Splurge Skincare

spoil yourself naturally

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end...


Happy New Year and happy 2017! 

We hope you all had a relaxing holiday season surrounded by the love of family and friends. As we say goodbye to 2016 and welcome in the New Year, our thoughts naturally turn to renewal and new beginnings, and in the spirit of that, Splurge Skincare is announcing the departure of co-owner and co-founder Kara Kivi. After much consideration, Kara has decided that it is finally time to explore some new creative ventures. Although sad to see her go, we are excited for Kara as she embarks on a new creative journey and look forward to seeing her new projects. No worries for our loyal fans, however, because co-owner and co-founder, Christine Cunningham will continue to bring you the same handcrafted, small batch, clean skincare products that you have come to know and love! And in keeping with the theme of renewal, Christine is already hard at work developing some new and exciting products to bring you in 2017, so stay tuned for some exciting new releases as Splurge heads into the New Year.

If you know our story, you know that the idea for Splurge Skincare was started almost seven years ago by two friends who were on a quest to create natural products that were not only effective, but that you could feel good about putting on your skin. We are very proud of the products we created together, and most proud that although we will no longer be business partners, we are still those same two friends who are committed to supporting each other in life and in all the directions it takes us.

Wishing you all a healthy, prosperous, and joyous New Year! 

Much love, 

Christine and Kara

Chicago: A Night for Green Beauty, Oprah, & Shay's Wallet


Just over a week ago, Christine and I returned home from a whirlwind few days visiting Chicago to attend the spectacular "A Night for Green Beauty" or "ANFGB" as it has come to be known. For those not familiar with the green beauty world, ANFGB was created 3 years ago by Chicago-based brand La Bella Figura as a sort of hybrid event that is part brand showcase, part meet and greet, and part celebration of all things "green" beauty.  This rapidly growing sector of the beauty industry is comprised largely of smaller, independent labels that have been created by individuals with a passion for crafting healthy products they believe in, much like ourselves. ANFGB aims to not only expose the public to the makers and their products, but to provide support for fellow indie green beauty brands and bloggers. The green beauty community that exists in the virtual world of social media is an incredibly tight knit and supportive group. We may not have the resources and exposure of major mass market brands, but we more than make up for it in passion and a genuine willingness to support each other's success. When Christine and I heard that this summer's ANFGB was going to be its final year (at least of its current incarnation), we knew that we had to experience it for the chance to meet some of the people who have inspired and supported us, and as a bonus see a little of Chicago while there!


I'm happy to say that both Chicago and A Night for Green Beauty did not disappoint!  The event was held at VenueOne, and the space managed to merge the intimate vibe of a cool cocktail party with meeting the makers behind the brands. These are a few of the green beauty rock stars we had the opportunity to meet: Josh Rosebrook of Josh Rosebrook Skin and Haircare, who truly is every bit as genuine and kindhearted as he seems, and then some. His products have developed an almost cult-like following, and for good reason - they're incredible! Check him out if you haven't already. Sarita Coren, the blogger behind Edible Facial and photographer extraordinaire! Meeting Sarita felt like running into an old friend. She is amazingly generous and supportive and we're so happy to have finally met her in person! The lovely Marissa Waller, owner of BeauTeaBar, an exquisite online boutique that now has a brick and mortar location as well for double your shopping pleasure. Receiving a package from Marissa's BeauTeaBar is always a celebratory occasion! Nicolle Mackinnon, a green beauty who wears many hats!  She is the social media manager of No More Dirty Looks, editorial manager of EcoDivaBeauty, and editor at Thoughtfully Magazine, the latter two being official sponsors of the night. Nicolle was so welcoming and friendly and as a bonus, she gave me a great insider recommendation on checking out lipstick brand Axiology (which I'm loving, by the way)! I could go on, but those are just a few of the highlights of our evening. Of course, there were many people we missed as well - as Molly of Maison Pur noted in her recap of the night, it can be hard to spot people in that type of setting when you only know them through their social media accounts (Molly, unfortunately, was on that list for us.  Here's hoping to next time!).  Despite those we missed, we left feeling grateful to be a part of this talented and inspiring community.

