Is La Mer worth the $2,000 price tag?

There are a plethora of creams and skin care products on the market that register at an obscene price per ounce. La Mer being one of the most recognizable, pricing anywhere from $85 to $2,000. That is a whole lot of money for a cream! But is it worth it?

Typically, no. In fact, some of these extraordinarily expensive creams have the highest toxicity levels. La Mer cream registers a 9 in toxicity containing chemicals that affect the  developmental and reproductive organs (Think Dirty App). Culprits such as fragrance, petrolatum (petroleum jelly), zinc gluconate, methylchloroisothiazolinone, and methylisothiazolinone are found in this $2,000 per 16.9 oz cream. Not exactly what I would want to smear over my face for such a hefty price tag.

However, the lifting intensifier spray is registered as a 4  on the EWG’s Skin Deep database. The toxin, propylparaben, is found in the product causing the rating to go up a bit but still not as harmful as the cream. The highest risk is endocrine disruption. But don’t worry it only costs a cool $170.

My experience? Just because they are expensive, doesn’t always mean they are healthy for you. Certain organic, and natural products are pricier but often range around $30-$60. For these products, companies use better ingredients without preservatives. Anything $100 and above, I begin to question the quality and if it is worth the price tag.

What are you thoughts and opinions? Do you use products with hefty price tags?


“LA MER THE LIFTING INTENSIFIER (2007 Formulation).” || Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 July 2015. <>.

“Think Dirty App.” Think Dirty. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 July 2015. <>.

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Fresh Summer Look with Tarte


The summer heat is wonderful for BBQ’s and pool days, but not so great for our makeup. Overhearing constant complaints of eyeliner running and foundation not staying in place, I figured why not talk about makeup that will last even on the hottest days. Using Tarte makeup, I created a beautiful, fresh, summer look.



tarte makeup

Always begin with clean skin. Before bed, I make sure my makeup is completely washed away from the day. Not only is it healthy for your skin, but the products you place on will last longer and will be more effective! Microcleansers, such as Clinique Sonic Purifying brush, are wonderful tools to assure all the gunk is gone. Once with a clean face, begin by adding a sunscreen moisturizer. I love Tartegaurd all natural sunscreen with SPF 30. It is light and absorbent. If you are in the sun for hours on end, make sure to reapply your sunscreen in order to keep your face protected and free from premature aging.

Next select either a BB cream or light foundation. My go to is Tarte amazonian clay foundation in light sand. This stuff stays for the whole day without wearing off. It is also easy to apply, especially with the soft moisturizer from Tartegaurd. I have been wearing this specific foundation for nearly three years.

Adding a kiss of blush or bronzer will help give your cheeks a little summer pop while not weighing down your fresh look. Here I am using the Thrilled Tarte blush. I also love Park Avenue Princess bronzer to highlight and contrast. I recommend using one or the other to perfect your clean summer look.

For a day look, I added a light pink LipSurgence called Wishful. It is the perfect color without being overly dramatic. I also love lip stains for summer becuase they are less likely to melt off in the humidity and heat. If you are heading out for the night, I love Tarte’s eyeliner called emphasEYES and a swipe of Gifted mascara. The mascara especially really opens up my eyes and elongates my lashes. Plus, it has never clumped on my lashes before! I believe that is a miracle.

There you have it! The perfect, stay-still, summer look. What are you tips and tricks when it comes to makeup that lasts? Let me know in the comments below.

Feel free to shop the post using the rewardStyle widget:

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Pura D’or Hair Care Review

My mom always told me that with great hair and nice shoes you can do anything. It didn’t take long into my 20’s to realize how right she was. Like with many products, the haircare industry is hard to navigate. Many shampoos and conditioners say they are healthy, nourishing, and replenishing, yet are loaded with toxic chemicals like Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Parabens. Which is why I was super grateful when Pura D’or, an  organic and natural hair care line, reached out. I am constantly looking for products that actually take care of my hair and health at the same time. When I receive a few gigantic size bottles of Pura D’or products, I could hardly wait to step in the shower and give them a whirl.

healthy hair pura d'or


What I received:

Pura D’or Hair Loss Prevention Therapy Shampoo

Pura D’or Healing Conditioner

Pura D’or Argan Oil

What I Experienced:

Starting with the shampoo, I was amazed by the very unique smell. It is invigorating and refreshing! There are cedarwood and lemon scents to it, which I appreciate after using so many floral and fruity fragrance shampoos. This one stuck out.

