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The Power Of Scent Part II

“As if you were on fire from within, the moon lives in the lining of your skin.” Pablo Neruda

Do you remember what it felt like when you met that person that gave you butterflies in the pit of your stomach? Did you meet on a train, at a quaint little coffee shop or at 69 Colebrooke Row? Was the smell of rain and fresh dirt subdued in the spring air or was the sun streaking rays into your garden warming the nectar of honeysuckle outside your door? Sometimes, our conscious memory fails us with these significant details and we simply forget. There is one part of memory that lies in the frontal cortex of the brain and is so powerful it can rouse the most dormant memories in a flash of an instant, almost like magic. It is triggered by scent. The woodsy and spicy smell of cinnamon takes me back to my grandmother’s kitchen when I was seven years old. When I delve into this memory, I can visualize her in her flower-print apron stirring a pot of sweetened milk-soaked rice allowing me to grind fresh cinnamon into her delicious rice pudding. I can see her paper-maiche hands, soft and fragile as she stirred with her wooden spoon because, as she used to say, stirring properly was the trick to her pudding’s creaminess. (She was right, of course, as she often was about most things.)

I love the connection between scent and emotion and I had a realization that scent is a part of the beauty process we do not focus enough on. I work in a lab surrounded by some of the most incredible and often mysterious ingredients. I am obsessed by the essential oils, resins, absolutes, hydrosols, plant butters, herbs, fruit and natural ingredients that arrive on a daily basis to us. My favorite part of the week is when our shipment arrives and we're carefully restocking our shelves, my olfactive senses in high gear. My mood is blissful because one cannot feel anything other than blissful surrounded by beautiful scents. This part of the beauty experience seems to have gotten lost somehow. It seems, we focus so much on the way we look that we’ve forgotten about the way we feel. To me, the way I feel on a daily basis is paramount to the mood I’m in, as well as the confidence I exude and manifest into my life. Most days I want to feel great and this feeling can carry me very far. I’m conscious of my feelings daily. I tend not to go through the motions and whether I’m happy, sad or angry, well it’s quite obvious and I allow myself to experience it. We are, after all, creatures of complex emotions. 

We wanted to go a step further and engage our customers with a “three-dimensional” approach in the form of olfactive, interactive and emotional storytelling. We’re a team of indomitable storytellers with an inherit passion to share the fundamentals of a product. Our jobs are to educate and break down ingredient viability, scientific methods and to encourage our customer to understand the integrity of our process. We added a visceral element to our new perfume-grade candles. Hoping to engage lovers of scent with the ceremony of lighting a candle, setting a mood and experiencing a moment that evokes emotion. The stories we share from Burning For A Wolf and A Constellation Of Ghosts are romantic, whimsical and adventurous. These emotions are universal and genderless. Every human has a sense of adventure waiting to be ignited inside of them and a longing to experience love, connection and romance. 

The scents for both candles are intoxicating. I created them to compliment one another adding an olfactive range if one wishes to burn them together. Personally, burning these two together is my favorite way to burn them, but I may have my own reasons for that. The perfume emitted from our candles is sophisticated and delicately layered opening up as the candle burns. The notes in both candles are evocative, graceful and center around the perfume quality of the essential oils and absolutes I adore. For Burning For A Wolf, I wanted to recreate a cocktail experience I had at a fabulous bar in London called, Nightjar. (If you’re ever lucky enough to find yourself in London, do not hesitate and visit this gem in Shoreditch.) The character profile for BFAW is a tribute to a flamboyant punch I enjoyed there with the most excellent company. I was also enchanted by the remarkable St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London. Specifically, the grand architecture and ornate details displayed on the windows throughout the hotel. The artwork for our packaging reflects this Neo-gothic style perfected by English Gothic revivalist, George Gilbert Scott. On New Year’s morning of this year, I treated myself to a glass of champagne as I admired the gorgeous architecture of St. Pancras and knew somehow I would encapsulate the moment into something for our stylish customers.

We hope to incorporate the component of nostalgia and happy associations into your beauty experiences with our luxurious perfume-grade candles. We invite you to imagine endless adventures and romantic moments that burn like wildfire whenever the mood strikes you.

With love,


Burning For A Wolf and A Constellation Of Ghosts will be exclusively available at June 9. 

Your Must-Have Spring Skincare Regimen

Spring is finally and officially here! It’s my favorite season and I feel inclined to celebrate after a long, cold Chicago winter. I’m rejoicing with a few new dresses, the prettiest sandals and of course an update with my skincare regimen. It’s important to change or alter your skincare with the changing seasons. As the weather warms up our skin doesn’t necessarily need as much rich moisturizer and as we expose ourselves to the sun a good amping up of Vitamin C is critical for skin health and cell protection. I’m sharing a few products that I think are critical for the three most common skin types and for the new season.

For Dry Skin:

Step 1: Cleanse with our Gentle Enzyme Cleanser. This cleanser is light and foams slightly, but is formulated with Cupuacu butter, carrot and amaranth oils to nourish the skin without stripping it from your natural oils. Often many cleansers are made with harsh detergents that dry out the skin causing a recurring imbalance.

Step 2: Treat your skin to an active serum with plenty of Vitamin C like our Modern Radiance Concentrate. When my skin is super dry I love adding a little extra oil to this serum and emulsifying it in the palm of my hand before applying on the face. Usually it’s Barbary Fig Seed Oil that I incorporate, but I’ve also used Maracaju or Grapeseed Oil from The Capsule Collection.

Step 3: Spritz the skin with an active facial mist. An active facial mist includes antioxidants, enzymes or ingredients that aid in skincare repair and balance. I’m going to sound rather snobby about this, but I don’t feel a mist made primarily with water is sufficient enough to add to your regimen. Our Jardin de Fleurs is a unique blend of raw coconut water, rose, jasmine and helichrysum distillate and includes hyaluronic acid to further hydrate skin cells leaving skin plump and refreshed.

Step 4: I cannot recommend adding a high quality face oil for the final step here. My favorite for dry skin types is Barbary Fig Seed Oil. Rich in Vitamin E (88% of these naturally occurring compounds) and Vitamin K, this oil is the reason I do not have a line or wrinkle on my face. I promise! It sinks into the skin, balances out-of-whack skin, moisturizes and fights free radicals. If  you want a scented version with a little more activity, La Flora is an excellent choice.

For Acneic Skin or Oily Skin:

Step 1: Cleanse with Gentle Enzyme Cleanser. Again, light and nourishing this cleanser will not dry out your skin and one reason acne skin tends to go haywire is the constant stripping of the skin.

Step 2: Our Vitamin D+Mushroom Concentrate from The Capsule Collection is pure magic for acne skin types. Adding our Kakadu Plum Spheres and a few drops of Barbary Fig Seed Oil and Barbary Fig Flower Distillate creates a light serum to aid in calming down inflammation and reducing hyper pigmentation.

Step 3: Once or twice a week apply our Purifying Manuka Mask to cleanse and help detoxify clogged pores and balance oiliness. This mask is made with Manuka honey and a combination of nutrient rich clays and activated charcoal. A pleasure to use and the results of fresh, bright skin are instant.

Step 4: Barbary Fig Seed Oil or La Flora will keep your complexion, clear, bright and glowing. To reiterate, Vitamin E is your skin type’s BFF.

For Mature Skin:

Step 1: Cleanse with Gentle Enzyme Cleanser or our soon to be released NEW Cleansing Balm. I love the cleansing balm for mature skin because it’s rich and active and 100% water-soluble, which is perfect to avoid using a cleansing cloth. You don’t want to rub a thick, scratching cleansing cloth on mature skin. Treat this skin type like a baby. Our cleansing balm includes coriander seed oil, lemon kernel oil and orange blossom to aid with clogged pores and gently removing dirt and debris from skin cells. Added bonus, it smells lovely!

Step 2: Modern Radiance Concentrate is my daily staple, but so are many of the high-powered serums I create from the innovative Capsule Collection. I love creating a formula for what I need on any given day based on how my skin is performing. This is the ultimate luxury in my daily skin regimen and my complexion adores the pampering. Both the Aronia and Kakadu plum spheres are truly concentrated and the boost mature skin needs.

Step 3: Crema Supernova for day is my go-to moisturizer. It's light, nourishing and loaded with Vitamin C. This cream also helps to keep my skin from breaking out. 

Step 4: Daily Elements Defense, Barbary Fig Seed Oil or La Flora is the final step for daytime. At night I use our groundbreaking Aria Nighttime Cell Recovery Treatment (I keep this on my nightstand so i never forget to apply) and Barbary Fig Renewal Serum.

These are some of my personal favorite products to use when your skin needs a boost or a prep for warmer weather. Remember to use a good non-toxic SPF and wear sunglasses or a hat to avoid squinting and protect your eyes.

The Power Of Scent Part I

A few weeks ago I experienced the onset of a panic attack as I was exiting the underground subway shuffling my way onto the L train platform on my way to work. This is something I do every day since I don’t own a car or enjoy driving in the city. I live right smack dab in the middle of the daily grind and am pretty used to city dwellers that move around like huddled schools of fish on any given day. I’ve even come up with a system that allows me to flow through the crowd unnoticed like some sort of urban ghost. I wear sunglasses (whether the sun is shining or not) to avoid eye contact with strangers and I put my earphones on to listen to relaxing music instead of answering emails or working on my smart phone during my 45 minute commute. I don’t look like your typical friendly midwesterner. All of the wellness experts might argue that this “method” may be keeping me from being socially engaged or connected with the world around me. My single friends (who clearly watch too many rom-coms) claim I could unknowingly be sitting beside the next love of my life completely clueless immersed in my own world of Maxence Cyrin and Volcano Choir. My “do not dare speak to me” suit of armor is fierce and a bit unapproachable. My doorman calls me “Victoria Capone” and asks, “who are you gonna kill today?” The truth is I covet this commute time to myself every day and I kind of want to escape the daily grind so I don’t necessarily want to be the person one asks directions to the Sears/Willis Tower. (For the record, this attitude is definitely anti-Chicagoan of me. City of polite and nice folks.)

The morning of the panic attack started off wrong. An early morning call from a sick employee, coffee spill on a new blouse, a neighbor who wanted to chat me up as I was rushing out of my building. I finally got on my first train to catch my second train and that’s where all hell broke loose. Every day when I get off my underground train to catch the above ground train (The El as we call it here in Chicago) I literally run towards the exit before the opposite underground train stops at my station. The opposite train is always overstuffed with humans trying to get to work causing a massive platform jam and it makes me tense being stuck in a shoulder to shoulder crowd as we all attempt our exodus out of the subway station. So I run. I run like a mad hatter in heels because I would rather work up a sweat running out of the subway than get stuck in the human sardine shuffle. On this day I was too late and got swept up in the grind. I felt my heart begin to race almost out of my chest. My head was pounding and my entire body went haywire. In my head I was screaming, “Fuck, fuck, fuck, hell no, fucking FUCK!!!”  The feeling was horrific (they don’t call it a panic attack for nothing) and I suddenly couldn’t breathe. If you’ve never experienced a panic attack it truly does feel like you’re about to have or are in the midst of having a heart attack. There was only one thing I could do before someone would call an ambulance. I parked myself on a bench with my computer bag in my lap and talked myself out of a full blown panic attack. I’ve had this happened before and a little cognitive therapy helped to recognize signs and work my way through a panic attack. Needless to say, it was embarrassing as people walked past wondering what my problem was that morning. I felt alone and ridiculous. It took nearly twenty minutes to pull myself together and calmly walk towards the exit a bit shaken up, but determined to get to work. If you think that was a dramatic morning then I’m inclined to agree with you. It’s usually not that bad and as a born and bred city girl who would always rather be exploring a forest I’m aware this is the life I’ve chosen for myself. Once in a while the things that are beyond our control have the tendency to be so devastatingly overwhelming it can literally shake the breath out of you. Unfortunately, I can’t control the schools of fish on the subway.

So this is what I did as soon as I arrived to work; I went into our inventory room and opened a  bottle of our Travel Therapy and applied that all over myself. Lola of The Hermes Hippie blog told me she was using Travel therapy to help soothe her migraines in lieu of medicine during her pregnancy and it was helping her so I thought I’d give it a go also. Guess what? It worked! Something about the floral and spicy notes in our botanic mood booster hit that spot in my brain and released tension and anxiety. The psychology behind olfactive remedies has always been an interesting one. I have always associated scents with people and places. To this day the smell of cinnamon reminds me of the joy of my life, my grandmother. It’s a warm, comforting and happy scent that is lovingly stored in my olfactive library probably until the day I die.

The power of scent is truly extraordinary. It has a way of soothing the brain triggering emotions and deeply seeded memories. Sometimes instantly before your brain can recognize the connection. There is an entire system of complicated sensory neurons that lie in a strip of tissue at the back of the nose. Humans have over 450 olfactory receptors (dogs twice that) and each receptor can be activated by an odor molecule. That molecule signals a part of the forebrain for further processing. Scientists once thought that the average person could detect about 10,000 different odors. Recent scientific studies believe it to be closer to one trillion smells! So consider that the next time you’re in a bad mood, sad or feeling anxious. Instead of reaching for a glass of wine, food or a chocolate bar try a little olfactive therapy instead. That could come in the form of aromatherapy like our two Botanic Mood Boosters, Travel Therapy or Happiness Therapy or from cooking or baking. Lately, I’ve been all about creating a specific mood with scented candles. Believe it or not there is an art to that and I’ll explain more about the emotional and interactive experience of candles and home fragrance in Part II of this post coming soon.

I hope to inspire you to slow down, breathe and allow yourself to daydream a little. As for me, I decided taking the late train in to work is a wiser option. This helps avoid the crowd and the dreadful subway dash that frankly, ruins many good hair days. I’ve even allowed myself to remove the sunglasses on occasion and have said hello to a few strangers. I can’t promise anything, but so far it’s been a good start.

With love,


Love And Other Stories

As I write this I’m at home listening to music, drinking a glass of wine while wearing my heart on my sleeve. I just got off the phone with one of my dear friends and we spent a while discussing everything from the state of the world, to the brave decisions we’ve recently made, to the last few dates we’ve been on. (You can insert hilarity and ridiculousness here.) This may seem a bit mundane, but the truth is that we both needed to have this conversation. Maybe you have had or need to have a conversation like this too. One in which you expose vulnerabilities and affirm the one thing we humans share a fundamental penchant for, the need to give and receive love. It’s quite extraordinary if you think about it. Why are so many of us fascinated, inspired or terrified of the one thing we would move heaven and earth for? Why does love connect or divide us? Why is the psychology and science of love such a mystery? (If you have an answer for any or all of these questions, please share them with me. I need to know!) I don’t know about you, but the older I get the more I crave true connection. It isn’t always easy either. We have a tendency to protect ourselves from the very things we crave. Yet we go off to the movies to watch people dance and sing about love or listen to hundred of songs about love and how it tortures us to lose, be without it or somehow be lucky enough to find it. One would think love makes the world go around. I, for one actually believe it does. I could not imagine living this life without the abundance of love I am so lucky to have. 

Most recently love has driven me to work on new endeavors. By now you know that the work we bring forward is often manifested by a particular kind of love. Whether it’s an ingredient, a favorite city, work of art, or the written word we love what we love with flair. We chose to bring forward things that touch upon our hearts and trigger our imaginations. True emotions have inspired us into a new territory of experiences and we hope to tell these "love stories" in a sort of modern three-dimensional approach. (Yes, read super cool and interactive.) For now, I’ll simply share that I’ve developed quite the fondness for wolves and Yorkshire pudding. I know that sounds vague, but I assure you it is true and wonderful. Again, I feel so lucky and grateful that I'm able to draw upon real emotions and develop that into a work of art to share with you. 

If you’ve been alive these last few months you have probably experienced a certain type of chaos that may have heightened your emotions about humanity to a full blown panic. Please don’t panic. I continue to believe in the beauty of humanity and I continue to seek incredible exchanges with others. By no means would I ever describe myself as naive. As a matter of fact, most people that know me would describe me as forward or as my mom likes to say, "fresh." Yet, I have this unyielding, powerful belief that most of us share the same desires to feel safe, free and loved. This gives me hope and doesn’t weigh me into a downward spiral of dread or negativity about our humanity. I love people and always have. I have so much hope and I know you do too. Let’s stay focused on this issue; do good in the world and when you know better, do better. Which leads me into our BIG MAD LOVE event happening on Monday, February 6. Join us on social media as we create a circle to spin forward with love and hope. Hope, by the way is my second favorite emotion. It feels like magic in the making and as though anything amazing can happen. We’re always game for that.

With love and hope,


Getting Creative With Skincare


The new year has begun with a bang, but not to worry I’m not going to write about resolutions, fad diets or even the new products we’ll be working on this year. I do, however hope you’re ready to delve into something more remarkable with us. I think there will be many changes happening on our front and a lot of it has to do with our growth, vision and you.

A growing business always faces a conundrum at some point. How do you continue to impact your customer demographic while putting forward new products with integrity and great style? What can your brand add to the market or to your customer that isn’t already existing or existing well? How do you grow without becoming repetitive or boring? Okay, maybe these aren’t the questions most brands ask themselves within research and development or sales and marketing, but we do. At times I have felt extremely challenged to push the limits because it seems it’s all been done before just with prettier packaging or a different brand name. As a super picky consumer myself this is not what motivates me to shop. I crave quality above all else and then comes the innovation. I do not fall for pretty packages. I often want what no one else has and when that doesn’t seem to exist, I begin this sort of marathon to manifest things out of the boundaries of my imagination. Our team knows when we sit down for our creative meetings and the conversation opens with me or Karen saying, “Okay, I had this crazy idea” more often than not that idea is going to emerge. As we like to say, one way or another. (Case in point, The Capsule Collection.)

Lately, our imagination is taking us back to the past and to second grade. To be more specific, the mind of the seven year old. It’s here where I distinctly remember not being judged, was truly delighted with my creative self and had freedom of imagination that seems to dissolve as we become older. The seven year old self is full of wonder, lucid with ideas and unabashedly confident. I sometimes wonder, what would the world be like if for only one day we asked all the seven year olds on the planet their opinions and advice on how to better the state of the world? (If you know a seven year old, go ahead and ask him/her and you will be impressed and even moved by their true and simple answers.) Sometimes when we are stuck, blocked or even a bit wrecked, it is a great service to ourselves just to let go of fear and judgment and get back to our confident, fun, seven year old selves.

Creators, artists, makers and innovators are often fearful of running out of ideas, but what if you could trigger a state of consciousness that is always within you to just continue flowing? Are ideas manufactured or are they intrinsically manifested? How does this happen? I’m of the opinion that in order to move past the past you kind of have to stop giving a shit of what’s happening around you. Stop paying attention to what your PR team is saying, your competitors, the reviewers, the critics, the editors, the bloggers, the list goes on with what businesses think makes their business great. There is a reason we stopped listening to those voices years ago and it had to do with a mistake that turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to us as entrepreneurs. It made us hyper focused on exceeding beyond being another brand in the beauty industry. At every single point in my life when I awaited accolades from others, I produced horribly mediocre results. Whether that was with a work project, relationships or ideas.  It was only when I pushed past satisfying a teacher or a parent and achieving my personal best that the reward was greater and sweeter than expected. Truthfully, I never have been any good at listening to what others expect me to do. I remember being seven and I remember feeling very happy. No limits to what I could or could not do. That is a blissful state of being that we are working on as a brand to get back to. I think you'll be seeing it all soon enough. 

There is a sense of freedom in doing something to impress yourself and no one else. You aren’t as judgmental or brutal and a bit more willing to give leeway to the mistakes that help you improve. Gosh, I love mistakes! Yes, they are frustrating when in the moment and I have shed tears while trying to figure out a problem that was highly complicated, yet what comes out of those knots is often something greater, more intimate and outperforming than what you were initially trying to accomplish. I value mistakes and the functionality it provides me personally. I strive harder to fix problems or I turn them inside out, deconstruct them and put them back together. Very much like lego pieces. I do this in my mind, physically when appropriate and subconsciously. I pay attention and listen carefully and often I come up with something better than the initial goal. I call that achieving my personal best and I satisfy mostly myself.

If you’re wondering what in the world any of this has to do with skincare, please allow me to explain. We decided a while ago that we don’t want to create another cream just to create another cream. Who needs another cream? We want to create meaningful products and have you experience them unlike you have ever before. I like thinking we’re more than formulators because we don’t create products just for profit, we produce to manifest our personal best into your lives and your daily personal care. The result is an exciting growing business we fall more in love with each day. I do believe when you do what you love you will be rewarded in many different ways. For me personally, it’s just a little touch of adding beauty to your lives that makes me feel proud and excited. Even still when I meet a costumer or fan of ours and hear how Decouverte Under Eye Repair Serum or Modern Radiance Concentrate has changed their lives I feel butterflies and goosebumps all over. I feel an abundance of gratitude that you use our products with such love and justified in all the ways we conduct our practices to put forward excellent quality. Our products are a small contribution to the integrity of the consumer seeking the best and to your gorgeous best self. We do not take that lightly. We thank you for so many years of faith and loyalty to La Bella Figura and I promise that what is coming your way next is more wondrous, made just for you from the hearts and minds of our inner seven year creative selves. Get ready for more magic!

With love,


Giving Big Love

I can still vividly remember the first time I purchased gifts to give to people I loved. It was during Christmas I was ten and I bought four gifts. One for each of my two sisters, my brother and my Mom. I had saved money from chores and babysitting and had carefully thought about what I wanted to give each of them. All year my brother talked about a remote controlled car he really wanted, one of my sisters was obsessed with dolls and the other with sweets so I bought her tons of old fashioned candy that came in a booklet all for herself (as the oldest sibling I had initiated a sibling code about sharing. None of us could bring in anything into our home without sharing. This time she was free not to share.) I was however, most proud of what I purchased for my Mom. A bottle of Coty perfume gift-wrapped with a red bow. I think they were all surprised I had made this gesture and presented them with gifts. My Mom was concerned (as only a Mom would be) that I had spent all my hard-earned money on these gifts, but it didn’t matter to me. I wanted to give to these special people whom I loved so dearly. It brought me such joy to see my brother’s sweet little face burst into smiles with his new battery operated car. I also had a clear understanding that this exchange would be one-sided and I would not receive a gift from my siblings in return. It didn’t matter to me one bit, because my giving was motivated by love and nothing else. That was enough for me then even at ten years old. Fast forward to present day and I am still motivated by love to give, but I must admit I am not an easy person to present with gifts. I consider myself a fortunate person and there is nothing that I really need. I write that with complete gratitude for all I’m fortunate enough to have. I have enough things and truthfully I have a sort of minimalist approach about “things” in general. What I love and cherish most is time. I want more time with my friends, my family, with myself. Sometimes I want to go back in time for one more splendid afternoon with my grandmother just to hold her soft hands in mine. Sometimes, I want to go forward in time and see what will become of my nieces and nephews in the hope they turn out to be the happy and good people I so dearly wish they become. Time is a treasure and some of us foolishly waste it. I can’t think of a greater or more luxurious gift than spending uninterrupted hours with my niece baking cookies and talking about everything going on in her teenaged life or ordering Thai takeout with my nephew while watching endless episodes of The Walking Dead. I guess if I’m going to break it all down, connection is more important to me than any one tangible thing. I find myself pressed for time constantly, short on it and craving it all at once. It’s quite clear that moments with the people that matter to me most is an incomparable luxury I don’t get enough of. (Trust me Mom, I would rather spend every Sunday afternoon in your kitchen if I could.) Time and I are often in a quarrel, sometimes I win and sometimes I lose. I’m aiming to win more.

I have more faith than I ever thought possible of making moments more meaningful. Recently, we lost our great-aunt. She was our family matriarch, a woman ahead of her time. She loved philosophy, history, nutrition, politics and humanity. An impressive woman with high standards and tons of integrity. Everyone that knew her was well aware of her wit and intelligence as well as her ability to love unconditionally. Before she died two wonderful things happened. We surprised her with a grand 90th birthday party during the spring. We pranked her and told her she was just going to a quiet dinner with her granddaughter, but were actually awaiting her arrival at my aunt’s house with a big party in motion. I mean practically THE entire family showed up! There were so many of us that we decided to wait in the driveway and when she pulled up and saw us all there her eyes quickly filled with tears. She was so moved and overwhelmed with love. She said she had wished and dreamt for that moment to happen, but didn’t think it was possible because everyone was so busy. I am so glad that as a family we made that gift possible for her. It was incredibly meaningful to her and to me as well. I asked her privately if she had a happy day and she replied, “oh yes, it was my dream to have you all together.” That’s a big damn deal. Ask me what my dream is and surely it will be more complex and seemingly unattainable, but her dream was simple and it came true. The second amazing thing happened right before she died. My family (a powerhouse of diverse, strong-willed, quirky and interesting characters) came from near and far to visit her while she was alive and very present. We knew she was going to leave us, but we came together to show her love. It was that simple. I'm still touched by the tenderness everyone expressed to her in her last moments. I was able to witness raw and real emotion and that's kind of my thing. I am ruled by sincerity and heart. I think it was the most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed. She died with the people she loved most around her, showering her with love. I believe that in the end of this one and precious life love is all that matters. That sounds like a cliche, but being in the moment, giving love and being grateful that love like this somehow finds you in this life is an amazing gift. At least that’s how I feel.

Dear friends, I hope wherever you are, in your life or where you want to be that you can slow down and see the chaos for what it really is. A temporary distraction you will get through. I hope you can temper it down and focus on your holiday dinner and the family and friends that come to visit from so far away. I hope there is laughter, music and good food at your table. I hope the lonely neighbor living down the street from you is welcomed to share your good fortune. That our friends around the world in war and suffering find peace. That those responsible to lead us can agree to do what is right for all. I hope you let go of whatever has hurt you to allow the joy back in. I hope that anyone feeling a bit broken or lost right at this moment can take a deep breath and find that sliver of light to crack yourself wide open and put yourself together again. I hope great, big wonderful love to fill every second of your days and that you don’t miss any of it. Time is generous, but not limitless and there is no time to waste. Say the things you need to say and love the way you want to love. At the end of the day, I hope love wraps you tenderly and in triumphant abundance. 

Thank you for a wonderful year from me and all of us at LBF. We wish you a happy holiday season and a bright new year to come. It's your time. 

With love and gratitude,



The Art Of Customizing Your Skincare

The holiday season snuck up on us and has now officially arrived. I’m never truly ready for any of it, unlike my partner in crime Karen who loves, loves, loves the holiday season and goes all out with decoration, great gift giving and fabulous parties. If you’re anything like me, it takes you a while to reply to invitations or make shopping lists that you ignore until the very last minute (I have been known to shop Christmas Eve with the rest of the desperate souls trying to find the perfect gift) or you pretend it’s not happening. I know, that’s not possible and an entrepreneur’s lifestyle is often ruled by choices made according to priority. So with that being stated, I'm making it my priority this holiday to get it together and help you get it together with gift giving, great tips and a few surprises.

Since quality and innovation is what we stand for, I’m going to share my thoughts on the ultimate beauty gift of the season. Of course it’s all about our Capsule Collection! There is nothing quite like this truly luxurious beauty alchemist kit. The concept to customize your own skincare is a bit adventurous as well as what makes LBF a standout brand. We go outside the limits for our customers. We think you deserve it and merit it more than any customer. You're savvy and adventurous too otherwise you wouldn't be our customer. We’re always going to emphasize the importance of stellar ingredients for you because that’s what drew you to us and that’s what we believe makes our products so revolutionary. I could go on and on and bore you about how much I love talking to our growers and farmers, but you know that already. (I bet that made you smile because it's so true.)

