New Finds: Earthpaste, Suki, Lauren Brooke & NCLA

Today I want to talk about a few things I've been loving lately.  All of these are new-to-me finds that I haven't used for very long, but first impressions are good and I didn't want to wait any longer to share them!

Earthpaste - Lemon Twist & Spearmint
It's crazy to think I've been using Earthpaste for close to two years now!  In a lot of ways, I still feel like this glycerin-free toothpaste is a relatively new discovery.  Alas, it does explain why, after many, many tubes, my eyes were starting to wander.  Sadly, even two years in, glycerin-free toothpaste options are pretty scarce, so I was happy to discover two new-to-me flavor offerings from Earthpaste.  The lemon - "for kids of all ages" - is great if you're looking for something sweet and different from standard toothpaste flavors.  It's zesty and refreshing, but without any mint or menthol, that cool, tingly feeling isn't there.  Spearmint is way on the other end of the spectrum.  It's unsweetened and extra strong - perfect for anyone who may have complained the original Earthpaste flavors weren't minty enough. I wouldn't mind if they sweetened it a tiny bit, but I'll go with it for all the spearminty goodness this small tube is packing. 

Suki Concentrated Balancing Toner
As much of a skincare junkie as I am, I'm still not completely sold on toners.  I know all the theoretical benefits, but for every great toner I've used, I think I've tried at least two others that either did nothing for me or actually irritated my skin. One that I would recommend, however, is Suki's Concentrated Balancing Toner (renamed the Concentrated Clarifying Toner).  I have the mini, trial size and I've only been using it for about a week and a half, but I've already noticed a difference in the appearance of the pores on my nose.  Overall, my skin seems a little more even too, although I could be imagining that part.  My skin really doesn't fit the combo-to-oily recommendation for Suki's balancing products, but I get on better with products in this range than ones in their Nourishing line.  Go figure...

 Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques Finishing Powder
Whether I'm wearing a powder foundation (most days) or a liquid or cream one, I always like to use a finishing powder on top.  A good one can really make a difference, and Lauren Brooke's, which I happily received in a Facebook giveaway, checks all my boxes.   It sets your makeup, and also blurs small lines and imperfections, giving your skin a slightly airbrushed finish.  It also helps to control oil and shine throughout the day and can even be reapplied several times without looking cakey or overdone. 

NCLA Nail Lacquer in Let's Stay Forever
I usually gravitate towards dark colors and the occasional bright, so Let's Stay Forever, the pastel blue polish from June's Petit Vour box, definitely fell outside my usual nail polish color palette.  And, truth be told, application is not the best.  One coat is streaky and uneven and two is a very white, milky blue, but after three coats, you hit that sweet spot.  There's no denying that it's a pale color, but once fully opaque, the polish also has a slight, almost neon brightness that's pretty stunning, and totally worth the extra effort.  I recently switched this color out on my toes in favor of Petit Vour's July offering (LVX Lolli), but I think I'll be going back to Let's Stay Forever pretty soon. 

Have you discovered any fantastic products recently?

Contains affiliate links.

Sample Stash #9: Shampoo/Conditioner

I knew I'd accumulated a lot of samples recently, but it wasn't until I was able to scrounge up enough shampoo and conditioner packets to last me the entire three weeks it took for my Acure replenishment to arrive, that I realized just how out of control this sample situation has gotten.  Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful I had these, but it does makes me wonder just how long I could manage off my sample box alone!  (A challenge for another time, perhaps?)

I'm not always the bravest when it comes to trying new haircare products, so this was also a good nudge for me to try some new things and get a look at what's out there.  Keep reading to see what samples I had kicking around and my first impressions of each.


Seaweed Bath Co. Unscented Argan Shampoo + Citrus Argan Conditioner
So-so.  The shampoo was pretty thick and was a little difficult to work through the hair at first.  It produced a decent lather, but left my hair feeling a bit too squeaky clean when I rinsed it out.  The citrus conditioner smelled great, but it didn't give enough moisture to my hair.  When all was said and done, my curls were left looser and frizzier than I'd like.

