Bergamot Beauty Blog

REVIEW ::: BLOOM SKIN ESSENTIALS by LACY BENOIT March 07, 2017 15:24

Bloom Skin Essentials

Bloom Skin Essentials is the brainchild of Misty Litt, a nutrition therapist, and all-around really neat person. She and I have been chatting for the past few months on Instagram, and I can say that, without a doubt, she is kind and displays much passion for formulating safe and effective skin care for all skin types. The BLOOM line consists of Polish (a thoroughly effective yet gentle daily exfoliant and wash), Glow (a multi-tasking wizard, glow is an-oil based makeup remover, hair oil, and body oil), Hydrate (a refreshing facial mist), Nourish (my favorite facial oil to date!), and Restore (a lightweight eye balm that is wonderful under makeup).


Packaging: All products in the Bloom Skin Essentials line come in sturdy glass packaging. The branding is lighthearted and fun, and I quite like the bright colors.


Polish - Polish comes in a nice round glass jar with a wooden spoon to safely scoop out the scrub without contaminating it with dirty or wet fingers. There are three variations of polish, one each for Dry, Combination, and Oily skin types. I have used all three types and interchange them based on the season and my skin’s needs. The “polish factor” (or exfoliation strength) increases from mildest (Dry), mid (Combination), to most scrubby (Oily). Each of the polishes are gentle enough for daily use. The ingredients smell incredible and vary for each variation. The Dry formulation would be appropriate to use for sensitive skin.


Glow - This product truly is a multi-purpose wizard. I have used it as a luxurious oil cleanser, as a nourishing hair oil, and as a fast-absorbing body oil. It truly is multi-purpose, and excels in each of its functions. This product comes in a glass bottle with separate pump that you can insert yourself once it arrives at your home. I find that it does leak slightly if the pump is in and the product gets inverted, so I would make sure to use the original screw-top for travel.


Hydrate - This product is a refreshing delight to use, and the name says it all: It is truly hydrating, thanks to inclusion of aloe! Overall, this is a solid facial mist and I quite like it. The smell is floral, but not overwhelmingly so.


Nourish - Without a doubt, this is my FAVORITE facial oil that I have ever used, and I have used a LOT of oils, of all price ranges. So far, Nourish is the ONLY facial oil that I have ever completely finished and proceeded to immediately buy another to replace it ---- it is that good! Like Polish, Nourish comes in three variations for Dry, Combination, and Oily skin types. I have used all three and love them all. For my combination, acne and congestion prone skin, Dry / Combination works best in the cooler/drier months, and Oily is perfect for Summer. However, all three variations are quick to absorb, and smell fantastic. I really cannot say enough good things about this product.


Restore - What I like most about Restore is that it is formulated with ghee, an ingredient that isn’t often used in skincare. I find this eye balm nourishing for my sensitive eye area. It wears wonderfully under my makeup and does not cause creasing or smudging.


Efficacy & Overall Thoughts: I adore this skincare line. My friend, Salwa, curator of Bergamot Beauty, introduced me to this line in early 2016. I bought the entire Combination set and used every single product. Misty kindly sent me the Oily set so that I could compare and contrast the different formulations for Nourish and Polish. I think that this set is a WONDERFUL, comprehensive skincare set for green beauty enthusiasts. Given that it comes customized for different skin types, it would make a great Holiday gift, as well!


For Full Ingredients, refer to:

http://www.bergamotbeauty.com/collections/blooming-skin-essentials


Meet Shrankhla Holecek, founder of UMA December 12, 2016 02:04

We've recently launched UMA, a skin care and wellness line we have admired for a long time.  We are absolutely thrilled to be working with this amazing company and are honored to share with you this rich and inspiring interview with the line's incredible founder!
Shrankhla Holecek
When/how did you realize that you wanted to share your family's skin care creations with the world and turn UMA into a business?

I think a part of UMA was born when I was – in that my family has farmed and distilled some of the world’s finest essential oils, literally for centuries – so as a child, I spent long summers at our organic rose farms, learning about our sustainable farming or extraction processes. And yet – another part of me wanted to get as far away from the family business I could – so I studied engineering and moved to the States, got an MBA and worked with management consulting firm McKinsey for five years.

So I’d be lying if I said there was one precipitating moment – it was the sum of my education, experiences and heritage that led me to found UMA. I have long known that my family produces some of the world’s finest organic oils, and that our potent family formulas are very illustrious – but it wasn’t an emotional decision to move into this category. It was the fact that consumers were finally (and very rightly) questioning the ingredients and the formulation of their products that gave me the confidence to believe that our story and our absolute dedication to ingredient purity will resonate with customers.

If you could only use ONE UMA product for an entire year, which would it be, and why?

Ah that’s a tough one even for a minimalist like me (e.g., I can’t remember the last time I used a store bought face wash!). I suppose it’ll have to be our Ultimate Brightening Face Oil. I travel a lot and work mad hours, so my skin most notably takes a beating in terms of dullness and generally looking “tired”. This super-absorbent, luxe, triple-action blend is packed with high-performance, instantly brightening ingredients like Rose, Sandalwood, and Ylang Ylang.  I use it on its own or under a light foundation in the day for noticeably more luminous, even and hydrated skin.

What is in store for UMA over the coming year? Are there any products that you are hoping to launch?

I can’t spill a lot because we’re giving this as an exclusive to a very notable magazine BUT it’ll have lots and lots of rose, and it’s a completely transformational Ayurvedic beauty ritual. Unlike anything in our current portfolio, or on market. Stay tuned!

