Above and Beyond Skincare Basics with Odacité + a Giveaway!

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It’s been interesting to see that as I’ve been blogging about green beauty, I’ve had a natural gravitation towards pure and effective skincare brands. Though I’m still crazy about makeup, I’ve realized that a solid skincare routine is the basis for healthier skin, happier attitude and overall well-being. Green beauty has led me to find some of the best natural skincare brands that provide high-quality, gentle, and healthy products that really do work.

Read More Here

Spotlight on Green Beauty Shops

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Since I started going green with my beauty and skincare products, I’ve done a lot of online shopping (and I mean, A LOT). As someone who absolutely hates online shopping– I’m a touch-smell-feel-try-in-store kinda gal, I thought it’d be helpful to share my experiences with various online, one-stop green beauty shops across the spectrum. I love shopping from brands themselves (it always feels like a nice personal interaction) but, someones general green beauty shops are just more convenient with all the brands and products to shop from in one place.

If you’re just getting into green beauty, prepare to do a lot more online shopping as most of the best brands and deals are often only found virtually. For future installments, I want to list some green beauty brick and mortar stores I’ve found along the way, but it does vary depending on where you live. From my experience, online stores will have the most access to brands and product variety. And if you’re already a green beauty aficionado looking for some good online green beauty stores, I hope this series helps you as well! I want to know your experiences too!
{Also, since I’m blogging and shopping here from the U.S., these are mostly American stores but many of which do ship internationally.}

Spirit Beauty Lounge

Spirit Beauty Lounge: My go-to online shop for any and all luxury green beauty and skincare products! I love the high-end brands on Spirit Beauty Lounge, there’s a great mix of familiar products and new discoveries. There is a small selection of more affordable products but the focus is on luxury here. SBL always has the newest product releases and even stock limited edition products (i.e. seasonal ILIA lip products or beauty kits exclusive to SBL). SBL also adds new, highly covetable brands to their site pretty often. On the downside, SBL’s popularity and wide range of much-loved products and those limited edition runaways, account for many products to be out of stock quickly and frequently. I’ve had many experiences of having to sign up for product wait-lists or pre-ordering a product only to wait a few extra weeks for. Waiting is not too terrible, it’s just a shame they run out of stock of some very popular products often. If you’re a Facebook fan, SBL does frequent flash sales and coupon codes but you have to pay attention and act quickly. SBL also has a great shopping rewards program where every dollar you spend adds up to points redeemable for specific products. SBL is also one of my favorite green beauty shops because of the eye-catching and easy-to-use online shopfront. Shop here

Pros: Great selection of high-end green beauty and skincare brands and products, offers limited edition products, shopping rewards program, and  frequent flash sales and discount opportunities. Customer reviews are helpful (and you can earn points from writing reviews), generous samples of luxury products with every order that you can choose. (And samples I actually want to use!) Ships to USA and Internationally.

Cons: Product selection is more expensive, popular products are frequently out of stock and sometimes it takes awhile for SBL to restock. My motto with SBL now is if it’s in stock and you need/want it, get it ASAP!

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Saffron Rouge: I love this shop’s name! So cute. In my eyes, Saffron Rouge is similar to SBL in that the shop offers some great high-end green brands and are a bit on the pricey side. The difference with SR is that I find their brands to be more unique regarding the normal, high-end. You can get some awesome products from not-often-talked-about brands like Yarok, Studio 78, ilike, INIKA, and Nourish Organics. The free shipping minimum is quite high at the $100 minimum rate though just like SBL, most products are pretty pricey already so it might be easy to reach $100 if you plan on a large haul. SR promotes few sales but when there are sales, they’re AMAZING. I usually save my SR shopping trips for these big sales and can pick up a lot of things at great prices. Sales are often during holidays or different seasons but a good tip is to sign up for the store’s emails to be the first one to know about promotions. I’ve also had a few shipping mishaps (i.e. damaged or defective goods), SR’s customer service always responded quickly and efficiently to salvage my precious products and provide satisfying solutions. Shop here

Pros: Quick shipping, great brand selection, fast order processing, responsive customer service, shopping points rewards program, reoccurring sale events and special order offers. Ships to USA, Canada, and Internationally.

Cons: Minimum order amount for free shipping is high at $100, smaller brand selection, product selection is more expensive.

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Pemberley Jones:  Want to shop the ultimate green beauty and skincare selection curated by a top-notch green blogger herself? Look no further! Pamela Jones created the Pemberley Jones store as an awesome addition to her well-known and knowledgeable green beauty blog of the same name. Shopping at Pemberley Jones is as close as you can get to having a green beauty blogger hand-picking out groundbreaking and effective products on the market, because that’s pretty much what this store is. Just browsing the eye-catching website is like a treasure trove for green beauty and skincare products. I know I’m not alone in listening closely to PemJo’s beauty or skincare picks because she always has her eye on unique, effective products and brands and well, the girl just knows her stuff. Plus, the price range is very good: from super affordable to higher-priced luxury products, there a bit of everything here and quality is never sacrificed. PJ has also recently included a sale section and free shipping for U.S. orders over $75. Shipping is pretty fast and I’m a sucker for the cute and sustainable branded packaging on (and inside) every box. PJ is very helpful whether it be for advice or asking for special samples with your order. She’s always responsive on social media too. Not to mention, a seriously rad lady/blogger/entrepreneur! Also stalk her on Instagram if you want to drool over all the goodies she stocks for the shop and be inspired by her keen eye for color and design. Shop here

Pros: Blogger-approved selection of luxury and bargain-priced products as well as well-known and lesser known brands, beautiful and eye-catching website, constant addition of new brands and products, fast shipping. Fun and helpful product notes online from Pemberly Jones herself, and of course, I’m always up for supporting a fellow green blogger pal! Plus, all orders come with awesome hand-picked samples, personalized notes, and in such fun packaging– polka-dot tissue paper, neon packing slips, washi tape? Oh yes!

