19 September 2017

August Goodbeing Box (All Beauty)

I’ve got so many ideas for blog posts I want to do, but very little time of late to actually sit down and write them!  Thanks for sticking with me, even when things are slow.

Today I want to talk about Goodbeing. I haven't done a subscription box post in quite some time, mainly because I haven’t gotten any boxes in a while.  With trying to limit the amount of product I bring in, spending on guaranteed items has made more sense than risking it on the unknown, but when Goodbeing had an offer that was too good to pass up, I decided to subscribe for the August box.  



Goodbeing (formerly Goodebox) is one of the longest running natural sub boxes. They have a "pick your product" feature that lets you choose 1-2 of the 4-5 items in the box, which I think is fantastic. Boxes retail for $24.95 in the US and $33.95 in Canada and internationally. With the exchange, I ended up paying just under $44 CAD.  Mini boxes and discounts on prepaid yearly subscriptions are also available. I chose the all beauty box, but there's also a lifestyle option that contains a mix of beauty, lifestyle, and wellness products.

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll have already seen what came in my box, but I want to share my thoughts a month later, now I've had a chance to use (almost) everything in the box. Ultimately I think mini reviews are more valuable than first impressions, which is why I waited until now instead of doing a quick unboxing as soon as it arrived in the mail.

Let’s get to the goodies inside!


Previse Hydrofoam Moisturizer ($48)
The Hydrofoam Moisturizer was a bonus for new subscribers in August -- what finally sold me on the box -- and I have lots of thoughts on it.  As part of Previse’s new ZeroFragrance line, the Hydrofoam Moisturizer is marketed as a lightweight antioxidant-rich moisturizer with a unique aerated micro-bubble mousse consistency.   The ingredients caught my eye right away -- specifically hyaluronic acid, which I already know my skin loves, and ceramides, which I'd been interested in incorporating into my routine for some time.  The bubbly mousse consistency is unconventional -- similar to that of a foaming hand soap -- and, according to Previse, serves to activate the antioxidants in the formula.  

Honestly, I’m not sure if the aeration making the product any more active is just a gimmick or not, but it’s a fun item to use and I like the results I’ve gotten from it so far.  I also consider it to be more of a serum or essence -- and a pretty watery one at that -- than a moisturizer.  Aerating the liquid into a foam may temporarily change its consistency, but it doesn't significantly  impact the weight or feel of the product once it’s on the skin.  My skin has been verging on oily this summer, and the Hydrofoam Moisturizer is still nowhere near enough moisture for me.  

To be clear, I really enjoy this product as a serum layer, either mixed with a couple drops of my longtime favorite Sola Balancing Face Oil to create something of a micro-emulsion, or followed with a separate moisturizer or balm. For my skin, it just doesn't replace a moisturizer and isn't something I can use by itself, even in the humid summer.

Emani Hybrid Cream Color in Speechless ($20)
Emani’s Hybrid Cream Colors are multipurpose cream products for eyes, lips, and cheeks and Speechless is a pretty copper shade.  It’s not a color I’m likely to wear on my cheeks or lips, but it’s very pretty on the eyes.  As you can see in the photo, the product comes with an abstract sparkle overlay, but it doesn’t significantly impact the shade.   Speechless has a pretty sheen throughout.  

I've been enjoying wearing the Cream Color all over my lid, paired with a mid-toned taupe powder shadow in the crease for a little definition, and I really like the look it creates. In terms of wear, the Cream Color fares pretty well -- much better than I expected! It does fade throughout the day, like any natural cream shadow, but it does so in a very natural way without any obvious creasing or patchiness.

Osea Malibu Ocean Cleanser ($16)
Osea has been on my to-try list for literally years and the Ocean Cleanser did not disappoint.  With a creamy gel consistency, the cleanser doesn't lather or foam, but it does thoroughly cleanse without stripping or drying out the skin.  It also smells great - mild, fresh and a little beachy, if you will - and leaves my skin soft and happy. I'm even more eager to try more Osea now!

