Spring beauty and personal care product picks

scrub.tiffI discovered some really innovative (I never thought it would come to this, but even exciting) green cleaning products at Natural Products Expo West. But after a weekend of apartment maintenance—also known as a pigsty overhaul—I want to talk about ... beauty! (A roundup of new green cleaning products to come once I have recovered). I needed some pampering after hours of hard work; luckily, in the process I was able to review my favorite spring beauty products and some of the most interesting finds from Expo. And because I have dedicated much of my cleaning efforts to removing the toxins from my personal care regimen, it seems only right that this year's spring cleaning would result in a beauty and personal care roundup. Filled with nourishing oils, hydrating plant extracts, refreshing fruit, and oh so much more (including socially-conscious efforts) here are my top picks for hair, skin, and lips.

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Mychelle Fruit Enzyme Mist

Somehow this toner is both soothing and invigorating: Lavender oil calms my skin, while fruit enzymes and pineapple extract splash my face with protective antioxidants and an aroma that instantly awakens my senses. It just makes me feel good and gives my skin a soft, shimmery glow (you know, the kind you wish you had when you're drenched in sweat after a hard workout). I am looking forward to Mychelle launching its stem cell-based line of products in June.

derma-e.jpgDerma e Tropical Solutions line

The latest from Derma e includes a range of products, from a facial scrub and cleansing gel to anti-aging night creams, each using a blend of tropical botanicals. The ingredient to keep on your radar for beauty products, particularly if you’re looking for anti-aging benefits, is ultra-healing tamanu oil that offers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The company also announced it will be donating a portion of proceeds to building classrooms in Paraguay.

eo.jpgEO French Lavender Everyday Shampoo

This shampoo forms a light and frothy lather that is wonderfully aromatic. EO's everyday blend adds moisture without weighing down my locks. I know my hair will need help when I'm in the sun this season, which is why I am particularly keen on this product, with it's naturally protective ingredients. French lavender oil nourishes strands, while aloe vera and vitamin A protect the scalp. The formula also includes amino acid-rich quinoa protein, which fortifies and conditions, cleansing witch hazel, and Organic Calendula, Chamomile, and White Tea botanicals, which I have to believe contributes to the irressistable aroma. EO has a great set up on its web site, where it matches your hair type with the perfect shampoo in a step-by-step process. I will probably switch to its Protective blend in rose and chamomile once summer comes around and luckily the company just launched its travel-size collection.

organique.jpgOrganique by Himalaya Revitalizing Hand and Body Lotion Soliga Forest Honey

When I read "absorbs quickly" I immediately felt a tinge of skepticism. Oh sure. An hour later I'd still have a thick, greasy residue on my fingers, as they'd slide off my computer and leave their greasy mark on any door knob they attempted to jimmy open. But my hands really did absorb this lotion. Immediately. After Expo, I'm a big fan of how this company, which has earned the USDA Organic certification for nearly half of its products and incorporates elements of Ayurveda into a modern beauty and personal care line. And all of its ingredients are sourced in India. Not only does this lotion absorb quickly, but it also instantly revitalizes, leaving skin feeling fresh and moisturized.

Crystal 100% Biodegradable Deodorant Towelette

Crystal just launched the ultimate in personal care convenience: deodorant towelettes you can keep in your purse or car. Buy them in 5- 10- or 30-packs (p.s. one towelette is good for two arm pits).

tanning.jpgLavera Glow & Go Self-Tanner for Legs & Body

I’ve been wondering if my attempts to find a “natural fake tanner” were in vain (literally?). Lavera to the rescue—just in time for spring—throwing what I once thought to be an intangible oxymoron right into my pasty arms. The product uses organic soy and sugar extracts for a very subtle, streak-free bronze application. It also adds in organic jojoba oil, calendula, aloe vera, and rose water to sooth and moisturize.

Eco Lips Honest Kids Lip Balms

Eco Lips did some co-branding this year, joining forces with Honest Tea to make three deliciously-flavored lip balms that kids will love: Tropical Tango Punch, Goodness Grapeness and Berry Berry Good Lemonade. The company also teamed up with Dagoba to make chocolate lip balms in raspberry, mint, and lavender.

juara.jpgJuara Lime Puree and Cucumber Clarifying Mask

Based on traditional Indonesian beauty rituals, this company uses so many tasty ingredients, it's hard to decide which product you want to try first. Rice and sweet black tea are standouts in the company's products, but particularly spring-like is the this paraben-free mask that clarifies, balances, and tones oily and combination skin types. The Tiare Jasmine Tea Body Milk and the Sweet Black Tea and Rice Facial Moisturizer are also on my radar.

kiss-my-face.jpgKiss My Face Peace Soap

Of course I was thrilled to see so many companies dedicating their products to a cause at this year's Expo West. Among them was Kiss My Face, which partnered with Seeds of Peace, and organization that brings together youth from across the globe to promote peace and positivity. The packaging is some of my favorite from the show, and these all purpose castile soaps come in lemongrass clary sage, pomegranate acai, and grassy mint to name a few. Plus they're paraben-, phthalate, and sodium lauryl sulfate-free.

Surya Brazil Intensive Treatment Restorative Hair Mask

The company that is known for its henna-based hair coloring products offers a restorative hair mask, an extremely rich and concentrated blend of herbs and botanicals, that will strengthen your hair for summer. The company also recently introduced a men's line.

Lily Organics Organic Moisturizing Cream

How can you not love this company, which has been around since 1986 and not only produces certified organic beauty products in its lab but actually grows its own organic ingredients on a certified organic farm in Colorado. If you haven't tried the products, here is a good place to start. Meant for normal to dry skin, this lotion combines rosehip seed oil, primrose oil and the essential oil of ylang ylang with rich and creamy shea butter.

Sibu Beauty Seabuckthorn Seed Oil Serum

The company that started with beauty beverages and supplements expanded with a seabuckthorn-based soap and facial cream. Meant to be used in conjunction with the beauty beverage and supplements, this facial cream contains omega 7 fatty acids to boost collagen production (what fights wrinkles to keep skin looking tight and young). Now the company is adding more external products to its repertoire, including an antioxidant-rich eye cream, seed oil serum, and body cream, which will be hitting the shelves soon.

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