When we designed and curated The Capsule Collection we had to think of the top ingredients we wanted to use solely for the purpose of transformation in skincare. It’s no surprise that Barbary Fig Seed Oil made the cut. We use this single derived antioxidant rich ingredient in almost every formulation. If you haven’t jumped on that bandwagon yet I urge you to try it, especially if you’re seeking a clear, healthy complexion and smoothing out fine lines. We also included, rich Maracuja Oil (Passionfruit oil) from Brazil prized for its high Vitamin C content and cold pressed to preserve the phytochemicals found in our unrefined oil. A brand new ingredient was added to the Capsule, the fresh and clean hydrosol made from steam-distilled barbary fig flowers. This light and gentle hydrosol is excellent to keep skin clear while boosting hydration especially when paired with our beloved BFSO. We had our producer include a drop of neroli flower oil during the distillation process for a sublime scent. Can I rave about how cool our producer is to do this just for us? Certainly the big and most talked about buzz is all about our spheres. These spheres are spectacular, sophisticated and fun to use (when was the last time you had fun with your high end skincare?) and my absolute favorite part of this capsule. Think of the spheres as a jolt of either Vitamin C or resevratrol to amp up effectiveness and power boost a freshly made product you create yourself. Our Aronia Berry and Kakadu Plum spheres are quite magnificent and they can be added to our cremas, masks, serums and oil products to highlight those products on any day you feel you need an extra power play. This kit is full of truly wonderful ingredients and new formulations (The Curative Cleansing Balm, a super fresh balm that melts the day away and rinses clean) and you can create dozens and dozens of products following our recipes from The Custom Bar or use your unlimited imagination and be your own alchemist. The possibilities are endless. The experience is incomparable and the ultimate luxury is in every detail. From the white cotton gloves to the handmade sterling silver sphere spoon and porcelain ceramic bowl. It would be amiss to fail to mention our gorgeous packaging, all handmade with sustainable and recyclable material. Customizing your skincare to suit your daily needs is the new way to use skincare. What a pleasure for us to discover this and bring forward innovation is such a way you won't want to go back to traditional methods. 

Now you know a few more details about our Capsule and we’ve been receiving excellent reviews and responses from customers that have made this purchase. Some have questions about what products inside the Capsule can be used with other LBF favorites. All great questions because we know you’ve been mixing and customizing for a while now. Our Kakadu Plum spheres go well with Modern Radiance Concentrate and the Aronia Berry spheres are what your nighttime beauty dreams consist of, profoundly efficient when paired and boosted into existing products. We want to hear what you’re coming up with! All of you wondering about The Curative Cleansing Balm, we have good news. It'll become a part of our collection in 2017 as well as another surprise we won’t mention quite yet. For now all components of the Capsule can only be found inside the kit. The Capsule Collection won’t be around forever and it will not be included in any discount we run this season. Sorry if that's disappointing, but it’s our baby, a work of art with every detail designed for your luxurious experience. We hope you want to experience this luxury item and find yourself in awe with how truly magnificent. We feel it’s that special and know you will agree this is the beauty item of the year.

In the spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving, I would like to express how thankful we are to be able to do the work that we do for you. It's always a dream come true to delve into our endless imaginations and bring forward creative and effective products. We are so excited for 2017 since we've been dreaming, planning and are already in production for new things to come. We wish you the happiest holiday season filled with great love, warm moments and a pop of champagne.

With love,

Victoria and the LBF team 

When The Walls Come Down...

I'd like to dedicate this blog post to some of the women that inspire me each and every day. There are so many to list that I couldn't possibly begin in fear this would be a neverending post. There is one standout though that I must give a shoutout to because she's been through the fire with me hand in hand not only in business, but when it matters most. My dearest friend and true partner, Karen. Girl, you just get me! 

My year began in tears. I spent New Year’s Eve in the Mexican beach town of Tulum with kind strangers dancing near a beach fire under a canopy of stars, salty breezes in my hair and nursing a terribly broken heart. How I mustered up the strength to drag myself out of my Airbnb apartment and attend a big, boisterous party at a glamorous hotel I’m still not quite sure, but it was motivated by art. I hadn’t packed appropriate going out clothing with the intention of being completely miserable and alone for 10 days. I don’t think I smiled much that entire trip or ate a solid meal. I even managed to look like the definition of lovelorn if you could imagine how charming and fashionable “bereft” can appear. My hair was in desperate need of a trim, my eyebrows overgrown and my general composition was...messy. Who would ever believe I ran a luxury beauty company?

I knew I was about to officially end a long term relationship when I returned home to Chicago. The purpose of the trip was to analyze all the reasons why my relationship was indeed over and mourn the loss in private. Perhaps some of you seek the comfort of others when romantic relationships go awry. I do the opposite. I seek peace, quiet and some time away from the norm to collect my thoughts and process emotions. I’ve never been one to overshare feelings. In my circle of close friends I’m the caretaker, the one people come to for advice or comfort not the other way around. I hit the road as soon as our busy holiday season was over intending on lying in bed all day watching Netflix movies while drinking rum and cokes. It didn’t quite work out that way. I now see it as a sort of blessing and the first steps towards something else.

One morning while I was making a pot of coffee I found a large sheet of blank white cardboard stock in the recycling container. I stared at the clean smooth surface with profound existential angst. How appropriately ironic was this white void of nothingness? What did it mean or matter when I would probably die alone and life would continue in its vast meaningless madness? (I can be funny even in the middle of heartbreak.) I decided to pull out one of my superfine pens and I began to draw. It kind of felt right. I kept drawing, then I drew on both sides of the stock paper. I found a brown paper bag and began drawing on that, then on sheets of my notebook paper and I just couldn’t stop. The dopamine high I was experiencing was like an IV pumping nutrients back into my aching soul. I decided to leave my apartment that afternoon in search of a few art galleries. When I came home I started researching works of art I wanted to see around the world. It was just the beginning to my current art fueled haze and the reawakening of myself. My real damn self. A complex, quirky and motivated creature. The foundation in which I was built would once again sort me out.

It’s October now and the year has seemed to fly by faster than I’ve ever remembered. As I sit here writing I feel I’ve been on a train wreck of endeavors and downfalls that drove me to be fully present in this moment. For some reason I have an acute understanding of what this means. Being present and accepting all the walls I’ve let down. It scares the hell out of me yet anything in my way better watch out. I’m living for the moment now. I’m still not in the best of spaces, but I’m allowing myself a little room to be vulnerable and curious. I write this because it feels natural to share a part of myself that leans towards honesty, unveils an intimate side and I’m more than okay with being flawed. I hope whomever is reading this and may be feeling the same is comforted to know, it’s all going to be alright. We all go through our own private little hell and still have to show up for life. Personal happiness has seemed to become an entitled epidemic driving us all crazy. So many of us feel we deserve it yet lack the courage to make it happen for ourselves. Happiness is not alienable, transferred or achieved by another. I think I am learning that I can be happy sometimes, miserable others, good, bad, weird, different, brave, stupid, lustful, passionate, wrong, broken, scared and whatever I feel like at any stage. I will continue to work, make a fool of myself, complete projects, dream and struggle when life has taken a turn south. I try to remain mindful of all the complexities being human consists of. It helps me to deal when a product doesn’t launch in time or the sadness I feel cooking for one now or worrying about my aging parents. There is too much lurking around the corner in this life to be stuck in fear. Here’s the funny thing; I also love the tenderness of the fractures just as much as the excitement of the ride. I know that may sound weird, but how would you know the fragility of love without also knowing it could just as easily slip through your fingers? All kinds of love too not just the romantic kind is a beautiful and strange phenomenon we humans sometimes don’t cherish enough. Losing love the way you know it is painful, rich in regret and it rocks the best of us. Most often, if we listen and pay attention, the end of a relationship is just a manifestation leading us towards new awareness and deeper truth.

This awareness returned me to art this year. After Mexico I began to draw and paint again and I submitted work to a new museum that accepted my piece. (How crazy is that?!) Subsequently, I began to write more and a few of my short poems (a written extension of the art piece) are currently being read aloud by local artists in the LA area. Some are funny or sardonic, if you know my sense of humor and others more raw and revealing. I also recently began dating and while I feel shy about sharing full details about that I must admit meeting new people, hearing their stories and feeling attraction again is pretty exciting stuff. There is a current of electricity that aligns you with what you need when you get over the self doubt and battery. I’m going into all of this with a new level of expectation (which is none actually because expectation kills imagination) and being very honest about what I want and need at the moment. It feels grown up, honest and good. Because the love I give is big and intense I’m taking it slow for now. I only want to cultivate connection with those open to accepting it without limits and I require it to be returned on those exact terms. I’m excited for when I’m ready for it.

With love,



An excerpt from On Love-The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

The Capsule Collection Has Arrived!


It took a while to get here with this product. It was last year when Karen and I began developing this idea one cold winter afternoon at our favorite Lincoln Square lunch spot in Chicago. “I’ve got a crazy idea…” This is often how the conversation for our products get started and most of the time our idea evolves into something different than originally planned. We’ve been hyper focused since, deep in new methods of formulation, studying technique and making countless of revisions for the best capsule ensemble possible. It’s been an exciting, sometimes frustrating and deeply creative process for us. This 15 piece ensemble is much more than a product. It’s a complete experience allowing you to be your own chemist/chef in a sense to design and build dozens of products using our deconstructed components for truly active skincare. Luxurious, beautiful and a bit whimsical, The Capsule Collection has been one of our favorite products to include into our product lineup.


Last year after spending a month in Italy and Karen had trekked through Spain, Morocco and Paris, we came home with interesting spices, oils and dozens of food stories. They all centered around quality, ingredients and the people who love to cook. I had attended the World Expo in Milan and connected with young talented chefs immersed in new ideas, spent a week on an olive orchard in Tuscany learning the process of olive oil extraction and of course there was that trip to the Cinque Terra where I was introduced to the scent of wild cactus flowers growing off rugged cliffs by the Ligurian sea. Karen had wandered markets in some of the world’s greatest cities testing and trying ingredients like no one’s business. We came home and did what we always do, merged our experiences comparing discovery notes and had our aha moments. So much of what we do is pretty similar to what our favorite chefs do. We search for top produced ingredients and for us that is always exciting and fun. We learn everything we can about ingredients from our producers sometimes until we understand these elements better than we do anything else. Ask me what’s my favorite part of my job and this is it. I love connecting with the real rockstars at our core, our growers. I’m always humbled by the labor intensive work on their part for what is honestly little financial reward. The passion producers have for perfection is fascinating to me. Our grape seed oil producer walked me through his vineyards in search of the perfect grape. He wanted to show me exactly how and why it was perfect and I felt like we were on some sort expedition. In our world nature tells the truth and there is something so gratifying about listening to an agricultural scientist turned winemaker talk about the history and integrity of a grape. It occurred to me that in many ways and much like a producer or chef, Karen and I have this innate penchant for nurturing other folks. Our brains think like chefs, seeking the new, the finest and not wanting to repeat what’s already been done. We have a unique curiosity to understand how and why things work and a desire to stir the imagination leading us towards the unknown. Sometimes, all the fun really is in the challenge.

There is nothing quite like The Capsule Collection in natural beauty or in the conventional realm for that matter. We collected our ideas and followed our curiosity because we know our customer craves a high level experience with their skincare. We really listened when customers wrote or called us and asked advice pairing products to make the experience more targeted and effective. We also wanted to offer a little fun and innovation much like a special dining experience does to make an occasion forever standout. The Capsule Collection offers several single ingredient products as well as new formulations allowing you to blend, create and design dozens of potent products yourselves. We think, this is not only a super cool concept, but effective for your daily treatments when you may need a product that is more or less potent depending on the state of your skin.


One of the best food experiences I ever had was in Barcelona when I spontaneously wandered into an unassuming restaurant off a quiet cobblestone street. The chef, a tall Australian waited on me himself and sat down beside me at the table I thought to describe the menu. Instead, he looked me in the eyes, hand cradling his chin and said, “how do you feel that I don’t know you, but I get a sense you’re full of adventure and in this restaurant I cook what I feel like for the day and serve it to my customers? There are no substitutions whatsoever, but there is magic.” Well, how can anyone resist an offer like that? He was basically asking me to trust him and in return he would nourish me well enough. “Serve me magic,” I replied, and truly it was a spectacular meal in which I’ve described to friends over and over. The delight of simple ingredients introduced in a new way has been deliciously burned into my memory. We strive to take you to a place where you can appreciate quality because it’s simple and truthful and always to serve it up with a little magic.

So with that same fondness for sharing experiences and our love for nurturing souls we dedicate The Capsule Collection to our muses for this project, fellow nurturers and chefs; Jose Andres, Grant Achatz, Julia Child, Dan Barber, Lidia Bastianich, Curtis Duffy, Nobu Matsuhisa, Alice Waters, Marcus Samuelson, Alex Ataya, Hélène Darroze, Ferran and Albert Adria, Thomas Keller, Wylie Dufresne, Jiro Ono, Gaston Acurio, The tall Australian and so many, many more including my stepfather, Enrique Osorio (who gave me full license to really cook and indulged my experiments much to the disappointment of my siblings and at the expense of our family meals) and the ones we cherish most no longer with us, Virginia Correa Mercado (my dearest Spanish Abuelita) and Norabel King, Karen’s darling grandma. Thank you nurturers for giving us such a good foundation and thank you for exploring this Capsule with us.

With love,


There's Just Something About Packaging

One of the first things we do after deciding what product to launch is to think about packaging. How do we want our product represented, how can we package responsibly and how to make it all look knockout gorgeous? These are important questions. I’m going to be honest, I have a strange relationship with packaging. I’ve always been disturbed by the fact that most of it gets thrown out and some of the remnants from materials cannot biodegrade therefore ending up in landfills and worse, oceans for decades. I’ve stayed up worrying about landfills and the chemicals being leached into our soil and water and it’s really kind of horrifying to think about. I’m also very aware of the business we’re in and that from the beginning, the marketing centered around beauty products strongly emphasizes on how the product appeals to the consumer through packaging. It’s a vital part of our business and frankly, the “right” or wrong packaging can make or break a brand in the eyes of the consumer. Luckily for us, we’re able to package our products both responsibly and quite beautifully. We’ve committed to using paper (no plastic whatsoever) for our outer packaging. The results are not only striking, but we’re not haunted by thoughts of irresponsible packaging. It’s not a perfect world we live in as producers and manufacturers, there is still so much more we can do to be better, but I can comfortably share that we try our very best to think of all of these components pre-production so they need not keep you up or worry you.

When it came to, The Capsule Collection we knew our packaging had to be out-of-this-world special. The concept and contents were some of the most fun, imaginative and innovative ideas we’ve had as a team. We needed our packaging to be as aesthetically creative as the product itself. For this we visited our printer, first to discuss the collection then work together developing ideas to manifest our project. It’s always so much fun to take a field trip to Rohner Letterpress. We’re like kids in a candy store when we visit because who doesn’t love gawking at rows of thick, high quality paper or feeling the texture of letterpress, embossing and all of the cool stamping techniques used for logo design or copy? We get to see and experience firsthand where the magic happens and we often leave with more ideas than when we entered, which is not too bad of a problem in my book.

We feel the tactile experience from letterpress printing offers a sense of nostalgia, old-world charm as well as it’s absolutely stunning. Digital print feels dull and lifeless while letterpress is alive and extroverted. (Sort of like comparing your accountant to Don Draper.) I still remember my grandparent’s books and how they felt in my hands, heavy from being leather-bound and the pages worn, tinted from age with the luxurious feel of the font gracefully impressing character upon each page. (I became a chronic finger reader because of this.) There is no doubt letterpress is timeless, beautiful and incomparable. I believe our packaging is the “complete package” (no pun intended) and I like knowing our packaging is mindful of the environment while maintaining an eye for beauty. On a personal note, I hold a special place in my heart for the art of letterpress because my own father was a pressman at one point in his life. Sadly, as digital and offset printing became increasingly popular my father found himself in a profession in which he described as “obsolete.” I think he would have been thrilled with the quality of our packaging and knowing the art of letterpress is not outdated at all, but rather admired by many for its high-level craftsmanship.

We interviewed our printer, Bruno Rohner who along with his team worked diligently to help us create the most beautiful and elegant packaging we’ve ever put forward and to learn more about what it takes to be considered masterful in his field. (Time and time again we run into folks who know our packaging is made by Rohner Letterpress because of the quality of the work. This makes us so happy.) We’re excited for you to see The Capsule Collection in real life!

La Bella Figura: It’s been a labor of love for us working on The Capsule Collection. Every part from concept to design tells a story we want to share with our customers. How does packaging make an impact conveying our story with a project like this?

Bruno Rohner: When you’re launching a new concept like The Capsule Collection, the right packaging is absolutely critical. Your customers are making an investment in the concept, from a time, energy, and financial perspective, and you want to make certain that every touch-point is well-considered and supports the overall experience, again from both a brand and product standpoint. We do this by reviewing many different stocks for feel and color, by continually tweaking the design to get the exact right dimensions and lines, and by making certain that the product layout is as functional and pleasing to the eye as possible. There are little touches throughout the piece, some of which customers might not even notice… but we know how and why they are there. We also like to talk about the idea of “the reveal” around here. The process of opening and discovering this piece needs to be really special and the choices of the overall design, the paper stocks, and product layouts need to reinforce this.

LBF: Tell us a little about Rohner Letterpress and what you do.

BR: Well, my dad was a Swiss immigrant who studied printing in Europe and came to Chicago because it was the print capital of the US, and frankly, the world, at that time. He eventually owned a very successful print business on Chicago’s Printers’ Row. Working with him, I developed a love for all things printed, but when it was time to go out on my own, I decided to zig, when everyone else was choosing to zag. 19 years ago, instead of getting into a print technology arms race, I chose to work with old-school “specialty” techniques that look beautiful and also create a tactile experience. We execute letterpress, foil stamping, engraving, thermography, die cutting, edge painting, foil edging, envelope converting, and other print and finishing techniques for some very large companies, some very boutique designers, and tons of businesses in between.

LBF: Something that is very important to us is sustainability and using material that is used and reused especially with our packaging. Can you talk about how you’ve adopted that type of consciousness into your business?

BR: I am a father of three kids. When we get together around the dinner table, among many other topics, we have discussions about the environment. I also think about my kids when I think about how we want to run our business. For most everything we do, from the papers we purchase (all FCS certified) to the inks we use (soy-based) to the plates we make (using water soluble materials), environmental concerns are paramount. Even when we are finished with the product, all the scrap material is reused where possible or recycled and put back into the system.

LBF: Are there any current trends in paper, packaging and/or design you’re excited about?

BR: Where to even start on my answer to this! If I had to pick one thing, I would say that it’s the combination of really beautiful papers and the dimensionality of letterpress, foil stamping and embossing as print techniques. Most packaging manufacturers are using slick, coated papers; they don’t get that paper is really part of the picture… and that paper that you want to both see and touch excites multiple senses in a way that creates a deep and meaningful connection with the product and brand experience. This packaging revolution has really just started and we are excited to see where it goes.

LBF: What’s your favorite part about working with brands?

BR: You can answer this question in two different ways. On one hand, we work with many different brands representing many different products and services in many different business channels. I am an ideas guy and so I love it when someone comes in well, like you did, from the indie beauty channel. I get new exposure to a whole group of products and then I get to think about how to bring them to life in different ways. Then a new client comes in from an entirely different area in the business world and I get to do it all over again. The work is always exciting; it’s never dull around here. The second area follows right from the first. A brand, product, service, whatever, is nothing without the people who bring it to life. I like people, and I hire people who like people. Our work is so intricate and complicated these days that it requires close interaction with our clients to get it just right. If you don’t enjoy this aspect, well, specialty printing in 2016 is probably not where you should be.

LBF: We feel so lucky that you’re based in our hometown and we get to visit and check things out in person. We have a few “Chicago” questions for you. Favorite pizza place? What local hotspots do you recommend when someone tells you they’re visiting? Chicago Blues or Chicago Jazz?

BR: Dantes (3028 W. Armitage and 2825 N. Milwaukee) – believe it or not, this is New York style pizza and I love it. Parson’s Chicken and Fish (2952 W. Armitage) – The food and drink is pretty great, but the people watching is incredible on a warm summer Friday afternoon on the patio. It all depends on what you’re into… if you want noodles, Furious Spoon (1571 N. Milwaukee). If you want tacos, Big Star (1531 N. Damen). Most of the places that I listed are in Bucktown or Wicker Park. These spots are pretty close to our office southwest of Humboldt Park, and they are the types of spots frequently by the young designer set, a group with whom we do a lot of work these days. Chicago Blues or Chicago Jazz? I say “both.”


Introducing, The Capsule Collection

Last year we sat down as a team to discuss what new products we should consider working on for research and development. This is always my favorite part of my job as I get excited about endless possibilities. It was kind of funny because as we listened to our team Karen and I were already aligned with one single thought. Transformation. Our clients and customers are interested in achieving transformation and that is a big part of our goals creating high end natural products. How could we really define this in new products that offered problem solving solutions while maintaining an innovative approach and a complete skin pampering experience? In other words, what experience could we offer our customers that they haven’t already tried?

We needed to dig a little deeper and beyond formulating yet another face oil cleanser or moisturizer cream. This time we knew we needed to challenge our own ideas and explore outside the conventional realm for something more exceptional. We asked ourselves, what did we love, what were we inspired by and what ignited endless passionate conversations at our table as a team? It was easy, the culinary arts, chefs and great food. We went on an incredible journey into the history of food pouring over cookbooks, watching documentaries and attending the Milan Universal Exposition to hear chefs from all over the world speak on every issue regarding food politics, ingredients, farming, culture and technology. From Michael Pollan, author of Cooked: A Natural History Of Transformation we explored the four elements of transformation in cooking, fire, water, air and earth. From Ferran Adria we were inspired again with transformation, this time in the form of adapting modern scientific methods to tell stories and incorporate magic and wonderment into food. We pulled our favorite Julia Child recipes out of our personal archives to challenge ourselves and boost our confidence. Julia didn’t even make her mark as a chef until she was 40 and hadn’t expected to make a career out of it, but she was a natural born leader and fell in love with gastronomical disciplines and teaching others to cook.

To me, a chef is a mysterious soul. If you cook and have passion for cooking then you may be an unconditional nurturer. Cooking is an act of love in a primitive form and unrecognized trait of altruism in my opinion. Add to that, a high regard for ingredients, a desire to please, inner creativity, strong drive and an appreciation for beauty. It’s not a coincidence that many chefs share these common traits nor was it lost on me that we as a company also share these traits and continually make careful decisions in what we put forward to include into our collection. There is another trait chefs seem to share and one I believe La Bella Figura has effectively exhibited from the moment we launched our rare Barbary Fig Seed Oil and that is, complete love for the work being produced.

It is such a pleasure to introduce our newest work of love, The Capsule Collection, a 15 piece ensemble of some of the finest and most powerful tools to customize your own skincare products, fresh and without compromise. The Capsule Collection is by far our most innovative product design. In addition to the products, we included a recipe guide, a sterling silver sphere spoon and a mini mixing bowl for easy blending. Although I personally enjoy the experience of blending ingredients in the palm of my hand, (they feel so nice! ) the beauty of this capsule is that you can use it as you like. It is made for you to personalize and enjoy your bespoke serums, moisturizers and cleansers how you would like to and for your skin's daily needs. As for the products themselves, all we can say without revealing every detail is we’ll have quite a few brand new products and a few stellar standards. The experience of The Capsule Collection is a luxurious one from the moment you lay eyes on it to the glamorous and fun approach of customizing your products. We can’t wait to share more details soon. We hope you’re as excited as we are!


The Gentle Care Of Vulnerable Skin (Acne and Hyperpigmentation Prone)

It’s almost automatic when I meet someone and tell them what I do for a living that they confess their skin sins to me. I’ve heard it all and on occasion have even shared my own skin health history. Mostly what I have learned is that many people do not correlate their skin’s outer appearance with their inner health or emotional wellbeing. Over and over I hear someone list all the products they’ve been using and complaints about how nothing works and they’re still searching for their “holy grail” product to save them. Indeed skin health is important and one's confidence is instilled when your face reflects wellness.

I don’t want to convert anyone. I want to help educate and get those seeking skin wellness back on track to understanding their skin and how to care for it in the very best way possible. I get it though. It’s frustrating to know what products best suit your skin type or in what order these products need to be applied for the most effectual results, but there is a science to this and it’s not complicated at all. Today I’d like to help you understand vulnerable skin and how to care for it and treat certain symptoms and issues. We’ll stick to acne prone and often the result of acne; hyper pigmentation because this skin type is subject to being vulnerable and unfortunately mistreated with a heavy arsenal of terrible advice and toxic loaded products aimed to cure acne.

Acneic skin types come in several variations. There are so many types of acne vulgaris from blackheads, whiteheads, cystic, chronic, hormone related, acne mechanica to the severe nodulocystic acne. Acne can be both physically and psychologically painful and it’s important that you seek professional medical treatment if your acne is more on the advanced side and chronic. The mysteries of what cause severe cases still persists, but I’ve been researching and have read positive results from partaking in an all plant diet. Certainly that is not the answer to cure acne, but it is rather fascinating that switching your diet may help ease flareups and reduce breakouts. When skin is in the midst of breaking out it is maddening, frustrating and embarrassing. We do drastic things and put all sorts of products on our skin that claim to kill acne, but may exacerbate the issue instead. Our skin becomes extremely vulnerable to scarring and hyper pigmentation after a bad breakout, but we can prevent major damage with gentle care. Here is a step-by-step guide in how to gently care for your skin when experiencing a bad breakout.

DO NOT wear makeup if possible. I know this sounds horrific especially when you want to cover and hide blemishes, but makeup can cause more problems and deeply clog pores which triggers even more acne. Dirty makeup brushes or utensils are loaded with bacteria and that bacteria is also contributing to acne. Keep skin clean and nourished.

Eat well. Avoid soft drinks and sugary drinks that cause inflammation and eat fresh vegetables high in zinc and Vitamin K, fruit and lean protein like fish (wild salmon is excellent for healthy skin) and organic chicken avoiding red meat. Some dermatologists believe that all of the added antibiotics and hormones in meat may cause systemic inflammation which is a heavy contributor to chronic acne. Make good food the little luxury you feel guilt free about because it's an investment in your health, mood and overall appearance. 

Change your bedsheets often, especially pillowcases. On average we shed one million skin cells a day and those cells accumulate on your bed sheets, pillowcases and ultimately on your face and body! If your acne is severe and prone to break open all of that bacteria filled pus will find its way onto your pillow and may infect your skin further. Change sheets every week and pillowcases every 2-3 days. Use fragrance free laundry soap to wash your bedding. 

Keep your hands away from your face. Bacteria and different strains do not mix. Wash your hands first thing coming in from a public commute, grocery shopping or walking your pet. Wipe your cell phone and computer keyboard clean as we tend to engage in these daily rituals without a thought of how if affects our skin health. The statistics of how dirty your cell phone is will have your head spinning.

Protect and nourish. This may sound scary to many of you that suffer from acne prone skin, but use a face oil to nourish and protect. Listen carefully because I want to help reeducate anyone who believed the nonsense that you need to treat your acne with harsh alcohol based products to “kill” bacteria and avoid oil at all costs. That is total marketing hype to sell terrible products. While it’s true that alcohol does kill bacteria the kind of alcohol you need is Isopropyl Alcohol at a concentration of 45% and that is just too harsh for skin. It will cause damage to the outer layer, sebum to over produce oil and you’ll experience an unnatural oily reaction while also experiencing flakiness and tightness from the damage on the topical layer. Use tea tree oil to treat affected area at a 10% concentration. It gets the redness out of a blemish in just a couple of days and kills staph bacteria, the kind that cause “pimples” filled with pus. Clove oil also works exceptionally well. I personally prefer clove oil as it also helps provide Vitamin C benefits to the cell and compounded antioxidants that speed up the healing process. I add 5-6 drops of clove oil to a 5ml bottle of Barbary Fig Seed Oil and keep it on hand when a blemish appears. (Note clove oil has an extremely high ORAC value and should be diluted not used directly on skin.) 

