Petit Vour Spring Forward (April 2015)

This month's Petit Vour box is all about spring and building the perfect cruelty-free beauty arsenal.  The April Collection* was curated to include natural and progressive innovations, hand-selected for the spring season.  As always, everything is 100% vegan and cruelty-free.  

The Konjac Sponge Co. Pink Clay Konjac Sponge ($12)
I've never tried the Konjac Sponge Co., but I do like using konjac sponges.  Made from Japanese konjac root, the sponges are fully compostable and offer a deep cleanse and gentle exfoliation.  The biggest difference I notice with konjac sponges - versus cleansing with my hands or a washcloth - is just how clean my pores stay.  I opened a new sponge from another brand just a couple days before this box arrived, but I'm happy to have a backup and will make use of this one in a couple months.  

Box Naturals Lavender/Rosewater Luxe Towelettes (Sample Value ±$1.50)
Box Naturals towelettes are biodegradable, lightly scented with essential oils, and specifically made for hands, faces and special places (*wink*).  I like individually wrapped wipes like this for toting in my purse, but these ones are preserved with phenoxyethanol, so I'll be passing them on to someone else.   

Suntegrity 5 in 1 Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen ($5)
Suntegrity's sunscreen is a 5 in 1 product that claims to treat, hydrate, protect, prime, and cover the skin.  This is a well-loved sunscreen/tinted moisturizer in the green beauty world, but not one I've tried before.  The sun protection (SPF 30) comes from non-nano zinc oxide and the formula also contains a whole host of great ingredients including hyaluronic acid, astaxanthin, red algae, aloe vera, and cucumber and green tea extracts.  One ingredient I'm not so crazy about is cetyl dimethicone, although Suntegrity states it is mineral-derived, rather than synthetic.  

Lauren B. Beauty Nail Polish ($18)
Petit Vour has introduced me to some great nail polish brands in past and I don't have anything similar to #I'mSoLA, the beautiful raspberry pink that came in this month's box.  Lauren B. polishes are made in the USA, 5-free (no formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, DBP, toluene, or camphor), and claim to be quick-drying, long-lasting and chip-resistant, with a mirror-like, glossy finish.  I can't wait to get this on my toes!  

The Bottom Line
I wouldn't say this month is the most exciting box I've ever gotten from Petit Vour, but there were some great items included.   I'm a little more neutral on the Box Naturals towelettes and Suntegrity sunscreen - purely for ingredients reasons - but I'm excited about the nail polish, and the konjac sponge will definitely be put to good use too.  And, as always, you do get your money's worth.  The April box value comes out at around $36.50.  

Petit Vour boxes retail for $15 (US) / $23 (Canada) and individual products can also be bought in the Petit Vour shop  The limited edition Spring Luxury Box was also recently released for $55 ($123 value!)  and includes some great products too.

Have you tried Petit Vour or used any of these products?  What do you think of subscription boxes?

*Press sample
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Brand Focus + Review: Holiskin

I had a bit of an unplanned blog hiatus this past week, but I'm back today with a long overdue review of Holiskin.  I'd seen a few positive reviews, so I was ΓΌber-excited when Joshua, Holiskin's formulator in chief, contacted me a few months ago about trying some products.  Holiskin is a unisex line handmade in New York City with great, predominantly organic ingredients and completely free of preservatives, synthetics, emulsifiers, thickeners, and fillers.  I've been putting three products to the test: the Chamomile ACV Facial Toner*, Revitalize Eye Serum*, and Citrus Passion Body Oil*.  

Chamomile ACV Facial Toner
The toner is a simple blend of just two ingredients: roman chamomile distillate and raw, unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar.  It does smell pretty strongly of vinegar initially, but it's not a scent that lingers on the skin.  Chamomile is an excellent soothing ingredient, great for minimizing skin redness and inflammation, and apple cider vinegar purifies and kills bacteria, while restoring a healthy skin pH and helping to maintain the skin's acid mantle.  Apple cider vinegar also contains malic acid, so the toner has gentle exfoliating properties and boosts healthy cell turnover.  My skin can be sensitive, so some days I like to dilute the toner with a little plain water, but other times I will use it at full strength.

