29 August 2013

Skin Essence Organics Facial in a Jar


I've always liked face masks, but it isn't until the last couple months that I've gotten into the habit of consistently incorporating them into my skincare routine.  Now I'm a bit obsessed!  Masks are a great way to maintain your skin and when you find a good match, the results can be pretty astonishing.  A fairly new addition to my mask rotation is Skin Essence Organic's Facial in a Jar, which is a unique combination of marshmallow root, jasmine flowers, green tea extract, corn meal and kaolin clay that simultaneously deep cleans the pores and nourishes the skin.

It's a dry powder that, with the addition of water, transforms into a slightly gelatinous, gritty paste.  You then have the choice to either use it as a face scrub, or leave it on as a mask and reap the full benefits of all the powerful ingredients.  I generally leave it on for about 10 minutes and then do a gentle exfoliation as I wash it off.   While it's on, the mask feels very cooling (lovely during the summer months!) and after I wash it off, my skin is left feeling refreshed and incredibly soft.  Marshmallow root and allantoin are known for their soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, and Facial in a Jar is also good for taking down redness and soothing mild skin irritations.  

I think it would be a great mask for drier and more sensitive skin types, as while it effectively draws dirt and oil out of your pores, it's much gentler than a straight clay mask.  It also provides a dose of antioxidants, vitamins and  minerals from the other ingredients.  The corn meal is decently gritty though, so those with more sensitive skin will likely want to be careful not to over-exfoliate when removing the mask.  

I will say that I'm not crazy about how Facial in a Jar smells.  If I had to describe the scent, I'd say it smells herbal and sort of doughy...almost yeasty.  It's not terrible, just not especially appealing to me as is, so I happily cover up the smell by mixing in a couple drops of either an essential oil or Skin Essence's Nourish serum.  I also like to mix in some extra clay to up the intensity of the mask and make sure every last bit of gunk is sucked out of my pores. 


Facial in a Jar, dry

Facial in a Jar, mixed with water

The Bottom Line
Facial in a Jar is a great option for anyone looking for a soothing, nourishing mask that also exfoliates and deep cleans your pores.  I love how gentle it is and also how incredibly easy it is to customize the mask to suit how my skin feels on a given day!

What are your favorite face masks?

Where to Buy: $34.99 from Skin Essence Organics (100 ml.)  There is also a smaller, 50 ml size, but it doesn't seem to be available on the Skin Essence website.

Ingredients: Marshmallow Root Powder*, Jasmine Flowers*, Oats*, Green Tea Extract*, Corn Meal*, White Kaolin Clay*, Stevia Leaf Powder*, Allantoin 
*Certified Organic






25 August 2013

Multifruit BSC + A DIY Exfoliating Toner Recipe

I've been very curious about exfoliating toners ever since hearing how highly skincare expert Caroline Hirons speaks of them.  Unfortunately, there just don't seem to be very many of these toners in the natural skincare world, so my curiosity was temporarily shelved.  That is, until, while placing an order for some other ingredients for DIY's, I stumbled across Multifruit BSC and decided to try my hand at making my own...

What is Multifruit BSC?
Ingredients: Water & Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Extract & Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract & Acer Saccharinum (Sugar Maple) Extract & Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract & Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Extract.

Multifruit BSC is a concentrated blend of five botanical extracts: bilberry, sugar cane, sugar maple, orange, and lemon.  These extracts contain naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) - mainly lactic and glycolic acids, with lower levels of citric, malic, and tartaric acids.  AHAs are chemical exfoliants that weaken the bonds that hold dead skin cells together, helping you shed dead skin and other build-up, while simultaneously stimulating skin cell renewal.  Chemical exfoliants also penetrate deeper than a manual scrub, allowing you to exfoliate more than just the very top layer of your skin.  

Multifruit BSC is a water soluble, clear solution that is best used in either formulations without heat or added towards the end of recipes involving heat, making it a perfect ingredient to use in a toner.  I was a little nervous at the thought of working with acids, but it all turned out a-okay.  (However, I do urge you to read safety and usage information, like this information sheet, before working with an active like Multifruit BSC.  You'll also want to test the pH of your final product, when working with AHAs, to ensure it falls in a safe range.)  

