causes varicose veins}. 

When looking at healing skin wounds, strengthening skin, and boosting anti-oxidants- Gotu Kola has shown remarkable promise in these areas too. The benefits don't stop there though as the herb can reduce and even prevent stretch marks, improve the symptoms of psoriasis, and help the healing and elimination of scars as well :) The plant is produced into a variety of extracts: dried herb, powdered herb, tincture mixture, and a standardized extract method. It can be found in many creams due to it's variety of extraction methods and effectiveness in skincare.



IS THERE A PRODUCT I RECOMMEND THAT CONTAINS GOTU KOLA?!

OZ NATURALS SUPER YOUTH EYE GEL $19.95*

*oznaturals.com pricing!

Full List Of Ingredients:
Ingredients: Organic Aloe, Matrixyl 3000, Palmitoyl Triepeptide-3, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Plant Stem Cells, Cucumber Hydrosol, Organic Jojoba Oil, Botanical Hyaluronic Acid, MSM, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose, Carrageenan Gum, Silk Amino Acid Blend (Sodium L-Pyrrolidone Carboxylate, Sodium Lactate, L’Arginine, L-Aspartic Acid, L-Pyrrolidonecarboxylic Acid, Glycine, L-Alanine, L-Serine, L-Valine, L-Proline, L-threonine, L-Isoleucine, L-Histidine, L-Phenylalanine), Wildcrafted Periwinkle, Organic Licorice, Wildcrafted Eye Bright, Wildcrafted Reishi, Organic Gotu Kola, Frankincense, Vitamin E, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Ethyl Hexyl Glycerin.

This is by far, one of my FAV products from Oz Naturals and I have almost their entire collection of products! I'm a major fan of the organic and natural approach when it comes to skincare and cosmetics and Oz Naturals really makes quality, organic products that are effective and won't make you broke either! If you're seeking an affordable eye gel, this is the one to go with. The product does have an anti-aging focus, but is a great item for anyone!

As it's fantastic at tightening and brightening and it's also never too early to start thinking about preventing the signs of aging this Super Youth Eye Gel from Oz Naturals is the perfect solution for everyone :) Plant stem cells, Hyaluronic Acid, and Vitamin E make this eye product packed full of ingredients that are actually good for your skin! At only .5 fl. ounces, the amount of product appears to be little- yet you don't need to use much of this gel at all to easily get a nice thin layer around and underneath both eyes.

You can use this product as advised in the instructions for your entire face it you so choose, but I have a serum that I apply on a daily basis in place of this. I really like the noticeable and immediate difference when I use this gel underneath my eyes- it's a great help in reducing puffiness, dark circles, and the "tired-eyes" look! I'd highly recommend this product for anyone to give a try- it's affordable, won't irritate even the most sensitive of skin, and is very effective :) 


where to find this item:




CURRENT GIVEAWAYS AT THE BEAUTY CLOSET:










TURMERIC: THE SKINCARE SECRET FROM YOUR SPICE RACK + BONUS YALMEH BEAUTY PRODUCT REVIEW

by Christina


IT'S A SPICE...AND...?

You might just have heard of this spice that is native to southwest India as its often used in Indian and Pakistani cuisine, but you may not know that much about ALL of the wonderful benefits this plant from the ginger family brings to the table!  The plant is harvested for its root or rhizomes every season, and then boiled for up to about 45 minutes;  these boiled roots are then dried in super hot ovens, followed by a thorough grinding into an orange-yellowish powder.

This powder is commonly used as a spice in food preparation, for dyeing clothing and other items, and even in condiments such as mustard. India is the largest producer of Turmeric, with names of the spice varying based on the region of the country and language of the area. It's been used in Asia for thousands of years- also for dye, in addition to its medicinal properties. Now let's get to the good part: what does it do for your skin?! That's where it's benefits are quite numerous...and wonderful :)


WHAT TURMERIC CAN DO FOR YOUR SKIN:

I absolutely LOVE that something as simple, pure, and organic as a spice can be just what your skin needs! For starters, Turmeric can help you reduce the signs of aging, essentially turning back the hands of time with this powerful exfoliating agent, but the awesomeness doesn't stop there! It can reduce wrinkles as well and is fantastic in reducing pores too.

When it comes to fighting acne, Turmeric comes to the rescue by helping in reducing the excess oil produced by the skin and actually controlling that oil secretion. If you're looking for healthy and glowing skin, look no further than Turmeric- it's also one of the top organic alternatives to achieving that perfect glow to your skin  and can even reduce skin pigmentation too!


what's a good product that contains turmeric?!

yalmeh glorifying vitamin c toner $21.95*

*yalmeh.com pricing!