Bröö Frizzy to Sleek Shampoo + Conditioner
Mostly nice!  The beer in Bröö's products has always seemed a little kitschy to me, but the shampoo lathered well and wasn't drying at all.  From the feel, I thought the conditioner would be too light, but it worked well also.  The duo also smells like you're walking by a Cinnabon - a mix of cinnamon, sugar and yeast (maybe from the beer?)  It's a strong scent and it hung around for two more washes before it was completely gone, so bear that in mind if you're sensitive to smells.  Unfortunately, I got a massive pimple right on my hairline the same day I tried these, so something in them obviously didn't suit. 

Himalaya Rejuvenating Shampoo + Amla & Holy Basil Conditioner
Not impressed.  The shampoo smelled fresh and minty and it worked fine, although it had a funny, jelly-like consistency.  The conditioner was, quite frankly, horrible.  It felt like I hadn't used anything and I had to use something else immediately after.  I was also not a fan of how the conditioner smelled. 

Avalon Organics Nourishing Lavender Shampoo + Conditioner
I liked this one, but I'm not sure it would work for me on an every-wash basis.  I did a double wash with the shampoo and while my hair felt okay after the first wash, after the second, it was pretty dry and straw-like.  It removed some buildup that I'd been struggling to get rid of since my 30-Day #WeledaHairDare though, so that was great.  The conditioner was nice enough, but nothing spectacular.  Also worth mentioning is that the lavender scent of both products was a win.  It smelled like real lavender, not the perfumey imitations that you sometimes get, even in natural products.  I like to keep a more clarifying shampoo on hand for occasional use and I think I'll be picking this up - or another of Avalon's shampoos - for that purpose. 

Rahua Original Shampoo + Conditioner
A total letdown!  Rahua has gotten a lot of hype, but neither product especially impressed me, and they both smelled heavily of palo santo.  Palo santo is often described as a smokey/woodsy scent similar to sandalwood or cedar, but to me it always has notes of burnt rubber as well.  Sadly, the smell lingered and was strong enough to give me a headache.  I ended up taking a second shower within a couple hours just to wash it out!

Green People Intensive Repair Conditioner
I only tried the conditioner here, but it was lovely.  The scent is pretty flowery, but not offensive - even to a non-floral lover like me - and it left my hair feeling very soft and my curls well defined.  Green People isn't the easiest to get one's hands on here, but I'd consider buying it in the future.  

John Masters Honey & Hibiscus Hair Reconstructing Shampoo + Hair Reconstructor
So good!  I've tried several different John Masters shampoos and conditioners and have always been underwhelmed until this set.  These are really all around lovely.  The shampoo is slightly creamy and the conditioner is great too.  The duo is intended for dry/damaged hair and offers the perfect amount of moisture - eliminating frizz and defining my curls without weighing them down.  The scent is floral and a little perfumey, but hibiscus is a scent that usually works for me, and this one was no different.  The only thing stopping me from scooping these up immediately is the price.  At $26 for 6 ounces of shampoo and $28 for 4 ounces of conditioner, they're John Masters' most costly range.  I'm holding off for a sale! 

Green Beaver Cranberry Delight Shampoo + Conditioner
There are Green Beaver products I love, but unfortunately, the shampoo and conditioner didn't make it onto that list.  The shampoo was another one that I struggled to distribute through my hair, and perhaps for that reason, I didn't feel like it cleaned my scalp very well.  The conditioner was a little better, but ultimately too light for my hair.  The duo left my hair okay in terms of frizz, but while I initially had good curls, they ended up falling pretty flat within 2-3 hours of drying.  

The Bottom Line
So many samples!!  After testing all these, I'm still feeling pretty loyal to my Acure Argan + Argan Stem Cell duo, which I think says a lot about just how good those are.  Out of the all these samples, the only ones I can see myself buying are the John Masters (if I'm feeling flush), the Andalou Naturals (as an occasional clarifying shampoo) and maybe the Green People conditioner (if I was already placing an order from the UK).  The rest will be getting the pass from me.  

Because of my curls, I think haircare is possibly one area where I'm pickier than the average consumer, so do bear that in mind.

Have you used any of these?  What's your favorite shampoo/conditioner?
Contains affiliate links.