Revitalize Eye Serum
The Eye Serum is a blend of apricot kernel, evening primrose, rosehip and camellia oils, infused with calendula extract and boosted with vitamin E and lavender, helichrysum and geranium essential oils.  The blend is housed in a convenient rollerball and is light enough that it sinks right in upon application.  I mentioned the serum briefly in my Evening Skincare Routine, and my opinion, with longer use, has stayed pretty true to those first impressions.  It's very soothing and hydrating and I notice less puffiness in the morning when I've used the serum the previous night, but it hasn't made much difference to the darkness under my eyes. 

Citrus Passion Body Oil
Saving my favorite for last, I'm completely smitten with this body oil.  The Citrus Passion scent is a fresh, uplifting blend of lime, bergamot and litsea cubeba that's spot on for spring.  Jojoba, rice bran, apricot kernel and grapeseed oils make a great base that hits that perfect balance between fast absorption and good hydration.  The oil leaves my skin feeling silky and soft, and very delicately scented.  It's even lightweight enough that I can use it on dry skin without feeling greasy or slippery!  

The Bottom Line
Holiskin products are simple but very well-thought out formulations of high quality, plant oils and botanicals.  The Citrus Passion Body Oil was the clear standout favorite for me, but I think all three products are great within their own right.  If you have more acne-prone skin than me, I've also read more than one rave review of the Intensive Repair Acne Scar Treatment.  

*Press sample

Makeup Basket #1: Mineral Fusion, Zuzu Luxe, Nudus, Bare Minerals + More!

Sometimes I skip writing about makeup because I don't feel like I have enough to say about a single product to justify a post. Which is where I thought this series could come in, with mini reviews of several products in one.  I haven't done a lot of shopping recently, but I've been revisiting some makeup already in my stash and I wanted to share several products I've been enjoying.

The Mosaic Illuminator is an interesting product.  It's not a highlighter, as the name might suggest, but rather a light, luminous face powder.  When I wrote my initial review, I was mainly using it over foundation as a setting powder, but more recently, a combination of better skin and more time working from home has had me using it differently.  I've been pairing the Illuminator with just a bit of under eye concealer and a tinted lip balm for a very minimal, "no makeup" makeup look.  It has a beautiful  finish and I find that the yellow parts really do a good job correcting minor redness.  I wouldn't say the powder has any real coverage, but it gives a pretty, soft focus, almost airbrushed look to the skin.

I first tried this mascara in the middle of the winter and wasn't overly impressed.  For me, cold weather goes hand in hand with watery eyes and the Lash Boosting Mascara does not get along well with moisture.  Or maybe it gets on too well.  Either way, tears, rain, snow, or the barest hint of moisture will have this mascara melting off your lashes and under your eyes in a flash.  

That said, I've pulled it out again since the weather's warmed up, and I actually quite like it, so long as it stays dry.  It's a solid black color and lashes look natural and fluttery, but also nicely defined.  It doesn't make them feel crunchy or hard, and it's - not surprisingly - a breeze to remove at the end of the day.  The formula, which has gotten a little drier since the winter, also plays much better with glasses now.  Initially, I was going crazy having to clean mascara off my lenses for the first two or three hours, but I haven't had that issue these last few weeks. I also haven't had any irritation or other problems when wearing the mascara multiple consecutive days in a row, which is a first for me with a Physicians Formula mascara.  With regards to the lash boosting claims, my lashes might be slightly longer and fuller, but I'm not convinced it's not just a placebo effect.  Regardless, my lashes look healthy, so that's a good thing.  

I got this a while back, after noticing that I didn't have just a plain, clear lip gloss.  Polished is exactly that and is super convenient to wear over any lip color.  I like the squeezy tube packaging and I'm happy with the formula as well.  It's a thinner consistency, but decently glossy, quite moisturizing, and completely non-sticky.  The berry scent isn't my favorite, but I've still been enjoying the gloss overall.

