29 June 2014

Spring / Early Summer Favorites

I haven't done very many favorites posts over the years, but that's something I want to change.  I'm not sure about committing to monthly favorites, but I'm thinking every couple months, or at least seasonally.  Let's kick it off with five products I've been loving over the last few months...



Vice1960 Face Oil*
I reviewed this oil in May, and it's remained a staple in my routine ever since.  My skin isn't overly acne-prone to begin with, but even so, I've noticed it's clearer and generally happier since I've been using this product.  I usually mix one pump of the V60 oil with a couple drops of jojoba oil and the combination has a lovely, light texture that's perfect for summer and sinks into my skin quickly.  

Nourish Organics Coconut & Argan Body Wash (with Hibiscus)
You guys know how much I love Nourish's body washes, and the Coconut & Argan is my newest favorite.  From the name, I was expecting a coconut scent, but it's actually just coconut oil in here, not fragrance, so that's not the predominant smell that comes through.  Instead, it's a lovely, light, tropical floral that I don't even know how to describe.  I'm assuming what I'm smelling is the hibiscus, with just a hint of coconut.  I feel like this is what a midnight walk on a beach in Hawaii would smell like.

The All Natural Face Tequila Sunrise Blush
As much as I like cream products, my cheeks respond a lot better to powders, so a while back I decided to pick up the powder version of my favorite All Natural Face cream blush, Tequila Sunrise.  The powder is just as pretty as the cream and my skin likes it much better.  I've been wearing this blush almost every day since re-discovering it in my collection a couple weeks ago.
(P.S. I've swatched the cream version here and here.  The powder is a slightly lighter version of the same color.)

Ora's Amazing Herbal All Purpose Salve*
I liked Ora's Salve from the get-go, but this month it's really had a chance to shine.  We have cedar trees in our backyard, which means we are fully stocked on mosquitoes as well.  Usually I get good results from lavender oil on any bites, but when that wasn't working to relieve a couple fresh bites one night, I reached for this guy.  The salve, which is packed with soothing and anti-inflammatory herbs like calendula, comfrey, plantain, and chickweed, not only stopped the itching, it also took down the swelling and within 5 minutes, the bites were 90% gone!  

Stila 24A Blush and Powder Brush
I'm not sure if this brush is still being sold, but I received it in a swap this month and I couldn't be happier with it.  The bristles are soft and it's a great size for blush - small enough that you have a lot of control over where you're applying product, but big enough that it doesn't take you ten minutes to get your blush on.  I'm not usually one to spend a lot on brushes, but I'd be curious to check out more of Stila's brush line in the future.

How do you feel about favorites posts?  What have you been loving this spring?




*Press Sample
Contains affiliate links

28 June 2014

Lippy Girl Makeup Baked Mineral Blushes

Natural makeup has come a long way in the last few years, but pressed powder products without silicones, talc, or other nasties are still pretty rare.  Add in an affordable price tag, and you're looking at even fewer options.   But, Canadian company, Lippy Girl Makeup has you covered - at least for blushes.  As the name suggests, the company's main focus is lip products, but they also sell a small range of baked mineral blushes for $16.50.   I picked up Wall Flower and Bewildered Bronze back around Mother's Day  and have been enjoying trying them out over the last couple of months.



The formula is lovely.  I did find that both blushes had a bit of a chalky top layer, but once you get past that - after the first 1 or 2 uses - they're super smooth and buttery.  The colours go on well and they blend out easily too.  They're sold as sheer blushes, and it's true that they don't pack the highest pigment punch, but I actually prefer it that way, since it gives you greater control.  (Plus, we all know I'm a little blush shy.)  The sheer finish also means that the colors are buildable, so you can achieve the slightest hint of a flush, full-on doll cheeks, or anything in between.    