Cons:  Not many from what I can see. Perhaps a downside is the smaller selection of brands and products but I like that this is a smaller-scale store. Do you want a chic, curated online shop from a top green beauty blogger herself? Look no further.

Vitacost

Vitacost: Vitacost is the real deal: healthy food, supplements, sustainable home goods, green health and beauty products– you can find it all here and at great, drugstore-like prices. The brands range from indie to well-known but I’d say a majority of the companies you’ll see on Vitacost lean away from high-end, luxury green beauty/skincare products and are probably equivalent to green drugstore brands. Sometimes I get so caught up in paying attention to luxury or pricier green brands but you can discover some really great, affordable and effective products here! Just be weary of the different products and brands featured here: not everything may meet your standards of being organic or natural. Just be sure to read the descriptions, ingredients and company bios. Shop here (plus, get $10 off your 1st order of $30 or more with my referral link by clicking here.)

Pros: Very affordable prices, a wide range of items and brands, minimum total for free shipping is $49 (sometimes lower w/ever-changing fast shipping deals), orders ship to the U.S. and Canada, fast shipping. I also like how the product pages clearly show all prices and product sizes. Ships to USA, Canada, and Internationally.

Cons: Slow order processing (perhaps because most of the times I’ve ordered in the evenings?), slow shipping status notifications. Also, though most products here are eco-friendly, sustainable, and “green”, not everything meets my standards for being “clean”. I still have to carefully read through ingredient lists as there are many brands sold on Vitacost that use ingredients or additives I like to stay away from.

 

Have you shopped at any of these online stores? What are your favorite sites to shop for green beauty products? Stay tuned for the next Green Beauty Shops installment!

 

*Post contains affiliate links. All photos courtesy of company websites.

New Releases Radar \ 4

Releases Radar 4

1. 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Cream Foundation: For all its ups and downs, 100% Pure is a brand I still love in regards to their all natural, vegan, cruelty-free formulations. I’ve talked about their skincare and makeup products many times before. Their Tinted Moisturizer is still an everyday, go-to face product for me and I’m curious to see how well their new Fruit Pigmented Cream Foundation performs. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is one of the first foundation products that 100% Pure has placed in jar/pan packaging. Aside from powder format, they foundations have only been of the liquid, pump-packaging type. Like all other 100% Pure products, the Fruit Pigmented Cream Foundation is 100% natural, vegan, gluten-free, and colored with fruit, vegetable and seed pigments for antioxidant protection. Featured in 6 shades, this new foundation is claimed to have “medium to full coverage with a glow” $36.

 

2. Blissoma Deodorants: Blissoma is a natural skincare company that has been on my radar for a while (I’m currently trying one of their cleansers, more info soon!) They’ve launched some brand new deodorant products. For all you deo-wearers (yes, you can read my whole non-deo spiel here) these natural deodorant options look quite interesting! There’s a Scentless Solid Natural Deodorant Stick option (woohoo, stick formulas are my favorite kind!) and a Deodorant Aromatic Spray (cool!). These deodorants are made from natural ingredients and do not contain aluminum or antiperspirant ingredients, both of which have been linked to causing breast cancer. I’m definitely curious about the Spray (they come in 3 different scents: Juniper, Lavender or Citrus), I’d totally want to try using it as a body spray too!
Full-size deodorants: $14.99, Mini Solid Deodorant: $8.99, Sample Pack (3 Sprays, 1 Solid samples): $10.99.

3. Badger Face Care Products: Badger is a great certified organic brand with effective formulas and a variety of products that are always pleasing to me. And even when they’re not, (see my mini-review of the Badger sunscreen I tried here) the brand’s customer service and social media outreach is so responsive, I have nothing but love for Badger. Badger’s Rose Facial Oil had been on my list to try but I was waiting for some new formulations. The brand introduced a collection of Oil Face Care Products adding on to their already popular Damascus Rose Face Oil, and it looks like an exciting, extensive selection! The collection features 3 types of essential facial products: a balm, a face oil, a face cleansing oil– within each new product line categorized by a main ingredient/scent: Damascus Rose, Argan or Sea Buckthorn, as well as Unscented products. You can find out which product line is the best choice for your skin type here. I’m very curious about all the new additions to Badger’s offerings but of course, am always partial to trying a new facial oil or cleanser…
Prices vary from $14.99 to $19.99.

4. Kjaer Weis New Fall Colors: You’ve probably already seen loads of updates from other frenzied bloggers and makeup enthusiasts lusting over and snatching up Kjaer Weis’ newest colors for fall. I can understand the rush: they look gorgeous. The eco-luxury makeup brand has released a beautiful dark olive-green eyeshadow called “Green Depth” (I’ve SO got my eyeshadow-obsessed eye on you…), a romantic rosy-red lip tint called “Lover’s Choice”, and a light, nude-pink blush called “Embrace” which looks curiously similar to the nude-y, pink tones of the “Radiance” highlighter. There isn’t much else to say except, if you’re a KW fan you’re probably gonna want to splurge on these beautiful fall-ready colors. Or if you can sacrifice not having the gorgeous mirrored packaging, get these new colors for less money in the form of a refill pan.
I love how Brandie from Organic Beauty Talk, Lilly from Genuine Glow, and Sonja from Life in Blush all show off the looks they created using the fall collection!
Eyeshadow: $45 (refill: $27), Lip Tint: $49 (refill: $29), Cream Blush: $56 (refill: $32).