My mom bought this for me a few months ago when we were at the outlets in Niagara Falls.  The Color Boosts are a little sheer, I think because they're meant to be be something you can use all over your face, but I stick to using The Adrenaline Rush, which includes a matte pink and mauve and a luminous gold, as a blush.  I like to swirl my brush into all three colors, which creates a pretty peach shade with just a hint of golden luminosity, but I suppose you could use the colors individually as well. 

Nudus's lipsticks have taken the green beauty world by storm recently and it's not hard to see why.  Gorgeous packaging is only the beginning for these lipsticks, which also boast phenomenal ingredients and rich pigmentation.  The formula includes anti-inflammatory turmeric and holy basil, anti-oxidant rich oils like pomegranate, raspberry, and kiwi seed, and is packed with other great botanicals as well.  Halo is described as "an angelic color with a hint of frost" and it's a natural pink that I think would look good on just about anyone.  Frost always makes me think of icy, metallic lipsticks from the 80's, but in Halo's case, it's more of just a subtle sheen.    I do find I need to wear lip balm underneath, but I haven't seen anyone else comment on that, and my lips do tend to be on the dry side.  

I was suckered into browsing the Sephora website by a Bare Minerals gift with purchase (featured in my Mid-Winter Favorites) and this somehow ended up in my cart.  Before you check to make sure you're still on a green blog, take a look at these ingredients -
Water, Ci 77499 (Iron Oxides), Alcohol Denat, Glycerin, Ci 77510 (Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide), Pullulan, Disodium Coco-Glucoside Citrate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Hectorite, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide.
Pretty darn clean.  I was as shocked as you.  I wasn't immediately familiar with pullulan, but a spot of research revealed it to be a starch-based polysaccharide commonly used in vegetarian capsules and not an especially concerning ingredient.  Everything else looked good too, so I decided to try it in the hopes of upping my liquid liner game.  The extra fine brush tip is what really sold me, as I love cat  eyes and winged liner, but my liquid liner skills are pretty nonexistent.  The formula itself is pretty standard, though it's pigmented, nicely black and completely matte.  I haven't had any problems with how it wears, but many of the review on the Sephora website do complain that it smudges easily.

It hit me, in a wave of post-shopping guilt that I later confirmed, that Sephora isn't a cruelty-free brand anymore.  I don't think I'd buy the liner again for that reason, but it still makes me happy to see a decidedly non-natural brand with at least an occasional clean product.  Just make sure you pick up the 12-hour Liner and not its waterproof, 24-Hour counterpart, which has a few more nasty ingredients.  

The Adrenaline Rush Separately and Swirled Together, Nudus Halo, Sephora Long Lasting Eye Liner

What makeup have you been loving recently?

*Press sample
Contains affiliate links

The Honest Co. Conditioner + Conditioning Detangler

I loved the Honest Company Discovery Kit I tried last fall, but most of all, I loved the Shampoo + Body Wash.  A combination of its bright, zesty creamsicle scent and gentle formula made it a fast favorite. Naturally, I had to buy more, and once I was ordering, I decided to try the Honest Conditioning Detangler as well.  I also received a free Honest Conditioner from a promo they were running at the time.  Both of these share the same Sweet Orange Vanilla scent as the body wash, so I couldn't wait to dive in!

With great ingredients like argan oil, shea and murumuru butters, and jojoba and quinoa proteins, I really wanted to love this conditioner.  It feels lovely in the shower and leaves my hair incredibly silky after rinsing, but I find - no matter how little product I use - my hair and scalp start to feel greasy within about 12 hours of showering.  Many of the reviews on the Honest website talk about how lightweight the conditioner is, and while I'd agree it feels that way initially, it leaves my hair flat and weighed down after just a few hours.

It's gone the same route as other failed conditioners before it and ended up repurposed as shaving cream, and it actually works great in that capacity.  The silkiness that was too much for my hair is perfect here and gives a razor just the right amount of slip.  

This, on the other hand, was a big hit right from the start.  I like using detanglers and leave-in conditioners to perk up my second-day curls and this does the job nicely.  It also works well as a traditional detangler on knotty hair.  And, it has the added benefit of smelling great too! The scent is a little different than in the shampoo and conditioner - heavier on the sweet vanilla, and with less of the fresh citrus - but it's still nice.  It isn't overpowering and isn't something that lingers much beyond the initial application, which is just how I like my hair products.

