18 August 2016

Repeat Purchases: Top 10 Under $10

I love a good luxury product, but I dislike the assumption that green beauty has to cost a lot.  Fact is, with a constantly expanding market, today there are great healthy options available at any price point.  With that in mind, today's post features some of my very favorite inexpensive picks.  These are all items I've bought more than once and are products I'll continue to purchase in the future.  Prices might run slightly over $10 depending where you shop, but all items should be very affordable anywhere.

Kiss My Face Moisture Shave
I've tried a lot of natural shaving products over the last few years and I always go back to Kiss My Face's Moisture Shave.  It's not a foaming product, but with a light lotiony consistency, it spreads easily, provides good slip for a razor, and leaves skin feeling soft and supple.  My favorite is the Key Lime for its zesty citrus scent that's fresh and not at all overpowering.  

Mineral Fusion Sheer Moisture Lip Tint
I've raved about these crayons several times before and they're still one of my very favorite lip products.  For me, they're the perfect combination of color and comfort -- sheer tints in a moisturizing, balmy base.  My absolute favorite is Glisten (warm caramelly nude), but I also love Glow (bright pink) and Shimmer (coral with a subtle sparkle).

Nourish Organic Body Wash
Nourish has a horrible habit of discontinuing my favorite scents, but I still constantly rebuy the body wash in whatever scents I can find.  As with all Nourish products, the body wash is made with top notch ingredients and is USDA certified organic.  It has a creamy, pearly consistency and a castile soap base and is really unlike any other body wash I've used.  Particularly if you have dry skin or are in search of something a little gentler and more moisturizing than your average shower gel, I highly recommend checking these out!

Humphrey's Organic Witch Hazel
If you're looking for an affordable toner, I highly recommend making your own with witch hazel.  Witch hazel, if you aren't already familiar with it, is excellent for balancing oil production and cleaning and refining pores, and can easily be infused with herbs and blended with essential oils and other ingredients.  This one, from Humphrey's, is a witch hazel astringent with 14% organic alcohol, but I prefer that to a lot of the preservatives found in alcohol-free witch hazels.  

Silk Naturals Sheer Blushes
I love a lot of Silk Naturals products, but the blushes just might be my very favorite.  The Sheer formula offers buildable color that's easy to work with and blend, so you never end up with accidental clown cheeks.  My longtime favorites are Lovelace (a dupe for Nars Deepthroat), Abstract, and Tchotchke, but with a huge color selection, there are so many great options!  Some shades do contain dyes, so if, like me, that's something you avoid, make sure you read the individual ingredient listings.  

Andalou Naturals Argan & Sweet Orange Shampoo + Conditioner
I discovered these earlier this year and I'm already working on my second bottles of both!  Of all the natural shampoos and conditioners I've used, this duo has probably the closest feel to conventional products.  The shampoo lathers easily and rinses clean, and the conditioner moisturizes without leaving any kind of residue behind.  Together, they leave my hair soft and bouncy with great curl definition, and while I wasn't sure about the sweet, candy orange scent in my hair at first, I've actually grown to really love it.  

Crazy Rumors Lip Balm
I have a few favorite lip balm brands, but I think Crazy Rumors is the one I've repurchased the most.  Not every flavor has been a complete success for me, but I love the actual balm formula, and I enjoy having so many different flavors to choose from.  My top picks?  Raspberry Sherbet and Plum Apricot.  

Acure Argan Oil
Argan oil is a great multitasking oil packed with vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants.  I buy it specifically to use in the ends of my hair, but without fail, it always also ends up on my face and body.  There's significant quality variation amongst different argan oils on the market, and I think Acure's oil is one of the best at an inexpensive price point.  

Deep Steep Foaming Hand Wash
With an ever-growing assortment of scents, Deep Steep makes a great healthy Bath & Bodyworks alternative.  Personally, I can't always deal with strongly scented lotions and creams, but I can (and do!) get behind the foaming hand washes.  They have great ingredients, clean well, don't dry out your hands, and smell fantastic.  They're also super affordable (even the double size refills bottles are under $10!), and because they foam, a bottle of soap goes a lot further than you might expect.  Keep an eye out for seasonal scents at Winners and TJ Maxx.

What are your favorite inexpensive green beauty finds?

Contains affiliate links.

7 August 2016

A Surprising New Use for Clay Masks

It's no secret that I have far more face masks sitting on my skincare shelf than any one person really needs, but it's one area where I think an abundance of choices is, if not totally justified, then at least acceptable.  Plus, the plethora was the inspiration for this fantastic hair trick that I've been loving for the past four or five months.  

You may have seen clay-based shampoos or scalp masks floating around, but what I love about this method is that it combines two components most of us already have lying around and rejigs them together for a brand new use.  It's super simple, gives great results, and only takes a minute or two longer than an ordinary wash!  

Why put clay in your hair?
Much the same way as it does for your face and body, clay applied to your scalp will pull out any oils, dirt, debris, and toxins that have accumulated in the pores and hair follicles.  Not only is this clarifying, it also encourages hair growth since blocked hair follicles have been linked to hair loss and thinning hair.  Clay also offers soothing properties and a boost of minerals that can help combat an itchy scalp or dandruff.  

