June Makeup Basket / Current Rotation

It's been pretty hot and humid here lately, which has made it a bit more of a struggle to keep makeup looking fresh all day long.  In deference to the heat, I've scaled back what I've been wearing this last month or so, but I thought I'd share the main bits anyways.

This is my first Benecos product, but I'm confident it won't be my last.  I'd been wanting a dark blue eye liner when I came across this one on iherb, so naturally it ended up in my cart.  The color isn't perfect - it's more of a grey-blue than the rich navy I was looking for - but the actual formula of the pencil is lovely.  It's incredibly soft and creamy, so you hardly have to press at all to get fantastic color payoff, and surprisingly, considering how soft it is, it also sets and stays in place really well.  I'll definitely be ordering a couple more colors in the future.  

I got this as a freebie in the same iherb order as the eye liner and I'm surprised how much I like it.  I've become pretty loyal to a few particular lip balms lately, but this has become a new favorite.  It's organic, glides on nicely, and does a good job keeping my lips moisturized.  As of the time I'm posting this, you can still pick any Sierra Bees lip balm free with an iherb order.  If you miss the freebie, they're regularly only $1.95, so super reasonable even at full price!

I've been having issues with powder foundations disappearing off my face in the heat, so I've turned to The All Natural Face's Cream Foundation.  As far as coverage goes, the cream foundation gives a really flawless base and it's thankfully been lasting better than the powders too.  It also feels pretty light on your skin.  My full review is here.

Nicole from EcoChicBeautyDiva has raved about using Pure + Simple's Face Colours as blushes and I've wanted to try them for ages.  I finally decided on Taupe, a cool brown with some golden tones, since I'm still searching for that illusive, perfect contour color for my fair skin.  I'll do a full review with swatches soon.

These shadows are pretty much all that's been on my eyes this past month.  They're excellent quality and if you enjoy warmer-toned neutrals, goWarm is a lovely set.  At first glance, they're on the more expensive side, but if you break the cost down by number of shades, they don't actually cost any more than other natural pressed eye shadows.  You can see my full review for more information and swatches.

What have you been wearing this month?  Do you scale back/change your makeup routine in the warmer weather?  

Disclosure: Post contains affiliate links to iherb.  Get $5/$10 off your first purchase with coupon code ITI429.

Pretty Black Tea & Raw Cocoa Facial Cleansing Grains

I know I've mentioned that I recently started working at a second job, but I don't think I've talked about what I've been doing.  I'm working, a couple days a week, in the cosmetics/bodycare section of a local health food store.  I figure, while I'm working semi dead -end, low-paying jobs in this "figuring out what to do next" stage of life, I may as well work somewhere where I can at least get behind most of the products.  One of the perks, aside from being surrounded by lovely green beauty goodies, is that occasionally companies will send along a few extra products for staff to try, which is how I was introduced to this gem.

Pretty is a brand I've consistently heard good things about, but never before tried for myself.  The company was founded on the principle that "less is more" when it comes to your skin, and their products, contain only pure, natural ingredients.  The line is free of the regular nasties like parabens, petrochemicals, and silicones and as an added bonus, they're also a local-to-me company, based right here in Toronto.

The facial cleansing grains are a dry powder, that when mixed with water (or another liquid) transform into a slightly gritty, milky cleanser.  Pretty makes three types, all of which start with a base of oats and kaolin clay, with varying additions to suit different skin types.  The Black Tea & Raw Cocoa grains are recommended for normal to combination skin and contain black tea and raw cocoa powder (obviously), as well as tiger lily flowers and orange and spearmint essential oils. 

I've been enjoying using this product as a gentle morning cleanser.  The grains do a great job removing any dirt and impurities and they're the complete opposite of stripping to your skin.  The predominant scent is spearmint and the grains feel slightly cooling on my face, which has been especially lovely in the sticky, humid weather we've been having lately.  After cleansing, my skin is left feeling soothed, incredibly soft, and even slightly plumped and hydrated.  

