Beauty Trend: Charcoal

When a lump of coal is a good thing.

charcoal beauty trend

The beauty trend a lot of my girlfriends seem to be buzzing about right now? Charcoal. Activated charcoal has been a go-to in the natural beauty and wellness communities for a while. I first heard about it when Kathy wrote this guest post for me ages ago, recommending it as a natural tooth whitener (note: some dentists advise against this, for whatever that’s worth). And you might remember when I shared this article; despite activated charcoal’s reputation as an excellent detoxification agent, results can be, shall we say, mixed. But recently, a lot of New Yorkers have been raving about activated charcoal juices (people seem to love Juice Generation’s Activated Lemonade; I’m curious to give it a taste).

While I’m intrigued to try activated charcoal as a toothpaste or as a hangover cure, there are so many charcoal masks currently out there that this seems a more reasonable place to start! It’s interesting how charcoal has gone mainstream, since it’s roots are much more home remedy/kitchen beauty (I like that you can find great, affordable all-natural charcoal masks on Etsy, or at clean-beauty retailers like this). Nevertheless, a few tried and true mostly-natural brands have also come out with masks worthy of a home spa night (this one from Origins has great reviews online, and Boscia also makes a gel mask that sounds like it would be really refreshing). If I were splurging? May Lindstrom is an amazing all-natural brand who makes the most gorgeous facial oils (I LOVE her Youth Dew oil), so I’m sure her ‘problem solver’ mask would be no different. Spirit Beauty Lounge actually lets you order sample packs of all their products, which I’ve done a few times to test out pricier brands before fully committing, and I think my next sample pack will include a pot of this mask for sure!

And in between trying charcoal masks, I’ll let you know if I snag a charcoal juice at the grocery store one of these days. What about you? Have you tried any charcoal-related beauty products or regimens? I’m especially curious if anyone uses it regularly for teeth whitening or for digestive detox! Definitely share your results below, if you feel like it.

Beauty and health trends are such interesting and funny things, no? But I can say I discovered one I will NOT be trying…camel milk.


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Background image by Folkert Gorter for Super Famous, with graphics added by Victoria McGinley. Image used under CC 3.0.

"All we wanna know is where the stars came from, but do we ever stop to watch them shine?" - Jon Bellion

Crushing On: AGONIST Parfums

Located at the intersection of art and smelling really good

agonist parfums

Hi from Houston! Yesterday, I was out doing some browsing with my grandmother and we decided to stop in to Kuhl-Linscomb. I had read about this home decor store before, but had no idea what I was in for — multiple buildings full of everything from linens, to furniture, to garden decor, dinnerware, everything. They even have a huge apothecary that carries every imaginable brand of candle and luxury or up-and-coming beauty brand. New Yorkers, it reminds me a lot of ABC Carpet & Home, actually. Long story short, you could spend hours browsing there.

I wandered into an area that housed tall shelves filled with all these perfume bottles, and of course, had to check ‘em out. I wasn’t familiar with the vast majority of the brands Kuhl-Linscomb was carrying — many were all from very small manufacturers, so it was perfume discovery (and packaging) heaven. I snapped a few pics of some, wanting to come home and do a little investigating about the brands. With AGONIST Parfums, I hit the jackpot for super cool, adding-to-my-list type companies.

AGONIST is a Swedish based perfume brand that launched in 2008. You can find bottles of their perfumes from the ‘Spray’ line at a few department stores (FYI, Neiman Marcus sells them), and their packaging is minimal, modern, and sleek (I fell in love!). What’s really cool about AGONIST though is their Sculpture line — the company creates individually handblown glass containers for their perfumes, each an expression of the fragrance itself and meant to enhance how you smell it. Since the pieces are all essentially unique, individual pieces of art, the Sculpture line is very pricey, but I thought the concept was really cool and it was interesting to see the fragrances interpreted as glass pieces.

My favorites from my limited sniffing were Solaris (lightly citrusy, it definitely reminded you of the sun) and Liquid Crystal, which was…well, it’s really hard to explain what exactly it smelled like. I think this is why AGONIST is such a perfect name for the company: you smell these fragrances, think of something and feel something, but can’t quite put your finger on what it is (although you know you like it). It truly does engage you in a bit of a struggle — though one of the most delightful kind. If you ever spot these in a store, I highly recommend you give ‘em a sniff!

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Winter Beauty Routine

What's been saving my skin.

Ah, frigid winter months — what havoc this time of year can wreak on your skin! Since getting over my initial change-of-season breakout, I’m actually pleased to report that I’ve found a winter beauty routine that’s been working really well for me. I integrated a few new products with a few old ones (and one I’d even forgotten about), and I’ve been so happy with my skin that most days, I don’t wear any makeup. And if I do, I only dot on a little of that Juice CC cream. In winter! Who woulda thunk? So I thought I’d share some of my fave products in case anyone is looking for new goodies to try!

Last year, I picked up a bottle of Dr. Hauschka’s Soothing Cleansing Milk mid-winter, when my skin was so dry and using my regular cleanser seemed to be making things worse. I found that by washing with the Cleansing Milk in the morning, my skin became a lot more balanced. Using it only once per day, the bottle actually lasted me through the entire winter season and then some — after shelving it through the spring and summer, I only recently finished last year’s bottle, then bought another. Even though it’s a natural product, it was perfectly fine a year later (and had a few more months before it expired!). ‘Milk’ is the perfect way to describe this product — it doesn’t foam at all, and it just feels really creamy when you rub it on your skin with water. Rinse, and your skin feels velvety and hydrated, not stripped at all. I love it. Read the rest of my routine below… Read the full post +

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