Tag Archives: La Bella Figura

On Skin Types, Tips and Toners

Remember when I told you about A Night for Green Beauty? It’s all set to go down in New York on September 4, and I can hardly wait. Not only are so many of my favorite brands all gathering in a single room (owners and all!), but some of my favorite green beauty bloggers will be there as well. I am going to geek out! I’d say the skin care secrets tag that’s been floating around the green beauty blogosphere landed here at just the right time. Thanks to Kimberyloc for sending this my way.


Describe your skin care routine in 5 words.

Extensive, active, enjoyable, refining, ritualistic

What’s your skin type?

It doesn’t like to be classified, but it leans towards oily.

What’s your favorite skin care product?

I love the feeling of freshly exfoliated skin, but am careful not to overdo it. So my favorite product(s) – what, you think I can just pick one?! – are my scrubs and exfoliators. Osmia Organics Detox Exfoliating Mask is the one thing I can’t wait to do every week. It is powerful, so I actually use it about once every 10-14 days. Bonus: it smells ever so faintly of chocolate. And, I am newly obsessed with Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin B Cleansing Oil. Not only does it remove all traces of makeup it exfoliates as well with fruit enzymes from papayas. How many cleansing oils do that? Total power player.


Top blemish zapper?

Osmia Organics Spot Treatment. I use it nightly and I get not even a ¼ of the breakouts I did before using this.

Face wipes: Yay or Nay?

Major yay. I tend to use these more in the summer time and I always tote them along when I travel. Most of the time, I’m not packing my cleansing oil on trips, so I like to use a towelette as a first step in makeup removal. At the moment, I’m partial to Alba Good & Clean. One side is slightly textured if you need a little extra oomph or exfoliation.

Toner: Yay or Nay?

The word toner conjures up bottles of Sea Breeze to me, but 100% yay. I get my mist fix now with plant oils and hyaluronic acid and I use them at a freakishly fast pace. Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin D Mist is lovely as is Kahina Toning Mist. And now that La Bella Figura Jardin de Fleurs Revitalizing Mistlove the fah-ncy name — is available I’ve got to get my mitts on a big bottle.

High-end skin care or high-end make-up?

I’ve long justified both, and I like to think of my high-end purchases as more high-quality. Not every product needs to break the bank, but I try not to guilt myself if I spend way too much on something.

You’re in a pharmacy and can only pick up one item — what is it?

Most likely a magazine or Q-Tips! I love the Precision Tips kind with the pointed edge and use them constantly. I can’t paint my nails without them and they are really useful to smudge eyeliner into a slight little kitten eye.

Tell us your top skincare tips.

The first is the most basic, but it’s so important to have a routine. Remove your makeup every night, moisturize and SPF every morning, etc. I’m always surprised when people tell me they don’t wash their face. It feels so good! Also:

·        Don’t touch your face. Our hands are so germy!

·        Exfoliate weekly.

·        Protect your skin from the sun. Be it by sunscreen, big hats or straight avoidance.

·        Wear an eye cream every day and night. It’s never too early to start.

I’d love to hear from any and all of you on these questions. And, go visit Genuine Glow and Pemberley Jones and see how they answered these same Qs.

Chill Out, it’s National Relaxation Day


Bless you, creator of National Relaxation Day. I’m always up for a reminder to just CHILL. Ironically, today is going to be a busy one, but the weekend is near. After work, I’m stopping by the Birchbox Ann Taylor #ReadySetFinished event hosted by one of Chicago’s most fabulous bloggers, Nicole Pearl of The Beauty Girl. Hoping there is a small chance I’ll finally be able to snag these booties – though they are truly sold out everywhere.  From there, it’s on home to squeeze in some relaxation. I’ve got to honor the day. Here’s what relaxation looks like for me!

This upcoming launch from La Bella Figura, the Skin Aficianado Body Elixir. I tried a tiny sample of this and am hooked. It looks like sunshine in the bottle and has the most unique warm scent. After a steamy bath (relaxation 101 for me!), this is like a cozy blanket nuzzling me to sleep.

A nourishing lip treatment that tastes like honey! Osmia Organics Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair is a staple on my nightstand. I lather it on at night and wake up with the softest lips. I’ll stockpile this come January!

The smell of lavender in this pureelementnaturals Defend Argan Oil Moisturizer. Massaging this blend of argan oil and six other essential oils into clean skin is a ritual worth taking your time to complete. I love to layer it over this serum.

