Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Beauty Detoxer's Wish List

Mmmm... I'm itching to spend some money!

Beauty & the Bibliophile

1. Josie Maran Argan Matchmaker Powder Foundation ($34) - If you follow me on instagram, you saw that I did a #sephorahaul of my mother's last week. (Yes...lame-o. I was spending her money, not mine. BUT, she's a doll and it went on my VIB card!) She got this gem, and... I used it. Duh! It went on so smoothly (not too powder-y/cake-y... you know how those powder foundations can be). I currently use a mineral foundation that is specifically for oily skin, and this Josie Maran gloriousness stayed matte (over my CC cream) all day! I could feel the argan oil actually balancing out my skin. I've read reviews that say it runs out really quickly (one user said 2 months), so it seems a bit pricey for the use, but it was wonderful. And, of course, I love how natural Josie's products are.

2. Soapwalla Deodorant Cream ($14) - I like to jump on Refinery29.com every now & then. They had a great article about beauty trends that are done... All-natural deodorant being one of those trends. I can attest to that. I do love my Lavanilla (I rave on & on in my first ever post), but the hubs doesn't when it doesn't last all day long. He will make me put my Dove on before I can hug him... Ha! So, I was intrigued by seeing that this spreads on as a cream, and supposedly lasts all day... I adore lavender, peppermint and tea tree. Woot woot! It has ALL THREE. Plus, you know I'm digging that it's paraben, chemical, alluminum and petroleum free.

3. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Creme Colour Concentrate in Pleasure Model ($20) - I've been on the hunt for a neutral cream shadow base. There are a bazillion out there (yes... I've counted), but as you know, I'm detoxing my cosmetics. I am interested in OCC; I've not used it before, but it's cruelty, paraben, sulfate and phthalate free! I would really like to see it in person, but nowhere near me carries it. I'll just have to order it online and return in-store if it's not what I'm looking for. Gotta love Sephora's return policy! I hope it's not like a warm pink. I need an almost-not-there pink for my albino skin. Crossing my fingers eyes!

4. Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment ($69) - Since seeing pictures of this mask in use on Pinterest of someone's gangrene-looking nose, I've been so fascinated. (Go ahead... google it or search in Pinterest. It's grossly awesome). Having struggled with acne my whole non-baby life, I like a good mask. If this wasn't $69, I'd already have it. Anyone else use this? Is it worth it? And, you guessed it... paraben, sulfate, phthalate free! It does have phenoxyethanol, which is scored as a 4 for toxicity on EWG's Skin Deep database. I'm feeling a little ok with it, because it's only sitting on my skin for 10-20 minutes max, twice a week max. 

5. Jurlique Eye Makeup Remover ($25) - Thanks to my monthly Birchbox, I'm getting exposed to products beyond what Sephora carries. Jurlique is one of those new brands I'm wanting to get more of! I read an article recently about how the French have some of the best skin in the world due to their toilette that they pass down to their next generation. It's a ritual! And they're much less harsh than we are on our skin. So, after all my years of astringent and acne creams, I'm moving over to sensitive, kinder products. This remover is missing all those toxins I've mentioned before (except for the phenoxyethanol). I'm having a hard time using more natural products that still get off all my mascara and gel/waterproof liner. My Bliss Lid + Lash Wash is working great now, but when it's gone, I'm not repurchasing, because of  the propylene glycol. I plan to use my Birchbox points when I get to 100 next month again to purchase this and try.

6. Stila Magnificent Metals Foil Finish Eye Shadow in Titanium ($32) - This is my "naughty" wish... It's definitely not natural (primer has parabens), but I got hooked when watching this Sephora video. My brother's wedding is in less than a month, and I'm wearing a gray/silver dress in "mercury." This will go perfectly. I had a Sephora employee demo it for me last time I was in a store, and it is so versatile and beautiful. But $32 for one eye shadow is making me cringe a bit... We'll see if I make this unnatural plunge... :) Has anyone else used it? Thoughts?

I know it's dangerous for me to read other bloggers wish lists, because then I spend money... Tell me if I was a bad influence on you! It'll make me happy. (Is that wrong?)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The All Natural September Empties

This is only my second empties post, but I'm quite stoked! I'm really not good at using stuff up, so when I do I feel like I've accomplished something... That's weird, right? I also translate that into being allowed to buy more... Another way to feed this girl's beauty appetite.

You'll notice since my Inaugural Empties post that the detoxing of my beauty routine has come quite along! Since I've started blogging, my husband has been curious and slightly bewildered at why I have a special place in the bathroom cabinet for "trash." Ha! 

The All Natural September Empties

Let's begin straightaway...