The Conditioning Detangler also boasts many of the same great ingredients as the Conditioner, but in spite of the richer components, the formula is thin and watery and feels very light in the hair.  It's a spray I can use liberally without having to worry about ending up with weighed down or greasy strands.  The formula also includes calendula and chamomile extracts to soothe irritated scalps, and panthenol to smooth the cuticle of the hair and boost shine.  

The Bottom Line
The Conditioning Detangler is fantastic.  It works equally well as a detangling spray and as a curl refresher, and it's something I'd both recommend and can see myself buying again after this bottle is through.  The Conditioner didn't work for me for its intended purpose, but even so, it's hard to dislike something that smells this good!  And, it does make a decent shaving cream, so it wasn't a complete loss.  I probably wouldn't recommend it as a conditioner unless you have very dry hair and a dry scalp or if you're someone who only uses conditioner on the very ends of your hair, but if you're in the market for a delicious smelling shaving cream, you could do a lot worse.  

Both products are affordable ($9.95 and $5.95 respectively) and you can get them for even less through The Honest Co.'s bundle system.  My referral link + the code INVITED10 will get you an extra $10 off your first purchase.  Alternately, Vitacost recently started carrying The Honest Co. and both these items are available there.  I've even heard you can find them in some Whole Foods and Costco stores!

Have you tried anything from The Honest Co.?  What are your favorites?

Contains affiliate links.

Skincare Routine Part #3: Occasional Products + Treatments

For the final part of my skincare routine, I want to talk about those products that I use on a regular - but not everyday - basis: scrubs, masks, spot treatments, and a luxury balm.  Scrubs and masks were the first skincare items I really got into and I still really love both, so these are some of my favorite products out of everything I use.  Keep reading to find out more!

The Exfoliators
Exfoliating is key for sloughing off dead skin cells, but with never ending debates on chemical vs. manual exfoliants, it can be hard to know where to start.  My simple take: go with what works for your skin.  For me, that generally means gentle manual exfoliants.  I've only been using Andalou's Chia + Omega Radiant Skin Polish for a couple months, but it's already a firm favorite and I foresee buying it again.  With a mix of finely ground walnuts and chia seed powder, it's gritty without feeling harsh.  It also smells delicious, like peach pie, and contains skin brighteners like turmeric, vitamin C, and white tea extract.

When I've got a little more time to play alchemist, I enjoy using Kaia's Bamboo Tapioca Beads*, a Canadian-made multi-functional powder exfoliator and mask.  The beads are a unique blend of kaolin clay, tapioca starch, bamboo powder, chickpea flour, silica, and a mild, coconut-derived cleanser that can be mixed with just about any liquid - water, an oil, tea, honey and more!  My favorite method is to top a creamy cleanser with a generous sprinkle of the powder, mix together, and gently massage onto a damp face.  Used with just water, the beads are borderline too abrasive for my sensitive skin, but a creamy cleanser tones them down just enough to keep my skin happy without majorly impacting their exfoliating power.

The Masks
I've accumulated a fair few masks that I like to rotate between, but for the purposes of this post, I've just included the three I've been reaching for most often recently.  My top pick of the moment is Balanced Guru's Calming Masque.  As I said in my full review, I'm not sure calming is the most accurate description of this mask.  Ultimately, it does leave skin calm, but first it does a stellar job detoxifying and pulling any and all gunk out of the pores.  At the same time, nutrient-rich ingredients like echinacea, kelp, alfalfa, spirulina, rosehip, and marshmallow feed your skin, elevating the mask far above your average detoxifying clay mask.  

For a truly pampering treat, I like to follow with RawSkinCeuticals' Rosacea Herbal Gel Masque.  A gel/cream hybrid, this mask has an impressive ingredients list, including Vitamin C and superstar soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredients like shea butter, rosehip seed oil, comfrey, calendula, neem, and green tea.  I do experience a stinging/warming sensation when I first apply the mask, but it's relatively mild and dissipates within the first 5-10 minutes.  It's worth mentioning that while the Rosacea Gel Masque works beautifully as a second step following some kind of clay, when I've used it by itself, I did experience some breakouts and irritation, so I think it really needs already cleaned out, detoxified pores to work its best.  For that reason, it's strictly a second step in a double-masking routine for me.  

