Review: Mahalo Rare Indigo Beauty Balm

Ah, Rare Indigo Beauty Balm, you lovely thing, you.  Where do I begin?  Very well, I’ll just come out and admit it.  I was not remotely in the market for a face balm (though who am I kidding? I’m always in the market…) but I was pretty much forced to buy this by the one-two punch of Mahalo (an special brand I was very curious about) and some of my favorite Green Beauty Bloggers (The Green Product Junkie, Plein Vanity, and The Hermes Hippie) joining forces to offer for a limited time, a full-sized, unreleased face mask, free with the purchase of the newly released Rare Indigo Beauty Balm.  It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.  And I’m so glad I didn’t.

While there’s nothing wrong with products that get the job done, there is something so much more special about products that impart a sense of ritual and experience in addition to the benefits for the skin.  Rare Indigo is one of the special ones.  The experience begins with the unusual and tactile bamboo packaging, featuring an etched image of the Hawaiian Islands.  Oooh, it whispers, what’s inside?  

And then the smell.  How do I describe the smell?  Floral, for sure, a lush tropical floral with warm vanilla.  But there are camphorous notes that mix the whole thing up, and make it one of the most singular and complicated scents I’ve encountered in a face product. I find myself opening the jar during the day just for a sniff!  

Hand in hand with the smell is the color. A slightly transparent, light indigo.  It’s impossible not to smile at the playfulness of this color.  Belying that playfulness is the serious ingredient list.  The blue is derived mainly from the indigo, a wonderful healing herb, often used in treatment of psoriasis and eczema.  It also contains a potent mix of calming agents (rose, chamomile) healing agents (yarrow, helichrysum, lavender) in a bed of exotic, hydrating carrier oils (hemp, murmuru, babassu, marula, grape seed, and tsubaki tea seed) several of which are brand new to me.  They combine to create a (once again) highly unique texture.  It is solid in the jar, then melts with the warmth of your fingertips.  It is not at all greasy, however, the way you might have experienced with other emollient balms. The best word I can come up with is plush.  Pillowy.  A tiny pea-sized amount is applied to wet skin in a pressing action, allowing the balm to fully integrate with your skin.  Sing a verse of your favorite song, recite your favorite mantra while you give your skin some love! 

A ritual is wonderful, but only if you also get results.  What’s impressed me most is how long it keeps my skin feeling moisturized.  Between whipping cold winds, and dry heating systems, Northeastern winters are experts at stealing every drop of moisture from my skin. I tend toward dry anyway, and often feel parched by mid-day in the winter months.  But with Rare Indigo my skin feels soft and plump all day.  It’s 7pm as I write this, and I’m only just now beginning to notice signs of dryness. I’m also noticing it to be a good base for makeup.  Some balms have makeup falling off my skin almost immediately, but Rare Indigo has a slight stickiness to it, keeping makeup on and on and on.

And of course, it gives you what everyone is looking for: GLOW!  Real, serious glow. With school in session, I have to be out of the house, with a four year old fully dressed, lunch packed, teeth brushed, etc by 7:30, and the are many, many mornings when spending time to put on makeup is completely out of the question.  But Rare Indigo makes my skin look so fresh and awake that I have no problem heading out completely bare-faced.  

Are you in the market for a balm?  Does this sound enticing?  What about you readers who don’t have to deal with winters?  Have you tried Rare Indigo in warm weather?  How do you like it?  Presumably it’s pretty great, since it was created in Hawaii!  Let me know!  

Rare Indigo retails for $110 from Mahalo. A full list of ingredients:

cannabis sativa (hemp)*, astrocaryum murumuru*, orbignya oleifera (babassu)*, sclerocarya birrea (marula), vitis vinifera (grape seed)*, camellia japonica (tsubaki tea seed)*, aleurites moloccans (kukui)*, euterpe oleracea (acai)*, proprietary infusion of organic herbs*, polygonum tinctorium (indigo), rosa damascena (rose otto)*, matricaria chamomilla*, achillea millefolium (yarrow)*, helichrysum italicum*, citrus aurantium var. bergamia (bergamot fcf)*, lavandula angustifolia (lavender)*, boswellia carteri (frankincense)*, abelmoschus moschatus (ambrette hibiscus), cananga odorata (ylang ylang)* ,ubiquinone (coenzyme Q10), daucus carota (carrot seed)*, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (vitamin C ester), non-gmo mixed tocopherols, vanilla planifolia, iris pallida