Pacifica Sea Foam Complete Face Wash Review

Pacifica Sea Foam Complete Face Wash - 5oz. ($11)

My Target doesn't carry this, but while on vacation in Florida I found this pleasant smelling cleanser. It has a strong (but not overwhelming), summery coconut scent - delightful! Pacifica is known for strong fragrances. It didn't foam up a great deal, but well enough. The charming packaging has a matte finish and is very pliable for squeezing out all the product. If it weren't for the remaining makeup after a wash (maybe it not foaming up a good deal has something to do with that), I'd give it a ten! However, I would have to wash my face twice. It's an issue I discussed in my last post on another natural face wash. Seems it's my new mission to solve this frustrating problem...

Pacifica Sea Foam Complete Face Wash Review

I love that it's free of sulfates, petroleum, parabens, SLS, and phthalates. It's also loaded with antioxidants, coconut water, and sea algae. 

Pacifica Sea Foam Complete Face Wash Review

So, I probably won't purchase again... Next I'm going to try the Willa Start Fresh Foaming Facewash with Birchbox; and I'll let you know how that goes.

Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer in Fair Review

Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer in Fair - 1.7oz. ($36)

I'm a huge (HUMONGOUS, rather) Tarte fan, so I was sad when I didn't love this BB cream. I should have expected the light coverage, as it's called a "tinted moisturizer"; but I still wished for more. Being typically oily, I should've gone with something more matte. That's hard to find in natural makeup, though. Even with my Beauty Blender I found it a bit streaky, not setting into my skin all the way. I also didn't find it corrected any red spots, either. It worked tolerably well, but considering the price, I am still on a mission for something better. I'm currently using Yes To Grapefruit's CC Cream and, though light coverage, am happier with it. I used my Birchbox points and got it for only $5 + free shipping! Boom!

Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer in Fair Review

It is nice that it has SPF 20. And, as always, the packaging is fun. LOVE the wood cap, and that it's free of parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, SLS, and synthetic fragrance.

Giovanni Brazilian Keratin and Argan Oil Blow Out Styling Mist Review

Giovanni Brazilian Keratin & Argan Oil Blow Out Styling Mist - 4 oz. ($9)

I try to not wash/dry my hair but 3 days a week. I have very fine hair, and tangles plague me after showers. So, I thought I'd get a blow-out and detangling spray to help remedy that. I've been using about 6 drops of pure argan oil in my hair after every shower for a while now. When I used this in lieu of that I didn't see a big benefit. I would then combine them and still have a lot of breakage. 

It does claim that it defends hair from heat, moiturizes for silky, voluminous bounce, detangles and banishes frizz. I'm, thankfully, not a frizzy headed gal, but I do need some volume and detangling. I didn't notice a significant amount of either.

I am going to try for a straight-up detangler next (while continuing the argan oil from the ears down).

Klorane Extra Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk Review

Klorane Extra-Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk - 50ml. - ($18 for full size 3.2oz.)

I received this sample size in my May Birchbox, and it took me eons to finish it. Not because I didn't like it... I'm just not typically a fan of aerosol dry shampoos. They always clog up on me, so I can't use it all up. Or, if they don't clog up, they run out quickly. I'd rather my money go further with powder versions that don't clog and last longer. 

Klorane Extra Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk Review

This did work well, smelling clean and perfume-ish. If you've become a legit oil slick, this won't cut it. It's a super fine mist. That's when you'll need a powder to get the job done. It comes out white, but not so white you can't blend it in easily. I have dark brown hair and had no issues with that. 

Blum Naturals Daily Cleansing and Makeup Remover Towelettes, Normal Skin Review

Blum Naturals Daily Cleansing & Makeup Remover Towelettes, Normal Skin - 30 count ($7)

I paid $3.99 for these at TJ Maxx, so I got a good deal. The best way to describe the smell is "sweet powdery cucumber." Super odd, I know. I'm glad, because I don't typically like cucumber scents; this one keeps from smelling like vegetation and adds a sweetness to it. In regards to washing my face, they did the job just like they should. 

Blum Naturals Daily Cleansing and Makeup Remover Towelettes, Normal Skin Review

At first, I was in love with the dispenser, because some brands only have a flap that re-sticks down and doesn't always stick. I prefer these with a lid that clasps to keep them from drying out. After about half way through, the edges started peeling up on this one. I had to store it face down with something on top of it to make sure it stayed as air tight as possible.

My guess is I bought an old package on discount and the glue had begun to break down. When you peel it back, it looks like hot glue and doesn't go all the way around. Other than that, I loved these. Maybe I'll buy a newer package not on discount and see if they do the same.

The All Natural September Empties

If you like empties posts, check out my Instagram! I do some mean #beautyempties, #travelsizethursday and #samplesizesaturday (or Sunday) IGing!