I used about a 10% concentration, but recommended use levels are anywhere between 5-15%, so that's something you can play around with to suit your skin.  

DIY Exfoliating Toner

120 ml (4 oz) Aloe Vera Distillate or Juice
12 ml Multifruit BSC
20 drops vegetable glycerin

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight bottle.  To use, saturate a cotton pad and swipe across face.  Avoid the eye area.

The Results
My skin seems a little softer and smoother since I've been using this toner, but to be totally honest, I haven't noticed drastic results or improvements.  The toner is on the gentle side and I don't get much tingling from the AHA's at all.  I'm actually considering upping the concentration to 15%, to see if that has a greater impact. 

If, like me, you enjoy experimenting with DIY skincare, Multifruit BSC is an interesting ingredient to pick up.  This toner hasn't blown me away, but I'll definitely be playing around with it a little more and seeing what else I can come up with!



21 August 2013

My Morning Routine is on NMDL!

I'm a huge fan of the No More Dirty Looks community, so I'm  extra excited to share my morning (and part of my night) routine on there today!  Check it out here.






15 August 2013

"Natural" / Non-Toxic Nail Polish Removers

The whole idea of natural nail polish remover (and nail polish, for that matter) is a bit of a fallacy, but there are definitely healthier options than your conventional acetone remover.  It's been a long journey, filled with multiple removers and very mixed results, but I've finally found one I'm happy with, so I figured there was no better time to do a comparison post than now.  None of these removers wipe polish off with the ease of acetone, so a lot of it comes down to how much time and effort you're willing to put into removing your nail polish.  The other big factor for me is scent.  Keep reading to hear the good, the bad, and the downright ugly of these four non-toxic nail polish removers.


THE CONTENDERS


No Miss Almost Natural Nail Polish Remover ($4.95/7.95 for 60 ml/120 ml)
"Made with all natural ingredients. Smells like vanilla! No more dry brittle nails!  Gentle and non-drying!" 

The smell!  Oh god, the smell!  Imagine the most horrendous fake vanilla scent crossed with acetone, and you get how No Miss' Almost Natural Nail Polish Remover smells.  And, don't think that you can escape it by washing your hands/feet afterwards.  Oh no, the smell hangs around for a good 12-24 hours, no matter what you do.  Showers, socks, and even essential oils are all powerless against the nauseating scent.  I last used this probably 5+ years ago and it's just been idling in my cupboard ever since.


If you can get past the smell, it does the job removing polish, although it does take scrubbing and multiple applications of remover.  Time-wise, it'll run you about 30 minutes.


Ingredients: Fruit acid solvent (Methyl-Pentan-2 One, Multi-fruit Acids), Amber Acid (derived from plant lichens), Deionized Water, Vitamin A, Natural Vanilla Fragrance



Suncoat Natural Nail Polish Remover Gel ($7.99 for 30 ml)
"The first natural nail polish remover gel in the market.  A one-of-a-kind product made from corn & soy, this gentle gel is earth friendly, nontoxic, non-drying to the nails. Free of petrochemicals. Biodegradable. Ideal for home use, great for travel.  Safe and effective. Works with all nail polishes, water-based and conventional."

I was intrigued by the idea of a gel remover, but unfortunately I ended up being very underwhelmed.  You have to leave the remover sitting on your nails for a good 5+ minutes and then literally scrape the polish off with some kind of stick.  Using cotton balls is completely ineffective, unless you have multiple hours to kill.  Even with the scraping method, it'll take you multiple applications and a good hour (or more) to fully remove your polish.  

Contrary to the claims, Suncoat's remover dries out both your nails and cuticles.  It also smears your polish around, rather than just removing it, so you're left with fingers or toes whatever color the polish you're removing was.  (Eg. remove purple polish, end up with purple toes.)  The color generally washes off with soap and water, but it's an added nuisance.  