Post acne your skin is likely to scar or leave a pigmented mark especially if you pick and irritate skin. This is more visible on Latino, Asian and dark skin than it is on Caucasian skin. It also takes longer to fade marks on ethnic skin because ethnic skin is more prominent in melanin which is the determinant of skin, eyes and hair color. We recommend if you don’t fall into the severe acne category that you use a Vitamin C serum to help heal the scars and tissue damage and boost up the production of collagen. Collagen fiber helps in the formation of lower layers and keeps them intact as well improves circulation reducing the outbreak of acne. Healthy production of new collagen helps tone and firm the skin and results in a lovelier complexion. Modern Radiance Concentrate works well for those with moderate acne and mature skin helping to brighten, firm and tone skin with a high concentration of complete Vitamin C. Use every morning with an omega loaded face oil like our Daily Elements Defense or Barbary Fig Seed Oil or La Flora. If you have light skin you will notice results faster than if you have more melanin rich skin. Be patient if your skin is darker with results and be vigilant with treatment. It's a slower and gradual process, but with gentle and proper care your marks and scarring will soften and begin to fade.

For mild acne and post acne scarring Crema Supernova with Vitamin C, licorice root, arnica and wasabi extract aids in hydrating skin while fighting free radicals and layering Barbary Fig Seed Oil over this crema will boost your skin’s luminosity. For more more prominent post acne treatment try Crema Virtuosa combined with Daily Elements Defense and Barbary Fig Renewal Serum at night. This combination will treat hyper pigmentation and speed up tissue recovery from compounded antioxidants in Sangre de Drago, Gromwell root and Blue Tansy flower oil paired  with the incredibly reparative Sacha Inchi Oil in Daily Elements Defense and provide Vitamin A benefits for nighttime repair.

Post acne treatment takes patience and care because this skin type is vulnerable to more permanent damage if the proper care isn’t applied. Long term scarring and dark spots can ruin your complexion and picking or using the wrong products can make these issues worse. Be mindful that your skin needs to increase blood circulation and regenerate healthy cells for fresh skin to visibly appear. Wear sunscreen daily and avoid using harsh products with Vitamin A during the day. You can achieve happy and radiant skin when you practice the four steps of skin wellness; cleanse, nourish, exfoliate and protect.


Let's Celebrate The Roman Goddess Flora And Her Festival!


 “A fragrance lingered; you could know a goddess had been there.”

 - Ovid, Fasti (V. 376 - 378)

Written By Heidi Miller

It’s a very special day for us here at LBF as we celebrate the first day of Floralia, a six-day long festival dedicated to our patron saint and muse, Flora. She was the Roman goddess of blossoming flowers, renewal, rebirth and spring as well as the inspiration for La Flora, our newly launched, delicately scented and wildly coveted cactus flower oil-infused Barbary Fig Seed Oil; the very first product in our new series, The Master and The Muse. Today marks the 2254th anniversary of the completion of the temple built by the ancient Romans in her honor in 238 B.C.

Although we, here in the western world, celebrated the first day of spring well over a month ago, spring starts today, per the Romans, which makes much more sense when you consider that Rome shares the same latitude as our beautiful home city of Chicago.

The Roman’s celebrated the week by hosting great banquets, theatrical presentations and games on their famed Circus Maximus. They decorated their vibrant city with sweet-smelling flowers, wore their brightest and most colorful clothing and adorned themselves with floral wreaths around their necks and in their hair.

How can we honor Flora today? By literally stopping to smell the roses. By gifting ourselves a bouquet. Or, by gifting one to someone else. By being present and recognizing the power of spring’s rebirth. By shedding the old and welcoming in the new. By letting go of the things that no longer serve us. And by noticing and appreciating life bursting forth with new energy, new appreciation and new vitality.

Today, let’s recognize and honor the goddess within us. Let’s celebrate our bodies, our minds and ourselves. Put a flower in your hair. Spend a few minutes with your face turned towards the sun. Close your eyes and feel Flora within you. She’s there. And today, and for the next five days, she’s ready to party.


Heidi Miller is a freelance writer, avid traveler and dedicated epicurean whose passions include health and wellness, art and architecture and humor and fiction. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children. She is currently writing her very first novel. You can read more of her work on her blog at





Ten Questions With Victoria

We're bringing on new talented writers to contribute to our blog and share more about beauty, travel and passions beyond. We wanted to kick off our Ten Questions with me, (Victoria) just to mix it up a bit. We'd love to hear from you and what you would like to read more of. Please feel free to share with your comments and stay tuned for some fun upcoming posts. 

Are you a morning person or night owl?

I'm a former night owl and current early bird. I love being awake before most people and getting stuff done or indulging in some reading and a morning walk. I sleep about 5.5 hours a night. 

What’s the first thing you eat/drink?

I know you’re supposed to drink water when you wake up, but hook me up with coffee first. I’ve been drinking coffee since I was 10 years old and it’s my one vice that I never want to give up.

If you weren’t living where you are now where would you be right now?

I think about this a lot. Probably somewhere in Europe, maybe Barcelona, Madrid or I love South America. Someplace where I could speak my second language fluently. California is good too.

What is your signature cocktail? (If you don’t drink alcohol your signature green juice, tea or coffee drink.)

I like a good gin and tonic with a lemon twist on any given day, but a French 75 when I’m in a party mood.

If you could rename yourself what would your name be?

I like my name. It’s classic and direct. No one messes with a Victoria.

What do you love about your business?

I love having freedom in doing the things we want to do and not doing things we don’t want to do. It took a while to get to this point because it’s something you learn in the process of running a business. At first you don’t want to say no, but then you learn that owning and operating a business is very much like being in a relationship. You need some boundaries or you will be royally screwed. I like boundaries and I like being clear. I love meeting talented people and working with intelligent folks that are fearless and creative. It’s not as common as one would think. I’ve come across a lot of business owners and entrepreneurs that run their businesses from fear. They fear change, not making money, not being in control, etc. I love the ones that say, “the hell with it, let’s try this!” I have never been attracted to people who are rigid in their thinking or stingy with their passion so working with people like Karen, who is always the first person to say, “What the heck? What do we have to lose?” makes me feel free and open.

Chose your last meal on earth, what would that be?

If I could choose my last meal I would want to share it with all the people I love most sitting outside surrounded by a beautiful garden or tons of trees. I would have roasted chicken extra crispy skin (a la Julia Child with tons of butter or even duck fat. It’s a last meal!), a giant cheese plate, a big delicious salad with herbs, nuts, fruit and tons of avocado, shrimp cocktail served on a bed of seaweed with cocktail sauce, caramelized fennel with sweet cream and melted cheese, fresh bread, again with tons of creamy European butter, a glass of Priorat, champagne, gin and tonics and a dark chocolate triple layer cake with fudge frosting. I'm going out with a freaking bang! 

If you had one entire year to roam the world where would you start and where would it end?

I would start in Australia or New Zealand during their summer months and spend time exploring places like Tasmania and Auckland then I’d jump over to Africa and end up in South America someplace. Gosh that would be a great trip!

Who or what inspires you?

I’m inspired by anyone with fight in them. I'm very attracted to bold people that do their own thing. I’m also really inspired by seven year olds because they're honest, confident and acutely aware of themselves.

What word do you overuse and abuse?

Well certainly a ton of naughty words, but I use the word, “knucklehead” a lot because it makes me laugh.

Keeping It Real And Fresh

I’m not going to beat around the bush with this post and instead dig right in much like I did Friday night with my chocolate mousse. If you’re already a fan and customer of natural beauty then you know that freshness is paramount to a vital formulation and matters very much. As a matter of fact, freshness is why we’re here creating products in an industry that has led many (myself included at one point) to believe you can store a bottle of moisturizer on a shelf for years and that it will still be as fresh as day 1. We’ve learned about the risks it takes to do that and how it affects our health and the environment around us. Natural beauty is different. Most products are specifically designed not to last years on a shelf. By that I mean some of your favorite LBF formulas (I’m going to reference our products, although a majority of what’s on the natural market share a similar stance) have 6 months to 24 months before the product becomes ineffective or downright bad. I hope I didn’t burst your bubble but, If you didn’t know it before please believe it now. There are some natural brands that brag and exaggerate claims in order to be on the top shelves of certain retail stores. Black bottles, blue bottles, UV protected do not matter because truth be told if you’re purchasing truly natural products without the synthetic preservatives (which divide the malady between “natural” and “conventional,”) your products already fall under a more fragile category and need to be cared for and stored with extra loving care. Why are some natural brands claiming to last longer than others? It comes down to the dollar. It’s what some retailers fear the most, discarding products because they haven’t sold or sold fast enough. Natural products don’t have the allure of “long lasting shelf’ life to these retailers and therefore there is an almost instant turn off because of it. You know what I say? Their loss and your gain! Fresher products made with high grade ingredients, integrity and natural preservatives work better. End. Of. Story. If only this was the bottom line in this huge multi-billion dollar industry.

It’s been a year since we’ve rebranded, which means products that are out there for sale with our old packaging are indeed, old. They have been sitting in a warehouse or store shelf for at least a year and if you purchase that product you are purchasing something that has been formulated or bottled over a year ago. Even if that bottle is unopened it may have degraded enough to lose half of its power and viability and depending on heat, light and humidity even more than that. Again, this is how naturals differ from their conventional counterparts. The contents rely on a natural preservative system, but even that system has a shorter life span than products made with synthetic preservatives. Now you may have purchased an old product thinking it’s fine and you’re excited to take it home and try it and in essence it won’t likely harm you, but what’s happening is your product is aging even more rapidly than a freshly produced product in part because it’s already been sitting around for a year. I’ve learned from reading customer emails, comments or speaking to my clients that many keep their face oils in a bathroom cabinet, cosmetic kit on a vanity table in their bedroom and this is causing degradation even further if the room is exposed to heat and light. You’re probably freaking out right about now if you’re guilty of this practice, but I’m going to help you figure it out. I promise and I’m going to help you understand how important it is to use your products during the Period After Opening” (PAO) date. (Not required by law in the US, but definitely in the EU.)

We are our own manufacturers. When we formulate a batch of any product we bottle it right away and store the bottles in a cold dark closet. We make small batches at a time so we aren’t over producing large quantities that will sit on our shelves for longer than a month. That’s right, we make enough to sell for a month at a time and then we quickly sell that supply! When we send an order to a retail partner we expect our retailers to sell to their customers within 0-6 months from the time their purchase enters their store. Our retailers take special care of these products preserving their intended life span and most of our partners sell quickly, which means you receive fresh products and begin to use them right away. Once you’ve opened a bottle of ANY product (whether that’s LBF or another favorite brand) the clock is ticking on its potency and effectiveness. How you care for products could mean a world of difference and I’ll share a few tips and tricks at the end of this post.

Our products are tested for bacteria, mold, pH balance, peroxide value, irritants and allergens, you name it. Again, this is not required by law here in the US, but it is in Europe and what’s good about clinically testing products is that you learn. You learn what you can do better and that these products are indeed “alive” and deserve to be treated respectfully, by us, our retailers and the consumer. For these reasons and from all that is required from a production stand point we are sharing the intimate inside scoop of making and selling natural products. As a creator I take great pride in our work and I want you to have the freshest product possible that works as it is intended for you. Last year a customer complained about a product that she believed had gone bad, we asked for the batch number (usually located on the bottom of every bottle) and discovered the product was made two years prior, but had just been sold to her! She was shocked that a retailer sold her something that old. Unfortunately, it happens and it’s unfortunate for us, for you and ultimately the retailer as trust is damaged between them and their customer and truthfully by us as well. When I found out that this happened to a customer I was extremely disappointed and then I was angry enough to take action and to stop this from happening again. One of the things we did was contact all retailers and offered another training. The second thing we did was create a “Certified Retailer” program. This means every retailer listed under our program have been trained and retrained, sell only fresh products and are hand-stamped approved by us. Lastly, starting at the end of March, 2016 we will provide a “Best Before” date on the packaging of our products. This will help remind you to use the product before the expiration date. You should feel confident that your purchases from us and our current partners are super fresh and healthy and effective to use. So keep shopping and ask questions. The customer that purchased the old product asked me how she could trust a retailer again and I told her to ask if she felt unsure. Any good retailer will have no problem to answer your questions because they are in this to supply you with wholesome, fresh and luxurious products and they know that education is part of the key to success for all of us. We stand by our retail partners and their commitment to you and natural beauty.

Here are a few tips and little tricks to keep product fresh and effective:

Don’t purchase products that are over a year old. They may not hurt you, but they sure as hell aren’t going to do that much for your complexion either. If a product smells “off” then it likely has gone bad and you should discard it.

Use a clean spoon instead of fingers to scoop out your masks and Rainforest Hydration Treatment. This avoids contamination from bacteria getting into the formulation.

Never add water to a formula to “loosen” or make the product last longer. Water is enemy number 1 and can harbor contaminants that will damage a formula.

Keep face oils and cremas in a dark, cool closet, shelf or room and keep away from heat and direct light. All products and bottles (even Miron glass) needs to be kept away from direct light.

Wipe bottles clean after use and keep pumps and caps free from product accumulating.

Use products within the PAO date. If the period after opening is 6 months make sure you use the product within this time frame for best results.

You can keep products in the refrigerator until ready to open and use. Not recommended for our manuka masks or hydration balm.

Keep travel kits and cosmetic kits neat and tidy with lids securely on our makeup. Often products that open and spill in cosmetic bags collect dirt and bacteria and can ruin a product.

Don’t share makeup.

Look for our “Certified Retailer” list coming March 1, 2016 under our page. All of our current retail partners will be listed and you can rest assured these retailers are the best of the best and hand chosen to sell our products to the public.

With pride and love,


Photography by Johan Salvador Photography

The Master And The Muse

Dear Bellas,

It is such a pleasure to share my story of La Flora and how this product came to be inspired by a beautiful country and a little Roman mythology.  La Flora is very special to me personally and is the first product designed from a new method of formulating Karen and I are working on. This series of truly exclusive, experimental projects we’ve deemed, The Master and The Muse takes us back to our roots digging deep into our passions combining artistry with our love of wild ingredients and beautiful surroundings. It is also quite a challenge as we start from a place we haven’t attempted before so there will be a lot of trial and error before we’re able to release more of our, The Master and The Muse collections. I haven’t been this excited since last summer when I came across the heart of La Flora, the delicately floral, cactus flower oil. This ingredient hypnotized me and became the central inspiration to these wild ideas. Let’s start from the beginning…

It was squelching hot in Florence last June. I had just arrived into the city of Florence from a little town in the Tuscan hills called Pontassieve. Prior to that I was in Milan for a week and stopping into little towns in between. For some reason I thought it would be charming and romantic to drive in Italy. Let me settle this for any of you that may have also watched, Under The Tuscan Sun one too many times, it is in fact not remotely charming or romantic. Unless romance for you means having angry speed demons curse you out in Italian because you drive too slow or experiencing a mini heart attack upon arriving on your first roundabout in Milan. Chuck that thought out the window! I suggest you either hire an experienced driver or opt for buses and bikes. By the time I arrived in Florence I was ready to walk all the way to Rome so I scheduled a hiking tour through the Cinque Terre instead.

The Cinque Terre is on the coast of the Italian Riviera in the Liguria region. It consists of five stunning yet rugged villages that are built on steep landscapes overlooking the sea. There are a lot of arrangements to be made to get there because the area is also part of a UNESCO world heritage site and a national park. There are entrances not allowed to enter by bus or car and you need to hike your way in. Luckily for us we had a guide and were a part of a group that consisted mostly of Europeans, a couple of Canadians and a few Americans. It was early in the morning and it was already scorching hot and I had only been able to consume a small cappuccino so I was getting cranky with all the chatter and buzz. I was however, super excited because our guide, Paolo promised an authentic Ligurian lunch after our first hike. (The lunch did not disappoint and I was able to experience pesto like I’ve never had in my life!) The big hike had commenced and little did I know I was in for a big and pleasant surprise!

After our first hike and a charming lunch with strangers we set out to hike through four more towns. The blazing sun and my mistake of overeating was slowing me down. The group was trailing way ahead and I was hiking like a turtle on vacation. So I did what I usually do on these occasions and stopped to take a few Instagram photos. I had been so busy playing catchup that I hadn’t even looked up to notice how blue the sky was or that there were bright red poppies adorning our path like flowered gems on the ground. The higher we hiked the sweeter the air became perfumed with the scent of earth, sunshine and wildflowers. Suddenly I saw dozens of cactus growing high on the side of the cliffs. Like nature’s diligent soldiers these strong and sturdy cacti faced the sea, growing wild and free among such breathtaking beauty. My heart began to pound, overwhelmed by my love for these plants, the abundance of such spectacular views and the fragrant air that was making me dizzy with delight. I caught up to our guide who hiked this terrain four times a week and asked him if it always smelled this amazing. He explained that summer had arrived early in Italy and the sweet air was likely due to the cactus flowers that were blossoming up all over Liguria. He said that they were more fragrant than previous seasons and the soft sea breezes carried the delicate aroma up into the rocky trails. I attempted to get closer to the cactus embedded on the cliff’s, but thought better of it as I imagined a fall in which I couldn’t recover. Instead, I closed my eyes and allowed the moment to envelope me and become part of one of my most memorable and treasured experiences during my time in Italy.

A few days later I was visiting a perfumer in Florence and we began talking about the process of perfuming. We were swapping stories and I mentioned my hike and the scent of cactus flowers that just wouldn’t leave my olfactive memory. He pulled out a pen and paper and wrote down an address and said, “go here. She’ll help you find things you want.” Now if you know anything about Italians you should know that every single Italian living in Italy is in love with their country. (I’m sure Italians living outside of Italy feel the same, but when you’re there you see the love in their eyes and taste it in their wine.) Their love is intense and rich with a sense of pride and passion I haven’t seen or felt anywhere else in the world. You tell an Italian you love their country and you become an honorary Italian complete with insider tips and secrets you would never have gotten from any guidebook. I was grateful for this scoop from the perfumer and headed directly to this alchemist’s apothecary only to discover it was closed. (Mondays in Italy are no good for business.) I was leaving early Wednesday for Rome so I crossed my fingers the alchemist would open on Tuesday. It was my sole mission and luckily for me (and many of you) the apothecary was open and Signora Maria was present and available. We chatted dramatically, me in my convoluted Italian and she happily showed me her collection of handmade products and vials of extracts, oils and rarities. She was a stickler about purity, freshness and organic material. Her enthusiasm for my curiosity allowed me to explore her treasures and then magic happened. I opened a vial she presented me and it was one of those moments that will forever imprint itself in my heart. Could this be the essential oil of the wild cactus flowers that was haunting my olfactive senses? “Cos’e questo?” I asked. “Ahhh, pura essenza di fico d’india,” she replied with a wide smile. Pure barbary fig flower oil! And then I cried. I couldn’t help myself and tears of joy, love and pleasure streamed down my face. I had found what I was looking for.

My trip led me to Rome where I truly discovered Flora at the Palazzo Nuovo. I had seen her image in art and of course Botticelli’s famous painting of Venus where Flora appears, just a few days earlier in Florence, but it was in Rome where I felt Flora in my heart, bones and spirit. I visited the Circus Maximus, once Rome’s largest entertainment arena and venue for Roman religious festivals. This is where gladiators battled and chariots raced and where The Floralia was held. The festival that honored the Sabine-derived Flora, goddess of spring, renewal and blossoming plants. The arena was not spectacular. I was slightly disappointed as I imagined it would be grand and historic. The heat had followed me and I needed to take shade under a tree and drink the site in. It reminded me a bit of the mall in Washington DC. It was momentous when I noticed the smallest purple flowers surrounding me in the grass. I smiled as I imagined Flora’s presence beside me. Flora, I decided was a part of every woman and certainly a long line of women that have inspired me in my life. I want Flora to inspire you to create and bring forth your passions.

This is my intimate story. I am the “master’ of La Flora and Italy and it’s adopted goddess is my muse. Because the creation of La Flora is so dear to me and the source of our cactus flower oil is (rich in amino acids and vitamins) rare, we decided to design our packaging in tribute to Flora’s beauty with rose gold printing instead of our signature silver. Karen even went so far to design something extra special, but you’ll have to wait until the product launches to see how beautiful La Flora is from the inside out. I’m so very excited for you to try this voluptuous scented version of our beloved barbary fig seed oil. I hope it transcends your usual experience of ritual and takes you on your own personal journey of passion, love and beauty.  Launching February 2016.

With pleasure and love,


How Aria Nighttime Cell Recovery Treatment Transformed My Dull Skin


Many of us are in constant search of skincare products that will change our lives. For years I tried, tested and purchased every cream, serum and “miraculous” skincare product I came across. I was a hardcore beauty junkie and often hoarded products to the point of obsession. It all changed when I experienced an attack on my skin about seven years ago. I was extremely stressed at work and going back and forth to Los Angeles bi-monthly for short weekends and a longtime romance with a wonderful Hollywood producer who was a classic workaholic. One day I looked in the mirror and was horrified to see how uneven and lackluster my skin looked. It literally looked like the life was sucked out of me. I decided I had to make some changes in my life and one of them was to simplify my skincare and really use what I needed letting go of the hype. It took quite awhile to figure that part out unfortunately. Enter La Bella Figura and our collection of thoughtfully formulated products and my skin has never looked better. There is one product I developed especially for myself (based on those long ago days when my skin looked lifeless,) which I now recommend for others experiencing major dullness. I formulated this product selfishly because there was nothing available with compounded antioxidants and complex fatty acids to nourish cells from the inside. Cells are complicated and interesting and are capable of synthesizing new proteins. These proteins assist in metabolic function related to growth and repair and nourishing of the skin. Proteins are critical chemical compounds that control almost everything that cells do and are essential to the structure of healthy tissue. I knew I needed a specific product rich in proteins and peptides (anti-aging heroes that help rebuild lost collagen. Our mamey sapote oil and amaranth oil are great sources.) and I shared Aria with a few select friends who were going into their 40’s needing an extra dose of cell revitalizing nourishment who begged me to make it easily available to them. I was a bit hesitant because the collection of ingredients are expensive and some quite difficult to source, but I couldn’t ignore the improvements for my complexion or the adoration from my friends who were thrilled with the outcome.

Aria is not a face oil. It’s not meant to be used all over your face to moisturize or hydrate your skin like Barbary Fig Seed Oil does. It’s a treatment and a potent one at that. We use 19 plant based botanicals, completely raw and unrefined which makes all the difference in the world. Many skincare products (including natural ones) use refined ingredients because refined ingredients are less expensive. We do not because we formulate treatment based products and it matters more that they work effectively. Our green coffee oil is actually dark green, cloudy and pungent with all of the beneficial ellagic acids and powerful constituents intact, our acai oil is so black it almost looks like molasses and our extra virgin Sicilian olive oil in this formula is cold pressed with a sort of ombre shade of green with vital antioxidants high on its profile. These things matter when it comes to awakening the dullness of your skin. Organic avocado oil that is truly raw contains an abundance of CoQ10, which helps promote collagen, elastin and neutralize free radicals. These unrefined plant materials form bio-layers that protect and revitalize dying cells speeding turnover and recovery for an energized and youthful complexion. Every single botanical in Aria serves a skincare purpose. Saffron flower CO2 delivers vitamins A, C and B and possesses skin lightening properties and helps circulation. Your dull skin needs this kind of fuel when it begins to age and lose the ability to turnover cells as it once did. Arnica flower helps repair damaged tissue and bounce back from injury. This myriad of concentrated benefits makes my nighttime treatment of Aria something I look forward to each night. It feels very much like a serum with a lovely slip and I use 3-5 drops massaging gently into skin with a few sprays of Elysian Fields or Jardin de Fleurs. I then apply my nighttime moisturizer right over and another spritz. It’s not exaggerated that come morning you can see and feel the difference in tone and complexion. Just think of this step as feeding your skin the best source of vitamins and minerals for healthy metabolic cell function and fresh, healthy skin. At the end of the day we all want the most beautiful, youthful complexion, let's not make any bones about this. Even those that hate the term "anti-aging" want products that indeed encourage youthfulness. Makeup is fun and pretty, but you can’t take away the benefits of smooth, gorgeous skin and that is our goal for you (and ourselves) every day with our products. I hope you love Aria as much as I do. It's so important to see your skin as a living organ that needs to be nourished. After all we workout to take care of our heart and we don't get to see that in our reflections on a daily basis. 

We have a special offer for you starting today, (January 22-24) your purchase of Aria Cell Recovery Treatment will include a complimentary full sized Elysian Fields Hair and Body Hydro-essence. This hydrating mist contains aloe vera, orange blossom hydrosol, aronia berry extract, hyaluronic acid, sandalwood, cardamom and rose oil and is wonderful for oily or acne prone skin types with a gorgeous scent. I love spraying this in my hair and skin right before moisturizing. Enjoy! No code is needed for this offer just make sure to purchase during the promotion, which ends midnight on Sunday, January 24.

Xo Victoria

Photo credit: Lola Gusman, The Hermes Hippie

Beauty Going Retro With The Hermes Hippie

Photo credit: Lola Gusman, The Hermes Hippie

It's not often I have the chance to chat about beauty believe it or not. Most times I'm working on formulations, research, traveling, running a staff and business, etc., but it's rare that I have the chance to share things I love or funny beauty stories with anyone until I spoke to Lola. If you don't already know who Lola Gusman, natural beauty extraordinaire and all time fabulous New York chic and sophisticated lady is, well I'll tell you. She's the type of woman we all covet for a know, the one who knows all the best restaurants in town, has the DJ's number, a great shoe collection, engaging stories about travel and secrets that she'll share, but only if you're lucky enough to sit down and drink a good cocktail with her. Lucky me, I've done that and we've often ended up laughing and sharing our love of beauty products both past and present. Lucky for you too dear reader as we came up with an idea to go retro with interviews and a giveaway for two lucky fans. (Details at the end of this interview.) Lola is a great writer, her blog, The Hermes Hippie is a true love affair with the world of beauty, full of honest and charming admissions of an addiction we can't get enough of. When Lola comes across a new product we all eagerly listen because she has tried them all and like any beauty addict has the well stocked bathroom to prove it. Trust me on this folks when I say Lola is the real deal here as she purchases products thoughtfully combing over every detailed ingredient. I hope you enjoy this fun interview and please enter our giveaway which ends at 6pm EST Wednesday, January 13, 2016. 



Victoria: Let’s go way back to our wild days when we didn’t care what we put on on skin or faces because we didn’t know any better. Can you remember what one thing started your beauty obsession?

Lola: I think this is true for most women, but it started with my mother and grandmother. Both my mum and grandmother were famously beautiful (my grandma actually stopped traffic a few times) and they were both makeup minimalists. My mum has worn foundation just once in her life and her "less is more" attitude has definitely informed my barefaced philosophy. We lived in the Soviet Union and quality skincare was virtually nonexistent, so the women in my family turned to nature. Basically, whatever they cooked got slapped on their faces and bodies: from strawberry, cucumber or homemade yogurt for the face, to egg yolk, olive oil and cognac (Armenian, not French!) hair masks, they've done it all. I'm sure that this has a lot to do with my current obsession with natural ingredients. And I am yet to find anything that works better than that hair mask!

