How to Shield Yourself from the Winter Sun

Winters are for relaxing by the fire, sipping hot cocoa, and reading your new favorite books. But for those of you who live in areas of the world where snow is no joke, winter also brings brighter daylight, unbearably cold temperatures, and cloud cover. So while one might think that cloud cover and colder temperatures mean less SPF, you would be wrong. Just because the sun isn’t making you sweat, doesn’t mean you are risk-free from damage and potential cancer skin cancer risks.

Protect Yourself from Reflected Light

The sun’s UV rays reflect off the white show we all love so much. An astounding 80% of the UV light can bounce off of the snow onto your skin, making you often exposed to the same rays twice! This exposure to UV rays can lead to sunburn and additional damage to your already dry and flaky skin. Winter sports are also an easy way to damage your skin. If you’re a fan of sledding, skiing, or hockey, make sure to use heavy duty body butters and a physical sunscreen with a high SPF. Chemical sunscreens are usually only UVA or UVB blockers; besides being full of toxins, they also don’t offer broad spectrum coverage. If you plan on vacationing in higher altitudes, UV radiation increases by 4-5% for every 1,000 feet, so pile on that zinc oxide!

Cloud Cover Won’t Help You in the Winter

While cloud cover can help in the summer, it doesn’t provide you protection from the UV rays in the winter. UVA rays penetrate deeper than UVB, the commonly known ray that causes sunburns. Wrinkles are caused by the UVA rays, which can easily worsen to other skin ailments such as sun spots and even cancer.

Protect Yourself from the Inside Out

Foods high in antioxidants will fight free radicals that cause sun damage. Incorporating colorful foods such as peppers, squash, and green vegetables will not only help fight the damage, but also help prevent it in the first place.

The best ways to save your skin from the winter sun are all natural. Apply your zinc oxide and cover up just like you would in the summer so you can keep taking your #snowselfies with that perfect reflected lighting.

~Brianne Nemiroff



Behind The Brand: Founder, Leila Janah With LXMI From Africa

Leila Janah, Founder of LXMI Skincare

Leila Janah, Founder of LXMI Skincare

Leila Janah founded LXMI after a chance discovery of Nilotica, LXMI's signature ingredient, at a market in Uganda. She was astounded by the rare butter's ability to transform her moisture-deprived, overly-traveled skin from lackluster to luminous. Once she learned that she could help marginalized East African women find dignified work through the wild harvesting, production and exportation of Nilotica, she knew she had to change her life to share her new skincare secret with the world.

But she didn't stop there. She went the extra mile(s) to source Nilotica Reserve™, now LXMI's exclusive form of the butter, from the highest grade nuts in the most pristine areas of the Nile River Valley. Nilotica Reserve's characteristics are sky-high essential fatty acids (+25% that of traditional Shea Butter), natural vitamin crystals that dissolve on skin, and impact sourcing techniques to ensure that LXMI producers are always paid living wages for their efforts.

It was an honor to interview Leila and learn more about the brand, her story and more! 

What is the history/story of LXMI?

As a social entrepreneur and founder of Samasource, I have dedicated my life to giving work to help alleviate global poverty, so I never thought I would find myself in the beauty industry. But I was traveling in rural Uganda when I discovered Nilotica Reserve™, a pure, rare, organic ingredient that transformed my dry skin to dewy almost immediately. When I learned I could mport this active and help give job opportunities to war widows in East Africa, LXMI was born.

Please tell me about your social impact and exactly how it works and how you work with the women.

Instead of buying raw ingredients "off the shelf," we go directly to the source, which in our case is the Nile River Valley. We employ hundreds of women harvesters to collect Nilotica nuts that have fallen from 20-year-old trees, and even more women to hand-make the nuts into luscious Nilotica butter. These women earn 3x the wages they could make doing any other job in Uganda when they work for LXMI. We could import the nuts and process the butter in a lab, but we choose to keep production in rural East Africa, where job opportunities are desperately needed for women to lift up themselves and their families.

How do you work with the women in Africa on an ongoing basis?

We have to balance our supply needs and their harvesting seasons, which isn't easy! Luckily Nilotica has a long shelf life without preservatives, so we are able o take advantage of large batches. The salaries the women earn help them pay for healthcare, education, and other basic needs for their families. (It's now well proven that when women earn money, they redirect it to the family -- all the more reason to empower women!)

How did you discover the ingredients in your products and how did you learn the benefits of these?

I stumbled across our star ingredient, Nilotica Reserve™, at a market in rural Uganda, where I went to buy fruits and other mementos. My skin was dry and damaged from too much traveling, so I had been using some expensive salves from Duty Free. I didn't have high hopes for Nilotica, but when I tried it, my jaw dropped. I knew I had to share it with friends and family, and when I learned more about the women behind the product, I couldn't help but see the business opportunity. Now we've submitted Nilotica for clinical testing, and my impressions were correct: 100% of testers saw more hydrated, brightened, and smoother skin!

What makes LXMI skin care products the best of it’s kind in Africa?

