30 November 2014

November Empties / Products I've Used Up

It's interesting to notice how much empties posts vary by season.  Temperatures dropped quite a bit in November here, so it's pretty fitting that this month's empties are heavy on really moisturizing products.  Here's what I finished up this month:


This is a great body wash.  It leaves my skin feeling very soft and hydrated and the Sweet Orange Vanilla scent is lovely.  I wouldn't go out of my way to use it as a shampoo, but it'll do the trick in a pinch.
Repurchase? Yes, I already have.

Frangipani Toning Serum*   (Review)
With a simple base of apricot kernel and jojoba oils, this was the lighter of the two Frangipani serums I tried.  I liked it, but I have a lot of face oils hanging around and it's not one I found myself reaching for very often, so in the interest of both clearing some space and not having products expire on me, I ended up using it up as a body oil.
Repurchase? No.

I was initially a bit put off by the length the ingredients list on the back of this product, but there really isn't anything specifically worrisome there.  If you're used to more traditional foaming shaving creams, the lotiony consistency of the Moisture Shave might take some getting used to, but I really like it.  It nicely cushions the skin and allows your razor to glide easily.  You also can't beat the price - I paid roughly $6 on iherb for a generous 11 oz. bottle that lasted me months.
Repurchase? Yes!  I think I want to try the Pomegranate Grapefruit scent next though.  

Moor Spa Facial Mask*   (Review)
I enjoyed using this mask when I was short on time or when my skin was acting more sensitive.  It's gentler than a lot of other clay-based masks, so I think it would be especially suitable for drier and more sensitive skin.  It was also refreshing to have a mask all ready to go in a tube, versus the rest of my masks that are in powder form.  
Repurchase? Maybe.

This is a nice lotion with a thinner consistency that rubs in very easily, but it still manages to hydrate well.  The White Mallow products have no added fragrance, but the body lotion has a light, natural coconut scent from the coconut oil in it.
Repurchase? Not sure.  There are other body lotions I like more.

Raw Gaia MSM Beauty Spray*   (Review)
I mentioned in my review that I didn't find this spray hydrating enough to be considered a moisturizer - as the company markets it - and now that I've used it up completely, I have a better idea why that was.  The first 95% of the bottle was a light, watery spray, but once I got down to the bottom, I found all the rich oils.  I've used other products that required shaking before each use to emulsify them, but I guess shaking didn't do the trick with this one.  I really liked the watery, toner-like part, but I wasn't as impressed with the oils.  
Repurchase? If I knew some way to better incorporate the oil component, yes.  Otherwise, I'm not sure.

When I first tried this lotion over the summer, I found it very hydrating - even a little heavy - but when I came back to it in the colder months, it didn't quite do the trick.  Rubbing it on more recently, it felt pretty watery and seemed like it disappeared into my skin without giving much moisture.
Repurchase? I don't think so.

KYI's products are a great example of simplicity at its best.  The Unscented Shea Butter Mask has only two ingredients: shea butter and jojoba oil.  It's not significantly different from any other whipped shea butter, but it worked well as a regular moisturizer, a moisturizing face mask - as the name suggests - and also on any dry spots (elbows, feet, etc.)
Repurchase? Maybe.


EvanHealy's French Rose Clay is a favorite of mine, so I was curious to see how the Green Tea Clay would compare.  It has the same lovely, finely milled consistency as the Rose Clay, but I didn't feel like it was anything special beyond that. 
Repurchase? No.

I think the best part of this product is the smell.  It's like icing: a sweet and buttery vanilla scent.  It's also whipped - for 4-6 continuous hours, according to the EvanHealy website - to a beautiful fluffy consistency that really elevates it to a luxurious level above any other shea product I've used.  Much like the KYI mask, it's something you can use as a daily moisturizer or as a more intensive mask treatment, although I ended up using most of the sample on my body.
Repurchase? Probably not.  It's a pricey product to use as a body moisturizer.

RoseMira Organics Sweet Coconut Body Butter (sample)
I received this in a Petit Vour box a few months back, and while I enjoyed using it, it didn't blow me away.  It smelled good, but it felt very similar to moisturizing with plain coconut oil.
Repurchase? No.