I'm not sure about the entire line, but both colours I chose are completely matte.  Wall Flower is a lovely pale pink and is my new favorite everyday blush.  It looks incredibly light in the swatches below, and while it certainly makes for a more subtle cheek, I don't have any problem getting it to show up on my skin.  Perhaps not the best choice for darker skin tones, but great for light-to-medium complexions.  Bewildered Bronze is a plummy/mauvey/dusky pink.  It's the more pigmented of the two and is one of those easy-to-wear colours that I think would look great on just about anyone.




The Bottom Line
Super love!  For me, nothing beats the ease and convenience of pressed blush and Lippy Girl's baked blushes are great.  The ingredients are as clean as you can get - just minerals, kaolin clay, and jojoba oil - and the quality is excellent too.  Not to mention, how lovely are these compacts? They have the cute lippy Girl logo on top and are either the same or very similar to the ones that MAC mineral blushes come in, with a clear, domed top that easily lets you see what colour you're grabbing for.  I'm really happy to have these in my collection.

P.S. Scoop them up soon and get free shipping!  Now through July 1, 2014, Lippy Girl is offering free shipping on all orders.  You can also get an additional promo code by taking this quiz

25 June 2014

Petit Vour Bon Voyage Box (June 2014)

Petit Vour is a monthly subscription box dedicated to providing vegan and cruelty free beauty products.  In their own words:
"Beauty is bold.  Beauty is kind.  Beauty is self-expression and emotion, inner glow then outer glow.  We strive to enhance these elements for you and help make it easier in maintaining a compassionate lifestyle.  Every aspect of our beauty box is thought out and constructed to provide you with the highest standards.  To us, that means no animal testing, animal products, parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, sulfates, and so much more."
The June box* features the Away We Go Travel Collection.  The box was curated "to honor those no-fuss, wanderlusting beauty days."  Here's what was included:




Tay Rosehip Balancing Cleanser with Sea Buckthorn (Sample Value ±$4)
Tay's beautiful bamboo packaging has always caught my eye, but I've never tried anything from the brand.  New cleansers are one of my favorite skincare items to try out, so I'm happy to receive this, though I have been struggling to track down an ingredients list.  

Mun No. 1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum (Sample Value ±$4.75)
Mun's serum, which consistently garners rave reviews, is made up of only three certified organic ingredients: prickly pear seed oil, argan oil, and rose oil.  The rose has held me back from trying this serum in the past, since as many of you know, it's not my favorite scent, but after smelling the sample, I'm happy to say that the rose isn't overpowering.  With all the accolades, plus a full size ringing in at a steep $95, I'm happy to have the chance to try this oil out in sample size.

NCLA Nail Lacquer in Let's Stay Forever ($16)
My nail polish collection is pretty small and I don't have anything close to this pretty, milky baby blue.  NCLA polishes are both vegan and 5-free, and with polishes retailing for $16, this one item covers the entire cost of the box for US subscribers, and a significant chunk of it for Canadians and Internationals.

EVOLVh UltraShine Moisture Shampoo + Conditioner ($8/$9)
Perfect timing on these two, as I've just run out of shampoo and conditioner and been digging through my sample box to tide me over until my Acure replenishment arrives!  I haven't heard of EVOLVh before, but the ingredients look pretty good.  The scent is a bit perfumey - especially on the conditioner - and reminds me of mainstream, salon hair products, but it's not so strong that I won't still give them a test run.

As an extra perk, the box also includes a coupon code for 20% off purchases at Hipsters for Sisters, which sells designer, eco-friendly, cruelty free belt bags.

The Bottom Line
The Petit Vour Box retails for $15 (US) / $23 (Canada) / $30 (International) and judging by this box, I think you get good value for your money, especially if you're in the States.  I need to check ingredients on the Tay cleanser, but assuming they're okay, I'll be using all five products, which is pretty fantastic for a subscription box.  Petit Vour's main focus is vegan and cruelty free products, but obviously they are interested in natural, non-toxic ingredients as well, which is great.  Going by reviews I've seen of previous boxes, not every product is going to be 100% natural, but the boxes do always at least lean in that direction.