So, that's the end of our Chicago story (er, blog post), right?  Stay with me now, because this is when things got interesting.  The VenueOne space happens to be directly across the street from Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios, and on the way out we decided to do the tourist thing and take a picture.  The street was deserted, nobody in sight.  I took a picture of Christine and we were about to swap so she could take one of me when we looked down to see a man's wallet on the sidewalk directly in front of the Harpo Studios sign.  Credit cards, license, bar association card, everything this guy had was in that wallet.  My first instinct was to contact the police to return it, but as Christine wisely pointed out, the owner of this wallet was from San Fransisco (according to his license) and local police may not be of much assistance.  We stood there pondering for a few minutes how we could possibly track this guy down.  He had to still be nearby, a full wallet laying on the sidewalk couldn't have been there long.  Then a sudden flash of inspiration - Facebook!  We could try to find him on Facebook.  A long shot maybe, but worth a try.  I typed in his name and much to our surprise his profile immediately came up.  Yes, this is him, the picture matches his license, his profile states his law firm and that he lives in San Fransisco.  I sent him a message saying we found your wallet at Harpo Studios, let us know if you are still in Chicago and we can arrange to meet and return it.  We returned to our hotel expecting to hear back from "Shay" by morning.

The next morning not only had we not heard back, but I could see that the FB message I sent had not yet been read.  We planned to spend the day sightseeing and decided to leave the wallet at the front desk of our hotel in case Shay contacted us to retrieve it.  To be honest, we had now grown a bit concerned that we hadn't heard back yet.  Was he ok?  We were now thoroughly invested in seeing Shay's wallet returned safely.  To that end, we did the only logical thing we could think of.  We called his office in San Fransisco.  A quick google search of the law firm listed on his Facebook profile provided the number, and within minutes I was speaking with his assistant.  It turns out that Shay had already left Chicago that morning for LA.  His assistant Mirna was both incredulous and grateful to hear our story.  She took my number and contacted Shay to let him know we had found his wallet.  She then contacted the front desk of our hotel and arranged for the wallet to be sent via FedEx to LA and called me back to let us know all had been taken care of and to thank us again.  Shortly afterwards I received a text from an unknown number that turned out to be Shay himself thanking us profusely for this simple act of kindness.  We replied that we were happy to help and joked that Oprah had a hand in it as well, because if we hadn't stopped at Harpo we would never have found it.

Just before boarding the plane at O'Hare for our return trip home we received one last text from Shay.  A picture of him holding the wallet that had already made it back to him in LA along with this text:  "I have been telling anyone who will listen over the past 24 hours what wonderful people you are and how your act of diligent, thoughtful kindness has inspired me.  I am so grateful to you not just for helping me retrieve my wallet, but also for renewing my faith in people and in the idea that goodness is all around us, everywhere, all the time.  My deep gratitude to you.  I will pay this forward." And that, my friends, is the story of how we returned Shay's wallet.  And it is indeed the best thing that happened to us on our Chicago vacation.

Welcome Spring!


Happy Spring all!  We want to extend a huge THANK YOU to all that have purchased during our #springcleaning sale - you're the best!  By popular demand, we are extending the sale through Friday (Friyay!) 4/3.  If you have yet to purchase, splurge on yourself and get a jar of our fab body scrub, The Rub, while the getting is good.  At 50% off ($13.00) it's a steal.  Our new jar will be available as of Saturday, 4/4, and not only will it feature a great new look, but there will be more of it.  We've increased the size from 8oz to 12oz, and it will retail for $27.00  (that's an extra 4oz for only one dollar more!).  And while you're at it, check out the blog of fellow Bostonian and interior designer Meghann Van Dorn.  True confession:  I'm a wannabe designer at heart that somehow got sidetracked into becoming  a teacher...but that's a story for another time.  Meghann shows The Rub some love in her latest post on outdoor showers (and has us dreaming of showering au naturale after a day well spent on a Cape Cod beach).  Here's hoping outdoor shower weather is near!  