I'm not sure how to describe how this one smells, but it's not good.  It's not as strong as acetone, but it definitely has a chemical scent.  If the remover was more effective, so you weren't breathing it in for so long, it might not be an issue, but as it is, I'm always left with a bit of a sore throat after using it.  

Ingredients: Ethyl Lactate, Methyl Soyate, Glycerin, Silica, Vitamin A, Biotin

Sante Nail Polish Remover ($13.00 for 100 ml) 
"Sante's Nail Polish Remover is formulated with organic orange oil, giving a pleasant scent unlike those other brand nail polish removers that smell like pure alcohol and chemicals. It is acetone-free, so it will not eat away at your nails, instead it leaves your nails strong and healthy."

I feel the most so-so about Sante's remover.  It works, but like the No Miss, it'll take 30 minutes and a good amount of elbow grease.  On the plus side, it doesn't take a ton of product to do the job, just a lot of scrubbing.  It also doesn't dry out your nails like the Suncoat, and instead leaves them feeling relatively strong and moisturized.

Since Sante advertises this as having a pleasant orange smell, I was really expecting more.  I don't smell orange at all.  Instead, it smells very similar to Suncoat's remover - which is to say chemically - if a little less strong.   There's also a hint of sour milk going on, mixed in with the chemical scent.  On the plus side, since it doesn't take quite as long to remove your polish, it's more tolerable.  The smell also doesn't linger and easily washes off with soap and water.

Ingredients: Alcohol Denat.*, Ethyl Lactate, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Aqua (Water), Citrus Auranium Dulcis (Orange) Oil*, Limonene, Linalool
*Organically Grown


Priti NYC Soy Nail Polish Remover Wipes ($9.99 for 10 wipes)
"PRITI NYC Natural Polish Remover is totally natural and uses a carefully blended mix of natural ingredients that are kind on your nails and skin. With no harmful man made chemicals it's perfect for you, your family and the planet.  It is also 100% biodegradable, non-toxic and not carcinogenic."

I would usually choose liquid remover over wipes, but I'd been having a hard time tracking Priti's remover down in Canada, so I decided to try these out instead.  The wipes aren't super saturated with remover - on my first go, I wondered if it was dried out - but they still get the job done. I only need one wipe to remove all my polish, and while the process isn't without some scrubbing, it requires much less than the three others removers.  It only takes about 15 minutes to fully remove your polish.  

The remover feels more oily than anything else and it leaves a thin layer of oil on your nails.  I'm not sure it does anything to strengthen or improve the condition of your nails, but Priti's remover isn't drying and leaves my nails in the best shape of the lot.  The scent is also quite lovely.  I was very skeptical after the rest of these, but it's light and refreshing, without even a trace of a chemical smell.  

Ingredients: Methyl Soyate, Dimethyl Apidate, Dimethyl Gluturate, Cymbopogon Flexusus (Organic Lemongrass Essential Oil)



THE WINNER
Priti NYC, by far.  It's the most effective, and it even smells good!  Unfortunately it's also the most expensive option, with a 120 ml bottle of the liquid remover retailing for a cringe-inducing $22.50.  Nonetheless, it's the only one of the four that I can see myself repurchasing.


FINAL INGREDIENT NOTE
I can't do a post on nail polish remover without mentioning that calling any of these removers "natural" really is greenwashing at its worst.  They may not contain acetone, but they do contain other chemicals.  Sure, methyl soyate comes from soy, but it's gone through so many chemical reactions to reach this point, that I don't think you can claim it as a natural ingredient anymore.  Same goes for ethyl lactate (from corn), and methyl-pentan-2 one (from fruit).  That said, I'm confident that these, along with 3/4/5-free polishes are safer options than their conventional alternatives.  NO PREACHING HERE - I (obviously) use nail polish and nail polish remover and I don't think there's anything wrong with doing so, I just hate to see people operating under the misconception that products like this are 100% natural.  


Have you tried any of these removers?  Where do you stand on nail polish/nail polish remover?