The conditioner has a soothing scent of cocoa butter and the consistency is very thick. I didn’t need much of the product to cover all of my hair, and I have a lot of hair! It consists of a rich texture and full of moisture. The quality is impeccable.

The argan oil is 100% oil, not watered down at all! This is the real deal. For that reason, again, I didn’t need too much for it to make a difference. I used the oil for styling and as a heat protected when flat ironing my hair. It worked beautifully.

pura dor

healthy hair products

The Ingredients:

All of Pura D’or products are free from SLS, Parabens, and chemical preservatives. The Argan Oil is USDA Organic certified and only consists of organic Argan kern from Morocco. It is registered as a 1 (very low) on the Think Dirty App for toxicity. An excellent and healthy product.

As for the Shampoo, the ingredients are derived from non-GMO products. I really appreciated that there are no use of fragrances and that each listed ingredient had a thorough explanation of what it is. Most of the ingredients registered as a 0-2 in the EWG’s Skin Deep database with the exception of the following:

Cocamidopropyl Betaine- (4) fair data reporting concerns of allergies and immunotoxicity

Zinc Pyrithione- (3) limited data reporting concerns of allergies and of toxicity

Phenoxyethanol- (4) limited data reporting concerns of allergies and of toxicity

The conditioner is 99% plant-based ingredients and no added fragrance once again! With fewer ingredients and each listing under a 2 rating in the EWG’s database, this is an incredibly conditioner.

Overall, Pura D’or is a wonderful choice for a healthy hair care solution. I love the smell, the texture, and the way it has made my hair shine consistently this past week. If you have questions feel free to reach out or comment bellow!

“COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE.” || Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 June 2015. <>.

“PHENOXYETHANOL.” || Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 June 2015. <>.

“ZINC PYRITHIONE.” || Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 June 2015. <>.

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Are These Sunscreens Really Healthy?

Summer is here, and that means plenty of time in the sun. Protecting our skin is essential, but do you know some sunscreens can cause more problems than help? Even “natural” sunscreens contain elements that are pretty toxic.

So, I went straight to Sephora and bought the two highly advertised “healthy” sunscreens. Due to my reward points, I was able to obtain a free sample of a well-recognized healthy face sunscreen. Score! So, are these really toxic free? Here is what I discovered.



First is Coola, a sunscreen used by the popular Tone It Up girls, Karena and Katrina! I am initially drawn to the beautiful packaging and fun name. Marketed as a sunscreen that uses certified organic ingredients, I bought the unscented in SPF 50. I know well enough to avoid fragrance, and anything under 50 SPF is best. I would have purchased the lotion form if it were available, but Sephora only had the aerosol can.

The rest I went to EWGs Skin Deep database to learn more. I found my purchase was rated a 3 in toxicity while there were many others rated a 1 (considered a great rating in the database). The reason for concern is that there is an ingredient Octinoxate that may cause disruption in the endocrine, developmental and reproductive toxicity as well as other organ toxicity. The data on these concerns are limited, and the determination of how severe is still to be decided. Overall, a 3 is considered low exposure and much better than most sunscreens on the market.

From my personal use of the product, I discovered it left me feeling very sticky if I didn’t rub in the lotion properly. There is a shiny glaze, looking like I had put oil on my skin. I didn’t mind that as much, but some might be put off by the effect.

My personal opinion is that I would rather purchase the baby suncare that is listed as a 1 in toxicity in lotion form.


Next is Supergoop! I saw so many bloggers last year raving about this sunscreen and couldn’t wait to test it out for myself. On the can, it reads that it is non-aerosol and uses 35% less alcohol. It is infused with vitamins and antioxidants, which rarely means anything. I went straight to EWG to discover that it is chock full of toxins. Rated a 4, and considered moderate, it contained higher marked ingredients than Coola. Not only did it contain Octinoxate, but also alcohol, homoslate, octisalate to name a few. Most of these are used for skin absorption. The effects are for such ingredient may lead to cancer, reproductive disruption, and organ toxicity.

My personal experience is that I coughed each time spraying the solution on. It is pretty potent stuff. I also still felt like I was being burned from the sun on my shoulders even though I placed ample sunscreen on. Though a 4 is still better than most, I feel that if I am going to spend $20 on sunscreen I want better quality and a product that won’t cause me to cough when applying. To me, I will pass.



Lastly is the little sample I received of Tartegaurd. I was happy that it came in a lotion and is specifically for my face. The brand as a whole is known as a natural, paraben-free company. But what about their new sun care line?