I liked this product right off the bat- it's just what I was looking for in a daily Toner, without being over-drying or annoying! More times often than not, I've run into Toner's that either are over-drying or they just don't quite seem to do the job. If they are okay in how they work, then they are pumped full of bad-for-you ingredients that I don't really care to put on my skin :/ That's when I started looking for better product alternatives that contained quality organic beauty products that aren't over-priced either.

Yalmeh achieves this feat quite easily for me with a price point of under $22 and a wonderfully made product that is composed of 95% organic & 100% natural ingredients! I'm quite particular to the scent of the Toner too- it's definitely unique and different in a way, but the combination of the Turmeric, Aloe, Dandelion, and Grapefruit makes for a good, light smell. The product dries very quickly and in under about 30 seconds and that makes for little down time before application of your other skincare products such as a serum or moisturizer. You'll really notice the difference in the smoothness and moisturization of your skin after the first usage of this toner from Yalmeh and it was definitely something that stuck in my mind right away!

There's a generous amount at 4.057 fl. ounces, so you will get what you pay for and still have the bottle longer than a few days :) The packaging is a nice added touch with a bright green body and chrome screw-on lid that actually doesn't spill! Yalmeh designed the lid well so as to ensure the cap screws down into the small opening atop the lid, which in turn prevents spillage and leakage! I was very impressed with how well they thought of the design and that my product arrived without a drop spilled.

 As added bonuses, the toner is chalked full of other awesome organic and natural ingredients like Vitamin's C & E, Rosemary Seed Extract, and Carrot Oil! If you have sensitive skin, this is one product you will want to give a try! I have beyond skin that's sensitive and I was able to use this product with no issues :) Lastly, I'd recommend this product to anyone that's looking for a great daily toner, wants to switch to a more organic skincare routine, or is looking for that perfect gift for the beauty fanatic in your life- this toner Glorifying Vitamin C Toner from Yalmeh is the way to go!!!

WHERE YOU CAN FIND THE PRODUCT:

YALMEH PEERLESS BEAUTY COLLECTION

YALMEH PEERLESS BEAUTY COLLECTION



THE BEAUTY CLOSET'S CURRENT GIVEAWAYS:







THE BEAUTY CLOSET'S TOP 10 ESSENTIALS FOR SUMMER:

by Christina


ARE YOU READY FOR SUMMER?!?

The official start of summer is June 1st, but I think that we are already feeling that summer heat here in Texas! It's already been in the 90's and we've had stormy weather and tornadoes with an unusual and early frequency this year that tells me we're in for the long haul this hot season. I've always had the challenges of extreme heat, moisture, and humidity where I live during this time and realized that a great way to combat that heat is to be ready for it! 

To start out, I begin making changes to my skincare and makeup routine to keep breakouts at bay and ensure that my skin stays looking its best- even through these tough summer months! I also make adjustments to my workout regimen and even what I'm eating too which really seems to make the difference. This makes for an easy acclimation for mind and body to the changing and challenging environment that summer can bring :)

I thought it would be awesome to share some of the items that I like to gather together right before the start of the season...I've found some fantastic Summer Must-Have's that you will need and there might be a couple of things in there just for fun too! As for affordability, I also tried to make sure that my Top 10 Essentials for Summer wouldn't break the bank either- there are however a couple of items that didn't make that cut as they were just too cute for me to resist! ;)



top 10 essentials for summer:

1. tildon ombre floppy hat [nordstom] $38

I just LOVE the price AND look of this hat- it's right on point with this season's trends and does an awesome job at protecting your delicate for the harsh sun's rays! Not only will you look cute and stylish, you won't have to spend tons of cash to do it :) Anything that prevents skin cancer is an important benefit that should NOT be overlooked- plus who wants to show the signs of aging prematurely?!? This hat IS in stock currently at Nordstrom, but I imagine at this price not for long!


2. JULEP "MANDA"- BOHO GLAM NAIL POLISH $14 *Sky blue w/golden shimmer

This is a fun nail color that is perfect for summer! Julep's polishes are made with an excellent quality and two good coats will usually last me past a week! The fantastic thing about this product is you are using something that contains ingredients that are better for your nails and does NOT contain harmful stuff like formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP!

This item is NOT out yet for sale on the Julep.com site unless you're a Maven and got with your May Maven Box, however they usually release the new colors once those boxes have been shipped out- I expect they will make it available any day now as it's currently listed on their site with "Coming Soon" under the product details.

 



3. DEFINE BOTTLE SPORT FLIP TOP PINK- 17 OUNCES $19.99

Out of all the numerous sports bottles- especially fruit infusers, I can easily see how it might be a challenge to find the best one out there. This one thus far, seems to be a hit for me- it's well-made and will stand up to the test of time. It's also designed nicely with a good strap and completely breaks down so that you can easily wash it.