Isa’s Restoratives Blue Beauty Balm ($7.50)
The Blue Beauty Balm was the surprise star of the box.  I haven't been completely sold on face balms in the past, but this one has been changing my mind.  The texture, once melted by the heat of your skin, is quite thin and light, leaving the Blue Beauty Balm feeling more like a plush oil than a balm.  It's not at all heavy, waxy, or occlusive and I love it! The balm is loaded with great ingredients that moisturize without feeling greasy and my skin is left soft and supple.  The scent -- a mix of blue chamomile, neroli, and carrot seed -- is intoxicatingly lovely too.  

In fact, I liked this guy so much that I was quick to scoop up the company’s Immortelle Balm when I saw it as a choice in Goodbeing’s October Pick Your Products.

St. Tropica Coconut Hot Oil Hair Mask ($5)
Life gets busy and hair masks easily fall off the agenda, so this is the one thing from the box that I've yet to try.  I like the simple ingredients -- it's basically a boosted virgin organic coconut oil that’s loaded with good for your hair ingredients like biotin, amla, horsetail, green tea, and hibiscus.  I'll report back on Instagram or in an empties post once I give it a go.


The Bottom Line
I think this was a great box!  I expected to love the Previse moisturizer and while it’s great, the Osea Ocean Cleanser and Isa’s Restoratives Blue Beauty Balm were even more so the standouts of this box for me.  Goodbeing consistently includes fantastic brands and I like that they also let you pick some of the items in advance, so it’s not a complete surprise.  I opted not to get a box in September, but I am getting one in October and will decide whether or not to continue from there.  

Have you subscribed to Goodbeing or used any of these products?  What’s your take on subscription boxes in general?

28 August 2017

Marin Bee Detox Masque

I fell hard for the Marin Bee Lip Repair a few months ago, but it took me a little longer to come to appreciate the company’s Detox Masque* ($48 for 2 ounces).  Let’s just say it wasn’t love at first mask for me and this guy.  To be completely honest, I didn’t like it very much at all the first time I put it on my face.  

I've since changed my mind on all but one of these points, but that first time using it, I found:
It was sticky and hard to spread.  
I felt like I used up half the tube on that one mask.
I didn’t like how it smelled.  
And, most important of all -- I didn’t notice any difference or improvement in my skin.  

I set the Detox Masque aside for a couple months and when I gave it another go more recently, with a little tweaking and perhaps the weather change from spring to summer, I’ve come to really enjoy using it.


The major change I made? Adding in a small amount of water (or hydrosol, or toner) before applying the mask onto my face.  The extra liquid helps thin out the mask, allowing it to spread much more easily on the skin so you need considerably less product.  It also helps the mask feel much less sticky and gooey.

Since re-trying it, I've also seen an improvement in my skin following the mask.  My skin looks bright and healthy, the pores on my nose and cheeks look cleaner (and therefore smaller and less visible), and my face is very soft to the touch.   

I will say, I'm still not a big fan of the mask’s smell as it sits on your face.  Straight out of the tube, it smells mostly sweet, like honey, but the sulfur comes through as the mask sits on the skin and, in combination with the other ingredients, is very reminiscent of pungent garlic.  I don’t love it, but it’s much more bearable when everything else is working for me.  

Let’s talk about ingredients...

The mask is made up of ⅓ California wildflower honey.  Honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and it’s a natural humectant.  It's fantastic for all kinds of skin and here it does a fantastic job balancing and tempering the more active ingredients in the mask.  

Kaolin clay is one of the more gentle clays out there, but it's still very effective at drawing out dirt and impurities.  

Sulfur and pumpkin enzymes balance oil production, get rid of dead skin cells and provide gentle, chemical exfoliation.

Aloe vera, zinc oxide, and oats offer soothing benefits and help to reduce redness and inflammation.  