Applied through the actual lengths of the hair, the clay helps to strip away any accumulated hair products or buildup.  It doesn't dry out the hair, and it also lends an extra oomph of volume, both at the roots and throughout.  

The Simplest Recipe Ever
You'll Need:
Clay or Clay-Based Face Mask (hydrated)

Combine one part clay to two parts shampoo in the palm of your hand.  Stir together, then lather through scalp and hair as usual.  Make sure to really work the mixture into the scalp, then let sit for 1-2 minutes.  Rinse out and follow with conditioner, as needed.  

The Bottom Line
I've used various clarifying shampoos and homemade apple cider vinegar rinses over the years, but nothing has worked as well as this simple trick!  I use this method every third or fourth wash and my hair is healthier and bouncier than it's been in a long time.  

I don't suggest using a pricey $100 mask in your hair -- save those for your face!! -- but it's a great use for plain clay or simple blends.  Different kinds of clay will give slightly different results, so it's definitely worth experimenting with more than one.  For ease of use, my favorites have been already hydrated tubes of clay like the ones from Redmond or Chorus Supernatural (they're basically squeeze and go!) but dry clays absolutely work too.  For powders, you'll need to wet a small amount before you hop in the shower and then proceed as above.    

Have you used clay in your hair before? 

Contains affiliate links

26 July 2016

Purely You Minerals Review + Swatches

Natural and nontoxic makeup has come a long way in the last few years, but it can still be challenging to find clean pressed powder products, particularly at an inexpensive price point.  I was introduced to Purely You Minerals a few months ago and was excited to discover a makeup range filling precisely that gap.  Purely You makes small batch handmade mineral cosmetics without talc, bismuth oxychloride, silicones, or nanoparticles.  They offer a selection of both pressed and loose products and everything is very reasonably priced too!

Purely Rose Blush
Purely Rose* is a gorgeous rosey-peach shade with a satin finish.  In the pan, the color has a slight sheen, but it's barely noticeable on the skin and the blush has a very natural finish.  It has great pigmentation and also blends really beautifully.  With fair skin, I always worry about blushes looking stark or like a harsh stripe of color, but Purely Rose blends so easily that it hasn't been an issue at all.  The color is also quite long-lasting.   

Bright Eyes + Dark Chocolate Eye Shadows
I love a good neutral eye shadow and these two are just the thing!  Bright Eyes* is a richly pigmented shimmery warm tan with both gold and silver shimmer.  It feels almost creamy to the touch and I've been loving it as an all-over lid shade.  

Dark Chocolate* is a mid-toned matte brown with a somewhat drier feel.  It starts out sheer and takes a little more effort to pick up color, but it can be layered and built up for better color payoff.  And, I've actually been enjoying taking advantage of the sheerness for quick makeup days when I'm aiming for a more softly defined crease.   

The Bottom Line
Purely You Minerals has some great offerings!  Purely Rose blush is a fantastic everyday peachy-pink shade and I have nothing but good things to say about it.  The eye shadows are really pretty too, although pigmentation does seem to vary across shimmer and matte shades. 

You can also catch the end of Purely You's Moving Sale this week!  20-30% off all products through July 28, 2016.  

*Press sample

29 June 2016

5 Questions with Samantha Addonizio from Know Your Ingredients (+ a Giveaway!)

Know Your Ingredients - KYI for short - is a wonderful skincare line offering minimally processed and whole food skincare made from nutrient-rich ingredients like argan oil and shea butter.  I was first introduced to the line in 2013 (see my reviews here and here) and it's a brand that continues to impress me.  KYI's founder, Samantha Addonizio, is passionate about creating simple skincare that really works -- something that truly comes through in each of the company's three multi-functional products.  

I asked Sam to answer a few questions and give us a peek behind the brand today.  Plus, make sure you stay tuned till the end and enter our giveaway for a chance to try KYI for yourself!
1) Can you tell us a little about yourself and what inspired you to create Know Your Ingredients?
 I'm a working mom with two active, sports loving boys.  I take good care of myself and my family.  I go out of my way to make sure we eat healthy, whole food but delicious meals.  I make sure we all regularly get outdoors to enjoy nature, fresh air and exercise together.  In all aspects of our life, I make sure we make thoughtful decisions and informed choices.  As a woman who loves skin products, one day my husband asked, “Do you even know what’s in that stuff you slather on your skin all the time?”  I stopped in my tracks because it never occurred to me before to look!  And when I read the ingredient label I was surprised to find that I did not even know what more than half of the ingredients were.  I started to do research (the Environmental Working Group’s database is a great place to start).