I love the look of Pretty's signature cardboard tubes, but having the cleansing grains in just a plastic bag inside the tube isn't great in terms of practicality, so I've transferred some of mine into a small, plastic travel bottle.  It's been working really well, since I can easily pour out what I need without having to be concerned about contaminating or wetting the rest.  Also for the sake of convenience, I've started mixing the grains with my George's Always Active Aloe, since the spray top makes it super easy to wet the grains just enough, without drowning them or losing any down the sink.  I imagine they would also be lovely mixed with a hydrosol or floral water, if you felt so inclined.  

Pretty's cleansing grains are affordably priced and I only use about 3/4 tsp each time, so I'm expecting they will last me a good while.  I'm not sure they would be the best cleanser to take on a full face of makeup, but they're perfect for a morning cleanse, when you're just looking to refresh your skin and wash off any sweat or oil that may have accumulated during the night.  I'd definitely recommend them to anyone looking for a gentle cleanser that effectively cleans your face without drying or stripping your skin.

Pretty Black Tea & Raw Cocoa Cleansing Grains, dry

Pretty Black Tea & Raw Cocoa Cleansing Grains, mixed with water

Where to Buy: $20 from Pretty

Ingredients: Organic oats, kaolin clay, orange oil, spearmint oil, organic raw cocoa powder, tiger lily flowers, black tea powder.

Disclosure: I received this product for free, but I was under no obligation to write about it.  Pretty does not know who I am, let alone that I have a blog.

Disappointing Products: June 2013

Ana from Ana Goes Green recently did a Disappointing Products post, which reminded me that it's been a while since I've done one of these.  I think there's a tendency to focus on only the products we love, but I, for one, also appreciate hearing about the things that don't work quite so well.  I'm not intending to slam any of these products or companies - they're are all products I've heard good things about, so obviously they work for some people, they're just things that haven't suited me.  

Mad Hippie Eye Cream
Audreiana from True Beauty By Nature has spoken highly of this eye cream, so I was excited to find it and pick up a sample in a local health food store.  Unfortunately, I had a bad reaction to it.  I tried it at night and the next morning I woke up with super sore eyes.  It did make a noticeable difference on my dark circles after just one use, which is pretty amazing, but along with the soreness, I also had blurry vision and my eyes were extra sensitive to sunlight for the rest of the day.  Not something I'm rushing to try again!

Delizioso Skincare Creamstick Eyeshadow in Bronze Sunlight
I got this in the November Natural Beauty Box, though it's taken me a while to give it a thorough trying out.  It starts off as a nice product - pretty color, goes on creamy - but my problem is that when I try to blend it out, all the color just wipes off.  

Desert Essence Fragrance Free Conditioner
I consistently hear really good things about Desert Essence's haircare, so when iherb was sold out of my regular Acure Argan + Argan Stem Cell conditioner, I decided to give this a try.  It has a nice, faintly sweet scent and the texture is very thick and creamy.  My hair feels extra silky when wet, but the conditioner leaves it looking stringy when it dries.  Keep in mind that I have fussy, curly hair, so conditioners are graded on a pretty steep curve here.  

Honeybee Gardens WaterColors Nail Polish
If you're a regular reader, you probably know that Honeybee Gardens is one of my favorite brands for affordable makeup, but unfortunately these have not been as big of a hit as the rest of the line.  I don't have any issues with the actual polishes, but rather their removal.  Water based polishes are healthier than solvent based, but you do need to remove them at least weekly, or else they can become seriously bonded to your nails.  I only paint my toes and I'll admit that I'm generally not super regular about removing/changing my polish.  I thought I would be fine, since water based polish is supposed to be easy enough to remove, but I really have to struggle to get these off, and that isn't something I'm happy to do on a weekly basis.  That said, I haven't tried Honeybee Gardens' own remover, so maybe that's my problem?  If you're someone who does change your polish more regularly, I think these would work really well - they're pretty colors that go on smoothly and they don't smell, which is pretty fantastic.