5. Meow Meow Tweet Frankincense + Flowers Body Oil, Cinnamon Coffee Bar Soap for Fall/Winter: Ahhh, Meow Meow Tweet knows how to ring in the new season right: with new, tantalizing body oil and soap scents! For the Fall/Winter season, MMT you can lather yourself up with a warm, brew-inspired, exfoliating bar of Cinnamon Coffee Bar Soap and then let your skin soak up a floral, woody blend of essential oils with the Frankincense + Flowers Body Oil. The new bar soap can be used to exfoliate the hands, face and body, which will be especially nice to scrub weather-worn skin during the cooler months to come. The new body oil features Frankincense, geranium and palmarosa which will not only provide an intoxicating scent but help to nourish, tone and heal skin, fade scars and promote regeneration of cells. Talk about chock full of goodness! I know both these products will be such a relief for the inescapable damage and dryness the fall and winter weather causes on my skin. These just sound so good, I want both!
Body Oil: $22, Body Soap: $10.

6. Pai Skincare Targeted Facial Serums: If there is one organic skincare brand I keep coming back to, it’s Pai Skincare. This British brand is one of my favorites and none of their products disappoint: I owe the state of my skin to their wonderful products! My eyes nearly popped out of their sockets when I read that Pai had created 2 new facial serums that specifically target common skin problems. The serums are: Sea Aster & Wild Oat Instant Calm redness Serum and Copaiba & Zince Perfect Balance Blemish Serum. After 3 years in the making, the 2 serums sound like they have been carefully and expertly formulated, using some seriously unique ingredients that only a brand like Pai can concoct. I’d love to try these, specifically the Blemish Serum but should really finish up some other serums I’m using, pronto!
$78 each. Now until October 3rd Pai is having a great deal: buy either Targeted Serum and receive a Travel Skincare Kit of your choice for free!

What are some new product launches your lusting over? Would you try any of these products?

 

*Post contains affiliate links. Photos curtesy of all aforementioned brands.

Scrubby Scrubby! Exfoliating with Kaia Naturals Bamboo Tapioca Beads Daily Cleansing Powder

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Kaia Naturals is a boutique natural skincare brand based in Toronto. The brand is known for featuring sustainable, biodegradable bamboo as a main ingredient in their products notably, their Juicy Bamboo Cleansing Cloths. (I’ve been eyeing these ever since I said a bitter goodbye to my convenient but seriously irritating Neutrogena makeup wipes.) All Kaia Naturals products are made in small batches, are paraben-free, gluten-free, cruelty-free, and contain biodegradable ingredients.

The brand was founded based on “the need for multi-functional products that are naturally derived, environmentally friendly and simple to use. By harnessing the power of bamboo, they create custom-crafted products that nourish the skin and respect the environment.”

I was intrigued when Kaia Naturals asked me to try their newest product release, the Bamboo Tapioca Beads Daily Cleansing Powder ($30 for 1.5oz/43g). Though I usually steer away from loose powder exfoliants in fear of my sensitive skin, the Bamboo Tapioca Beads had some pretty unique ingredients that caught my eye. (I mean, tapioca?!) The bamboo beads are suspended in 100% natural powder. Plus, it’s claimed to be a daily exfoliating cleanser gentle enough for those with sensitive skin, rosacea, and eczema. This is also a multi-tasking product: an exfoliator, cleanser, and facial mask all in one. You can simply mix this powder with water for a basic exfoliating cleanser or add any of the advised mixing options to create a more nourishing cleanser or mask (add plain yogurt for a facial mask). Oh, you know how multi-use products get me! (Check out some of the recommended mixing options with different benefits here.)

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Another reason I think this product is so cool? Since bamboo is a biodegradable ingredient and makes up most of this powder formula, you won’t have to worry about polluting the oceans and lakes when using this cleansing exfoliant. Common exfoliating powders are formulated with (plastic) polyethylene micro beads which have been polluting large bodies of water and eventually kills sealife.

“Micronized spheres derived from natural bamboo maintain healthy skin tissues without tearing or enlarging pores, while the tapioca powder absorbs oil to prevent breakouts and keep face oil-free for the warmer months ahead.”

My initial inspection of this powder was that it is super lightweight and airy, the texture doesn’t really scream exfoliant but rather resembles more of a loose facial powder. The Bamboo Tapioca Beads formula is crafted to gently polish and remove dead skin and impurities. These properties will also help diminish any blemishes. Made from natural ingredients including tapioca, coconut, chickpeas, and citrus fruits, there’s a lot for your skin to love here. Plus, this powder can be used as a body exfoliator as well.

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It took me a while to figure out the best approach for my skin with this cleanser, but I finally discovered what works for me. Initially, I found that the texture resulting from mixing the powder with just water felt a bit too harsh for my skin. I experimented with mixing in some Sea Buckthorn Oil as well as Rosehip Oil and both resulted in a more nourishing, gentle formula for my skin. Combined with the powder, both essential oils create a slicker, creamier cleanser with a more hydrating texture. I also found that I needed to add enough water to create a thin, runnier consistency and not a paste texture, for a softer scrub on my face. I use this exfoliating powder about once per week, alternating between using a mixed in oil or just water, and am slowly able to use it more often during the week.

I like how the exfoliating properties of this product do not feel harsh on my skin. The minuscule grains from the natural bamboo ensures gentle, non-irritating exfoliation and cleansing. I love how effectively this powder buffs my skin getting rid of any blackheads or impurities and leaves my skin feeling smooth, rejuvenated and looking very fresh.

The packaging on this product is also really convenient. I love how this powder is housed in a travel-friendly jar (it’s carry-on approved) with a dial and lock sifter to prevent any spills. Loose powders can be messy (especially for a klutz like me), but nice packaging like this really helps. The clutter-proof design actually prompts me to want to use it more often. The smaller, travel size of this product ($5) comes in a cute, pocket-size tube that also looks pretty cute and nifty for taking on-the-go.

This powder is a great addition to my skincare routine as I wasn’t a huge fan of exfoliating. Now I can really see how a little exfoliation goes a long way for better looking skin! Buh-bye blackheads and grease! In the meantime, I’ll be in my bathroom concocting different cleansing mixtures with this powder…

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Click here to find a store near you that sells Kaia Naturals in Canada or the U.S.  Buy the Bamboo Tapioca Beads Daily Cleansing Powder here or a D.I.Y kit which includes the Cleansing Powder and moringa oil here.