September issues! I’ve got Lucky, Glamour and InStyle just waiting to be devoured, page by page. I’ll be saving this for the weekend.

A candle that is channeling my current state of mind. Maybe it’s the cooler weather we’ve been having, but my mind is on fall. And, whatever, you know you want it, too! Just give me a few more beach days, and I’ll fully embrace it. Until then, Bath & Body Works fall candles – like Sweater Weather! – are giving my home the fall treatment.

Any plans for relaxation on your end?

La Bella Figura Modern Radiance Concentrate


Earlier this year, Victoria from La Bella Figura was excitedly telling me about this ingredient they were sourcing for an upcoming launch that was so high in vitamin C it was going to be major for anti-aging skincare.  The end product was still in its very early stages of development, but I was already excited to get to testing. Fast forward nearly eight months and La Bella Figura Modern Radiance Concentrate is here! The ingredient that had team LBF so excited was the kakadu plum, which contains the world’s highest source of vitamin C.  Which, in context, means that at a minimum, this fruit contains about 100 times the vitamin C concentration of an orange. And what La Bella Figura whipped up with this wonder is indeed major.

Among the benefits of continued use include, improved skin texture, even skin tone, reduced discoloration and more luminosity. There are so many antioxidants in this bottle that strengthen your skin and help it regenerate, it is mind-blowing. Skin naturally thins as we age and this formula gets deep into skin to help get some of that youthful elasticity back by toning the thinning skin. I think of this as the skincare version of my ballet barre class, minus the burn in my muscles. The gel cream consistency, which is in part from the cupuacu seed butter, feels cool and refreshing. LBF recommends to keep this in a cool, dark place to help preserve all that goodness. I’m savoring every pea-sized drop I use, because I have a feeling this is one that I will want to splurge on when my sample runs out!

P.S. Less than month to go until ‘A Night for Green Beauty!

A Night for Green Beauty, Fall Nails and New One Love Organics


This week absolutely kicked my butt! I have a feeling the next few weeks will be more of the same so this weekend, I plan to catch up on life a bit and hit up the Nordstrom Anniversary sale—at least round one. I’m thankful for the slight heat reprieve because it is always so hard for me to shop boots and sweaters mid-July.

While you’re enjoying your weekend, make sure to check out these reads.

In the biggest news all week, A Night for Green Beauty was announced. My Chicago gals at La Bella Figura are hosting the event in NYC on September 4 and I cannot wait! (Chalkboard Mag)

There’s more to the collab between Elizabeth Dehn of Beauty Bets and One Love Organics and it just launched this week. (Beauty Bets)

I know what I’m wearing on my nails this fall. (POPSUGAR Beauty)

I love Megan’s weekly wish lists. Girlfriend always makes me want to shop! (Seed to Serum)

Get to know Chicago’s Cait of Pretty and Fun and bookmark her blog while you’re at it! (Refinery29)

How To Humidity-Proof Your Face


The humidity in Chicago right now is the worst its been all year, but it still doesn’t compare to the seriously oppressive dew points I experienced while living in DC. If you live in that area and you see someone with great hair, pull them aside and beg them to share their secrets! Prior to making the 312 my home, I spent five years post-college in Washington. My first summer there was a shock. Working in a business professional dress environment and attempting to keep my face from melting was a daily task. When one of my favorite bloggers, Kara of Politics of Pretty, asked me to guest blog on the topic, I was more than happy to oblige!  I like to think that the tricks I have up my sleeve now would have made those five DC summers that much more manageable. But if you’d told me back then that I’d be purposefully slathering oil on my face every morning, I would have laughed. Oh, how things change for the better!

Check out my post on summer skin over at Politics of Pretty! And while you’re there, catch up on her “Bill of Makeup Rights” posts. Does it get any cuter than that? Gotta love her cap-city themes!

Beauty Serums for the Body


{Inspiration from Lina Hanson via Facebook}

Once you begin beauty oil-ing, you just don’t stop. It’s been the best skin care shake-up for me. It makes sense to extend that goodness to the body, right? Skin care absolutely shouldn’t be limited to just the skin on our face. Lucky for us, body serums are a growing trend. I’ve begun dabbling with these body serums by One Love Organics (oh, the Rose!) and have noticed a difference in my skin. It’s smoother to the touch and I feel good knowing that my largest organ is absorbing healthy ingredients that actually benefit skin. La Bella Figura is set to launch one soon – and you know the ingredient list will be turn-back-time style. And this month, celebrity makeup artist Lina Hanson— of Global Face Serum beauty oil fame!— is launching her new Global Body Serum.


