eyeliner on a cat

eyeliner on a cat
beauty, scent & style scrutinized for pleasure

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Medicine Mama's Sweet Bee Magic: Product Reviews, a Love Letter and an Interview

I'm just going to be blunt: I'm completely obsessed with Medicine Mama's Sweet Bee Magic products. I use them all, and each time I do, I thank my lucky stars to be able to have something so perfect for my skin at an affordable price. I'd like to think there's a perfect balm for everyone out there, and if you're still searching for yours, I can't recommend these enough. They have several multi-use formulas, all of which are far beyond capable of first-aid triage, healing a number of skin and scalp issues, basic or severe dryness, acne, skin sensitivity and reactivity, and just good ol' fashioned apres-bathing. To really enjoy their products, I allow them to transcend the necessity of their functions and to ritualize my time with them. Medicine Mama's were also the ones to finally get me to try dry brushing on my body, face and lips followed by Sweet Bee Magic (I now alternate days with the abhyanga I'm already doing.)

Confession: late at night, sometimes I get drunk on skin care products. Once in awhile, I've been known to write an email (or perhaps "love letter" is more fitting) to a deserving company in my delirious state. Eric Furrer from Medicine Mama's was the recipient of one such love letter, and he was so nice-- he even answered some interview questions for me, which you'll find below my product reviews.

What Would a Bee Do? (besides sit there lookin' all cute, I mean)

First, I'd like to review a couple of my favorite products of theirs-- the Ultra Beauty Balm and the Magic Wand. These will help describe the differences between some of the formulas. Their other formulas not reviewed here that I also use and love are: the original Sweet Bee Magic (2 and 4 oz jars), V Magic (2 oz jars) and Calendula Baby Balm (2 oz jars).

Ultra Beauty Balm (2oz, $32)
With twice the amount of their proprietary honey and propolis 28 day bio fusion called Melexylem, Ultra Beauty Balm stands out not just as a utilitarian skin care product, but as a multi-use beauty product. Why? Back to the Melexylem: this particular formula is incredibly fine and smooth, feels almost matte on the skin when used in moderation, and it makes the most comfortable makeup primer EVER.The hydration is profound and creates a calm, even canvas for liquid, cream or powder face cosmetics.  It also contains a dose of organic sea buckthorn oil, which is loaded with antioxidants and essential fatty acids.  Fine lines and imperfections are blurred and skin projects happiness and coolness all day. I actually use it on my face, hands, neck, decollete and elsewhere, so I wouldn't mind it if they sold this golden balm in a bigger size. I use it on my hands and cuticles (especially at night), neck and decollete twice a day, and on my face and under my eyes as the last step in my daily skin care routine. I really take my time massaging it into my skin, like, between five and ten minutes if I can. This increases circulation, which helps to heal and rejuvenate skin and hasten cellular regeneration-- that's the best beauty medicine there is. Since I began using Ultra Beauty Balm regularly, my skin is perpetually supple, elastic and line-free,

I'm also quite obsessed with the very faint musky bee scent of this stuff! I can't really pinpoint it, it just smells like exactly what it is-- all natural, bees and olive oil, and that's about as good as it gets in my book. I do have a very sensitive nose, so I'm not sure other people would even notice any scent at all. If only every other brand had a "what you see and what you smell is what you get" thing happening. The other Sweet Bee varieties tend to have more of a honey scent-- just a tad sweeter. 

ingredients: organic extra virgin olive oil, organic beeswax, organic honey, Melexylem, organic sea buckthorn oil, royal jelly, bee pollen

Sweet Bee Magic Wand (0.5oz, $12.99)
I use the Magic Wand mostly as a lip balm, or if I'm traveling or just away from home, I'll use it for everything. It has the original Sweet Bee Magic formula with a heaping helping of organic avocado oil and extra beeswax added to the mix to make it a bit richer-- it stays on the lips much longer because of the increase in thickness and viscosity. It also makes an absolutely genius cuticle and hand treatment to use at night before you drift off to sleep. I like to keep several of the Magic Wands on hand at home and in my favorite bags (and my husband uses them too). Once I totally ran out and had no backup. I was WAY more crabby than you'd think was appropriate for the situation. If I'm being completely honest (hey, why not?), I have occasional anxiety problems, and one of the only things that helps me is if I have something like this on hand to busy myself with. Five minutes of massaging my cuticles and hands with Sweet Bee Magic is the best therapy. The basic act of being kind to my skin reverberates through my whole being. It really translates to self-love in the simplest way.