Have you tried any of these products?  I'd love to know if you agree/disagree!

Disclosure: Post contains affiliate links to iherb.  Get $5/$10 off your first purchase with coupon code ITI429.

Lina Hanson Global Body Serum

I love citrus scents, but sometimes I wonder if they're maybe a little young for me.  Lina Hanson's new Global Body Serum manages to circumvent this question, making citrus seem grown up and even sexy.  A delightful combination of yuzu, pink grapefruit and vanilla, the serum smells so good, I'm kind of tempted to save it to use as a perfume oil!

That, however, would mean missing out on the full benefits of this product.  It's a gorgeous body oil that's jam-packed with skin-friendly ingredients.  Rice bran, apricot kernel, and brazil nut oils are known to improve skin elasticity, while argan, pumpkin seed, and camellia provide anti-aging benefits.  The oil absorbs quickly and hydrates without leaving any greasy feeling on your skin.  I'm someone who only moisturizes once, post-shower, and the serum keeps my skin feeling soft and hydrated until the next time, even if that's a couple days later.  It's great all over and it works wonders on those extra dry spots like elbows and knees too!  

At $63, it's definitely a luxury item, but if you've got the money to treat yourself, it's one that's worth the splurge.  Lina Hanson's products support fair trade and sustainable harvesting and the key ingredients are produced by women's cooperatives and farmers worldwide. 

To celebrate the launch, Lina has also partnered with the International Rescue Committee and is donating 15% of the proceeds of both her Global Body and Face serums, today, June 15, through August 15. 

Where to Buy: $63 from Lina Hanson, Spirit Beauty Lounge

Ingredients:  Oryza sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Persea gratissima (Avocado) Oil*, Prunus armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil*, Argania spinosa (Argan) Nut Oil*, Bertholletia excelsia (Brazil) Nut Oil, Cucurbita maxima (Pumpkin) Seed Oil*, Camellia oleifera (Camellia) Seed Oil*, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Citrus paradisi (Grapefruit) Oil, Vanilla planifolia (Vanilla) oil, Citrus junos (Yuzu) Oil. *Organic Ingredient

Disclosure: Product provided for my honest review.  I was under no obligation to write a positive review in return for free product, nor was I compensated for this post.  All opinions are my own.  Contains affiliate links.

Sukin Revitalising Facial Scrub

I'm going to come right out with the bad news first: this scrub contains phenoxyethanol.  Phenoxyethanol is a preservative I typically avoid, but when I was recently given this scrub, I couldn't resist trying it out.  I was completely prepared not to like it and therefore intending to pass it on to someone else after one or two uses without so much as a second thought, but that's not quite how things went...

The first thing I noticed was the delicious smell.  It smells like a fantastic combination of orange and vanilla that's very reminiscent of a creamsicle.  As scrubs go, it's extremely gentle.  Though it contains walnut shell powder, which can be quite harsh, that isn't the case here.  It doesn't seem to have very much, so there's actually very little grittiness to this product.  What you're left with is basically a creamy cleanser with a few exfoliating granules mixed in.  It leaves my skin super soft and while I don't feel like it does a good enough job exfoliating to work as my only scrub, as a cleanser, or alternating with other exfoliators, it works great.  The flipside of this is that it's probably gentle enough to use on your skin everyday.

Other than the phenoxyethanol, Sukin's products have great ingredients.  So, bearing everything in mind, I've decided to hang onto the scrub for now.  I figure, it's a product that gets washed off quickly, phenoxyethanol is low on the ingredients list, and since I'm 99.9% sure it's the only product I own that contains this ingredient, I'm not overly worried about its effects.  (How's that for justification?)  

I'm tempted, but unless the company reformulates without phenoxyethanol, I doubt I'll be trying any further Sukin products or repurchasing this scrub once I use it up.  That said, if you're not someone who avoids this ingredient, I definitely recommend checking out the brand.  If the scrub is anything to go by, the products are basic, but still quite lovely.  They're also super affordable and I gather the delightful orange-vanilla-creamsicle scent is somewhat of a signature for the company and is common across much of their line.  