13 August 2013

July-August Makeup Bag / Current Rotation

Since I didn't do one of these for July, I really wanted to take the time now to highlight a few makeup items that have been standing out from the crowd this summer.  Some of these will be no surprise I'm sure - I've been trying to shop my stash and use products I already have, so I haven't gotten much in the way of new or exciting makeup recently.  Here's what I've been enjoying...



Lucy Minerals Lucy Light Foundation & Finishing Powder
Lucy Minerals' Finishing Powder is pretty much my go-to setting powder with whatever foundation I wear, but I've gone back to using their foundation lately as well.  The foundation gives amazing, buildable coverage and the combination of the foundation and finishing powder stands up very well in the heat too.  My full reviews can be found here and here

Ecco Bella FlowerColor Blush in Coral Rose
Almost two weeks ago, I found Ecco Bella on sale in a health food store that was stopping carrying the line, so naturally I had to pick up a few things to try.  The blushes are pressed without any silicones and are some of Mary (of Pure Makeup)'s favorites.  I've wanted to try them ever since she first reviewed them, so this was a no-brainer.  Coral Rose is a lovely medium pink that's completely matte.  

The All Natural Face Cream Blush in Warm Earth & Touch of Peach
The All Natural Face's blushes make great multi-purpose products that can be used on lips, cheeks, and in the case of certain colors like Warm Earth and Touch of Peach, on the eyes too.  I like using Warm Earth as a liner and Touch of Peach is pretty all over the lid.  Touch of Peach makes a nice, subtle highlighter too.

Ecco Bella FlowerColor Lipstick in Mauve Rose & Tuscany Rose
These colors aren't as identical as they appear in my swatch, but they are similar.  Mauve Rose is warmer toned and a little lighter, while Tuscany Rose is more of a cool-toned berry that's a little on the sheer side.  Both have a nice sheen to them, but no sparkle.  I've been wearing them, especially Tuscany Rose, pretty much every day since I bought them.

UNE Beauty Skin Glow Pencil in G02
This pencil has been well loved, as you can tell from the small nub that's all that's left of it!  G02 is a great peachy color and is very brightening.  Unfortunately, I can't seem to find it anywhere that ships outside of Europe anymore, so I've started desperately trying to conserve the last little bit.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do when it runs out!  (Oh, beauty woes.)

(L to R) Ecco Bella Lipstick in Mauve Rose, Tuscany Rose, Ecco Bella Blush in Coral Rose, The All Natural Face Cream Blush in Warm Earth, Touch of Peach

So, that's the makeup I've been loving lately!  What's stood out for you this summer?  





10 August 2013

Skin Essence Organics Nourish Serum / Moisturizer

As someone who does most of my shopping online, working in the cosmetics/bodycare department of a health food store has been a brilliant introduction to some great local, Canadian companies.  One such company is Skin Essence Organics, a lovely skincare line based around plant oils, natural extracts, essential oils, and minerals.  About two months ago, I received a mini training on the line and was sent home with a couple products to try out. 

The first is one of the company's serum moisturizers, Nourish.  I'll admit, I was more than a little skeptical going in.  I'd used facial oils before, but nothing had really blown me away or made me rethink my cream moisturizers.  Until now - I've definitely been feeling like an oil convert since I started using this product...


Nourish is recommended for combination and/or aging skin and is arguably the most versatile serum in Skin Essence's line.  It's a beautiful oil blend that includes rosehip seed, jojoba, apricot kernel, kukui, evening primrose, carrot tissue, and meadowfoam seed oils, alongside Vitamin E and extracts of sweet orange, mandarin, neroli, and jasmine.  It also contains zinc oxide and allantoin, which are both popular soothing, anti-inflammatory ingredients commonly used to treat rosacea, diaper rash and other skin irritations.   

The serum needs to be shaken before each use to distribute the zinc oxide and allantoin which sink to the bottom of the bottle.  Skin Essence recommends applying to moist skin and I generally mist my face with water and then go to town.  It only takes one pump to do my whole face and neck, so I expect the bottle will last a good while.  Nourish absorbs quickly, leaving me with skin that feels moisturized but not at all greasy.  The company says each serum takes five minutes to absorb, but I have no problem applying my makeup within just a minute or two of using Nourish.  