Traditional Western Shea Butter is a great commodity, but because of its cakey texture and strong odor, it has to be refined or blended with (often harsh) chemicals to be appropriate to rub on skin. Nilotica is different -- it's creamy, luxe texture comes from nature, and it feels like a high-end emulsion as a single ingredient. LXMI's exclusive version, Nilotica Reserve™, is even more special, as it is sourced from the purest places in East Africa to ensure +25% more essential fatty acids v. traditional beauty oils. 

How does LXMI differentiate itself from all other natural and organic skincare products?

Our star ingredient, Nilotica Reserve™, and our commitment to impact sourcing practices and fair trade standards. These elements are not afterthoughts for LXMI; they are our reason for being.

Who do you think is the leader in natural and organic skincare products?

I find some of my favorite natural brands in Europe! EU regulations are more strict about hazardous ingredients, and the European mindset is one of gentle, but still effective, treatment of skin.

What was the original you have set out for yourself?

launched LXMI to WORK...for dehydrated skin, and for women who need job opportunities. That sentiment remains our mission today.

What do you think is the future of skincare? 

implicity and transparency. The days of secret miracle cocktails of hundreds of potentially-irritating-and-synthetic actives are gone.

What do you believe is the single most valuable product one can use daily, and why?

A moisture balm! Sealing in skincare ingredients and moisture has made a world of difference for my skin. Too many people leave out this step before bedtime, but it can help balance and nourish even the oiliest, active, breakout-prone skin. It may not be intuitive, but try it for a couple of weeks. You'll never turn back.

What is your favorite travel destination and why?

Ugh, this question is impossible to answer. I've been lucky enough to travel the world, and it has enriched my life more than I can explain. I will say I recently went to Suriname, and it rocked my world.

~Rochelle Truxal, Founder of Pearlesque Box

Behind The Brand: Founder, Valeria Cole With Teadora Beauty From Brazil

Teadora Beauty strikes again! We were honored to feature Teadora Beauty in our December 2015 box and since then, Valeria has been working vigorously to launch new products, redesign the packaging and partner with a few investors to bring this amazing brand to a larger market. 

Since the first box I have formed a friendship with Valeria and proud to be working alongside her again for our March 2017 box. She is an extraordinary woman with passion and tenacity to take Teadora Beauty to the next level. 

Here she is in her own words, Valeria....

What is the history of Teadora?

The desire to created Teadora goes back to my childhood. My mother instilled in me a passion for the Amazon rainforest, its bounty and its conservation. My husband Tom and I shared a desire to share the bounty of the Amazon while helping to protect it and decided to create Teadora to introduce these amazing rainforest supergruit ingredients to the US consumer.

Please tell me about your conservation efforts and exactly how it works, what you do, etc.?

I would like to give my readers an opportunity to donate through your website. We are focused on both social and environmental responsibility. Working with women-led harvesting communities in the Amazon, we can support economically viable local economies so the forest is worth more standing than cut.  1% of sales is dedicated to rainforest conservation efforts. A movement we call Earth for you. You for earth. Our mission is to replant 1 million trees and preserve 75k acres in the next 5 years. We are still too small to make a huge impact, but we also fund raise above and beyond product sales so that we can start to make an immediate impact. Last year for instance our fund raising efforts lead us to work on a project with Wild Foundation, University of Purdue and the Kayapo Tribe and we were able to open the first ever audio-visual lab in Kayapo land which is meant to preserve elderly traditions, as well as teach the trade of film making to the local groups.

What are the main ingredients in all products (list them and their benefits to the skin/body)?

We bring innovation to our superfruit formulations by combining them into proprietary elixirs. By doing that they become more effective as we get the benefits of multiple different antioxidants, vitamins and oleic and fatty acids. It’s like a “multi-vitamin” approach if you will. We have 3 Elixir combinations: RainforestYouth Elixir, used in our water based fomulas, RainforestHydration Elixir, used in our oil based formulas and RainforestRestoration Elixir, used in our emulsions. We also use lots of other naturally derived active ingredients which are included in our active ingredient formulations. The primary focus of our products is to help combat the 5 primary causes of skin aging: oxidation, lack of hydration, slow down of cellular repair and slow down of cellular energy (skin cells that is).

What makes Teadora skin care products the best of it’s kind in Brazil?

Our approach to ingredient innovation through elixir formulations + the high number of active ingredients we use in our formulas. We focus bringing you the best of the Amazon rainforest. We are the only brand that truly combines generous numbers of effective and active ingredients together in a single formulation. We focus on bringing ancient Brazilian beauty secrets to the US consumer.

How does Teadora differentiate itself from all other natural and organic skincare products?

Our ingredients are truly unique and our formulations very complex and full of amazingly potent ingredients. We focus on exotic, differentiated and effective naturals. We are constantly looking for the newest and best natural ingredients to make the products extremely effective. We also believe that products should be multi-functional, so that you don’thave to use a multitude of products in your daily regimen. People lead very busy lives and the idea is to be able to create products that take have multiple benefits to your skin in order to simplify your beauty routine.  