Victoria: What was your signature look when you were twenty? What you not step out of the house without putting on?

Lola: I was taught to apply makeup at the very first MAC store on Gay Street in the West Village by the brilliant Jeffrey, who wore full drag at 10 am, so you can imagine that my makeup minimalism went out of the window for a bit. I would spend 40 minutes and use 5 shades of beige, taupe and brown to achieve a "no makeup" (hah!) eye look. Oh, the 90's! Of course, I started law school right before turning 21, so between the sleepless nights at the library and the generally low maintenance vibe of my classmates (I think they saw me as a brunette version of Elle from Legally Blonde just by virtue of my 5-inch platforms), my makeup routine became virtually nonexistent.

Victoria: If I were to scroll through your high school year book, what would I see?

Lola: Oh good heavens! Do we have to? Because it's was all beetling brows and a bad perm and VERY questionable outfit choices. Although I did use the famous Mae West quip "When I am good I am very good, but when I'm bad I'm better" for my senior quote, so I'm pretty pleased with that one.

Victoria; If you could recall any musical icon that inspired your look who would that be?

Lola: Madonna. No question about it. I've done the "Human Nature" hair knots and dark lipstick, the Evita braided bun, the Sex Book high ponytail... Even the half-hearted attempt at the Marilyn blonde. There was also the "tutu, fishnets and ankle boots" incident, but we are not going to talk about that. Also, when I was younger, everyone told me that I looked like Liza Minelli circa Cabaret, so I kind of went with it. Though she's more of an everything-icon.

Victoria: What habits did you used to practice that you cringe about now?

Lola: I started coming to the US with theater troupes in my early teens - right around when my skin started going haywire - and discovered the "joys" of benzoyl peroxide, Sea Breeze and other lovely nuclear options. Oh my poor, poor face! Luckily, my mother freaked out, threw out my horrible, tinted zit cream and got me some gentle French products like Avene and Vichy. Also, this one didn't quite become a habit for obvious reasons, but I was once severely cash-strapped and decided to DYI a facial wax... by using electrical tape. A couple of weeks spent with giant scabs on my face taught me to leave these things to the professionals or, at the very least, not using item from a toolbox on my face.

Victoria: What beauty mistake do you see some women repeating over and over that you’d like to see stop?

Lola: Can I say contouring? It looks fascinating and beautiful on Instagram and I admire the artistry of the makeup artists, but ultimately, I think the extreme versions can look a bit like an Egyptian death mask. Plus, I just don't think it's does the skin any good to smother it in that much makeup all day long. An even bigger mistake, though somewhat related, is sleeping in makeup. That one there's really no excuse for and people just need to stop. It's just so, so terrible for your skin! And your nice bedding, too.

Victoria: Let’s go into the future. What futuristic product would solve all of your problems?

Lola: A hologram generator? So that I can avoid going out in public on bad face days (or just when I'm feeling too lazy to shower). Ok, in all seriousness, I don't think that there is a magic ingredient or product that will suddenly make me look like a flawless goddess. Frankly, there is only so much topical products can do, but I have high hopes for non-surgical methods like ultrasound, light therapy, etc. Oh! And I need a robot to stand by my door and remind me to put on sunscreen!

Victoria: What do you tell hardcore non-believers about your love of natural products?

Lola: Can I be horribly obnoxious for a minute? My face speaks for itself. I'm 38 and my skin is possibly the best it has been since I was a child. When people randomly compliment your skin, green beauty becomes an easy sell. Though to be fair, I'm yet to encounter a hardcore non-believer. After all, green beauty isn't magic. It's not that difficult to convince people that quality ingredients in high concentration work better than a drop of actives in a jar of scented Vaseline (sorry, La Mer, but it's true). Also, I know I keep coming back to this, but this really needs to be said again and again. People don't like being told that they are putting toxic crap on their face. Even if they are, it makes them feel stupid and ill-informed and who likes that?! Also, no one wants to throw out all of their lovely, expensive makeup and skincare because it's "toxic" and is killing them one mascara swipe at a time. Which is why I only focus on the positives. I don't tell people to throw out their La Mer or Chanel. Instead, I tell them that these beautifully packaged and gorgeous smelling products are just better. And they believe me!


Now let's get to the fun part! Both Lola and LBF are running a contest on our blogs. To read my answers to these questions visit The Hermes Hippie and share a comment on either blog post and/or Instagram tagging your favorite beauty BFF. We'll pick a pair of winners (you and your beauty BFF) and send you Crema Supernova, Crema Virtuosa, Barbary Fig Seed Oil and Elysian Fields with a value of $365 and gorgeous skin guaranteed. (This contest is not limited to the US, but custom duties, taxes and fees will be your sole responsibility.) We can't wait to hear about your favorite LBF products and beauty stories! 

Marissa Waller Founder of BeauTeaBar

New Year Predictions For Green Beauty

Happy New Year! I love fresh starts and new beginnings and feel so inspired for 2016. Last year was wonderful for us and so many other brands as our industry expanded and became a part of the beauty mainstream like never before. We knew it would happen eventually and it was fantastic to see more brands in mega stores like Target, Sephora, GOOP, Net-A-Porter, Saks and Space NK. The convenience factor is a huge draw to customers and it is just going to explode this year as more large retailers pick up niche beauty brands. We're also excited to see our favorite independent shops expand and open second, third and even fourth locations settling into residential areas and neighborhoods to offer their customer the luxury of convenience and the nuance that these leaders in green beauty do so well with a focus on wellness and product education. We've even heard a few of our retailers mention in-store spa services and special events that are intimate and truly special. (Stay tuned for a big announcement from one of our favorite retail partners in January.) 

This industry blossomed quickly. If there is one thing I’m keenly aware of, that is our products stand out in an ocean of mass produced junk and our customers have been excited to ride this wave with us and share it with the world. Every single brand wants to reach out and touch you and sometimes it takes more than Instagram posts and product reviews to do that. I think you’ll see collaborations between independent retailers (we’re working on one now) and your favorite independent luxury brands, which is exciting and special. The year of the brand will burst onto the platform and flow into the mainstream like hotcakes in 2016. Thanks to our savvy beauty consumers, natural lovers and the newcomers who seek quality, performance and outstanding packaging. It’s going to be an enormous new year for beauty!

We asked a few experts about their predictions and received some interesting insight into goals, dreams and new challenges. We’d love to hear from you our dearest and loyal fans. What do you want to see happen in green beauty or what don’t you want to see? Your opinion matters to us and as La Bella Figura grows we always want to be on par with what our fans want more of. We hope you’re as excited as we are and can’t wait to share more. We’re working on epic new products and tight partners that will bring you LBF in grand style. More predictions from a few of our favorite entrepreneurs below.

Marissa Waller, CEO of BeauTeaBar

In 2015, many of our beloved green beauty brands finally received some well deserved recognition in the mainstream beauty space. We saw partnerships with big box retailers, and luxury boutiques, plus numerous mentions in some of the most highly regarded newspapers and magazines. If 2015 was the year that the mainstream first discovered green beauty, I believe 2016 will be the year where it truly dominates!

For us, 2016 will bring some exciting new additions to our boutique. We are anxiously awaiting new (and exclusive) product launches; plus we are adding a beautiful healing space to our boutique that will allow us to offer facials and other personalized services for our customers. It’s going to be a really exciting year!

Raman Sekhon, CEO and co-founder of Camp Caravan (website coming soon)

One of the aspects I’ve always loved about green beauty is its level of creativity. Case in point, A Night For Green Beauty. Constantly having to push boundaries in an industry that was stuck in its ways, green beauty introduced itself through creative outlets, collaborations and partnerships. As a result, we successfully grew a community. Our customers continue to ask for more (we love this, by the way) which allowed us to merge the things we love: travel, boutique hotels, and of course green beauty. As one of the founders of Camp Caravan, I am excited to fuse our obsession for luxury resulting in beauty with no boundaries. Now more than ever, it will be simpler to discover new brands and products delivered to you in the most convenient way possible. 

Heather Hamilton, CEO of Zoe Organics,

The organic/natural industry continues to grow and evolve and I am convinced that we will see more products that specifically support women and mom in niche wellness categories. We aren’t just looking at her skin, her diet or fitness trends anymore - but are expanding into other, sometimes neglected, areas of her overall wellbeing. I hope to see a focus on products that support a balanced lifestyle on a really practical level and I hope to see these better options more and more accessible to everyone.

This Spring,  Zoe Organics will launch a line of Intimate products; our unique spin on aphrodisiac blends, lubricant, and other products that support sexual wellness with our 100% organic formulas. Without saying too much, we want to continue to promote positive body image, self-care and acceptance, and nurture the intimate connection between partners in a much different (more positive) way.

Lola Gusman, Beauty Blogger and founder of

I see green beauty gaining wider acceptance and an increased trend towards skincare that blends science and nature. I’d like to see the language around green beauty changing from that of fear (toxins, poison, cancer) to that of effectiveness, quality and luxury. And I want to see green beauty brands on the pages of Vogue and on the shelves of major department stores.

We think you will Lola! As a matter of fact, count on it.

With love,



Wishes For A Happy Holiday!

Dearest Bella,

This year was both incredible and quite challenging for us as a business. We have reached the point where any decision leads to all kinds of doors and unique opportunities as well as  baffles us with questions we’re constantly trying to improve upon. It’s one of those problems you dream of having and then you have them and the way you solve them have many concrete consequences. I have no regrets and have been proud of everything we accomplished this year and excited for what’s next for us in the sparkling new year. We’re going to continue to be true to ourselves and our vision and remain engaged in what is sure to be a creative connection between the customer and the brand. There is an intimacy that is hardly ever spoken about when a brand blossoms from customer enthusiasm instead of PR practices, but we’re lucky enough to experience. We’re honored to be right where we are and as we embrace new and wonderful things we’re looking forward to the future of discovery, amazing products and adventures that will catapult La Bella Figura as the brand you’ve come to love and trust. We’re already excitedly working on new products, packaging and partnerships and hope you love the freshness of these things. Because we’ve been such busy bees we’re taking a much needed break and closing our office, studio room and shipping service from 12/24 until 1/4. We won’t be on email very much either and apologize in advance if we don’t reply until January. Our website and online services will continue to receive your orders, but they will not ship out until after the new year. (Any order placed within our closing time frame will be surprised with a treat.) Our crew needs to refresh their wheels and enjoy the holiday season with family and friends and hope you understand our decision to close shop for a short time.

Please read our fun blog, we thought we’d share a little about what Karen and I as founders and creators are looking forward to in 2016 as we continue to travel to source new ingredients with a Q&A we asked one another. Thank you for making this year the best and for remaining loyal fans of natural beauty, we couldn’t do this without you. Wishing you a beautiful holiday season and wonderful new year!

With love,





If you could travel anywhere in the future and someplace in the past where would you go?

Victoria: I’m bursting to go to Tasmania a little island about 150 miles south of Australia’s mainland. I feel very drawn to what I’ve read about its diverse fauna, wildlife and unique vegetation plus it’s mostly reserves and national parks with the cleanest air recorded on earth. I’m also itching to go back to South America. I love the differences of the countries and experiencing rich cultures and learning new words in Spanish. In Argentina I learned never to use the word, “cojer” which to me translates to “to take” but in Argentina and Mexico it’s something completely different and not good. If I could travel to the past I’d probably want to go to Paris in the 1920’s and be a wild woman at the jazz clubs wearing head to toe flapper styled clothes. People knew how to have fun in that era.

Karen: There are so many time periods and places I'd love to travel back in time to. Sumer Babylonia in early Mesopotamia, Ancient Rome in the Caesar years, Florence during the Renaissance, New York in the 1940s to hang out with the Abstract Expressionists, and Paris during the French Revolution or during the Belle Epoque.

What are some items you always find yourself picking up when you’re someplace else?

Victoria: I’m always fascinated with beauty products wherever I go. When I was in Peru so many products had sacha inchi oil in them and I loved trying out those fresh smelling soaps and shampoos. I  also love going to local food markets for coffee, wine and sweets. I always bring sweets back home with me too. My favorites are turron from Spain and I’ll never forget how delicious the Turkish delight was from Turkey.

Karen: Usually art books or old books. I always seek out a book that speaks to me and that is always in the native language whether I can read it or not. In Paris, we found three rare Victor Hugo books. In Italy, I've picked up art books on Bernini and Caravaggio as well as a weird little book about early criminology procedures. One of my favorites is a book we picked up in Spain — a book about the resistance posters during the Spanish Civil war. There are too many to list.

What do you miss from home when you’re away and what do you look forward to when traveling?

Victoria: I mostly miss the people I love from home. When I was in Italy last spring I really missed the convenience of a clothes dryer. I now understand the term, “laundry day” much better.

Karen: Mostly my cats, but depending on where I'm staying and if the mattress is too rock hard, my bed.

What language (s) do you wish you could master?

Victoria: All of them! If I could have a superpower it would be to read, write, understand and speak every language on earth. That would be so cool.

Karen: I wish I was fluent in five languages: French, Spanish, Gaelic, Italian, and Arabic.

What’s your new year’s travel resolution?

Victoria: I want to sleep under the stars in a tent. I haven’t done that since I was a kid and I would love to camp in Lake Patagonia and cook over an old-fashioned wood fire. I want to take more cooking classes because you learn so much from a culture through its food and I have an infinite passion in understanding ingredients through tactile methods. Basically I plan on being more hands on in my travels.

Karen: This year, my goal is to travel to places in the U.S. that I've never been to before. So far on the agenda is Memphis, San Francisco, and driving down the Pacific Coast Highway. I'd also love to get to Berlin this year.














Multi-purpose Beauty For Every Day Use

I had the pleasure recently of speaking to a beloved beauty editor who has truly tried it all. We were talking about our new creams, Crema Supernova and Crema Virtuosa and she was explaining how incredible her skin looked and felt since she introduced these products into her enviable routine. Of course I felt proud and excited to hear these praises as one does when someone you’ve admired for so long tells you their gorgeous skin is in large part due to your skincare line, but then she asked an interesting question and I was very intrigued by it because as I mentioned this knockout has seen and tried it all. She asked, “How exactly do you use a balm, heck, how exactly do you use a face oil?”

I guess I've taken for granted that most of our customers (and most of you beauty aficionados) know all the ways to best implement these precious products into your routine. I thought if an experienced beauty editor is asking then she may not be the only one so I’d like to share multi-purpose uses of some of our products and hopefully open your eyes to something new. Let’s start with our Rainforest Hydration Treatment, a restorative ultra-luxurious formula that nourishes dehydrated skin. Certainly you can use this creamy product as a moisturizer by warming up the balm into your hands and applying it directly onto cleansed skin, but you can also use it as a cleanser and as a moisturizing mask when you skin feels parched or winter damaged.

Rainforest Hydration Treatment as a moisture mask.

Cleanse the skin as usual. Apply a dime size amount to your skin in circular motion. The balm will melt into skin, but that’s okay. Place a large bowl into your skin and add hot water you’ve boiled into the bowl. Use a towel to drape over your head and making sure you’re not too close to the steam in the bowl place your face to allow the steam to absorb. Do this for 3-5 minutes then gently use a warm soft towel to polish the balm off of your skin. Once you’ve removed the balm your skin will feel incredibly soft and hydrated. Spray Jardin de Fleurs and apply a pea sized amount of Rainforest Hydration Treatment or your favorite face oil and moisturizer. Your skin will feel like you just went to the spa! Never fails.

Gentle Enzyme Cleanser as an exfoliator.

When your skin is looking and feeling flaky and lifeless try our Gentle Enzyme Cleanser as a mini exfoliating mask. Apply 3-4 pumps onto skin and allow our biological  enzyme blend (papain, bromelian) stimulate exfoliation by digesting intercorneocyte cohesion chemically. These proteolytic enzymes decompose proteins into smaller fragments, causing a softening effect to the skin. Rinse off and moisturize.

Purifying Manuka Mask as a spot treatment.

When skin is breaking out our Purifying Manuka Mask is a genius solution. Apply a dab of this cleansing and anti-inflammatory mask directly onto affected area and allow the charcoal, clays, parsley seed oil and turmeric in this mask to heal and draw out oils and dirt while clarifying with high quality manuka honey. Rinse off and treat with a drop of Barbary Fig Seed Oil.

Barbary Fig Seed Oil as…everything.

Since we discovered this incredible face saving plant oil over five years ago we’ve been in love and impressed hardcore. Suddenly Barbary Fig Seed Oil is a trendy ingredient and almost always referred to as “prickly pear seed oil” on the market. The way this single ingredient product effects the skin is nothing short of a miracle. Unlike most oils that form a barrier and sit atop of the skin, BFSO is first absorbed into the sebum calming, balancing and providing healing relief then distributing topically so the skin is protected and hydrated. This is why most of you rave upon your first interaction with this product because it works rather quickly and the results are pretty instant. Try incorporating our favorite plant based oil in other ways.

To prep the skin before applying makeup. (Barbary Fig Renewal Serum is also amazing for this.) Apply onto skin, mist then gently buff with a bamboo cloth to enrich the skin for easily dewy makeup application.

Control a dry, flaky scalp. Add three to four drops onto your scalp and massage in right after shampoo day.

Add a few drops onto cuticles, especially during harsh winter months.

Use a few drops on your baby’s precious bottom when experiencing diaper rash to calm inflammation.

Add a drop onto a clean eyeshadow brush and apply onto thinning eyebrows and eyelashes to encourage healthy growth and strengthen weak lashes.

When lips are severely chapped add two drops into 1/4 teaspoon of manuka honey (or any raw honey) blend and dab onto lips as a treatment.

Rub over a pregnant belly after a bath or shower to prevent stretch marks.

Apply onto ends to nourish dry hair and prevent split ends.

For sunburn relief apply onto skin (make sure skin isn’t broken) and gently blend in. Continue as needed to relieve inflammation and heal damaged skin.

To prevent windburn damage add five drops to a dime size amount of Rainforest Hydration Treatment and apply onto skin before skiing or other winter sports. You can easily wipe your skin with a warm washcloth afterwards to reveal fresh, hydrated skin.

These are just a few easy tips integrating great skincare into your routine on a daily basis. Another reason why our natural products are the epitome of a luxurious and effectual regimen. You get so much more when you invest in quality products. Please share if you’ve discovered new ways to use your favorite La Bella Figura products.




In Gratitude

Dear LBF fans, supporters and customers,

It's almost unbelievable that we’re at the end of the year. Where does the time go? It feels as though I blinked at then it was fall. It’s always this time of year when most of us take a little extra time to self reflect and feel grateful for all we’re lucky enough to have. I would love to share with you on a very personal level things I feel grateful for. A lot of it has to do with you because you have made our dreams (I can speak for my co-hort Karen here too) come true. For that we hold you so special in our hearts and that is why we make every effort to give our best to you each and every day.

This year has been full of surprises and challenges that has made our brand stronger and our business bigger. We put a lot of thought, time, money and consideration into new products and brand new packaging. You have loved it and that has made us so happy. When Karen and I started this business five years ago we did so with $400 and a whole lot of crazy clueless passion. We were also scared to death. We didn’t want to take our life savings and invest it in the unknown. (Do you know anyone who does?) We jumped into this thing that can only be described as business lunacy. That meant changes for us that could not be reversed. We worked our regular jobs during the day and at night and on weekends we worked toward building LBF. We didn’t have billionaire investors or a business coach. Heck we didn't even have a name! We just had an idea and that idea was burning so bright we knew we had to follow through. I researched and poured over materials like a student studying for medical exams. Karen got creative and taught herself photoshop, graphic design and web building. I laugh now at all of our frustrations learning and studying things we never thought we would do. (I was so intimidated by computer work and emails) Guess what? Not only did we learn new skills, we mastered them! I write this without an ounce of arrogance and only a sense of pride because we did everything we had to do to build LBF and our business. That’s what it takes. There is no magic secret. There is no guidebook. There is only a willingness to materialize a quality outcome and the knowledge that it requires sacrificing a lot of yourself for it.

This was a lovely year for us and an enlightening one. We made some changes that perhaps many other brands would not have. As we grow and as green beauty becomes a part of the mainstream beauty industry we have felt a shift in the way green brands are represented. I wish I could claim it has all been positive, but I must admit it hasn’t been all peaches and cream. There have been many who have attempted to take advantage of green brands as this business draws a wider and more attentive audience and brings in billions of dollars in North America alone. Here’s the thing, many of your favorite green brands started off small with one or two idealists pledging to commit to formulate non-toxic products while sacrificing to bring their passions to market. Many of us struggled to educate consumers and discuss the important subject of safety, sustainability and environmental responsibility with an audience that could not believe the cosmetics industry has been a source of irresponsible discourse since the last time the FDA reached a regulatory regime back in 1938. It’s kind of amazing that you, the consumer have responded with such enthusiasm to support our brands and in turn you’ve been rewarded with better formulated products, high quality and impressionable packaging. The boutiques grew from online to brick and mortar, the editors became fans and even supermodels decided to share their skin “secrets” and spill the beans over their love of natural and organic cosmetics. This has been a true love story for us in this business, but it’s also a time for us to take a moment and accept our worth. If you've noticed our brand scaling back in certain retail outlets please know we've done so not to make it harder for you to have access to LBF, but to protect ourselves from a less than stellar representation with retailers not on board with our values. We will not allow what we do and how we do it to become a part of an emerging problem. We are delighted to grow, but not at the expense of compromising our standards and ingredients to mass produce cheaper products to be placed in more stores. As a matter of fact, we're going to do the opposite and continue to bring you high quality and give you what you ask for and what you deserve. For us every single one of our retail partners is a part of our family because they believe in us just as much as we believe in them. When you build your dream and the dreamers come forward the last thing in the world you want to happen is to have opportunists knock on your door just because they feel they can. Sometimes you have to know what's best and not follow along because it's "the way things are done." I know you know what I mean because we've all been presented with that moment. (One day I'll share my favorite Dolly Parton moment with you. A true beauty from the inside out.)

It’s going to be an interesting 2016 and for La Bella Figura an exciting and adventurous new year. I can’t wait to share all the new things we’re up to and of upcoming new retailers you’ll soon be able to find our products in. I will be on the road much more sharing and talking about green beauty with enthusiasts and I’m already feeling excited about meeting you!

Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your journey and passions. We feel honored and privileged to serve you. We will continue to do our best for you next year and always. We are grateful for your time, attention and devotion to La Bella Figura. Our team feels so much gratitude during this time of thanks and giving that we decided to offer a special treat from all of us to you starting this Friday. Stay on the lookout for our newsletter. We feel you deserve the best for being the best customers and fans in the world.

With love and gratitude,

Victoria and La Bella Figura

How To Incorporate Our New Cremas Into Your Skincare Routine

After two years in the making our cremas have finally arrived! It took us a while to create these truly unique sumptuous blends for a few reasons, but mostly because we wanted our formulations to be more than your average cream that simply hydrates your skin. We wanted to create the most potent supercharged formulas available on the market and indeed we did. As we researched our ingredient lineup one thing was clear, our daytime and nighttime skincare routines needed a graduation and a step up above the mostly water-based moisturizers with processed oils and hydrogenated extracts. Our creams are active with plant derived antioxidants, butters, oils, extracts and skin enhancing hydrosols and soothing aloe vera juice, which also contains a myriad of polysaccharides beneficial to every complexion. Trust us, we thought about these creams very carefully. Not a drop of water was added as we focused on the purest and best of ingredients for your skin.

Our two new creams, Crema Supernova (don’t you just love the names?) and Crema Virtuosa are powerhouses with purpose to enhance your skincare game. What’s the point otherwise? You won’t find hydrolyzed or hydrogenated ingredients, maltodextrin, palm oils or super processed isolates in our creams. You will, however find rich raw cupuacu butter, sacha inch oil, andiroba, kakadu plum extract and sangre de drago from the finest sources high up on the list because we remain vigilant in our belief to create truly effective high-end products that don’t skimp on quality, top notch ingredients or wholesomeness.

We’re sharing our step-by-step and most effective way to incorporate these new hydrating creams into your daily skin care. If you haven't tried these delivery methods before we’re excited for you because we know you're going to fall in love with this simple approach to boosting your radiance and skin health. These cremas are going to make you fall in love with your skin all over again! 

Morning Care:

Step 1-Cleanse with Gentle Enzyme Cleanser. Make sure to use on dry skin to exfoliate the skin with enzyme extracts using circular motions to get your blood circulating and slough off skin buildup, rinse off with warm water.

Step 2-Apply 3-4 pumps of Modern Radiance Concentrate and allow 1-2 minutes for the gel cream to dry. You want to protect your skin from free radicals in the am as well as encourage new healthy formation of collagen.

Step 3-Apply 3-4 pumps of Crema Supernova, gently massaging into skin. Not only will our cream hydrate your skin with luscious cupuacu butter, sacha inchi oil and hyaluronic acid, but it will supercharge your complexion with the inclusion of kakadu plum extract, licorice root and wasabi extracts for that gorgeous glow we all crave.

Step 4-A few drops of our beloved Barbary Fig Seed Oil or Daily Elements Defense adds omega, linoleic and linolenic acids to ramp up repair and strengthen tissue. You want to add this step after your serum and moisturizer to lock in all those nutrient dense ingredients and protect your skin barrier.

Step 5-Spritz our Jardin de Fleurs Revitalizing Mist all over for your grand finale and last step to deliver all those antioxiants deep into the layers and truly hydrate your skin.

Results-Refreshed, ready-to-face-the-day skin that is smooth, soft and super boosted with skin enhancing all natural ingredients.

Night Care:

Step 1-Cleanse your skin (See above and complete the same process with our Gentle Enzyme Cleanser).

Step 2-Once or twice a week add a face mask to your lineup. For dry skin we recommend our Healing Manuka Mask for oily or acne prone skin, Purifying Manuka Mask. These masks do not skimp on the manuka honey as its the first ingredient in both of these. Allow for a 20-30 minute treatment, rinse off with warm water.

Step 3-Apply 3-4 pumps of Crema Virtuosa gently massaging into skin. This crema is more dense and richer in texture than Crema Supernova and melts into the skin.

Step 4-Apply 3-4 drops of Aria Cell Recovery Treatment for dull, lackluster skin or Barbary Fig Renewal Serum for congested, acne-prone or damaged skin types. Remember that face oils are layered on last when using serums and moisturizers. If you don't use serums or moisturizers then make sure you always include a facial mist to create a micro moisturizing effect that impacts the way all of these nourishing ingredients are delivered and activated.

Step 5-Mist skin with Jardin de Fleurs or if acne prone try our Elysian Fields with sandalwood, neroli blossom and cardamom to combat bacteria and congestion while balancing your skin. 

Results-Our use of sangre de drago extract targets oxidation protecting the degradation of DNA from free radicals while time releasing proanthocyanidin exhibiting therapeutic and antiviral benefits while you sleep.

I thoroughly enjoy participating in my morning and nighttime rituals. I find this time I have to myself a great way to relax and it makes me feel good. Sometimes I hear from women that say they hate taking off their makeup or masking because it takes too long. Your skin care doesn’t need to be a lengthy process or a chore. These steps take mere minutes and the results are extrordinary. Think of it this way, long-term care equals long-term benefits the same way it does when you exercise, eat whole foods and invest in your wellness. The payoff when using quality products will show up in your skin health and the slowing of wrinkles and the aging process. At the end of the day we all covet youthful, healthy and glorious skin and with proper treatment your complexion can look its most beautiful whatever age you are. Who doesn’t want that?