That's all great, but how about results?  (Hint: It's a win there too!)  I don't have much of a problem with breakouts anymore, but my skin is prone to congestion, which sometimes results in tiny bumps on my cheeks.  Within the first few days of using Nourish, the bumps had cleared up, and after a couple weeks, my overall skin texture appeared more smooth and even.  I've been using Nourish for roughly a month and a half now and I'm very happy with how my skin looks.  This is also the first facial oil that I've felt comfortable using by itself, without topping it off with another moisturizer.   It may change in the winter, but for right now, Nourish provides enough hydration for my skin on its own. 

The Bottom Line
Great ingredients.  Effective product.  Reasonable price.  Skin Essence makes four serums to suit different skin needs, so I'd venture to say you really can't go wrong!  Between Nourish and my KYI Argan + Vitamin C Serum, I've completely stopped reaching for a cream moisturizer this summer.  Practically unheard of around here!




Ingredients: Rosehip Seed Oil*, Jojoba Oil*, Apricot Kernel Extract*, Macadamia Nut Oil*,Hazelnut Oil*, Carrot Tissue Oil*, Sweet Orange Extract*, Mandarin Extract*, Kukui Oil*, Neroli Extract*, Meadowfoam Seed Oil*, Vitamin-E*, Jasmine Flower Extract*, Evening Primrose Oil*, Allantoin, Zinc Oxide (Non- Nano).  
*Certified Organic 




Disclosure: I received this product for free, but I was under no obligation to write about it.  

8 August 2013

The Skincare Tag

This tag has been making it's way around the blog-o-sphere and I was already considering just jumping in and doing it when I was tagged by Nicole of EcoChicBeautyDiva.  Keep reading for my answers!


A peek at my much loved skincare stash

Describe your skin care routine in 5 words:
> Cleanse - I like cleansers that deep clean but don't strip your skin.  If I'm wearing makeup, I'll do a first cleanse with jojoba oil also, to make sure everything comes off.
> Tone - Witch hazel is a favorite.  It's great for keeping your pores squeaky clean.
> Moisturize - either with an oil, cream, or some combination of the two.
> Exfoliate - generally every two to three days.
> Treat - eye cream for dark circles/puffiness and masks about once a week.

What’s your skin type?

Basically normal, a little sensitive.  

What’s your favourite skin care product?

I love scrubs and exfoliants.  There's just something really satisfying about using them and I'm always up for trying new ones!  I've also been getting more into facial oils recently.

Top blemish zapper:

Essential oils.  At the first sign of a breakout, I'll usually hit it with a combination of frankincense and eucalyptus.  Toning/spot treating with coconut water is also surprisingly effective!

Face wipes, yay or nay?

They're fine as a pre-cleanse to remove makeup, but they don't compare to actually washing your face.

Toner, yay or nay?

Definite yay!  I'm especially fond of making my own toners.  My DIY Witch Hazel + Glycerin Toner is what I'm currently using.  

High-end skin care or high-end make-up?

Both/neither.  Nothing against high-end, but I usually stick to mid-range for both.

What’s the most unusual skin care product you've tried?

Nothing terribly unusual springs to mind, but if I had to pick, I'd say cleansing grains.  They're pretty common in natural skincare lines and don't get me wrong, I'm a fan, but as someone who'd previously only used liquid and bar cleansers, a powdered cleanser took a little getting used to.  

You’re in a  pharmacy and can only pick up one item – what is it? 
Olive oil.  It's fantastically multi-purpose - works to take your makeup off, as a cleanser, a moisturizer, and as an ingredient in a whole host of DIY projects.  

Tell us your top skin care tips:
Pretty common sense here, but my top three tips would be:

> Be consistent 
My skin really improved when I started being consistent and sticking to a slightly more involved skincare routine, and I think most people's skin responds positively to a regular routine.  Also, while I'm all for trying new products (I wouldn't be much of a beauty blogger otherwise, right?), make sure you introduce them slowly (as in don't try 10 new products in the same night!)