Here is what I found. It is formulated without parabens, mineral oil, sodium laurel sulfate, and triclosan much like most of Tarte’s products. Since it is a new sunscreen, it is not on the EWG or Think Dirty database. So I looked up the rest of the ingredients one by one. Most inactive ingredients registered as a 0-1 (very low), with the exception of the following:

  • Polysorbate 20- (3 score) contaminant concern
  • Phenoxyethanol- (4 score) irritation
  • Propylene- (3 score) irritation
  • Fragrance- unknown ingredients

Active ingredients are:

  • Titanium dioxide- (1-3 score) May be carcinogenic if in aerosol form.
  • Zinc Oxide- (2-3 score)  might be linked to allergies, and occupational hazard when in aerosol.

Overall, this product contains low toxicity! I loved that if felt like lotion when applied. There was no stinging or irritation.

After all the research and testing, Tartegaurd is my personal favorite healthy sunscreen. Let me know if you have any toxic free favorites!


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Rain NYC Store & Product Review

Recently, I was fortunate to have been invited to the Rain NYC store located in 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Intrigued by their mission on using wild harvest ingredients, and promoting fair trade work, I was eagered to learn more! Exactly how invested are they in bringing natural products to consumers? Do they live up to their promises posted on their website? And what about quality and smell! Needless to say, I eagerly booked a date to go and find out all the answers to my questions.

Arriving at the infamous 30 Rock building, I quickly located the beautifully bright Rain store along the North Side of 49th street. Before even entering, I noticed the beautiful display of avocado shaped soaps and jars full of what I later discovered were “earth eggs”. I was immediately allured! I could have easily mistaken it for real food.

Rain NYC Store Review
I was greeted by this beautiful display.

Stepping through the heavy doors, I was immediately hit with all the calming scent of lavender. Wow, was it beautiful inside! Rows of fresh products organized so neatly. The manager for the day gave me a private tour of all Rain’s products. I was blown away as she explained how each oil is the perfect cure for different skin ailments. I noticed quickly that the products are grouped in themes. There is one whole section dedicated to honey bees, and another to wild cotton. There is a whole wall dedicated to pressed oils, and the middle section equipped with any type of soap you might ever need. I could spend all day in the store listening and learning about the ingredients.

Speaking of ingredients, how exactly do this products live up the to the organic way? Good question. On the Rain website, it states the company use ingredients grown naturally in Africa. There are no Parabens, petroleum jelly, mineral oil, liquid paraffin, or petroleum chemicals used in any other their products. I’d say that is off to a great start.

They also use local women who know how to harvest the fields to work for their company using fair trade wages. No child labor of any sort is involved. The fact that I loved discovering the most was how dedicated the company is in providing jobs, especially to women and the disabled. Low technology involvement and high labor are the root to their success. The quality of the products are extraordinary better due to it.

Rain Africa New York City Store Review
All sorts of bathtime fun.
Rain Africa product review and NYC Store
Rock shaped soaps!

Which brings me to quality and smell! The Rain NYC store sent me home with three deliciously smelling products to test and try for myself. All included the beautiful, relaxing lavender scent that I adore. The body scrub I received was very gentle to my skin yet got rid of dead skin. The body butter was super luxurious! It melts in your hands and is the most incredible feeling ever. It moisturizes even the driest part of my skin. The last item I receive was the artisan soap bar. I was most impressed on how long it lasted. Usually, bars of soap goes quickly, but this one lasted and left me feeling refreshed. Each included some sort of oil that helped nurture my skin.

Rain Africa Oil 100% natural
A wall dedicated to natural oils.
All natural baby products from Rain Africa NYC store
They even have a line of baby products.


How does it measure up in regard to the EWG’s Skin deep database? It is currently not on the database, but I am in talks with the company for a precise list of ingredients. The fact each product excludes parabens, petroleum jelly, mineral oil, liquid paraffin, or petroleum chemicals is a huge step above the rest of the products on the market. I also appreciate that the ingredients are organic due to the natural harvest method. I do wish to learn if any perfumes are added, or additive ingredients to create lathering effects.

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Unlisted Contaminant Linked To Cancer

Did you know the largest chemical contaminant in our personal care supply is not even listed on labels? Yes, you read that correctly. A contaminant so powerful that it has made the list of probable carcinogenic for the US environmental protective agency, a confirmed animal carcinogenic in the National Toxicology Program, listed in CA Prop 65 chemicals that could cause cancer, and banned in Canada… And yet it is not required to be listed on the label of our beauty products!

