It occurred to me that writing in-depth reviews takes me weeks to research and test out, but then I never fill you in on what I’m actually using/trying out right now. So in a mighty effort at brevity, I bring you: “The Edit.” Though I tried hopelessly to keep the list down to five, I found that to be impossible. As it is, these mentions are by no means complete. It’s scary, but I’m using many other products that will be reserved for future roundups.

(See FTC required disclaimer below.)

Why we can't help raving about Maya ChiaMaya Chia—The Super Couple, $85

Maya Chia gifted me this much-lauded serum at Elev8, and it was love at first use. I’m not kidding, this stuff is going to be my go-to summer serum. The instant love stemmed from its immediate and greaseless ability to sink into my skin and a scent that’s as comforting as a field of chamomile, jasmine, lavender, carrot seed oil, frankincense, and sandalwood blended with other treasured plants. The base is comprised of skin protecting omega 3’s thanks to the supercritical chia seeds that have been extracted using a proprietary method that preserves their nutrient integrity. Chia seeds are, in fact, the hallmark of this new arrival. But what I’m loving for summer is the inclusion of astaxanthin, clinically proven to have 65X the strength of Vitamin C to fight free radicals and protect skin from losing resiliency, that takes this serum over-the-top fabulous. As a layer under other skincare, this is an absolute must. In addition to its quick absorption, it does not break me out, and my skin is looking pretty darn terrific if I dare say it (and I rarely can say that!). The price point for such an efficacious serum is great considering that comparable serums often cost a lot more. I’m hooked.

The surprisingly effective Kosmatology Pain StickKosmatology WOD AID Pain Stick, $17.99

This works! Even though I didn’t have high expectations of this pain stick, when I applied it to my temples during a headache, I could feel instant and surprising relief thanks to the menthol, shea butter, white willow bark, and rosemary. While the headache didn’t vanish completely, it still felt good to massage this into my temples and neck. I’ve used on my kids and they experienced good results with no irritation either. It’s a keeper in my arsenal of pain-relieving treatments.

Two deos that work!Lone Deodorant Stick, $10.50 + Agent Nateur No. 3, $19

Yes, I’ve been testing out two deodorant sticks (sometimes one on each side) so that I can compare how they work on me. Both of these are passing the sniff test remarkably well. At first I didn’t think that the Lone Deo was working, but after I contacted the lovely small company to let them know that I was stinky by day’s end, their shock prompted me to try it again. For some reason, round two worked! I find it odd myself but that’s really what happened. For anyone who can’t use baking soda, this one harnesses the deodorizing power of Dead Sea Salts to banish odor and detoxify the pits. Agent Nateur is loved by Josh Rosebrook too, so it’s clear that men and women can use it and love it. Plus the stick is sleek. Two more natural deos in the bag! However, now that the weather is getting warmer, I’ll have to re-test because the effectiveness can change.

A favorite foundation rediscoveredSappho Foundation (in Rachel), $52, and Oval Buffing Foundation Brush, $30

After Plein Vanity reminded me how awesome this foundation is, I went back to using it and am totally loving it too. I ended up buying the brush which looks and functions similarly to the Artis Brush on Net-A-Porter. The coverage is more hydrating and less opaque than NU Evolution (though NU Evolution foundation is a GREAT option for oilier gals who want full, matte coverage that lasts). The fluid definitely evens my complexion and wears well without flaking or vanishing during the day. The brush makes application smooth and even, so I’m enjoying it thoroughly and would totally recommend using it to apply the foundation and blend it in. I love how creamy, light, and cooling the Sappho foundation feels going on. That’s due to the antioxidant and skin benefiting ingredients like aloe leaf juice (first ingredient!), jojoba oil, green tea, neem, and carrot seed oil (which I’m a bit obsessed with at the moment). It comes in eight colors to suit a variety of skin tones including darker complexions.

Hynt Beauty mascara

Hynt Beauty Nocturne Mascara, $24

Hands down one of the best mascaras I’ve tried to date. It’s all thanks to a review by Janny over at Janny: Organically. who rated it an A+ on her epic mascara list. It was in my shopping cart within seconds. When I need long, lush lashes that don’t budge (and who doesn’t?), I reach for Hynt because it stays put. The only time I get any smudging is when I use an eyeliner and the eyeliner smudges, especially if I’m wearing an oilier eye serum. It happily joins my six other favorites.

plume full shot copy

Plume Science—Lash & Brow Serum, formerly NuvaLash, $95

I’ve tried non-natural lash enhancing formulas before trying Plume, and inevitably they caused an infection on my eye. Not so with Plume. I’ve been fairly diligent about applying this serum to the base of my top and bottom lashes every morning and every night for the last few months and my lashes are looking lush and long. If I’m not imagining it—and I don’t think I am—I may be seeing the beginnings of growth in one sparse area in my lower lashes. That is certainly promising! Overall, I’m thrilled with the results and look forward to more from this young company (I met the founders at Credo Beauty’s store opening and they are the nicest couple ever).

bottega organica overnight renewal + eye illuminate

Bottega Organica Overnight Renewal Cream with French Lilac & Neroli, $165

+ Bottega Organica Eye Illuminate, $145

Expensive? Heck yes! Worth it? Oh my gosh yes! I’ve been hooked on a tiny sample of Eye Illuminate since last summer. I don’t care that it’s long past the due date (though don’t take this advice from me because those expiry dates are there to protect us from exposure to mold and other bacteria). I’m recklessly in love with this cream and never want my supply to finish. After the awesome Eco Diva Beauty offered to send me some goodies from Bottega Organica, I knew that I wanted the full size AND to try more (read: anything!) created by this elegant line. My skin is responding incredibly well to these creams. I find that the Renewal Cream absorbs faster than the Eye Illuminate so I reserve both for night time use, since the texture of the eye cream is a bit heavier than I need under makeup. However, at night, the creams allow my skin to breathe and to replenish, while harnessing the line’s signature ingredient: prawn sage, proven to arrest cellular aging in scientific studies. What they’re doing for me is visibly smoothing my skin. I wake up to a refreshed and hydrated glow. I’ve cut out using a serum at night in order to thoroughly test these and my pores are looking clearer too. Oilier skin may not love the Bottega Organica line as sometimes there’s a bit of a waxy after-feel, but these two are working incredibly well for me. My sensitive skin can feel the difference.

Have you tried any of these? Which ones do you want to dig into? Let me know in the comments! I read them all.

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