Petit Vour Set Sail Box (July 2014)

I was super impressed by Petit Vour's June box, so was really happy to be sent the July one as well.  If you aren't already familiar with it, Petit Vour is a monthly vegan and cruelty free beauty box subscription.  For July's box*, they teamed up with Tashina from Logical Harmony, a vegan lifestyle and beauty blog, to curate a selection of ultimate summer must-haves.  I don't read a lot of vegan blogs, but I actually do read Tashina's, so I was excited to see what goodies she would choose!

LVX Nail Lacquer in Lolli ($16)
I haven't tried these 5-free nail polishes before, but I've heard good things.  Lolli is a pretty pastel pink that, again, is unlike anything else in my small nail polish collection.  I still have the NCLA polish from last month's Petit Vour on my toes, but I'll be swapping it out for this one some time over the weekend.

Pelle Beauty Luxe Face Oil (Sample Value ±$8.50)
Pelle Beauty is actually a local company for me, so it was nice to see their oil included in a US subscription box!  Again, it's a brand I'm familiar with but one I haven't used before.  I believe subscribers received one of a few different oils from Pelle's line and my box included Luxe, an anti-aging oil recommended for all skin types.  The blend contains new-to-me cucumber seed and babassu oils, as well as meadowfoam, ricebran, and fractionated coconut oils, and essential oils of neroli, jasmine, rose, ylang ylang, and sandalwood.  I love testing out new face oils, so I'm happy to see this included in the box.

Modern Minerals Eye Shadow in Cherish ($12.50)
I love mineral eye shadows!  Boxes contained one of a few different shades and I received Cherish, which is a pretty neutral shade, falling somewhere between a shimmery copper and a rose gold.  Modern Minerals leaves out unnecessary fillers like bismuth oxychloride, but this particular color does contain aluminum powder, which I'm a little iffy on.  It's definitely not the worst ingredient out there, but it is one I usually steer clear of.  Tashina posted an eye look using Cherish in the crease, if you'd like a better look at the color.   

Schmidt's Natural Deodorant in Lavender + Sage (Sample Value ±$2.25)
I've used Schmidt's deodorant before and it works really well.  The formula relies on baking soda and arrowroot powder for odor protection and moisture absorption and uses a gentle base of shea and cocoa butters.   I actually already have a full size of the Lavender + Sage, so am planning to pass this sample on to a friend.

Another great box from Petit Vour!  

Boxes retail for  $15 (US) / $23 (Canada) / $30 (International) and with an approximate value of $39.25, you're more than getting your money's worth, wherever you're purchasing from.  I'm really happy to see that Petit Vour is choosing to focus not only on vegan and cruelty free products, but also on natural ones.  Both boxes I've received have been really well curated, with a good mix of skincare, body care, and makeup and a combination of full size and sample items.  I also love that they include both well known and smaller brands.  

Have you tried Petit Vour yet?

*Press Sample
Contains affiliate links

The Curly Girl Edit: Hair Gel

I've written about my love of Intelligent Nutrients' Organic Styling Gel numerous times before, but after cringing over the price one repurchase too many, I decided it was time to hunt out a more budget friendly option. 

For a little background, my hair is curly, but not coarse or super thick.  Those people who talk about curly hair needing moisture and rich styling products?  So not me.  My hair does best with hydrating shampoos and conditioners, yes, but lighter leave-ins and styling products.  Anything too rich or creamy just leave my hair feeling heavy and weighed down.

Let's get to today's contenders:

Kinky Curly Spiral Spritz
I emptied my first bottle of this a couple months ago and the speed with which I rushed to replenish my supply is pretty telling.  The Spiral Spritz, which is a hybrid between a gel and a serum, feels very much like straight aloe vera gel, though it also contains lavender water, extracts of horsetail, nettle, and sage, glycerin, and Vitamin B-5.  In terms of hold, it's pretty light.  It feels soft on the hair and is not crunchy, but it still gives some control and definition.   It's by no means a strong hold and it can struggle in intense humidity, but overall I'm pretty happy with it.  It's not a scented product, but it does have a slight scent from the natural ingredients. 