All in all, the Detox Masque is a great mask for treating acne, blemishes, or clogged pores without overly drying or stripping the skin.  Marin Bee has packed the formula full of skin nutrients and soothing botanicals that elevate it far above your standard clay detox masque.

I’m not sure why I had such a different reaction to the mask on the first go, but I’m definitely a fan now.  I’ve also had good results dotting the mask onto blemishes and leaving it on as an overnight spot treatment.

The Bottom Line
Marin Bee has done it again!  This honey-based line has some real gems and I’m happy to say, the Detox Masque is, on second try, another one. The mask offers purifying and detoxifying benefits in a gentle formula that won’t leave skin feeling stripped or overcleansed.   

* Press sample

24 August 2017

Homemade 3-Ingredient Laundry Detergent

I can’t remember the last time I purchased store-bought laundry detergent.  There are a million and one other options and I've definitely tried a good number of them!  I used reusable laundry discs for several years, but when they needed replacing, I decided to feel out other options instead.  Soap nuts were okay for a time, but I was never confident they were getting agitated enough in the washing machine to make the most of their saponins and soapy goodness.  I also did a stint using just a small amount of liquid castile soap, which works well but isn’t the most cost-effective option.  And so, I eventually turned to making my own powder detergent.
I shared a photo of the detergent-making process on Instagram stories a few weeks ago and got multiple requests for more info, so I'm finally sharing the (incredibly easy) recipe here.

There are a lot of similar recipes circulating on the internet, but the main difference with mine is that I use proportionately much less soap than other recipes I’ve seen.  Why?  I wash most things in cold water, and find that with a higher soap ratio, some of that soap just doesn’t dissolve, leaving gummy pieces of half-dissolved soap attached to your clothes.  Clearly not what we’re going for!  

This really is a super simple DIY.  I've linked all the ingredients below, should you want to order them online, but everything is pretty easy to find -- any natural bar soap will work, and you can find borax and washing soda at most supermarkets and grocery stores.  Scale the recipe up or down, as needed, depending on the size of your bar of soap.

Homemade 3-Ingredient Laundry Detergent 

1 4-oz bar natural bar soap, grated
4 cups washing soda
4 cups borax
(Essential oils -- optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Store in an airtight container.  To use, sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons into your load and wash as normal.

And that’s it!

You can scent your detergent with essential oils, but I personally don't.  The soap gives the detergent a fresh clean smell, plus I've never found essential oil scents to last very well in the wash anyways.  Scented bar soap is another option to make the detergent itself smell great, but, again, I don't find the scent detectable once clothes/linens are dry.  I use whatever bar soap I have on hand -- scented or unscented -- and really can’t tell the difference once everything is dry.  

Have you ever made your own laundry detergent?  What are your favorite household DIY’s?
Contains affiliate links.

10 August 2017

Clean Kiss Organics Kiss My Curls + Kiss Me Clean

Before I jump into today's post, I want to thank you all for such a great response to my last blog post.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but I'm really glad it resonated with so many of you and I appreciate all the lovely comments and support that I've gotten, both on the blog post itself and over on Instagram

Moving on to today's actual topic -- I want to introduce Clean Kiss Organics, a fantastic handcrafted Ontario line that I've had the pleasure of trying out over the last few months.  I met Jodie Pappas, Clean Kiss's founder, at the Holistic Beauty Expo in May and was immediately drawn in by both Jodie's cheerful enthusiasm and Clean Kiss's impressive product range.  (Not to mention by just how good everything at her table smelled!)

Jodie offered me the chance to try out a couple products from her line and I easily decided on the Kiss Me Clean Facial Cleansing Oil* and Kiss My Curls Nourishing Hair Oil Spray*.  Choosing was a bit of a no-brainer for me -- I mean, if there are two things I'm always game to try out, it's a good oil cleanser and new curly girl hair products!  Keep reading for my thoughts on both...