And be watching out for the giveaway I'm getting together for y'all! So far I can tell you it'll involve two brand-new Julep polishes!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Burt's Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream Review

Burt's Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream:
Mouthwash For Your Face

Well... hey! It's been eons since my last beauty post. [Insert frownie face]. With a new job that's 80% travel, I just flat out don't have the time or energy to keep up with this. But, it's all about enjoying it and not becoming a chore, right? Well, just today I was reading my FAVORITE beauty blog and felt inspired to re-enter the blogosphere with a review of one of my new fave things.

{Next to watch out for...? A giveaway! I've got a real good 'un cooking up for ya!}

A friend who's aware of my pitiful product obsession and attempt at detoxing my beauty ritual with natural products enabled my problem with this gift: Burt's Bees Deep Cleansing Cream ($8). When she excitedly gave it to me, the best way she knew to describe it was to say "it's like mouthwash for your face... in a good way." I thought it was an odd statement until I used it... She's so right!

When I told her the next day what a refreshing experience it was she said with a proud glint in her eye, "You're going to review that one on that blog, aren't you?!?" I chuckled... but here I am!

Burt's Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream: Mouthwash For Your Face

If you've read my "I've gone MINT-al" post, you know that I'm a huge fan of all things effervescent. This definitely feeds into that fixation and then some.

Instead of my typical gel or foaming cleanser, it is a legit cream. Upon first application I almost felt like a "mature" woman using a cold cream (trying to be real PC here...), but then it started to sing (no - not a typo; it says "sing" not "sting") and pleasantly tingle. Then I knew what my friend was raving about!

After you pat your skin dry, it just keeps on singing and tangibly glowing. Another plus - it's not drying at all. I have oily skin, so I was concerned it'd be too moisturizing, but it was just right.

Burt's Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream: Mouthwash For Your Face

I even enjoy the experience more when using it with my Olay Professional Facial Cleansing Brush. The combination of the menthol, rosemary, chamomile and lemon with the exfoliating brush makes my skin happy! It's like a spa facial, and it's so energizing. I love to spin brush my way into wakefulness in my AM shower.

Oh, and just look at these great ingredients! You can't go wrong with Burt's... so many good things all in one bottle, and even the fragrance is natural.

Burt's Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream: Mouthwash For Your Face

I especially love the absence of parabens, propylene glycol, SLS and phthalates. If you don't know why I care, I'd suggest a little research on toxicity in beauty products to help you make more informed decisions about what you're putting on the largest organ of your body!

Burt's Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream: Mouthwash For Your Face

The only con (and I see this with most of the natural cleansers I've used: Pacifica and Jason as two examples) is it doesn't remove all my makeup. I am still trying to find the best way to cleanse my face with natural cleansers. I'm either cleansing twice or using my Klorane Cornflower Water Makeup Remover I bought with my Birchbox points before the cleanser.

Ultimately, I'd say this is a winner and almost definitely a repurchase. I would never have picked this out for myself, but that's the fun of trying new products! 

What about you? Is this something you'd normally use? Do you use any natural cleansers that cut through the makeup? Or what products have you tried that were out of your norm?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

This Beauty Blogger Blogs Bananas

Just track with me. You will have the desire to downplay what you're about to read. Fight it.

So, we (husband and I) throw away a lot of produce. A lot. I might as well withdraw money from the drive-through bank ATM (since I never have cash) and drop it in the trash can. Or shred it. Or flush it. Or ask my dogs to eat it. I'm running out of scenarios here. But I know you're catching what I'm tossing. Moral: it's a serious fiscal problem in this family. 

Recently I decided to eat cleaner and be nicer to my body. When your brother is getting married in 93 days, you start to freak out about what you would currently look like in a Matron (could there be a more terrible title? (Think a la Chandler)) of Honor dress. You track your food intake and take your dogs for more walks than they've had in years. Trust me, skinny ones, it's a thing of desperation.

Anyways, we recently had three bananas that were turning black back in that corner in your kitchen bananas go to die and potatoes go to grow strange tumors. That gross, mushy black color that makes me slightly gag if I try to eat it. (Kind of like Ron Swanson on Parks & Rec when he tries to eat a fresh one).You know, it's like slimy yet gritty? Yeah - that texture. Blegh. I'm dry heaving just typing about it. Typically, my non-clean eating self would just happily toss those suckers without a second thought. But not now - not this new and improved me. I had a moment of brilliance (well, I saw it on Pinterest; busted) and froze them. Now, you may be thinking: "And...?" Come on! Just remember I'm a beauty blogger, not a lifestyle/food blogger. An appropriate dinner when my husband is mercilessly spending time with friends is a Lunchable sometimes accompanied with beer. 

What I'm trying to say is I've never frozen ANYTHING that wasn't already in a freezer at the grocery store. Ever. (Minus water for ice). All those women who freeze whole meals? They're my heros. Besides frozen berries and venison, our freezer gets little attention. Last time I opened it before this evening was to get an ice pack for my achilles muscle on my left leg. This was due to my recent increase in pre-wedding-clothes activity. Newsflash about working out: that shiz hurts. 