What is your favorite Ayurvedic practice?

If I had to pick, it’d be the detox rituals. Ayurveda has some really cool and highly efficacious detox tricks and I love that they’re simple, bite-sized and something you can work into your day rather easily. My favorites are: tongue cleansing (many don’t realize but a lot of toxins build up on your tongue and simply scraping the tongue – use your tooth brush if a scraper is not available – morning an evening can really help!), oil pulling (I do this whenever I can), a cup of warm lemon water first thing in the AM and dry brushing (amazing for limbic system detox and cellulite reduction).

What does your self care practice look like?

I realize that this is uninspiring to say but it’s the truth so I’m going to say it – with a zillion conflicting priorities, I have difficulty prioritizing self-care. That said, I have tried to zero in on how I use the little time I have to myself most effectively. I try to get a little bit of exercise almost every day (this is not a full out sweat session at the gym, sometimes it’s 15 minutes on a rowing machine in front of the telly – in my work pants!). I try to use very high quality products (not necessarily expensive, high quality) in my (very simplified) beauty rituals. For better or worse, that is reflected in how many of the UMA products and rituals are created and who they’re most tailored towards. They are few in number, solid products, highly efficacious and get the job done very rapidly. (A serum and moisturizer in one – yes, please!). My one little indulgence of time is in how I use the UMA products – I’ll always sneak in a little extra face massage when using the oil, ice my face after the masks and spend a good 3-4 minutes on a wellness oil before bedtime.

What is your favorite skin care ingredient?

Sandalwood – in every format! Powdered into face masks, distilled into essential oils for skin care and poured into indulgent baths! It deeply calms skin, helps the body’s limbic detox and as an aroma can be very therapeutically grounding and confidence boosting.

What is a skin care ingredient that deserves more attention in the green beauty community?

I’m tempted to say saffron or sandalwood – but realize that they’re rare and hard to get one’s hands on - so I will go with the friendly neighborhood tomato! Tomato extract contains lycopene, which attacks free radicals to prevent sun damage for a youthful, glowing complexion. Maintaining your skin’s hydration levels, tomato extract also has anti-inflammatory benefits, making it especially effective in treating acne, removing blackheads and tightening pores. Aside from giving you smooth, soft skin, its high vitamin C content helps to even out and brighten skin tone.

What has been the most difficult UMA product to formulate/develop/produce, and why?

Given that all our formulas are hundreds of years old, and that the development of the product (i.e., putting those formulas into a product) is supported by an awesome team of PhDs and doctors who’ve been with our family for decades – I’d say formulation and development have not been hard. In terms of ingredients, rose oil might be the one that takes the most labor of love, if you will. Roses take a lot of TLC to flourish, and it takes a LOT of roses to get a very little amount of rose oil. Start to finish, it’s the most raw material and labor intensive oil to extract. But the (incredible smelling and functioning) end justifies the means, right?!

What defines UMA and makes it different from other skin care companies?

If I think about the core values behind the brand, they are inspired by my aunt Uma, whose memory the brand was named after. Our brand celebrates the Uma in each of us – our ability to find peace amidst chaos, to balance our complex ambitions with our most fundamental emotions, and to find contentment in the knowledge that everything we need is already within us. My aunt taught me that true beauty is found in simplicity, integrity and equilibrium – and our brand strives to honor her by ensuring every drop of our oil consists of the same. 

The key differentiation between our oils - and many (all?) natural beauty brands in general - is that we are completely vertically integrated. The entire process, from the organic growing, to the harvesting, to the extraction and blending process is managed by one estate (ours). This means we can entirely control the quality of our essential oils from start to finish. Most of our competitors purchase oils from external sources where the quality cannot be verified. This means their consumers are often using products with diluted essential oils and are none the wiser. Not only can we ensure the integrity of our ingredients; we also can stand behind our workers who all have expertise and degrees in Ayurvedic science.  This combination allows us to create truly effective products that bring Ayurvedic remedies to modern day.

Also, I think our products are unique because they leverage centuries of expertise – and time-honored formulas – to address skin and wellness issues that sometimes feel inherently modern. We pride ourselves on consistently innovating to bring our customers the most effective formulas we can, but we trust in our history, too. There is real power in simplicity, and by going back to basics – in the form of pure and unadulterated botanicals – we’re bringing these powerful solutions directly to our customers.

In addition, UMA Oils is a company that truly respects the community and environment our products come from. Our farming practices are pesticide-free and we repurpose and recycle our waste to minimize our environmental footprint. In addition, we foster a number of gender equality initiatives, as well as programs to help our staff and community with basic needs.

Shop UMA products here.

Special thank you to Lacy Benoit for assisting us with this interview.


GRESSA EVENT 11.5.16 October 31, 2016 15:14

Join us this Saturday at Seven Sisters as we launch the complete GRESSA makeup line! We are so excited!!!

Please email hello@bergamotbeauty.com to schedule your appointment. There will be AMAZING gifts with purchase, vegan chocolates to nibble on, and more!  Each 30 minute appointment will be charged a nonrefundable $20 fee (can be paid at time of appointment).  A $75 GRESSA purchase receives ONE gift with purchase; a $150 GRESSA purchase receives TWO gifts with purchase.  The $20 appointment fee can be applied toward purchase amount.