I'm really happy with the contents of the June box, and I do think Petit Vour is worth checking out if you're looking for a monthly subscription box that's cruelty free, vegan, and/or natural.  Full size products are also available in the Petit Vour Shop.  


How cute is that logo?

*Press Sample
Contains affiliate links

24 June 2014

Sample Stash #7: Face Oils

I've been doing the occasional Sample Stash post for the last several months now, but I still don't feel like I've made any real dent in my sample pile.  So, in the hopes of working through some of the clutter (and perhaps discovering a hidden gem or two along the way), you can expect these posts a little more regularly in the future.  

Today's focus is face oils.  One thing I love about oils is just how little you need.  When it comes to samples, it's especially great, since that means that even a mere foil packet can give you enough time to form a real opinion.  Here are my thoughts on four oils that I've tried recently.




Shea Terra Rubignosa Rose Hips Oil
Before this sample, I'd only used Pai's Rosehip Bioregenerate Oil, but I'd been curious to try other rosehip oils and see how less expensive ones compared.  Shea Terra's seemed pretty similar in terms of feel and the effect it had on my skin, but the smell was nowhere near as nice.  The Pai has both the fruit and seed oils and smells gorgeous, whereas this one, which is just the seed oil was less impressive scent-wise.  In fact, it smelled kind of plasticky.  

Sibu Sea Buckthorn
Sample packets full of oil are messy, and happily, Sibu's found a way to get around that.  The sea buckthorn oil - which is sold in a regular glass dropper bottle - comes in gel cap form in the sample.  All you have to do is puncture the gel cap, squeeze the oil out, and you're good to go.  Pretty brilliant, I must say.  The oil itself was nice and I enjoyed the sample, but it was a little too light on its own for my slightly dry skin.  I could definitely see myself buying a bottle to mix with other oils once my face oil numbers are a little more under control. 

Pukka Firming Face Oil
Pukka's Firming Oil has an impressive ingredients list, starring evening primrose, rosehip, borage, and arnica, and I was curious to give it a spin.  Sadly, I ended up being a little underwhelmed.  It was okay, but it didn't strike me as anything super special....which is just as well since Pukka's entire skincare line has been discontinued.

Acure Marula Oil
This sample was my first time trying marula oil and it became a fast favorite.  Marula is rich in proteins and omega fatty acids, and while it's feels pretty light on the skin and absorbs quickly, it still has some weight to it and hydrates really well.  Acure's oil is wildcrafted, cold-pressed, and unrefined and it's a gentle, neutral smelling oil that my skin is very happy with.  I've since picked up a full size bottle and have been enjoying mixing a few drops in with my Vice960 Face Oil.

What oils are you loving these days?  Let me know in the comments.




Contains affiliate links.

21 June 2014

Lina Hanson Global Baby Serum


Lina Hanson's Global Body Serum took the green beauty world by storm last year and Lina's hit the mark again, this time with a baby product.  The Global Baby Serum launched this past Mother's Day, and while this blend was created with delicate baby skin in mind and is gentle and safe enough for newborns, it's also perfect for adult sensitive skin and anyone in search of a gentle, unscented body oil.  It's even recommended for pregnant bellies and new mamas, since several of the ingredients increase skin elasticity and help treat stretch marks.

The star ingredient is kalahari or watermelon seed oil, which is high in essential fatty acids, but still has a light feeling on the skin.  Watermelon seeds are harvested by women's co-operatives in West Africa, using fair-trade practices that support entire communities.  Camellia seed oil, harvested from the same plant that produces tea leaves, also stood out to me in the ingredients list.  This oil, most well known for its use by Japanese geishas, is extremely soothing, suitable for the most sensitive skin, and full of antioxidants.  Other ingredients include safflower, jojoba, sunflower, apricot, and grape seed oils.  To eliminate potential allergens, the blend is free of both essential oils and tree nut oils.

