We SAID: Spring Detox

Staff Writer

Spring has sprung and we’re all busy cleaning up homes, phones, and emails (no really, there’s an app for that), but what about bodies? Beyond getting ready for summer with a renewed fervor for the local gym, some of us are headed back to the sauna for a good old fashioned detox.


Note that all saunas are not created equal. There’s a difference between heating coils in the corner of a wooden box, and being completely surrounded by infrared heating panels. Enter Sweatheory in Hollywood. If the surroundings look familiar, it’s because they are. Formerly Sweat Shop LA… then Cedarhouse… Sweatheory is the latest (and perhaps final) incarnation of this urban day-spa. It’s been through one heck of an upgrade, with an expanded retail space and even an infrared yoga studio.

What’s special about this place is the manner in which you can customize your sweat, at a very attractive price point. The rooms are private (and yours for up to an hour), and contain a sauna, shower and a full length mirror (for post-sweat selfies). There are towels and toiletries and even a fluffy bathrobe to complete the urban spa experience. Your base experience will run about $35. You can sweat alone, or with a friend (some saunas are large enough for two people) and add all manner of cayenne, minerals, and even music to your sweat experience.

And once you’re done, it’s just a few steps next door to Life Food Organic, which serves everything from fresh made salads to customized smoothies and desserts. In between sips of organic wheatgrass and ginger shots, there are shelves of supplements and bath & body products designed to keep you detoxed and in ship shape between sweat appointments.

We recommend making an appointment for Sweatheory, as most customers have preferred times and even saunas for their detox pleasure. With spring in full bloom, now is as good a time as any to get your sweat on.


We SAID: The Best Brands You’ve Never Heard Of

Staff Writer

In a globalized market full of products from every conceivable pocket on the planet, it’s hard to stand out in today’s beauty industry. Every season, we’re inundated with products that promise to change our minds forever about what we think we know about skin and hair care. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and most savvy consumers are hard to impress. So it’s always a refreshing surprise to see brands really shine with an impressive list of ingredients, and the performance to back it up.

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Bella Aura Instant Lifting Eye Contour features a formula that hydrates and tightens in a single drop. Full of feel good ingredients like Argan and Nigella Sativa, it lifts the eye area without the signature dry feeling associated with most firming formulations.

Luxe Botanics Kigelia Clarifying Moisturizer might be the crown jewel in the company’s cozy skin care selection. Featuring Kigelia Africana, this clear moisturizer cuts inflammation, and acne-causing irritations from the very first application. It feels more like a serum than a traditional moisturizer, but still manages to hydrate oily and acne-prone skin.


Mirai Clinical Purifying & Deodorizing Shampoo claims that this formula is so moisturizing, you don’t need a separate conditioner. We’re happy to report, it’s actually true. The low-foaming formula cleans your hair without stripping it, and leaves strands feeling light and hydrated.


Aleavia Enzymatic Body Cleanse claims to clean and heal the skin in one shot. The formula is so gentle that it can double as a shampoo and even a facial wash. You couldn’t ask for a simpler lineup of ingredients; there are only 7.

We SAID: Skin & Sea Buckthorn

Staff Writer

Sea Buckthorn may be among the most un-celebrated skin care gems around. While many brands are touting the effects of some rare plant or weed that no one has ever heard of, Sea Buckthorn has been quietly soothing irritated skin, calming acne and healing dry and cracked skin for less than the cost of your average over-the-counter face cream.


The leaves, flowers, and even the fruit can be used. Chock full of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, and a ton of antioxidants, some practitioners even use  it to treat arthritis, improve blood pressure, and control blood pressure diseases.

Some skin care manufacturers have wised up about this fairly inexpensive but highly effective plant; Fresh might be the most poplar with its Sea Berry Face Oil. Be prepared to pay for it though. Three fairly inexpensive oils make up the formula, but that didn’t stop Fresh from packing it into a dropper bosea buckthornttle containing less than 2oz of product an charging $52 for it.

The purest concentration may come courtesy of Russian brand Natura Siberica. Made of 100% Organic Sea Buckthorn, the multi-purpose oil can be used on scalp and skin from head to toe… at half the price to boot. Be warned: because of the concentrated nature, the oil is a dark orange and will tint anything it touches. It can easily be washed away with a mild cleanser and warm water, but if you’re not a fan of orange skin you might want to dilute it before use. The oil’s ‘dry’ nature means it can be mixed with a number of products, including foundations and serums. If you’re marginally schooled on color theory, you can even ‘warm’ an ashy product with a few drops.

If you’re impressed with Sea Buckthorn, you should be. The fruit can even be used to make jellies, juices, purees, and sauces. Ingesting it will reportedly help with digestive issues, internal inflammation and chronic joint pain. Talk about feeling good from the inside out… whether you take it in or slap it on, Sea Buckthorn is a valuable addition to just about any lifestyle.

We SAID: Stripdown

Staff Writer

Any good esthetician will tell you that the key basics to good skin lie in three steps: Cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize. How you get there is as individual as age, skin type, climate, time of year, and a host of other variables that for most of us… means lots and lots and LOTS of trial and error. This is especially true for exfoliation. stripdown

Those who are still big fans of physical exfoliation may find some satisfaction with Skin Authority Bamboo Ginseng Scrub. The brand quickly found a cozy spot in the heart of skin care professionals because of its no-nonsense approach to skin care. Simple packaging and clear ingredients shy away outrageous claims and focus instead on the hole grail goal of any given consumer: results. Loofah and Oats help slough away those dreaded dead skin cells and pave the way for feel good ingredients like ginseng, bamboo and chamomile. Directions specify using all over the body, but we couldn’t find any indication that it couldn’t be used on the face so… happy scrubbing!