Wait, though. It gets better. Tonight I put one frozen banana in our one million dollar Vitamix I've never used. (The hubs acts like it's the greatest invention since... well, I can't think of anything mind blowing-ly great right now; but I know you're smart, and you're picking up what I'm throwing down). And to my shock and extreme excitement I discovered that I (yes, me... domestically challenged moi) just made friggin ICE CREAM! Yep, you read that right - ice cream. It was so effing good - with no sugar, no dairy, no preservatives, no nothing. Just a banana. It just literally made me giddy. I wanted to do it all over again, until I realized I originally did it to be healthy, not to eat hundreds of banana calories. But I will now NEVER, ever, ever throw a banana away again.

I still feel like you are downplaying this, Reader. It's a big deal. Just trust me.

Since I want to look like I know what I'm doing, blogging about things in a kitchen (and not my makeup bag):

Banana Ice Cream Recipe

1 Banana

Peel banana
Freeze banana
Blend banana

Impressed? Yep, me, too.

And because I try to be a good #greenbblogger, here's an article on using those left over banana peels on your face. Who knew they could be used on acne, wrinkles, warts, poison ivy, etc!? I'll have to try that next time tomorrow!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I've Gone MINT-al!

I've Gone MINT-al!

About two days ago it dawned on me that I have an insane collection of all things mint. I've always liked mint, but not until recently, did I realize I was taking it a little too far, unintentionally.

I mean... Seriously?

If you've been following me at all, you know that I've been slowing detoxing my beauty products. I've recently run out of some Ojon products I wasn't in love with and wanted to go with a healthier option. Besides Jason, Burt's Bees and Yes to Carrots, this was the only other brand in Walgreens that seemed on the safe side. It doesn't have any of the chemicals I look for to avoid (propylene glycol, SLS, parabens, etc), but it does have a long list of ones I've never heard about... I'm afraid to do more extensive research, because I LOVE the smell SO MUCH! It's a sweet mint smell that is heavenly. I really like that it has tea tree mixed in, as well, since I tend to have an irritated scalp.

Shampoo is fantastic - smells great, lathers well. Would repurchase again.
Conditioner leaves my hair feeling like straw and is very water-y. This is odd, because I actually have oily hair and tend to go with less moisturizing conditioners. However, I won't repurchase it again. 

Whole Foods 365 Herbal Mint Shower Gel - $2.99
This product has no "wow" factor other than it's around $2.99 for 16 ounces! Wow! What a great price for an all around staple item to have in your shower. It is blended well enough with other oils that it doesn't make you feel tingly. I have a few other body washes I use more regularly, but this one is almost out, and I bet you my husband used about 75% of it.

Price! Smell. Refreshing; wakes me up in the mornings! Doesn't dry out my skin.
Doesn't lather extremely well. 

Caudalie Beauty Elixir - $18 for 1 oz.
Um... can you tell I like this a bit? I actually chatted about this in my first ever post about my "Beauty Library!" Peppermint oil (along with citrus and rosemary oil) is one of the primary ingredients in this item I will NEVER live without. I have one in my purse at ALL times. I also keep one in my makeup station to set my makeup. Now that summer is around the corner I know I will use these babies up in no time. They're great to spritz on your face if you're feeling hot, sticky and yucky. You can spray it under your arms, on your chest, on the back of your neck... Anywhere you need to feel refreshed. I typically buy these at Sephora, but I recently purchased the third one through Birchbox with my rewards points. I only paid $8 + free shipping!

Made without triclosan, parabens, SLS, propylene glycol, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, or phthalates. Versatile! Can go with you wherever you need a pick me up. Purifying.
None! (Well, maybe I'd save some money if the price was a bit lower). :)

If you read my post about my myriad of favorite lip balms, you know I'm a fan of EOS. (What beauty blogger isn't?) So, I HAD to get this flavor! I just love holding this little guy. I actually bought it on Easter Day for my very own little Easter egg.

Great flavor! No toxic chemicals. Sweetened with stevia! Very moisturizing. Fun shape & fun to apply!
Not as thick as most balms (probably to get it to stay in that round shape). A little expensive for a chapstick. You're paying for the shape.

I featured this on my Sephora Haul post in January and have gone straight to it for a bit of relaxation many times since! Unlike many of the mint items mentioned so far, this really does tingle and effervesce! You can feel it. Sometimes before bed or whenever I need to unwind, I put a dab on my earlobes, back of my neck and on my forehead. (I have also tried my temples, but my eyes couldn't handle being that close to the mint emissions).

Soothing. A little goes a LONG way. Strong and potent. 
Could sting your eyes if you're sensitive. Also, smell could be too intense for someone sensitive. I personally like it.