Glowy + Smoky Eye Makeup Tutorial October 23, 2016 12:39

Having been a makeup artist for many years, it's always a pleasure for me to teach people how to do everyday looks. I understand that while makeup application comes naturally to me, it doesn't to all. I love that there are so many natural beauty products out there now, making it so easy to achieve a flawless look - whether you want to look totally dolled up, or subtly radiant. Here's two of my favorite looks, a daytime strobing effect for a natural glow and a rich smoky eye for night time. 

NATURAL GLOW:

Start with a base - GRESSA foundation (coming soon!) is perfect for this or a good tinted moisturizer.  Buff the liquid into your skin. I also like using a blending sponge around the neckline to create an even canvas. If you prefer a powder, make sure your skin is primed with plenty of moisture first, otherwise the powder will settle into all the little crevices that you are trying to hide! Lina Hanson's Global Face Serum is a perfect primer for this. It gives such a nice glow to the skin. GRESSA's Purifying Oil is also a very good option. Next smile and apply blush to the apples of your cheeks and just below. GRESSA's Lumière in Elise is my go to for the most amazing pop of color. I've got a darker complexion but this color is so build-able it seems to work on most people. Next take a highlighter, such as GRESSA's Illuminating Serum (back in stock soon!) and highlight areas of your face where light naturally hits. The largest part of the "apple" on your cheek, the bridge of your nose, and below your brow bone are good places to start. The Cupid's bow above your lip and the corners of your eyes are also good spots. I like to do my cheeks with my fingers and the other areas with a good flat concealer brush. A couple coats of mascara and a nice neutral lip and you are good to go! For me, Just like Jade by nūdus is the perfect everyday color. I also really like the GRESSA's Lip Boosts. 

To build on this look we can add a smoky eye. Using the same concealer brush I had mentioned above, take a dark cream shadow like GRESSA's Eye Tint in Obscur or Bronce and fill in the crease of your eyelid. Add some kohl to both the upper and lower lash lines and slightly smudge to get that "slept in makeup" effect. 

Makeup is so much fun, don't be afraid to experiment when you have the time. It's not permanent so play away! 

---Haseena

I am Haseena Samtani. I was born in India, moved to the States when I was 3 and grew up mostly on the west coast. I got married 5 years ago and moved to Shanghai, then Dubai, and now Florida. I've always had a strong belief in natural remedies and have favored Ayurveda because of my heritage. I fell in love with natural beauty while I was pregnant with my daughter. It took me a few years to go completely clean, especially because I am a former makeup artist and had LOADS of products! But now that I have I definitely won't go back. 

 


REVIEW ::: The Balm by Nucifera October 12, 2016 09:56

 

Packaging: Nucifera comes in a frosted glass jar and has a plastic lid. The overall feel of the product is nice and weighty, and feels substantial when I hold it.

Texture: Nucifera is a balm-like product. With coconut oil as the first listed ingredient, Nucifera is solid at cooler room temperatures, and melts with the warmth of your hands. When I apply the balm to my hands, it does not feel greasy or tacky, though it does take a few moments to completely absorb. 

Scent: To me, Nucifera smells like delicate coconut, with hints of the essential oil blend (lavender, peppermint, grapefruit, carrot seed, sandalwood, palo santo, patchouli, frankincense). The first note to hit my nose is coconut, followed by the light essential oil blend. The product does not read as “tropical,” despite its inclusion of coconut oil. The essential oil blend is quite subtle, so if you’re not a fan of one of the ingredients, I think that you would probably still like the product.

Efficacy & Overall Thoughts: The skin on my hands (particularly the webbing between my fingers) is prone to eczema, especially in the cooler/drier months of winter. I have been using this balm as a moisturizing preventative treatment to hopefully stave off my yearly eczema breakout. So far, so good! I am a huge fan of coconut oil’s healing properties and one only has to casually peruse the green beauty community to read of coconut oil’s praises. I think that this product would also make a very soothing first cleanse (note: it would require a warm, wet cloth to remove). I like how multipurpose this product is. It can be used as a makeup remover, hair treatment, body oil, and/or facial oil (make sure that your face does not break out with coconut oil; some find it to be comedogenic).

Description from Nucifera’s Website: Simplify your beauty ritual with our distinctive blend of the most healing and effective plant-based butters and oils found on earth. Apply abundantly to your face, hair, scalp, skin, hands, feet, nails and more to experience the natural benefits of this all-in-one creation. Potential healing properties include: all-over moisturizer, evens and illuminates skin tone, dirt and makeup remover, reduces inflammation, boosts collagen, increases skin elasticity, improves acne conditions, reduces wrinkles, improves dry skin problems, natural anti-bacterial and SPF properties.

Suggested use: Apply liberally to damp skin if using as a moisture treatment. As a facial cleanser, massage gently and remove with warm, wet cloth.

Size & Price: $37 for 4 ounces

Ingredients: Raw, Plant-Based, Gluten Free ingredients: 

Organic Coconut Oil, Kokum Butter, Avocado Oil, Borage Oil, Mango Butter, Moringa Oil, Medicinal Grade Essential Oil Blend (Lavender, Peppermint, Grapefruit, Carrot Seed, Sandalwood, Palo Santo, Patchouli, Frankincense.

REVIEW BY LACY BENOIT.  

***Shop Nucifera here!


Gressa Makeup Tutorial by Suzy Gerstein October 09, 2016 08:29

If you follow us on Instagram, you'll know that we are HUGE fans of makeup artist extraordinaire Suzy Gerstein.  Her work is just amazing and we never cease to be inspired by what she creates.  We literally jumped for joy when we recently had the opportunity to have Suzy create a look on her beautiful sister Rachel using Gressa makeup.  Read on below for a glimpse into Suzy's genius and step by step instructions on the gorgeous makeup look she created for her sister.  