Skincando's Balm is a multi-tasking skin salve that's recommended for everything from severe dryness and eczema to minor abrasions, razor burn, chafing, scars, jock itch, bug bites, and sun and wind burn.  I used the sample on my hands, which started to suffer when the temperatures dropped, and while it worked fine, I have other balms that I like more.
Repurchase? I don't think so.

As a whole, I like Silk Naturals blushes, but this wasn't my favorite shade.  Stellar is a pretty, shimmery pale pink, and while I like the color, I have some larger pores on parts of my cheeks, and Stellar's large amount of shimmer just made them more noticeable.
Repurchase? No.

I'm not a big fan of Green Beaver's shampoos and conditioners, so I ended up using this sample in place of shaving cream.  It worked okay, but I wouldn't buy it strictly for that purpose.
Repurchase? No.

Ella's Botanicals Skin Soother & Go Nuts Bar Soap (samples)
I know I've written about Ella's soaps a few times before.  I like the feel of both of these, but I'm not crazy about the canola oil in the Go Nuts bar.  The Skin Soother has an olive oil base instead, so I would (and have) bought the full size bar.  
Repurchase? Skin Soother, yes.  Go Nuts, probably not.

Have you tried any of these?  What products have you used up recently?

*Press sample
Contains affiliate links.

         

29 November 2014

New Discoveries from Gabriel Color and Zuzu Luxe

Gabriel Cosmetics - or more specifically Zuzu Luxe - was the first natural makeup I remember using.  I discovered one of the company's makeup displays as a teenager, whilst wandering through a Wild Oats store in Salt Lake City, and I remember being surprised by how modern and even trendy the color selection was.  This goes back several years - to before I'd made the switch to using only natural products and to long before anything close to today's natural makeup selection existed - and Gabriel Cosmetics and Zuzu Luxe have not left my makeup bag since.  

The line has expanded quite a bit since those days and I'm always eager to check our the company's new releases.  I recently had the chance to try a few new-to-me products and I jumped on it.  I was sent the Zuzu Luxe Mosaic Illuminator in Light* and Gabriel Color Vibrant Pink Blush* and Florentina Multi Pot.*  



Mosaic Illuminator (Light)
Can we just admire how gorgeous these mosaic powders are for a minute?  If there's one thing I'd say is still lacking in the non-toxic makeup realm, it's pressed powders like this that can rival high end mainstream makeup - in terms of packaging and visual appeal, as well as performance - so it's very exciting to see Zuzu Luxe stepping up to the task.  

According to the company, the Mosaic Illuminator "captures light and covers imperfections, giving your complexion a luminous beautiful finish."  It's a light powder that gives minimal coverage, but a really nice, slight radiance to the skin.  It's particularly great for this time of year when skin can start looking a little dull. 

Used by itself, the illuminator slightly perfects and evens out the skin.  There are some yellow-toned components that are helpful for toning down redness, but it still doesn't provide as much coverage as I'd like by itself.  Instead, I like to use it over top of another foundation, as more of a setting powder.  That way, you get the coverage from another product, but the lovely finish and radiance of the Mosaic Illuminator. 



Vibrant Pink Blush
Vibrant Pink looks crazy bright in the pan (it's even brighter in real life than in the photos!), but on the cheeks, it provides a pop of color that's neither garish or over the top.  Gabriel (and Zuzu Luxe) pressed products are always great quality and Vibrant Pink is no exception.  I only need to lightly tap my brush into the product to get enough color for my cheeks and it doesn't kick up much excess powder or fall out either.  I also love that this is a matte shade, but is still pigmented and very blendable.  I'm definitely interested in trying more colors in the future.  



Florentina Multi Pot
Gabriel's Multi Pots are designed to be a three-in-one product for the eyes, lips, and cheeks.  Florentina is a matte, bronzy/neutral pink or raisin color that I never would have chosen for myself, but I ended up quite liking the natural, subtle look it gives, particularly on the cheeks when used as a blush.  The texture of the Multi Pot is significantly drier than a lot of other cream blushes, so it's never greasy or oily on the skin.  Instead, it feels like it sets to a powder-like finish almost as soon as you blend it.  