There's a re-freezable base that will keep your fruit cold if you so choose. Define thought of something that a LOT of other brands haven't when it comes to fruit infusers: it actually fits in a standard cup holder :) They took care even in what the container is composed of as it's BPA & Phosphate-free, estrogenic-activity-free, and androgenic-activity-free! 


4. HELEN FIcalora SMall scallop shell necklace [sterling silver] $75~Charm & $40~18 in. chain 

BONUS PRODUCT REVIEW:

This is one of the pricier items on my list, but I couldn't resist adding this adorable "splurge" to my Top 10 Essentials for Summer :) For both the chain and charm, you can however score this cute Small Scallop Shell necklace for a total of $115- and that's NOT bad for a nicely-crafted piece from Helen Ficalora! I've always been a big fan of her jewelry and recently I very lucky girl and scored my own necklace like this one pictured above! 

In addition to being able to score her jewelry online at helenficalora.com you can score her awesome pieces in-store at one of her 6 locations spread throughout the US: New York, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Dallas, Bridgehampton, and Palm Beach. She has become very popular with celebs and many of them wear her items as well, but with more things offered at lower price-points in Sterling Silver for example, she's able to offer her fantastic quality at affordable pricing for everyone :)

This necklace in particular- with it's Small Scallop Shell charm, is just the embodiment of Summer and reminds me of the beach :) As I am quite far away from one, it's nice to have something that's reminiscent of the season even if I can't feel the sand between my toes! It turns out that even since I've gotten it in fact, I've worn it every day! I'm glad that even though our summers here may be a tad bit long, I'll have an excuse to wear it a little more too!

There are other adorable charms- a Bee, Butterfly, a heart, star, pretzel, and a few others that are all equally as cute! This would be an excellent gift for a woman of any age and I'm sure a teenage girl would LOVE these as well- they have so much personality and are a lot of FUN :) Helen Ficalora takes a lot of time and care too in all that she does and I noticed that too when the necklace arrived! It was nicely packaged with an outside matching pink box and gold ribbon that was hand-tied with care. The secondary box contained inside was HF signature pink as well and closes with a button clasp; it displays the jewelry well too. 



5. SKINDINAVIA MAKEUP FINISHING SPRAY- 4 OZ. $29

Hands down the best helper when it comes to fighting the dreaded "makeup melt"! Summer is definitely the season of fun, but that doesn't mean that all the heat and humidity has to eliminate the possibility of wearing makeup and skincare products. This product is absolutely perfect for Summer and really I use it all year round as it's such an awesome finishing spray. If you want your makeup to stay put in under any condition, this is DEF the way to go!!!


6. TORY BURCH "T" LOGO LEATHER THONG SANDAL $122.50 *LIGHT BLUE 

I know there are a little on the splurge side and I wouldn't normally spend this much on sandals- but I do LOVE Tory Burch accessories and I've been fortunate to score a couple of her pieces over the years...they are excellent quality and will last the test of time. The blue is easy on the eye and represents the Summer season perfectly!


7. COOLA SPF 50 UNSCENTED SUNSCREEN SPAY $32

I really like the spray-on application method for sunscreen and the Organic approach set this one apart from a lot of others for me! It has NO scent either, which I love and also have found equally difficult to locate a product without a fragrance as this one does. If you have sensitive skin or want to avoid the sometimes overwhelming smells that sunscreens can yield, this is the perfect product for you. This sunscreen would be excellent for anyone really of all ages, as it's easy to put on- basically fool-proof and without all the harsh ingredients and scents many sunscreens contain!


Best Adrafinil

8. HOURGLASS AMBIENT BRONZER $50 [SEPHORA] *RADIANT BRONZE LIGHT

Hourglass really knows how to nail it when it comes to bronzer and I was pleasantly surprised at how well this color blended and looked on my super light-toned skin- without making me look orange :) It lasts all day and doesn't change colors on your with wear, as the day goes on. It's a little on the pricier side than I would normally fork over for a bronzer, however I was very glad I took the chance on this one- it turned out to be beautiful.