La Bella Figura

Barbary Fig Seed Oil

The Biggest Mistakes Overheard At The Beauty Boutique


It was raining and I was waiting for a bus that never came so I ended up popping into a huge beauty store the other day, (nearly choked with all the synthetic perfume being sprayed on unsuspecting customers, but that’s another story) and as I perused all the pretty packaging and claims of magic potions I overheard some pretty fascinating conversations between customers and sales people. I didn’t plan on eavesdropping, but it was kind of a bonus to get the scoop at what sales people are telling customers. About 80% of the “advice” from one conversation I overheard was not just incorrect, but completely damaging. I cringed as the customer placed all the products the sales person suggested and grabbed off shelves in her little black basket to purchase. Then I thought how many of us trust salespeople in beauty stores and their actual knowledge about beauty. I thought it would be interesting to write this post and share some of the overheard problems and provide more helpful solutions. So here it goes beauties, take heed that we’re looking out for you with your best interest at heart. Let us know in the comments if you need some advice from us. We’re always happy to help.

Overheard question-I have such dry skin right now and nothing is helping, what can I use to keep my skin from feeling so dry?

Our response-Skin does tend to feel drier during colder months as the water in skin evaporates more quickly. In fact, skin loses more than 25 percent of its ability to hold moisture in the winter. Incorporating a facial mist/toner with hyaluronic acid in your skincare routine is going to increase hydration and help keep cells swollen (in this case this is a good thing) with moisture longer.  Use a mist before applying your face cream, serums and oils to create a smart delivery system then another quick spritz after applying makeup to set skin.

Try our Jardin de Fleurs Skin Revitalizer with hyaluronic acid, flower hydrosols and plant-based extracts for added benefits.

Overheard question-My blush is not staying on and looks so flaky on my skin. What brand makes a blush that lasts all day?

Our response-For one thing, no makeup lasts all day and if it does you should really question why. Sweating, touching our faces, wearing hats, scarves and your average rundown of a busy life all contribute to having makeup naturally wear off during the day. Most of us need a quick touch up at the end of the day if we’re heading into evening activities. The sales person also failed to notice this particular customer was a more “mature” woman with dry skin issues and should have encouraged her to try a cream blush. A cream blush can help stay on drier skin longer plus it compliments the complexion much better. I would have suggested our pretty coral toned Frida Fabulosa Radiant Cream Blush with kakadu plum extract and barbary fig seed oil to keep skin looking and feeling great.

Try our Frida Fabulosa Radiant Cream Blush with skin enhancing benefits.

Overheard problem-I forget to take my makeup off at least 2-3 times a week and need a product to revitalize my skin.

Our response-Stop sleeping in your makeup! No product is going to revitalize your skin if you continue to abuse it so harshly and yes sleeping in makeup is the ultimate skincare sin. Your skin age accelerates with this bad habit degrading tissue and inducing build-up. This is not aging gracefully by any means as well as it contributes to hyper-pigmentation, clogged pores, acne, inflammation and wrinkles. It’s like being a vegan that smokes, an animal activist that buys beauty products from China, a Buddhist that carries a gun…you get my point? Now here is my remedy if you’ve accidentally slept in your warpaint (it happens sometimes so I’ll cut you a little slack.)

The morning after: Take all your makeup off and take time for a short steam cleansing, at least 3-5 minutes to dislodge stubborn remnants of makeup and pollution that has burrowed into pores. Then apply a calming face mask. (You’re going to have to invest time and quality products here.) Finish with a facial mist and reparative, anti-inflammatory face oil. Laziness truly did not pay off because now you need additional steps to reverse the damage sleeping in makeup causes. This careful remedy should help get you glowing when you make that mistake, but in all honesty chronic abuse of your skin shows up rather quickly and many times is permanent damage. Our skin can take a lot, but just like any organ in our bodies it will let you know enough is enough and by that time you’ll notice brown spots, thinning tissue, sallowness that never goes away, dehydration that “leathers” your complexion and it’s pretty much a disaster that was entirely preventable. Don’t go there and take simple measures to care for your skin health.

Try our Gentle Enzyme Cleanser, Healing Manuka Mask, Jardin de Fleurs and Barbary Fig Seed Oil.

If you were wondering what the worse piece of advice was that I heard that day in the mega beauty store it came from the twenty four year old sales person admitting to the customer that she also slept in her makeup “on the weekends only” because she liked her smudgy makeup look the next day. Then she sold her a heavy alcohol based toner, “wipe off your makeup with this. It’ll really clean your skin.” The customer shrugged and added another mistake to her basket.



Crema Virtuosa Antioxidant Enriched Night Cream

Antioxidants To The Rescue!

We hear a lot about antioxidants and how they’re good for you, but what is an antioxidant and why are they crucial for healthy living? Antioxidants are molecules that prevent the destruction of other molecules by inhibiting oxidation. Oxidation occurs when molecules are exposed to free radicals and thus triggers a sort of chain reaction which breakdown cells and cause damage to the cell or kills the cell entirely. Antioxidants play a vital role in keeping cellular activity healthy by removing free radical intermediates and inhibiting oxidative stress in the first place. Now this all sounds a bit dramatic and like a war between angels and devils happening, but it’s all rather normal and happens on a daily basis to our bodies. We are after all living beings and we all age and grow old so dying and aging cells is just a process we go through called living. When it comes to your health you don’t just have to sit there and take it you can actively help the aging process slow down or perpetuate youthfulness by engaging in many behaviors that can contribute to a wonderful quality of life. Luckily the same can be done for your skin!

We’re exposed to free radicals every second of the day so it’s important that we nourish our bodies from the inside out first for gorgeous skin. It’s no coincidence that people that eat super healthy have that envious glow. That is rule number one. When it comes to your skincare you can turn it all around by seeking products made from pure formulas with high grade ingredients and potent antioxidants. You can slow the acceleration of damaging or dying cells and contribute greatly to new healthy cell formation with practicing good skincare.

What does this mean? For us at LBF it means getting to know the ABC’s of ingredients and selecting certain ingredients for specific products to increase efficacy in your skincare. We know that Vitamin C is a sort of superstar antioxidant and that its ability to fight free radicals is quite outstanding. There are many forms of Vitamin C that can aid free radical exposure, including isolates, but we prefer a concentrated version from a complete source. As a matter of fact, the highest source you can find with all of the important cofactors and bioflavonoids intact found in kakadu plums. We use this Vitamin C in our Modern Radiance Concentrate and in our soon to launch Crema Supernova Day Cream so that your skin is fighting the free radicals of UV rays while you’re out and about, protecting your cells from oxidation and restore the skin’s surface barrier. Vitamin C also helps protect fatty acids from oxidation, which are needed to help build collagen. Vitamin C is neat because it’s active inside of the cell and outside. Inside the cell it provides amino acids that delivers hydrogen and oxygen and helps form healthy pro collagen that modifies into collagen outside of the cell. Collagen is most abundant in the fibers contained in connective tissue, which pads the skin creating plump, healthy tissue. Viola new healthy cells and tissue formation!

Another critical antioxidant for healthy skin is Vitamin E. Naturally occurring Vitamin E isn’t a single compound, but a group of compounds with antioxidant properties unique to skin nutrition. Vitamin E is provided to the skin through sebum (acne sufferers rejoice because this is good news for you) triggering an anti-inflammatory reaction. It’s also delivered to the cell membrane and lipids. Vitamin E studies have show the antioxidant to absorb the energy of UV light preventing UV damage to the skin, an important role in photo-protection. To increase the effects of Vitamin E use it with it’s BFF, Vitamin C and you have a power duo in skincare that stabilizes this antioxidant and supports your skin twice as much. Our favorite single ingredient oil, Barbary Fig Seed Oil contains a whooping 88% of naturally occurring Vitamin E. This is likely the reason our customers feel and see the cumulative effects in their skin upon use. Less oiliness, less acne, increased radiance and tissue health are what we hear over and over and why we've been obsessed with BFSO since we began using it at La Bella Figura five years ago. You'll also notice we use it in quite a few formulations including our new Crema Supernova and Crema Virtuosa moisturizing creams. We want the best for your skin and not just any ingredient will do. 

Other favorite antioxidants are:

Vitamin A, which help reduce wrinkles, fade dark spots and smooth skin out. Find it in our Barbary Fig Renewal Serum.

Vitamin K helps lighten under eye circles by preventing fragile capillaries that allows blood to leak into the skin. Find it in Decouverte Under Eye Repair Serum.

Resveratrol helps prevent wrinkles, has significant wound healing benefits and fights free radicals. Find it in Healing Manuka Mask

Phospholipids/Linoleic and Linolenic Acids, these fatty acids replenish the skin's intercellular matrix and also help reduce inflammation keeping cell healthy and the complexion radiant.  Find it in Aria Nighttime Cell Recovery Treatment.

The Demand For Quality

In the last 72 hours, I’ve had the most fascinating conversations about beauty with several experts ranging from a holistic doctor to another brand founder to a customer at today’s Dose Market. These conversations feel different than the ones we typically have with a new retailer or an email we may receive by a curious blogger. There’s a change in the air and the way people are purchasing and why they are purchasing natural beauty products is more prominent than ever before. As a woman I met earlier today simply stated, “quality over presence.” Hmm, that’s an interesting statement and of course I asked what that meant to her, which she explained, most of her life she purchased products because they were advertised to her in some form or another. She never paid any mind to the quality, but rather was influenced over claims, “the number one mascara” via this magazine or the product her favorite celebrity said she used. It was one big influence over another without her own investigation about quality and that is the word that changes it all for most consumers of natural beauty products…quality.

I have a penchant for quality much like my grandmother before me had that was observed as “regal” or snotty or above-it-all. I was made fun about it growing up, which was both ironic and amusing since I grew up in a modest household and access for finer living was nonexistent, except through food and imagination. This is where my grandmother comes in. Her eye for quality usually revolved around the quality of her ingredients in cooking and she would explain that you can prepare a simple peasant influenced meal with the heart of a Parisian chef by taking pride in how you made your dish and focused on using the best, freshest, most flavorful ingredients you could find. Sometimes that meant growing things yourself. If she was making cod stew, the simplest of simplest Spanish dishes then her red peppers would be flawless and her cod would be perfectly salted, dense and hearty. She instilled that super basic principle from early on in me and it stuck. You pay in one form or another for quality.

So here I am many years later as the co-founder, CEO and “sourcing and research specialist” of my own beauty line and quality is at the heart of my brand. So much so that we still source our Barbary Fig Seed Oil from a smaller producer in Tunisia, which often is painfully slow to come home to us than a large manufacturer from Morocco who can “Fed Ex in two days.” I’ve tried those batches of BFSO and needless to say it didn’t cut it for me in the form of quality so we stick with a producer who grows organic barbary figs, hand collects the seeds, washes them carefully and upon inspection cold presses rich, golden oil to our order good enough to meet my expectations of quality. When it’s good enough for me my inclination is to share with others. When I discover something so magical or wonderful I want to share that with those I care about. This is how La Bella Figura came about, this is how we still function and why I believe we have experienced an uprise in growth and customer loyalty.

I had the good fortune today to meet new fans here in Chicago as LBF presented at the most wonderful and artisanal Dose Market at SoHo House. A woman stopped by to say how much she admired our frank attitude about the beauty business. She explained that she came from the crowd that believed the most expensive product at the department store was the best until one day she decided to learn what exactly made those products so expensive. She said she was shocked to learn of all the terrible ingredients and went on a year long journey to educate herself about ingredients and all of the unnecessary chemicals and additives included to fluff up creams so they felt right to customers and could withstand years on a shelf with bright lights blasting above those products. She said she went cold turkey until she could find products with more naturally derived ingredients that also felt good to use. This is what we’re hearing time and time again. More quality, less fluff. Who we’re hearing this from these days is the difference. It used to be a certain demographic, but nowadays it’s the Nordstrom customer or the ladies at Neiman Marcus or the fashionable upscale shopper at Barneys. They seek quality that makes a difference in their beauty regimens over advertised jars of volumized mineral oil. It’s no longer embarrassing to admit (or a secret be to be ashamed of) that natural products most often than not outperform the fancy department store creams with the beautiful celebrity advertising it. And while not all natural products are created alike most are at least suggesting we all go back to basics. Fresher products made with natural elements. We’ve been covering up far too long with products that don’t solve your combination skin problem or protect you from free radicals or calm inflammation and offer a glow of health to your skin. No, no, that’s not why those products are made at all. They are made to last for years on a shelf, smell good to fool you into thinking they are good for you and the most problematic reason of all, cheaply with low quality ingredients that do not aid in the nourishment your skin. The truth has been exposed.

For LBF our love for quality stands out not only through our passion, but in our groundbreaking formulas, which cater to those seeking better experiences in skincare. Our unrefined ingredients are carefully tested by our number one quality expert, me. If I like it I pass it on to Karen who also has excellent standards for quality. When we both agree we bring it into our ingredient family. Sometimes this process is painful and sometimes lengthy. We’ve waited quite a while for a new ingredient for our nighttime face cream launching this Fall. We think it’s going to be transformative therefore it’s been worth it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt to wait to put it in your hands. The right time will be the right time. Doubtful you’ll ever hear that from a conglomerate brand.

The shift is changing and you’re about to see it unfold soon. One of our favorite beauty bloggers, The Hermes Hippie wrote a great post about it, which you can read here. It’s been an arduous journey for many of us, but as all truly good things, well worth the wait. Speaking of waiting, a fresh shipment of Barbary Fig Seed Oil is on its way. We had a little snafu happen, which I won’t bore you with, but this summer’s bounty should arrive any day now. We know you can’t wait to get your hands on it as do we.

Xo Victoria

Why Summer Can Be The Cause Of Your Breakouts

We're in the midst of summer here in Chicago. I pretty much love every minute of it. I wake up to pink skies and a bright glowing sunrise. Everything is so lush from all the rain we've had these last two seasons.The local produce is fresh, juicy and delicious and morning walks to my garden elicit anticipation as I can't wait to see what has grown overnight or blossomed while I was dreaming. I'm a summer lover through and through, but I never did like the heat. (I don't really care for the actual heat.) We are known for wacky weather in the midwest and this year isn't any different. I've kept watch of weather across the country and other international cities to hear the number one complaint being, "humidity." Humidity combined with city living can create a myriad of skin problems with acne and breakouts being your skin's number one enemy. What do you when you can't control the weather? Get on an anti-humidity skin routine for one thing! 


When humidity hits and your urban jungle becomes tropical your skin can appear excessively oily. What most of us typically do is wipe the extra oil off, but that is exactly the wrong thing to do! Rubbing can cause bacteria to spread across the skin. Do not rub, instead gently blot. Use a tissue and gently blot the excessive oil off discarding the tissue and using a fresh one for other areas. If possible cleanse your skin immediately. If you're at work and can't cleanse, spray a toner onto your face and neck area. Jardin De Fleurs is a perfect gentle toner that contains both enzymes and anti-bacterial ingredients, rose, licorice and helichrysum flower hydrosols as well as plantain extract known for its salicylic-acid and astrigent constituents. The effects of a toner with active ingredients keeps pores clean, restores pH balance and tightens the cell gap reducing environmental and bacteria pollutants to penetrate deeper into pores. 


This is often the step many get confused about. Mostly because your skin feels heavy and grimy in humidity and the inclination is to skip moisturizing, however this is a crucial part of your skin's health and very necessary. The type of moisturizer you use can yield great benefits or worsen your condition. Heavy, creamy moisturizers are best for nighttime use and for very dry skin. Make sure you're on ingredient alert and avoid skin suffocating elements like mineral oil, heavy waxes and parabens. We go straight for moisture that is antioxidant packed and nourishing to out of balance skin. Daily Elements Defense and Barbary Fig Seed Oil are two incredible summertime skin oils that provide extra antioxidant protection while supplying skin with omegas, amino acids and the vitamins your skin loses when you sweat. They help calm inflammation and Barbary Fig Seed Oil is a life savior if you've been overexposed to UV rays and are experiencing pain, redness and dryness. High amounts of Vitamin E and amino acids help reduce the inflammation and the recovery time from sunburn speeds up with daily use. (There has been some inaccurate reporting in the green community that BFSO is not to be worn during the day, but nothing could be further from the truth. Use it day or night and frequently for benefits outstanding.) 


This may be the very last thing you want to do when you can't beat the heat, but this can actually help your acne quite a bit. It's also a great first step before applying an active face mask. Steam clean skin with water that is 110 degrees Fahrenheit and don't get so close that it can scald. Use a large bowl filled with herbs or a facial tea (ours Facial Steam Tea is getting a beautiful makeover in new packaging) add hot water and create a tent with a towel as you hover over the bowl allowing the steam to cleanse your skin. Do this for three to seven minutes once a week at night. Use a face mask immediately after, you'll thank us later. 

Mask And Exfoliate

Now that your skin is fresh, hydrated and cleansed this is a great time to get your face mask to work its best. We recommend our Purifying Manuka Mask for oily and blackhead prone types. Its antibacterial benefits come from manuka honey, which is the first ingredient in our mask. The addition of Amazonian white clay, rhassoul clay, activated charcoal, parsley seed and turmeric root collectively helps to purify and stimulate circulation as well as slough off those dead skin cells. A good mask does two things; nourishes skin and circulates blood flow. Our Purifying Manuka Mask accomplishes that and then some keeping cells hydrated, which is a unique task for a mask containing detoxifying agents. Thanks to that nutrient rich and enzyme boasting manuka honey which is so good for your skin you won't lose moisture and your skin won't feel tight and dry. A big no no because chronic dryness overstimulates the system of balance and will cause sebum production to go on high alert and repeat oiliness and acne into a frenzied nightmare you can't seem to control. Keep your sebum levels in check and don't use alcohol based products or salts that wipe away good oils either. 


Your skin needs food and your cells crave vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Nighttime is perfect for feeding your skin a myriad of replenishing and reparative ingredients. For this we cannot stress enough how miraculous Aria Nighttime Cell Recovery Treatment is. We've never met a beauty editor or fanatic that hasn't been floored by the power of this brilliant cell treatment. That is due to the stellar lineup of glow inducing ingredients and careful selection of antioxidants, peptides, polysaccharides, amino acids and omegas wonderfully balanced for your skin's nutrition. Think of it as your daily dose of green juice for your face. This product is for serious skin fans and your results in the morning will prove it. 

Your skin deserve tender loving care every day, but when the weather is determined to get the better of you, don't allow it! Improve your skin game with products that contain a host of active ingredients and treat yourself to results that are long lasting. Keep cool, stay beautiful and enjoy the glorious days of summer. 

Xo La Bella Figura

Gorgeous Skin In Your 20's, 30's, 40's and Beyond

You may have come to a point where you recently started to truly invest in your skincare with good lifestyle habits like eating more fruits and vegetables, exercising and using non-toxic products. It's never too late to learn something new and start fresh. We've had many discussions with customers about how they wished they had taken better care of their skin when they were younger. Today we're going to share simple tips, product suggestions and a few lifestyle ideas for your healthiest and most beautiful skin starting in your 20's and going into your 40's and beyond. This is a frank post and I hope helpful if you're experiencing any of the issues mentioned.

For The Twentysomethings:

One of the most common mistakes we hear from younger women is not taking off their makeup at night or using a consistent cleansing system. This is one of the most damaging bad habits (next to smoking) that you should stop immediately. This is what happens to skin when day after day you pile on makeup and night after night you fail to remove it. First, your pores become clogged. Washing it all off in the morning isn't enough because while you were sleeping the environmental pollutants sticking to the day's make-up caused major oxidative stress making your skin vulnerable to harmful free radicals. You may not see it the next day, but trust us the ugly effects are looming or you may see it in the form of little white bacteria filled cysts around areas of the eyes, nose and chin. Skin also begins to dry out from a lack of proper hydration and you may notice areas of dry patches. Dry patches are signs of cells not renewing or shedding off, but actually accumulating which eventually leads to loss of elasticity and premature wrinkles. If that sounds bad the worst is yet to come. When you continue to sleep in a full face of makeup, especially toxic makeup laden with heavy metals, mineral oils and parabens you essentially have contributed to the acceleration of your skin's age by decades. Yes, that's right you have made yourself look older simply from not practicing night cleansing. Over time this bad habit will ruin your complexion, tone and cause irreparable damage that no amount of serum or face mask will cure. Avoid that and cleanse the day and your makeup off every night. 

Try our Gentle Enzyme Cleanser with hydrating plant butters to nourish skin and active fruit enzymes to gently exfoliate and remove stubborn makeup. Then hydrate, heal and prevent free radical damage with our superfood moisturizer made up of one simple ingredient loaded with antioxidants and amino acids, our incredible Barbary Fig Seed Oil. We call it the ultimate beauty oil because this heavy hitter does it all for all skin types. It's especially beneficial to sensitive skin or inflamed types, which happens with chronic makeup abuse. The results from treating your skin to Barbary Fig Seed Oil are instant and with longterm use anti-aging, healing and preventative. A winner for any age group. 


For The Thirtysomethings:

In our thirties we are experiencing major life changes like marriage, careers, kids and are under more stress than we were in our carefree twenties. Chronic stress is not only toxic to the wellbeing of your body and mind, but it can also lead to hormonal changes that can lead to skin issues. Some dermatologists are calling this type of skin/neurological connection, "psychodermatology" where your mental state is correlated with certain skin problems and disorders. Sometimes even causing fluctuations in hormone levels. Some stress is episodic and can be managed easier if you're conscious of what triggers your stress. (Deadlines are my triggers or emails piling up) Making a new life change like moving to NYC for a new job may cause your skin to break out or become more oily and we have suggestions to take control, relax and get skin whipped into shape. (If you suffer from chronic stress and have noticed severe changes in your sleeping, eating, weight and skin please call a medical professional to help you rebalance.) 

It sounds like an easy thing to do, relax. Oh we know it's not so easy to do, but seriously sit down for a moment. Find a time to tune everything out and refocus on yourself. I like to call this "getting back to seven" because as a former teacher working with seven year olds was the most eye opening experience I ever had. Seven year olds are confident, compassionate and are keenly aware of who they are and what they want. Seven year olds have dreams and incredible ideas on how to achieve them. Get back to seven and dig for the things that make you happy. I enjoy reading, but don't often have the time to read for my personal enjoyment so I began waking up earlier just to be able to read before getting my busy work day started. Taking time to look good in the morning can set the tone for a successful day. Mist skin with Jardin de Fleurs followed by our Vitamin C gel cream, Modern Radiance Concentrate and Daily Elements Defense for a bright, healthy complexion. This trio calms inflammation, reduces redness and protects skin from free radical damage. Stressed skin is very vulnerable to oxidative stress. 

For The Fortysomethings:

This is a topic in which I can speak both as a skincare expert and as woman experiencing new changes in my skin during my forties. The most common skin concern for this age group is prevention. How to prevent wrinkles, dry skin, sagging, loss of tone and intrinsic aging or anti aging. Plus there are a myriad of concerns no one speaks much on, perimenopause and menopausal skin, which can have you breaking out like a teenager or causing extreme tightness and dryness. 

As we age it's natural to lose youthful volume, feel our skin become thinner, more translucent as well as the recovery period for trauma takes longer to repair. There are several preventative measures we can do to help prevent extrinsic aging, like wearing sunscreen every day, cleansing with gentle products, avoiding harsh ingredients that sting or burn (often retinoids and irritating Vitamin C creams do more damage than good so choose carefully) and making sure to get plenty of rest, exercise and good food into your diet. For many women getting into their forties also causes a hormonal change that can affect the complexion. Less periods can mean you're perimenopausal and a consistent twelve months without a period signifies you're in full menopause. It's like someone has set a ticking age bomb inside of your cervix and suddenly you're feeling what it means to get older. I'll be honest it's an odd thing, not fun and more maddening still no one likes to talk about it. It's as though this part of aging is embarrassing and all of the magazines, blogs and wellness experts are turning their backs on you. I was astonished at how little information even from my doctor there was on taking care of yourself while becoming perimenopausal. There are those terrific bursts of hot flashes that leave you wondering; what the heck just happened to me or asking, "anyone else burning up?" Then the weight gain, strange sleep patterns, nightmares, anxiety, irritability galore and a feeling of sadness that this is happening to you. (Wasn't I just thirteen a few winks ago?)

Speaking from experience I've looked high and low for helpful answers to help me grasp some of the effects of perimenopause without much success. (One doctor even suggested having a baby to help with some issues. A downright counterintuitive piece of medical advice if you ask me.) Eventually, I created a regimen that worked okay for me. It wasn't perfect, but it relieved many of my symptoms. I believe I could've used more guilt free rest and less stress, but being a busy entrepreneur it's kind of hard to manage. The one thing that did help a lot was adding a few products I didn't use prior to my skincare regimen. I definitely need more moisture right now. Here are a few tips I'd like to share if you're in the same boat.

1) Eat more fish and green vegetables. I promise this is important. Your body, brain and skin needs those omegas. Load up on wild salmon and sardines. If you're a vegetarian or a vegan supplement with sacha inch oil, which is not just perfect for your skin (as you know already from using our Daily Elements Defense and Rainforest Hydration Treatment), but the highest known plant source of omegas and protein and tastes absolutely delicious on salads. Consume tons of Vitamin K found in kale, spinach, bok get the picture. This also helps keep dark circles away, which can become more prominent and combative with thinning tissue and strange sleeping patterns. 

2) Make time for pleasurable things. Catching up with friends, traveling, taking dance classes, romance and sex will boost dopamine levels, which keep you young and your brain active and functioning at a healthy level. Seek sunshine every day and laugh as much as you can. This is a MUST.

3) Drink mineral water and green tea. Switch from plain water to mineral water and replenish the loss of minerals and electrolytes that happens very quickly during perimenopause and menopause. Green tea is loaded with antioxidants which help fight free radicals within the body and rejuvenates skin plus it's a nice timeout queue when you need to slow down.

4) Exercise, exercise, exercise. If you loathe a treadmill or indoor exercise like I do, figure it out and enroll in a samba class, join a hiking group, walking club or take up swimming at your local YMCA, but make sure to keep moving every day. It's not just good for your body, but again those dopamine levels which I swear can disappear if you don't make conscious choices for your mental wellbeing. 

5) Cut yourself some slack. I've let go of some very vain thoughts. Last year while having lunch with my gorgeous twenty two year old niece, a sweet waitress complimented us on how beautiful we were as mother and daughter and I smiled and graciously thanked her. I didn't get offended or felt the need to explain just rolled with it because I'm just more confident than ever. I'll be forty seven this year and I think I look pretty darn good. I do not feel like I need to try to look twenty two, but the best version of myself right now. Getting older is a beautiful part of life, it's graceful and miraculous. So take those damn five inch stilettos (that torture your feet ) off and embrace a new stage of life with confidence. 

6) For your skincare regimen invest in purer products with more active ingredients. Get rid of mostly water or alcohol based products, which either don't absorb at a cellular level or further dries out skin. Truly dry skin can benefit from our Rainforest Hydration Treatment, which is waterless and enriched with omegas from sacha inch oil and moisture retentive plant butters like mango, illipe and enzymatic raw coconut. Dry skin is a typical issue many women experiencing perimenopause and full menopause have difficulty treating. This is a great time to add a facial mist to help lock moisture in and create a microemulsion with your face oil for a concentrated effect that helps active ingredients both absorb and penetrate cells better. I love the wonderful combination of Aria Nighttime Cell Recovery Treatment and Jardin De Fleurs. It's brilliant and leaves my skin feeling dewy and well nourished. Adding pure oils to skin helps with volume and a super potent product like Aria, which contains active enzymes, peptides, antioxidants, plenty of CoQ10 from raw avocado oil can make a world of difference to thin fragile skin. I love my morning glow after an overnight treatment of Aria.

Let us know in the comments if you share skin similar skin concerns or questions about any of the products mentioned for your skin type. We're here to help and guide you towards beautiful, radiant skin at any age.