Have you tried anything from Kaia Naturals? What products do you use to exfoliate?

 

~The detailed ingredient list from the Kaia Naturals’ website is very helpful and detailed:
kaolin/white clay: absorbs excess moisture from the skin and purges pores of toxins and impurities to help cleanse and exfoliate the skin.

manihot esculenta (tapioca) root starch): absorbent powder that absorbs oil and helps control shine.

sodium cocoyl isethionate/coconut fatty acid: mild cleanser derived from coconut with emulsifying properties that is gentle enough for rosacea or eczema.

cider arietinum seed powder/chickpea powder: derived from ground chickpea seeds, a gentle exfoliant that softens debris to clear pores and soothe skin.

bambusa arundicacea stem extact/bamboo: micronized bamboo exfoliating spheres that are rich in natural silica which help to eliminate dead skin cells.

calcium silicate silica: naturally derived anti-caking ingredient that helps absorb moisture.

citrus tangerine: pure, clinical grade tangerine essential oil.

citrus grandis: pure clinical grade grapefruit seed extract essential oil.

citrus nobilis: pure, clinical grade mandarin orange oil essential oil.

Ingredients: kaolin/white clay, manihot esculenta (tapioca) root starch), sodium cocoyl isethionate/coconut fatty acid, cider arietinum seed powder/chickpea powder, bambusa arundicacea stem extact/bamboo, calcium silicate silica, citrus tangerina, citrus grandis, citrus nobilis.

 

*Product was provided to me for consideration but as always, all opinions are honest and my own. I’m never paid to write reviews or posts of any kind.

TOP DRAWER: Zao Organic Makeup

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Another confession: I judge products by their packaging. Yes, maybe that makes me shallow but at least upon initial inspection it’s always a piece in my consideration and future devotion. I’m a sucker for beautiful innovative design, is that such a crime? And when those qualities combine with organic, eco-friendly formulas in makeup and skincare well, just call me smitten. That’s what I’ve become with this gorgeous organic makeup line from Zao that I can’t help lusting over.

“The Zao philosophy is about an ethical and sustainable approach to living in harmony with nature. Looking beautiful should not compromise your health, the health of animals, or the health of the planet.”

Zao is a French eco-luxury makeup brand that features organic, chemical-free, cruelty-free, gluten-free, vegan products certified internationally. The gorgeous product packaging highlights the brand’s commitment to innovative, stylish and sustainable design. The brand’s makeup products are packaged in sturdy and durable, sustainably-harvested bamboo materials and feature an innovative refill system for most products. Refills can be switched out of most products utilizing the magnetic container packaging and are available for Zao’s eye shadow, compact powder, compact foundation, blush, bronzer, concealer, lipstick, and liquid foundation products.

Zao products are also rich in antioxidants like pomegranate seed oil, ginko biloba leaf extract, babassu oil, red algae extract, wheat germ oil, yerba mate extract, which protect again free radicals and anti-aging. Essential fatty acids like shea butter, coconut oil, almond oil, and macadamia nut oil are also featured ingredients in Zao products as well as organic silica from three different parts of bamboo plant: bamboo stem powder, bamboo leaves hydrosol, and bamboo rhizome oil.

“Zao has developed formulas 100% from natural origin, enriched with active organic ingredients that have anti-aging qualities to delicately beautify and enhance your skin. Organic ingredients, developed into synergistic formulas, respect both your skin and the planet.”

I can’t take my eyes off of these gorgeous, one of a kind little luxuries! I’m definitely lusting over the Pearly Eyeshadows, Mineral Cooked Bronzers, Lipstick, cute makeup brushes, and the Eyes, Lips, Eyebrows Pencils. Aren’t they just perfect for a green beauty lover?

Zao makeup can be purchased at the brand’s website or at Abe’s Market for customers in the U.S. See more of my TOP DRAWER picks HERE.

Compact Foundation

Matifying Cooked Powder- Luminous Complexion

Luminous Complextion- Liquid Complextion Illuminator

Mineral Silk Foundation- Loose Powder

Cream Eyeshadow

Powder Refill

Pearly Eyeshadow

Structuring Mascara

Matte Lipstick

Blush Brush

What do you think of Zao Organic Makeup? Have you tried anything from the brand? Would you try these?

*Post contains an affiliate link. All images courtesy of Zao, header image from Abe’s Market.