Lastly, I really enjoy Sibu Beauty's Sea Buckthorn Purifying Mask for those instances when I'm short on time, but still want to do a mask.  It comes pre-made in a tube, eliminating the mixing step, plus it only needs about 10 minutes on your face.  Again, I find the name to be slightly misleading.   Bentonite clay is the second ingredient - after water - but it's followed by so many other hydrating and nourishing ingredients that the end product is actually quite gentle.  It pulls some dirt and impurities out of the skin and I notice my face looks fresher after, but it's definitely not the most drawing or purifying mask in my cabinet. 

The Spot Treatments
Dr. Alkaitis' Soothing Gel made it into my Best Discoveries of 2015, but three months later, I still haven't invested in a full size bottle.  The problem - if you can even call it that - is that I use so little at a time, and it works so well after only one or two applications, that I doubt I'd ever get through an entire large bottle before the expiration. Though it makes an incredible spot treatment, the Soothing Gel is too drying for me to use all over, so I'm subsisting on samples for now.  I usually use the gel at night and by the next morning, any pimples or blemishes are either gone or significantly reduced in size. 

I've also used essential oils on blemishes for several years.  While tea tree is the standard choice, I find I get much better results from a combination of frankincense and eucalyptus.  Since discovering the Soothing Gel, I rotate between that and the two essential oils.  Or, sometimes I layer all three for an extra pimple-fighting punch.  

The Added Luxury
Before this, I'm not sure I ever would have purchased a separate product for the neck or chest, but Vice1960's Neck & Decollete Balm* does such an excellent job that I'm completely sold.  My chest/decollete area is prone to irritation and tiny bumps/breakouts and is also the first place to show when I've been in the sun.  Even when it's not a full-on sunburn, the flush/pink can linger for weeks!  This amazing balm clears all that up within just a couple applications.  The first ingredient is my much-loved hazelnut oil, and it also contains other great ingredients like meadowfoam seed oil, sea buckthorn extract, and carrot root oil.  It's quite a rich and emollient balm, so I find less is more.  You only need a tiny dab, and while I originally used it every night, since my skin has improved so drastically in this area, I find I now only need to use it once or twice a week for maintenance.  I've also occasionally used this in place of an eye cream and even all over my face and it's worked nicely for those purposes as well.  It's undoubtedly a luxury item, but one that's completely worthy of the splurge if you're able!

And that's my skincare routine in a (rather large) nutshell!  Make sure you check out my Morning and Night Routines if you haven't seen them yet.

*Press sample
Contains affiliate links

iHerb Haul + First Impressions

As you may already know, iHerb is one of my favorite places to shop.  Comparable to Vitacost and other discount sites, iHerb offers an impressive selection of health products - cosmetics, personal care products, supplements, and food - at very affordable prices.  My fellow Canadians can attest that we pay more for nearly everything here, compared to our American friends south of the border, so prices are almost always cheaper than what I would pay locally, even factoring in the cost of shipping.  Plus, iHerb stocks a lot of brands I wouldn't otherwise have access to.  I generally place a small order (<$45 to avoid customs fees) every month or two, but I haven't posted an iHerb haul since my first year of blogging (2011!), so I thought I'd show you what I bought this time.  It's been about two weeks since I received my package, so I can give my first impressions on most things too.  

Keep reading to see what I bought!


Kinky-Curly Spiral Spritz
Between Curly Girl Edits and empties posts, I think this has ended up being one of my most frequently featured products, so I won't go on too much!  The Spiral Spritz is a great light-hold gel for curls or waves and is one of my favorite products to use on wet hair.  My current bottle is running low, so I needed to pick up a new one. 