ingredients: organic extra virgin olive oil, organic extra virgin avocado oil, organic beeswax, Melexylem- a proprietary blend of honey and propolis


What follows is the result of an impromptu and fun interview I did a couple months ago with Eric Furrer of Medicine Mama's:

What is the shelf life of your products? (seems like it would be at least 5 years-- which is amazing-- you should start marketing to survivalists... they need skin care too!)

The shelf life of our product is two years. There's always a expiration date stamped on the label right below the bar code. Because they're all honey and oil based, they have no water and so they are completely protected from all bacterial influence. Water and honey mixed are just an invitation for bacteria to grow, but our olive oil and honey mixture keeps out the bacteria thus not needing any preservative or harmful chemicals to keep it fresh.

What is Melexylem, and is it something new to your products or did you simply put a new name to something you've been doing all along? Do all Sweet Bee Magic products have it?

Melexylem is a 28 day infusion with honey and propolis. It's trademarked and a creation of Medicine Mama's Apothecary. We've put years of testing and time into perfecting this science and it's our little secret. Shhh, but tell your friends!

What are the differences between your products and formulas? They're all very similar, it seems.

There are slight differentiations from the Sweet Bee Magic and our other product for different uses. Ultra Beauty has double the Melexylem. Baby Balm formula has no honey. The Lip Wand has extra beeswax and avocado oil for a heavier consistency and extreme element protection in sports chafing and lip protection. We follow a very careful mission with any product out of our shop, "What would a bee do?" and we try to remain consistent with the ingredients that have been proven through nature.

What makes your new Ultra Beauty Balm great for beauty use? What are a couple of things that it's particularly good at doing?

The Ultra Beauty Balm has twice the amount of Melexylem which acts as a gentle alpha hydroxy, smooths and tones facial skins and helps reduce fine lines, wrinkles and age spots.

What's the most unusual use for Sweet Bee Magic that you've ever heard of or tried?

There once was a Bee Friend of ours who was visiting friends and had just gotten done moisturizing her feet when she realized the bamboo mat she was standing on had oil foot prints. Not knowing what to do, her instinct was to camouflage the prints with more Sweet Bee Magic. The mat looked so bright and vibrant the friends ended up asking about it and what she could have possibly done to make it look so beautiful?

Do you have any new products in the works that you can tell me a little bit about?

In the spring we'll have our newest surprise.
(ED: here's the surprise I just found when I checked the site today: Honey Facial Scrub!)

Dry Brushing: in a nutshell, why do you recommend it?

Trees have the healthiest skin of all organism because of constant agitation from weather, and pests. They are our role models in how to maintain our largest organ, the skin. Dry brushing releases dead skin and helps with circulation and blood flow to the surface. It also increases the cell turnover factor. The more skin is stimulated the faster the dead cells slough off, the faster new cells rise to the surface. Medicine Mama's next blog post will be discussing the importance of dry brushing your lips though the winter months.
(ED: HERE's that blog post)

Is there anything that Sweet Bee Magic CAN'T do? 

We have been trying to get it to do the dishes but so far it's not happening.


A huge shout-out, Big ups and major gratitude to Eric from Medicine Mama's and their whole team, who keep me and my skin super-mellow. If you're looking for a new (to you) indie skin care brand to get behind, I can't say enough good things about these products and the people who make them.