This consistency also helps it last better on the eyes - although it did crease when I tried to build the color up to more than a sheer wash - but it also means that I don't love how it feels on the lips.  On bare lips it acts as more of a stain, but can be a little drying.  I've also tried applying it over a lip balm, which compensates for the dryness, but means you won't get the best color payoff.  It's all good though, as Florentina is probably a color I'd wear more on my cheeks and eyes anyways!  




The Bottom Line
I already loved Gabriel and Zuzu Luxe products and these three have only served to reinforce that.  If you're looking for high quality natural makeup with great ingredients and the same ease and convenience as mainstream products (no loose powders here!), I don't think you can do better than these lines.  The products are also pretty widely available at Whole Foods and other health food stores, which is always a plus.  


*Press Sample

28 November 2014

Make It Work: The Deodorant That Burns Your Pits

I hear time and time again how difficult deodorant is to switch over when transitioning to natural products, and I think it's very true.  First, you have to factor in that many of us come to natural products used to antiperspirants not deodorants and that no natural deodorant is going to stop you from sweating the way an antiperspirant does.  After this first hurdle, you come to the even larger problem of finding something that works without needing to be reapplied every thirty minutes AND doesn't irritate one's delicate arm pits.  

Baking soda is one of the best odor-absorbing ingredients out there, but because of how alkaline it is (a ph of 8.5, versus the 4.5-5 ph of the skin's natural acid mantle), it can cause skin reactions in a lot of people.  It really depends on the individual: some people can tolerate it fine, others not at all, and for others still - like me - it all comes down to how much is used in a given product.  

Schmidt's Deodorant is pretty popular around the blogosphere, so I was excited to get my hands on it over the summer.  It passed the smell test - all day odor protection - but it always managed to turn my armpits into an angry, red, bumpy battlefield.  Eventually I gave up and set it aside.  

You might know - if you've ever seen my empties posts - just how much I hate to waste products, so months later, I decided to try my hand at transforming this deodorant into something I could more comfortably use.  



Based off several different variations of homemade deodorant I've made, I combined:

7/8 of a jar of Schmidt's Lavender Sage Deodorant
An equal amount of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
Sprinkle of Ora's Amazing Herbal Clay/Arrowroot-based Body Powder (arrowroot powder, cornstarch, or kaolin clay would work fine too)
5 drops Young Living Eucalyptus Radiata Essential Oil

I melted the Schmidt's and coconut oil together over a double boiler, then removed it from the heat and stirred in the last two ingredients.  After that, it's just a matter of pouring it into jars and waiting for it to cool.

The Results?

Today was my first day using it, but so far it's everything I was hoping for!  It hasn't burned or irritated my pits, and it still works well to keep any stink at bay.  As an added bonus, it's also a perfect creamy, buttery consistency now, where the Schmidt's was always very solid and required a lot more effort to work into the skin.  

I'll keep you guys updated once I've used it for longer, but so far, I'm really happy with how it turned out.

P.S. Check out my favorite, super simple DIY Deodorant recipe here.


27 November 2014

Black Friday / Cyber Monday Green Beauty Deals

Because I didn't have a picture to go along with this post.  Why not a puppy nose?

Putting together a list of all the amazing green beauty sales happening around American Thanksgiving has become something of a tradition around these parts.  Just like the last couple years, I'm including my "best of" Black Friday/Cyber Monday favorites for green beauty aficionados.  I've marked Canadian brands/companies with a sun (☼) 

Happy shopping lovelies! :)


I'll be updating this throughout the weekend as more sales are announced.  Feel free to leave any I've missed in the comments below too!  


Abe's Market

10% Off (Coupon Code: BLACKFRIDAY) -- Friday
15% Off Orders of $30+ (Coupon Code: SNEAKPEEK) -- Sunday
$5 off $30+ (Coupon Code: CYBERMONDAY5) -- Monday
$10 off $50+ (Coupon Code: CYBERMONDAY10) -- Monday
$25 off $100+ (Coupon Code: CYBERMONDAY25) -- Monday

Amala Beauty

20% Off (Coupon Code: HOLIDAY2014) -- Friday through Monday

Au Naturale Cosmetics

30% Off (Coupon Code: THANKS) -- now through Tuesday

Balanced Guru

25% Off Sitewide + Free Shipping -- Friday through Tuesday
+ Select Items 30-50% Off

Blissoma

25% Off Deodorants, Travel Skincare Sets, and 3 New Skincare Items (Coupon Code: THANKYOUNEW25) -- now through Tuesday

