Me Time Botanicals

As Charming as an Afternoon in Charleston!

Imagine taking a stroll through Charleston, South Carolina, on a beautiful spring day; the air is fresh and the sun is shining as it dances and flirts on the sidewalk amongst full, leafy green trees shimmering in the breeze. The scent of neroli and sweet roses fills the air as you make your way to the local farmers market to sample raw unfiltered honey and drink a refreshing glass of tart berry-lemonade. After enjoying a nice full lunch, you end your afternoon by stopping at a local cafe to enjoy a richly aromatic coffee and fresh blueberry scone.

This is what it feels like to indulge in the rituals from Me Time Botanicals, and for me, is the essence of founder, Kara’s line.

Stemming from the need for “Me Time”, Kara attended ‘Formula Botanica’s Organic Cosmetic Science School’ and began crafting her rituals by hand, beginning with her Morning Perk Eye & Facial Serum. Inspired by local and sustainable ingredients in Charleston, South Carolina, Kara explains her sourcing beautifully:

I tour a local coffee roaster, visit a sustainable and cruelty-free apiary to speak to local beekeepers, reach out to berry farmers to get inspiration. My favorite part is to hear their passion shine through as they teach me about their product. This propels me to create something truly special for Me Time Botanicals and your rituals. 

Kara, Me Time Botanicals Founder

I had the pleasure of trying a few of Kara’s rituals and in the process I felt like I was getting to know Kara and her delightful hometown.

Phyto Tonic Facial Mist $18

Meaning “plant derived” this facial mist smells so good and is super uplifting to my spirit! The scent is like candied roses and neroli and instantly refreshes me skin and mood. The star ingredients, white rose, neroli and frankincense distillates help restore the skin by encouraging cell turnover and coconut fruit extract and jasmine help to nourish the complexion.

Tip: This mist is perfect to dampen my face before applying the Berry Bright Exfoliating Mask, as an essence before using the Morning Perk Facial Serum and as a mood booster throughout the day. In my true style of indulgence, once I start spraying this facial mist, it is really difficult to stop.

Berry Bright Exfoliating Mask $30

This lovely mask is as delicious (yes, I said delicious) as it sounds! The scent of berry lemonade is intoxicating and if a little drips down onto my lips, the taste is equally as yummy! The visible pieces of horsetail and nettle, infusing the honey, further add to the sensory experience.

The star ingredient in Berry Bright Exfoliating Mask is our locally sourced raw honey that I pick up directly from an educational center called Bee City just a few short miles from Charleston where local schools and families can spend the day learning about sustainable beekeeping, honey, and gardening. Their honey comes from the local wildflowers, blueberry bushes, & palmetto trees.  The hives are never treated with chemicals or pesticides, the honey is unadulterated and the bees are truly loved. 

Kara, on the sourcing of the raw honey used in her Berry Bright Exfoliating Mask

Tip: I really enjoy wearing this mask for over 30 minutes to an hour when I have the time! I mix the jar well before application and the exfoliating action is definitely noticeable. Before washing it off I practice facial tapping with dry fingers which feels especially awakening around the eye orbital area and mouth! Washing it off further activates the scent, making my mouth water all over again!

Morning Perk – Caffeine & Blueberry Seed Eye + Facial Serum $25

Like a soft, berry-scented coffee, this oil-serum is extremely moisturizing and comforting on the skin. The locally roasted, fair-trade, organic coffee infused in this serum is hand-picked by Kara from Charleston Coffee Roasters right in Charleston and is made using antique roasters to get the most out of the beans, and into the serum! Using this at night, I wake up in the morning with my skin feeling perfectly hydrated and it is absolutely suited for use during the day as well (not too oily)!

Tip: I prefer removing the roller-ball so that I can pour a generous amount into my palm to spread all over my face, neck and chest in the evening. I enjoy taking a moment to massage this oil-serum deep into my skin, paying special attention to my under-eye area to awaken and refresh my appearance during the day.

100% Organic Beeswax & Coconut Oil Bath Candle $5 – seasonal only!

Final Thoughts

The passion behind Kara’s formulations are evident during the experience of her rituals. From locally sourcing her ingredients to hand pouring, labeling and batching each jar, Kara really wants every woman to enjoy a special moment of “Me Time”.

After getting acquainted and indulging in Me Time Botanicals, I realize the brand is perfectly named, lovely and affordably priced. Great for a little indulgence or as gift for a girlfriend or loved one, there is really no reason to hesitate in giving this delightful, natural, indie-brand a try!

Remember, you are appreciated and worthy of self-care and love.

XOXO,

Erika

Please comment below! What is your favorite way to indulge in “Me Time”?

How Important is Cleansing, Really?

My A.M. Cleansing Routine

Lately, I’ve been witnessing the rising trend of ditching facial cleansers in the morning in lieu of splashing one’s face with water. Does anyone else find this ritual bizarre? To me, this is about as normal as brushing one’s teeth without toothpaste, or taking a shower without soap.

I happen to think that cleansing my face, especially in the morning, is the most important step that sets the tone for the rest of my (skincare) day!

Our skin does a lot while we sleep including increased cellular turnover; it is also the bodies largest organ and the requirements of our skin can change daily based on hormones, diet, etc. For these reasons, I like to listen to my skin when I wake up to understand what it needs.

Is my face feeling tight? Is it rough? Does my skin need a double cleanse? Extra exfoliation? Or can I just use a gentle cleanser? When I tailor my cleansing routine to my skin’s daily needs, the results I achieve are a more healthy and vibrant glow.

My Morning Routine Options:

My skin feels tight: Exfoliation followed by a gentle cleanse or mask.

My skin feels normal: Gentle cleanse or active cleanse.

My skin feels rough: Exfoliation followed by an active cleanse or mask.