The oil feels very light going on, but still manages to hydrate really well.  I'm well aware that body oils don't always get enough love from me, since, although I appreciate the results they give, I can't always commit those extra few minutes straight out of the shower to massage an oil into damp skin.  Not a problem with the Global Baby Serum.  It's an oil, yes, but it's a dry oil and absorbs quickly and fully, even on completely dry skin.  Damp skin will make the oil spread a little further, but either way - on dry or wet skin - there's no greasy residue left behind.  

And, it's fantastic on more troubled skin too.  My legs had been reacting to something and were irritated and very itchy right around the time the sample of Lina's oil showed up at my door, and this beauty soothed my inflamed skin like nothing else.  The oil is also truly fragrance free, with no detectable scent to my nose.   

The Bottom Line
The Global Baby Serum is an excellent choice for babies, expectant mothers, and anyone else looking for a gentle, quick absorbing, unscented body oil.  The deceptively light feel hides a highly moisturizing, nourishing treat that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.  

Where to Buy: $35 from Lina Hanson, Spirit Beauty Lounge

Ingredients: Citrullus vulgaris (watermelon) seed oil, arthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed oil*, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil*, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, camellia oleifera (camellia) seed oil*, prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil, vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil, tocopherol (non-gmo)


Disclosure: Product provided for  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.

19 June 2014

Weleda Oat Hair Collection + My 30-Day #WeledaHairDare

Weleda is one of my favorite natural brands, so when I was asked to take part in the 30-day #WeledaHairDare, I was quick to sign on.  Weleda has sold hair care products for years in Europe - and I've heard great things from our friends across the pond - but as far as I know, the launch of their new Oat Hair Collection last year is the first time Weleda's hair care has made it to North America.  The basic idea of the challenge was to commit to only using Weleda's hair products for a full month.  For the sake of my often fussy, curly hair, I chose to allow styling products, but otherwise, it's been all Weleda, all month here.  For anyone switching from mainstream, conventional hair products, this length of time allows for a detox or transition period, and for someone like me, who already uses all natural hair care, it just gives ample time to get a feel for the products.



Shampoo
The collection has three shampoo options:
Oat Replenishing Shampoo for dry and damaged hair
Millet Nourishing Shampoo for normal hair
Wheat Balancing Shampoo for hair and scalp care
For the purpose of the 30-day challenge, I chose the Millet Nourishing Shampoo.  All three shampoos are made with gentle, biodegradable coconut- and sugar-based surfactants and the Nourishing Shampoo also contains millet seed extract and macadamia nut oil to enhance shine, revitalize and strengthen hair, and improve hair's resilience.  The Millet Shampoo is scented with grapefruit and peppermint, but to me, it mostly just has a very standard shampoo smell with a bit more freshness coming through from the mint.  I don't want to say the shampoo is thick exactly, but it's almost syrupy in consistency and can be a bit challenging to distribute through the hair.  That said, as long as my hair is very wet, the shampoo lathers well and can be worked through without too much difficulty.

The first couple weeks of use, I was left with a squeaky, almost too clean feeling after washing, but that gradually dissipated.  By about day 20, I was noticing buildup on my scalp.  I'm not sure if it was caused by the Weleda products or just other buildup (from styling products, environment, etc.) that the Weleda was not effectively removing, but I did reach for another, more clarifying shampoo at that point, before returning to the Weleda for the rest of the challenge.

I also had samples of the other two shampoos hanging around, so I decided to test them during the 30 days as well.  None of the three seemed drastically different from one another, but, surprisingly, the Oat (for dry, damaged hair) left my hair feeling more dry than the other two.  It was definitely my least favorite.  I think the Wheat and Millet could be used pretty much interchangeably, although the Wheat does contain wheatgerm oil, sage leaf extract, and rosemary, tea tree, and copaiba essential oils intended to soothe and moisturize dry and irritated scalps.