Brija Cosmetics

25% Off Orders of $15+ (Coupon Code: SHOPSMALL25) -- Friday through Monday

Bubble & Bee

15-25% Off -- Friday through Monday

Clementine Fields

15% Off La Bella Figura, Yarok, and Studio 78 (Coupon Code: black friday) -- Friday and Saturday

The Detox Market

$10 Off Orders of $100+ (Coupon Code: THANKS10) -- on now, not sure how long it runs
$30 Off Orders of $200+ (Coupon Code: THANKS30) -- on now, not sure how long it runs
$60 Off Orders of $300+ (Coupon Code: THANKS60) -- on now, not sure how long it runs
♥TONS of great brands.  Some of my faves: Kahina, Yarok, One Love Organics, Osmia Organics, and Lina Hanson

Dr. Sponge

20% Off (Coupon Code: HOLIDAY) -- now through Sunday
♥These are my favorite konjac sponges!♥

EcoDivaBeauty

$20 Gift Card with Purchases of $200+ -- Friday
$75 Gift Card with Purchases of $500+ -- Friday
Free Gift with Purchases of $300+ -- Friday

Fable Naturals

30% Off Facial Care and Body Oils (Coupon Code: 30FRIDAY) -- Friday through Monday

Foxy Mango
30% Off (No coupon needed) -- now through Monday

Gabriel Cosmetics

30% Off Skincare (Coupon Code: VIPskincare30) -- Friday
30% Off Everything Except Holiday Duos (Coupon Code: VIPcyber30) -- Monday

Genfiore Cosmetics

50% Off (Coupon Code: BLACKFRIDAY) -- Friday

Glam Goes Green

$7 off Red Apple Lipstick -- Friday
15% Off (Coupon Code: Black) -- Friday

Goodness Me!
$10 Voucher with Purchases of $100+ -- Friday through Monday

The Honest Co.

25% Off (Coupon Code: THANKSGIVING2014) -- Friday through Monday

Honeybee Gardens

25% Off  Color Cosmetics (Coupon Code: BFRI) -- Friday
15% Off Everything (Coupon Code: SBSAT) -- Saturday
25% Off Everything EXCEPT Color Cosmetics (Coupon Code: SSSUN) -- Sunday
Free Shipping in US and Canada (Coupon Code: CMON) -- Monday
Make a Donation to HBG's Animal Fund and get a free aftershave, deodorant powder, eye liner, lip liner, or pressed eye shadow -- Tuesday

Indie Beauty Shop

$10 for all Paz and Lourdes products (regular $13) -- Friday
$10 off Orders of $35+ (Coupon Code: MADE102012) -- Friday
♥P&L lip glosses are lovely!  Very creamy and pigmented♥

Indie Lee

Gift with Purchase Trio with Orders of $65+ -- Thursday through Monday
25% Off Body Products (Coupon Code: CYBERINDIE) - Monday

Integrity Botanicals

20% Off Orders of  $100+ (Coupon Code: BLACK20) -- now through Monday
15% Off Orders under $100 (Coupon Code: BLACK15) -- now through Monday

Juice Beauty

Free Green Apple Nutrient Eye Cream + Free US Shipping with $50+ Purchase (Coupon Code: BFS14) -- Friday and Saturday
Free Green Apple SPF15 Moisturizer + Free US Shipping with $40+ Purchase (Coupon Code: SS14) -- Saturday
Free Makeup/Skincare Gift Box (up to $133 value!) + Free Shipping with Purchases of $75-125 -- Sunday and Monday

Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques
30% Off Foundations, Concealers and Skincare
20% Off Eye Colors, Cheek Colors, Mascara, Lash Conditioner, Makeup Remover, Glitters and Bronzers
15% Off Tools and Lip Products
+ Additional 10% Off All Full Size Items (Coupon Code: cybermonday2014) -- Friday through Monday
♥The Lip Color in Sangria is AMAZING.  I also recommend the Finishing Powder♥

Lippy Girl Makeup

15% Off (Coupon Code: BFRIDAY) -- Friday
♥I'm so excited about LG's new pressed makeup releases! (foundations, blushes, and eye shadows!)