*Clean ingredients: organic + local and/or wild harvested (when available)

**Bergamot fcf* is free from bergapten – it has no photosensitizing effects

In Our House: Children's Skincare

   Snuggly Dinosaur, Elephantie, Bunny, and Mr. Fox love Babo, too!


Snuggly Dinosaur, Elephantie, Bunny, and Mr. Fox love Babo, too!

Holy crap is there anything softer than baby skin?   So smooth, chubby and delicious!  I’m not sure my husband and I ever explicitly discussed how we would care for my daughter’s skin, but it seemed to go without saying that we would use a moisturizer after every bath.  Little one’s skin looses moisture, too, and the ritual of protecting her skin is super sweet. A massage therapist for a Daddy is a pretty great thing for a baby, and has led to many adorable lovefests.  Of course, that was when she was a baby who would (theoretically) stay put.  Now that she’s four, it is more of a slap and dash affair, rubbing her down as she darts around the room!  Over the years there have been some stand-out products

Our long standing go-to cream is the Calming Baby Lotion from Babo Botanicals. The coconut oil/cocoa butter/shea butter combination is deeply moisturizing, and the lavender is beautifully calming (if there's anything that can calm a four year old who knows lights-out is imminent.)   The  scent is deep and complex.  We’ve used it so much it’s become her “signature scent”! 

Lately we’ve been using coconut oil more regularly, despite my aversion to the smell.  I've put my dislike aside, because Bean thinks the texture is hilarious, and adores putting it on herself.  It’s a slippery, shiny, wiggly process, but it satisfies the four year old crazies, while keeping her skin calm and soft, and keeps the winter itchiness at bay.

Jojoba is another great option.  It’s not as slick and messy as coconut oil, so a little less funny, but it works wonders.

Now, Bean doesn’t really need a fancy face oil, like, at all.  However she has gone crazy for the smell of my Skin Owl Mangosteen Oil, so we often put on the “candy oil”.  Once again, she loves putting it on her own face.  

One of the greatest joys of having completely converted to green beauty is that with a couple of exceptions, I feel totally comfortable letting Isla use any of my products.  They’re safe for me AND safe for her.  How great is that?  I mean, can you imagine letting your kid use a conventional face cream?  No way!  So if you wouldn’t put it on your kid, why would you put it on yourself?  



Review: Skin Owl Mangosteen Beauty Drops PM

Back in the old days, before the internet and all it’s companion changes, my sister and I used to fantasize about being able to see each other when we talked on the phone.  We thought it was the most futuristic idea imaginable. Well now of course, we FaceTime each other several times a week, and we’ve turned our tech fantasies toward something new: Smell-O-Vision.  We long to share scents over the phone.  Dinners, perfumes, baby skin.

And never do I wish for Smell-O-Vision more than when trying to describe to you the utter magic that is Skin Owl’s Mangosteen Beauty Drops PM.  Created with two powerful, rare oils, Baobab (I’ve loved it here as well) and Mangosteen, the scent is heady, complex, tropical, floral, fruity and utterly captivating.  I just can’t stop sniffing it.  My husband thinks it smells like Skittles, and we use it on my daughter calling it “candy oil.”  Shy, it is not, and the scent lingers until I have fallen asleep. And when I awake?  That’s when the real magic has happened.  My skin is bright, well-rested looking (a total fake out) and more even-toned. 

The secret is a phytonutrient called xanthone found in mangosteens, a rare fruit native to Southeast Asia (Vietnam in particular for Skin Owl).  Xanthones are powerfully oxygenating, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory.  As a result, this powerhouse serum addresses a plethora of skin problems from lackluster skin, to dryness, to blemishes.  A true multi-tasker.  Often products that work so powerfully can feel a bit too much on my skin.  But Skin Owl is efficacious without being overly aggressive.  I use it when I need a gentle oil AND when I need great skin the next day.  That, my friends, is as close to perfect as oil gets.  