Kiss My Face Pomegranate Grapefruit Moisture Shave

I discovered Kiss My Face's Moisture Shaves last year and they're without a doubt one of the best shaving products I've ever used.  They have the consistency of a creamy, pearly lotion and help your razor glide effortless across the skin.  I also love the pump top and that the substantial 11 ounce bottle lasts a good, long while.  I haven't used this scent yet, but I like how it smells in the bottle.  The grapefruit really cuts the pomegranate's sweetness, creating a balanced scent that's both fresh and fruity. 

Desert Essences Italian Lemon Hand and Body Lotion
Though I've always enjoyed certain aspects of Desert Essences lotions, I've never found a scent I was happy with.  A lot of them are far too sweet and strong for me, and many are preserved with Japanese honeysuckle extract too, which I'm not comfortable using.  The company  released a couple new scents recently, including this Italian Lemon, which replaces the Japanese honeysuckle with potassium sorbate AND is fragranced only with essential oils.  I usually enjoy citrus scents, so it seemed like a safe bet.  (Plus, for less than $6, the risk really wasn't THAT big.)  Some of the reviews complain that the scent is milder than Desert Essence's other lotions, but for me that's a plus.  It's not overpowering, which is great if you like lighter scents, or if you're looking for a product that won't interfere with perfume or other scented products.  In the tube, it's a sweet, dessert-like lemon, but on the skin I find it loses some of the sweetness and ends up more zesty.  I wish it stayed a little sweeter ( I love how it smells in the tube!), but I'm enjoying it nonetheless.

Crazy Rumors Pear & Peppermint and Leaping Bunny Plum Apricot Lip Balms
I rediscovered Crazy Rumors last month and enjoyed the Plum & Peppermint flavor so much that I immediately wanted to repurchase it when it ran out.  Unfortunately, iHerb didn't have that one, so I went for the next best thing: Pear & Peppermint and Plum Apricot.  I haven't cracked either of them open yet, but I'm hoping they'll be just as good! 

Tierra Mia Organics Healthy Dent Tooth Regime
I love my Earthpaste, but after 2.5 years, I've been looking to branch out and try something new.  Glycerin-free toothpastes are slim pickings though, let me tell you!  These are tiny soap chips that you use in place of toothpaste.  Unfortunately, they were an immediate fail, mainly because of the flavor - or lack thereof.  The ingredients list both peppermint and spearmint extracts, but they're virtually undetectable. And, with no noticeable flavor, the chips just taste like soap.  The lather was great and they left my teeth feeling clean and smooth, but I don't think it's something I can do on a regular basis.  

In hindsight, I wonder if this method would even count as glycerin-free, since glycerin is a byproduct of traditional soap making and is often left in the soap for increased moisture and slip.  I'll have to look into it more, but if you're eager to brush with soap, I think you'd do better with the peppermint Dr. Bronner's bar than this product.

I bought this intending to use it with setting powder, but I ended up loving it for blush instead.  Usually I prefer smaller blush brushes, but the larger shape and fluffiness really does a great job blending.  I've yet to actually try it with setting powder.

Sea salt and chocolate is one of my favorite combos and this lime creme filled bar didn't disappoint.  The filling wasn't super creamy and there wasn't a lot of it - just enough to give a subtle lime flavor - but it was still quite tasty.

I like chia seeds and I like berries, but I just didn't like this bar. I tried it the day my order arrived and I've still got half of it sitting on my counter, which I guess says a lot!
Like I said, I order from iHerb pretty regularly, so let me know if posts like this are something you enjoy reading, or if I should just stick to Instagram photos like this one instead.  I'm always looking for new things to try, so I'd love to know your iHerb favorites too! 

Plus, order this weekend for an extra 20% off ALL bath and body!  If you're new to iHerb, you can also save $5 or $10 off your first order with my referral code: ITI429.  