GRESSA REVIEW BY KATE MYER OF MAKEUP BREW October 03, 2016 14:35

I am so excited to welcome Kate Myer from one of our favorite blogs, Makeup Brew, to Bergamot Beauty.  Not only is she a kind and funny soul, but she is also a lover of green beauty and coffee - two MUSTS in my book!  Read on below for a little more about Kate and please be sure to visit her beautifully written blog here. Thank you dear Kate! xoxo Salwa

Kate Myer has a blood type of coffee, is an avid runner, and wears makeup on the weekends. She is the writer behind Makeup Brew, a blog that has the most verbose coffee reviews and cruelty-free beauty in the land. When she’s not looking for jokes or people to drink coffee with, you can find her in Seattle trying to keep her Japanese maple trees alive, watching Kung Fu Panda with her boys for the umpteenth time, and having staring contests with her puppy, Charlie.

GRESSA 

With an abundance of choices for makeup, where does one start? The myriad number of products for foundation alone is mind boggling. Let's not even talk about blush. Anyone else just need every blush color ever made? 

Several products boast multifunctionality and promises of tiny, undetectable pores. Everyone's skin is different and everyone has different standards of beauty. What we need is a line of products that will help us all achieve that feeling of beautiful - on our own terms.

Let me introduce to you, Gressa. An organic, vegan line created by Svetlana Sanchez complete with skin care, skin treatments, and makeup. Svetlana's goal is to create makeup that's good for your skin, easy to use, and multipurpose. She is passionate about her craft. This passion bursts through if you get the chance to talk to her. Her thoughtful nature, genuine interest in her customers, and approachability are endearing qualities make Gressa Skin all the more beautiful. 

With many items to choose from, I have selected 3 that meet the demands of quality, multifunctionality, and efficacy. Let's take a look!

1. Renewing Polish

Starting with the basics of what a polish should do: exfoliate. Any dry skin should be effectively removed post treatment. Your skin should feel smooth, not rough or tight. Essentially, we are physically trying to slough off the dead skin. So, what makes this particular polish special? 

Clarify: When I see the word clarify, I think about the deep abyss that is my pores. I don't own one of those fancy magnifying mirrors because I would cry. But, I expect these pores to "feel" clean. I envision them looking like a squeaky clean crater without debris and stuff that will bloom into lovely pimples. I know that when I use this scrub on an area that feels suspicious of developing a pimple, two days later, the site is less inflamed. And, the suspicious little pimple never appears. 

Brighten: Now when we think of brightening, we generally think of reducing the color of something we don't want on our faces- acne scars, sun spots, or last night's poor sleep. You know your own face best, so when you see brightening after using a product, you look at yourself and think, "Whoa, selfie time!". It's an inner glow, outside glow, and wonderment of why I can't wake up like this every. day. In order to get this glow, though, generally, we need to use ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). 

I have sensitive skin and things that have ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) terrify me. Think: burn. However, ascorbic acid plays a vital role in collagen synthesis. It keeps our skin looking juicy and pinchable. Ascorbic acid may even prevent and treat UV-induced photodamage, however, the research in this claim is still quite limited. 

The ascorbic acid in this polish has not only brightened my skin after 1 use, but it has not produced any ill-effects that I use to fear. There is no burning, no sheets of skin falling off, and absolutely no pain post treatment. 

I will advise that those with sensitive skin should only use this as an exfoliator and not a full on leave-on mask as we just can't with the skin we have. Those with non-sensitive skin, mask-on for 10 minutes to reach the glorious glow! 

Moisturize: How can one polish do so many things? You would think after cleaning our your pores, sloughing off dead skin, then brightening your complexion, that your skin would look like printer paper- super clean, super bright, and probably dry. But, this polish leaves your skin feeling moisturized and that is a hefty claim coming from someone with dry skin! Thanks to the raw organic honey, us dry skin people no longer have to fear so much. 

In short, this Renewing Polish delivers Olympic Gold Medal style. To complete your spa face polish experience, you can bathe yourself in the mist and you will have the most glorious glow!

2. Lip Boost

Possibly my all time favorite makeup product (with Lumiere coming in close to first place) are the Gressa Skin Lip Boosts, specifically in the shade Radiant. I am a berry shade lover and this deep, luscious, berry shade is perfect for year-round. The vibrancy, comfort, and opacity of Radiant are out of this universe. 

When I spoke about how multipurpose Gressa's products are- this lip boost works amazing as a blush, also. I've used many "multipurpose" products in my lifetime and rarely do lip products work as blushes because it's either too creamy or pore clogging. Or, vice versa in that blush products are simply too drying on the lips. For someone who has dry skin and sensitive lips, these lip boosts have been a delight on my face. Some shades can even double as a "cream eye shadow" however, please consider possibly using a brush when applying especially if you are going to paint your whole face with this product (i.e., sanitation practices). 

3. Lumiere Luminous Complexion Fluid

My other all time favorite Gressa product is the absolute beautiful Lumiere complexion fluid. Just let the name roll off your tongue for a second! This is in the shade Elise which is a delicious coral-pink shade with the slightest hint of luminescence to make one glow like the beautiful Legolas from Lord of the Rings. The second shade available is Amelia that emits a true coral-orange perfect for all skin tones. 