Andalou Naturals Sunflower & Citrus Medium Hold Styling Gel
Like the Kinky Curly, Andalou's gel is aloe based, but that's where the similarities end.  Andalou has gotten a good amount of hype in the green blogging/vlogging world recently and I had pretty high expectations for this product.  Sadly, it did not deliver.  At all.  First off, the gel feels incredibly sticky as you apply it, which makes it a challenge to work through the hair.  Then, it dries super crunchy.  And, if that's not bad enough, after a few hours, it progresses from crunchy to just dirty.  As in, I don't want to touch my hair because it feels so disgustingly dirty and grotty.  It isn't greasy - if anything the opposite - like my hair has some kind of dusty/sooty coating.   About the only nice thing I can think of to say about this product is that it smells good - fresh and citrusy.

Innersense Quiet Calm Curl Control
I'm a lot more used to gels than curling creams, so the consistency of this one took a little getting used to.  It's a cream, but not overly heavy - basically the consistency of a light conditioner.  The scent is a mild citrus with a hint of something medicinal - it reminds me of chewable Vitamin C tablets.  The cream does a good job defining my curls and helps control frizz, but unfortunately, it was still a little heavy for my hair.

It does, however, work great as a rinse out product.  If you saw my June empties, it won't come as a surprise that I completed depleted my supply of conditioner and was left scrambling for something to use.  After remembering my first impressions of this guy (read: conditioner-like), I gave it a whirl in the shower.  Because of how light it is, I need to use more product than I would with a richer conditioner, but nonetheless, it works well.  The ingredients are actually pretty similar to a regular conditioner, so I guess it makes sense.

Silk Naturals Make Waves Curling Hair Gel
I wasn't really sure what to expect from this one, but clearly I'm a sucker for products that are specifically targeted to us curly girls.  Xantham gum gives a soft hold, while argan and avocado oils offer a touch of moisture.  On application, the gel feels a little tacky, which, after the disaster that was the Andalou, had me worrieded, but happily it dries fine, without any sticky feeling.  If you use a lot of product, it can leave your hair feeling a little crunchy, but nothing too bad.  It has no scent and really shines in humidity.  Great definition and frizz control, no matter how humid it is. 

It's happening: hair gel swatches
The Bottom Line
A bit of a mixed bag and if I'm completely honest, I'm not sure any of these quite live up to the awesomeness that is the Intelligent Nutrients gel.  I'm on my second bottle of Kinky Curly and I'm sticking with it for now, as while I probably like the Silk Naturals Curling Hair Gel slightly more, it's more expensive and less accessible.  It just isn't a big enough difference to justify the extra cost and effort of keeping it on hand.  I will, however, make a point to pick up a bottle next spring, since it works so well in humidity.  The Innersense will get used up - because who needs more so-so products just hanging around - but not repurchased.   And, I fear the Andalou is destined to gather dust until my next big declutter.

Have you used any of these?  What are your favorite styling products?

Contains affiliate links

Sample Stash #8: Graydon Clinical Luxury By Nature

If you saw the interview earlier this week, you'll already know that I had the chance to meet Graydon of Graydon Clinical Luxury by Nature at the end of May.  What I failed to mention in that post is how Graydon spoiled me with product samples.  Before this, my experience with the line was limited to the Face Food Mineral Mist, so I was excited to dive into all these goodies!  Here's what I thought of everything...

Probably the product I was most excited to try!  It's a cream cleanser with a light, refreshing citrus scent that easily breaks down makeup and doesn't sting the eyes.  It actually reminded me a lot of Pai's iconic cleanser,  in terms of feel, but 10x better for those of us who don't love rosey floral scents.  

The Serum
The Serum is jam packed with tons of Canadian berry goodness - 50 pounds worth in every bottle!  It's a mix of cranberry, blueberry and raspberry seed oils, rich in antioxidants and omegas.  The oil is light in texture and for my skin, it wasn't quite enough on its own.  It layers really well under other oils or creams though, which is how I've been using it.  

Berry Rich Cream
The Berry Rich Cream takes the same gorgeous berry oils as the serum and sticks them in a cream.  I love the idea and ingredients, but I didn't end up being crazy about this one.  I felt like the cream just sat on top of my skin and never really absorbed.  Maybe it would work better for me in the winter?