I appreciate that this oil is moderately priced.  At $85 for a bottle, it’s not inexpensive, but it is a full 2oz, twice the size of most oils on the market.  

Are you sold?  Grab a bottle here or here, and get ready for easier mornings!  Let me know how in love you are!

   How gorgeous is this fruit?!


How gorgeous is this fruit?!

Review: Moon Valley Organics

We began this week with the wild energy of the Harvest-Blood-Super-Eclipse Moon, and I thought appropriate to end the week with another beautiful moon: Moon Valley Organics.

Earlier this summer, faced with a few rare moments of alone time, I found myself, as all good Green Beauties do, browsing through the beauty selection at a health food store.   I happily stumbled on the Moon Melt Lotion Bar, by Moon Valley Organics.  Oh. My. God.  The folksy sophistication of the package blew me away.  And the evocative quality of the phrase Moon Valley…I needed to know more. So I dashed home and placed an order for several more products, and am so in love!  

Let’s start with the packaging, because wow!  The unusual colors and images really speak to me, but what thrills me most is the commitment to sustainability.  The boxes are custom sized, made from 100% post-consumer content and use no plastic whatsoever, not even a sticker to close the box, instead relying on a far more beautiful tab.  The tube and tins are made entirely from post-consumer material, and are fully recyclable, including the caps.  When I see this level of attention paid to the packaging, I’m always hopeful that the products will be equally thoughtful.  And boy does MVO deliver!  They call their farm a “farmacy” where they grow all of their own medicinal herbs.  They are 100% USDA Certified Organic, and are formulated by highly credentialed herbalists.  In short, the real deal. 

Their self-proclaimed principles are: 

  • "Use only sustainable, organic ingredients
  • Use packaging that does the least harm recycled, renewable, recyclable
  • Select botanical varieties that hold the highest medicinal quality
  • Use traditional formulas
  • Made from nature"

On to the products, no?  My favorite product is the Rejuvenating Rub.  I’ve used it to help rehabilitate my broken finger, I’ve used it on my daughter’s endless string of summertime bruised abrasions. I’ve used it as a massage balm. I’ve used it on my sore yoga-weary muscles.  And it relieves them all!  Containing arnica, calendula, comfrey and lavender and mint, it’s a full-body minor-pain reliever par excellence.  

The Peppermint Foot Rub also does it’s job beautifully.  We’re accustomed to conventional foot creams making your feet tingly.  That’s a nice enough sensation, but one that definitely makes me question the ingredients causing the tingling!  With the Moon Valley Rub I felt an immediate lightness of foot.  The heaviness of the long day was just gone.  Kind of amazing, and definitely addicting!

I ordered the Mint and Sea Mineral Cleansing Body Bar on a whim (well, I was probably seduced by the color.)  I have dry skin, and for years have avoided soap.  It just leaves me so dry.  Something about the description sounded moisturizing, plus I love the inclusion of spirulina and kelp, so I took the plunge.  And I’m so glad I did!  I find the bar invigorating yet soothing to my skin. A total win, but potentially hazardous to my wallet, since now a whole new product category may be back on the table!

Finally the Moon Melt Lotion Bar in Bergamot Geranium.  I can’t stop drooling over the tin that houses it!  It’s recyclable, but I plan to use it for treasures when the bar is gone!  The lotion itself is imprinted with the beautiful moon logo.  I mean…I’m already melting!  I had hoped to use the bar as an all-over deep moisturizer, but found that it was a bit too tacky for my whole body.  Instead I’ve been using it to wonderful effect on the perennially tough areas like cuticles, elbows, knees and heels.  And the smell is divine, deep and present.  It lingers.

So basically, I showed up for the packaging, and am staying for the efficacy of each and every product, and the family-minded, sustainability ethos of the brand.  This wonderful company deserves your support, or maybe even your devotion!

[Spoiler alert: Scroll down to see the beautiful interior of the packaging.  Or don't, and be surprised!]