The Facial Gone Wrong
One of the fun things I get to do as a beauty writer is to try out beauty products and treatments for the sake of my industry knowledge. Nine times out of ten it's the most amazing perk ever, but sometimes I overdo it and disaster ensues.
My most recent skincare mishap occurred after getting the Decadent Youth Glow facial at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas' gorgeous Sahra Spa & Hammam. It was not cheap. The 80-minute treatment consisted of a Hydrafacial treatment, NuFace micro current, and an Intraceuticals Oxygen facial. The products used were all high-end, from iS Clinical and Intraceuticals. Plus, I've had many hydra facials — I used to get them monthly — and had never had an adverse reaction to a micro current treatment.
The culprit seems to have been the Intraceuticals Oxygen treatment, which uses pressurized oxygen to send serums more deeply into the skin. For most people, this means your skin gets doused in an abundance of skin-nourishing vitamins and anti-aging ingredients; unfortunately, as the name "intraceuticals" suggests, this also sent a slew of ceuticals (i.e. chemicals) into my skin.
"Hallway to Hell"
The result? Tiny hives all over my face. They itched, felt tender to the touch, and looked like a gazillion milia, or whitehead-like breakouts, covering my mug. Having had peels and even the occasional laser treatment, I'm no stranger to avoiding mirrors and "hermit-ing" while I recover... the only problem was, I had deadlines the next day — including a DIY beauty post that required sampling products and taking photos.
With my face feeling like it was suffering from an actual chemical burn, the last thing I wanted to do was put anything near it and risk more irritation.
loli beauty: The Literal Face-Saver
Everyone knows I'm into stuff that's a little bit "woo-woo" and spiritual; I grew up in Berkeley, after all. But what happened next was — objectively speaking — an act of cosmic intervention. The beauty company whose products I was working with is called LOLI Beauty. They're the world's greenest skincare line ever, using organic, raw, food-grade ingredients to unlock nature's healing powers.
They're so green that they're also the world's first beauty company that creates zero waste, avoiding the pesky issue of packaging. They do so by sending you pre-made kits that are filled with the ingredients of your choosing. You can even choose recipes from their site based on the result you're seeking; it's like the Sun Basket of the beauty world. (Sun Basket is the organic equivalent to Blue Apron, able to accommodate my gluten-free, dairy-free, and meat-free lifestyle.)
LOLI's amazing PR rep, Lexi, had sent me three different kits so that I could sample all the ingredients I was most curious about; namely, turmeric and plum extracts. FYI: Turmeric is the latest antioxidant-packed superfood to have been embraced by the beauty industry, and plum oil is said to be eight times as nourishing as Marula Oil, which was my existing go-to lip plumper of choice (see above). THANKFULLY, Lexi included their ultra-soothing, anti-inflammatory "Redness Remedy," which said right on the box that it calms both the skin and the soul. (Much-needed!)
I'll spare you the details of the actual DIY process because they're reserved for Brit + Co., but the Redness Remedy — made with a carrot and chia base, as well as turmeric and cranberry extracts — is unbelievable. It's the only thing I allowed to touch my face for two entire days, while I was taking Benadryl religiously and struggling to stay fully awake.
The next morning, I woke up without redness, but the bumps were still all over and the texture of my skin felt awful. As of day 3, those nasty bumps are gone and my skin is almost totally back to normal. By tomorrow, I'm sure I'll be back to normal.
You know how raw food gives you more energy when you eat it? Well, these fresh, raw beauty products that you whip up yourself are bursting with nature's undiluted healing powers. And that's how LOLI Beauty literally saved my face. To try the same batch that worked anti-inflammatory magic, shop the BIY Redness Remedy ($112). You can also try the individual ingredients — the Carrot Chia Brûlée Base ($68), the Cranberry Seed Mix-In ($20), and the Turmeric Root Add-In ($24) — on their own.
The Case for Non-Chemical Beauty
It's worth mentioning that I don't think just anyone would react this poorly to the trifecta of luxe facial treatments. The spa was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen and Tom loved an 80-minute "Gentleman's Soak.” My issue is that I have an autoimmune condition that can flair up when I'm under stress, not well-rested, or not eating well.
In Vegas, I was drinking more than usual (which turns to sugar — even worse), sleeping way less than usual, dehydrated, and keeping weird hours. When confronted with the sudden onslaught of so many chemicals to my body's largest organ — my skin — my already-wary immune system must have freaked out. Now, I can personally attest to Turmeric's incredible anti-inflammatory effect firsthand.
But more and more people are beginning to exhibit symptoms of immune reactivity and/or other allergic reactions to chemicals and ingredients used in beauty products. Considering the level of toxicity that goes unregulated in our toiletries and cosmetics, maybe it's more of a wakeup-call. Along with the prevalence of these inflammatory skin reactions and ailments, green- and clean-centric companies are popping up more and more, including Qet Botanicals, which I wrote about for Locale Magazine.
Another green goddess devoted to clean beauty is Adina Grigore, whom I got the chance to interview for Brit + Co. She is the author of Skin Cleanse ($11), which describes her process of eliminating chemicals from her skincare products and how it rehabilitated her once-problematic skin. It involves a product-free period of total detox before reintroducing only food-grade products to your skin — just like the philosophy behind LOLI Beauty.
Her chemical-free journey also led to the development of her own skincare line, S.W. Basics. It's based out of Brooklyn but you've probably seen it around; it's even stocked at Target. I am a big fan of S.W. Basics Toner ($19), and always remember the moment I first discovered it. After reading through its 5-ingredients, I realized my Naturopath would totally approve of it. Also, it's normally $22, but it’s on sale from that seller.
If it somehow isn't already obvious, the public preference for green beauty is on the rise. On the one hand, consumers are demanding that the beauty industry adopt more ethical practices (because knowingly poisoning your consumers to cut costs is a form of capitalism that has gone way out of style). Others go green because their health requires non-chemical products due to sensitivities, allergies, or other immune reactions. Whatever your reason, you're not alone!
Little-known fact? Cara Delevingne, Zoe Kravitz, and Suki Waterhouse all go to the same holistic skincare expert! Read all about the Goddess of Skin (Dayle Breault-Hagag — LOVE her!) and try her probiotic-powered DIY facemask here.
You can also read more about the green beauty trend's rise in Hollywood in my Brit + Co. interview with Tammy Fender; learn a green tip or two from boho goddess Nicole Ritchie; or peek Joanna Vargas' DIY face mask recipe in my article on quelling breakouts on Brit + Co.