The Green Cream
The star ingredient here is brocolli seed oil, which along with chlorophyll and avocado oil, gives the cream a lovely cheery mint hue.  The Green Cream gives a lighter hydration that is perfect on top of The Serum or another face oil. It smells herbal from parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, but it's a light, fresh scent.  

Super Sensitive Skin Stuff
Designed specifically for sensitive skin, this is a super gentle moisturizer without any essential oils or scent.  It's has a light consistency and is probably the quickest absorbing of Graydon's four moisturizers.  

The Putty
Another soothing option, The Putty is great for extra dry or irritated skin.  It has the thickest, heaviest texture of all the creams, but it's still not overly heavy.  It also penetrated and absorbed better for me than the Berry Rich Cream and was great on both the face and any dry patches on the body.  I know Mary of Makeup by Mary B likes using The Putty as a hand cream.

Photo Credit
All Over Soap + Shampoo
I used my sample as body wash, and it was really nice.  I didn't need much to get a great lather and it was gentle and non-drying.   

All Over Face + Body Lotion
With so many other moisturizer options, I didn't end up using this one on my face, but as a body lotion, it worked great.  

All Over Body Oil
First off, this smells so good!  It's a mix of lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood that's lovely and soothing.  It makes a fantastic body oil, either on dry or wet skin, and Graydon says you can also use it as an oil cleanser for your face.  I was fully prepared to scoop up a bottle of this until I checked the ingredients again and saw soy oil.  Now I'm conflicted.  It's a bit of a knee jerk for me and strictly personal preference, but soy oil is not something I like seeing in my products, so while I enjoyed the sample (a lot!), as it stands right now, it's probably not something I'll be purchasing.  
ETA: I've just learned that the soy oil is organic and GMO-free, which is a big step up from the alternative!

Hand + Foot Relief
I get dry feet, so I'm a huge fan of foot creams.  Hand + Foot Relief is infused with Graydon's Germs Away AromaBlend, which lends a spicy peppermint scent and provides antimicrobial action to help kill topical germs.  The cream is lighter than a lot of foot creams, but it still manages to really hydrate.  It also works well on hands.

Hair Smoothie
I don't think either Graydon or I was expecting my curly hair to get on especially well with this product, but I ended up really liking it.  It's light, but it still gave enough moisture to my hair.  It also has the same broccoli seed oil and chlorophyll that I liked so much in The Green Cream.  

Sun Cream
The Sun Cream is probably the least fussy natural sunscreen I've ever used.  It's creamy and does take a minute to work into the skin fully, but once you've done that, it's pretty well invisible.  No whitecase and no oily shine.  The sun protection comes from zinc oxide, but the cream also includes sun reflective oils like raspberry seed and cherry kernal, as well as antioxidant green tea to protect against UV damage.  

As kind of the glammed up version of the Sun Cream, Glow contains mica, which imparts a subtle, golden glow.  It's not overly shimmery, but overall, I think I preferred the invisibile Sun Cream for my face.  Glow is super pretty on the shoulders and decollete though. 

In Summary...
It was lovely meeting Graydon and learning more about both her and her product line, which embodies a lot of what I'm most drawn to in green beauty - simple, plant-based ingredients, but ones that are potent and deliver real results.  Scents across the line are essential oil-based and fairly light and there's a good variety of products to suit virtually anyone.  

The skincare definitely stood out for me more than the body products, but those are great within their own right too.  Top of my list would be The Cleanser, The Green Cream, and The Putty, but the Hair Smoothie and Sun Cream are not far behind!

Have you tried anything from Graydon?

(P.S. I've gotten a couple questions since the last post on how internationals can get their hands on Graydon products.  Clementine Fields stocks most of the line and offers worldwide shipping) 

Behind the Brand: Graydon Clinical Luxury by Nature

A little over a month ago, I had the chance to meet Graydon Moffat, the lovely creator behind Graydon Clinical Luxury by Nature.  We had a great time chatting over green juice and I left thinking how wonderful it would be to share everything I'd learned with all of you.  Rather than me just writing about it, I asked Graydon if she'd be willing to answer some questions and lucky for us, she was happy to oblige.  Let's jump right into it!