I don't know how this product can be so beautiful. I honestly do not. You can use it for your cheeks and lips and even as an eyeshadow for those with the right kind of skin tone. Lumiere glides on similar to the Minimalist foundation as it also as broccoli seed oil, rosehip oil, seabuckthorn oil, CoEnzymeQ10, and a host of other ingredients that truly nourish, moisturize, and improve your skin with use over time. 

You can build this product up to your desired level of opacity or make it as sheer as you want for the most natural-from-within-glow that is only achievable with products that meld so perfectly with your skin, in your skin, and with the perfect amount of luminescence. 

I have to stress how easy these products are to use. If you know where parts of your face are without a mirror, you can easily use the lip boosts (or Lumiere) to tap-tap on your cheeks and lips. Then, given you know where your face is, you can also apply the serum foundation (while avoiding the eyes) as if you were applying lotion and walk away with a perfectly blended, fresh face. 

For the busy mom who has 5 minutes each morning to feel human, for the makeup artist who needs high-def makeup with multifunctional properties for happy clients, or for the makeup enthusiast who just needs all the makeup, Gressa Skin comes highly recommended and rigorously tested by a busy mom, the makeup artist, and makeup enthusiast. I wholeheartedly hope you enjoy Gressa Skin if you are currently using this line and I invite you to check it out if you have not yet- it'll be one of the best beauty decisions you'll ever make!

Review and photos by Kate Myer.

***Shop GRESSA here!


REVIEW ::: Strange Invisible Perfumes September 05, 2016 17:02

Magazine Street by Strange Invisible Perfumes

 

Of the five senses, I think that scent has the truly unique capability to transport a person back in time to remember events from the past in such incredibly rich detail. For example, the smell of certain foods take me straight back to the simpler times of childhood. The smell of leather and horses remind me of summers spent on my aunt’s small country property in Texas, where I would ride daily and spend every waking, sun-lit moment outdoors, exploring all that nature has to offer. Fragrance draws people in closer, and also has the power to make me feel more confident, sexy, and perhaps, even a bit mysterious.

When transitioning from conventional products to more natural ones, I read that synthetic fragrance (perfume) has the potential to act as an endocrine disruptor, which is definitely something that I wanted to avoid. As such, one of the first items for me to replace was my perfume. My mother, who doesn’t mind conventional products, “inherited” all of my high-end perfumes. Though I was sad to see these go, I knew that there were better choices available to me. Initially, I used essential oil blends diluted in carrier oils to add some natural fragrance to my pulse points. However, I am not, nor have I ever claimed to be, a perfumer or an aroma therapist! Though the scents I created with my essential oil collection were lovely, they tended to lack a certain depth and allure, which I was accustomed to having in professionally made fragrances. What was a new Green Beauty aficionado to do?! Well, take to Instagram and see what my favorite Green Beauty blogging mavens had to say about the matter!

Through my Instagram “research” I discovered a brand called Strange Invisible perfumes, which are expertly blended by Alexandra Balahoutis. These perfumes, made in California, sounded exquisite. I was particularly intrigued by the description of Magazine Street, which the Strange Invisible website described as “an opulent perfume inspired by New Orleans…. Vanilla, vetiver, magnolia, and botanical musk conjure lush gardens wild with history and balconies of black iron lace.” As someone with a deep love of history who hails from the south, with family ties in New Orleans, I knew that I had to smell this perfume. Luckily, through a bit more internet delving, I discovered Bergamot Beauty, a locally curated selection of natural beauty products, including Strange Invisible perfumes. I reached out to Salwa, the owner of Bergamot Beauty, and scheduled a time to meet her and experience, first hand, the beauty that is a Strange Invisible perfume.

Now, please allow me to address the proverbial “elephant in the room”: as a graduate student on a graduate student budget, this perfume is what I would consider rather expensive at $265 per 1.7 ounce bottle. My old Chanel perfumes were more in the range of $100, to put this into comparison. However, I knew that I did not want to return to conventional perfumes made with synthetic chemical fragrances that could potentially disrupt my endocrine system. I also knew that I wanted an intelligently crafted, beautiful, natural perfume - one that when I wear it, I feel an added boost of confidence, an extra sexy allure. Well, Magazine Street met all of these requirements, and more. Written words cannot adequately convey how exquisite Strange Invisible perfumes smell. Alexandra Balahoutis’ deft hand in blending natural fragrances is unparalleled in my experience. Of the entire Strange Invisible collection, there was not a single fragrance that I did not enjoy and I quickly realized that selecting a personal fragrance would be much more difficult to do than I had anticipated! I asked Salwa for her opinion, and she advised me to select the perfume that really seemed to resonate with me. As I had been so initially intrigued by Magazine Street, and because its fragrant notes were exceptionally well balanced and nuanced, I decided to purchase the full size of Magazine Street. Every day that I wear it I feel a bit more confident and have a spring in my step. Very often when I am in public, complete strangers approach me to comment on how incredible I smell. Notably, not a single person has ever asked “what perfume I am wearing.” I think that, intuitively, these people recognize that what I am wearing is completely different than the conventional perfume products which flood the market. I’ve made it my habit to tell these kind strangers about both Bergamot Beauty and Strange Invisible perfumes, because I believe that the Strange Invisible perfumes are the intelligent, well-crafted, artisan answer to a market that is flooded with products that I consider to be a bit lackluster.

Review and photo by Lacy Benoit.