Say hello to 1,4-dioxane. It is a contaminant that occurs when a company decides to use a harsh chemical ingredient and tries to make it “less harsh” via a process called ethoxylation. Within ethoxylation, a chemical named ethylene oxide is used, this said chemical is also linked to breast cancer. So basically companies take a potent ingredient and make it even worse by using a carcinogenic to dilute the ingredients, which in turn creates a disruptive contaminant. Makes sense to you? It doesn’t make sense to me either.

Best part of this madness is that the FDA doesn’t require this process or the contamination to be listed in the label of ingredients. Making it entirely difficult to know if 1,4 -dioxane is in our products or not. But boy is it present. Environmental Workers Group have reported finding the contaminant in 46% of personal care products. Almost half the products we use has 1,4-dioxane.

How can we make sure we are not purchasing products that do not contain this contaminant? Here are are few tips:

  • It is most commonly found in products that produce foam or lather (so be most mindful of these products)
  • Look for and avoid products with the ingredient Sodium Laureth Sulfate. The -eth in Laureth indicates the process ethoxylation has been performed.
  • Similarly, avoid products with PEG compounds or ingredients with -xynol, -ceteareth, and -oleth
  • Certified USDA organic products do not allow the process of ethoxylation, and are the safest way of avoiding 1,4 dioxane
  • When in doubt check the product in the Skin Deep Database or Think Dirty App listed in the tools page.


“1,4-dioxane – Safe Cosmetics.” Safe Cosmetics. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 June 2015. <>.

“1,4-DIOXANE.” || Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 June 2015. <>.

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Let’s Talk Natural Beauty

After plenty of thoughtful and careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that there is a serious need for a blog that delivers accurate information on health and beauty for young women.

The government won’t do it, the 71 billion dollar beauty industry won’t do it. So I will.

So let’s talk beauty, shall we?


Our health is at risk. Grave, serious, detrimental risk. I keep hearing how more women are having tough times getting pregnant or diagnose with breast cancer. I have family members of my own struck with illnesses that seemingly came out of the blue. I, myself, have noticed my skin becoming more and more irritated by products breaking out in rashes and red bumps. At the age of 24 my gynecologist found a lump in my breast. Luckily it was a cyst, but why am I having to get scanned at such a young age? What is going on?

Take a look at what we are placing on our bodies and in our bodies and we have an answer.

Each day women on average are using 12 different personal care products- The Story of Stuff Project

In those twelve different products are chemicals such as lead, coal tar, talc, formaldehyde, parabens, toluene, and titanium dioxide to name a few. Never in my right mind would I assume that what I use to clean my hair or protect my skin from sun damage would actually harm me. Go ahead and take a look at your lipstick’s ingredients and see what you find. What are these chemicals and what are they doing in our cosmetics?

Shorthand answer? They are toxic to our health, yet incredibly cheap to produce.

So, I am on a new mission. I am willing to test “natural” products, shed light on misleading advertisement, and provide information that will guide in make healthier beauty choices. I have already added a few new helpful tools and answered common misconceptions. I am learning with you, so if you have advice or information to pass along send an email my way! I’d love to hear from you.

It is about time to take matters into our own hands. Let’s become educated, informed consumers. Let’s demand a change in the beauty industry and in the U.S. government.

Feel free to sign up for the weekly newsletter and follow along on social media for daily information.

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Can you believe these are not DESIGNER?

Designer duds are expensive. I know, I get it. As beautiful as they are, sometimes it is not practical, to throw down a thousand dollars every time you fall in love with a purse. Ah, the struggle is real!

But fear not, there is a way to get what you want and on any budget. And I am here to help! Using my eye for detail, I scouted for top designer looks that cost a fraction of the price. I went to Target, yes Target, to find these perfect matches that look identical to the real thing!

Flip through the slide show to see for yourself how to score the look for less. The first slide show is all the steals! While the second features the actual designer pieces that inspire each pick. You can choose where you want to splurge and save. Or just completely save on every piece!

Let me know in the comments below if this was helpful and something you would like to see more of in future posts!

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The Nékter Classic Cleanse Detox Review

The Nekter Juice Cleanse

When I arrived in California about two years ago, I would hear the phrase “juicing” over and over. I thought, “that’s strange, why is everyone taking steroids?” I am from New York, the only people who juice are athletes… illegally. So when I discovered that “juicing” is a juice cleanse consisting of veggies and fruits, I became relieved and bewildered. How can someone drink just juice for three days? And why would anyone want to do that?

Fast forward a year and a half later, and I accepted the juicing challenge . For three days I just drank juice using the Nékter Classic Cleanse detox. This is what happened.