Oat Replenishing Conditioner
Unlike the shampoos, there is only one conditioner option in the collection.  Fortified with organic oat extract to help strengthen hair and reduce breakage, the Oat Replenishing Conditioner can be used with any of the shampoos.  It also contains moisturizing white mallow and organic jojoba and coconut oils to smooth hair, and increase shine.  I'm not crazy about the floral scent here, which is derived from mimosa and tonka beans.  It's just a little too sweet and flowery for my nose.  If you've smelled Weleda's Calendula Baby range, the scent is similar, but stronger and sweeter.

In spite of the scent, I really did enjoy this product.  It's very thick and rich and hydrates well without weighing down the hair.   With curly hair, I'm always concerned I'll end up with a head full of frizz instead of defined curls, but the Weleda conditioner does a great job and I haven't had even a hint of that problem.  Like the oat shampoo, it's marketed towards dry and damaged hair, but I think you could tailor the amount of product you use to suit all hair types.

Oat Replenishing Treatment
The replenishing treatment is made with organic oat extract, shea butter, and sea buckthorn and coconut oils, and is recommended for hair that is damaged by heat styling or chemical processing.  I don't have especially damaged hair and to be honest, I didn't notice a big difference between this and the already rich conditioner.  It smells the same, and while it's slightly heavier, my hair felt and looked pretty much the same with both products.  

Rosemary Conditioning Hair Oil
Hair oils are a key part of my post-shower routine, so I was excited to give this one a whirl.  It did not let me down.  Definitely my favorite part of the collection, the Rosemary Conditioning Oil is a multi-purpose product that can be used either as a leave-in styling aid, or more liberally, as an intensive treatment to be shampooed out.  You don't see peanut oil in a lot of beauty products, but it makes for a light, hydrating base that helps hair hold moisture, while rosemary, clover, and burdock root nourish the scalp and encourage hair growth.  

I swapped out my usual argan oil for this and I like it a lot.  I haven't noticed any significant difference in terms of scalp health or hair growth, but then I generally just apply it to the bottom few inches of my hair.  A little goes a long way and it does an excellent job smoothing the hair and controlling frizz and flyaways.

Something else that's pretty neat? This product is one of Weleda's oldest formulations and has been around almost as long as the company - since 1922!

The Bottom Line
Overall, I'd say I liked but didn't love Weleda's hair care line.  My hair was left feeling soft and healthy after a month of these products, but nonetheless, I'm a little on the fence about some parts of the collection.  I will say, I'd certainly buy the Rosemary Conditioning Hair Oil again and if Weleda ever decides to expand the line with matching conditioners to the Millet or Wheat shampoos, I'd be all over those too.  

Have you used any of Weleda's hair care products?


Disclosure: Products provided for  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.

16 June 2014

The Favorite Natural Makeup Tag

First off, please excuse how quiet the blog has been lately.  June has been hectic so far, but things are settling down enough to accommodate more regular posts now.  I'm a little late on this tag, but about a month ago - when it was making the rounds - I was tagged by Mary of Makeup by Mary B.  An all makeup tag?  Yes please!



Let's jump right into the questions...

What is your favorite foundation?
At the moment it's Honeybee Gardens Pressed Mineral Foundation.  Geisha is a great color match for me and the fact that it's pressed means I can do my foundation in about a minute and a half.

What type of foundation do you prefer - mineral, liquid, or cream?
Definitely mineral.  My skin doesn't do well with liquid or cream foundations on an everyday basis.  

Have you found a favorite natural mascara?
Sort of.  I really like Zuzu Luxe's mascara - I've been using it for years - but there are still times when I wish I had something to give me slightly more dramatic, VA-VOOM lashes.  In the plus column, the Zuzu never irritates my eyes and is seriously long-wearing. I've made it through blizzards (well, one blizzard) with this baby still on!