Who do you think is the leader in natural and organic skincare products (country, brand, etc)?

There are quite a few natural brands I like. I tend to gravitate towards lines that have unique ingredients, and that offer a luxurious and exclusive experience. I think one of my favorites at the moment is Tata Harper in the US. Tata is committed to Made in USA and as focused as we are in putting together strong and effective formulations.

What do you think is the future of skincare? 

More and more naturals, customization, and a combination of services and content. I think brands that can connect with their consumers in multiple levels from products, to services, to content and social and environmental impact are the ones that consumers not only just gravitate to, but also stick to and become advocates of.

What do you believe is the single most valuable product one can use daily, and why?

I love the anti-aging, anti-pollution facial mist. It protects against free-radical damage, ultra-hydrates, helps to reduce line lines, gives you amazing glow and helps to set and revive make up. It has 12 active ingredients. So a little power house, age-defying product for all day use.

What is your favorite travel destination and why?

Oh gosh, so many, hard to pick one, but I am going to go for one of my favorite rainforest spas: Tabacon in Costa Rica. Hot Springs with one of the best spas in the world and amazing things for the rainforest lover to see and do all around. Zip-lining, waterfalls, volcano, simply incredible. Recommend the couple’s massage in couple’s bungalow followed by open air hot tube soak.

~Rochelle Truxal, Pearlesque Box Founder




Behind The Brand: Founder, Yael Alkalay With Red Flower Skincare From Finland

Red Flower is a New York City based skincare brand that sources their ingredients from Finland. It is a natural lifestyle company, known for creating botanical beauty that transforms simple moments into deeply therapeutic experiences through the power of aromatherapy, rich textures and the finest potent, pure certified organic and all-natural ingredients and formulations. Red Flower practices sustainable sourcing direct from farmers and produces in micro-batches at a privately owned facility to ensure freshness and the highest quality. 

With exuberant, multi-sensory benefits and a focus on environmental responsibility, each red flower product is designed to reconnect one to nature and to be a source of health, empowered beauty and  connectedness. From the rich heritage of its three global bath-house inspired treatments to the delicate, ephemeral petals on every candle,  red flower is intensely luxurious and generously healing. 

Red Flower nature is the ultimate rush of wellness to the face and body with powerfully restorative and concentrated ingredients from Finland, like healing arctic white peat and phyto-powered cloudberries to illuminate and renew.

We had the chance to chat with the founder, Yael about her journey, inspiration and story behind the brand.

Read on…

Can you share with us a little about your personal journey in using natural and organic products and how it led to the creation of your business? 

With the launch of Red Flower I wanted to start a revolution in beauty, pioneering an empowering, life-affirming, non-toxic approach. Red Flower is about the way you feel, a call to action to live a fuller, healthier life by reducing stress while boosting energy and vitality. 

Red Flower’s mission is a worldview that speaks to my heritage - the countless languages, countries and travels that formed my childhood. My delight in my mother’s lust for life, my maternal grandfather's connection to the vast Argentine landscape as a young gaucho and my paternal grandfather’s practice as the first dermatologist in Bulgaria, my Turkish grandmother’s elegance, and my hope to create something that my father could be proud of. 

I was deeply influenced by my four years living and working in Japan and visiting over 300 hundred bathhouses and mineral hot springs dotted throughout the countryside. My time living in Japan, my first long soak in a traditional onsen bath house and the vigorous effect that I still feel when I take my daily bath energizes me to the core. 

Early on I had a health scare that deeply affected my journey towards beauty wellness. While in my second year at Columbia Business School I suffered a stroke while skiing in the Swiss Alps. It was a total sensory recall - I temporarily lost the use of my right hand and the ability to speak. It was only when a friend came to the hospital and washed my hair with a very minty shampoo that I emerged from the blankness and began to feel and sense potential again. The sensation of touch, paired with the healing power of scent, ignited a spark within and sent me on a mission to deliver beauty in the form of deeply therapeutic experiences through the power of aromatherapy, rich textures, traditional application techniques and the finest organic and all-natural ingredients. The power of touch and aroma on my own healing journey compelled me to launch Red Flower. 

How did you choose Finland as a region to source your ingredients? 

The unique location of Finland in the Northern Hemisphere, with its seasonal light cycles, allows for ingredients to grow with an abundance of nutrients not found anywhere else in the world. For example, arctic berries have 40 times the concentration of vitamin E , vitamin C, and antioxidants as they need to protect themselves against the harsh elements of the environment. An essential element in the arctic berries is elegiac acid, one of the few natural ingredients proven to reverse visible signs of aging and repair damaged skin cells. 

Another key ingredient category from Finland are arctic white peat phytonutrients. Sustainably sourced white peat, the organic material containing thousands of years of plant decomposition from the last ice age, is rich in nutrients, essential fiber, fatty acids, and minerals that produce warming enzymes on the skin. The intense potency of arctic white peat combats dry, dull skin and improves the moisture balance. 