Have you tried anything from Sukin?  Is phenoxyethanol an ingredient you're concerned about?

Where to Buy: $9.95 from Sukin

Ingredients: Aqua, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Bambusa Arundinacea Powder (Bamboo), Juglans Regia (Walnut) Shell Powder, Glycerin, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil (Rose Hip), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (Chamomile), Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Peel Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Vanillin,Vanilla Planifolia Extract, Linalool,* Limonene.*  (*Natural component of essential oils)

The All Natural Face Cream Blushes

I've been using The All Natural Face's cream blushes for the last few months, so I figured it was about time I came back and shared my thoughts on them.  These have been getting a good bit of hype in the green beauty community recently and I think it's well deserved.

The formula is lovely.  The blushes are very creamy and not at all greasy or waxy.  Pigmentation varies a little across shades, but they're all decently pigmented and blend easily, so you're never left with splotches of uneven color.  I find it easiest to apply them with just my fingers, which gives you a lot of control over how fast you build up the color, but you can certainly use a brush too.  On their own, the blushes start to fade after five or six hours, but you can extend their wear by setting them with a powder blush or translucent powder.  

I'm a big fan of the packaging too.  The blushes come in small black compacts, complete with a mirror, that are perfect for toting around with you.  I'll admit my first inclination is still to reach for a powder product over a cream, but there's no denying that cream blushes can be better for achieving a natural, dewy, fresh look.  I especially enjoyed using them in the winter, when my skin was drier, but they're working well in the warmer weather too.  

There's a large color selection of both matte and shimmery shades so there should be one to suit anyone's taste.  You can also use these on your lips, though I don't find myself doing so very often.  I haven't used Barbie, which I bought for my mom, but of the other three, I think only Peachy Rose works as a lip color.  Tequila Sunrise and Peach Goddess are both shimmer blushes and they end up looking very frosty on the lips. 

(L to R) Barbie, Tequila Sunrise, Peach Goddess, Peachy Rose

(L to R) Barbie, Tequila Sunrise, Peach Goddess, Peachy Rose
My one consistent complaint with The All Natural Face is that it's hard to choose colors based on the company's website.  In this case, there are photos of the powdered blushes, but some of the colors change quite significantly when added to the cream base.  Peach Goddess, for instance, which in powder form looks like a peachy highlight shade, is a pigmented bronzey-peach in the cream.  Even so, I am happy with what I ended up with.  The blushes are super affordable and they perform well.  If you're in the market for cream blushes, these are definitely worth checking out!

There are also a good number of swatches circulating by now to give you a better idea of the colors.  I'd recommend checking out the ones done by Mary of Pure Makeup and Nicole of EcoChicBeautyDiva.  Brianna of iluvjesse444 also has a video showing a bunch of the colors.  

Ingredients: Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Argan Oil, Candelilia Wax, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Boron Nitride, Oxides.

May Empties / Products I've Used Up

This was going to be up on time, and then life happened.  I started working at a second job last week and I'm still getting into the routine of balancing both jobs, blogging, and other commitments.  Plus, I actually filmed an empties video this month, but technology got the better of me.  Basically, my camera saves videos as .mov files and I don't seem to have any editing software that will work with .mov files.  I've been struggling to convert them online, but without paying for more software, I have to do it in 30 second clips and they literally take close to half an hour to convert each one!  I didn't want to delay the post any longer, so I'm giving up on the video for now and just writing a regular post.  Maybe I'll try again next month, if I can figure it all out. (And if you know how to fix this issue, please let me know!)

Anyways, in other news, I actually finished up a good number of things this month...

Acure Moroccan Argan + Argan Stem Cell Shampoo   [Review]
This, and the matching conditioner, are my favorites right now.  I've already cracked open a new bottle of the shampoo and the conditioner is still going strong.
Repurchase? Yes, I already have.