In your opinion, what company makes the best pigments for eye shadow?
My top two would be Darling Girl Cosmetics and Shiro Cosmetics.  Both companies make gorgeous, unique colours and the quality is top notch.  Do keep in mind that neither Darling Girl or Shiro claim to be natural and there are a few ingredients that crop up that I don't recommend or use myself (FD&C dyes, nylon-12, etc.) If that's a concern for you too, just make sure you read the ingredients on each individual product page.  The shadows are worth the extra effort, I promise, and most colors have fine ingredients.

Have you tried to make any of your own makeup?  If so, how did it turn out?
Yes! I blogged about my experiences making my own pressed blushes and pressing loose eye shadows, and I've also made tinted lip balms and glosses.  I'd love to do more, but it's one of those things that there never seems to be enough hours in the day for.  I still haven't managed to play with the lip dyes I hauled from TKB Trading over a year ago!!

What makeup item was the hardest to switch over to a natural alternative?
Like I mentioned in the Going Green Tag, I didn't directly switch over from mainstream to natural makeup.  Instead, I went from a period of not using makeup to getting back into makeup with more natural products.  As such, I didn't do any direct switches.  Even so, the hardest product to find has definitely been concealer.  Depending on the day, I have decently dark under eye circles and it's often a struggle to find something that covers them.  I like the combination of Une's Skin Glow Pencil and Silk Naturals' Sleep in a Jar, but the hunt is still on.  I picked up Everyday Mineral's Soft Peach Corrector a couple weeks ago, so I've been having a go with that recently as well.

Do you have any holy grail natural or non-toxic makeup products?
HG is a big commitment for a beauty blogger to make!  If I were to go there, it would be for Silk Naturals' Sleep in a Jar, Honeybee Garden's eyeliner in Smoking Gun, and Faerie Organic Eye Shadow Primer.

What is your go-to non-toxic lip product?
On a day-to-day basis, it's just lip balm.  Some favorites are Badger's cocoa butter lip balms, Balm Balm's unscented lip balm, and iherb's super inexpensive Sierra Bees lip balms.  If I want color, I love Silk Naturals' various lip products, Yes to Carrots' Tinted Colorbalms, and Revolution Organics' lip glosses.  

What is your favorite natural cosmetics brand?
There's so many great ones out there, it's impossible to pick just one!  I will say, I'm almost always impressed by Silk Naturals, Honeybee Gardens, and Zuzu Luxe.


I tag Nicole of EcoChicBeautyDiva, Kasey of PleinVanity, and Marcella of NaturallyMarcy.  I can't wait to read your answers!

Contains affiliate links.

8 June 2014

Leap Organics Eucalyptus, Mint & Anise Body Wash

Photo from Leap Organics
I'm a big believer in changing your skincare routine with the seasons, but I think Leap Organics' Eucalyptus, Mint & Anise Body Wash is the first time I've encountered a true, "summer only" body product.  It's marketed as a cooling blend of eucalyptus, mint, and anise, but my sniffer really just picks up the peppermint...and a lot of it.  It's an invigorating, minty scent that'll really wake you up.  

The body wash itself is a gentle, castile-based soap made with organic coconut, olive, and jojoba oils.  It lathers well - even more so on a loofah or konjac sponge - and rinses clean.  It never leaves my skin feeling dry, tight, or irritated.  

Why is it a summer only product for me? Three words: the peppermint tingle.  I first tried this baby in the dead of winter, and boy did I freeze!  The body wash leaves your skin feeling slightly cool when you first rinse it off, but it's when I'm toweling off that I really feel it.  In the winter - even in my reasonably warm house - it felt like torture by peppermint oil, but since the weather's warmed up, it's actually pretty refreshing.  It's also perfect for cooling off after a hot, sweaty workout.  

The Bottom Line
A great body wash for summer or post-workout, but I'll be opting for another scent come fall/winter.  Not for the peppermint faint of heart!