Countdown to Spring (aka:The Really Big Sale)


It has been a long, cold winter here in Boston. I'll say that again...slowly...for emphasis...a LONG, COLD winter. Mother Nature sucker punched us this year with roughly 8 feet of snow, and followed that up with week after week of below zero temperatures, simply because she could. You know, in case there were any among us who weren't sufficiently humbled by the magnitude of her power. But just when we thought we could take no more, March arrived with all the promise of a new season, of a renewal, the promise of SPRING. We are so very READY (grateful/thankful/can-we-get-an-amen-level-of-ready) to shed our winter skin. Fortunately, we have just the thing to do it, our cult favorite body scrub, The Rub. If you've never tried it, allow me to break it down for you as to why it's so fantastic. We created our original product, The Rub, to meet our own high standards because we couldn't find anything out there that checked all our boxes. It had to be the right level of "gritty"- not too harsh on our skin, but not too wimpy to do the job. It had to leave our skin feeling soft, but we also didn't want to be left feeling greasy. We wanted all that in a product that didn't contain any bad for us chemicals. And since we couldn't find it anywhere, we decided to make it ourselves. Spoiler alert: We nailed it. And then we started selling it. That was 5 years ago this March (Happy Anniversary to us!), and we've come a long way since then. We've been humbled and appreciative to earn the respect and praise of some top names in the beauty business, and of our devoted customers. But after 5 years we are ready for a little makeover - a fresh new look for this fresh new spring season.

You may have seen a few pictures of our new labels and packaging (we love!), but before they make their big(ger- hint, hint) debut, we decided that a little spring cleaning was in order to clear out the old and prepare for the new. As part of our Countdown to Spring/5 Year Anniversary Sale, ALL jars of The Rub in our original packaging will be marked 50% off  (YES, 50% off!!!) to clear our shelves for our new packaging. At only $13.00 per jar down from $26.00, this is a sale not to be missed! If you've been wanting to try The Rub or just stock up, now is most definitely the time to do it! No codes or coupons needed, just visit our website to purchase our products. But don't wait too long because this March Madness won't last forever...Spring, she is a-coming!

Introducing...Melted Buttah Repair Balm!



It is said that necessity is the mother of invention, and such is the case with our latest product, Melted Buttah Repair Balm. It was nearing the end of a brutally cold winter here in Boston, and although our regular Lip Buttah provides excellent hydration and protection, sometimes you just need something, you know... more.  Our lips needed more than just hydration, they needed something that would soothe and calm the irritation that can sometimes occur with extreme temperatures or simply from daily stress. Starting with Babassu Oil, the star ingredient of our Lip Buttah, for it's ability to both penetrate and form a protective layer of moisture, we then added Calendula Oil and Red Raspberry Seed Oil. Calendula is an herb that has long been renowned for it's ability to heal and soothe skin irritations and rashes. In addition, it is known to be exceptionally gentle for those with sensitive skin, which makes it popular for use in baby formulations. Calendula Oil is obtained by infusing the herb in Olive Oil, which by itself contains anti-inflammatory properties and naturally occurring antioxidants that contribute to the mix. Red Raspberry Seed Oil is a less commonly used ingredient, but no less stellar in its capabilities. It contains an exceptionally high level of essential fatty acids, which have been shown to enhance skin barrier function and repair, and it's high level of alpha linolenic acid provides potent anti-inflammatory properties, making it an effective oil to use in the treatment of eczema, psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions. In addition to this, studies have shown that Red Raspberry Seed Oil possesses the ability to absorb significant amounts of UV light, indicating that it may be useful as a natural sunscreen. Of course without SPF testing no company can make a specific SPF claim, but this unique quality of Red Raspberry Seed Oil provides an additional bonus to its other substantial benefits. This trio of exceptional oils combine to give Melted Buttah Repair Balm its healing powers. Its capabilities go beyond your lips to include any area that needs a little extra TLC – cuticles, dry spots, rashes – this is truly an all purpose Repair Balm. Try it once and find out why it's our new must have product!  Now available at Splurge Skincare!