My Signature Summer to Fall Look- Tag

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I’m a Summer-baby so I like to think Summer is all year round for me. Unfortunately I live on the East Coast where seasons are actually a real thing. Not that I mind, just means that there are lots of factors to transition into. I was tagged by my fellow green beauty bloggers, Paula (Naturally Paula) and Jade (Nephriticus) to do the “My Signature Summer Look” tag. (Disclaimer: I’m terrible at taking good makeup-“action” shots, so forgive me. P.S. yes, my hair is shorter!) I thought since it’s already September that I’d talk about how my “summer look” will easily transition to my “fall look”:
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1. Moisturize: Starting with a clean face, I always like to moisturize (no matter how creamy my makeup products are) with something that is hydrating and usually contains SPF. For warmer months and for when I’m spending more time in the sun, I use the 100% Pure Argan Oil Hydration SPF 30 moisturizer* because it goes on smooth, primes the face for makeup, is hydrating but not greasy, and provides good sun protection. This product is also a great year-round daily moisturizer so I know I’ll be wearing it a lot in the Fall as well, with or without makeup on.
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2. Conceal: I rarely wear foundation and have been trying to reduce the amount of makeup products I put on my face in order to let my skin breathe better. This, along with a more focused skincare routine has immensely improved my skin. However when it comes to face makeup, I’ve always been more of a tinted moisturizer gal. My favorite natural tinted moisturizer has always been the 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Tinted Moisturizer. (I wear it in the shade White Peach: my review and swatches here.) This product is very nourishing, lightweight and sheer but pigmented enough to even out my skintone and hide any redness. The ingredients do not cause any irritation or acne and it also contains SPF 20 protecting against UVB and UVA rays. I dot this tinted moisturizer all around my face and blend in with my fingers. Sometimes when I’m feeling like wearing less face products, I just use my RMS Beauty “Un” Cover-Up in #22 for areas where I have redness or spots, or just dab under my eyes. As the temperature drops, I’ll be gravitating towards creamier products or thicker liquid products to keep my skin moisturized and less prone to dry spots. The “Un” Cover-Up is lightweight and non-drying but heavier in texture than my tinted moisturizer so I will probably move towards using this more frequently as Fall ramps up.SummerSkinTag3
3. Mattify face, flush cheeks: In the Summer, my face is prone to being a bit more oiler than usual thanks to the temperatures and humidity. So in order to take down the shine, I’ll take a small bit of the Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation in shade Olive 1 and blend it all over my face, especially in the T-zone. This all natural, mineral-based foundation has made me a lover of loose, powder foundation again, it’s amazing. It is lightweight, matches my skintone perfectly (they have a great range of colors), and doesn’t irritate my skin. This lightweight mineral foundation is perfect for hot summer weather but will be useful as a mattifying powder layer over creamier face products for the Fall. Since I loved the foundation so much (full review will be coming soon), I’ve also been trying out blushes by Alima Pure and love them as well. My favorite is the Satin Matte Blush in Melon, a subtle coral color that looks great with my skin and can double as a blush and contour for me. It’s described as a “warm, peachy terracotta” by Alima Pure and I love how it brightens up my face and highlights my cheekbones. I’ll add deeper color pigment and more moisturizing formulas for Fall with some of my cream blushes from RMS Beauty and something I just purchased, the Just Jenna cream blush from La Bella Figura’s new makeup line.SummerSkinTag4
4. Highlight and contour: Sometimes I don’t feel like wearing blush at all but I always need to use my Illuminator Multi-Stick from ILIA Beauty in Sway. I use this golden-toned cream product to easily contour my cheeks and illuminate the highpoints of my face such as down the bridge of my nose, my forehead, cupid’s bow, and under my browbone. This product helps me keep that Summer glow going year-round and is a lovely shade to define my face or use just on my cheeks as well. I wear this in the Summer and will also continue to use it into Fall. Sometimes, I also dab Sway onto my eyelids as an eyeshadow product or before I add other eye products.
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5. Define eyes: I like defining my eyebrows using Benecos Eyebrow Pencil in Brown. It’s a nice, non-budge formula and the color matches well to my hair color. Plus, it has a convenient spoolie brush on the end and overall is affordable for an eyebrow pencil. I’m a recovering eye-shadow junkie but this Summer I tried to go light on eye products. RMS Cream Eye Polish in Magnetic was my go-to product for Summer because it’s quick and easy to apply on-the-go (you don’t need a brush) and sometimes was all I needed on my eyes. It is creamy and pigmented on the eyes and requires just a swipe for the perfect look. Magnetic is a neutral, shimmery taupe-mauve color that’s a perfect year-round eyeshadow and base color. Blend in more color for a smokier, defined eye. The Cream Eye Polish is also a great eyeshadow primer. For fall, I’m adding more browns and violets to my eyes and I love using my Red Apple Lipstick Eyeshadows, the ones I use most on a daily basis are Iced Mocha (a neutral taupe), Vamp (a lovely deep violet-mauve to define my crease), Champagne (a shimmery silver for the browbone).
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Then, if I feel like adding some more definition to my eyes I will line my eyes with my favorite eyeliner from Benecos, the Natural Kajal Eyeliner in Olive. I love how beautiful this liner looks with my skintone, it is the perfect dark, brown-green. The formula is gentle on my eyes (important for a contacts-wearer), soft but long-lasting, it hardly smudges on me during a normal 8-hour workday and can be drawn thin, smudged out or applied thicker for smokey or more defined eyes. This eyeliner is neutral enough for everyday but also a fun change from the usual black liner. For Fall, I’ll amp up the look with darker cat-eye look using a thicker liquid liner.
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Next, if I want to add more drama, I curl my lashes and apply my new favorite mascara from Kjaer WeisThis mascara is great for natural-looking lashes that are defined. I normally don’t like crazy lashes and this product gives my lashes enough volume while never smudging or irritating my eyes.
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6. Paint lips: Lastly, when all else fails, I say there’s nothing that can make you look or feel better than a beautiful, bold lipstick. For Summer, I loved wearing bold, bright colors like Jump by ILIA Beauty and this beautiful fuchsia is going to transition well with my usual red-based colors for Fall. ILIA Lipsticks and Tinted Lip Conditioners are my favorite natural lip products because they are so pigmented and nourishing on my lips. There are too many colors to choose from! Arabian Knights is my all-time favorite for Fall but really, all-year round as well. It’s a nice, buildable berry-red that could layer nicely under Jump to create a deeper lip for Fall.
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That’s it! Since sadly, Summer is over I tag everyone else who wants to do this and try to mention what products you are transitioning to for Fall. What are your favorite Summer to Fall products? Would you like to see more of these types of routine posts? Let me know in the comments!

 

*Indicates PR sample provided to me for consideration. Post contains affiliate links. Photos have not been retouched other than cropped and brightened.