Lina preps and primes some of the most beautiful faces in Hollywood with her Face Serum – Natalie Portman, Emma Stone and Morena Baccarin have all sported the Lina-induced global glow. Like its sister oil, the Global Body Serum contains 10 super oils sourced from around the globe: rice bran, apricot kernel, argan, yuzu, vanilla, camellia seed, brazil nut, pumpkin seed, grapefruit and avocado.  Isn’t it refreshing to be able to pronounce all of the ingredients? What’s even better is how it feels to massage this on to damp skin. Just as you do your face serums, press this on to your skin. I focus it on my chest to start and then blend outward. I mix a few drops of it in with my Weleda when moisturizing my legs as I don’t want to use too much of the oil (it’s a splurge!)

Lina timed the launch of Global Body Serum to World Environment Day, June 5. A splurge on either of her Global Serums from June 15 through August 15 means 15% of proceeds go to the International Rescue Committee. Global Body Serum retails for $63 and is available at LinaHanson.com.

P.S. While we’re on the topic of splurges, it’s only fair to share my favorite budget body oil buy! Check it here

Earth Day (Beauty) Clean-Up


Are you ready for eco everywhere today?  Honestly, you can’t not love Earth Day. Because even though every day should be eco-minded, every day is not Earth Day. So let’s cheers to the official with a chat about green beauty! Admittedly, I am not 100 percent clean with my beauty routine but I am very ingredient-conscious and the balance is tipping more and more green for me. Especially with skin and body care. There’s no excuse for mineral oil and parabens anymore, ya know? The green beauty industry has majorly upped its game. And many other brands are cleaning up their formulas as well.  The paradigm is shifting.  In addition to spending some of Earth Day with nature, make it your mission to check out some of my favorite clean products and brands below!  An Earth Day clean-up doesn’t necessarily have to be about planting trees and picking up trash…

RMS “Un” Cover-Up. An incredibly effective concealer, made with coconut oil and a blend of cocoa seed butter, jojoba and beeswax. This can be used all over the face on the areas that need a little coverage. Blend with your fingers to warm up the product and watch it melt into your skin. Don’t underestimate the magical powers housed in this tiny little pot. And also don’t fear the oils. Promise! It works wonders (even on oily complexions!)

ILIA Lipstick. The company responsible for making my favorite lipstick. In My Room is my perfect neutral. It’s pinky, with a hint of peach, and enough brown tones to balance it out.

Kahina Toning Mist.  I’m in the middle of testing a few Kahina products, and in the process have become reliant on this moisturizing mist. It’s made with more than 90% organic ingredients and smells ever so slightly of roses. It calms skin, tones and replenishes moisture throughout the day. And, 25% of profits of this product are set aside to the women in Morocco who harvest and produce Kahina’s organic argan oil.

Vapour. Oh, just everything from this line. Seriously, it’s one of the best all-around organic beauty lines I’ve tried. Everything is consistently good, and made from organic plant-based ingredients, minerals and vitamins. This foundation rivals many of my “unclean” favs as do the Aura Multi-Use Blushes.  Oh, and I adore the Siren Lipstick in ‘Au Pair’ — it’s definitely getting some use this spring as I can’t enough of rosy pinks.  

Revolution Organics Freedom Glow Beauty Balm. A brand I’m interested in getting to know more of, based on my positive experience with the Freedom Glow in ‘Blushed’ – a super hot pink that is sheer and dewy on cheeks. The ingredient list makes me smile — coconut oil, shea butter, aloe vera and it goes on. The more I embrace these nourishing oils in my beauty routine, the more my skin behaves.

For more Earth Day fun, the ladies at La Bella Figura will be hosting an #EarthBeauty Twitter chat tonight at 7pm central. I’ll be joining in and hope you can tweet along as well!

*note: I received a sample of the Kahina Toning Mist.