***Shop our collection of Strange Invisible Perfumes here!


REVIEW ::: Aria Nighttime Cell Recovery Treatment by La Bella Figura May 28, 2016 10:54

Packaging: Aria is encased in snow-white glass that has crisp silver lettering and a silver cap. The bottle has a pump dispenser so that the precious drops are never spilled or wasted.

Texture: Aria is a fairly light to medium viscosity oil; because it is added to your facial oil or moisturizer du jour, it will not feel weighty on the skin, and is very breathable, overall. I love that this treatment sinks in very quickly, which is especially important to me, as I have rather oily skin.

Scent: Wow! Where to even begin? To me, Aria smells fresh, clean, faintly floral, with traces of herb. It is an intoxicating smell and I pay special attention to inhale deeply each time I apply this wonderful treatment.

Efficacy & Overall Thoughts: Though I am only turning 31 next month, I believe that prevention is the best policy when dealing with fine lines and wrinkles. In addition to using a sunscreen daily, I have added Aria into my skincare arsenal to help address and prevent premature signs of aging, as I want to make my own aging process as graceful as I can, while recognizing that this process is actually a privilege that many are denied. Though I do not have many noticeable fine lines (yet!) I wanted to invest in Aria to keep these at bay for as long as possible. So far, the most significant difference that I have noticed while using Aria is that my skin seems much more vibrant than it previously did. I struggle with congestion and adult acne, and Aria seems to sooth any inflammation that I may be experiencing. This oil is one of the most effective treatments I have tried, and it is truly a game changing product for your skin.

Description: Aria is a sophisticated and elegant nighttime skin regenerative elixir which transforms lackluster skin while you sleep. Our potent blend of exquisite phytonutrients and phospholpids from truly raw, unrefined plant material forms bio-layers that protect and revitalize dying cells speeding turnover and recovery for an energized and youthful complexion. Aging skin is more vulnerable to skin injury due to the loss of subcutaneous fat in the connective issue and can appear thin and fragile. Aria provides nutritional support to this skin type accelerating cell renewal from unique healing compounds found in saffron, helichrysum and arnica flower oils. Vital antioxidants and prooxidants (coenzyme Q10, ellagic acid, Vitamins C, E and K) in the purest form are bioactive in this complex formula boosting support from inside the cell encouraging new, healthy growth. Three opulent drops massaged into skin is all you need to recharge the complexion for glorious radiance.

Suggested use: After cleansing my face before going to bed, I enjoy using this in combination with either La Bella Figura’s Barbary Fig Renewal Serum, and/or their Crema Virtuosa. Using an anointing dish, I carefully add two to three drops of this potent treatment to my oil or moisturizer, then apply to my face and décolleté. After application, I mist with Jardin de Fleurs Skin Revitalizer and massage gently to ensure that Aria sinks in completely.

Size & Price: $175 for 1 ounce

Because Aria is so concentrated, and because one only needs to use two to three *drops* per use, rather than pumps, this is really quite a reasonably priced product, which is something that I factored into my decision to purchase, as I am a graduate student living on a very fixed (and meager!) income. Overall, please do not hesitate trying this oil, especially if this hesitation is based on price.

Ingredients: Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil*, Camellia Olifera, (Camellia) Seed Oil*, Daucus Carota (Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Carrot) Seed Oil, Passiflora Incarnata (Maracuja) Seed Oil**, Amaranth Caudatus (Amaranth) Seed CO2 Oil, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed CO2 Oil*, Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Seed Oil, Olea Europea (Sicilian Extra Virgin Olive) Oil*, Opuntia Ficus Indica (Barbary Fig) Seed Oil*, Pouteria Sapota (Mamey Sapote) Oil**, Coffea Arabica (Green Coffee Bean) Oil, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Oil**, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Seed Oil, Rosa Damascena (Rose Otto) Flower Oil, Crocus Sativus (Saffron) Flower Oil CO2, Citrus Paradisi (Pink Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Arnica Montana (Arnica) Flower Oil, Aspalathus Linearis (Roobois) Absolute, Helichrysum Italicum (Helichrysum) Flower Oil

REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY LACY BENOIT.  

***Shop La Bella Figura here!


REVIEW ::: Cleanser Concentrate by KYPRIS May 22, 2016 23:27

Initial Impressions: I really enjoy the feel of this gentle-yet-effective cleanser. It glides easily across my damp skin and leaves me thoroughly cleansed, but not stripped of moisture. The scent is delicate and refreshing and I quite like it. Overall, this is a very luxurious cleanser and I cannot wait to see how my skin responds to it with daily use. Stay tuned for updates regarding my experience with this magical cleanser.

Packaging: The packaging for this product is GORGEOUS and reminds me of The Great Gatsby and the Roaring 20s – an era when art deco ruled the scene and the women wore gilded fringe dresses! The container is frosted glass with crisp gold accents. Very luxurious and would look gorgeous on the most fashionable of vanities.

Size & Price: $64 for 46 ml (or $1.07 per wash, making this very reasonable, especially considering the quality of ingredients) ~ When using a pearl-size amount of product, as directed, this should last for approximately 60 days of cleansing (120 washes if used twice a day).

Texture: The texture is a lightweight gel-lotion that easily spreads over the delicate facial skin. This is a non-foaming cleanser, making it perfect for sensitive skin.

Scent: Imagine the most delicate of floral rose scents - that would capture how lovely this treat smells. The scent is *very* light and fresh. People with “sensitive sniffers” should still enjoy this subtle-smelling cleanser.