Love Lula
15% Off (Coupon Code:FRIDAY) -- Friday through Sunday

Lucy Minerals

Two Discounted Bundles -- Friday
♥Lucy's foundation has the best coverage of any mineral foundation I've used.  I also adore the Lucy Light Finishing Powder and blush in Juicy Peach♥

Marie Natie Cosmetics

30% Off (Coupon Code: GOBBLE) -- Friday

Me and the Girls

20% Off + Free Shipping (Coupon Code: BLK20) -- on now, not sure how long it runs

Meow Meow Tweet

15% Off (Coupon Code: TURTLEDOVES) -- now through Sunday

Mineral Fusion
50% Off (Coupon Code: CYBER50) -- Monday

Naturisimo

15% Off + Free Shipping (Coupon Code: XMAS) -- Friday through Tuesday

Nonie of Beverly Hills
Buy 1 Get 1 50% Off (Must be the same item) -- Friday through Monday
Free US Shipping for Orders of $40+
♥I've just recently started testing a few Nonie products, but so far I really like them!

Nourish Organic

50% Off (Coupon Code: GREEN50) -- Friday
25% Off (Coupon Code: CYBER25) -- Monday
♥I love pretty much everything from Nourish, but especially the body washes, deodorants, and body butters♥

Nuciya

20% Off (Coupon Code: FRIDAY)  -- now through Friday
10% Off (Coupon Code: LASTCHANCE - Saturday through Monday
+ Extra 5% Off with Bitcoin -- now through Monday

Olie Biologique

30% Off (Coupon Code: THANKS30) -- now through Monday

One Love Organics

25% Off (Coupon Code: MERRY25) -- Sunday at 8PM EST through Monday

Pai Skincare

Buy an Everyday Skincare Essentials Kit and get $167+ worth of free treatment products -- Friday through Monday

Petit Vour

Select Products on Sale -- Friday through Monday
♥Discounted items include a few of my favorite items from the last several boxes: Earthbody Cleanser/Mask, Root Science Face Scrub, and NCLA nail polish!

Pretty Skincare

25% Off (Coupon Code: BLACKFRIDAY) -- Friday through Sunday
♥The Pure Radiance Cream is probably my favorite cream moisturizer I've ever used.  Hydrates well, perfect consistency, and makes your makeup go on flawlessly - it's almost like a moisturizer + primer in one!♥

Rachel's Plan Bee

Gift with Purchase + Free US Shipping -- 12pm-12am CST Friday
(GWP includes samples of body oil and face oil + a lip balm)
♥Great chance to try the new body oil - it smells like delicious cake!♥

Raw Skin Ceuticals

50% Off -- Thursday 10PM CST through Monday

Sappho Cosmetics

Up to 75% Off Select Items -- Friday through Sunday

Scentuals Bodycare

40% Off (Coupon Code: TGIF) -- Friday

Sibu Beauty

60% Off (Coupon Code: SIBU60) -- now through Monday

Vapour Beauty

30% Off (Coupon Code: V30) -- on now, not sure how long it runs
$80 Gift with Purchase for Orders of $150+
♥I can't say enough good things about Vapour's concealer, lipsticks and glosses!♥

Vitacost

Up to 60% Off Doorbusters -- now through Saturday
12% Off (Coupon Code: CYBER12) -- Sunday and Monday
+ $10 off your first order of $30+ with my referral link

W3ll People

20% Off -- Friday

Young Living

20% Off Select Seasonal Kits -- Friday
♥By far the highest quality essential oils I've used!


*Contains affiliate links

26 November 2014

Petit Vour: Natural Givers (November 2014)

November's Petit Vour box* was co-curated with Ashlee Piper of The Little Foxes, a compassionate lifestyle blog.  The box contained products from four luxury boutique brands that are intended to simultaneously pamper and treat the body.  I love supporting small, independant brands, so I'm ecstatic to see that this month's box is 100% smaller companies.  Here's what came in the box:



Caru Skincare Rose Facial Serum (Sample Value ±$4)
Caru's Rose Serum is an oil blend formulated to hydrate and nourish the skin.  It's a mix of jojoba, pomegranate, evening primrose, and rosehip oils, with rose absolute and carrot seed, geranium, and palmarosa essential oils.  It has a pretty heady rose scent for me, but I've heard really good things about Caru's products.  