[all products were purchased by me for my own personal use. I have no affiliation with the brand. All photos via medicinemamasapothecary.com]

Friday, January 23, 2015

Taking it up a notch: Aftelier Organic Honeysuckle Face Elixir

Facial oils are a particularly delicious sort of treat for me to use, and I have oils for every occasion and whim. I adore all kinds, including those made with a combination of luxurious natural fragrance and skin-loving non-fragrant oils. There is room in my life for all of them, and I'd like to share my current favorite with you, Aftelier Perfumes Honeysuckle Face Elixir.

Ingredients: Honeysuckle absolute from Italy with rice bran, sweet almond, apricot kernel, camellia, grapeseed, squalene (vegetable-derived) and rosehip seed oils

I like to use Aftelier Perfumes Organic Honeysuckle Face Elixir (15ml, $65) a couple of nights a week, and especially on the weekend. It's got special spa duty around here--when I create custom beauty treatments with raw ingredients such as coconut oil or if I want to soup up my facial masques, I use a couple of drops of this brilliant oil. Also, sometimes I like to mix two drops into my nightly cleanser, massage into my face and remove it with an organic cotton muslin cloth. A little bit of well-formulated face oil with natural absolutes can transform your favorite skin care products, making them even more effective and totally soul-satisfying. If you're new to facial oils or if it's a subject you're well-educated on, Aftelier should be your first stop if it hasn't been already. This is the first time I can ever recall smelling real honeysuckle outside of the actual bush, and it's a real treat. Mandy has used her sourcing and alchemical genius to take true luxury up another notch. Less floral and more ripe melon-like fruit, it deserves to be showcased the way it has been in this face elixir. It's unusual, tender and very sultry.

Also consider Mandy's other face elixirs: they are all formulated similarly (aka brilliantly), but which one you should choose really just depends on your preference with fragrances. Also on the roster currently are Ylang Ylang and Rose blends. I personally use the Ylang Ylang most frequently because it has a particularly soporific effect on me that sends me off to dreamland on the fluffiest cloud you can imagine. It's a pastel peach-hued cloud, if you're wondering. If you're looking for an aromatherapeutic facial treatment oil that is all-natural, light as a feather and is versatile enough to customize your other skin care products, Aftelier's Face Elixirs are certainly not your only choice, but in my opinion, they're the best.

Screw-cap sample vials are also available for $6 each.

(sample provided by Aftelier for my consideration)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays from eyeliner on a cat and H.P. Lovecraft

I seemed to be looking down from an immense height upon a twilit grotto, knee-deep with filth, where a white-bearded daemon swineherd drove about with his staff a flock of fungous, flabby beasts whose appearance filled me with unutterable loathing. Then, as the swineherd paused and nodded over his task, a mighty swarm of rats rained down on the stinking abyss and fell to devouring beasts and man alike. 

--From H.P. Lovecraft's The Rats In The Walls

In his nightmare lives an unorthodox, hellish vision of Santa and his reindeer (without being named as such). A warning: don't leave cookies and milk out for this bunch.


Friday, November 14, 2014

The Beauty Spotlight Team Round-Up: Weekend of 11/14/14

The new Kérastase Paris Discipline haircare line is a fabulous secret weapon to tame frizzy hair, and Lola's Secret Beauty Blog thinks it is an absolute must-have collection for anyone who fights frizz and fly-aways.

Cleansing is the hottest topic in skin care right now, and Carrie from eyeliner on a cat is totally into it. She wants you to Dish on Your Favorite Cleansing Products and Methods!.

Phyrra shares her picks for the Best Cruelty Free Blushes! See what shades will give you that lit-from-within glow we all want.

You'd think Sunny from Mostly Sunny has seen it all and isn't quite easily impressed, but she did nearly need to breathe into a paper bag when she saw Guerlain Un Soir à l'Opéra ! Feast your eyes on 9 out of the 10 pieces, and get carried away by Guerlain's holiday magic! Win It!!!

Pammy Blogs Beauty has found a new everyday perfume favorite! Be sure to check out her review of Georgia by Robin McGraw and Enter to Win!!!

Jessika from polish insomniac shows us there is a red for everyone in the Gwen Stefani for OPI Holiday 2014 collection... and some awesome glitters too!