Xo Victoria 





All Things New And Old

A new season begins with the official kickoff of summer last weekend and June just around the corner. With that also comes a new set of skin concerns along with the heat and humidity and let’s not forget the sun itself. Luckily we have some product tips on how to best care for your skin during our most carefree months and new products to introduce to you.

We’re feeling pretty glorious these days with the arrival of our new luxurious and biodegradable packaging. Yes, that’s correct, those elegant cylinders you’ve been seeing our glass and white bottles packaged in are 100% completely recyclable, better yet they’re biodegradable in your compost and contain earth friendly ink so you need not worry. When we began the designing stages of our new look we wanted to incorporate both sustainable packaging (98% post consumer waste paper) with an unrefined elegance that would hold its own on your vanity table or beauty closet. The feel of the cylinders are smooth made of fine matte paper with a gorgeous new logo that represents our incomparable style, conscious global ingredients and beauty growth around the world. The world is falling in love with La Bella Figura and our standard of quality effectual products! Keep your eyes peeled because upcoming new partners are being hand selected by us to ensure our products are sold at verified and trained retailers that you can trust know these exceptional products inside out. You will soon find us at a few unique boutique spas/hotels.

This month we’re introducing a new product, Elysian Fields Hair and Body Hydro-essence. A lightweight multivitamin and antioxidant packed essence for your hair and skin to nourish and hydrate with a sophisticated natural fragrance of rose, orange blossom, sandalwood and spicy cardamom. If you can imagine a place where the most vibrant and loveliest flowers bloom everlasting, imagine Elysian Fields. This ethereal essence is full of hydrating retaining ingredients from necessary polysaccharides to super low weight hyaluronic acid to hold moisture in and keep hair shiny and skin dewy. If your mermaid tendencies run full gear during summer you won’t be anything, but delighted to protect your strands on the beach with Elysian Fields and Bohemia Verde. Spray the essence in your hair first for antioxidant protection and then add several drops of our newly reformulated Bohemia Verde into hair and place in a bun or braid so your hair doesn’t dry out on the beach. Your waves will shine and remain lustrous! We’ve added just two new potent ingredients to Bohemia Verde to increase its healthful abilities; pure banana peel oil (banana oil soothes inflammation of the scalp and the enzymes help dislodge flaking and reduce itchiness as well as heavily nourishes dry patches) and mimosa flower oil known for its delicate sweet fragrance. You’ll also notice we repackaged this beloved hair oil in a 2oz bottle with an easy treatment pump for dispensing the perfect amount of drops without messiness.

Sometimes we like to figure out ways on how to perfect a formula. We did just that with our Gentle Enzyme Cleanser. We’ve added even more advanced enzyme actives, a beauty boost of polysaccharides with our unique mushroom extract, skin cleansing Amazonian white clay and a gentle coconut derived decyl glucoside for an easy cleansing off experience. Please do use Gentle Enzyme Cleanser as a mini mask treatment when skin is feeling dry and patchy. The perfect fruit and veggie blend of enzyme extracts found in pineapples, papayas and pumpkins will help exfoliate skin without irritation causing your complexion to feel super hydrated and look radiant. You’re going to love this new reformulation.

Jardin de Fleurs is a star among natural mists because we use only the best and highest quality ingredients to guarantee your skin is boosted with plenty of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and enzymes every single time your mist this delightful blend on your face. Our raw bioactive coconut juice is chock-full of electrolytes and extremely beneficial enzymes helping to repair underwhelming cells and our beautiful combination of hydrosols from the Queen of flowers, rose otto to the healing characteristics of helichrysum and jasmine flower. This is a carefully formulated facial mist for a splendid difference in how you incorporate delivery of nutrients to the cells.

If you’ve been a fan of our cheery Travel Therapy Mood Booster, you’re going to swoon over our newest addition to our aromatherapy botanic boosters, Happiness Therapy. Remember that time when you vacationed with the sun, ocean and exotic flowers as your background? Our Happiness Therapy takes you there with our therapeutic and proprietary blend of Tahitian gardenia flower, sweet coconut CO2, exotic coffee flower and spicy guava leaf. We guarantee this is summer at its best and will make you feel blissful with pure joy. Expect this to launch mid-June.

The summer always gets us excited as we travel to visit retailers in different cities for fun events as well as hosting the biggest green beauty event of them all, A Night For Green Beauty. This year it’s all taking place in Chicago and we can’t wait to have so many beauty lovers and brands in our city to show everyone a great time and all the amazing new things in the works. 


La Bella Figura

The UK Pavilion At The World Expo Milan 2015

On The Road To Beauty-Chapter I


The US Pavilion at the World Expo in Milan 2015-Photo credit Jenna Lee

Sometimes you have to step outside your comfort zone and take a chance. It can be daunting to leave your security blanket at home and go out to do what you have challenged yourself you would do. So here I am. Stepping away from my comfort zone. Away from home and my business for a month. Now a month doesn't seem like such a long time, unless you're an entrepreneur. If you are, you probably can't imagine taking off when things are hot and you've never been busier, have new staff to train, new products are launching and the orders and demand for your product are high. Well I've never been a traditional type of person and running La Bella Figura has never been a "follow the crowd" type of business. Were it so, our brand would be in every retail space and online store that have inquired and we'd be cranking out a new product every month to keep certain folks happy and talking about us on every blog site. No, we've done things a little on the unconventional side of things from the beginning. Not because we wanted to stir up anything, but because it was our goal to build an authentic business from the inside out. My gut has always been smarter and gutsier (pardon the pun) than those advising us on all the ways we're going to take LBF to "the next level." My gut was suggesting to seek adventure, meet new influencers in science and beauty and take a few classes and roll up my sleeves to dig into Italy. Not a bad place to be led, right? 

Photo credit-Jenna Lee

Last year I had an intuitative understanding for the next phase for LBF. I shared all this info with my business partner and team. No one was surprised about the new ideas or the level of work it would take just excited for the energy that it would bring to our future. The future has finally arrived and I'm about to delve a little deeper into what Karen and I created several years ago. I've always just jumped straight into new things and not overthink, dissect or analyze ideas to death. I'm pretty level headed, but also a risk taker. I wanted to get back to the origins of LBF and striving towards creating a truly global beauty brand. Encompassing both traditional and modern techniques to continue our road as innovators in natural beauty. I will be traveling through a few towns and cities for one delicious month! Learning, seeing, touching, smelling, growing, pressing and joyfully embracing what the future will hold. I'm motivated to bring this hands on energy back to my team and newly developed skills into our formulations. This definitely raises the bar for our number one focus, our customer. Remember a while back when I wrote, "everything we do, we do for you?" Well it's our job to always procure fresh ideas, powerful formulations and meet the most committed eco producers to bring you the best ingredients in the world. We do not kid around when it comes to quality. It is our company ethos and our passion. Stay with me on my adventures as I visit the World Expo in Milan and meet young scientists, live and work on a Tuscan farm, cultivate my "nose" and the world of perfumery in Rome and of course study the art of Italian living. I promise to share all of this incredible beauty with you. 

With love,


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Dry Skin Vs Dehydrated Skin Woes

There is a difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin as well as specific factors that contribute to both skin types. Dry skin can be hereditary or caused by a lack of moisture due to stripping the skin of its natural hydrolipid of oils, cold weather and aging also cause skin to lose moisture and become dry. Dehydrated skin is thirsty skin and most often than not a result of a poor diet, certain lifestyle choices like smoking, high sugar diet or hormonal imbalances. When your skin is simply dry moisturizers, oils or creams seem to cure the tightness and soothe the dryness. When skin is dehydrated it can often feel irritated, breakout prone and oddly enough oily by the end of the day as well as the use of creams or oils still won't alleviate the feeling or tight, painful skin. Sounds weird, but it's true. Some people can't seem to differentiate the two types of skin problems and often incorrectly treat their skin. 

If you're still unsure what type of skin condition, dry vs. dehydrated you suffer from you may want to check with these two simple "tests." First, observe your urine. If your urine is bright yellow or orange you are dehydrated. If it is clear and mostly colorless then you likely have dry skin and that's easier to treat. There are a few simple tips that can get you looking fresh and glowy again, but you should also invest in good non-toxic skincare for dry skin and a completely different regimen for dehydrated skin. The latter leads you on the road to wrinkles, loss of elasticity, thinning of the tissue and veiny transluscent skin much faster than need be. 

If you're feeling on the dehydrated side we have a few steps to get your skin looking and performing better. First, the obvious, increase your water intake, drinking green tea or flavored water counts so drink up. Have your hormones checked. Being peri-menopausal, menopause, pregnant or thyroid issues can be reasons you're constantly dehydrated. Eat more water rich foods as a snack and swap out the salty nuts, processed meats and cheeses and mid-afternoon sugar loaded lattes for a hummus and veggie plater, berries and yogurt with a touch of manuka honey, fresh pressed juices, cashew milk protein shakes and delicious citrus and melons, which are water and vitamin concentrated. Add an active facial mist to your skincare. Mists that are simply water based with essential oils or fragrance added may offer pretty scents, but don't help much to deliver active ingredients to the water starved cell. Water evaporates and although it's better to have some water to help create a micro-emulsion and hydrate the skin, it's so much better to start with a mist formulated with hydrosols, aloe vera or enzyme infused ingredients and hyaluronic acid to provide volume, moisture and firmness to the skin. 

Our three step day program consists of Vitamin C, Peptides and Hyaluronic Acid. These star products contain all of these elements:

Modern Radiance Concentrate

Daily Elements Defense

Jardin de Fleurs

For Nighttime try a program with plenty of Vitamin A benefits, Peptides and again Hyaluronic acid. Mist your skin with Jardin de Fleurs and while damp apply Aria to create an instant highly concentrated moisturizer then a few drops of Barbary Fig Renewal Serum followed by another mist of Jardin de Fleurs. This is a combination of all the ingredients your skin needs for nighttime repair and a cell volumizing ritual. 

Jardin De Fleurs

Barbary Fig Renewal Serum

Aria Nighttime Cell Recovery Treatment

Try making some of these changes to balance your skin type and reverse damage for healthy, plump looking skin and don't forget to drink up! 




A Love Letter To You

Dear Bella,

We just celebrated a birthday, which got me thinking about beginnings. In the beginning we were two enthusiastic entrepreneurs with a passion for beauty products and a desire to make great things using safe all natural ingredients. Flash forward some years and we are still enthusiastic with a penchant for making great products using only the very best and absolutely safest ingredients. What’s different is what has happened in between.

Being an entrepreneur is not glamorous. It is not sexy or flawless or fun. You must know that if you want to know the truth. It’s about waking up at 3am to take phone calls from producers in Tunisia or arrange Skype meetings on your coveted Sunday afternoon or getting to bed at midnight to get back up five hours later. It’s about knowing how to deal with egos and often having to put your own on the back burner in the process. Sometimes you do things like leave your lovely home and family to work events in other cities or far away countries for retail partners or to meet potential new retailers at the expense of your own business without so much as a minute to fix your makeup or have a proper lunch. (The beauty business isn’t as pretty as some people try to make it look. Most times we have crazy hair and mismatched socks because we have no time to search for matches. Show up and get up.) Often you are like a school principal trying to balance a staff, making tough decisions, hiring, firing, avoiding conflict while trying to score a perfect A for the team. (Note: The perfect A is not real when you’re an entrepreneur. Let it go and aim to do better than you did yesterday.) There are lonely days and discouraging reviews, difficult customers, snobby business associates, insecure competition that try to squash you, haters, gossips and envious people that target you for unknown reasons. There are delayed ingredients, droughts that ruin your supply of helichrysum for the year, custom issues, packaging snafus, broken bottles, bad weather, a polar vortex or two, lost shipments, website problems and all the while there is…your life. You know, the one in which you have a family, friends, children, a house to run, a sick parent to care for and if you’re lucky they all support you, but you still feel so guilty that your work is so consuming you can’t always be at every event and you juggle your home life with your work life. Juggle, juggle, juggle. It’s never going to be perfect and you must be okay with that. You are an entrepreneur and with that fact you need to be like a Ford truck, tough and durable. Doesn’t that sound fabulous? Well, it is! It is because all of that stuff should be the daily challenge that motivates you to keep going and push through to the good stuff.

What is the good stuff you wonder? You. You are the good stuff. Our customer. The one that cheers for us. The one that has been with us from the beginning or has discovered us through social media or a blog post. The customer that has written to us or asked for our help. When you spend your money on our products and tell your friends about the new eye serum that has changed your life, that is, GOOD STUFF! Your support, your enthusiasm for new products, your honest words (we heard you when you said you hated our makeup compact packaging and you’re the reason we’re changing it) and your love for beauty is all, the real good stuff. When we think of a new product, we think of you. When we think of sourcing a new ingredient and we have the option to buy inexpensive product that can save us lots of money, we think of you and how you deserve better than that. When manufacturers approach us and tell us they can make our products faster and reduce our costs, we think of you and how we don’t want to cut our quality to make more products faster compromising what you expect from us. When we think of what to do next to make La Bella Figura better, we think of you and how to make your beauty experience the best ever. This is why we do what we do, going through the challenges that are tough and why we have grown into much more than we were when we started. Because of you. We always think of you.

There are lots of changes coming to La Bella Figura starting in just a few weeks. A while ago Karen and I sat down for lunch and we were going through timelines and a calendar feeling exhausted with all there was to do when our doorbell rang and the UPS guy delivered something that had us in tears when we opened our delivery. You’ll see it soon. We hugged one another because we couldn’t believe how we’ve grown into our shoes and that we’ve come such a long way with our goals and dreams for our business. We have been so excited to share with you and we can’t wait for you to see all that we’ve been working on, for you. We hope you’re patient with us as we transition into these new things. We’ve chosen to be sustainable while going through our transformation so it’ll be a few months before it’s all complete, but the first stage is coming on April 3. Our makeup collection is being repackaged in glass containers because with its amazing success we felt awful investing in more plastic packaging and decided it wasn’t necessary. Not one bit. (Recycle those babies please.) We have new products coming to the collection starting with Elysian Fields Hair and Body Hydro-Essence, a light vitamin rich and nourishing skin and hair booster/perfume that smells like the world in which heroes go to spend the rest of their days, hence the awesome name. We have two truly incredible cream moisturizers that we’ve been working on for a year and a half because we wanted them to feel like silk on your skin and to include ingredients that are top notch in skincare which took us forever to source. We’re confident you’re going to be pleased with our Crema Supernova and Crema Maestro when they launch later this summer! It’s been a pleasure working to get the good stuff for you. Thank you for making this all come true for La Bella Figura. We cherish you, our wonderful customer in every part of the world loving and sharing our beauty. It means so much and it is what's led to the surprise we have in store when we relaunch in just a few weeks. Our little special touch to honor you, just for you. We hope you’re as excited as we are!

With love,

Victoria and Karen and La Bella Figura


Adventures In Beauty-Europe

Greenwich Market
It's already the third week of January and I'm a little late writing this post. First things first, we want to wish you a very happy new year as we head fully into 2015. We know you all have resolutions, goals and dreams and we hope to continue to be a part of your beauty regimen and look forward to bringing you more natural and innovative products. 
We were so excited to end 2014 with our launch in Europe and specifically with a retailer that we are so proud to be a part of, Content Beauty in London. We had been communicating with owner of Content, Imelda Burke for over a year about bringing the line into her gorgeously curated boutique in one of London's most posh neighborhoods, Marylebone (such a fun word to pronounce. In case you're wondering it's pronounce Marly-bone). Content has a prestigious reputation among natural beauties all over London and we noticed every single beauty we spoke to held both the shop and Imelda in such high regard for the clean efficient lines in store and Imelda's keen eye for quality and clean beauty. That spoke volumes to us. We always choose our retail partners carefully and there is little doubt Content is where we feel our London, UK and European lovelies will fall in love with La Bella Figura and where our line will be at home. At this time Content is carrying a few best selling products and as we continue to have all of our products EU certified and new packaging is complete you'll be able to shop more products at Content.
This brings us to some exciting news. We are repackaging our products complete with a new look and some advanced improvements for a few products. If you're wondering what that means for your skincare regimen, it only means that we have strengthened a few formulas with some ingredients that were not previously certified organic as well as added higher amounts of active ingredients to improve the efficacy of a few essential products. A huge plus for your skin. The repackaging won't be complete for a while, but we'll make sure to notify you as soon as it is via an email so make sure you sign up because we decided to add a little European touch just for you or loyal and most treasured customers and if we may say so, it is going to be absolutely stunning. Can't wait for you to see the completed project! 
Sneak Peek of our new brand identity design
I was so fortunate to spend both Christmas and the New Year abroad. I was in Dublin where the cheer was contagious and friendly Irish families were bustling with colorful jumpers and breaking out in song whereever we went. It was a dream come true for me to be in Ireland a country my heart has a strong connection to. I don't know why, but I have always been drawn to Ireland. Maybe because it's so green (even in winter it was indeed emerald-hued) and green is my favorite color or maybe because it is the homeland of some of my favorite writers, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Frank McCourt and Bram Stoker to name a few or maybe because the Irish enjoy a good chat and I also enjoy a good chat. I had a memorable and fantastic time in Dublin and hope to get back to explore the Irish countryside and forage in the woods. I had a fantastic discovery at a very upscale perfume shop with both rare and well known collections at Parfumarija. I was lucky enough to catch one of the owners and we had fun conversation about perfume, scent and whimsy. Of course, I bought a scent that rocked me off my feet and I that have blissfully worn almost daily. A great niche boutique for perfume and scent lovers. Check out their online shop.
Parfumarija in Dublin
After Dublin I headed to London and stayed in Greenwich home of Greenwich Mean Time (or Universal Time) and the Greenwich Prime Meridian, the common zero of longitude and start of time throughout the world. It is such a charming part of town and there was much to do and see. I browsed throught the famous Greenwich market on several occasions and discovered an organic pharmacy and the best strawberry champagne preserves of my life as well as crumpets I won't soon forget. In London I also had a Tea and Beauty Party organized by the fabulous ladies of UK blog Call It Vanity, Sabrina and Mayah. It was a joyous affair with many green beauty bloggers in attendance and I was ecstatic to chat about La Bella Figura and answer many questions. I was delighted to meet a few beauties we have connected with on social media and hear their stories and inspiration and passion for green beauty. It was like being with old friends and I could have have chatted all day with these lovelies at our proper tea. I hope to see everyone again this year, but for know I'll just keep their blogs bookmarked for new insight. (Will link all sites at the end of this post.) 
La Bella Figura Beauty And Tea Party
Finally, I made me way to Paris on the train. I had a short meeting there, but also enough time to explore and meet up with a beloved LBF customer for coffee. It was the coldest day in Europe I had experienced during my two week stay, but the sun was shining bright. The Champs De Elysees was a aligned with a string of colorful holiday markets and artisans, music, and shops full of people everywhere. I'm pretty sure I was smiling the entire time I was in Paris. I did touristy things as one does in the city of lights and took a few shameless selfies at the Eiffel Tower, then strolled through the streets into chesse, wine, seafood and chocolate shops. I bought the most luscious pain au chocolat in an adorable patisserie and felt very, very grateful to spend a day in this grand, historic and dreamy city. I was overwhelmed with the beauty that Paris is known for and felt choked up as I had to leave the next morning back to London. 
Victoria In Paris
We are big believers of bringing a bit of our journeys into La Bella Figura. We are adventurers and explorers and listen carefully to what women want from all over the world. We bring ingredients into our formulas from the best producers and growers throughout the world. Sometimes we're lucky enough to meet these growers and we get to see for ourselves and understand from start to finish why these ingredients are top notch and must find their way into our formulations. With that enthusiasm and that passion in mind we continue to create some of the best and highly effective products in our industry. We won't stop searching, exploring, learning and sharing for you. Time and time again we hear from women everywhere about how our effectual products are changing their skin and lives. You can rest assured we will never fall into a comfort zone, but instead strive harder to create even more efficacious, potent and safe formulas we can be proud to share with you. It is not just our our job to bring you products that work as a part of your daily regimen, but our mission to beautify your life. 2015 is the year of Luxurious Global Beauty and La Bella Figura. 
Check out these wonderful UK based blogs:

5 Days Of Giveaways: Marissa Waller

The green beauty world has grown tremendously in the last few years and with that so have the amount of retailers that believe natural beauty is the new beauty. With so many options now available it's exciting to find a green beauty retailer who mixes under the radar brands (think the exquisite NUDUS, Haut, Reverie and Studio 78 among others) with cult favorites for an extremely "cool girl" curation of the hottest in green beauty. All served with delicious tea and generous bespoke samples. Marissa Waller, owner and CEO of BeauTeaBar may be the newest kid on the block, but her eye for green beauty is quite special. With the expansion of BeauTeaBar coming next year (a gorgeous brick and mortar shop and tea room!) all eyes are on this beauty with much anticipation of new discoveries and new collaborations. We love the Aila for BeauTeaBar #LikeABoss rose-gold nail color we've been rocking this season! Keep your eye out for BTB in the coming year because we have it on good authority more collaborations and emerging new brands are being added to Marissa's green collection. We can't wait! 



How do you make the most of holiday time?


It’s always difficult when you’re from a {very} large family to stay connected with the real reason for the holidays: to spend time with those you love and celebrate! I love being around my young siblings as they open up their gifts in amazement and complete excitement. Add is some good food, family, and friends and I couldn’t be happier!


Give us a glimpse of your beauty routine. 


I don’t have a routine per se… except I always always always wash my face before bed! Some days I am rushing and a simple face wash followed some good face oil does the trick. When I have time I love to indulge in a great facial steam, followed by a mask, and then I apply my serums and oils over a cup of tea and a magazine. It really depends on how much time I have, but without fail there is always a LBF product or two in the mix.


What one beauty myth do you really want to debunk?


Natural products aren’t as effective as their conventional counterparts. I speak from experience when I say this! For years I battled acne using prescription antibiotics and topical treatments. However, when I finally did away with all that nasty stuff I found a clean skin care routine that not only cleared my skin, but finally made me really proud to show off my skin. There is no doubt in my mind that non-toxic products can out perform any conventional product on the market, and I’m so thankful that I get to help people see that everyday!

This is the last day of our 5 Days Of Giveaways. It's been so much fun reading the comments and sharing the enthusiasm of our products with so many fans. We want to give someone one of our favorite most luxurious products, Skin Aficionado especially during the cold winter months. All you need to do is repost our picture on Instagram and follow @BeauTeaBar with hashtags #5daysgive #labellafigurabeauty and someone will be chosen tonight! 

5 Days Of Giveaways: A Night For Green Beauty

We wanted to give you a special treat with this little interview from the founders and new team members of A Night For Green Beauty the premiere annual beauty event that brings the best green beauty brands, media, fans, bloggers and retailers together for one evening to celebrate and enjoy beauty each year. We are so excited to begin working on next year's event and we promise that if you enjoyed ANFGB NYC and LA you're going to be left speechless with what we're planning for 2015. New brands, a knockout space and the most creative event to date plus some incredible new sponsors and elements. Read on and get excited. We can't wait to see you again in 2015!

How do you make the most of holiday time?

Holiday time is reserved for family and friends with plenty of good food, music, dancing and lots of love. Nothing is more important to us than  good times with loved ones.


Give us a glimpse of your beauty routine.

Our beauty routine revolves around constantly trying wonderful new green beauty products from amazing brands big and small. We are just in awe of what’s happening in natural beauty from skincare to makeup to hair and body products. Everything good is coming up green!


What one beauty myth do you really want to debunk?

That natural beauty isn’t effective. Some hardcore conventional beauties are still resistant because they honestly believe they can’t transform their beauty regimens with naturals. We’re here to tell you that naturals is the answer to longterm healthy, glowing and a youthful appearance. You may need to do a little research and understand what ingredients benefit your skin type, but in the end you’ll see results that are mind blowing.


Everyone wants to know what’s next for A night For Green Beauty.

ANFGB has been a huge success bringing brands, customers, media and retailers together to highlight the qualities that make natural beauty so coveted. With that in mind we are adding our first green beauty runaway show to the event. We want to show the world the artistic work featuring haircare, skincare and of course makeup from the green side of things. Trust us, this is going to be glamorous, fun and exciting and we’re partnering with some of the best green beauty retailers and bloggers around to make this a truly spectacular event. We have a few other ideas in the works, a website, new sponsors and an incredible charity we’re excited to support and of course, new up and coming brands. It's going to be our biggest event to date. 


Where will the next ANFGB take place and when?

We listened carefully to fans who had very strong opinions wanting us to take the event to cities all across the world and we checked other options, but when it came down to it we felt that the only city our next and largest event should take place in, is the great city of Chicago. We are thrilled with this decision and can’t wait for all the beauties to come visit a world class city like Chicago and attend one of the most fun and exciting beauty events around next summer. 


We're so pumped to bring you ANFGB in Chicago and want you to start making travel plans for this awesome venue that we're giving away our Travel Therapy Botanical Mood Booster, The Travel Diaries Sampler Volume I and II plus a SURPRISE gift that you'll just have to wait until you receive your gift to see and try. All you need to do is follow A Night For Green Beauty on Instagram @anightforgreenbeauty and repost our pic with hashtag #5daysgive and #labellafigurabeauty. If you want to be in the know of all things ANFGB, send us an email so we can add you to our soon to come newsletter. 

5 Days Of Giveaways: Makeup Artist Megan Porschen

Sometimes you meet people in this industry that are so truly beautiful your breath is taken away. Megan Porschen, celebrity makeup artist and A Night For Green Beauty MUA in residence is one of those people. It’s not because she’s a knockout, but because she is compassionate, kind and drives a motivating force to share beauty in a genuine way. Her work is flawless and her energy is through the roof positive. We love working with Megan who offers great advice about makeup, skincare and how to take care of your body. She is a green beauty with a heart of gold and we’re excited to share her interview with you. If you want to swoon over her work visit her website at


How do you make the most of holiday time?

Traditionally I would spend time with my family enjoying their company, good food, and gifts. This year I've decided to go to Costa Rica on an adventure/yoga retreat to cleanse my mind, body, and soul for the new year. I wanted to break away from the heavy consumerism and enjoy nature's gift for fulfillment.


Give us a glimpse of your beauty routine.

Every morning when I wake up I meditate for 15-20 minutes for a more radiant face. Then I cleanse my skin with warm water and an organic cleanser, or apply La Bella's Bio Active Healing Mask (heavenly btw), rinse, then pat my face dry and apply a light moisturizer, or a drop of La Bella's Daily Defense Oil under my makeup. Hair is much more simple for me these days because I'm allowing it to grow out. I spend about 15 minutes doing both.


At night I always wash my face, tone, and then apply a heavy moisturizer or oil mixed with a tiny bit of water for deeper penetration. I do this routine by massaging the moisturizer or oil in circular motions on my face and down my neck into the decollete.


For indulgence, a hot bath with essential oils, candles, hot tea or wine are the perfect way for me to wind down. Overall wellbeing and nurturing are what I feel is best for my beauty routine.


What one beauty myth do you really want to debunk?

For years people have said wearing a dark lip and eye is a no no. I say, you can definitely wear a sexy smokey eye and a dark lip when it's appropriate. Especially for the holidays. Glam it up girls.


Since we can’t giveaway a personal one-on-one makeup session with Megan herself, we want to give one of you some of Megan’s favorites makeup colors from our More Than Makeup color line. Follow Megan on Instagram  @beautylovesnature and hashtag #5daysgive #labellafigurabeauty to win our Damn Elvia, Lissette La Coquette and the very last Disco Queen Gloria that we saved for this contest! 