New Releases Radar // 3

New Releases Radar 3

1. Alima Pure By Night Fall 2014 Eyeshadow Collection: I’ve always been so inspired by the different collections Alima Pure releases and the new Pure By Night Eyeshadow Collection for Fall 2014 is no different. This collection consists of 5 beautiful limited edition eyeshadows: 3 Pearluster and 2 Shimmer that can be combined for endless dramatic or neutral eye looks. I’m dying to try the gorgeous “sea green” eyeshadow in Labyrinth!
“Five limited edition eyeshadows to add drama to your look this fall. Inspired by film noir, each shade beautifully captures the light and adds mystery to the eyes with just a simple wash of color. As always, each of these vibrant eyeshadows provides intensity using just three natural ingredients.” $12.50 for .07 oz/ 2g at Alima Pure or Pemberley Jones

2. Kahina Giving Beauty Fez Hand and Body Balm: I’m a recent convert of Kahina Giving Beauty products (I’ve been trying lots of samples so far) and they really are worth all the hype. Rich in moisture and nourishment, Kahina products are unparalleled. The brand derives inspiration from Morocco and the ethically-produced, organic Moroccan argan oil used as a main ingredient in the products. The new Fez Hand and Body Balm sounds like a must-have multitasking moisturizing product especially for the upcoming colder months. This balm is a nourishing salve for hands and body that will heal, soothe, nourish and improve skin irritation, elasticity and texture.  Infused with Kahina’s signature Fez scent (adopted from their bestselling Fez Body Serum inspired by the sacred, exotic Morrocan city) and concentrations of argan oil, calendula, carrot seed oil, shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil and mango nut butter, this balm sounds like a truly unique and irrisistable skincare product. I think this is going to be an amazing balm to have for year-round skin treatment. $48 for 28 g at Kahina Giving Beauty or Eco Diva Beauty

3. May Lindstrom The Jasmine Garden Botanical Mist: Anything from May Lindstrom is always an immediate hit with my skin and probably why almost everyone who’s tried ML products are also convinced she has the most luxurious, effective green skincare line out there. May’s latest product, The Jasmine Garden has been long-awaited by fans (she previewed this product to lucky customers through a shop promotion last year,) and is now finally available for purchase in all it’s glory. The product is described as an intoxicating botanical mist with aromatherapeudic and nourishing ingredients that will seal in hydration and keep skin glowing. This mist can be used on the face (before or after makeup) as well as all over the body and hair. I am still dying to get my hands on this because it sounds so delicious (jasmine is one of my favorite scents!) but this toner/mist-aholic needs to use up a few more products from the beauty closet before indulging in this new little luxury.
“Tantalize skin with a fluttering of aromatic kisses, each droplet infusing cells with antioxidant protection, restoring elasticity, stimulating microcirculation and freeing delicate complexions of redness and inflammation. Romance and tempt your exotic spirit with the sensory experience of a lush botanical garden in the tropics, somewhere near a field of coca beans drenched in warm rain.” $60 for 3.38oz/100ml online at May LindstromSpirit Beauty Lounge, or The Detox Market

4. Osmia Organics Luz Brightening Serum: This new Osmia product was released in the beginning of August in conjunction with A Night for Green Beauty and also seemed to have some inspiration from Osmia’s luxe Luz Enzyme Facial Soap. Formulated with a base of organic argan and camellia oils, the Luz Brightening Serum helps to maintain a luminous, healthy appearance and texture, by nourishing and treating skin. This serum sounds like it would be great for anyone with inflamed skin, acne, acne scars or dull, dry skin. Osmia Organics instructs using this serum gradually to allow skin to adjust to the effective formula. The moisturizing and nutrient-heavy ingredients make this luxe serum sound so appealing and definitely wishlist-worthy.
“Silky broccoli seed and prickly pear oils provide a velvety texture—the oil sinks in almost immediately. Botanical actives such as gotu kola, algae, and wheatgrass help soothe irritation and enhance tone. This sublime serum is also enhanced with papaya, pumpkin, and mushroom extracts, which help the skin maintain a luminous appearance.” $75 for 0.45oz at Osmia Organics

5. Tata Harper Volumizing Lip and Cheek Tint: I’ve been giddy about this product since I’ve seen little hints about it on social media. Tata Harper’s bestselling, moisturizing lip products seem to have inspired the organic skincare company to branch out into some new beauty products. Reminiscent of RMS Beauty’s Lip2cheek products (though a few dollars cheaper and about the same amount of product), the Volumizing Lip and Cheek Tint apparently boasts multi-tasking ingredients resulting in natural pigments and anti-aging skincare technology as well as Spanish Lavender and Lipoamino Acid Technology to promote “plump, volumized appearance” of features. The Volumizing Lip and Cheek Tint is available in 3 beautiful shades that are leaning towards pink, neutral shades— Very Sweet: A soft shimmering peach (also a beautiful highlighter), Very Vivacious: A modern coral, Very Charming: The perfect petal pink.
“These tints deliver the perfect pop of natural color to lips and cheeks while helping to fill the look of fine lines, for skin that has the irresistible flush and volume of youth.” $35/0.15 fl oz. available online only at Tata Harper

6. ZOYA Entice & Ignite Fall Collections: Zoya is one of my favorite 5-free nail polish brands because they are very long lasting, feature a large range of colors and polish finishes, and are widely-available at most retailers in the U.S. (now even available in-stores like Ulta). Entice and Ignite each consist of a gorgeous range of neutrals and deep colored hues inspired by autumn. The two fall collections include six nail polishes each. I like that the collections include different color finishes like creams and metallics. I can definitely see myself wearing any of these polishes this fall!
“Inspired by the classic wools, textured brocades and metallic accents of the sason, Zoya’s new ENTICE & IGNITE collections create a palette of lush, deep color including wines, browns, navies and greys.” $9 each or $54 per collection kit at Zoya

What are some new product launches your lusting over? Would you try any of these products?

 

*Post contains affiliate links. Photos curtesy of all aforementioned brands.

Inspiring Beauty From Within, Inside and Outside the Shower: Eu2Be Skincare

Eu2Be1

Eu2Be is a lovely line of natural skincare products made in small batches in the USA with standout skin-benefiting ingredients sourced from Brazil. Products do not include parabens, petroleum, GMOs, are gluten-free and not tested on animals.