1. I love learning how people first became interested in a more natural, holistic lifestyle. What did that journey look like for you? 
Growing up as a teenager in the 80’s my diet involved a lot of diet soda, sugarless gum and white bread. I did a lot of high intensity aerobic classes and enjoyed using tanning beds. In university I supplemented my tuition working as a pastry chef in fine dining restaurants. No surprise I was experiencing a lot of digestive issues. It wasn’t until I moved to California to do my MFA that I was exposed to a radically healthy lifestyle which consisted of a lot of yoga, fresh juice and a macrobiotic diet.

Besides making art, I transitioned my ‘moon lighting’ as a pastry chef to starting a macrobiotic home delivery service called ‘Divine Dishes’. Aligning myself in a health oriented spiritual path made for a huge shift for both my physical and emotional well being. Suddenly I felt good ‘in my body’ and my natural tendency towards anxiety also diminished greatly.

2. What inspired you to start Graydon Clinical Luxury?
After moving back from California to Toronto I became part of the Downward Dog Yoga Studio first ever teacher training program in 1999.  As a yoga teacher I enjoyed making holistic products to use on my clients. My first product was a yoga mat spray (which is now my Germs Away Mist). Then I made a luxurious aromatic oil to use in a neck and temple massage (now my lavender chamomile sandalwood inspired All Over Body Oil). My customers loved my products and with their encouragement and support I just started making more stuff using the principles of holistic and ayurvedic health I had learned through my yoga teacher training.

Photo Credit
3. What sets Graydon apart from other natural skincare brands?
We carefully curate our ingredients – and look for items that come from nutrition rich plant based sources. For example, the seeds from broccoli and berries grown in the Fraser Valley are amongst our favourites. We work with a small cold press manufacturer to produce the oils from these seeds which we use in our formulations.

We work a with lab to small batch our products which is a much better choice than making them on our own. This means we can offer our customers a clean, safe, consistent product that would be much harder to produce if we still manufactured in our home office (which is where we started).

4. What does your skincare routine look like?
Besides using all my products on a regular basis, I love to mash up and slather super foods all over my face and body. Rolling up my sleeves and getting creative in the kitchen reminds me of my art making and chef days. Given that I often work from home, I have been known to answer the door with avocado cacao paste smeared on my cheeks which has startled delivery people and customers picking up their orders.

Photo Credit
5. If you had to pick just one, what's your all-time favorite product or the product that you're proudest of from the line?
I love all my products but I can’t live without my Cleanser. I use it all over my face and body. Its rich creamy (but not oily) texture leaves my skin feeling super clean, soft and moisturized. I also shave my legs with it.

In terms of being proud, The Serum is hands down the most nutrient dense power packed product. Roughly 50 pounds of Canadian grown berries are packaged into our 1oz glass bottle. The oomph that these berry seed oils gives your skin is incredibly potent. I blend in a few drops to every product I use just to make sure my skin gets the nutrition it needs every day.

6. What tips would you offer to someone looking to make the switch from conventional skincare products?
Make it easy for yourself by just replacing one item at a time. Don’t feel like you have to throw all your conventional products out at once. Get used to reading labels and making good (plant powered) choices for your skin just as you would with food products you choose to eat. 

And start thinking about your skin as an organ similar to your stomach -- as a vehicle to bring nourishment into your body. It becomes simple after a while, to choose between whole foods vs junk/highly process foods… skincare products that ‘feed’ your body vs ones that are made with synthetic, often toxic (junk) ingredients.

Photo Credit
7. What can we expect in the future from Graydon Clinical Luxury? Any hints on upcoming products?
I get asked about a deodorant, scrub and bug spray all the time. It takes time to find the perfect ingredients, packaging and above all to do the proper lab development and efficacy testing – but within the next year we hope to have some new products out, so stay tuned!

Thanks Graydon!  I, for one, can't wait to see what's coming next!