5 Days Of Giveaway: Actress Alysia Reiner

We're getting the word directly from the woman who plays "Fig" in the hysterical and scary Orange Is The New Black and DA Wendy Parks in How To Get Away With Murder. Alysia Reiner is the real deal; gorgeous, intelligent (obviously, she's a green beauty advocate) and funny. She is a Mom, activist and actor/producer and environmentalist. We just can't get enough of this lady! We ask Alysia about her favorite holiday memories and of course they're centered around family. Read on and make sure to follow her for our giveaway of Alysia's favorite LBF product! Alysia Reiner on Facebook and Twitter.



How do you make the most of holiday time?

I slow down, that’s the key for me! If I want to really be present with my husband and my 5 year old daughter during the holidays, I have to slow down enough to really focus on my gratitude for the time off, the togetherness, the holiday spirit. Deep breaths as I teach my daughter! Come to think of it, that’s good advice for ALL THE TIME! 

Give us a glimpse of your beauty routine. 

I don't wash in the morning, only at night, then tone & a nice face oil & serum. I love coconut oil for every part of my body & even just started pulling!

What one beauty myth do you really want to debunk?

I think it’s time for people to realize once and for all that  pure, simple, organic products WORK and they work WELL! I love the La Bella Figura healing mask- it's so healthy I want to eat it!! There’s such a proliferation of chemicals in most beauty products, they aren’t good for us, and they aren’t necessary.

We agree with Alysia that there are too many harsh toxic chemicals in beauty products and we're doing our part to create healthy, high performing alternatives. We're giving away our Bio Active Healing Mask and our new facial bowl set and in honor of "Fig" herself, a bottle of our best selling Barbary Fig Seed Oil! How is that for a mega green beauty giveaway? All you need to do is follow @labellafigurabeauty and @alysiareiner on Instagram repost a picture of our Bio Active Healing Mask with hashtag #5daysgive #labellafigurabeauty and someone will be choosen to win this gorgeous loot. Then set your Netflix and your snacks ready for your new obsession OITNB

5 Days Of Giveaways: The Hermes Hippie

We're getting into the holiday mood around here even in the midst of major transition. (That's info for another blog post soon to come.) This time of year is mostly special for us because we tend to focus on family and friends and close for a few days to cook, celebrate, throw parties and travel. This December I am off to Dublin, London and Paris as we launch LBF in Europe and work towards new things for 2015. I have always wanted to have a Charles dickens type of holiday in London and it looks like it's happening so I'm truly excited. 

All of this holiday talk has us wanting to share with you so we are happy to kick off our 5 Days Of Giveaways where we interview five of the most exciting people (or non-people) in green beauty this year and give away their favorite LBF product. We're starting the series with The Hermes Hippie! An exciting new blog with a fresh and opinionated voice. Lola Gusman, founder and creator doesn't cut corners or mince words with her feelings about beauty products, brands or blogging for that matter. She doesn't fall for heavy marketing, hype or fancy packaging. Trust us on this one! She wants the good stuff and has a knack for finding the best green products around. She is funny, charming and a true beauty lover and that's why her new blog is fun, informative and refreshing to read. We are huge fans and all we have to say is read this mini interview with The Hermes Hippie and get ready to list this blog as your new addiction.


The Hermes Hippie-Lola Gusman

How do you make the most of holiday time?

I really, really love the holiday season. I love everything about it, from the festive spirit to the delicious food. I can get a little obsessive about trimming the tree and have been known to spend hours making sure the present are wrapped just so ("so" meaning Martha Stewart-perfect). But by far the most important part of the holidays for me is family: both the biological kind and the family of friends we have created over the years. Whether we are in New York or in Miami, in England or in Russia, I make sure that we have the laughter of friends and loved ones around our table and that we spend the time truly enjoying one another's company.


Give us a glimpse of your beauty routine.

Being a beauty blogger (and a green beauty obsessive), I find that my skincare routine changes far more frequently than most people's. Some things remain constant: I adore cleansing balms, obsess over and cannot live without facial sprays, always make sure to include a sophisticated and active serum and adore my LBF staples; but otherwise my skincare routine is in constant flux. However, I am really pleased to have found a makeup routine that is simple, fun and that keeps me looking fresh and glowing on even the most sleep deprived of days.


I start by using the fabulous Gressa Minimalist Corrective Serum Foundation: it's light, my skin adores it and it creates the perfect, even finish. Any blemishes get covered up by a touch of Kjaer Weis foundation. Though it's a little too heavy to use all-over for daytime use, I love its satiny finish and stunning packaging. I find that cream eye shadow is perfect as a quick pick-me-up for tired eyes and I can simply smudge it on with my fingers for an easy smokey eye. Recently, I have been obsessing over LBF's limited edition La Boum/Soul Train (the most perfect gilded khaki/silver combo) and am a bit annoyed that it's not going to be a permanent addition to the collection. At least I stocked up. I also love RMS Beauty's Karma for extra drama or Solar for a softly gilded lid. After eye shadow, I apply Kjaer Weis' awesome mascara. It doesn't quite measure up to my beloved Armani, but it comes pretty darn close and the formula is impeccable. Oh, and if I am feeling fancy, I might add a swipe of Disco Queen Gloria: another limited (boo!) edition from LBF and my current obsession. Though technically a blush, it serves triple duty as a highlighter and a bronzer and it gives the most perfect glow. All in all, this routine takes me no more than 5 minutes from start to finish and leaves me looking fresh and put together.


What one beauty myth do you really want to debunk?

Oh gosh, there are so many! How about this: there is no product that can well and truly "shrink" your pores. Pore size is genetic and, short of laser resurfacing (ouch!), there isn't much you can do about it. Now, proper skincare does make a serious difference in the appearance of pores: exfoliation, proper hydration, use of sebum-regulating facial oils and, ideally, regular (or at least occasional) facials can all make pores look their best (i.e. smallest), but no one should get upset because a product didn't actually make their pores smaller. If pore size is a concern, get a serious extraction, hydrate the skin and exfoliate regularly and always, always remove your makeup and SPF. Also: if a product seems to tighten your skin so much that the pores seem to temporarily disappear, it's probably too drying for the skin. I am thinking of those horrible, conventional, alcohol-laden toners. They may seem to do the trick, but will only exacerbate the problem in the long run. Be gentle with your skin, learn to love it and it will reward you by looking and feeling it's best.

Lola would like us to give away, Aria Nighttime Cell Recovery Treatment, one of her favorite LBF products. All you need to do is follow @labellafigurabeauty and @thehermeshippie on Instagram and repost a picture of Aria and use #5daysgive #labellafigurabeauty. Someone is going to win tonight with a chance to win another LBF product tomorrow with a new post and new beauty profile. Learn more about The Hermes Hippie by following her blog. 

How To Hydrate Your Skin For A Perfect Glow


There are certain things that I can't stand and having tight, flaky, dry skin is right on up there. Not only does it contribute to a dull complexion, highlight wrinkles and even contribute to them, but it actually feels uncomfortable. Living in the "Windy City" means I get my fair share (let's face it, more than I care to admit) of lake effect wind and polar vortex temperatures assaulting my delicate skin. I try my best to wrap a scarf over my entire head to protect myself, but the freezing air still manages to rob my skin of precious oils. Adding to that is hot air from my heating system and all of this is enough to make anyone's skin go completely nuts. So what do I do? I hydrate my skin like a lunatic all winter long.

By now you know that we at La Bella Figura Beauty are huge fans of Barbary Fig Seed Oil (Prickly Pear Seed Oil). When we first began our ingredient research I read an Italian medical study of these fruits and their ability to help those suffering from inflammation and rheumatism with an especially high content of betalains, a rare class of antioxidants. That sparked my interest and consequently deep, deep love for what has become our signature ingredient in most formulations, including our new More Than Makeup collection. Who can resist a fruit oil that actually makes your skin glow while strengthening tissue and providing mega anti aging benefits? This is my go to product when the temperatures drop and my skin becomes dehydrated. You can accurately say this one ingredient product has changed my life and my skin for the better. 

One of my favorite ways to use our pure Barbary Fig Seed Oil is to create a nourishing hydrating mask with our Rainforest Hydration Treatment. It is most important to properly cleanse the skin before applying the hydrating mask. I use our Gentle Enzyme Cleanser because it not only contains enzymes from papaya and pineapples to gently exfoliate the skin, but hydrating marfura and cupuacu butters so that skin retains its moisture on a cellular level. Once I cleanse, I give myself a nice facial steam with one of our Facial Steam Teas to help swell up the pores and prepare the skin for the moisture mask. (Reserve the facial tea water for toning and rinsing the skin with all of that nutrient rich broth.) Then I mix 2 teaspoons of our Rainforest Hydration Treatment with 12 drops of BFSO and apply a nice thick layer on my skin. After about 10 minutes I apply a thick layer of manuka honey right over the hydrating mixture and allow it to stay on my skin for an additional 10-15 minutes. Don't rinse this concoction off with plain old water. Use the facial steam broth and soak a soft bamboo washcloth so that you can later gently wipe off the mask mixture. Lightly pat your skin dry without completely drying your skin and spray Jardin De Fleurs before massaging another 4-6 drops of Barbary Fig Seed Oil into the skin. Viola, instant glow! Your skin will look luscious, plump and vibrant and feel unbelievably soft. This neat little trick is especially great before a big night out or special event. Your makeup will look flawless on well hydrated, exfoliated skin. 

I like to use this potent hydrating mask about twice a week when it's below zero in these parts with our Bio Active Hydrating Mask in between. Your skin will garner you rave reviews with proper hydration. It's a necessary step when you're a midwestern gal! 

Starting today, November 25 until Thursday, November 27 all orders including both Rainforest Hydration Treatment and Barbary Fig Seed Oil will receive a complimentary Jardin De Fleurs travel mister. No code required we will include your gift with your purchase! 

Fall is in full swing and we are gearing up for winter with some of our favorite bio-active face masks, beauty oils and facial steam teas to keep our skin hydrated and gorgeous. We're pretty excited though because we have a few new product exclusives and sneak peeks launching...

The New Beauty Coming Soon To The Bottega

Fall is in full swing and we are gearing up for winter with some of our favorite bio-active face masks, beauty oils and facial steam teas to keep our skin hydrated and gorgeous. We're pretty excited though because we have a few new product exclusives and sneak peeks launching in November and we CANNOT wait to share with our beauty lovers. We know you're always looking for the best non-toxic products to incorporate into your regimen. 

Starting next month we will introduce you to our limited edition Holiday Party colors to get you gorgeous for all the fun holiday cocktail parties or a special date night. You just can't go wrong with La Boum, a silver eye popping eyeshadow or Soul Train, a glamorous green gold that is both playful and dramatic. This duo is a limited edition set and once they run out, we'll just have the party memories to linger over. For a super pretty and sophisticated blush we created, Disco Queen Gloria in a rose gold that is truly chic and feels incredible on cheeks or lips. You're going to want to keep those party shoes on with these exciting party colors that'll take you from day to night in minutes! 

Other exclusives include a new collection of treatment based 'Skin Tonics' and a hair and body perfume that will make you swoon with the first spritz of its exotic and botanical fragrance. (We promise you, this scent is out of this world divine!) We have a few other things in the works that are special, limited edition and curated just for you for that special time of year that merits beauty, magic and sophistication.

Tara Mackey Of TheOrganicLifeBlog modeling our Disco Queen Gloria on cheeks and lips and Damn Elvia eyeshadow. 


November is looking so very beautiful! Make sure you're signed up for our newsletter because insiders get the news and special offers first and with these limited edition exclusives we don't want you to miss a beat. Sign up here or here

Xo-La Bella Figura Beauty 



I'm on a plane as I write this. Heading back to reality from a much needed sun drenched reality break in Hawaii. (This is not a typical LBF blog post and it's definitely personal, but I felt it was important to share because mental health is a significant part of...

Taking Care Of Yourself When You Have Seasonal Affective Disorder

I'm on a plane as I write this. Heading back to reality from a much needed sun drenched reality break in Hawaii. (This is not a typical LBF blog post and it's definitely personal, but I felt it was important to share because mental health is a significant part of our well being. One that we stigmatize and scrutinize in others and don't generally talk about in the beauty world. And truth be told if I want to bring it full circle into the beauty realm of my work, when I am feeling this way I do not feel...beautiful.) Right now I find that I'm suddenly feeling very down and it's not because of work or that I hate my life or I'm going through a divorce or there is anything fundamentally awful happening to me. It's almost silly to admit, but (thank goodness for science to back this up) it's all because summer has faded and autumn has already sprung in Chicago and something happens in my brain that triggers a slow and sweeping bout of the blues. I hate this transition that happens to me every year. It feels as though the entire world is amassed in a cloud of fog and I can't seem to find the light to see what's ahead. I am one of many who suffers from seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder and it always hits this time of year and kicks my ass in the process. I know I'm not alone. Some of my friends suffer from this, other family members as well and if I remember correctly so did my Grandmother. She was always happier when she was out and about on long summer days. 

There are different ways this mood disorder manifests for some people. as well as different seasons. It can include feeling lethargic, sleeping a lot, eating more than usual, difficulty concentrating and for added fun, a decreased sex drive (you got my sarcasm there, right?). For me, I grow impatient, I often feel less energetic, less enthusiastic about things I'm usually excited about and simply put...sad. I get weepy and feel anxious and irritable. I am not fun. At least not as fun as I am during the warmer months. Sometimes on days when the sun is out several days in a row or when I take a weekend escape to California or someplace warm and sunny I feel a boost of increased energy return and that inner happiness (or un-doomness as I like to call it) again. I've wondered over the years if I was a happy person or the doomed type. I've decided to accept that sometimes I'm happy and sometimes I really am not and that it isn't always equal and that it kind of sucks. That's being a bit generic or basic about this condition, but I don't obsess about it or make it the essence of my entire well being. I do my best to deal with it without medication. Some people really do need medication and it helps them and is the responsible thing to do when their doctor tells them they need medication to help them. It didn't work for me. I've tried quite a few tricks to help manage my SAD and sometimes they help more often than other times. I was discussing this issue with a male friend of mine. A professor from Brazil who said it took him almost five years here in Chicago to finally realize this problem for him which was chronic and newfound and that he needed help from a professional. He began light therapy and claims it helps him quite a bit so I think this will be the year I give that a try. I've certainly heard positive things and the science of it makes sense to me. Sadly, it's already gray and chilly here and trust me, I have no business still wearing flip flops and will be putting them away shortly. (You do the silliest things to hold on to summer!) It's crazy how fast summer flew by and how soon fall has swooped in. I already feel that sadness creeping in. Slowly and quietly attempting to invade my joy and steal away the fun Aunt, the helpful sister, the supportive business partner and the active cheerleader of creative things. I do my best to think of the bright side of the colder seasons. Hot chocolate, new chunky scarves, banana bread baking on a cold Sunday afternoon. They make me smile, but don't exactly pump up the dopamine. 

Last year I decided that I was going to focus on the things that make me happy year round when autumn arrived. I was going to be more selfish and spend some time on myself. I started making my own fresh juices and nut milks every week because they are tasty and remind me of summer. I purchased beautiful flowers to keep on my nightstand. I practiced music therapy and listened to old songs I hadn't heard in years. I indulged in long baths with a good book and drank the best green tea I could buy. I even watched silly tv shows and got all caught up on Scandal because it was something to look forward to on days when the wind howled and the snow pummeled us into shut-ins. These little things that don't seem like much helped me make it through one of the roughest winters we've had in the Midwest. Some days were worse than others, but still I made it through. I also incorporated quite a few new beauty rituals and they felt good to do. Reminding myself that I needed to take care of myself first otherwise I'm no good to my work, my family or any human being I come in contact with is an important element when going through this seasonal funk. It's also very important to try to eat well and get some exercise in to stay physically healthy when your mental health is draining away. I'm not going to lie, it's not easy to eat well and exercise when all you want to do is bury your head in a pillow and sleep while dreaming of triple chocolate cake. But, you must. You must hear that inner voice that tells you to be good to yourself, to be gentle and kind, be the friend you would be to your friend suffering from this. You must do what you need to do to help yourself. You must push through and you do it because spring will come. It will sprout all over again and the peonies will bloom and the sun will slice into your rooms with its warmth and promise of happy moods and the old you will come back...the "real" you will be reborn all fresh and spanking new. 

Here are a few suggestions that may help you get through SAD. If you think you suffer from this same thing, please make sure to seek a medical professional to help you with an appropriate course of action that may help treat your symptons. 


1. Get outside as often as you can. Natural sunlight helps stimulate your circadian rhythm and to release melatonin, an important hormone that helps control your sleep and awake cycles.

2. Pet a dog or cat or a baby. Sometimes when I dog sit I feel so much better taking care of my furry friends. Animals provide more health benefits sometimes than supplements can. Babies always make me smile. Holding a baby and a puppy truly makes me feel better.

3. Take a class. Dance, cooking or art classes are a good way to socialize and learn something new that stimulates a different part of your brain and keeps you interactive and motivated Two key words when you suffer from depression. Plus if you're anything like me the commitment alone will at least guarantee you step out of the house even when you don't want to.

4. Cook. Prepare your own meals and make them fresh and full of vegetables. Depression can sometimes cause a person to crave foods that are unhealthy, which can trigger other problems that exacerbate depression. Weight gain does not feel good. 

5. Make dates with your partner or your friends. Plan a fun weekend. Game night, movie night or even salsa dancing night are all things to look forward to with people that care about you. Stay active and engaged with loved ones. They want to help you through this.

6. Take time for yourself. Spend a little time on something that makes you smile every day. If that's a long, luxurious bath or an hour where you get to read by yourself in silence. Make sure you fulfill that need for self comforting rituals to wind down and nurture yourself. 

7. Unplug. The internet is noisy and deceptive. Those posts from friends that state, "Life Is Good" while they're posing with a margarita in a crowded bar is an emotional distraction. Allow yourself to be okay with the healing process of seasonal affective disorder. You don't need added pressure to make you feel bad by feeling you aren't keeping up with everyone else. it's bullshit that everyone is so damn happy on Twitter. Don't believe the social media hype and log off of Facebook and pay a visit to a friend in the flesh. The dish is much more rewarding in person. 

8. Take a trip or plan your vacation during winter months to someplace warm. It's no coincidence that my last five December vacations have been to Argentina (twice), Mexico, Peru and the Caribbean. I look forward to the escape as my relief. 

Be well friends.

xo Victoria


If you're anything like me, the last days of summer are starting to kick into your reality and you're fighting every last minute not to let it go. Summer skin is fresh, glowing and looks radiant for most everyone. We all seem to wear our summer looks with effortless ease...

After Summer Skin And Beauty Care

If you're anything like me, the last days of summer are starting to kick into your reality and you're fighting every last minute not to let it go. Summer skin is fresh, glowing and looks radiant for most everyone. We all seem to wear our summer looks with effortless ease and sometimes all you need to get you through the day is a touch of lip color or a golden hued highlighter to reflect the sun's warm kiss on dewy, clear skin. Fall and winter skin, well that's a different story.

On a personal level, cold dry air seems to suck the life out of my skin and leaves me feeling deeply dehydrated and under nourished. It's also a hugely scary time for my skin because as one ages the quickest ways to a roadmap of wrinkles on your face is, chronically dehydrated skin. It's important to care for your skin differently than you do in summer because it requires slightly more maintenance. Here are a few of my top Fall/Winter skincare favorites and how I'll be using our products to keep my skin hydrated, fresh and radiant during these upcoming colder seasons.

1) Steam skin once or twice a week. I do this religiously because the results are immediate and feel incredible. I use our Facial Steam Teas and allow the steam to swell up my pores and cleanse my skin with the healing properties of our special facial tea blend. (We will be restocking the teas very soon as we're still harvesting and drying all of the herbs and plants from our summer growing season.) 

2) Apply a Bio Active Healing or Purifying Mask treatment immediately after a facial steam. I don't even dry my skin off just apply a generous amount of my favorite Healing Mask and allow all of the rich vitamins, polyphenols, minerals and enzymes to work their skin magic. After 20 minutes I rinse off in circular motion to get a gentle exfoliation and then moisturize.

3) Barbary Fig Seed Oil or Rainforest Hydration Treatment are my favorite moisturizers. I enjoy scooping up a generous amount of our jasmine and cocoa scented vegan balm and melting it between my hands before patting it gently onto cleansed skin. It just feels so incredible and soothing and brightens up a dull complexion. 

4) Aria and Barbary Fig Renewal Serum are my top two products for nighttime use. I apply two to three drops of our cell reviving Aria Cell Recovery Treatment followed by a generous amount of my answer to botox, Barbary Fig Renewal Serum. I swear this product has battled the wrinkles that are supposed to take residence on my 46 year old face, but haven't.

4) Lastly, I spritz Jardin de Fleurs all over to lock in all the beneficial active ingredients of the Renewal Serum and Cell Recovery Treatment with this delightful hydrosol and enzymatic mist, which also includes an ingredient your skin desires when it's super thirsty...hyaluronic acid. You just can't go wrong with our botanical skin revitalizer! 

Certainly, there is a lot more I do to look after my new seasonal skincare routine like drink more green tea, juice and create antioxidant loaded smoothies in the mornings, but generally sticking to a regimen that works keeps me happy and sane and the wrinkles away! Cheers to keeping the summer glow alive throughout the chillier days of Fall. 

xo Victoria

The Flower Wall   After nearly nine months of planning and collaborating with some of the best all natural beauty brands in the business, our event has come and gone. The aftermath of a grand party is sort of a melancholy feeling. Kind of like what I imagine planning a...

Celebrating Beauty At A Night For Green Beauty Los Angeles

The Flower Wall


After nearly nine months of planning and collaborating with some of the best all natural beauty brands in the business, our event has come and gone. The aftermath of a grand party is sort of a melancholy feeling. Kind of like what I imagine planning a wedding feels like, surreal and dreamy and then it's over and you're left with brilliant memories while you swoon over photos and retell intimate stories. A Night For Green Beauty was no ordinary affair. It was a joyful, bustling, rubbing elbows with beauty aficionado after beauty aficionado, samba dancing and floral crown wearing kind of party. Everyone you could imagine from the green beauty world was there. Some were local. some came from other cities and a few even came from international cities.There were drinks, fresh juice, laughter heard from every corner of our gorgeous space and a beautiful flower wall (that wasn't quite completed), but was still devastatingly beautiful. I don't think anyone even noticed we weren't able to finish it.

We heard over and over how wonderful it was to host an event like this. Customers, fans and even beauty editors came over to thank us and share their awe and excitement about a venue that highlighted beautiful products, increased awareness about product safety and shared the event with the public. It truly was a magical night and we all celebrated fully. 

On a personal level, the highlight of the evening was meeting and chatting with Norah Weinstein, co-founder of Baby2Baby the LA based non-profit we (as a collaborative group) raised $20,000 for with the sales from our partnership with Goodebox. I think even Norah was amazed at the enthusiastic turnout and touched by the generosity of our incredible community. Fundraising is not easy, but we were visionary with our efforts and were also able to provide our customers with loads of safe, effective and most importantly luscious beauty products all while supporting low income families in Los Angeles. I cry every single time I think of the generosity from the brands and that we will all be touching someone's life in a small, but powerful way. What an amazing community! We are so lucky to be a part of it.  

The natural beauty industry has grown tremendously within the last two years. It is not a fad or a trend, but a lifestyle decision many people are consciously making every day. As we all work to remain transparent in our business practices, ingredient content and education, our government is still trying to catch up and play political games with the public's safety. We hope that someday soon customers will not be as urgently browsing the internet to do all of their own homework looking for safe products for themselves or their families. It can be daunting and exhausting and it is not fair. We all deserve to know what is in the products we spend our dollars on. It is a consumer's right. The time is coming and we are happy to be a part of it and even more excited to bring awareness with so many other incredible brands that are committed to creating safe alternatives for your daily self care. Thank you reader for allowing us into your home and lives via your top shelf beauty cabinet. You make all the hard work worth it. 

We would also like to thank every single green beauty brand that participated in our event. Each brand is special, unique and creating beautiful products. A big heartfelt thank you to Osmia Organics, Sheswai, True Nature Botanicals (Formerly MV Organics), Laurel Skincare, Province Apothecary, Josh Rosebrook, Gressa Skin, MUN Beauty, Lurk, Zoe Organics, May Lindstrom Skin, Juice Beauty, Alima Pure, One Love Organics, Kahina Giving Beauty, Indie Lee, African Botanics, Strange Invisible Perfumes, Odacite, Sw Basics of B, Hope Gillerman Organics and BeautyCounter. 

An extra special thank you to our sponsors and event ambassadors, The Chalkboard Magazine, Pressed Juicery, GoodeboxBaby2Baby, Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff and the incredibly talented Nicolle Mackinnon and Susannah Compton of No More Dirty Looks fame. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Until next year beauties! Now for some fun party photos.


Our Awesome PR Team, Clover PR



Victoria and Karen, La Bella Figura co-founders and creators of A Night For Green Beauty

It is our pleasure to introduce you to one of our three, A Night For Green Beauty Event Ambassadors, Nicolle Mackinnon. Nicolle is a contributing writer over on everyone's favorite green beauty blog, No More Dirty Looks. She is a beauty aficionado true and through and is forever in search...

Say Hello To Our Event Ambassador: Nicolle Mackinnon

It is our pleasure to introduce you to one of our three, A Night For Green Beauty Event Ambassadors, Nicolle Mackinnon. Nicolle is a contributing writer over on everyone's favorite green beauty blog, No More Dirty Looks. She is a beauty aficionado true and through and is forever in search of luxurious, gluten and beeswax-free products and hasn't had a bad hair day since, well never. We are looking forward to having Nicolle greet many of you attending this year's most anticipating beauty party on August, 7 in Los Angeles.  Join Nicolle and us for a special evening and you can ask her yourself for her secret to those gorgeous locks. (We bet it's green beauty!)





When did you know you had ‘Gone Green’?


When I started buying most of my beauty products online. I love Minneapolis for lots of reasons, and in the last few years, many green beauty stores have popped up, but some of my favorite brands just aren’t sold in a brick and mortar shop that’s within driving distance (especially makeup). Or when I bought a Diva Cup—that might be the greenest thing I own!


What is your idea of a perfect day?


I always have a hard time with this question! If it was truly perfect, I’d be traveling somewhere in Europe (right now I’m kind of obsessed with the Italian countryside), get time to have a leisurely breakfast with my husband, be outside, nap, read and have dinner/drinks with friends. And I’d need time to do a little beauty pampering, like a face mask, with no feelings of being rushed.


Favorite city for shopping green beauty?


It’s cheating to say online, right?


Favorite single natural ingredient?


Candelilla wax. I know, I know—it’s totally not a sexy ingredient, but since I discovered I’m allergic to beeswax I’m incredibly grateful to candelilla wax for serving a similar purpose in vegan products (and to brands who use it).


What scent matches your personality?


I tend to gravitate to floral scents, with a spicy bite. I think that fits me—sweet, but sassy once you get to know me.


What does your evening beauty ritual consist of?


It changes fairly often because I’m usually testing new products, but right now, it’s SW Basics Makeup Remover, followed by One Love Organics Apple a Day Cleanser, all removed with a microfiber cloth (the facial one from Ecloth). Then I massage in La Bella Figura Aria Nighttime Cell Recovery Treatment, andconquer any blemishes with Osmia Organics Spot Treatment.Next, I swipe on LBF’s Eye Decouverte Undereye Serum, and finish with Dr. Alkaitis Organic Soothing Gel + ARCONA Chamomile Balm.


What one piece of advice would you like to give others who ask, “what is the first thing I should swap out as I go natural?”