“Eu2Be (just say “You to Be”) was born out of my desire for a new conversation about beauty, evolving through years of searching for highly effective, great skin care products that made me and my skin feel beautiful…I wanted to connect the self-confidence we learn from the guardians of our past—beloved grandmothers, aunts and mothers—with the natural, nourishing ingredients we pursue, so that we make you the guardian of what is precious to you. Starting with your skin.” -Eu2Be’s founder, Charla Jones

Eu2Be’s mission to inspire beauty through knowledge and inner well-being is something I really admire about the products and company. Just take a whiff of these carefully curated, luxury products and you’ll immediately feel emboldened. The introspective questions on each Eu2Be bottle, “Who are you destined to be?” are also bound to stir an encouraging impression during use.

Shower + Soak Soap “No detergents. Just deep-down skin moisture as you shower or soak. Made in the USA with a strong assist from moisture-locking Brazilian oils. No parabens. No petroleum. No GMOs. No animal testing. Gluten free. With just a hint of fragrance.”
This luxurious, sexy-scented body soap is like nothing else I’ve tried. It’s probably the only natural product that has me dreaming of body wash again even among a plethora of amazing organic/natural bar soaps on the market. The Shower + Soak Soap transformed my shower time into a exotic spa-like experience. The subtle natural fragrance provides a sultry and tranquil quality when soaking with this soap. Gentle, calming and moisturizing, this soap consists of natural moisturizing ingredients derived from emolliating oils such as olive, coconut, castor, passiflora, babassu, buriti and maracuja. The product effectively lathers and cleanses skin and locks in moisture for silky, smooth, hydrated skin long after lathering up in the tub. $35 for 8 oz.  
Ingredients: Saponified Oils of Olive, Coconut, Castor and Palm, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Sodium Tetra Borate, Orbignya Oleiferia (Babassu) Oil, Passiflora Edulis (Maracuja) Seed Oil, Oriza Sativa (Rice Bran) Oil, Mauritia Flexuosa (Buriti) Seed Oil, Fragrance

Nurture + Nourish Lotion “Made in the USA with a strong assist from moisture-locking Brazilian oils. No parabens. No petroleum. No GMOs. No animal testing. Gluten free. With just a hint of fragrance.”
This cream is like a delicious soufflé for your body: it is lightweight and airy in texture, muted, while rich in nutrition and hydration for skin. This lotion features 13 different skin conditioning oils including avocado, sweet almond, castor, sunflower, brazil nut, and tamanu “selected on the basis of density (rich in skin nutrients) and depth (functionality at various skin layers)”. This lotion left my skin hydrated and incredibly soft all day long. The whipped texture is a masterpiece for the skin, a little bit truly goes a long way and makes this soft, absorbent lotion a literal frosting on top of my cleansing routine. $40 for 8 oz.
Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Dicaprylyl Ether, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Sclerotium Gum, Beeswax, Sucrose Polycottonseedate, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Oryza Sativa (Rice Bran) Oil, Brassica Campestris/Aleurites Fordi Oil Copolymer, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Orbignya Oleifera (Babassu) Seed Oil, Passiflora Edulis (Maracuja) Seed Oil, Bertholletia Excelsa (Brazil Nut) Seed Oil, Copaifera Officinalis (Balsam Copaiba) Resin, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Canarium Indicum (Nangai) Oil, Calophyllum Tacamahaca (Tamanu) Seed Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Seed Oil, Fragrance

Enrich + Radiate Oil “Made in the USA with a strong assist from moisture-locking Brazilian oils. No parabens. No petroleum. No GMOs. No animal testing. Gluten free. With just a hint of fragrance.”
I’ve tried many body oils before and this one is indeed luxury for the skin and soul. The Enrich + Radiate Oil spreads effortlessly and sinks into the skin keeping my body especially smooth, moisturized and well, radiant. Lasting moisturizing and healing effects are due to the 15 standout ingredients such as passiflora, broccoli seed, babassu palm and buriti palm oils, all chosen for their anti-inflammatory skin conditioning properties. I can’t stop using this body oil after showering because it so effectively locks in moisture, easily slicks onto skin, keeps skin supremely soft and smells divine. Looking to pamper your skin? Look no further! $30 for 2 oz. or $50 for 4 oz.
Ingredients: Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Dicaprylyl Ether, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Oryza Sativa (Rice Bran) Oil, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, MacadamiaTernifolia Seed Oil, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Seed Oil, Mauritia Flexuosa (Buriti) Seed Oil, Passiflora Edulis (Maracuja) Seed Oil, Orbignya Oleifera (Babassu) Seed Oil, Canarium Indicum (Nangai) Oil, Copaifera Officinalis (Balsam Copaiba) Resin, Bertholletia Excelsa (Brazil Nut) Seed Oil, Calophyllum Tacamahaca (Tamanu) Seed Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Fragrance

~Get free shipping on all US orders on Eu2Be.com with code: PleinVanity904!

What do you think about Eu2Be? Have you tried any of these products? Tell me about some great new brands you have stumbled upon!

 

*Products provided to me for consideration, all opinions are honest and  my own. I’m never paid to write reviews or posts of any kind. Header photo taken by me, all other photos courtesy of Eu2Be.

A Natural Fragrance Stepping Stone: Lavanila Vanilla-Grapefruit Perfume

I’ll admit it, I’ve been in a natural perfume rut for a while. I still hold preference to my fancy, convenient, chemical-ridden fragrances over so-called “green” ones. I’ve been using most of the leftovers from my not-so-healthy perfume collection (which was actually not a lot anyway) but have been slowly transitioning to more natural options. My problem with natural fragrances is that my nose tends to wrinkle and reject those seriously hippie, overly “herb-y” scents that so many of the greener options I explored seemed to consist of. I was also getting really tired of ordering organic or natural perfumes I thought I’d like only to hate them and collect dust on my dresser. (And yes, I did try out samples too.)