In addition to white peat, Red Flower collects mushrooms which contain powerful beta-glucans, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals clinically proven to boost the immune system. The chaga mushroom is medically effective in protecting cellular DNA from damaging free radicals. 

Additionally, the lifestyle and principles in Finnish sauna culture lead to lasting health and longevity, qualities that are central to the Nature collection. Principles around stimulating blood flow and boosting the immune system are a path into a more radiant life. We feel that nature stands for something powerful, both as a source for ingredients and also as a way of living a life of enduring connection and lasting beauty. 

What is your beauty ritual and why? 

I start every morning with an acupressure massage as part of my skincare routine. I use our Illuminating Rose Collagen Renewal Face Serum from our Nature collection , which contains the oil of 45,000 rose petals in just one ounce. Highly concentrated with cold-pressed berry oils and avocado oil , the unique combination gives you an instantaneous glow through the delivery of vitamins A and C. 

There are 11 acupuncture touch points that we recommend doing every day while applying the serum. I apply using these traditional techniques before bed or at my desk during the day and receive deeper, more lasting effects than Botox. We always recommend using your fingers to apply product as each finger has 2,500 nerve endings; there is no tool available today that is more effective. 

How would you approach the stigma that Organic and Non-Toxic skincare is not effective? 

Red Flower has been a pioneer in beauty wellness for over 15 years and it is exciting to see how the trend has come alive. Something that we are very proud of at Red Flower is that we have taken beauty and made it not only about what is on the outside, but we focus on beauty from the inside; looking at beauty holistically and valuing the process and ritual. 

There is a perception that immediate results are not visible in regards to organic and non-toxic skincare. However, I feel people are becoming more aware that organic and non-toxic skincare is more beneficial with lasting results as it works from the inside out. Synthetic products may have the visible quick effect but the results are not long term. I believe that natural beauty is a part of something bigger than quick fixes - it is a lifestyle. 

With the ingredients found in the Red Flower nature collection , the skin experiences a rush of wellness, drawing life and replenishment from nature. Skin is awakened with the bounty of antioxidant-rich berries bursting with omegas 3 and 6, arctic white peat high in fatty acids and phyto-nutrients, and collagen-boosting certified organic mushrooms sourced directly from Finland’s phyto-power filled summers of sunlight. The region, in both climate and landscape, is ideal for an array of potent organic ingredients which creates a toxin-free solution to restore skin to optimal health. 

Please share with us the main ingredient used in your products and why you have chosen it? 

Arctic berries are powerful ingredients in our Nature line for many reasons. Containing double the amount of vitamin C than oranges, cloudberries help to fortify the skin's barrier, fight oxidative damage and accelerate collagen production to fight premature wrinkles. 

In addition to the cloudberry, cranberry oil is considered a super antioxidant due to the unique balance of Omegas 3, 6 and 9 at a potency not found in any other oil. It also deeply moisturizes the skin like few oils can as it boasts two forms of Vitamin E (tocotrienols and tocopherols). Besides providing antioxidant activity and UV protection, tocotrienols also slow the production of melanin – preventing the formation of age spots in the first place. 

Another arctic berry brimming with vitamin E, the raspberry , is made up of 83% essential fatty acids which help sustain moisture throughout the day. In addition to preventing any visible UV damage, they also protect the skin against a more inconspicuous danger – daily pollution. 

Found in abundance in arctic strawberries , ellagic acid is a potent antioxidant that works to prevent the breakdown of collagen, making it less susceptible to free radical damage and preventing the loss of moisture and elasticity. In addition to its wrinkle-fighting abilities, ellagic acid is also an active skin brightener and aids in protecting the skin from UV damage for healthy and lustrous complexion. 

What has been the most challenging part of starting and building your business? 

Red Flower sources ingredients directly from the best purveyors around the world. This allows us to formulate with highly concentrated, potent botanical ingredients and revolutionary, natural preservative systems such as arctic white peat, finnish cold-pressed cloudberry oil and hand harvested salt. We produce and manufacture our products at our Red Flower facility in greater New York for the highest of standards in quality control, environmental impact and micro-batch freshness. Although this has been the most rewarding aspect - it is also the most challenging. 

From your brand, what is the single most important product and why? 

I would have to say it’s the Red Flower Illuminating Rose Collagen Renewal Face Serum , which is also one of our best-sellers. It brings an illumination and glow to the skin instantaneously and uses powerful ingredients found in nature to restore skin to its radiant self. It’s become a transformative part of my daily skincare routine and has been the one product that fully expresses Red Flower’s philosophy of beauty wellness. 

What is your favorite travel destination and why? 

As a young child, I traveled in Finland and I will never forget arriving in the port of Helsinki to see the sun sparkle on a wooden vending cart with the brightest red mound of glistening strawberries . I knew then that I had arrived at a place where nature is abundant and pure, almost mythical. It was an extraordinary experience and eventually inspired Red Flower’s Nature collection of globally inspired therapeutic bathing and facial skin care treatments. 

What are your goals (personally and professionally) for 2017? 