Au Naturale Creme Eye Shadow + Creme Concealer (Unknown Sample Value) 
Au Naturale is consistently raved about and I don't think it's an exaggeration to say I've been meaning to try something from their line for years.  I received the creme concealer in Beige, the company's second lightest shade and while I thought it looked dark in the pot, it's actually a pretty perfect match for my skin.  Palma, the creme eye shadow I received, is a shimmery gold/bronze that's just gorgeous.  Both products are very creamy and they're really great sample sizes too.  The box also included a coupon code for 25% off an Au Naturale order, good through the end of the year.  

French Girl Organics Cerise Mineral Lip Tint ($11)
On an everyday basis, I'm all about the tinted lip balms, so this 92% organic lip tint is bound to come in handy.  From the name, I was expecting it to smell like cherries, but that turned out to just be the color.  The lip tint is instead scented with geranium and peppermint essential oils.

Earthbody Sacred Skincare Dream Body Oil (Sample Value ±$5.75)
There was an Earthbody face mask in the PV box a few months ago and I loved it,  so I was excited to see another Earthbody product this month.  The body oil is made with organic safflower, grape seed, sweet almond, jojoba, and rosehip seed oils and is scented with a blend of lavender, chamomile, frankincense, rosewood, and sandalwood.  I can't wait to use this!



The Bottom Line
As far as I'm concerned, this was a pretty stellar box!  I'm most excited about the Earthbody oil and the Au Naturale samples, but the other two items were by no means duds.  This box totally epitomizes everything I love about Petit Vour: great ingredients, lesser known brands, and gorgeous, indulgent products!

Petit Vour boxes retail for $15 (US) / $23 (Canada) / $30 (International) and individual products can also be bought in the Petit Vour shop.   


 *Press Sample
Contains affiliate links

25 November 2014

Brand Focus: The Honest Co. + Discovery Kits Review

Like a lot of other natural companies, The Honest Co. was started by two parents who couldn't find the products they wanted for their babies and homes, so they decided to take things into their own hands and make them.  The difference here is that one of those parents is the quite famous Jessica Alba!  

The company has a great selection of natural products that includes baby products, bath and body items, cleaning products, and supplements.  Everything is covered by the company's Honestly Free Guarantee - a core commitment to safe, non-toxic ingredients and full transparency.  It also includes a money back guarantee if you are unhappy with your purchase.    

Photo Credit
One of The Honest Co.'s main features is a bundle system, where you receive a fully customizable monthly bundle of products at a discount from what you would pay to buy them individually. There are three bundles to choose from:  Diapers and Wipes, Essentials, and Health & Wellness.  The company also currently offers Discovery Kits as a free trial, where you pay only for shipping.  When you sign up for a Discovery Kit, you will be enrolled in the bundle service, but you have 7 days after receiving your kit to cancel your subscription, should you want to.

I recently had the opportunity to try out two of the Discovery Kits.  The Diapers and Wipes Bundle Trial* comes with seven diapers (you choose the size) and a travel pack of 10 wipes, while the Essentials Bundle Trial* comes with trial sizes of five of their most popular personal care and home cleaning  products.  

Keep reading to see what I thought...

Diaper and Wipes Bundle Trial

Since I don't have any wee ones, I passed the diapers along to someone else who could make use of them.  I don't know how they performed, but they looked pretty comparable to other disposable diapers.  That said, since they're made from sustainably harvested pulp and plant-based materials and use only natural odor-inhibitors and no fragrances, lotions, or latex, they do seem like a much better option that standard disposable diapers - both for the environment and your baby's health.

The Honest Wipes are cheekily marketed as "the only wipes you'll need from cheek to cheek," and are made with a blend of purified water, citric acid, silver, decyl glucoside, and several fruit and herb extracts.  Again, I can't speak to how they work for diapering, but I tested them out as a face/makeup wipe.  The cloth itself feels very thick - definitely the thickest wipe I've used - and the wipes, which are fragrance free, have a mild, clean scent.  I found them very gentle and they didn't irritate my face, but they also struggled to remove all my eye makeup.  If you're someone who only wears face makeup, they'd probably work, but for things like mascara and eyeliner, I either had to reach for something else or rub my eyes a good bit more than I'm comfortable with.