My Favorite A.M. Cleansers:

Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser $42-$82

This gritty cleanser is a holy grail ritual for me. It has an aloe-base so it rinses really clean and leaves my skin feeling fresh! The scent is also bright and awakening! With 11 active ingredients, it polishes, refines, decongests & plumps the skin. Using this first thing in the morning on dry skin really helps to soften my complexion if I wake up and my face feels tight.

Osea Ocean Cleanser $48

I have written about this cleanser in-depth in a previous post and absolutely love how potent it is with algae extract and lactic acid. My skin LOVES lactic acid! It does a fabulous job of keeping my skin smooth which sets the perfect canvas for the rest of my skincare regimen and make up. Tip: This would be what I consider an “active cleanser” with its powerful ingredients that work deep to exfoliate the skin.

Nuori Vital Foaming Cleanser $35

I discovered Nuori when I traveled to Denmark with my sister last fall, and I love how this unique brand boasts freshness (Nuori recommends using their products within a few months of batching to get the most effectiveness from their ingredients). This foaming cleanser is uber gentle and has a beautiful floral-citrus scent. Full of humectants and pomegranate enzymes, it leaves my face feeling undisturbed yet cleansed and soft.

Earthwise Beauty Marshmallow Cleanser $60

Earthwise Beauty has captivated my heart and this cleanser had me instantly smitten! This small-batch, organic, unrefined cleanser leaves my skin silky-soft and clean. A little goes a long way and the formula is full of calming and soothing ingredients like calendula & chamomile flowers, marshmallow roots, cold-pressed pumpkin seed oil and jojoba seed oil to nourish my skin and keep it clear.

Final Thoughts

Gone are the days of using Cetaphil to cleanse, and I don’t think I will ever forgo cleansing to simply rinse my face with water in the morning. I enjoy a variety of cleansers depending on my skin truth each and every day. Giving myself options allows me to truly listen to my skin and give it what it needs to achieve a more smooth and glowy complexion.

Remember, you are appreciated and worthy of self-care and love.

XOXO,

Erika

Please comment below! What is your favorite morning cleanser? Have you ever tried just splashing with water? What are your thoughts?

Phenoxyethanol

Much Like The Spelling, It’s Complicated!

During pregnancy, there are a lot of things we are told not to do. Whenever I have a friend that is expecting for the first time, I always give them the same advice, “If it bothers you, don’t do it. The peace of mind is reason enough”. Questioning your decision, after you’ve done something you were weary of, and the worry that inevitably follows, can be the worst part in making that choice to begin with.

For personal reasons (mostly pregnancy and breastfeeding-related), phenoxyethanol is an ingredient that I have chosen to try and avoid in my skincare routine. If for none of the evidence below, than for my own peace of mind.

What Is Phenoxyethanol?

According to the “Think Dirty” app, “Phenoxyethanol is a common, synthetic, antimicrobial preservative used in cosmetics. There are no reports of this compound being found in natural extracts”.

Phenoxyethanol is a very controversial ingredient that I was unaware of when I started detoxifying my beauty routine. It is controversial because there are many advocates for the use of phenoxyethanol and many advocates against it. According to a video by Tata Harper, a lot of companies market their products as “paraben-free” in an attempt to make us assume they are safe, but as she explains here, these same companies use other questionable preservatives instead, like phenoxyethanol. After watching this video for the first time, I remember being very disappointed when I checked my “clean” beauty products only to see this ingredient listed in a majority of them.

Watch the Video: Exposing The Natural Beauty Industry: Tata Harper on Greenwashing

In moderation and in low concentrations, I’m sure phenoxyethanol is not extremely harmful (that’s a big assumption), but when you use as many products as myself, or are unaware of the concentration of phenoxyethanol in a particular product, it can be reason for concern. While the FDA recommends cosmetic companies use concentrations of 1% or less, at this time, the United States does not regulate phenoxyethanol.

Side Note: Currently, Japan and the EU limit the use of phenoxyethanol in cosmetics to 1%.

My decision to avoid phenoxyethanol was greatly justified when I read an article by Follain.com, in which they chose to eliminate any products that included phenoxyethanol from their shelves. Follain.com cited a study from http://www.ehp.niehs.nih.gov in which they discuss phenoxyethanol being associated with “increased time to pregnancy” in women.

Read the Follain Article: We Officially Banned Phenoxyethanol from our Shelves

Read the Study: Urinary Glycol Ether Metabolites in Women and Time to Pregnancy: The PELAGIE Cohort

The great news is that there are a plethora of amazing, natural skincare brands who do not use synthetic preservatives, and at the same time are exponentially effective. Also, a lot of mainstream brands are beginning to re-formulate their products without phenoxyethanol. Hooray!

Just to clarify, I am not condemning phenoxyethanol and I believe preservatives are extremely important when it comes to the safety of our skincare products. If you have no reason to avoid this ingredient, or aren’t convicted either way, then you shouldn’t be overly worried. This blog post is meant to inform, not create fear.

Skincare is a very personal choice. Much like a diet, what works for one person may not work for another. There is no judgement if this is an ingredient that you decide not to avoid, and there may be other ingredients that I commit to discontinue using in the future. To be transparent, I use regular nail polish and currently have no strong conviction to change. Clean skincare is an ever-evolving journey of self-discovery and improvement.

Final thoughts: As with most things, I believe moderation and education are key. It’s impossible to avoid every hazard in life and I know there are many risks we are still unaware of. Until we have conclusive information from all sides, all we can do is make informed decisions, be confident in the personal choices we make, and ultimately have peace of mind.

Remember, you are appreciated and worthy of self-care and love.

XOXO,

Erika

Please comment below! Are there any other ingredients you’ve made the personal decision to avoid? I’d love to hear your thoughts.