Red Flower taps directly into the need for instant decompression. We bring healing calm into every beauty experience and 2017 is about giving our customers the tools for lifelong renewed radiance. Red Flower Nature is revolutionary. An ever growing list of customers have told us that the duo of the Lymphatic Phytopower Sea Cleanser and Masque and the Illuminating Rose Collagen Renewal Face Serum has done everything from heal sunburn and reduce rosacea to improve skin tone, plump and illuminate. We know we are onto something extraordinary and our mission is to share it with the world. 

For me personally, 2017 is all about renewal. I am committed to practicing the complete #redflowernature collection, including the important aspects of acupressure, for a boost of daily radiance. 


The "Must Read" Blog of 2017: The Greenly Guide

While we scour the world for the best organic and non-toxic brands around the globe we also like to ask some of our trusted friends about their discoveries and what brands they think would be a great fit for Pearlesque Box. One of those people happen to be Keri, the founder and brains behind The Greenly Guide, a new resource for all things Green and Natural. 

With The Greenly Guide you are able to find brands through their research tool, connect with the audience and learn about brands, products and the people behind them and most importantly, learn about the community with educational resources and more!

We were lucky enough to talk with Keri about her journey to launching The Greenly Guide. Here it is in her own words....

Honestly, I haven't always been interested in green beauty, and living an organic lifestyle.  Growing up, it was something I knew nothing about.  In fact, I was a huge Sephora junkie - VIB Rouge status and all!  I was always into skincare and loved pampering myself with face masks and expensive skincare and makeup, but I never thought twice about the ingredients that were in the products I was using.  It never occurred to me that something being sold on store shelves was anything but safe.  

Everything changed when I became pregnant with my daughter.  I was the most paranoid pregnant woman you would ever meet - googling ever little symptom, calling my doctor with questions and constantly sure that something terrible was going to happen.  With my anxiety and worry came a strong awareness of everything I was eating, drinking and putting on my body.  I literally started typing in to google every single ingredient in the products I was using and researching them and checking their ratings through EWG - what I found was absolutely shocking!  I couldn't believe all of the garbage that was in the products I was using, and not only that, but how unsafe a lot of them actually were.  Not only was this concerning to me as a woman who was pregnant, but also as the daughter of two parents who have had cancer.  I knew I had to make some serious lifestyle changes.

I started slowly replacing my personal care and beauty products over the course of a year or so, and I had became so passionate about these changes, that I wanted to share my journey and connect with others who were also interested in making these changes toward a greener way of living.  This led me to start my YouTube channel, Naturally Keri and Instagram account of the same name.  It was a huge step out of my personal comfort zone to put myself out onto the internet for anyone to see, but it has been such a positive experience and I have had the pleasure of getting to know so many women who are passionate about the same things I am.  I was so excited by the green community, that I knew I wanted to do more.  

I thought and thought about what my struggles were when I first started transitioning my products from conventional to natural, and I kept thinking about how hard it was for me to keep all of the information straight.  I was following so many brands and bloggers on social media and I felt like I was hearing about new brands daily, that my head was kind of spinning trying to keep up with it all!  I had so many lists in my phone it started to become overwhelming. I would see a post about a mascara or face oil that I was interested in, but then I could never remember where I saw it or what brand it was.  I found myself always wishing that there was a place where I could search for products I wanted to buy and I could see which green brands carried those products.  This is how my project, The Greenly Guide, was born, in October 2016.

The Greenly Guide is an answer to my own problem, and one that I thought so many could benefit from.  It was truly a labor of love and took about 8 months to complete - just me and my husband and a lot of early mornings and late nights of research and data entering!  I spent countless hours categorizing over 500 brand's products into searchable categories, and gathered up some of the most helpful resource tools and put them all into one, easy to use, FREE directory and guide.  It was very important to me that this directory be free to the user and free to the brands as well!  All of the 500+ brands included in the directory were chosen by me for their product quality, ingredient standards, or sustainability practices so that I could provide people with a high quality resource for clean living--this includes green beauty, eco fashion, and healthy home products.

Some random fun facts about me!

--I am married, and have been for almost 6 years and have one beautiful daughter who is almost three.  

--I live in Michigan

--I have a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management

--I am a Disney fanatic!

--I eat a primarily vegan diet

--Cupcakes are my guilty pleasure, and I actually briefly owned and operated a cupcake baking business!

Be sure to check out her Blog and Resources and Follow her on Instagram

Women We Admire: Bridjet Post

At Pearlesque Box we believe in empowering women around the world who are fierce, passionate, dedicated and just all around good human beings. For our first post on our new "Women We Admire" series, we have chosen a woman who embodies all of the above and more. She is a loving mommy and wife, health aficionado and blogger who is dedicated to changing the world for the better. Her name is Bridjet Post.

She created BridjetPosts as a conversation starter. An open dialogue about how to embrace our changing roles and bodies as women, how to balance motherhood with making time for ourselves, how to celebrate and express our personal styles, how to have fun.