Essentials Bundle Trial
When you enroll in the Essentials Bundle, you get to customize your bundle with any five products from The Honest Co.'s  selection of bath and body, baby, and cleaning products, but for the purposes of the trial, everyone receives minis of the same five items.  


Organic Healing Balm - I mentioned how much I liked this product in my Post-Flu Pamper Routine and that still holds very true.  It's a great USDA certified organic balm that works well for everything from rashes to cuts and scrapes, dry lips, and irritated skin.  You really only need the tiniest dab for most things, so I forsee even the mini size lasting me a good while.

Lavender Hand Soap - A good basic soap.  It lathers well and hasn't dried out my hands.  I don't know that it's something I'd rush to buy, but it works well.  Also available in Mandarin and Lemongrass scents.

Face & Body Lotion - I've been carrying this mini lotion in my purse and I've enjoyed using it on my hands.  It's unscented - so I don't have to worry about offending anyone should I want to use it in the middle of a crowded subway or other public place - and it absorbs super quickly - almost instantly - without any greasy residue.  I tend to want my lotions a little richer for all over use, but if The Honest Co. started selling these mini sizes, I might pick up a couple more for travel or keeping in my purse.

Multi-Surface Cleaner - We have a glass table in my kitchen that I'd venture to say is one of the absolute worst surfaces to clean (food bits, dust, fingerprints, puppy nose smears, oy!), but this has done a pretty decent job.  I'm not crazy about the fact that it has phenoxyethanol in it, but since it's a cleaning product, I doubt you're getting much, if any, on your skin.

Shampoo & Body Wash - This was my favorite out of everything.  It didn't do much for my hair, but I love it as a body wash.  It's gentle, has a good lather, isn't drying, and it smells amazing.  Back when I was working in the health food store, everyone was obsessed with John Masters' Blood Orange & Vanilla products, and The Honest Co.'s Sweet Orange Vanilla scent is in the same family, but I'd argue it's even better.  If you're familiar with the JM, this one is equally sweet and delicious, but the scent is a little fresher and lighter.     

The Bottom Line
I'm really happy I had the chance to try these!  I wouldn't rush to repurchase every single product, but I found a couple new favorites and I like the company as a whole.  Whether or not you have kids, I think The Honest Co. has a lot to offer.  I've already placed an order for more Body Wash and a couple new things to try too!

You can save $10 off your first purchase by signing up with my referral link.  I also recommend making an account and signing up for emails, as The Honest Co. regularly has deals and sales just for email subscribers.  

Have you tried anything from The Honest Co.?  Let me know your favorites in the comments!

*Press sample
Contains affiliate links.

20 November 2014

Raw Gaia MSM Beauty Spray & Raw Chocolate Face Pack

Raw Gaia is a UK skin care line that's passionate about making 100% natural products that really work.  The ingredients lists are short, but they're packed with pure, minimally processed, unrefined and organic ingredients.  I was generously sent a couple products to review: the MSM Beauty Spray* and Raw Chocolate Face Pack*.  After reading a number of positive reviews from other bloggers and skimming the glowing testimonials on the company's own website, I was really eager to give these a try!



MSM Beauty Spray
MSM, often called the beauty mineral, is an organic sulphur compound that's anti-inflammatory and very beneficial for skin repair.  When taken internally, MSM can help with a whole host of things - everything from arthritis and joint health to strengthening hair and promoting radiant skin.  By applying MSM topically, as in Raw Gaia's MSM range, the MSM is directly absorbed by the skin, thereby maximizing its skin benefits.

In addition to MSM, the Beauty Spray contains wild crafted argan oil, organic rosehip oil, and wild crafted frankincense water and essential oil, all blended together to create a gentle spray that I think would suit just about any skin type.  The Beauty Spray is described as a light moisturizer, but I like to use it more as a hydrating toner.  It's a liquid spray with some oil in it (I recommend shaking it before you spray!), but it's definitely more on the watery side.  It's not hydrating enough for my skin to use it on its own, but I love using it either to dampen my skin before applying an additional face oil, or as an intermediate toning step between cleansing and moisturizing.  It smells like frankincense, but it isn't overly strong or overpowering in any way.  