Ingredients: Purified Water, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Olive Oil, Potassium Hydroxide (Not In Final Product)*, Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Guar Gum, Organic Jojoba Oil Clear, Organic Jojoba Oil Golden, Peppermint Oil, Organic Eucalyptus Oil, Organic Aloe Vera, Star Anise Oil, Organic Rosemary Extract

1 June 2014

May Empties / Products I've Used Up

It's that time again: empties!  I couldn't fit everything into one photo, so I guess this was a good month for finishing things up.  Sometimes I feel like these posts are just rehashing reviews or other blog posts, but this time around, there are several things that never quite made it to other posts, so it should be interesting...



Nürish Organic Rejuven-EIGHT Day Cream*  [Review]
This day cream's impressive ingredient list features manuka honey,  raspberry seed oil, blueberry seed oil, cranberry seed oil, pomegranate extract, and broccoli seed oil - to name just a few.  It's a soothing, lightweight moisturizer that's great for reducing redness.  I did find it left my skin a little shinier than usual when used in the morning, but I had no problem using it at night, so I enjoyed it that way.  
Repurchase? Probably not.  I'm really much more into face oils these days.

Kinky Curly Spiral Spritz  
There's a full review forthcoming on this product, so I won't go into too many details here.  I've been searching for a less expensive replacement for my much loved Intelligent Nutrients Styling Gel, and the Spiral Spritz is my favorite so far.  It's a light, aloe-based hair gel that works really well for scrunching curls.  It gives a light hold and doesn't leave hair feeling crunchy or sticky.
Repurchase? Yes, I already have.

South of France Lemon Mint Liquid Soap   [Review]
This is my second bottle of this castile soap, which I mainly used as a body wash.  When I bought it, Lemon Mint was the only scent that was made with only essential oils, but it's since been discontinued.  I'm not sure if the newly overhauled South of France line has any products without fragrance.  
Repurchase? No longer available.

Deep Steep Tangerine Melon Body Lotion
Tangerine Melon is my favorite Deep Steep scent, but even so, I found this lotion a little too heavily scented for me.  Compared to the body butter, the lotion is lighter and rubs into the skin a lot easier, but it also has retinyl palmitate (retinyl palmitate + sun exposure has been linked to cancer.)
Repurchase? The body lotion?  No.  This scent in other products?  Very likely.

Deep Steep Lavender Chamomile Hand Cream
This was a extra tester I was given at work (points to you if you noticed the 'try me' sticker in the photo.)  I liked the hand cream, but it feels very similar to Deep Steep's body butters, so I'm not convinced it's worth spending roughly the same amount for a tube 1/3 of the size.  If you want something small to carry with you, go for it, but otherwise, I'd recommend just buying the body butter.  
Repurchase? Probably not.

Now Foods Vanilla Lip Balm   [Review]
I was pretty unimpressed with this balm initially, but I pulled it out again recently in my quest to finish up all my started lip balms and it was decent.  It's on the waxier side - the first ingredient is beeswax - but once you warm it up a little, it's pretty nice.  It's definitely not a one-swipe balm, but if you don't mind taking an extra minute or two, it does a pretty good job.   
Repurchase? Probably not.  There are other lip balms I like more.

Kynk Shea Moi
Shea Moi is a raw, whipped shea butter, enriched with rice bran oil and scented with lemongrass and geranium.  I think I got a funny batch, as this smelled burnt and I know from selling Kynk at work that they don't all smell that way.  The burnt + lemongrass combo reminded me of a barbecue, so it got delegated to my feet, where I wouldn't smell it as much.  The actual product worked well, but the smell totally turned me off.  
Repurchase? No.

Kynk In the Raw
In the Raw is pure, raw shea butter that's been whipped to a lighter consistency.  This had a little of that burnt smell too, although much less than the Shea Moi.  Looking at Kynk's website just now, they do say that "shea butter has a slightly smokey and nutty aroma acquired from traditional extraction methods," so I guess that's what I'm smelling in these, although I've not experienced that with any other shea butter products.  
Repurchase? Probably not. I think I'll try whipping shea butter myself though, as the lighter texture was really nice.