She wanted to create this platform so all can feel inspired and learn and share. Let’s spread the truth about motherhood: the amazing parts, the difficult parts, how to make time for exercise and share workout videos, how to maximize our wardrobes so we don’t lose our self-expression in the hectic day-to-day, play date ideas, how to make time for your husband.

Watch this video to learn more about why she started her organic lifestyle and more...

Follow Bridjet on Instagram and Subscribe to her Blog to join her journey.

Behind The Brand: Founder, Kate Chen With Akar Skin From The Tibetan Plateau

After falling into some unexpected health issues, Akar Skin Founder, Kate Chen decided it was time for her to do a complete 180 in her life, from leaving her high-stress job to becoming very aware of all the nutrients or harsh chemicals she was putting on or in her body. This led to the birth of Kate’s own skincare line, Akar Skin! When getting started, Kate knew she wanted to create healthy, all natural and clean products free of unnecessary chemicals that damage skin overtime. It wasn’t until Kate took a trip to the Tibetan Plateau that she felt truly inspired. With the Tibetan Plateau’s high altitudes, it is completely free from pollution and is considered to be the 3rd cleanest location on earth, after the North & South poles. 

We had the chance to chat with Kate about her journey, inspiration and story behind the brand.

Read on…

Can you tell us a bit about the Tibetan Plateau? How did you discovery the ingredients there? What is the wildlife like?

I began looking into natural skincare 5 years ago, after a sudden health incident. I took some time off from work and travelled extensively. While on a trip to the Tibetan Plateau, I was stunned by the area’s cleanliness and abundant wildlife. The locals introduced me to wild goji berries and sea buckthorn and I was determined to formulate my collection around native Tibetan ingredients.

How do you source the ingredients from this region?

We partner with a certified organic farm in the area that works with local farmers and engage in fair trade labor.

How did you come up with the name “Akar”?

Akar is actually the name of our local guide’s daughter. He introduced me to her and I loved the meaning of her name,  white crystal, which is a symbol for purity; a perfect match with a skincare collection inspired by the region.

Can you tell us about your journey and why it was so important for you to create Akar?

After a sudden health incident which was due to my high-stress job, I knew I needed to make a 180 into a healthier lifestyle, and diet/exercise were only the beginning. I knew if I wanted to be serious about the change, I even had to ditch my toxic beauty products and begin looking into natural skincare.

Where do you find inspiration for your products? Do you find yourself drawn to specific ingredients?

I honestly draw my inspiration from the Tibetan Plateau. Its abundant wildlife constantly moves me to develop new products & recipes for the line. Additionally, we are fortunate enough to live in a world full of plant life with amazing healing abilities, so we also incorporate botanicals from other parts of the world to evolve our products.

What is your most beloved product and why?

They all have a place in my heart, but if I had to choose, it would definitely be the Lush Balance Toning Mist combined with the Neat Remedy Face Oil. Together, they help nourish the skin while keeping problem skin at bay… the perfect duo!

Have you had the opportunity to take a step back and see the industry evolve with the rise of organic and non-toxic products? How does this make you feel?

Yes, and I love it!! Really, this movement goes beyond beauty and is really prevalent across all industries. People are more aware that what they put in/on their bodies has a strong impact in their longterm well-being and, in result, have more interest in taking better care of themselves. I am really happy to be a part of this movement and be to able to offer women & men across the world healthier (and effective) options when it comes to skincare.

What is your own personal skincare routine?

I have a pretty simple skincare routine, but I do it every single day. Consistency is key. In the morning, I like to cleanse with a clay cleanser to lightly exfoliate and detoxify the skin. While in the evening, I always do an oil cleanse to remove all the makeup and environmental pollutions from my day. I follow that with our Lush Balance Toning Mist, which is perfect at balancing the skin’s natural pH balance and tightening pores. It also contains vegan stem cells from saffron that helps your skin repair. Then while the skin is still wet from misting, I apply a few drops of the Neat Remedy Face Oil, perfect at calming irritations and balancing your skin’s oil production. However, I sometimes mix that up with the Desert Rescue Face Oil, particularly in the winter seasons when my skin tends to be drier. To finish it off, I tap in one drop of our eye brightening, puffiness reducing Nutrient Boost Eye Serum for both eyes. And I always apply our lip butters before I leave home and before bed. They are so amazingly moisturizing that I sometimes don’t reapply till I get home.

Can you share any insights or future product launches? How will this be different than your current offering?

We are currently working on a waterless face balm with an ultra anti-aging ingredient that’s rooted in Tibetan culture. The face balm will be a perfect addition to the night routine, acting as a final step after the face oil for radiant skin. 

What is your favorite travel destination?

I love being surrounded by nature. So whenever possible, I leave the city and travel to somewhere with fresh air. That’s actually how I stumbled upon the breathtaking Tibetan Plateau.

What is a destination on your bucket list?

Iceland! The scenery looks incredibly gorgeous! …But most likely during their warmer months.