Kiss My Curls Nourishing Hair Oil Spray
Jodie is a fellow curly girl, so I was excited to try out Kiss My Curls ($18 for 236 ml), one of two recent hair additions to the Clean Kiss Organics range.  Made with a mix of rose water, marula, argan, and jojoba oils, and peppermint, rosemary, and lavender essential oils, Kiss My Curls is a unique intermediate between an oil and a milky leave-in conditioner spray.  The spray has minimal ingredients and no emulsifier to hold the rosewater and oils together, so you do have to shake it before each use to recombine everything.  Once shaken, it has a watery consistency, perfect for misting out of a spray bottle, but offers the feel and nourishment of a lightweight oil.  The spray is recommended for use on both damp, freshly washed hair, and on dry, second-day hair as a curl refresher.  

Curly hair is notorious for loving moisture, and while my hair needs some moisture, it's also a bit of a curl oddity in that it starts to feel greasy very easily and can't always handle ultra-moisturizing products.  As a result, I like using Kiss My Curls on damp hair, but it's not ideal for me as a second-day curl refresher.  I use it on freshly washed hair much like I would any other hair oil -- misting a small amount through the ends and length of my hair, but mostly avoiding the scalp.  As a second-day product, it's just a little too oil-like for me.  I imagine it could work really well for those with drier hair, but I just tend to prefer more watery products for this purpose.  I do also enjoy misting a small amount onto my fingers and running them through dry hair to tame frizz and flyaways.  The Nourishing Oil Spray has a mild sweet/minty scent.

Kiss Me Clean Facial Cleansing Oil
I always use an oil cleanser to take off my makeup and Kiss Me Clean ($20 for 118 ml) has jumped right to the top of my list!  With a short ingredient list consisting of just grapeseed, castor seed, jojoba, and chia seed oils, plus calendula and essentials oils, it's a simple formula that really works.  The cleansing oil is gentle, but easily melts off all my makeup and wipes away cleanly.  The oil is pretty lightweight and has good slip to it, making it perfect for massaging into the skin and really breaking down even hard to remove products like sunscreen and eyeliner.  The consistency also means that a little oil goes a long way and you really don't need to use much -- one full pump is enough to completely remove all my face and eye makeup.  I'm a fan of double cleansing, so I usually follow up with a second cleanser, but it's not absolutely necessary since Kiss Me Clean wipes away easily and doesn't leave behind much residue at all.

The product description highlights lemon, tea tree, orange, and bergamot essential oils, and the oil has a mild, fresh/herbal scent.  It doesn't scream citrus to me and, in fact, before rereading the description yesterday, my nose had me convinced there was lavender in there too!  Either way, it's a neutral scent that's pleasant but not overwhelming.  The cleansing oil leaves my skin feeling clean and soft and looking bright and healthy -- it's a product I could see myself buying again and again.

 

The Bottom Line
Great company, great products, great price point.  Clean Kiss Organics was one of my favorite new discoveries at the Holistic Beauty Expo and trying these products only reaffirmed that my first impressions were spot on.  I'm especially head over heels for the Kiss Me Clean Cleansing Oil, a gentle oil cleanser that breaks down makeup like a dream and would suit a variety of skin types.  Kiss My Curls Nourishing Hair Oil Spray didn't work out as a second-day curl product for me, but I do think dryer hair types would appreciate it in this capacity.  Either way, it's a great lightweight oil for curly and non-curly hair alike!  

Have you tried Clean Kiss Organics?


* Press sample

1 August 2017

Real Talk: Green Blogging, Disclosure, Fearmongering, Elitism, Ingredient Shaming + More

It’s been about a month and a half since I published a blog post and while some of that is life and schedule-related, it’s also because I’ve been feeling disconnected from the green beauty community over the last several months.  When I first started blogging in 2011, this community was a lot smaller and while I think it’s fantastic that the community – and overall interest in green and natural products – has grown so substantially these last six years, it also brings with it challenges – growing pains, if you will – and a few things just haven’t been sitting right with me of late. 