There is another option in luminous Bronze Light - for medium to deep complexions as well, but there are ONLY 2 total options to choose from. This might be a slight draw-back, but the 2 color choices were created well and I think they will work for most people. I think the best part about this product is that it lets you have the beautiful golden look without: causing damage to your skin by constant sun exposure, tanning, or the downside to more permanent bronzers that could cause discoloration or streaking :0


9. BALENCIGA ROSADBOTANICA- 30 ML./$70 *SPICY ROSE ECHANTED W/CITRUS DROP

This is one my FAV fragrances for the summer and it's a perfect representation of the season with Citrus and Rose scents! It's a powerful scent that drifts off nicely to a pleasant fruity and flowering fragrance as the day goes on. I love the uniqueness of the bottle too, and the scent reminds me of a cross between a fresh floral arrangement and a cool glass of lemonade on a hot summer's day :)


10. VANESSA BRUNO BEACH TOTE $362 *NEUTRAL 


This is if probably MY FAV out of the ENTIRE list...BUT -yes it might be with a higher price point as well. I couldn't help myself though, as the bag was beyond stylish and perfect really for ANY season! That's the great thing about this bag- it's super versatile and can be taken to the beach, work, or for a day out at the park and it works all-year 'round too :) There's a timeless and classic appeal with superior quality and versatility to this tote that makes it worth the price! I'd consider this to be a "Splurge", but this awesome tote will get you past the summer months to really let you get good value from the purchase.







LACTIC ACID: THE SURPRISING SOLUTION TO A POWERFUL EXFOLIATOR

by Christina


WHAT'S LACTIC ACID?!

Lactic Acid is simply put a chemical compound responsible to playing certain roles within biochemical processes of the human body. People constantly produce this compound with metabolism and exercise, however in commercial production lactic acid is created by lactic acid fermentation through lactic acid bacteria. These bacteria can also grow in our mouths and this is the acid responsible for tooth decay or caries.

The Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele refined lactic acid for the first time in 1780, followed in 1808 by Jons Jacob Berzelius' discovery that muscles produced lactic acid during exertion. By 18654, Louis Pasteur has discovered the primary compound responsible for producing commercially made lactic acid. Today, world-wide production has reached over 275,000 tonnes of lactic acid on a commercial scale.


WHAT DOES IT DO FOR SKIN?

Lactic acid in skincare will come in the form of an alpha hydroxy or AHA, which is why it will improve the overall look and feel of your skin, remove dead skin cells, and encourage collagen production. While many AHA's like glycolic acid can irritate your skin, Lactic Acid has been proven to be a more mild AHA that tends to cause less adverse or bothersome results.

You will generally find Lactic Acid in exfoliators and chemical peels, although some anti-aging product may contain it as well. Lactic acid hydrates your skin while also increasing the amount of outer layer lips in the skin as well. Since lactic acid sloughs off dead skin cells, you will see a brighter and super smooth complexion as a result! If you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, this acid is the way to go- it's really known for it's gentle yet awesome exfoliating power!



PRODUCT WITH LACTIC ACID

RECOMMENDATION:

OZ NATURALS ANCIENT ORIENT RICE ENZYME DERMAFOLIANT  $24.95

I was SUPER excited to try out this product and see what it was all about :) I really like the quality, organic beauty products that Oz Naturals brings to the table and have almost the entire line of products! This is a brand NEW product that they just put out in their line and it's a fantastic addition. The bottle is unique in that is has a metal screw lid that when twisted, reveals matched-up holes in order to allow the product to dispense.

This is a GOOD thing too, as the product has a very fine and almost sand-like quality to it that would be difficult to get out the product out if the container isn't designed well. Once you untwist the cap, it's easy to sprinkle out a small amount onto your hand and mix it with water. I will admit that it might take a couple of times using the product before you can figure out the right amount of water and enzyme/product, but I was able to get this close to what I was looking for in consistency after the 2nd attempt.

I found that using equal parts water and product seemed to work best for me, adding small drops of water and then a little bit of the product by shaking it into my hand. Once you can get a past going, you can apply this to your face and gently rub in circular motions; the instructions advise for you to do this for several minutes, as I also chose to do. Once you have completed that step, you'll want to leave this mixture on for a few minutes- the directions state for at least 5!

I also left on the mixture about this length of time and then gently washed the now-dried paste off of my face. You can pat your face dry, as it's usually suggested when using an exfoliator or acid peel, so as not to irritate the skin. Right after the first usage of this product, I could really see and feel how smooth my face felt and it looked brighter too :) My makeup went on like a dream after using this dermafoliant, and that was very noticeable as well- I didn't have to put on near as much concealer and this helped give me a nice, soft glow to my skin! 

What's great about this product too is that you can use it 2-3 times a week since it's mild and doesn't generally cause people skin irritation. There's also plenty of it- the Orient Rice Enzyme may seem as though it doesn't contain much with a 2.75 fl. oz. size, but you really don't need much of the product to get wonderful results. At under $25 it's one of the more affordable exfoliators on the market that contains lactic acid AND it's 100% Vegan and Cruelty-Free! 



WHERE YOU CAN FIND THIS AWESOME ITEM:





www.rsvpmen.com