Behind The Brand: Founder, Anca Grigoras With Metta Skincare From Melbourne, Australia

Metta Skincare was created to help people make healthy decisions about their skincare routine. Founder, Anca Grigoras has created a truly unique brand. In her previous occupational health and safety career, while researching ways to reduce chemical exposure at work, she was very concerned to learn that most people get exposed to many more chemicals in their home than in the workplace. Skincare and personal hygiene products are one of the main reason why people use on average 100 chemicals on their skin daily. She then started researching and experimenting with formulating 100% natural and effective skincare, with a particular focus on those ingredients that have a long history of being used to nourish and condition the skin.

We had the chance to chat with Anca about her journey, inspiration and story behind the brand.

Read on…

What is your personal mission?

My personal mission is to inspire women to nurture their authentic beauty. 

Metta means “good will” - how did you come up with the name and what is the importance of “good will”?

Metta, meaning "good will" or "loving-kindness", is an ancient style of meditation that encourages compassion with yourself and the world around you. Regular practice fosters a sense of belonging, of pure connection with other living beings, and a compassionate understanding of the interconnected world. I believe that practicing kindness towards ourselves helps us be and do our best, and in doing so we have a positive impact in the lives of all other people we interact with.

Can you tell us about your Impact, why and how this came about, and how you chose the organization?

During my previous occupational health and safety career, I often witnessed the detrimental environmental consequences of many human activities. And while it may be easy to attribute this to unscrupulous corporate practices, I believe the real opportunity for change lies in both consumers and businesses understanding the power they have in shaping the world we live in. The global economy means that even small decisions we make on a daily basis can have a huge impact on the life of many other people, and there is such wonderful potential to use use this for good. So when I decided to launch Metta Skincare, my vision was to create a business that focuses on doing good for all those involved with it: customers, suppliers, and the communities we source ingredients from. We do this by creating pure, safe and effective natural products, by responsibly sourcing ingredients and supporting sustainable agriculture, and by giving back to the communities we work with. Sadly, extreme poverty is still an ongoing issue in many areas we source ingredients from, so we are focusing on sharing profits with organisations working to end this.  

What can you tell us about the history of the regions you source the ingredients?

In many of the regions we source ingredients from, people have been leading an active outdoor lifestyle, often in harsh environmental conditions, for centuries or even millennia. During this time, they have developed a deep knowledge of the plants in their surroundings and their beneficial properties in nourishing and conditioning the skin. It is fascinating to see contemporary science validating the amazing properties of these plant-based ingredients and I am so excited to use them in the Metta Skincare range.

Is there one main ingredient you use for your products? If so, what are the benefits of this ingredient and why did you choose this as your main ingredient?

While certain ingredients feature in several of our products, my approach to formulating is to craft unique combinations of cold-presssed vegetable oils, butters and botanical extracts chosen for their nutrient profile, active properties and capacity to blend synergistically to achieve the desired effect and sensory experience of the finished product.

From your product line, what is the single most important product, and why?

I believe that the most important product is the one you love and use regularly, as consistency is key to an effective skincare routine. All products in the Metta Skincare line are multi-functional, and were designed to be integrated in someone's existing self-care ritual with maximum ease and efficiency. I encourage all our customers to experiment with different ways to use them.

Why do you think “natural” and “organic” products are important (over chemical products)?

We are natural beings and our bodies were designed to thrive on pure, wholesome and nourishing ingredients, whether they are ingested or applied topically. As skin is our largest organ, every product we apply to it will either be absorbed into the body, or rinsed off and make its way back into the environment. Using a lot of chemical products simply increases our chemical burden and causes much unnecessary stress as the body works harder to process these ingredients.

What is your favorite travel destination and why?

I love Paris for its timeless beauty and elegance.


Rediscovering Warsaw, Poland

Blog Contributor: Paulina Grochala

Beautiful Warsaw by night

Beautiful Warsaw by night

Over the summer I spent time visiting the country I am from - Poland. I was born in Florida, but my entire family is Polish, I grew up speaking the language, and have visited countless times (lately going twice a year, for Christmas and also during the summer).

Usually my visits are mostly spent with family, either in the suburbs just outside Warsaw or in my grandmother's tiny town two hours from the city. People always ask me what Poland is like, and I don't have much to say, since usually my time there is spent in my families homes rather than exploring the country. I did actually explore the country extensively on my own as a teenager, but since that was pretty much a decade ago the memories aren't as clear.

while walking around Warsaw - wish I could have around that record player I found in an antique shop home!

while walking around Warsaw - wish I could have around that record player I found in an antique shop home!

beautiful, peaceful bridge in Lazienki Park. I sat here and relaxed for a while, watching the ducks splash around

beautiful, peaceful bridge in Lazienki Park. I sat here and relaxed for a while, watching the ducks splash around

While I did spend time with my grandmother during this trip, I also spent some days staying in Old Town in Warsaw with my mum and they were pretty incredible. I feel like I discovered - or rediscovered, actually - this amazing city that I never cared much about before. Well, that certainly has changed! Here are some highlights of the summer days spent in the beautiful Warsaw :)

Highlights of eating (favorite, per usual):

As always, one of my favorite things to do when traveling is eating. I had a lot of good foodie moments in Warsaw this summer, starting with...

the prettiest presentation ever

the prettiest presentation ever

Atelier Amaro - I had an incredibly special dinner here one evening. This is the only restaurant in Poland with a Michelin star, and wow do they deserve it. It is a tiny little restaurant, located in the beautiful Lazienki Park (more on that later), and everything from their ambience to presentation to all 9 (!!) courses to the wine pairings were just out of this world. They altered their menu to be vegetarian for me, greatly appreciated. Definitely dying to go back someday.