Back in the day we used to sell this little gem in the Merle Norman/Brighton store I worked in with my best friend and her mom. We only had the larger sizes (which are like $9 and $34) and we couldn't keep them on the shelves. We had a sink that we would walk women straight over to to sample this, and they'd always walk out with at least one of these goodies.  Basically, it's a hand/cuticle/nail scrub. The sugar/granules settle to the bottom and the oils (with significant amount of peppermint oil) are at the top. You scoop it out and rub a little of the mixture all over your cuticles for about a minute and you have smooth, soft, refreshed skin. When I spotted this at Trade Secret on sale I JUMPED on it! It brought back fun memories of my days as a Merle Norman makeup saleswoman.

Lasts a long time. Works great! Smells yum.
A bit messy - definitely do it over a sink. Contains parabens & artificial fragrance. (Big boo!) 

 After seeing all the beautiful nails wearing Chanel's mint polish, I chose to go with the cheap version. So far I've been pretty happy with it! It's cheap, and I love the color. Every time I wear it I get a ton of compliments. I have it on here, but I put silver glitter over it to prolong a 6 day gelous manicure. My goal is to get to 10 days with no chips!

Fun spring color! Dries quickly. Cheap!
Goes on super thick and can get lumpy fast. I have to put it on in many thin layers to keep it from getting squishy. Who hates having sheet marks the next morning after you thought it had dried 6 hours later?? Doesn't have one of those "beads" in it, so when it settles I can't get it to mix back up.

You can find thousands of products that contain peppermint oil, but there is nothing like having the real, living, pure thing. Young Living is a great company that sells oils still living that can be ingestible. Most oils (even at Whole Foods) are typically sold for aromatherapy purposes, only, and cannot be ingested. Young Living's oils can be. Peppermint Oil has been known as the world's oldest medicine. It helps with concentration, alertness, the digestive system, blood circulation, kills bacteria, soothes skin and much  more. 

This stuff is potent! I once put one drop in a cup of tea and couldn't drink it, because the steam stung my eyes so much. I now recommend sticking with cold beverages if you want to be able to see. If you're like me and have a hard time getting your 8 cups of H20 in a day, put one or two drops of this in it, and it's more refreshing and tastes better. I once read an article of a hiker who put it in his Nalgene bottles to keep up his energy, since it causes your blood to circulate quicker. I've also put a drop or two on a hot rag to apply to sore muscles. There are SO MANY uses!

A ton! I encourage you to read up on all the health benefits!
None really, other than the cost is a bit high.

And now for my favorite mint product...!

Let's be honest. I have an obsession with LORAC palettes. When I saw this one in Ulta, I couldn't imagine how I could walk out without it. If you read my review of the Pro Palette then you know how I adore their eye shadows. 

They're like buttah!

This is the first palette I've purchased that didn't come with the glorious eye primer. But it did come with a gloss that I kinda like. It also came with a shimmery, chain-ish silver makeup bag/clutch that is "ok." I really just care about these eye shadows.

Instead of being all matte on the top and shimmer on the bottom. The top left matte has some glitter specks in it, where as the top two on the right are purely matte. The bottom three are shimmery. I mean, aren't they beautiful!?

Price. Mixture of shimmer and matte. Beautiful, bright blush. Great spring palette with cool tones. Fantastic packaging.
Wish instead of a gloss I got another eye shadow primer.

Wow! I just realized HOW.MANY.MINT.PRODUCTS I just talked about. It's truly mental. 

What about you? Are you obsessed with coral shades? Lavender scented everything? Vanilla? Please share and make me feel less crazy!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Metal Tube Wringer - My New Fave Invention

Look at this! I'm not sure why finding this made me as ecstatic as I am, but alas... I'm easily amused when it comes to something that combines beauty and organization. And it's kind of cute, like an old fashioned wind up toy. I find it neat that Gill Mechanical Company started manufacturing these in the 1970s, and they're still going strong!

This metal tube wringer was $23 on Amazon, and I'm VERY excited about it. Basically, it's meant for painters to use on metal tubes of paint. However, it works just as well on tubes of toothpaste, lotion, eye cream, etc. 

You open it up, put the edge of the tube in the "teeth" of the wheels, close the clamp and wring away!

I mean, isn't that just gorgeous!? I used to ogle over all the beautifully wrung samples of Weleda, Acure and Suki at Whole Body, and now I can do it on my own!

The only disappointing thing was when it wouldn't work on some of my plastic tubes; observe my failed attempt on the Whish Shave Cream from my Birchbox.

This was my favorite tube to wring! And I do love this Caudalie Foot Beauty Cream. It's not super thick and as creamy as most, but it feels very moisturizing. It also contains no parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals, triclosan or GMOs. Right up my alley!

What are your favorite organizational accessories and/or tools?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Inaugural Empties

Since beginning this beauty blogging journey in December, I've been saving up my empties to join all the other bloggers who intrigue readers with their... trash? Yep! We're a weird bunch like that. I'll be honest... I have been saving them up for four months and have a Birchbox box overflowing with beauty refuse. These are just a sprinkling of all the empties I have. 