Exfoliating pads are the new norm, but there’s nothing quite like Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine. The double sided pads are soaked with a combination of grapes, berries and two types of acid that promise to renew your face with a single swipe. Recommended use is several times a week, but we found it gentle enough for nearly nightly use. Neogen is the one of the latest companies to join the influx of K-Beauty in the united states. Cosmetics behemoth Sephora has already picked up selected items from the brand, and there have already been public calls to expand the product range.

One of the most unusual exfoliation experiences comes courtesy of Koh Gen Doh, which blended caffeine, rosemary, sage and Japan Hot Spring Water to create the Soft Gommage Spa Gel. Applied to dry skin, this gel beads into rubbery particles and claims to do away with dead skin cells, stimulate circulation and encourage cell renewal.

Our top picks aside, there’s no shortage of products that promise to shed the outermost layer of dead skin cells and reveal fresh new skin. Experts agree that no matter which formulation you choose, the best approach is to start slow and upgrade the strength of exfoliation as you build tolerance.

We SAID: Wear Your Veggies

Staff Writer

Good news for the average person who hates eating vegetables (yes, they do still exist): you might be able to ‘wear’ them instead. No, we don’t promise the same nutritional value, but it’s an idea that’s picking up steam nonetheless. The good news is, there are plenty of products that allow you to do just that. The better news is, these products harness the wear20your20veggies202_zpsnv29fgwvpower of naturally grown plants and veggies and actually work to clear and balance a wide range of skin types.

CLEAN SLATE: Glycelene Cucucmber Cleansing Water might just be the most natural gentle cleanser on the market. Packed with the power of cucumbers, this water based formula removes all traces of makeup, dirt, oil and grime. It will even tackle heavy hitters like waterproof eyeliner, mascara, and most transfer-proof lip cremes.. What makes this product truly remarkable is that it manages to do all that without using harsh chemicals or synthetic additives. It’s also so gentle that it won’t send you screaming for the hills if you happen to get a bit in your eyes.

PRESSED PERFECTION: Some of the most innovative beauty products continue to pour in from Korea, and Blithe’s Tundra Chaga Pressed Serum is no exception. It is made mostly of wear20your20veggies201_zpsk2athu2athe chaga mushroom, harvested … you guessed it… in the tundras (although this product doesn’t specify exactly which tundra the mushrooms came from). The brown, jelly-like product might initially be a turnoff, but after using it it’s easy to see why it’s become such a cult favorite. The light serum formula works on just about any skin type and easily melts into the skin to leave a smooth finish. It also plays well with others. It can be layered between thinner serums and heavier moisturizers, or mixed with other moisturizers as an added boost.

POWER PLAY: Yuri Pibu Artichoke Power Essence is another Korean import, and continues wear20your20veggies_zpszyzsvz8dthe tradition of mixing or adding essences to a daily skin care routine. It contains 60% artichoke extract, and is meant to help tighten the appearance of pores. While any esthetician will tell you that you can’t technically shrink pores, you can work to make them appear smaller and smooth out the surface of the skin. This formula is also ‘waterless’ and instead uses squalane to bring all of its ingredients together. The only down side might be the execution. The formula comes in a dropper style bottle, which would be great if the product contained a truly liquid ingredient (water) to help dispense it properly. Unfortunately, this behaves more like a thick lotion, so it takes some effort to get the product out of the bottle and into your hands.

Our skin absorbs 60% of what we put on it. So even if you don’t like eating your veggies, you can take some comfort in knowing that at least you’re absorbing them instead of their chemical counterparts.

We SAID: Wedding Fresh

Staff Writer

The Summer Wedding Season is upon us. But great skin isn’t just for blushing brides. Even if you are always, always, always a bridesmaid… there’s no better time to reveal fresh skin that makes you truly shine beyond the big day. As we lift away the layers of heavy makeup, wedding fresh 1contour and highlight in the hottest months of the year, it’s more important than ever to place more emphasis on great skin by way of great skin care.

Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder works both as a cleanser and an exfoliator by foaming up to lather away dirt and impurities and gently exfoliating dead skin cells. The secret is papaya enzymes, which is proven to wedding fresh 2chemically break up the proteins that bind dead skin cells to help you wash them away. The result is clean, soft skin that doesn’t immediately dry out after you pat dry.

Fresh Black Tea Mask continues to make the list as one of the best ‘quick fix’ masks on the market. The cooling formula goes on like a cream and doesn’t dry out. Leave on for 10 minutes, and rinse to reveal plump fresh skin. The cooling sensation lingers after the rinse, so we’ll just call wedding fresh 3that a bonus.

Spritz a little  Santa Maria Novella Aqua di Rose  on your freshly cleaned skin to give it and you an Old World aromatherapy boost. The age old rosewater formula hydrates and soothes, and the smell is simply out of this world. wedding fresh 4Forget any reservations about cheap perfume additives; this smells like a bouquet of fresh cut roses on a warm Spring day.

Finish it all with a calming swipe of LJH Probiotics Sleeping Cream. The soothing gel formula works both as a regular moisturizer or an overnight mask (for those nights when irritated skin simply refuses to calm down). With curious ingredients like Mistletoe and Glacier extract, it works to soothe skin and keep it hydrated without going greasy or drying out.