If you like the idea of winning cosmetics, gift certificates, fashion and more then follow Beauty Info Zone and their Sunday Scoop each week. Giveaways galore for your entering pleasure. 

Blog-adventuring is serious business - you need to make sure you have an amazing party at your side! Who would The Painted Rogue rope into her adventuring team? Come check out some of her very favourite bloggers - you might find a new favourite beauty adventurer too!

The Guerlain Météorites Perles D’Étoile may just be the prettiest balls you've ever seen. Perilously Pale shows us why these Holiday 2014 Meteorites are her latest obsession.

There are so many holiday collections out that it's hard to narrow down which ones have the best steals and deals. One of Prime Beauty's favorite brands Too Faced has some beauties that you might find hard to resist.

Looking for a new foundation? 14 bloggers joined 15 Minute Beauty with their foundations of choice. See if there's a new one that calls your name.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Beauty Spotlight Team Shines a Light on Perilously Pale's Khaki Eyeshadow Collection!

Christa from Perilously Pale is a bit of an eyeshadow addict. She loves the variety of shades and finishes available and the endless creativity you can express through eye makeup. She finds herself wanting every variation of her favorite shades and is excited to share with us her Khaki Eyeshadow Collection complete with swatches of all the shades.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Cleansing the Soul: Dish On Your Favorite Cleansing Products and Methods

Paula's Choice as a brand has afforded me the luxury of being able to pick out things about my skin that really bother me-- some major and some minor-- and then obliterate them systematically. It's really quite exciting for me, because I've never encountered a line of products that work so well for me personally and can be relied upon time after time to be effective. Each morning when I get up and look in the mirror, I see positive progress, so of course I look for every chance I can to share the love.

Paula's Choice Hydralight One-Step Cleanser (8 oz- $17, 16 oz- $25)

That brings me to the Hydralight Cleanser, which is my great white whale of cleansers-- a crystal-clear, hydrating, non-stripping gel cleanser that really doesn't foam up at all (though it does say on the label that it's lightly foaming, I haven't seen any). It's the perfect simple gel that is gentle on my skin but really good at removing impurities, dirt and makeup. No stinging, no suds, and no unnecessary ingredients. Once or twice a day, I massage the gel into my damp skin until it turns a dingy milky color. 

But what makes the Hydralight Cleanser doubly effective is if you use it with a really good cleansing cloth. I favor the organic cotton muslin cloths from Ginger Chi (pictured below) with this cleanser. I like the precise size (a large rectangular shape as opposed to the usual medium sized squares of many other kinds), the medium weight of the cotton and the not-too-finely-woven texture of them. I find that once dampened with warm water, they pick up the cleanser and dirt on my face with just two rinses and passes. Light circular massage feels invigorating-- but not at all rough. With some experimentation, I've found that the right cleanser with the right cloth gets you The Perfect Cleanse. If anything deserves capitalization, it's The Perfect Cleanse. Not gonna go all-caps on you, but imagine it with reverberation. Ah, that's good.

Ginger Chi Organic Muslin Face Cloth Set ($14 for 2)

With all of the cleansing lotions, oils, liquids, grains, powders, creams and balms out there reaching a critical mass, cleansing has more than its share of the buzz in the skin care world. New and exciting cleansing methods and products from every corner of the world are being popularized and adopted every day. I must admit, I'm pretty fascinated by all of it. What I'd like to know is, what do you do for cleansing? Do you have special products or cleansing methods you like to use?

[...soon, I'll probably post my entire skin care regimen just so you can all see my level of skin-obsession. It's something I hope I can get all the beauty bloggers I know to do too. Who doesn't want to peek into the product cabinets of other like-minded women?]

*All products featured in this post were purchased by me for my own personal use. If you'd like to give Paula's Choice a try, click through to their site via THIS LINK in order to receive $10 off your first order, and I get a $10 credit too, for referring you!*

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Beauty Spotlight Team: Phyrra's Eyeshadow Hoard Takes the Stage!

Some people are goo hoarders, but Courtney is an eyeshadow lover. Check out her eyeshadow hoard at Phyrra.net!