Efficacy: This is a gently effective cleanser that works well to remove daily impurities and dissolve congestion. For me, this would work best as a second cleanse, or morning cleanse.

Suggested use: With clean hands, apply a pearl-sized amount of cleanser over damp skin. Massage gently and rinse with lukewarm water. Use both am and pm to take off the day.

Ingredients

Water/Aqua, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Cetearyl Olivate, Shea Butter Ethyl Esters, Moringa Glucoside*, Sorbitan Olivate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Sodium PCA, Glyceryl Caprylate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Extract, Algae, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice, Opuntia Ficus-Indica (Prickly Pear) Seed Oil, Moringa Oleifera (Moringa) Seed Oil, Adansonia Digitata (Baobab) Seed Oil, Asiaticoside, Ceramide NP, Lauroyl Lysine, Lecithin, Sclerotium Gum, Phytosterols, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Squalane (Olive), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Leaf / Flower Oil, Santalum Spicatum (Sandalwood) Wood Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Oil, Tanacetum Annuum (Blue Tansy) Flower Oil, Chamomilla Recutita Matricaria (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Oleic/Linoleic/Linolenic Polyglycerides, Bisabolol, Citric Acid

REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY LACY BENOIT.  

***Shop KYPRIS' new Cleanser Concentrate here!


REVIEW :: Inflorescence Body Elixir by KYPRIS May 06, 2016 09:12

We are so excited to introduce Lacy Benoit as a contributor to Bergamot Beauty!  Lacy is a Portland transplant who loves cooking, reading, baths, and incense.  A 4th year doctoral student in psychology, she spends her times studying and working as a therapist with others to help them live an enjoyable life.  Her favorite food is mint chocolate chip ice cream.  And she happens to be a huge advocate of skin and self care!  Welcome Lacy!!!

Her first contribution is this review of KYPRIS' gorgeous Inflorescence Body Elixir, a Bergamot favorite.  This body oil will truly help transform your skin.  Read on below for Lacy's review!  

Kypris is a brand that is quite well-known in the green beauty community as one who sources quality ingredients to make truly natural, effective skincare. As such, when I heard that Kypris formulated a body oil, I knew that I had to try it, as I am already a fan of their Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet, and their Moonlight Catalyst. I had previously smelled a sample of this intoxicating oil, so when Salwa of Bergamot Beauty offered to gift me this product for review, I was thrilled and did not hesitate to agree!

Initial Impressions:

  • First, the packaging of this product is divine. Embossed gold lettering on ivory paper sets the tone for a product that is truly luxurious. 

Size & Price:

  • $95 for 100 ml

Texture:

  • This oil is like liquid velvet. It is so soft and fluid. Truly magical. Neroli if one of the most precious essential oils on earth - that, and the fact that the oil is made with carriers that are typically reserved for skincare, make it well worth the $95 price.

Scent

  • An absolutely delightful, subtle scent of neroli and sweet orange (both sun-safe). Though wonderful year round, this oil is perfect for spring. The scent is not overpowering at all, and would layer well with other products in the same citrus/floral family. Also wonderful as a stand alone product.

Efficacy

  • This product really works well to moisturize my chronically dry skin, especially my legs. The scent is calming and soothing – very much an aroma therapeutic experience.

Suggested use

  • I like to apply this product immediately following a bath or shower, on wet skin, as this helps the oil sink in beautifully, and I’m left with a non-greasy, nurturing feel.

Full ingredient list:

Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Moringa Oleifera (Moringa) Seed Oil, Calophyllum Inophylum (Tamanu) Seed Oil, Opuntia Engelmanii (Prickly Pear) Seed Oil, Trichilia Emetica (Mafura) Seed Butter, Iris Pallida (Sweet Iris) Leaf Cell Extract, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Oil, Citrus Sinesis (Orange) Peel Extract, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Tocopherol (Non GMO), Citric Acid 

Shop KYPRIS here!


Meet Sheri Stroh!!! March 10, 2016 08:08

We have been HUGE fans of makeup artist Sheri Stroh for a long, long time and we are absolutely thrilled to share our interview with this fantastic and inspiring woman. Not only is her work unbelievably beautiful (we gasp at EVERY photo we see), but she is also incredibly kind, thoughtful, and inspiring.  So without further ado (because we could go on gushing!), we offer you a glimpse into the beauty that is Sheri Stroh. 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Why did you decide to become a makeup artist?

~ I have been a make-up and hair artist for 15 years and always loved make-up as a little girl. Sounds so cliche, but it's true and although my mother wasn't much into it, my grandmothers were both lovers of makeup and I always used to use theirs while locking myself in the bathroom haha! No clue why I became so fascinated with beauty products, but I was hooked at an early age and being a competitive dancer only fueled it even more; I knew how to apply false lashes by the time I was 12 haha.