The Inaugural Empties

I'm very excited for y'all, because most empties I read are all shampoos and mouthwashes... Less than exciting and mostly non-makeup items... Boo. So, I was excited to be able to tell you about three makeup items!

The Inaugural Empties

I guess only the box has the shade on it, because the bottle does not. On the bottom it says "REF: 37020" so maybe that somehow tells you the shade if you are in-the-know? If I wasn't switching from conventional cosmetics to healthier, more natural options, I would definitely repurchase. I am oily and (with a primer) this foundation had the perfect amount of coverage (I like a heavier coverage) and kept me matte. I really liked the squeeze bottle packaging, so you got as much of the product as possible. If I really wanted to milk it, I would have cut off the bottom, so I could scrape it out with a brush and stored it in a ziploc baggy.  But I'll admit - sometimes you want it to just be an 'empty' already so you can buy something else! I'm not like some of those crazy bloggers (no offense, Ladies) who just spend loads on makeup. I like to wait until I run out.

NARS Pressed Powder in Flesh - $33

Having been a Mac Studio FX powder fan, I tried this because of a Sephora associate suggestion. I wasn't particularly wowed by it. It had a decent coverage, but it always looked too powdery to me. For someone who can pull off powder only, this would probably work well. I like to put powder over foundation (or BB cream, now), and this was a bit too much for that.

The Inaugural Empties

Buxom Lash Mascara in Blackest Black - $19

I really like this mascara! I wrote about it in my Sephora Haul post when a smaller size came in my Beauty Insider points perk. Let me tell you the long road I chose to take to get to this wonderful product... It all started about two years ago when I bought a mascara sampler from Sephora. You know, one of their "Best of..." kits. It was about $45 and came with around 10-12 small mascaras. I used EVERY.SINGLE.ONE. until I found my favorite. I went through Too Faced, Tarte, Benefit, MUFE, Laura Mercier, etc, and this ended up being the best. I used up ALL the mascaras and over a year later finally took my 100 point coupon in to buy this full sized beauty. I adore the brush; it keeps my lashes clump free. The mascara is a pretty dry formula (which I prefer), so it's easy to build on. If you want a dramatic lash, this isn't really the best for that, but it does flake less than most I've used. Now, will I repurchase? I might. I'm currently using the sample size from my Buxom sampler box. When I run out, I'll move on to the Tarte Lights, Cameras, Lashes! travel size in my Picture Perfect Duo

(P.S. I was so excited about this purchase. Typically, as most of you know, getting any Tarte products half off is nearly impossible. BUT I have a store near me called The Cosmetic Market that has a 50% off wall that always has Tarte, Caudalie and Bare Minerals on it. I got this duo for $8, instead of the normal $16!) 

After I use up the Tarte mascara, I have my eyes on the Korres Deep Colour Mascara.
The Inaugural Empties

Next let's talk about hair products!

I would definitely repurchase this. I'm a fan of Giovanni products, because they avoid many ingredients I do: propylene glycol, SLS, and parabens. This shampoo smells divine, and the fragrance comes from essential oils. When purchasing products I also look at whether it just says "fragrance" or if it explains where it comes from/is organic. Most natural products derive the fragrance from something natural, because they don't have heavy chemicals to cover up. I also love the packaging. The "spout" is at the bottom, so it's easy to squeeze it all out and not have to turn it upside down when you begin to run out. If you are not brunette, they also have products for blonde, red and black hair.

I'm in my twenties and am about 25% gray. Yup! It's terrible... So, I needed a solution for the days and weeks between the never ending coloring I'll do for the REST.OF.MY.LIFE. This root concealer actually has an updated formula and packaging, so I'm not sure you can get this exact product. It has a very small sprayer that focuses a light brown "spray paint" onto your roots to cover roots and gray hair. I liked this product and may purchase again in the future, mainly because there are not a lot of options out there like it. I've seen hair "crayons" and sticks, but this is quicker and easier, to me. The only down side was at times the sprayer sputtered, and brown dots would get on me, my clothes, or my shower curtain. An additional perk to covering up my gray hair was that it also soaked up oil. I felt like it acted as a dry shampoo, as well! The main thing making me hesitate to repurchase is the price point and that it contains butane, which scores a 5 on EWG's Skin Deep database for immunotoxicity.

My photo of this is the small .75floz version that came in my monthly Birchbox in March. It's currently a Birchbox exclusive item. The full size bottle is not a squeeze tube, like this. (Do you see the little lines across it where I tried to use my new tube wringer? Clearly, it doesn't work well on plastic... just metal tubes). It smells really great with a very heavy blueberry scent. However, I didn't find it to moisturize my skin any more than a normal shave gel. (I'm currently using Skintimate). It comes out like a white cream, and I almost feel like you can't use too much. I would find myself dispensing a big blob and not be able to cover my whole leg. I could see someone using this up really fast, and for the price point, that's not a perk to me.