 *Contains affiliate links

Petit Vour Spring Dreaming (March 2015)

I'm pretty smitten with Petit Vour and March's box is no exception  With a spring theme, the box looks to introduce products that will elevate your beauty ritual with purpose and innovation, while also giving you lovely things to look at on your vanity.  Here's what was included:

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair CC Cream (Sample Value ±$11.50)
I haven't tried much from Juice Beauty, but the CC Cream has gotten a lot of good press, so I was happy to see it in this month's box.  I received Natural Glow, the lightest shade, which is a good match for my fair skin.  The coverage is minimal, but it does even things out a little and gives the skin a healthy, dewy finish.  I ended up going over the CC Cream with a light dusting of mineral foundation, but I don't think it's an absolute must to top it with anything, depending on how much coverage you like and how dewy or matte you want to look.   It smells grassy and very much like petit grain essential oil (which it does contain), but the scent isn't overpowering, nor does it linger much past the initial application.  I'll update once I've used it a little more, but first impressions are good!

Metropolis Soap Co. Lavender & Spearmint Lip Cream ($7)
Metropolis Soap Co. isn't a company I'm familiar with, but I'm always happy to try new lip balms and I like how rich and creamy this one feels.  My nose really enjoys the Lavender & Spearmint scent, but it does taste a little soapy on my lips.  I also don't love that it's made with palm oil, which I try to avoid, but since I have it, I'll certainly use and enjoy it.

The Little Alchemist Cacao & Banana Face Glow ($32)

I've heard really great things about The Little Alchemist, so I was excited to give this a try.  In addition to raw cacao and banana, the mask also contains zeolite, clay, and a whole host of superfoods including acai, green papaya, spirulina, maca, and turmeric root.   I tried it out the same day my box arrived and I loved it!  Dry, it smells a little funky - sort of vinegary - but once you add water, the chocolate scent takes over.  I left the mask on for about 10 minutes, as per the instructions, and it left my skin looking healthy and radiant, and with noticeably less visible pores.

Vert Mont Perfumery Eros (Sample Value ±$5.25)

I've made no secret of the fact that I don't love receiving perfume samples, but I do actually like how Eros smells.  A blend of red mandarin, coriander, orris root, patchouli, juniper, and jasmine, it's sweet and earthy and reminds me of incense - only fresher and without the chemically, headache-inducing qualities.  I'm thinking of mixing this into my next body oil concoction.  Vert Mont perfumes are free of synthetics and are hand-mixed blends of essential oils and plant essences in organic sweet almond and jojoba oils.  

The Bottom Line
I really liked the March box.  The Cacao & Banana Face Glow was the biggest standout for me and I'm also really happy to have been able to try the Juice Beauty CC Cream.  The lip cream and perfume were slightly less exciting to me, but they're nice too - I don't think there were any duds in this box!  The total value, at roughly $55, is pretty phenomenal too.

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

*Press sample
Contains affiliate links

March Empties / Products I've Used Up

This month, I really focused on using up products that were nearly finished or that had been hanging around for a while, so this latest batch of empties is even more satisfying than usual.  Here's what's headed for the bin:

Nourish Organic Coconut & Argan Body Wash
I've talked about Nourish's body washes many times before, so I'll keep it brief.  The Coconut & Argan line isn't available online anymore, but if you can find it in stores, I'd recommend it.  The body wash has more of a tropical/floral scent than a coconut one and was one of my favorites from Nourish.  Any of the company's body washes are great though.  They're very creamy and hydrating, but also produce a decent lather.
Repurchase?  Eventually, yes.  I've got a few other bottles that I picked up on Black Friday to use first.

Leap Organics Eucalyptus, Mint & Anise Body Wash   [Review]
I enjoyed this, but it is intensely minty.  It's great during the summer or after a sweaty workout, but in the colder months, it sometimes left me feeling chilled.  I didn't notice any eucalyptus or anise in the scent, just a whole lot of peppermint.
Repurchase? Yes, but I want to try a different scent next.

Sibu Beauty Sea Buckthorn Moisturizing Body Cream*   [Review]
This falls kind of mid-way between a lotion and a body butter.  It's a thicker, richer cream that provides a good boost of moisture to the skin, while still sinking in and absorbing really easily.  The cream has a triple dose of sea buckthorn from the seed oil, fruit oil, and fruit pulp and I really liked having that extra nourishment in a body product.  I also used this as a hand cream and it worked great for that as well. 
Repurchase? Yes.  I have other lotions/creams I want to work through first, but I would buy it again in the future.