Why did you start working with organic beauty products? Do you feel that more and more people in the industry are using organic products? Are there challenges to using them as a makeup artist?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
~ I started to get into natural products, or at least become interested in them back in 2009 when I read the book Not Just Another Pretty Face, it was really eye-opening to me and since I was already changing the way I thought about food and medications (coming from a childhood of processed foods and going to the doctor for every little thing), I figured I should take a look into what I'm actually putting on myself as well. Products back then were not that fabulous though, we had a lot of mineral lines and kind of hippy-dippy lines with formulas that were off texture and colour, skin care was fine, but make-up was lacking, both personal and professional. Times have really changed and I find there are tons of lines I can use on celebrity clients and models for photo shoots, press junkets, television appearances and red carpet that perform and hold up just as well as conventional brands.                                                                                      
I wouldn't say that more people are using more organic and natural lines in my profession, but I would definitely say that there is a tremendous interest in them now, something that I have never seen before. Now that I am becoming known for my love of green beauty, clients, models, actresses and photographers, to name a few, are seeking me out for recommendations as are quite a few publications. This, of course, makes me very VERY happy! People are starting to realize what they are putting on their bodies can have the same effect as what they put in their bodies (and they are also realizing the environmental impact on the planet as well) so they are very curious and when they find someone like me who is in the industry and uses these products, both personally and professionally, I think it gives them more confidence to try them out.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             There are definitely challenges, some have to do with the perception of what natural brands are capable of (a lot of people assume it's all tree bark and hemp, or just loose mineral powders that they may not want to deal with) and of course there are some tough products out there that are hard to replicate when it comes to longevity (not many, but a few). Mainly, these are eyeliners (both pencils and cream/gel versions and mascara). I have yet to find a gel liner that stands the test of time and most pencils are the same. If you are into touch-ups, you can get away with the more eco brands, but for me on set or for TV/red carpet, they really don't stand up. Mascaras I have had better luck with, there are some really great ones out there, but most women, especially celeb clients have their favourites and don't want to see mascara they do not actually 'know' in my kit. Also, the green mascara's I have tried that I use on myself are pretty pricey and since I go through so much mascara in my kit, I tend to stock up on drugstore mascara's that go on great and stay put.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Do you have a favorite makeup look? What's your favorite thing about doing makeup/your work?                                                                                                             
~ I just LOVE skin, I love beautiful, glowing, dewy skin, it's my absolute favourite and I am always happy to do that type of look for a shoot! Layering different products is key, and not using too much is also important (as is BLENDING!!!). Accentuating the positive, as opposed to all of that crazy contouring that is happening right now, is fresh and gorgeous and makes you stand out, not your makeup. I'm all for having fun, but I love balance and too much to me is just too much.                                                                     
My favourite thing about my work is making someone feel special. I am the first person a model, client, actress, singer etc. deals with in the morning and I set the tone, with my personality and my technique. If they are in a bad mood, I have to get them out of it, I have to make them feel comfortable and want to have their pictures taken. If they are tired I have to wake them up AND make them look wide awake. I have to know when to talk and when to shut up and I have to know when to appease them and when to use my own professional judgement on what will be best for them. If they look good, they feel good and we have a better shoot and get the best shots possible. I'm a bit of a mama-bear on set, I like to take care of who I am working with and I have to be in tune with how they are feeling throughout the day; are they hungry, do they need water, a break, are their feet hurting, is there a bobby pin sticking them in the head, do they need a touch up etc. Makeup artists are there to do makeup, but we have so much more to deal with and I really do enjoy that part of my job.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Can you share a little bit about your beauty and wellness routine? Any tips you'd like to share?                                                                                                                        

~ I try to eat as well as I can, but I do like to treat myself too haha! Sometimes a little too much, but it's okay, I'm good with that. Water is also very important and I'm trying to keep myself as hydrated as possible as I can now really feel, and see, when I am dehydrated. I start my day with lemon and warm water every morning, a huge mug of it (I drink it through a stainless steel straw to protect my teeth). My diet is mainly all whole foods (sometimes it can depend on my job and what we are fed haha) and I do local and organic whenever possible for sure. There are some very important supplements that I take, recommended to me by my naturopath (probiotics, DIM, fish oil, curcumin, vit D), to deal with certain health issues and to maintain overall health. When it comes to exercise, I have to admit, I absolutely cannot stand gyms (although I still have a membership to one so this is a reminder to finally CANCEL!); I grew up very active playing volleyball, doing gymnastics and competitive dance and track and field so I get completely bored at a gym where I feel like it is work and not fun. My ideal workouts now are tennis, hiking, rock climbing, yoga and pilaties (and I still love dancing around and I can easily do body-weight exercises at home). I would really like to incorporate infrared saunas into my life and for once I would love to meditate (I find I get so scattered and distracted that it is so difficult to accomplish on my own lol). Sleep is also a big factor and I really try to get more of that now that I am older, wiser and realize the benefits of sleep and melatonin production (among other things).

What do you like to do to relax? What inspires you? 

~ When I need to relax, I hang out with my husband and lose myself in a really great show, or I hang out with friends that I haven't seen for a while, or we go for a hike or I have a small nap to rejuvenate. Sometimes I clean or read magazines or a book for a bit, and sometimes I get out of the house and walk downtown to just get some fresh air. As mentioned before, I would love to get into meditation, I know it would benefit me greatly because my job is so busy and social (not to mention the social media aspect of it now too) and I am a commuter too and can spend too much time in my car sometimes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Everything inspires me, it is difficult to really narrow this down as different 'things' inspire me for different reasons and causes. Nature, art, other make-up artists, scientists, explorers, volunteers, kind people, smiles, animals, my friends, family, husband, survivors, architecture......the random list goes on and on.                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What's your favorite book? Are you reading anything good right now?
~ When not distracted (haha!) I am trying to finish "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and "Skin Cleanse" (I have basically finished Skin Cleanse and now trying to find the perfect time to try Adina's detox (IS THERE A PERFECT TIME? LOL!).                                
Thank you so much Sheri for sharing your story with us!  And readers, you can see Sheri's amazing work on Instagram @sheristroh.