It was right after Easter and I needed a change. I was tired of eating overly processed junk food, and felt sick looking at the family size bags of chocolates my mom gave me for the holiday. Up to this point, I had never done anything remotely like a juice cleanse, but I have tried a few juices and discovered they tasted pretty nice! Who would have thought something so green could taste delicious.

I figured if I really want to be serious about my health, which I did, then I have to get rid of all the junk inside first. I immediately placed all the chocolates in the freezer (no way I could throw them out just yet), and made a trek down to my local Nékter Juice Bar. The only reason why I went with this company was 1) convenience 2) the juice packages were on sale.

Nékter Classic Cleanse juice detox cleanse


I bought one of Nékter’s super lime green thermal bags filled with six different juices, numbered and labeled. A small brochure was inside explaining what to expect and how to use the package I just bought.

Getting home I opened up bottle number one, a green mixture of apple,cucumber, kale, spinach, celery, mint and lime. Drinking it I thought, “Well, this shouldn’t be too bad.” Famous last words.

It wasn’t until the late afternoon that my body started craving solid food. I was hungry, foggy, and craving everything that I had consumed in the last 72 hours. It was as if my cell’s were reminding me my last meals as they detoxify. It was weird.

I drank bottle, 2,3,4,5 of the Nékter Classic Cleanse with ease, allowing 2 hours in between each bottle. I loved the lemon, agave, and cayenne pepper drink the most. It was super refreshing. It might also be because I love the taste of lemons. Drink number 6 was the hardest one to consume. It was vanilla cashew milk, and it was disgusting! I love cashews, but apparently not blended. And I hate vanilla. I was so looking forward to this last drink too after having all fruits and veggies all day. Alas, I plugged my nose and took big gulps to get it down. The only plus was it did fill me up substantially, and I slept like a baby that evening.

Nékter Classic Cleanse juice detox cleanse


The next morning, I got up and literally said out loud “Ha Ha. Well, I am never doing that again.” The first day was hard, and I had no interest in returning to Nékter to buy a second round of juices. As I went to prepare breakfast, I realized the milk in my fridge had spoiled. As I began lacing up my shoes, the most bizarre thing happened. I began craving some of that green juice!

Before I knew it, I had another lime green bag in my hand, and I was on day two. Day two wasn’t as bad as the first day. I had a better idea of what to expect. The hunger pains weren’t as horrific. I was still pretty foggy, which came out in my work. I submitted a writing project that was completely rejected and asked for plenty revisions. But, I made it through the day and evening just fine.

Nékter Classic Cleanse juice detox cleanse


There was no question about doing day three, mainly because I spent the money and invested in this detox I might as well go all the way. I was rather proud to be picking up my third and last lime green bag of the Nékter Classic Cleanse detox. I announced that this was my last day. The cashier said congrats, and I waved goodbye.

Things seemed to be going really well, had an easy time getting the juices down, didn’t feel as hungry. I did nibble on a few almonds, which in the pamphlet said was allowed. I met up with my cousin for quality time and was actually even able to hold a conversation. The fog was starting to lift.

The only complaint I had was that when I reached for the sixth bottle, the nasty cashew drink, I noticed that this time it was spoiled! It smelled rotten and was a yellowish color. I decided to toss it out and go to sleep. I was officially done with the cleanse!

Nékter Classic Cleanse juice detox cleanse


  • The detox really did get EVERYTHING out of my system
  • It tasted great (except for drink 6)
  • It was affordable
  • It jump-started my healthy eating habits
  • It caused me to look at food in a whole new light

I would have never thought that a simple three-day detox would change my perspective of food as much as it has. It opened up my eyes to realize how much crap we as a nation put into our bodies daily, AND we think it is normal! It made me realize how completely unnecessary a double bacon cheeseburger is. I realized how bombarded we are as a whole with media advertisement of fast food, unhealthy eating, quick fix unnatural dieting tactics. This detox drastically showed me how much better homemade, whole foods are for my body. The process of transitioning into a better eating plan was so much easier because of detoxing first. It truly reboot my whole system, mind, body and soul.


  • Check the bottles before buying to makes sure they aren’t spoiled.
  • Drink plenty of water! It helps with the detox process.
  • If you need to eat almonds or veggies, just do it. It will help you get through the process without completely giving up.
  • Use a pre-planed prepackaged juice cleanse to start. I had no clue what I was doing, so having it together for me was perfect.
  • As always, check with a doctor or a nutritionist before doing anything!

Stay tuned! It has been six months since I last did a detox, and I am ready for the next cycle. This time I am making my own juices and lasting a few days longer!

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