I learned that many products labeled “natural” had emulsifiers to combine water-soluble ingredients with oil-soluble ingredients and also added a preservative to prevent bacteria growth.  And, I learned that all oil-soluble products do not need emulsifiers and preservatives.  So I developed my products from natural oils and butters.  I discovered along the way that my skin reacted much better to the oils and butters: it started looking and feeling healthier, softer and more elastic….old scars started to fade.  I shared my products with family and friends who experienced the same results. I wanted to share my revelation with others: that what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in it.  That is why I founded KYI.  
2) What sets KYI apart from other natural brands?
 Simplicity. Take a look at the ingredients on other products called “natural” and then look at KYI’s ingredient labels.  KYI’s ingredients are just oils and butters with or without added essential oils for their luscious scents!  We also happen to be vegan!
3) What has been the most challenging thing since starting KYI?  And the most rewarding?
 The most challenging thing has been getting KYI’s message out.  Even though it’s IN the name!  People do not seem to pay attention to the ingredients in the products that they use on their skin.  The most rewarding aspect is getting feedback from customers once they have used our products for a few months.  It is gratifying to have people agree that their skin has never looked or felt healthier!
4) Do you have any tips or tricks to offer someone just starting to transition to natural products?
 Yes, always test out a new product on a tiny patch of skin.  Even natural products can cause allergies.   KYI”s products are nut oils and butters and while emollient, nutritious and protective on the skin, they would not be for anyone with a tree nut allergy.  Also, sometimes certain essential oils can cause sensitivity in certain people.  ALWAYS test patch new products.
5) Outside KYI, do you have any favorite natural/nontoxic skincare or beauty essentials?
I only use KYI’s products for skin care.  I do wear mineral makeup and favor make-up companies that have the same philosophy as KYI, such as Au Natural Cosmetics.

Thanks Sam for taking the time to answer my questions!  

We've also teamed up to give three readers a chance to try KYI.  Each winner will win a KYI product in their choice of scent!  Open to US and Canada.  To enter, just leave a comment with the KYI product you'd most like to try + fill in the Rafflecopter widget (below) to record your entry.  As always, you can snag extra entries for following me or KYI on social media.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
All photos courtesy of KYI

26 June 2016

Bargain Bests: Alba Botanica Fast Fix for Puffy Eyes + Undereye Circles

Green beauty can be an expensive realm to navigate, but it doesn't have to be.  Case in point: Alba Botanica's Fast Fix products.  Launched last year, these targeted treatments address common skin concerns and, depending where you buy them, cost less than $5 a piece.  I've tested two of the four Fixes -- the Fast Fix for Puffy Eyes and the Fast Fix for Undereye Circles and I really like both.

Fast Fix for Puffy Eyes
I spent a lot of years thinking my biggest eye concern was dark circles, but since finally discovering a concealer that works, I realize that puffiness can be even more insidious.  Color can be covered up, but puffiness is either there or it's not.  The Fast Fix for Puffy Eyes is marketed as an "eye-revive cooling gel," and I think that sums it up pretty well.  Made with aloe, hyaluronic acid, green tea extract, cucumber, caffeine, and menthol, the Fast Fix is a gentle unscented eye gel that feels slightly cool going on and visibly depuffs the eye area.  It doesn't completely eliminate puffiness -- and I'm not convinced anything topical could -- but I do notice a difference within a minute or two of application.  The product is very gentle and while I can feel a slight tightening effect, it's never uncomfortable or overwhelming.  The idea of menthol around the eyes gave me pause at first, but, again, the cooling effect is minimal and I've not experienced any discomfort.

For me, the Fast Fix hasn't replaced eye cream -- I still use a separate one most days with my skincare -- but it's become a regular step in my makeup routine.  I apply it immediately before doing my makeup and the gel sinks in almost instantly.  In addition to depuffing, it also delivers a light boost of hydration to the eye area, helping concealer apply easier and wear a little better throughout the day.

Fast Fix for Undereye Circles
I bought the Fast Fix for Undereye Circles last summer and I've had lots of time to play around with it this last year.  Alba describes the product as a vanishing concealer that simultaneously neutralizes darkness and brightens with apple fruit, white lily, and caffeine, and while I do like it, I'm not convinced it lives up to all those claims.

Personally, I've never noticed any skincare benefits or reduced dark circles from the Fast Fix.  I also consider it more of a color corrector or under eye brightener than a concealer.  It's thin, lightweight, and, quite frankly, doesn't have a lot of coverage.  A thin application sits really beautifully on the skin, but it's not a product that can be layered or built up very much before the cream starts to ball up on itself.

What it DOES do very well, however, is brighten up the under eye area, and the yellow color -- swatched in this post -- neutralizes some of the blue and purple found tones in dark circles.  Depending on your skin tone and how severe your dark circles are, the Fast Fix for Undereye Circles can be used by itself or underneath another concealer.

The Bottom Line

Super inexpensive eye products that actually work!  While I haven't noticed any long term corrective benefits from the Fast Fix for Undereye Circles, it's a nice lightweight yellow-toned corrector that works well both on its own and under a heavier duty concealer.  The Fast Fix for Puffy Eyes is a gentle eye gel that noticeably tightens and depuffs the skin around the eyes.

Have you tried any of Alba's Fast Fix products?  What are your favorite bargain green beauty finds?

Contains affiliate links
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