Boo Bamboo Makeup Remover Wipes*   [Review]
As face wipes go, I think Boo Bamboo's are the cream of the crop.  They remove every speck of makeup - even mascara and eyeliner - without a struggle and have never bothered my skin in the slightest.  I prefer not to use wipes on an everyday basis, but if I was buying them for a special occasion or travel, these would be the ones I'd buy.   
Repurchase? Very likely.

Kaia Juicy Bamboo Bamboo Cleansing Cloths
After the Boo Bamboo, I was on a bit of a wipes kick and dug these out of my sample box to try.  They do an okay job removing makeup, but they also left my face feeling a little dry and irritated. 
Repurchase? No.

Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castile Soap (samples)
An old favorite and something I always keep on hand.  I used these two samples to clean my makeup brushes, but there really are a million and one uses for Dr. Bronner's.  
Repurchase? Maybe.  The unscented is still my favorite.

Priti NYC Soy Nail Polish Remover Wipes   [Review]
I've been consistently impressed with these wipes, so it was a sad day when I found a polish that this wipe could not beat.  We all know glitter polishes are terrible for removing, and Priti's wipe could not budge Color Club's Apollo Star.  I'm not sure if it was just a question of needing more actual product than the wipe holds or just a horrible polish to remove, but I ended up doing a two step process with Suncoat's Gel Remover, followed by Sante's remover on top of the Priti wipe, and it still was a struggle to get off!  
Repurchase? Possibly.  I still have several wipes left, but I think I want to try the liquid remover next time.

Silk Naturals Sleep in a Jar in Light Peach   [Review]  
I'm not sure if this is my second or third jar of Sleep in a Jar, but needless to say, I'm a fan.  I used to use it on its own, but these days I prefer using it to set another, cream concealer.  It doesn't give a ton of coverage, but it's excellent at brightening up the under eye area.  
Repurchase? Yes, I already have.

Silk Naturals Perfecting Powder (sample)
I generally use powder foundations, but I like using a finishing powder on top of certain parts of my face.  The Perfecting Powder was fine - did the job - but it didn't stand out much either.
Repurchase? Not sure.  I have a few samples of other finishing powders I want to try first.

Urban Minerals Foundation in Missus Multicultural (sample)*   [Review]
Urban Minerals is a local-to-me mineral makeup line with a focus on accommodating all skin tones.  What's unique about the foundation - beyond the extensive color range - is that it includes a whole host of skin-friendly ingredients like nettle, aloe, chamomile, calendula, marshmallow, sea buckthorn, and white willow bark.  When I first wrote my review, I thought Missus Multicultural was my best match, but I may need to revisit that, as coming out of this long winter, I think it was a little too dark for me.
Repurchase? Not right away.  I have several other mineral foundations I want to work through.

Cee Cee & Bee Café Mocha Soap
I was lucky enough to win four travel size Cee Cee & Bee soaps in a giveaway from Natural Kath and of the lot, Café Mocha is the one I gravitated to first.  It's palm oil free, and produces a rich, creamy lather that smells like a yummy mix of coffee and chocolate.  Coffee grounds also provide a light exfoliation.  Just a personal preference, but as someone who generally only uses bar soap on my hands, I've realized I much prefer smooth soaps, without any exfoliating particles, so I found myself wishing it didn't have the coffee grounds.  
Repurchase? Probably not this specific one, but there are a couple others Cee Cee & Bee soaps I've got my eye on.

Nuka Lime Spearmint Green Tea Soap
Nuka is an Ontario company whose palm oil free soaps are sold in bulk at my Whole Foods.  I bought this way back in December and used half the bar then, before deciding it was too drying on my hands.  Now that the weather's warmed up, it's been quite lovely and I haven't found it drying at all.  The blend of lime, spearmint, and green tea also smells fantastic.  
Repurchase? Very likely, but only in the warmer months.


* Denotes press sample.
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