Home Based: Local Favorites

Home Based: What's noteworthy in & around BostonKara

Like the song says, we love that dirty water...Boston, you're our home.  Boston is also home to an abundance of amazing people, places, and things, both in and around the city.  We get genuinely inspired by the talent of fellow locals and we love promoting a hometown discovery.  Hence, the idea for a "Home Based" feature was born!  For our first "Home Based" post, we'd like to introduce you to a Boston based band called The Naked Stills.  The band was formed in 2009 by lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Rocco DeRosa and guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Daniel King, who were later joined by drummer Doug Standley and bassist Ryan Callahan.  They released their first full length album titled "Cochecho" in late 2012.  Their music is described as a blend of rock, blues, and folk, and reviews of their album say that "Cochecho finds a band taking their music to the next level, and it’s worth joining them for the ride.” ~ BlogCritics Christine discovered this band through her husband, who is a friend of the lead singer's father.  After he brought home the CD, she swiped it and has been listening ever since.  She recently played it for me, and I've already found a few favorites.  Despite the fact that our musical taste can differ at times (in the 80's she swooned over metal bands, and I was all about The Police and U2), Christine and I both chose "Take Me Away" as a favorite, a wistful song with a twangy guitar sound about wanting your dreams to come true.  My other pick would be  "Hands of Love", with lyrics that talk about taking a leap of faith.  The catchy, upbeat  "Impossible" is Christine's other choice for favorite track, which is more of a rock song and shows DeRosa's vocal range .  This band has great potential and we're looking forward to seeing where they go in the near future.  If you live locally, you can see The Naked Stills perform live at various venues around Boston, check their website for dates/venues.

Give a listen and tell us what you think: http://www.thenakedstills.com/music/

#Boston #music #localfavorites

Ingredient Spotlight: Babassu Oil


Babassu oil is a natural skincare ingredient that is not very well known, but is becoming increasingly popular due to it's many beneficial properties.  It also happens to be one of the key ingredients we use in our Lip Buttah that makes it so unique.  Since many people are still unfamiliar with this ingredient, I'll tell you why it's so great.  Babassu oil is native to South America and is extracted from babassu nuts.  It is a soft solid oil at room temperature, much like coconut oil (think of soft butter), and it contains many of the same beneficial fats that coconut oil contains, including lauric acid, a potent antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal.  Upon application, babassu melts into the skin.  It feels light and penetrates more thoroughly and quickly than coconut oil, yet at the same time it provides an emollient layer that holds in hydration without feeling too oily, making it an excellent choice for soothing irritated skin, lips, or dry hair.  You can find babassu oil in both our Lip Buttah and Tinted Buttah as the first ingredient.  Try some to experience the benefits for yourself.

With gratitude...


One of the best things about starting Splurge is the many kind, supportive, and generous beauty bloggers we've encountered along the way.  Christine and I have been truly overwhelmed by the incredible reviews our products have received and the continued support of the beauty blogger community.  When we've questioned ourselves and wondered if we could do this, your words have inspired and kept us going.  A heartfelt thank you and much love to you all, XO.

Take a look at our press page to read reviews http://splurgeskincare.com/press/ and check out our blog roll to link to their sites.


What we're loving right now...

What We're LovingKara

You could say that I'm slightly obsessed with beauty products.  I was about 12 years old when I was first tempted to sneak into the stash of items my mother kept tucked away in the linen closet.  I pulled out her makeup kit in the pink plastic box with "Ultima II" written in gold lettering on the front and smeared on some cream blush, carefully blending so as not to reveal my crime.  I looked in the mirror.  The reflection I saw was still me, but I had been somehow...transformed.   The lure of products has been too great to resist ever since.