Sibu Beauty Sea Buckthorn Moisturizing Body Cream

Sea buckthorn has gotten a lot of press lately, but if you aren't familiar with it, it's a hearty plant native to Asia and parts of Europe.  The bushes produce an orange berry that's rich in antioxidants, carotenoids, flavonoids, minerals and vitamins and is an excellent source of Omegas 3, 6, and 9, as well as the much rarer Omega 7.  Among other benefits, these four essential fatty acids aid in collagen production and help provide cellular support for healthy skin, hair, and nails.  The unique composition of this berry makes it very effective at soothing and improving a whole host of skin issues including acne, eczema, rosacea, and scarring.  

I had the opportunity to try out Sibu Beauty's Sea Buckthorn Moisturizing Body Cream* and quickly jumped on it.  While many of us look for super, nutrition-packed ingredients when it comes to skincare for our faces, we're less likely to insist on them in body care products.  For me, it's one thing to splurge on something like a face oil, but I'm much more likely to buy a $15 bottle of lotion than a $50 one, regardless of what magical ingredients might be in the more expensive one.  Luckily, Sibu's Body Cream has you covered on both counts.  It's affordably priced and packed with plenty of healing and anti-aging sea buckthorn goodness: the seed oil, fruit oil, and even whole pureed berries.  

Along with all that sea buckthorn, the body cream also contains meadowfoam oil, shea butter, and aloe to moisturize and rejuvenate the skin.  It has a thick, lotion consistency that's rich and hydrating, but still rubs in easily and isn't overly heavy.  I like it a lot as a hand cream too, since it feels substantial and nourishing going on, but sinks in quickly and doesn't leave your hands feeling greasy.  If you've used them before, you'll know that sea buckthorn seed oil is orange and the fruit oil is a vibrant red.  The two oils, plus the pureed berries give a cheery, buttery yellow color to the cream, and essential oils give it a subtle citrus scent that's light and not especially noticeable beyond the initial application.

The Bottom Line

I've been really happy with Sibu's body cream!  It's kind of the best of both worlds: rich and very hydrating, but also absorbs quickly into the skin without any stickiness or oily residue.  It feels great going on and I like knowing that I'm getting additional benefits, beyond those of an ordinary lotion, from all the sea buckthorn.  I also love that Sibu makes use of the entire berry here and includes not only the fruit and seed oils, but also whole, pureed berries.  

All Sibu Beauty products are also non-GMO, cruelty free, and vegan, and the company sources their sea buckthorn through fair trade agreements with local harvesters in Tibet.

*Press Sample
Contains affiliate links

June Empties / Products I've Used Up

I think I've finally figured out this empties thing.  Focus on one product at a time.  Sounds pretty common sense, right?  If you're rotating between five cleansers, it's going to take you a good, long while to finish any.  On the other hand, if you're using just one, you'll get to the bottom a heck of a lot quicker.  Sure, I've known it for a while, but I've never seen it in action quite as blatantly as this past month.  Let's talk about what I finished up in June...

For most of May and the beginning of June, I was taking part in the #WeledaHairDare, so other than styling products, Weleda hair care was all that I was using.  Even so, I'm surprised just how much product I got through!  The shampoo and conditioner are only 6.4 and 6.8 ounces, respectively, but I used them up in about a month and a half, which, even considering the sizes, is a lot quicker than I usually go through shampoo and conditioner.  Not to mention those 5 shampoo minis!  I did feel like I was using more product than usual with these, but it wasn't until I saw the pile of empties that I realized just how much more!
Repurchase? Probably not.  There are other shampoos and conditioners I like more.

Boo Bamboo Exfoliating Body Wash*   [Review]
This is a nice body wash with a light berry scent and the perfect amount of grittiness for an exfoliating product of this type.  Not enough grit to class it as a full-on scrub, but enough that I knew it was there and could tell it was doing something.
Repurchase? Maybe.  The ingredients aren't quite as natural as I'd like, but I'd consider it.

Acure Mint + Echinacea Stem Cell Shampoo and Conditioner 
My mom ran out of her regular shampoo and conditioner and ended up finishing these off while I was using all that Weleda, but I'm including them anyways, since I'd say I used at least 7/8 of both before starting on Weleda's challenge.  My mom was a fan, and I liked them too, just not as much as Acure's Argan + Argan Stem Cell variety.  The shampoos seem pretty comparable - other than scent - but the mint conditioner is lighter and not as hydrating as the argan.
Repurchase? Doubtful.  I've re-ordered the Argan set to replace these.