Windows of Gospoda Kwiaty, breakfasts and some summer rose outdoors

Windows of Gospoda Kwiaty, breakfasts and some summer rose outdoors

Shabby Chic Cafe - I had breakfast here a couple times, perfect location just on one of the side streets coming from Rynek Starego Miasta (Old Town Square). Lots of choices for breakfast, from juices and smoothies to sandwiches and omelettes. I liked sitting in the cosy table by the window.

Gospoda Kwiaty - translates to Flower Tavern, which duh, I love. I had walked by this restaurant many times on little jaunts into the city before but this was the first time I ate there. I had such a simple but amazingly flavorful salad for a starter - beets, cucumber, goat cheese and I think pumpkin seeds - and pierogis for my main. I'm extremely picky when it comes to pierogis because my mother's are the best, but I really enjoyed these, so if you're looking for authentic, mama's cookin' pierogis, definitely pop in here :) its also on a little side street off the main square, and they actually have a large seating area in the main square if you want to eat there. We just sat at a table right outside the restaurant, with all their pretty flowers. The interior of the restaurant is really gorgeous too.

To Lubie - translates to I Like This, and I definitely did. It is another perfect, quaint breakfast spot. I seriously love finding these little spots when traveling, it gives such a great start to the day. It is a slightly longer walk to get here from the main square, but its so scenic and highly enjoyable. Worth it to go just for the walk.

Thaisty - wonderful Thai food. How is it that I always end up eating Thai, no matter where I am in the world? It's definitely one of my favorite cuisines. I had dinner here with my cousins and it was great.

Gorgeous desserts

Gorgeous desserts

Batida - after our Thai dinner, we strolled to this amazing dessert spot. Seriously, the desserts here are next, next level. We sat outside with a view of a park and Hotel Bristol, the fanciest hotel in Warsaw, and enjoyed our desserts and the views. Don't miss this spot!!

Hotel Bristol after sunset

Hotel Bristol after sunset

To stay and to do:

I stayed in two different entire apt Airbnbs, both in the Stare Miasto (Old Town) part of Warsaw. I absolutely adored both. They were very affordable, so convenient and super cute. Definitely recommend staying in this part of the city, as it totally feels like you're stepping into practically Medieval Europe everytime you go outside (well, a much cleaner, nicer version probably, haha).

snaps from a walk down a main street - Krakowskie Przedmiescie

snaps from a walk down a main street - Krakowskie Przedmiescie

Inside the Swietego Krzysa (Holy Cross) Cathedral

Inside the Swietego Krzysa (Holy Cross) Cathedral

Stare Miasto in general is so worth exploring. I have a post from last Christmas about it during the holiday season here. The cafes, the shops, the museums, the castle, the culture, its all here, and all just wonderful.

making friends with a matching pigeon. I love making new animal friends :)

making friends with a matching pigeon. I love making new animal friends :)

My very favorite part of Warsaw is definitely the Lazienki park. It is massive and houses SO MANY cool things to explore. Definitely a full day's worth, at least. My favorite parts of it are the amphitheater and Chopin monument with the rose garden, as well as wandering through the wooded areas. You can also take a boat ride around the lake. It really is the perfect city park, with so much history to back it up.

We were honored to have Paulina Grochala as our blog contributor for another beautiful destination, and one that is close to home to our founder, Rochelle Truxal. Check out her blog where you will find more of her adventure stories, wellness and beauty tips and more! 

Must Know Facts About Organic vs Conventional Beauty Products

Blog Contributor: Micah de Jesus 

Organic beauty products have gained great popularity in the past years, as a result of the demand for safe and effective cosmetics.

The word "Organic" has become a common term that has been associated with natural beauty products. But did you know that how natural is defined is actually different from what organic really means? 

To define, natural are those products that make use of natural ingredients derived from natural sources, without synthetic compounds. On the other hand,organic beauty products use ingredients that were derived only from plant sources and cultivated without using chemicals or pesticides.

But your knowledge about organic beauty products shouldn’t stop there asthere are still other important facts that you need to know to fully understand and appreciate the advantages they bring, as compared with conventional cosmetics.

There are wonderful advantages that you can have by switching from conventional to organic and if you still haven’t made the choice, now is the best time to embrace better alternatives to start a personal care routine that protects your overall wellness from harmful toxins, while at the same time do your part in keeping the environment safe.

It’s time to go organic and harness all the benefits that those safe, sustainable, and effective beauty products offer! 

We are honored to have Micah as our blog contributor. Check out her blog where you will find more beauty, wellness and lifestyle articles.