Weleda Skin Food
I've been using this same tube of Skin Food for two or three years now and I noticed a couple months ago that it was expiring in April.  If ever there was a product I was proud of using up, it's this right here.  I made a concentrated effort to use it nearly every day and went through the last third of the tube just in the past month or so.  I like Skin Food, but mostly in small doses like on my elbows, so it's just not something I go through very quickly.
Repurchase? I'm not sure.  I think I've found other products I like slightly more, but I do have another (thankfully smaller) tube to use before I have to decide.

Rocky Mountain Soap Co. Vanilla Candy Cane Body Butter   [Review]
I've never been a huge fan of lotion bars or solid body butters before, but I was really impressed with this one from Rocky Mountain Soap.  I loved the Vanilla Candy Cane scent and the bar itself was creamier and less waxy than other similar products I've used, so it melted into the skin really easily.  The flip side of that is that the bar melted away pretty quickly and I didn't feel like I got a ton of use out of it.  This was just a mini size though - I  imagine a full size would last a good bit longer.  
Repurchase? Yes, I think so.

Ella's Botanicals Skin Soother Bar
Ella's Skin Soother is a soap I always go back to and one that's especially great in the winter.  I pulled this out after my hands had been completely dried out by another bar soap and its gentle blend of olive oil, hemp oil, and oatmeal helped turn things around in no time.
Repurchase? Yes, definitely.

Crazy Rumors Plum & Peppermint Lip Balm
I find myself a little hot and cold on Crazy Rumors lip balms, mainly dependent on the individual scents.  Plum & Peppermint was very fruity with just a touch of mint and I loved it.  I used the entire tube - start to finish - in about three weeks, which is sort of crazy.
Repurchase? Yes, I've already picked up a couple different scents to try.

F. Miller Skincare Body Oil (sample)
I quite enjoyed this oil.  It had a light feel and absorbed quickly, but really left my skin feeling nourished. The scent was nice enough too, although not necessarily a standout for me - a mix of earthy and citrus notes from neroli, bergamot, grapefruit, frankincense, and palmarosa essential oils.    
Repurchase? Probably not, just because of how pricey it is.  I'm not really one to spend a lot on body oils.

Earthbody Dream Body Oil* (sample)
Another body oil hit, this one courtesy of a Petit Vour box several months back.  Dream is a little thicker and richer, compared to the F. Miller one, but I enjoyed it as well.  Earthbody's skincare is inspired by Ayurvedic principals and I love that the body oils are made not only with carrier and essential oils, but also infused with herbs.  
Repurchase? Yes.  I'm curious to try a couple other scents too.

Green People Intensive Repair Conditioner (sample)
I've used multiple samples of this conditioner and there are things I really like about it.  It has a moderately thin consistency, making it very easy to work through the hair and it leaves my hair feeling very silky and soft.  It also does a good job minimizing frizz and leaves my curls looking nicely defined.  I'm not crazy about the rose geranium scent though, which is what has always stopped me from purchasing a full size.
Repurchase? Probably not.

Suki Transformative Cleansing Clay (sample)
I loved this as a mask when I was first introduced to it a couple years ago, but this time around, I wasn't as impressed.  I'm not sure if my skin has changed or if I've just found other masks that work better for me, but I wasn't wow-ed.  
Repurchase? I doubt it.

And that's it!  I'm glad I decided to keep count this year as I'm really enjoying keeping an eye on the numbers and being able to see what products I consistently get through.  (Apparently I use a lot of lip balm!)  It's also nice to know I'm making progress on my samples, even when it may not seem like it to look at how many still remain.   

Skincare: 1 (Lip Balms: 1)
Body/Hair:  5
Makeup: 0
Skin/Body/Hair Samples: 5
Makeup Samples: 0

2015 Total
Skincare: 11 (Lip Balms: 4)
Body/Hair: 14
Makeup: 5
Skin/Body/Hair Samples: 24  (I realized I hadn't been counting items from my Sample Stash posts

                                                                       which is why this number jumped so much this month.)
Makeup Samples: 2

What products have you finished recently?  If you've done one recently, feel free to link to your empties post in the comments too - I love reading these!  

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