Beautiful Curls Curl Reviving Tonic   [Review]
This is a great product.  I use it on days when I don't wash my hair and it does just what the name suggests: revives my second day, slept on curls.  I've already started on a new bottle.
Repurchase? Yes.

Skin Essence Organics Facial in a Jar   [Review]
Facial in a Jar is one of those powder products that does double duty as either a scrub or a mask.  Initially, I just used it as a mask, but this past month, I really enjoyed mixing it with my Shea Terra Argan Oil & Acacia Honey Cleanser to make a scrub.  Some of the powder + a pump of the Shea Terra cleanser = honey scrubby goodness.
Repurchase? Probably not.  I might try to DIY my own version at some point in the future though.

Blissoma Bright Eye Vitalizing Nutrient Serum
The ingredients in this eye serum are pretty amazing, but unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be and I ended up with sore, puffy, swollen eyes within a couple days of starting to use it.  Extra sad, because before the reaction, my under eye area was looking pretty phenomenal.  Bright is packed with antioxidants and nutrients and I remember reading somewhere that you could use it on any areas that had experienced sun damage, so for the sake of using it up, I started applying it on my shoulders, decollete, and the backs of my hands.  I wouldn't buy it just for that, but I did notice an improvement in the health and appearance of those areas while I was using it.
Repurchase? No.

Priti NYC Nail Polish Remover Wipe   [Review]
I wasn't going to include these wipes anymore until I finished up the whole set, but after last month's disappointment with them, I wanted to include one more to make sure you guys knew that they're still fabulous.  Glitter polishes are a struggle, but for everything else, these are a great option.
Repurchase? Maybe.  I still think I want to try the liquid remover next.

Young Living Lavender and Frankincense Essential Oils
Both of these are staples for me.  Lavender is basically good for everything, and frankincense has a whole host of uses too.  I use both of them on blemishes, and I like mixing a couple drops of frankincense into my clay masks as well.  I always stress the importance of research when it comes to essential oils, since purity, method of extraction, and processing are all very important when it comes to the final product you're buying.  I'm confident in the quality of Young Living's oils and will continue to buy them.
Repurchase? Yes, I've already cracked open new bottles of both.

Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap in Peppermint and Citrus Orange (samples)
I've got a big, open bottle of the unscented Dr. Bronner's, but I didn't see the point of hanging on to samples anymore, so I used these this month instead.  Dr. Bronner's has a million uses, but what I use it for most often is washing my makeup brushes.
Repurchase? Yes, but I'll probably stick with the unscented one.

Nuka Candy Cane Soap
I had a different Nuka soap in my last empties post, but in case you missed it, Nuka is a local, Ontario soap company that's sold in bulk at my Whole Foods.  Candy Cane was a seasonal scent I picked up around the holidays, but I didn't end up using it until this month, since I found these soaps too drying on my hands in the winter.  Now that it's warmer, I like them and the Candy Cane scent was nice enough, if nothing especially spectacular.
Repurchase? Sure.  I have a lot of soap at the moment, but I'd at least give these soaps a browse the next time I'm at Whole Foods.

Silk Naturals Vegan Kisser Slicker in Shine
I think the Vegan Kisser Slickers, are my favorite formula of Silk Naturals lip products.  Shine doesn't seem to be available anymore, but it was their untinted one.  It gives a slight glossy look to the lips, but I bought it specifically to use as a lip balm, since the formula is very hydrating.  It worked great, but the Vegan Kisser Slickers are pretty soft to begin with, and Shine, without any pigments, is even more so - almost a jelly-like consistency - so the tube got used up really quickly.
Repurchase? Not sure.

Hurraw! Coffee Bean Lip Balm   [Review]
I like Hurraw!'s lip balms.  They sink into your lips and feel like they're really nourishing them.  Coffee Bean is a sweet coffee scent that's not so much straight up coffee beans as it is something like a Frappuccino.  I liked it, but Hurraw! has so many choices that I tend to pick a new flavour every time I buy one.
Repurchase? Yes, but probably in a different flavour.

* Press Sample
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