> Keep it Simple
When something goes wrong, the tendency is often to slap another product on it, but I'm a firm believer in keeping things simple.  My skin is usually pretty good, but when I have any problems, I always scale back to as simple a routine as possible.  Using too many products can do more harm than good!

> You don't always have to wait it out to know a product isn't working for you
Your skin fully turns over every 30 days (or so) and popular wisdom is that you should give a new skincare product that long before assessing how it's working for you.  I'm not saying you can expect drastic anti-aging results within the first three days, but I can usually tell if a product is working with my skin or not within the first week of use.  Giving something more time, if I already know we don't get on, just seems like a recipe for disaster!

And that's all the questions!  I'm going to tag:
Shauna from Natural Beauty Junkie
Asti from Skjonnhett
Sofie from Practically Pure 
and anyone else who wants to join in!  If you do the tag, feel free to leave a link to your post below.



 

7 August 2013

(Seed) Grape Seed Enriched Nourishing Body Lotion

I still love my Acure Cocoa Butter + CoQ10 lotion, but in classic beauty blogger logic, with my tube coming to an end, I decided it was time to branch out and try something new.  I've been bouncing back and forth between body oils and lotion recently, as thicker creams can be more than I want to deal with in the hotter months, so it was perfect timing when I stumbled across (Seed)'s lighter-textured body lotion.  (Seed)'s affordable bodycare products are enriched with grape seed oil, which is both an excellent source of antioxidants and high in essential fatty acids and Vitamin E.  The company is also committed to making a positive environmental impact with minimal, recyclable and biodegradable packaging and sustainable business practices.  

(Seed)'s body lotion is truly a perfect summer lotion.  It's light and silky and it sinks in almost immediately.  The pump top is also super convenient for lotioning in a hurry, and considering it's a runnier lotion, it's also perfect for controlling the amount of product dispensed.  The lighter texture does mean that sometimes I need to reach for something extra for those drier spots like elbows and feet, but in general, (Seed)'s lotion does an excellent job keeping my skin soft and hydrated.  The lotion does also have a moderately strong "unscented scent," by which I mean you can definitely smell the natural oils and other ingredients, but the smell doesn't linger once the lotion is absorbed.  If you prefer a scented product, (Seed) also makes citrus and lavender varieties.

My only complaint, and the reason that I am hesitating over repurchasing this product, is that it contains non-organic soybean oil.  I haven't seen much research on the effects of soy in topical cosmetics, but it's something I try not to eat a lot of - particularly non-organic soy due to GMO concerns - so I'm not sure it's something I want to be slathering all over my body on a regular basis.  That said, the (Seed) website shows a new label and the ingredients don't list soybean oil, so it's possible they've reformulated since I purchased my bottle and this is now a moot point.  I'll update this once I find out for sure!


Where to Buy: $7.19 from Vitacost, $9.00 from (Seed)


Ingredients: Water (aqua), aloe barbadensis leaf juice, vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil, emulsifying wax NF, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, glycine soja (soy) oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), stearic acid, glycerin, camellia sinensis leaf extract, cetyl alcohol, gluconolactone (and) sodium benzoate, tocopherol, tapioca starch, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract.




Disclosure: Post contains affiliate link to Vitacost.  Signing up through my link will save you $10 off a purchase of $30 or more.

1 August 2013

July Empties / Products I've Used Up

As you've probably noticed already, Naturalla Beauty has a new look!  I'm not all that skilled in blog design or coding, so I finally decided it was worth spending a little money and hiring someone to get the site looking how I wanted it to, and there you have it! There are still one or two kinks to be worked out, so bear with me on those, but I'm super excited about it and really happy with how it all turned out.  

Back on topic: July empties!  I know everyone says this, but I can't believe it's August already.  This month has really flown by, but somewhere in there I still managed to finish up a good number of products:


Acure Cocoa Butter + CoQ10 Body Lotion   [Review]
I love this lotion!  It's a great moisturizer that rubs in easily and doesn't leave your skin feeling greasy or tacky.  I like that it's unscented (and without any icky unscented scent), but there are also other options if you prefer your lotions to be scented.
Repurchase? Yes, I already have.