This passion for products that Christine and I happen to share is the whole reason Splurge began, and even though we now make our own products, we still love trying new ones and sharing our results.  Because when you find a product you really love, you want to tell people about it.  So, here's what we're loving right now:


May Lindstrom, The Youth Dew :  This brand is a small, luxury, organic line that is pricey, so not for everyone’s budget.  However, it receives rave reviews from just about everyone who tries it, and Christine is no exception.  She says, “My prized possession. I only allow myself to use a little each week.  The smell is unreal and it leaves my face glowing.”  The Youth Dew is a facial serum that retails for $120.  The May Lindstrom website says it “transforms skin with a power-packed bouquet of 20 ambitiously regenerating and indulgent plant and botanical oils infused with time-stopping CoEnzyme Q10.”  You can find the product here: http://maylindstrom.com//the-youth-dew/

Shamanuti, Golden Light Creme:  This is a brand based out of Massachusetts (here’s to shopping local!). Their website describes it as, “The most hydrating creme in the line, Golden Light is packed with delicious butters and has an exotic scent that will lull your senses as it nourishes your skin.”  This pick is a little easier on the wallet, and retails for $46.  Christine says, “I love trying fellow local brands and this one does not disappoint.  I use it at night when my skin is feeling very dry.  It is extremely moisturizing and sinks right in.  Find it here:  http://store.shamanuti.com/product/golden-light-creme

Waxelene:  Last, but certainly not least, is the multipurpose Waxelene.  This product is like an organic Vaseline, but better – it is less greasy, totally petroleum free, and best of all it just works.  Christine says, “This is my can’t live without product this winter.  I have one by my bed and one in my bag.  I always have a Splurge “lip buttah” on hand and Waxelene.”  It is budget friendly too, ranging from $4.99-$15.99 depending on the size.  Find it here:  https://waxelene.com/store


Juice Beauty, Stem Cellular Repair Eye Treatment:  Juice Beauty deserves credit for producing organic products that deliver real results.  I recently went back to this after having first tried it about a year ago.  To be honest it is the only eye cream I’ve ever used that produced a noticeable difference when looking in the mirror.  My eyes tend to get puffy, especially if I haven’t had enough sleep (which is most of the time).  When I use this my undereye area looks smoother, tighter, and dare I say, almost well-rested.  It has the consistency of a thick serum/light cream and it wears well under makeup too.  Juice Beauty’s website says it is “a proprietary blend of fruit stem cells infused into a Vitamin C, resveratrol-rich grapeseed formula, for lasting, advanced age defying results.”  This retails for $45, and you can find it here:  http://www.juicebeauty.com/store/skin-care/shop-by-category/eyes/stem-cellular-eye-treatment.htm

Andalou Naturals, Avo Cocoa Skin Food Mask:  Who doesn’t love a good mask?  Masks are very spa-like and make you feel like you’re doing something special for your skin beyond your daily routine.  The best ones give you instant gratification, and this one doesn’t disappoint.  First of all, it smells like chocolate and it looks like chocolate pudding – 2 of the main ingredients are cocoa and avocado oil.  Andalou’s website says it is a blend of  “Fruit Stem Cell Complex, dark cocoa and organic avocado oil, abundant in Vitamin E, superfruit antioxidants, and amino acids, that deeply nourishes dry, damaged, and depleted skin.”  What I say is that when I rinse it off, my skin has a noticeable glow.  An affordable indulgence at $14.95.  Find it here:  http://andalou.com/index.php/skin-care/masks/avo-cocoa-skin-food-mask.html