The Inaugural Empties

Lastly, let's talk about hygiene and natural products!

I have acne prone skin, and I honestly believe it's because I'm terrible about sticking to a pre-bedtime routine. I'm notorious for starting a book or TV show and getting so tired that I crawl into bed without washing my face. (Here's my hand... slap it. I know!!) So, my solution for the past year or so is to keep wipes on my night stand.  I've used Neutrogena wipes and some other brands, but since detoxing my beauty life, I tried these. (I also bought some Giovanni wipes that are waiting in the closet for when my current Blum wipes run out). The Burt's Bees version smells delicious and is very effective at taking all my makeup off. The only downside to using wipes is that I tend to not get all my mascara off. I started to realize I was rubbing a lot harder and pulling on my eye area too much with wipes. So, I often times will have to go back over it the next morning with eye makeup remover. (I talked about my favorite Bliss Lid + Lash Wash one in a favourites posts here). The reason I switched to the Blum wipes was the ingredient phenoxyethanol found in the Burt's wipes. It scores a 4 on the EWG database. Some would argue it's not toxic unless ingested, but if I have an option to buy wipes without it, I will. 

The Inaugural Empties

About two years ago I took a six week class with Dr. Josh Axe on toxins in foods and products. I learned a lot about the dangers of fluoride and have since switched to fluoride free toothpaste and mouthwash. This little guy is a travel size toothpaste, which I think is awesome. For some reason, travel sized products make me so happy. It's like a beauty baby - so little and cute! But one thing that has always frustrated me is I could never find natural options. Now I go to Whole Foods before a trip (which is where I got this) or if you're an online shopper Minimus.biz has a great collection of natural products.
I'm currently using a full size Jason toothpaste with a cinnamon flavor and love it. This particular product pictured above had a nice, clean flavor. Natural toothpastes tend to have a grittier texture, but it doesn't bother me. 
And, just to reassure you, I just went to the dentist last week after missing my 6 month cleaning, and the  dentist said I have "dental school perfect teeth" and no cavities!

The Inaugural Empties

And for my last surprise 'empty,' I want to chat about a book I recently finished.

I like to peruse the free kindle books every so often, and this one caught my eye. I actually really liked it. I typically feel so-so about the free ones. But, this one actually made me cry. It's a story of a troubled young woman running away from her past and doing her best to make a future she knows she can't have unless the truth comes out. But the truth could ruin everything. On the flip side, there is a man who worked his whole life for success and respect that also has a secret that could strip him of the life he has built. In the mix are neglected children, a released convict with a deadly grudge and a kind spinster who has given her life to others. I really recommend reading this!

What books have you recently finished you could recommend? I don't have anything waiting for me, so I need some suggestions! 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Lip Balm

A main beauty obsession of mine is lip balm. I can't abide by a minute without something on my lips. I remember my freshman year in high school, where I would set my huge, chunky Bath and Body Works chapstick on my desk and apply it a dozen times or so during each class. It appears my "problem" hasn't subsided... So, here are some of my current favorites, with their pros and cons.

You'll notice I have some tinted balms mixed in with un-tinted ones. I probably own like three or four true lip sticks. Everything else is a gloss or balm. So, to add some color to my daily routines, I love to use tinted balms.

I found this product while feasting my reading eyes on my most recent addiction, Essie Button. Being a yank (correction: Southern yank), I rarely get to buy all the fun things I see all the across-the-pond beauties rave about. When I saw this on Birchbox's website {AND free shipping} I just could not pass 'er up! 
It's foundational ingredient is honey. It smells so pure and sweet (with some citrus hints). It also goes on a bit gritty, but then your body heat takes care of the granules - much like putting honey in or on something warm melts it. Many balms go on glossy, but I love how this just settles in subtly. It doesn't appear you have anything gooey and healthy on, so topping it with a lipstick or gloss is just fine. 
It also last for eons! 
The only con (for me - and it's not really a con in real life...) is that it's in a pot. It's a beautiful glass pot, but it's not quick and easy to swipe on while driving. So, it tends to stay at home in the bathroom where I use it in the evenings or when I'm lounging about. 
One other thing - what are the darn ingredients? I cannot find them online anywhere. It was probably on the box, but I'm terrible about tossing packaging. So, I am curious as to whether it's really as healthy as it seems.
The website also says to use it on cuticles and small burns. I haven't done that yet but will definitely try to remember to!