Raw Chocolate Face Pack
The composition of this mask is a potent mix of organic raw chocolate powder, red clay, organic turmeric, and organic amla fruit powder.  The clay tones and decongests your pores, while the chocolate provides a boost of free radical fighting antioxidants.  The amla powder gives a high dose of vitamin C, great for increasing cell turnover and brightening the skin, and the turmeric is both anti-inflammatory and very effective at evening skin tone and fading hyperpigmentation and scarring.  

It smells phenomenal - just like chocolate - and it felt lovely and cool while it was on.  It wasn't overly drying and I was looking forward to radiant, glowy skin when I washed it off.  Unfortunately, what I found instead was that my entire face had been stained orange.  Bright, bad fake tan, Snookie orange.  I'm guessing it was the turmeric - in combination with how fair my skin is - but, needless to say, it wasn't a pretty sight.  I got the color off by washing my face a few times with Evolve's Gentle Cleansing Melt, but my skin doesn't thrive on a lot of touching/scrubbing, so by the time I'd gotten all the orange off, I felt like I'd probably negated many of the benefits of the mask.  I've been reluctant to reach for it since, so I'm not sure how I feel about this one.  I'll make sure to post an update once I've used it some more.

The Bottom Line
I'm conflicted on the Raw Chocolate Face Pack, but I'd wholeheartedly recommend the MSM Beauty Spray.  I don't generally fall hard for toners or sprays, but I really like this one.  I could definitely see myself buying a full size in the future.  If your skin is more on the oily side, it might even work as a light moisturizer.

Have you used anything from Raw Gaia?  Any tips to prevent the face pack from staining so badly?

*Press Sample

11 November 2014

The Post-Flu Emergency Skincare Edit

People always talk about their skin suffering when they are sick, but it's not something I've ever experienced until this past week when I was laid up with a stomach virus.  Aside from feeling sick, I was barely able to manage basic skincare - or really anything much more than lying in bed - and my skin definitely started to show it.  It became simultaneously dull, congested and dehydrated.  Not a great combo!  Once I started to feel better, getting my skin back in shape was one of the first things I did!  Here's what I used...



SkinnySkinny The Cleanser + Root Science Face Scrub*
I've been using SkinnySkinny's cleanser for close to two months now and I really like it.  It's extremely gentle, but still leaves my skin feeling very clean, and it also works amazingly well as a base for the Root Science Face Scrub, which I received in September's Petit Vour box.  Mixed with just water, the scrub is a little too harsh for my face, but the SkinnySkinny cleanser helps it glide across the skin a little more softly, and the pair has become my favorite, most-used exfoliant of late.  These were were the first things I reached for to get my skin back to normal and they worked great for both exfoliating away dry patches and kicking dullness to the curb.

Terra Tribe Green & White Detox Facial Dry Mask*
While I was sick, I received a lovely package from Indie Beauty Shop, a Canadian online store specializing in natural products made by smaller, independent companies, and this face mask sounded perfect for revitalizing my post-virus skin.  It contains a mix of kaolin and green clay, as well as green tea extract and white willow bark.  The two clays detoxify your skin and absorb excess oils, while the green tea extract delivers antioxidants and the white willow bark - which contains salicin, the natural precurser of salicylic acid - gently exfoliates and has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.  I've only used the mask the one time so far, but I was impressed.  My skin was left looking clearer, brighter, and overall healthier.

The Honest Co. Organic Healing Balm*
Another lovely side effect of this stomach bug was being left with some of the driest, most chapped lips ever.  Regular lip balms weren't cutting it, so I decided to try The Honest Co.'s Organic Healing Balm.  (I got a mini size of the balm in the company's Discovery Kit - which you can still get for free here.)  The ingredients list is superb, packed with moisturizing organic sunflower, olive, tamanu, and coconut oils, as well as organic beeswax, shea butter, and calendula extract, and it's a great multipurpose ointment to have on hand.  It smells sort of earthy and natural and the tamanu scent is definitely noticeable - though not overly strong - so it's probably not something I'd use on my lips except under extreme circumstances like this, but it worked great and quickly whipped my ailing lips back into shape.

The Bottom Line
Being sick sucks, but at least there are great skincare products to help bring your skin back to normal!  These four really came through for me this week, and they're also products I'm happily incorporating into my regular routine.  
Do you have superhero products you reach for when your skin is not at its best?


*Press sample
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