Medicine Mama’s, Sweet Bee Magic:  You had me at magic.  My newest acquisition, I found this little gem while perusing the skincare aisle at Whole Foods and it has quickly become a favorite.   This is actually a knock-off of the cult favorite “Egyptian Magic” cream (which I have not tried).  It contains the exact same ingredients, but most of Medicine Mama’s ingredients are certified organic.  On top of that, it is a significantly better buy, so I decided to check out the hype.  The “magic” comes from the honey, propolis, bee pollen, and royal jelly, and I have concluded that bees are indeed hype-worthy.  The texture is more like an ointment and although it is somewhat oily when you first apply, after a few minutes it completely sinks in and leaves your skin soft and moisturized.  I have been slathering it everywhere.  The 2 oz. jar is $19.99, 4oz. is $29.99.  Find it here:  http://medicinemamasapothecary.com/sweet-bee-magic/

What products are you loving right now?

*All products mentioned were purchased by us, and our opinions, as always, are our own.

At last...


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...2013 has been one crazy year.  At times it has tested both patience and resolve, personally and professionally.   However, as we head into the homestretch we are very excited to be able to check one major item off the 'to do' list - E-commerce is officially up and running! When Christine and I started this little venture with a "Hey, do you think maybe we should actually try to do this?" we had no idea what running a business entailed.  Our idea was to start small, selling to local shops and boutiques to try to control the growth of Splurge so that we wouldn't become overwhelmed.  Since we both have 'day jobs', opening ourselves up to sell directly through our own site seemed a bit daunting.  Dealing with shipping, maintaining our inventory...what if we were inundated and couldn't keep up?  Or worse, what if we weren't?  It seemed more manageable to leave the selling to the stores and focus on making our products. While we are and always will be eternally grateful to those independent shop owners who took a chance on us by adding a small unknown brand to their inventory, ultimately we realized that if we were really going to try and make something of Splurge in earnest we had to go all in by adding e-commerce to our site.  It was a long time coming  - This is what happens when your web designer is your brother and puts you behind his paying customers because you only pay him in beer - but at last the wait is over.  Let the shopping begin!

And finally....Spring


It's been a long, cold March here in Boston, but now that the calendar reads April it seems as though Spring has finally (fingers crossed) arrived.  Crocus popping up and the start of baseball season make it official; warm weather is soon to follow, and that means it's almost time to reveal some skin.  Get yourself ready with "The Rub", our super hydrating, skin smoothing body scrub that will wipe away all traces of Winter skin.  Try some in our limited edition "Spring" scent to celebrate the season!  Available now at http://www.aveyou.com/splurgeskincarespringrub80floz.aspx

Welcome to Splurge Skincare!


Welcome to our new site and our new blog!  We thought it made sense to begin at the beginning (logical, right?), so a little bit about who we are:  Splurge Skincare  is run by us, Christine Cunningham and Kara Kivi.  We are both teachers here in the Boston area who bonded over a shared love of beauty products.  Christine and I could stock a small pharmacy with our jars and bottles of lotions and potions that are always promising the "next best thing".   However, we're tough and discerning critics and we were frequently left disappointed by products that failed to live up to their hype.  The idea to create our own product line came after I had given Christine a homemade body scrub one year for Christmas in an attempt to indulge my inner craftiness (one of my more successful projects - the great Martha Stewart candle making debacle notwithstanding).   She approached me afterwards with the idea of making our own products to actually market and Splurge Skincare was born. From the beginning, we knew that we wanted our products to be organic, nothing bad for you or your skin.  And, because we've always been so discerning about what we spend our own money on, we wanted our products to work above all else.  If it wasn't something we would buy ourselves, we certainly wouldn't  sell it.  Since then,  it's taken a lot of trial and error and a lot of research on ingredients, formulation, and running a business, but the end results are well worth it- products that not only work, but make you feel good about what you're putting on your skin.  We hope you love them as much as we do!

We invite you to come back to check the blog regularly for updates on product launches, skincare news and information, as well as other topics of interest.

Many thanks,

Christine and Kara