Regular content will resume shortly, but first I want to clear the air and put into words what it is that’s been bothering me lately.  If you’re only interested in product-related content, feel free to skip this one!


Ingredient-Shaming + Green Competition
To me, green beauty is predominantly about making healthier choices.   Choices that you, as an individual, are comfortable with.  It’s not about being greener than anyone else or judging other people’s choices.

Still, I regularly see people being shamed and dismissed on Instagram and in green and natural Facebook groups.  Specific instances I’ve seen in the last few months?  Ganging up on a green blogger for going back to some conventional products, dismissing someone's shower gel with phenoxyethanol as "not even natural," berating someone else’s use of prescription acne medication, and ridiculing yet another person who had yet to switch from conventional mascara and deodorant.  Not to mention non-beauty related examples like mouthing off at someone for feeding their children boxed cereal, enjoying an occasional French fry, or using a disposable coffee cup.  

It’s not okay.  Please don’t be someone who polices other people’s choices, even under the guise of help or concern.  I get it – I’ve had my more strident ingredient purist days too, but remember that your standards are just that – yours – and don’t carry over to anyone else.  

Fearmongering
I'm also so turned off by the fearmongering that some brands (and influencers too!) put out there.  I  don't doubt that it sells products in this industry, but it's so tacky.  
  
I really think it should go without saying -- just don't.  There's so many better ways to sell green living and natural products than fear of chemicals and cancer!

Elitism, Overspending + Overconsumption
Luxury beauty will always have its place, but I’ve always believed that there’s a space for everyone (and every budget) in the green beauty world.  I feature products across a range of price points, but I think most of you already know that my heart particularly goes out to affordable gems.  

Whether it comes comes from having more wiggle room for a larger marketing budget or something completely different, a lot of the content out there focuses on high end natural products.  I'm in no way bashing those brands or products, but I hope we'll see a shift towards better representation of all the great inexpensive options out there too!  Better quality ingredients do cost more, but that only goes so far – a $100 clay mask vs. $25 one, for example, is usually more a matter of marketing than ingredient quality.  

I also cringe a little at the overall overconsumption and overspending that’s so rampant in the beauty world as a whole.  I believe basic skincare – and even makeup – can be considered necessities, but beyond that, we’re in luxury territory.  I love seeing gorgeous shelfies and rows upon rows of fantastic green goodies on Instagram as much as the next person, but I do wonder how much it perpetuates an idea of beauty overconsumption as the norm.  

Disclosure, Paid Content + Dishonest Influencers
I’m all for bloggers and influencers being paid for their work, but nothing gets my goat more than undisclosed paid content and brand affiliations.  Earning a living as an “influencer” is still somewhat new and while there are certainly people doing it right, there’s also a lot of questionable behaviour and unscrupulous product-pushing. 

Accepting free product or compensation doesn’t make anyone dishonest, but I think readers and followers have a right to know what’s paid and what’s not so they can judge that for themselves.  The FTC has been cracking down on huge celebrities like Kim K for not disclosing sponsored and affiliated content this year, but since green beauty is tiny fry in comparison, there’s not any real supervision in this regard right now.  

Where do we go from here?
I hope this post doesn’t come across as too negative!  Despite feeling somewhat disenchanted with these particular things, I'm still really excited about other parts of the community and I've got some great content planned for the next few months.

To wrap this up, basically, what I want to say is ---

Be as green as you want to be.
Buy or don’t buy.
Take social media for what it is – a glimpse of a person’s life and what they’re choosing to share with the world.  And also a way to earn a living.

I hope you’ll continue to enjoy the content I create here on Naturalla Beauty.  Whether you’re fully green or just dabbling, I’d love to have you here.  I’ve always been and will continue to be fully transparent about paid content, PR samples, and brand affiliations.  Likewise, I'm always honest in my reviews and will never mislead you just to sell a product.  

Leave a comment and let me know where you stand on all this – I’d love to know if you feel similarly! – and stay tuned for regular beauty content, coming soon.  

     
     
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