Au Naturale Eye Essentials Kit

Your Questions Answered: Facial Care Recommendations

I have been working on a project, taking lots of notes, and doing loads of comparisons these days.

What have I been doing? Testing facial care products. I have been using my own since the latter part of 2006 and since I no longer have the passion or inclination to keep making everything anymore, I have had been testing replacements. I receive at least one email per day still asking for product recommendations to replace the ones my customers used to buy from me.

On the surface, many look good on the ingredients label but just didn't quite cut when I have been trying them out. As always, your experience may be different. Something that may break my skin out or make it itch like crazy may work like a dream for another. Something I might enjoy may not work well on someone with very oily or very dry skin.

I would like to share with you some of the products I have tried and really feel are worth your consideration. They are all paraben free, free of formaldehyde releasers, and free of DMDM Hydantoin and the other nasties.

Doing this test has been really difficult and fun at the same time. After years without a single breakout, I woke up one day after trying a product with four zits on my face. Shockingly, this was caused by a Burt's Bees product (the Soapbark Cleanser). Another, I ended up with itching like crazy (a Kiss My Face product). In the end, I believe these to be the ones I feel comfortable suggesting to all of you who used my products for so long.

I really hope this helps you!

Here is what I am using now:

CLEANSER: I have long recommended Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soaps in the Rose Clay Facial Bar. I use this. I adore it. I do know, though, that some people just will not use a bar cleanser. For you ladies (and gents), I would like to recommend a nice lotion type of facial cleanser that I have been trying and really adore. It is Burt's Bees Radiance Facial Cleanser and contains a favorite ingredient of mine--Royal Jelly. There is also soy and jojoba and natural fruit enzymes to give that glow. Find this online and in stores for $10 or less.

FACIAL TONER: Thayer's Alcohol Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera Toner is just lovely. It is also a great value and available at for around $8. It smells feminine and feels cooling and soothing on the skin. It adds that bit of brightness and leaves your skin feeling clean.

FACIAL MOISTURIZER (DAY): This is a huge value and a great deal. For $10.35, you can get a 16 ounce bottle of Rosehip & Hibiscus Facial Lotion (86% Organic) from a popular wholesale supplier based in Oregon called Essential Wholesale. It is a lovely texture, features Vitamin A, Pro Vitamin B5, Niacinamide, Rosehip, Aloe Vera, Vitamin C Ester and more. While it comes in packaging geared toward other businesses to re-bottle, it is a true bargain and I highly recommend it.

FACIAL MOISTURIZER (NIGHT): If I could only remove the fragrance (it is nice, but is unnecessary for facial care, especially a synthetic scent), this would be PERFECT. Even though there is fragrance, I recommend this and just adore it: Derma E Tropical Solutions Anti-Aging Night Creme. This new formula is packed with antioxidants and just sinks into my skin and leaves it looking bright and radiant in the morning. In addition to Coenzyme Q10, Acai, Pomegranate, and Green Tea, there is nourishing Avocado Oil and restorative Tamanu Oil.

Unlike many other creams, the antioxidants are close to the beginning of the ingredients list and in effective amounts. I haven't tried Tamanu Oil before, but have read a great deal about it lately. There is documented research on its healing effects, especially when it comes to treat damaged skin. My skin is very sensitive and this is absolutely lovely.

I have tried $100 creams and $10 creams and this one is just wonderful. Find it for well under $20 online and even in the natural foods aisle at Wegmans. On the Derma E site, it is on sale for $16.50.

FACIAL SCRUB: A few weeks back, we took a look at what was in St. Ives Apricot Scrub. We found that apricot was at the bottom of the ingredients list and that it was still a pretty poor choice for your skin. If you like the idea of an apricot scrub, may I suggest one with true apricot in it that really is beneficial for the skin?

Also from Derma E, the Tropical Solutions Facial Scrub is another stellar product. It contains apricot seeds to polish, green tea to soothe, and skin nutrients such as Papaya, Ester C, Acai, Pomegranate, Tamanu Oil, Aloe, and more. It is gentle enough to feel great on the skin, but effective enough to slough off dead skin cells. This is a great facial scrub.

It is available on the Derma E website for $10.50.

FACIAL SERUM: I believe that peptides play an integral role in the way our skin ages. I think everyone should be using peptides in the skin care if they are over age 35 (preferably at 30). You know I detest spending lots of money on one product because, in most cases, you do not need to pay that much.

Juice Beauty Antioxidant Serum is what I use for my peptides these days. They used to be present in my night cream, but now I am using them at night in my serum under a night cream.

This fabulous serum is lightweight and absorbs quickly. It contains Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide 3, the ingredient in Matrixyl 3000, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Vitamins A & E, CoQ10, and more.

I really am enjoying this product (going on 2 weeks straight using it) and can recommend it. I do have to say that I will spend the $45 on it again because the cost of the other items in my product regimen are very affordable compared to other brands.

EYE CREAM: A couple weeks ago, I raved about the recently reformulated paraben free Avon Clinical Eye Lift. I still adore it and love the ingredients found in it, from the caffeine to the natural extracts.

*Disclosure: All products with the exception of the Derma E brand products were purchased by me. The Derma E products were sent to me for review (among other products from the company) and in no way have influenced this review.