Green Beaver Grapefruit Facial Cleanser (sample)
Green Beaver is an affordable, Canadian line, and I was happy to get my hands on a sample of their gel cleanser.  It worked well, but sometimes left my face feeling a little tight and dry.  It also contains grapefruit seed extract, which isn't my favorite ingredient to be using all the time.
Repurchase? Probably not.

Honeybee Gardens Pressed Mineral Foundation in Geisha   [Review]
This is one of my top foundation picks and something I've written about multiple times before.  I love that it can be used lightly as a setting powder or built up to a nice, flawless finish on it's own.  I should probably mention that while I love the powder itself, I do not recommend spending the extra money on the compact, which is not airtight and will leak powder everywhere.  I've been keeping my refill in the plastic packaging this time around, and while it's not especially pretty, it's an improvement - at least I don't have powder flying everywhere!
Repurchase? The foundation, yes, I already have.  The compact, no.

Blum Oil Absorbing Facial Tissues
These are pretty standard blotting papers, not a whole lot to say.  My only complaint is that even though the papers are standard sized, the packaging is quite bulky and cumbersome.
Repurchase? Maybe.

KYI Sweet Almond Softening Oil (samples)   [Review]
I've recently become something of a body oil convert, which I credit to a combination of these oils and Lina Hanson's Body Serum.  I'm still slowly working my way through a full size of the unscented softening oil, but these samples of the litsea cubeba and chamomile lavender scents got used up pretty quickly.  
Repurchase? Yes.

Young Living Sandalwood Moisture Cream
I've alternated between this cream and Young Living's Boswellia Wrinkle Cream for years and gotten great results from both, particularly when my skin used to be more acne-prone.  I've been trying out some new skin care recently, but I could see myself going back to this moisturizer in the future.  
Repurchase? Probably.

Peppermint Earthpaste Toothpaste   [Review]
Love this toothpaste!  It's glycerin-free and leaves my teeth feeling smooth and clean and my mouth feeling fresh.  The wintergreen flavor is my favorite, but the peppermint is good too.  
Repurchase? Yes.

Young Living Lavender Lip Balm   [Review]
One of my favorite lip balms, this is moisturizing but not greasy, and it lasts on your lips really well.  I even used the end of the tube to keep my eyebrows in place. (Eyebrow gel - who needs it?!) 
Repurchase? Yes, definitely.

Evan Healy French Rose Clay (sample)
I regularly do green clay masks, but the pink, which is a combination of rose kaolin and Moroccan rhassoul clays, made a nice change.  It was a little gentler than the clay I usually use, but it definitely still did the trick.  I could also clearly see all the gunk it sucked out of my pores, which was fun, if a little gross.
Repurchase? Maybe.

Weleda Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion (sample)
Super gentle cleanser.  I love how simple the ingredients are and it left my skin feeling cleansed but not dry in the least.  It's probably the closest thing I've found to a cold cream, so if you're looking for a natural replacement, definitely check this out!  I used it like a standard cleanser, on damp skin and rinsed off, but I could also see it working when applied to dry skin and just wiped off.
Repurchase? Maybe.

Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castile Soap (sample)
Pretty standard stuff if you're into natural products, Dr. Bronner's has a hundred and one uses.  I used the sample to clean my makeup brushes.  I don't mind the peppermint, but I generally go for the unscented one.
Repurchase? Yes.

Ella's Botanicals Bar Soap in Chai Latte, Lavender Bliss, and Lemon Zing (samples)
Ella's is a lovely Toronto company, but I'm a little mixed on these soaps.  Ingredient-wise, I love that the soaps are made without palm oil, but I wish the company used something other than canola oil, since that brings with it a whole host of GMO concerns.  I also didn't like the lavender scent, but I enjoyed the chai and lemon ones.
Repurchase? Maybe.

What did you use up this month?



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