If you’re super overwhelmed or don’t feel very beauty savvy, just start with the next thing you use up—find a replacement for that one product, and switch out your others later. If you’re excited and ready to attack, start with your favorite kinds of product. Are you a makeup aficionado? Find your holy grail green foundation or that lip color that makes you feel like you can take on the world. Do you love skincare? Search out your perfect moisturizer or face wash that wakes you up in the morning. Just have fun with it, do your research and don’t feel bad if you can’t switch everything immediately.


What natural beauty products do you get most excited about? (Skincare, perfume, makeup, etc.)


Is it kosher to say everything? Haha. No, I have lip color (stick, gloss, balm) and facial mask fetishes. My seventh-grade self had a lip gloss to match every outfit in my closet, an affinity I’ve carried into adulthood, and I love how putting a face masktriggers relaxed, calm and pampered feelings in me. That’s a big part of why I’ve loved my transition to green beauty—it’s helped give me the permission to treat a beauty regime as holistic self-care.


If you could sit with a green Goddess and pick her brain (or his if he is a green God) what questions would you ask?


Hmm. I think I’d ask for little known tricks and tips that I might be missing out on. And I’d want to know his/her beauty routine! I love love love learning what other green beauty bloggers and brand founders and experts are using because I love learning about new products (or getting confirmation that my faves are truly as incredible as I think they are!).


What is your favorite book besides the best selling, No More Dirty Looks?

I swoon for YA fiction. So The Hunger Games—I’ve read the series four times since it came out, and I’m going to be super hipster here and say “I liked it before it was popular.” Snooty? Maybe. I also love Living Your Yoga, which gives you ways to take yoga into daily life.


What is your favorite color?




Tell us one thing we don’t know about you, but really, really want to.


I have a sixth sense for puppies. No matter where I am, I’ll spot ‘em, even if they’re camouflaged. And if there’s a puppy in close proximity, don’t bother trying to talk to me because I likely won’t hear you. I love the furry creatures so much (though I unfortunately don’t have my own currently).


Follow Nicolle on Twitter and Instagram @NicolleBMack and don't forget to check out her work on No More Dirty Looks

Dear Baby2Baby, There are so many reasons to love a non-profit organization like yours. You help people when they most need it. You inspire people to feel good about giving. You bring smiles to the faces of the many families you serve. You don't judge or ask from the people...

A Love Letter To Baby2Baby

Dear Baby2Baby,

There are so many reasons to love a non-profit organization like yours. You help people when they most need it. You inspire people to feel good about giving. You bring smiles to the faces of the many families you serve. You don't judge or ask from the people you are touching daily. You give for all the right reasons and from the heart. You help change lives. You touched us in many ways and especially on a personal note.

I was one of those children in need once. I grew up with very little and we needed help many times throughout my childhood. In some ways my siblings and I were luckier than most kids we knew growing up in poverty. We had a tight-knit family that pitched in because it truly does take a village and I am grateful for my strong family roots every day. We had a Mom that loved us, who was well educated and working in a professional, albeit very low paying job. My father was always ill and in ways that made him a dysfunctional, non-existent parent. It wasn't always fun, but Mom always said, "don't just do your best, be your best." She explained time and time again that even through tough moments it would serve us well to give, share and think of others. If we had one slice of pizza she taught us how to stretch it for two. Do Your Best, Be Your Best. Those weren't just words and they were always on the forefront of my being whenever I was being challenged. I became what is known as a super-achiever. Those words were the best gift I have ever received and I have been referencing that phrase ever since I could remember and sharing with others. They seem to suit every situation a person could find themselves in. I try, try, try to live by that motto and be better than I was yesterday. It seems Baby2Baby knows that as well. Could we possibly be related? 

As the creators of A Night For Green Beauty, my business partner Karen and I always knew we would tie this incredible evening of green beauty with charity work. It made sense for us and when we as a business approached this idea to all of the brands involved as participants every single one of them happily agreed to donate their products to help families they have never met. We heard of Baby2Baby from a California based teacher friend and was so touched with what you do I knew we had to reach out and partner with you to highlight your organization as best as we could with our event. It was great to see with my own eyes your daily operations and meet a few of the incredible volunteers who roll up their sleeves and get the job done. I was in love. 

It's true that we aren't a giant corporation or so darn profitable that we roll around in cash every night. We are a small growing business, independently owned and operated. We know we don't have to be in the billionaire club to give. No one does. You give with your hands, your mind and your heart when you can't always give with your pocketbook. It just takes one simple little piece of information to give when others are in need...Do Your Best. In the spirit of charity we are so thrilled to donate all of the proceeds from our A Night For Green Beauty Deluxe Beauty Box collaboration with all of the brands participating in our event to your organization. Thank you for all you do to help families every day. We can't wait to see you in LA on August 7th!


With Love,

Victoria and the La Bella Figura Team


To find out about A Night For Green Beauty click here or how you can donate to Baby2Baby visit their website. To find out about how to purchase a Deluxe Beauty Box with full sized products from the most kindhearted green beauty brands around contact Goodebox. The next box goes live on sale Monday, June 16th. All boxes are in limited supply and retail for $100 (plus $10 shipping) and are being sold online until sold out. 

When you have a Mom/Daughter duo that care about the environment, love connecting with women and have a flair with a makeup brush you get EcoDiva Beauty. Charlene Swanson and Garcy Fry are the creative force behind EDB, which has quickly become a favorite among natural beauty shoppers. Co-founder Garcy,...

The Interview-Featuring EcoDiva's Garcy Fry And Charlene Swanson

When you have a Mom/Daughter duo that care about the environment, love connecting with women and have a flair with a makeup brush you get EcoDiva Beauty. Charlene Swanson and Garcy Fry are the creative force behind EDB, which has quickly become a favorite among natural beauty shoppers. Co-founder Garcy, a professional makeup artist offers expert advice on makeup and delivers with luscious Instagram shots of perfectly applied tinted lips, colorful manicures and eyelashes to swoon over. Ask Garcy for a color swatch and she'll go all out to pamper her "Divas" with her knack of fun personalized service. That's exactly how you'll feel upon shopping at EcoDiva Beauty, pampered, special and a bit spoiled because that's what team EDB wants you to are special and they won't let you forget that when you become their customer. Follow EcoDiva Beauty on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and IG for the latest beauty news. 


Tell us a little about your retail shop and what inspired you to offer such exceptional products to your customers:

CS: I wanted people to feel good when they reached our space. It’s a business, yes, but so much more. It’s meant to inspire & empower women to connect with their own source and when people do the natural progression is to be aware that they are part of their surroundings and can influence profound change in them. We are so very, very, powerful as consumers. It’s bigger than any vote you get in any election and you get it every day of your life. Not only do you dictate what the world will produce but how it will be produced and even to some extent where. The internet gives our individual voices more power than ever before in history and this makes an online store very exciting but also accountable.
I love every moment of it. I was a longtime environmentalist that was frustrated with how much searching I had to do to find “a” product and then often the quality of what I purchased was not up to my standards. This was the seed that produced Eco Diva. These cutting edge, luxurious, organic, sustainable products all in one divine location. ( Bit of a brag…)

What are you most excited about when it applies to the modern green beauty aficionado and what makes you unique?

CS: I personally see a really powerful collective shift happening that will dramatically alter the industry in a positive way forever. We are unique in that we will strive to always be in the forefront finding the really amazing companies whose standards are unequalled and real leaders in their field in one easy location for our Divas. We personally have to love everything in our store and plan to continue expanding these products.

GF: What’s most exciting is how passionate people are getting about self-care and knowing exactly what they are putting on their skin. It’s so wonderful to see people taking control of their health and wellness raising their quality standards.

What is a typical evening beauty ritual for you? Spill, we want to hear every step!

GF: I start by putting my Plum Pretty Sugar headband and robe on. This step might seem insignificant to many, but to me it just adds to the beauty ritual and makes it an experience. I’m not just trying to quickly take off my makeup and hop into bed. I’m ending my busy day by slowing down, connecting with myself, quietly. My favorite cleansing combo for a while has been akonjac sponge with One Love Organics Vitamin B Cleansing Oil. I just started using the new One Love Organics-The Cleansing Sponge and I love the charcoal sphere for how it helps to combat oily skin. Then I get a cloth as hot as I can handle and I lay it on top of my face and press it in all around and gently wipe away all the makeup dirt and grime from the day. Then I apply May Lindstrom Skin-The Honey Mud on my dry skin and let that soak in while I brush my teeth. I love to use this as a mask a couple times during the week because it is not as time consuming as the Problem Solver. After wiping that away I spritz my face with LBF Jardin de Fleurs and then apply LBF’s new Aria Nighttime Cell Recovery Treatment. Then I hop into bed and my husband and I both use Tata Harper’s Aromatic Bedtime Treatment. First I apply it to the wrists, behind the ears and on the temples. Then I put it on my palms and take 3-4 deep breaths in. This helps to relax and calm my overactive mind immediately. Lastly its my earplugs (hubby snores) and a book and off to sleep I go!

CS: My evening ritual is simpler than my morning ritual. Currently ( this changes as I try out new things ) I leave La Bella Figura Gentle Enzyme Cleanser on while I brush my teeth. I remove with a warm washcloth. I am also using the La Bella Decouverte Under Eye Serum. I use May Lindstrom’s Blue Cocoon every night , it’s full of the most amazing nourishing ingredients and has aromatherapy as an added bonus. Every third night or so I leave on a mask which I alternate between May Lindstrom ( both the Honey Mud & Problem Solver, ) La Bella Bio Active Healing Mask and Dr. AlkaitisUniversal Mask. I know that sounds decadent but I do have access to a wider variety as the owner of a beauty store. I’m dabbing the La Bella Travel Therapy on both wrists and a little under my nose all day long. Actually I’m sort of using as a perfume you could say. I’ve had quite a few compliments on it. 

What food or wellness tip do you think is essential for anyone at any age to keep you looking or feeling your best? 

CS: My food tip is my Green Shake for breakfast. My skin literally loses vitality if I miss a day. I add fresh lemon, avocado, and various super greens to my vegan green mix. I recommend meditation as a lifesaver for a host of things. This literally changed my life in the most positive way years ago. Pema Chodron said something like “ …If you can’t find time to meditate for 20 min’s a day then you should meditate for an hour” Love that!

GF: Nurture your soul, not just your skin. Find beauty inside yourself that stems from loving and being loved. Creating and being created. You’re a miracle and that’s beautiful.

What are you most excited about for our A Night For Green Beauty party in LA?

GF: I’m most excited to get to spend time connecting with all the people we’ve built e-relationships with over the years while sipping on Pressed Juicery’s refreshments!

CS: I second that and add …LA ! What a location for a “Green, Beauty Party! Perfect !

We can't wait to clink juice glasses with you Garcy and Charlene at ANFGB and this time, we're going to be the ones to spoil YOU! 

  BeauTeaBar is an online beauty and wellness destination which pairs every purchase you make with the perfect tea choice. A newbie on the scene and a beauty hunter's delight, Marissa Waller-owner and CEO searches far and wide for the latest finds cool chicks stock in their bathroom vanities and...

The Interview-Featuring BeauTeaBar Owner Marissa Waller


BeauTeaBar is an online beauty and wellness destination which pairs every purchase you make with the perfect tea choice. A newbie on the scene and a beauty hunter's delight, Marissa Waller-owner and CEO searches far and wide for the latest finds cool chicks stock in their bathroom vanities and handbags. Read her reasons why life is better with a little tea and lots of beauty. Follow BeauTeaBar on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Tell us a little about your retail shop and what inspired you to offer such exceptional products to your customers:

I believe that women deserve to be spoiled and I am thankful that I get to be a part of that everyday. As women we are constantly taking care of everyone in our lives and it is such a beautiful thing. Sometimes we forget about truly loving and treasuring ourselves. I love that people can come to my online shop and find truly unique treasures that they can use to care for themselves and to create a beautiful ritual. 

What are you most excited about when it applies to the modern day green beauty aficionado and what makes you unique?

I am so excited about the vast amount of choices that women have today, especially in the luxury market. It used to be that the boring green beauty products were banned to a tiny corner of a large store, but that is definitely not the case anymore. Women who want to pamper themselves can do so with ultra-lux green products, and many are finding that these products create far superior results than their toxic chemical counterparts. I’m also excited that the green beauty brands are listening to the needs of women and offering a more diverse range of products so that anyone who wants to clean up their beauty routine can easily find products that suit their needs.

What is a typical evening beauty ritual for you? Spill, we want to hear every step!

In an ideal world, I would have time for a luxurious bath and a good read every night! Some nights a good cleansing and few quiet minutes have to suffice. Regardless of time constraints, I treat my bedtime skin ritual with tremendous care and love. I believe that going through your evening routine with thoughtful and loving intentions makes you wake more refreshed and blissful… seriously, try it! 

I ALWAYS cleanse my face before bed! I have been cursed with acne and breakouts since my teenage years so I wouldn’t dare go to bed without cleansing! After cleansing I apply my LBF Modern Radiance Concentrate (this has been a miracle worker for the dark spots left over from years of breakouts), then I apply either a good face oil (now I am using the Barbary Fig Renewal Serum), or the Aria night treatment (I like to alternate). Before I fall asleep I apply the Decouverte Eye Serum so I wake up looking refreshed. Voila…

What food or wellness tip do you think is essential for anyone at any age to keep you looking or feeling your best?

Of course I believe that it is essential to use good products that are properly suited for your skin! And of course water, exercise, and eating properly help tremendously. BUT quite honestly, to look and feel your best then I strongly suggest smiles and an open heart. No amount of diet, products, water, or exercise can radiant as much as a woman with a genuine smile and gratitude!

What are you most excited about for our A Night For Green Beauty party in LA?

I am so excited to connect with all of these amazing people that I have adored and followed for so long. Of course I am dying to meet all of the men and women behind these kick ass brands, but I’m also truly excited to connect with the friends I’ve made on the various social media channels. I’m also super crazy excited to see what the ladies of LBF have in store for us. You guys always have a little something up your sleeve, and it constantly amazes me. I can’t wait to see what you guys have put together for this beautiful evening. Thank you so much for all of your hard work all year round, and thanks for including myself and BeauTeaBar! We are so lucky to partner with such inspiring women!


Visit and find those little treasures Marissa mentioned online. 

  As Spring has finally arrived and leads us to warmer days and fresher food we couldn't be happier to boost our nutrition intake and see the results with clearer skin and healthier habits. I'm going to be real honest, I eat much better in the warmer months than I...

Three Delicious Pairings To Try For Beautiful Skin


As Spring has finally arrived and leads us to warmer days and fresher food we couldn't be happier to boost our nutrition intake and see the results with clearer skin and healthier habits. I'm going to be real honest, I eat much better in the warmer months than I do during winter. I tend to shed pounds too because I like exercising outdoors much more than in a gym so I'm constantly walking or working in the garden or taking long weekend hiking trips. Lately, we've received many inquiries about getting the summer glow back onto our Bella's faces and we want to help get you back into shape. We'll be the first to admit that it's not always just about the products you use, but often how you treat yourself from the inside out. Here are three of our favorite recipes and product pairings for clear, glowing and beautiful skin any season. We hope you enjoy our recipes and boosting your glow with delicious whole foods and La Bella Figura Beauty.


Morning Resveratrol And Antioxidant Smoothie (Serves 2)

1 cup almond milk, coconut or cashew milk (make your own as many grocery store brands contain carrageenan, which is not good for you)
1/4 organic strawberries, sliced
1/4 organic aronia berries
1 teaspoon raw cashew butter
1/4 teaspoon sacha inchi oil
1 teaspoon raw honey
dash of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
dash of cardamom
Blend all the ingredients in a blender and enjoy! Pair this antioxidant smoothie with our Daily Elements Defense Face Oil
This smoothie is packed with vitamins, minerals, omegas, protein and phytonutrients to help keep you feeling sustained and start your day with whole food benefits. Aronia berries contain over twice the Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity (ORAC) value than blueberries and more resveratrol than the wonderful acai berry. 

Vitamin C Spa Water


Modern Radiance Concentrate

2 cups fresh pineapple juice

2 cups fresh grapefruit juice

1 cup fresh orange juice

2 cups purified water

1 lemon thinly sliced 

1 bunch fresh basil roughly chopped

1 bunch fresh cilantro or fresh parsley

1 tablespoon freshly sliced ginger coins

Add ginger, lemons, cilantro and basil to a large pitcher and with a wooden spoon muddle all ingredients, add water and citrus juices, then pineapple juice and stir. Allow to sit in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving. Serve over ice. Pair this Vitamin C spa water with our Modern Radiance Concentrate

Drinking water is wonderful to keep you hydrated and keep skin glowing, however to add a little extra Vitamin C boost to your day this drink is a delicious answer. Vitamin C is a free radical scavenger and helps protect your immune system. 


Glowing Goddess Salad (Serves 4)


2 cups sweet potatoes, roasted with olive oil, cinnamon and salt and pepper

1/2 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 cup Israeli couscous

4 cups mixed greens of kale, spinach, baby bok choy, Swiss chard and arugula

1 avocado

1 bunch basil leaves, torn 

2 tablespoons raw pistachios, roughly chopped

1 red pepper, cubed


1 tablespoon avocado oil

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, chopped

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

salt and pepper

Add leafy greens to a bowl then add warmed roasted sweet potatoes on top to slightly warm greens, add couscous, chickpeas, basil leaves, red pepper, pistachios and avocado. In a jar add avocado oil and olive oil, garlic, oregano, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper and shake until blended together. Drizzle over salad and lightly toss together. Pair the Glowing Goddess salad with our Aria Nighttime Cell Recovery Treatment

Vitamin K is an essential vitamin many of us fail to get enough of and needed for important immune function and help with blood clotting. It also helps with minimizing bruising, inflammation and treating skin conditions such as rosacea and eczema. This salad can be served as is or fortified as an entire meal served with fish, shrimp or organic chicken.  


If you like our homemade recipes you will truly love the beautifying recipes from our friend and wellness coach, Jolene Hart. Visit her blog, Beauty Is Wellness and order her incredible book, Eat Pretty on Amazon or Barnes and Noble available now. 











  It's been a harsh winter. We all know it and have felt it from the Midwest to the East Coast, even our southern cities that hardly ever see snow experienced the fright of ice, slush and winter's energy shut down their schools and pile up their highways. All we...

Spring Fever, Spring Beauty


It's been a harsh winter. We all know it and have felt it from the Midwest to the East Coast, even our southern cities that hardly ever see snow experienced the fright of ice, slush and winter's energy shut down their schools and pile up their highways. All we keep hearing is, "I'm over this winter! SO ready for Spring!" We feel ya beauties. It's been a real dud and we're also ready for a new season to begin. To be perfectly honest, I'm a better functioning human being when the weather is warmer. I wake up with the roosters and am ready to bolt for an early morning walk and a visit to our garden. I'm less cranky and need less coffee. I don't know about you. but I get super excited for new things and want to look my best. It's a great time for renewal, refreshing your routine and trying new things. La Bella Figura has a few new things for you skincare aficionados and we are so happy to share with you.

Let's start with our new Gentle Enzyme Cleanser. We thought long and hard about how we wanted to present a cleansing system that worked effectively to cleanse, remove makeup and gently exfoliate to turn over cells and leave skin hydrated and ready for serums, oils and treatments. Our formula is nourishing with moisture retentive Cupuacu and Marfura butters that are not clogging to the skin in the slightest and holds moisture into skin cells. We also added beneficial enzymes derived from papaya and pineapple to work their magic in gently sloughing off shedding cells. The upper layer of your skin is highly formed with dead skin cells that contain keratin protein that builds up and can cause that lackluster look. While it's important to exfoliate sometimes it can cause more harm than good when we over exfoliate with scrubs that contain shells or microbeads.and if you have sensitive skin or aging skin it's best to keep exfoliation to a few times a week instead of everyday, unless you're using a gentler method like enzymes. We added carrot seed oil and amaranth oil for their beneficial addition of Vitamin A and proteins to encourage skin rejuvenation and brightening. This is an active cleanser and when you apply it onto skin you should gently rub it in to allow the enzymes to perform and as a makeup remover this cleanser works great to remove even the most stubborn makeup. We tested it on waterproof mascara and it worked beautifully. If you like a nice creamy gel formula this is a great product to add to your regimen and we're loving our new daily cleansing experience. (Stay tuned as we've also been developing a cleanser for problem skin.) 

If you love a superb nighttime skincare product (who doesn't, we adore our nighttime rituals), you'll definitely be eager to try ARIA Nighttime Cell Recovery Treatment. This product is spectacular and I know it sounds like I'm a Mom complimenting my own kid, but to be frank this product was created with myself and women my age (45) in mind. I needed this is my life and couldn't find a specific cell recovery product that was richer in proteins and antioxidants so I spent time studying skin cells and how they function from newly formed active cells to dying and aging cells and wow was I fascinated! Oil lovers are on the right track with replenishing nutrients and "feeding" oxygen starved cells, but as we get older we need a little more and Aria offers plenty of protein, amino acids, phytosterols, antioxidants, resveratrol and a brilliant composition of cell regenerating actives from saffron, helichrysum, arnica, rose damascena and rooibois extracts and essential oils. It's highly active and a few drops of this concentrated blend is all your skin needs to begin its nightly repair and renewal. This product is truly high performing and like a cashmere blanket for your skin. You'll wonder what you did without it. 

Because it's the first day of Spring and we're so excited to introduce these new products to our lineup we are promoting a giveaway on all of our social media. Regram, repost and retweet using the hashtag #LBFSpringBeauty and we'll pick a winner next Thursday, March 27th. If you're wondering what you'll win. well how does a nice bottle of Gentle Enzyme Cleanser and Aria Nighttime Cell Recovery Treatment sound? (We always love surprises so who knows maybe a surprise or two) We absolutely can't wait for you to try this power combo! 



La Bella Figura

If you're new to the scene of natural beauty products or confused about the difference between a face oil or a serum, this post is for you. I remember when we first started our line and had to explain to curious beauties that a face oil was a heavenly experience...

The Most Common Questions Asked About Our Products

If you're new to the scene of natural beauty products or confused about the difference between a face oil or a serum, this post is for you. I remember when we first started our line and had to explain to curious beauties that a face oil was a heavenly experience for skin, the odd looks and wrinkled noses we would generate were priceless. It's fantastic to now hear so many lovelies have transitioned from their poison packed serums to more natural alternatives. Recently, I was at speaking at an event and a LBF fan admitted she used to purchase lotions and creams for their scent until she had a severe allergic reaction and her dermatologist pinpointed to a certain product she had tried, (well I won't name the product line, but let's just say it's an extremely popular British brand sold at high end apothecaries) and the ingredient list alone made me dizzy with its toxic fumes! It's just no wonder atopic dermatitis, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis are on the rise. Long term use and the increase of cheap fillers and ingredients are still being heavily used by beauty companies that would rather spend on advertising and packaging and skimp on quality ingredients. Your face, hair, nails and overall health suffers for it. Ah, one day we will catch up with the Europeans who have figured out the correlation between long tern use of overloaded toxic products and the scaly, red and irritated skin conditions that have caused their cosmetic laws to change. In any case, we have put together a few of our most asked and emailed questions to answer and hope this helps you, especially if you're a newbie or looking to change your beauty regimen. 


What is the difference between Barbary Fig Seed Oil and Barbary Fig Renewal Serum? (I have sensitive skin with patches of rosacea on my cheeks.)

Barbary Fig Seed Oil is a single ingredient that derives from the seeds of barbary figs, sometimes called prickly pear. The seeds are full of Vitamin E rich oil that gets cold pressed and produces a superstar product perfect for those suffering from rosacea, dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis. Because it's a single ingredient product it's also helpful to those that suffer from allergic reactions to pinpoint reactions. We recommend you try the product on your arm before trying on your face if you're allergy prone first. Vitamin E helps reduce redness and inflammation and the natural occurring zinc, amino acids and essential fatty acids work to repair damaged cells and help lighten dark spots. This oil can also help acne sufferers by balancing the sebum production in oily skin types and controlling "haywire" skin.

All skin types can benefit from BFSO. 

Barbary Fig Renewal Serum is a concentrated treatment for already damaged skin to help soften dehydrated (skin damaged) skin, speed up cell turnover, brighten and tone sagging tissue. It contains ingredients also high in Vitamin A, which helps wounded skin greatly plus fights lines and wrinkles and its molecular structure is small to provide for deeper penetration into the skin to work more effectively. 

Mature skin or severe sun damaged skin benefits from Barbary Fig Renewal Serum

Is Modern Radiance Concentrate for day or nighttime use? 

This has been a pretty popular question and there have been so many answers circulating out there, but we're sticking to this one: Vitamin C offers to boost antioxidant protection and is more beneficial to use during the day when you are assaulted by environmental and UV exposure. It is not necessary to use twice a day, especially since you are getting the benefits of a concentrated complete Vitamin C from our product. 

For Mature skin types, hyperpigmentation or anti aging skin benefits

I'm curious about the benefits of facial steaming. What are they?

Facial steaming is not only very beneficial to skin, but can offer sinus clearing benefits as well. If you have oily and acne prone skin, steaming can help push sebum and clogged pores out to the surface to thoroughly clean. The steam helps blackheads soften making them easier to dislodge from pores. Toxins and cell buildup also cause clogged pores and steaming can help dead skin from clogging pores further. Another benefit is increased circulation, which helps to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the skin and that is why facial steaming before applying a nutrient rich mask like our Bio Active Healing Mask or Bio Active Purifying Mask works wonders. Your pores will be filled with perspiration and ready to receive a treatment much better than on dry, clogged skin. You only need to do this a few times a week and at home treatments are super easy and just as effective as spa steaming. Our Facial Steam Teas are made with a healing blend of herbs, flowers and spices to help deliver therapeutic value to your treatment. A must try if you haven't yet. 

All skin types, especially acne prone or blackhead and oily prone skin

What is the best way to cleanse my skin before applying your serums and treatment products? 

Most of us don't think about cleansing that much, but it truly is one of the most important steps for a good skincare regimen. Cleansing skin with oils works great to lift off heavy makeup, dirt and toxins and doesn't strip skin of precious natural oils. Not everyone is a fan of oils, however so use a gentle method to wash off the day each night. A balm can also work great. We are about to launch a new gentle enzyme based oil gel cleanser next month which truly takes off heavy makeup and gently exfoliates skin with enzymatic properties. Soothing aloe vera helps maintain tone and balance while a collective of lovely ingredients in our formulation work in harmony to nourish your skin while cleansing. It's a lovely way to nurture your skin before applying face oils and products. You will just need to pump a nice amount onto dry skin and rub gently into skin in circular motion and rinse off with a warm washcloth. You can also use as a mini mask treatment and apply onto skin, rubbing in circular motion and leaving on for 60 seconds so the enzymes activate and gentle exfoliate skin. You're going to be obsessed with how fresh, soft and radiant your skin will feel! We can't wait to get this long awaited product to you. 

All skin types

Are your products safe enough to use while pregnant? I'm worried about toxic ingredients.

Yes, our products are safe enough for pregnant women. We use only unrefined ingredients which are wildcrafted or organic and haven't been treated with sprayed chemicals. We also are very keen about GMO ingredients and have taken the pledge to never use GMO ingredients in our formulas. We have heard about some women expressing their concerns about retinol in our Barbary Fig Renewal Serum. We do not add synthetic retinoids or retinol acid into our formulas. All of our Vitamin A is naturally derived from high quality unrefined oils and butters. If you feel your skin has been more sensitive with hormonal changes from your pregnancy you may want to discuss this with your doctor and discontinue use of a product like Barbary Fig Renewal Serum and switch to a single ingredient product instead. 

If you have any other questions you're curious to learn the answer to just ask us in the comments section. We love hearing from you! 

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