Low to Luxe: Eye Cream

It wasn’t long ago that my friend Catherine asked me to break down the best makeup for busy moms. And right before she came back from maternity leave, she specifically pegged me on eye cream recommendations.  I’m no expert on mom beauty shortcuts yet, but I know eye cream. I started using it when I was around 19 (Clinique All About Eyes, a beginner’s staple!) and I’m a firm believer that it needs to be a part of every woman’s routine.  It’s never too early or late to add that step, and the payoff is major. I’ve put together a list of my top recommendations, in low to luxe fashion. I like options, and I imagine you do as well!


Low to Luxe: Acure Organics // Origins // Kiehl’s // Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics // La Bella Figura

Acure Organics Eye Cream is one of the best values I’ve come across — especially considering the organic, superfruit-packed formula (Acai! Pomegranate! Goji berry!) It’s lightweight but don’t worry, it’s fighting the good fight against wrinkles. One of my favorite things about this brand is that for every product sold, they donate $1 to Bright Pink to help fund breast cancer education.

I went through a major Origins GinZing phase a few years back and it remains a favorite. It’s like a cup of coffee for your eyes, with a blend of caffeine, ginseng and optic brighteners to bring visible radiance to the eye area. I like to blend my concealer with a dab of this and apply together. It’s a good morning boost.

I am a fan of most of Kiehl’s eye creams, and I really like the new Powerful Wrinkle Reducing Cream. It uses Copper PCA (an essential mineral in the skin) to prevent the breakdown of collagen. I love how quickly skin drinks it up (making it very easy to wear during the day) and the formula has a solid blend of wrinkle-fighters and moisturizers.

My new obsession is the shea-packed vitamin e eye balm from Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics. Shea butter is everything! The value in this tiny tub is crazy, given how little you need. It’s daytime appropriate, but best suited for night when you can layer it on for some good old fashioned beauty sleep. Elizabeth advised me to dab some on my lips and cuticles. I did so with the leftover on my finger after applying undereyes —- there’s never any waste!

I’ve saved the luxe for last! And it’s not even an eye cream but an oil serum – La Bella Figura Découverte Eye Repair Serum. I like to call it my magic eraser. If you are looking to really combat the crow’s feet, you need to call in the big guns. Découverte is made from pure barbary fig seed oil and it’s extremely effective in making stressed tissue appear smooth and youthful. I don’t throw around the “miracle” word like ever but I think this can actually help reverse signs of aging. It’s a worthy investment and the good news is a little bit goes a long way.

note: some editorial samples were provided (Kiehl’s, Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics & La Bella Figura)

March Birchbox and the Must-Have Pastel Palette


{A peek into my March 2013 Birchbox}

I was excited to see the Serge Normant Meta Revive Dry Shampoo in my March Birchbox. This video of Serge himself transforming Birchbox founder Katia’s hair with this product will be my hair to-do this weekend! (Birchbox)

How adorable is this mark pastel shadow palette for spring? (The Glossarie)

Bobbi Brown dishes on upcoming trends and the one item she thinks every woman needs in her makeup bag. (Nordstrom Beauty 24/7)

Another 312 blogger that can’t get enough of facial oils…and her post on La Bella Figura’s Barbary Fig Seed Oil is a must-read. (Seed to Serum)

Love glittery polish but hate removing it? Here’s an interesting remedy… (Refinery29)

Mozzarella bar? Gnocchi with truffle cream? I need to get myself to Siena Tavern stat – the new Chicago restaurant from Top Chef’s Fabio. (Chi Gal Lauren)

Two Steps to Radiant Skin


Some things are just too good to keep to yourself. Which is how I first stumbled across this crazy good skin combo. And now I’m paying it forward! We all have the ladies at La Bella Figura to thank for this treat.

It begins with Acure Organics Brightening Facial Scrub, which cleanses and exfoliates skin with organic sea kelp and stimulates new cell growth with chlorella growth factor and argan stem cells. I don’t know about you, but I think rubbing sea kelp on your face falls into the more unusual (but super cool) category. Its health benefits are plentiful – tons of mineral-rich vitamins and elements. French Green Clay and Lemon Peel also work to suck the gunk out of your pores. Short story: this exfoliator is not like other exfoliators.  It’s also only $15.

After you finish smoothing and de-gunking, pat a face oil, like omega-rich  La Bella Figura Daily Elements Defense, all over skin. The result is major radiance. I do this at about once a week, and it’s always my best skin day. I like to do it in the morning since LBF’s Daily Elements Defense absorbs so well. I usually go brew a cup of coffee in the Keurig and then go about my makeup business and revel in how I hardly want to wear any because my skin is so glowing.