Let's be real... this is more fun than practical. In a normal tube this product would be considered good...average...run of the mill. But put it in a ball and call it a "Smooth Sphere" and you've got yourself a niche-y winner! 
I saw this at my local Target recently and had to snatch it up. I like the smell, though I am not a huge fruity flavor person. It goes on well (somewhat thinner) and lasts a good amount of time. 
I'm really attracted to it being organic, paraben free and sweetened with stevia (as opposed to saccharin or sucralose). 
I also love the shape of it. It's easy to find this "ball" in the bottom of your purse (while driving... I tend to need to moisturize during that daily drudgery). 
I also feel like a little kid every time I apply it. I hope someone is watching, thinking Man, I wish I had her lip balm! Silly... I know. 
Only con is how little it's available in my area. This flavor is the only one I've seen locally. However, I recently found the Sweet Mint EOS at ULTA (which was like a 45 minute drive...). Love it, though!

Speaking of mint... For years I've been addicted to Burt's Bees original Beeswax Lip Balm Tube. Who isn't?!? It's $3 on their website, but I'm pretty sure I've seen it higher in stores... a bit on the high side for a boring ol' chapstick, so when I stumbled across this goodie in Whole Foods at the check out stand I grabbed it up. (Kudos to your add-on skills, WFs!) It was LESS than $2 (crazy talk), organic (and a bargain?!?) and it's mint (perfect). 
And in case you didn't know this about me... 
I once bought 6 boxes of my favorite mint green tea online because they were discontinuing it. 
The only facial water I can stand is Caudalie's elixir which has what some describe an obnoxious minty smell. (Disagree!)
I also use peppermint essential oils to relieve headaches, add to drinking water, and rub into sore muscles.
I even sniff it! (At least it's that and not Sharpies... though I do think there is something kind of disturbingly good smelling about those...? Right?)
Back to the balm... I once lost this puppy for two days and tore the house up looking for it. My husband said, "Just buy another one..." Are you kidding me? I don't leave a product in the lurch like that - especially my best, brightest and most loyal! Abandonment was not an option; I finally located her; and we've been inseparable ever since.

Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Rose - $7
Because I do love all things Burt's, I have to include this goodie. Although the packaging it came in was fun and almost keep-able, the tube itself is not fun or sexy. Good! It's easy to use. I can blindly grab it from my bag, swipe it on without a mirror and toss it back in.
It doesn't feel especially healing or treatment-like, but the pigment is a fun extra to add to an already great lip balm. I like how many color options there are. I've owned two of these, and this shade was the most pigmented on my lips.
Like I said before, I do love me some Burt's original beeswax balm, but the tint makes this my current go - to.

Keeping on the same tint track...
I would definitely consider this a more luxury item. Granted it is only a few bucks more than the Nuxe, but being that it's heavily tinted, it's not as versatile. (ie. Use before bed or under lippies).
It does feel heavenly, and it provides a major pop of color. 
A few dry-shampoo, sock bun Sundays ago I wore it with highlighter, mascara and fuschia blush and got a compliment on how my makeup was "glowing"! I was the best looking hobo in Tennessee... 
It lasts quite a long time, too. 
A pro and con: the packaging. I love that it's a metal tube, it's beautiful and feels really cool. However, I have to twist it up (and back down) every time I use it. And the topper screws onto the tube. So, it's not a one-hander. The downside to the metal part of the equation, I found, is that if it's in your pocket your body heat will be conducted by the metal and melt the balm. Mine is now all kinds of lumpy and melted. When I apply it, the stick pushes over the side. For $22 I would expect it to not be so soft, unless they put it in a pot. Despite the packaging and application issues, it's still a enjoyable "treatment." It smells divine - lemon-y and fresh!
I received it as a Birthday gift from Sephora, so I am not complaining too much. However, I will probably just enjoy it while it lasts and not repurchase. I just might have to resort to a lip brush... and it will be worth it.
Although it's paraban, sulfate, phthalate, etc free, it does score a 7 on EWG's Skin Deep database for a sizeable list of other undesirables. Disappointing! Another reason I won't repurchase but will enjoy in the meantime.

I included this balm in my January Favourites post. I've had it for years and years. It is probably  the best bang for my buck in this post. Ten ounces for $9!?! Amazing. 
As ranchers were milking cows and applying this to their udders they realized how soft their hands were getting. The rest is history.
I mainly use it on my lips (big ol' blob!) before bed. I also like to put a huge dollop on my feet, then socks and sleep on that for softer tootsies, too. 
I have used it on my cuticles before, but it made my polish bubble up... Twice. Weird! I avoid that now.
Being that you don't really find this in health food stores, I wondered how non-toxic it could be. I was pleased to find it scored a 1 on EWG's Skin Deep database!
Only cons are 1) it will last until I die, so I probably won't ever try anything else again that is similar. I have my eye on some Badger Balm. And 2) it smells a little weird. Just think, cows don't care about fragrance.

What about you lovelies? What lip-savers do you trust your kissers to?

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Rose

Tweet Me • Instagram Me • BlogLovin