Nourish Organic Fresh Fig Body Wash   [Review]
I got tired of the fig scent about halfway through the bottle, but the actual body wash is lovely.  It's creamy and very moisturizing.  I want to try the almond vanilla one next, but that's the one scent I can't seem to track down recently!
Repurchase?  Yes, but probably not in this scent.

Young Living Lavender Hand & Body Lotion
I like this lotion, but I don't love it.  Most of you probably know some scents bother me, but I never have an issue with Young Living essential oils or their scented products.  If you're a lavender fan, this lotion smells amazing.  What I'm less crazy about is that it takes a little while to sink in and can leave your skin feeling a little tacky.
Repurchase? Probably not.

Earthpaste Wintergreen Toothpaste   [Review]
I've tried all three of Earthpaste's original toothpaste flavors and the wintergreen is definitely my favorite.  I still have peppermint and cinnamon tubes I'm working through, but when I need to buy more, this is the one I'll go for.
Repurchase? Yes.

Intelligent Nutrients PureLuxe Shampoo & Conditioner (samples)
These are fairly old samples that I'd forgotten about until I stumbled across them again this past month.  I like them, but they aren't something I can use on an everyday basis.  The Pureluxe line is designed for dry and damaged hair and when I use them too many times in a row, I end up getting greasy very quickly.  Used occasionally, as more of a treatment, they do make my hair look and feel a bit healthier.
Repurchase? Maybe.

Young Living Juniper Satin Scrub
This was a good basic scrub, but since I bought it, it's been discontinued.  Young Living still make a similar one in mint, but unfortunately, I don't like that one as much.
Repurchase? Not possible.

Bodhi Mint Thé Bath & Shower Therapy (sample)
I follow a number of UK bloggers and often see them raving about various Bodhi products, so I was excited to get this sample in a Naturisimo order.  It smelled lovely - a little herbal and a lot more complex than most mint scents - but I prefer using castile-based body washes, which this is not.  
Repurchase? No.

The Jojoba Company 100% Pure Jojoba Oil
I haven't been convinced that I've been getting all my makeup off, so I've added an oil cleansing step to my nighttime skincare routine.  I've tried a few different oils now, but I think jojoba has been my favorite.  
Repurchase? Yes.

Sassy Minerals Witty Banter Eye Shadow (sample)
Witty Banter was a pretty pale gold shade, which unfortunately is not available anymore, since Sassy Minerals is closed.  If you follow me on twitter, you may know that I've been on an eye shadow no buy since the beginning of the year.  It's still going strong, except I'm starting to run out of these kinds of shades - lighter, sparkly neutrals - which are what I wear on an everyday basis.  I may have to end the no-buy soon, if only to pick up a couple more colors like this!
Repurchase? Not possible.

Zuzu Luxe Onyx Mascara   [Review]
I've talked about this mascara so many times, but it really is the best natural one I've found.  It doesn't flake or smudge and it's completely non-irritating.  I've worn it for years and I expect I'll continue to buy it for a good while still. 
Repurchase? Yes, I already have.

Physician's Formula Organic Wear Black Jumbo Lash Mascara
I really like the plastic brush on this, which is a rare find on a natural mascara, but the actual formula is just so-so.  I found it flaked throughout the day, and while some days I was fine wearing it, others it made my eyes itch all day long.  I even had to wash my makeup completely off a couple times!  Pricing in Canada is also quite bizarre on Physician's Formula products.  They're at the drugstore, but this mascara sells for around $20, which is almost the same as Zuzu or other "higher end" mascaras.  I love that there's a healthy option so widely available, but beyond that, I'm really not impressed.
Repurchase? Doubtful.  Maybe in a pinch.

Yes to Carrots Rosey Bloom Colorbalm   [Review]
I'm a big fan of these tinted lipbalms and Rosey Bloom is my favorite of the three shades.  It's a great "my lips but better" color that makes your lips look a bit more polished without venturing into  lipstick territory.  These also last a good while on your lips - I can apply them before work and they'll still be noticeable at the end of a shift.
Repurchase? Yes.

Have you used any of these products?