Daily Elements Defense launches later this month! You can see my earlier review here.  

Plant Power: La Bella Figura Daily Elements Defense


Do you take a daily vitamin? How about for your face? That’s how I think of the La Bella Figura Daily Elements Defense Face Oil. This brand new facial oil, launching in March, is like a multi for your skin. What could be more important than remembering your vitamins?  La Bella Figura designed this with spring in mind. And thank goodness, the days are getting longer and spring is actually on its way. It’s a lighter oil and perfect for use in the a.m. to protect your skin from UV rays and the big bad environment.  It has a high dose of antioxidants and omegas — the ingredients are so outrageously fabulous.

The lovely Victoria of La Bella Figura handed me a sample of this last month and told me about Sacha Inchi Oil, which contains the richest source of omegas 3 and 6. A stunning 48% more omega 3 and 36% more omega 6 than a daily fish oil capsule.  It happens to be one of the main ingredients in the Daily Elements Defense. LBF sources Sacha Inchi (it is fun to say, no?) from Peru and also uses it in their Rainforest Hydration Treatment.

In addition to the omega-rich Sacha Inchi, Daily Elements Defense also contains:

  • Pure guava seed and rosehip seed oils which gives a major boost of vitamins A and C
  • Organic camellia seed oil which contains collagen-building squalene
  • Jojoba oil to balance oil production
  • Evening primrose to promote skin elasticity
  • Calendula and pitanga leaf extracts which are natural sources of alpha hydroxy acids
  • Jasmine, sandalwood and rose which are all known skin smoothers

The beauty of a facial oil is the versatility it lends. You can add a drop of it to your sunscreen or foundation, as LBF recommends with this one, or use it as your all over moisturizer. Skin literally soaks all of these ingredients in!

Daily Elements Defense Face Oil launches next month! Check it out at La Bella Figura.

Made in the 312: La Bella Figura

La-Bella-Figura-Skin-Care Made in Chicago, Inspired by the World. That’s the phrase you’ll see inscribed on the packaging of La Bella Figura’s luxury organic skin care. The ladies who started the line, Victoria and Karen, travel the world in search of sustainable plant-based ingredients to incorporate into their products which are designed, hand-blended and shipped right from Chicago’s Lincoln Square.

The brand’s namesake is inspired by an Italian philosophy to always embody an authentic image and recognize the elegance in simplicity. After getting to know LBF’s Victoria, it’s clear to me that the passion that drives these ladies is uncovering the globe’s most pure and powerful ingredients and introducing them to us. There’s a story behind every product they make and each ingredient serves a purpose. As their new Bio Active and Bio Healing Masks were launching, Victoria explained to me how manuka honey came to be the base ingredient in both masks. Sourced from New Zealand, manuka honey is filled with therapeutic enzymes and natural antibacterials and is often used to treat burns. As she points out, just think of the effect it will have on a blemish or dry skin?

Claim to fame:  The first American brand to incorporate cold pressed barbary fig seed oil in its pure organic form. Barbary fig seed (a.k.a. prickly pear as it’s often referred to in the U.S.) is a powerful healer and antioxidant powerhouse!

Passion project: Arguably, every LBF release is fueled by passion, but perhaps none more than Travel Diaries Collection. Each plant, flower, resin and essence was carefully selected by Victoria and Karen to aromatically bring to life memories of places they love.

Creator’s POV: While I’m sure it’s like being forced to choose a favorite child, Victoria and Karen did spill to me their must-have product from their line. Victoria especially loves the Barbary Fig Renewal Serum as it noticeably got rid of wrinkles (editors note: what wrinkles? Her skin is stunning!) and Karen can’t be without Découverte Under Eye Repair Serum.

312 Beauty fav: The Rainforest Hydration Treatment and its blend of superfruit oils, mango seed butter, raw coconut oil, jasmine essential oil and chamomile is irresistible. Massaging this into my skin is an experience I look forward to daily.

Up next:  Just announced, LBF is delving into the world of organic makeup in 2013!

It’s rare that you get to know the people literally making your skin care, but the La Bella ladies can be found striking up conversations on Twitter every day. You know, in addition to spearheading major innovations for the industry right here from the 312.