I’d heard of “the healthy fragrance” brand, Lavanila available at my nearby Sephora store to sniff and feel, so I felt more assured of successfully finding a natural fragrance I liked if I could try out a fragrance in-person. I’m glad I did because I think I’ve actually discovered one of the better, semi-natural beauty brands hidden within Sephora.

Lavanila is known for their personal care products fragranced with a base of Madagascar vanilla (called “Lavanila” hence, the brand’s moniker) and layered with unique blends of pure essential oils, nature identical oils*, and botanically derived aromas. The brand’s top seller is their “healthy deodorant”, which has become a cult favorite with Sephora-goers. While not the most natural or organic option on the green beauty market, for what it is, the Lavanila scents are a pretty good stepping stone for those looking to eventually find a more natural perfume.

Trying out all the Lavanila fragrances in-person at Sephora was a great experience for me because I’m very fickle and stubborn with my purchases. I liked that Lavanila products are available in a variety of options: spray bottle, roller-ball, or oil form. I usually prefer my fragrances in the form of a spray bottle but opted to purchase a roller-ball version($19/0.33oz) this time. Besides being great for testing a fragrance out before committing to a larger volume, roller-ball fragrances are especially nice to travel with due to the small size, are easy and mess-free to pack, and should generally last longer as the product is applied directly on the skin/pulse points.

Lavanila products do not contain: Parabens, Petrochemicals, Phthalates, Silicones, Propylene Glycol, Mineral Oils, Synthetic Dyes, Sulfates, Chemical Sunscreens, or Aluminum.

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Since I love fruity, fresh and feminine scents, I was immediately called to Lavanila’s Vanilla-Grapefruit scent. Based on the perfume name, I wasn’t thinking it’d be my favorite as I’m not usually fond of super sweet fragrances. To my surprise, this was love at first sniff: it’s fruity, lightly musky, and very sexy-smelling. The scent is powerful and noticeable but definitely not overbearing. It’s nice to be able to sense the scent throughout the day even as it is fading from it’s original strength. I love that it has a hint of vanilla and cedarwood for a warm musk and combines with notes of grapefruit and lime for a fresh but not sugary blend of fragrance. It is definitely an awakening scent that’s revitalizing and keeps me in a positive, confident mood. This warm fragrance was perfect for summer and will be great for autumn as well.

This lasting property of this perfume was quite good in my experience, though it won’t last you the entire day of course. I’m usually able to get about 4-5 hours of noticeable scent from this perfume before it starts to fade. The best part about roller-ball fragrances is the convenience of stashing the product in your bag for easy, reapplication throughout the day. For me, I liked how this perfume naturally faded into my skin so I don’t find I need to reapply often.

(The EWG’s Skin Deep Database rated this product with a low score of “3”. See the details here.)

I’m definitely considering buying the spray version of Lavanila’s Vanilla-Grapefruit because I’m really enjoying the fragrance, but I may just hold off on the purchase in pursuit of greater, more natural and organic perfume discoveries. There are so many great luxurious, healthy options that I’ve had my eye on…I’ll be sure to share my findings with you very soon.

Ingredients: Alcohol denat. (from Organic sugar cane), Botanical fragrance blend, Deionized water, Lycium barbarum (Goji) powder, Terminalia ferdinandiana (Kakadu plum) fruit extract, Epilobium angustifolium (Canadian willowherb) extract, Olea europaea (Olive leaf) extract, Alteromonas ferment extract, Chrysanthellum indicum (Chamomile) extract, Oat amino acids, Glycerin (Vegetable), Vanilla planifolia.

*Nature identical oils can be controversial ingredients and their properties are not common knowledge. Nature identical oils are synthetic oils that have the same chemical composition as their natural counterparts. They can be made up of a blend of essential oil and extracted aromatic compositions. Nature identical oils are usually included in fragrances as they smell identical to their natural equivalents, are more affordable to obtain, and contain less ingredients on average. I think the preference to purchase products with natural identical oils is definitely a personal choice. For me, I am not heavily opposed to these ingredients as I don’t think they are the worst out there, but I would limit my exposure to them. I think this is where reading ingredient labels and having clear ingredient markings on products is critical. Read more about NIOs here, here, or here.

Have you tried anything from Lavanila? What is your favorite natural or organic perfume? Let me know if you have any suggestions of what products to try next!

 
**Product purchased by me with my own, hard-earned cash. No sponsors or fake opinions here, only honest observations. Post contains affiliate links.

The Testing Table \ Vol. 2

(Products listed clockwise, click product names for links. All products purchased by me or received as a sample with orders I purchased myself unless otherwise indicated.)

Here’s another roundup of the products I’ve been trying out (a small selection among many!) I’ve definitely been on the hunt for a new cleanser and daily moisturizer since I’ve finished and found my staples: Pai Skincare Cleanser and Pai Geranium & Thistle Day Cream. Plus, I’m always curious to try brands that are new to me. Here’s how this volume went:

Stark Skincare Grapefruit Cleanse + Hydrate Balm: I chose this sample with my first Integrity Botanicals order a few months ago. (I love the sample program at Integrity Botanicals: you choose 3 free samples with your order selecting pretty much anything on the website! More here.) Besides having had my eye on Stark Skincare for a while, I’d also not used many cleansing balms before so I was quite curious about this product. First-off, this balm smells AMAZING! Even though this balm features grapefruit extract (an effective cleansing and astringent ingredient), the scent reminds me more of chocolate covered orange peels, which I love! Besides that, this balm was a seriously good cleansing and moisturizing product. I used it to remove heavy eye makeup, minimal face makeup and daily grime. It cleaned everything off perfectly but did leave my skin on the greasier side. This balm is a cleanser and moisturizer in one so really handy for multi-use. I think the hydrating, oil-based ingredients are the reason why this leaves such a greasy residue but it is expectant of a balm. For me, I think it’s great for my dry skin but I probably would love it more for use in the winter.
Ingredients: Cocos nucifera (organic virgin coconut) oil, Glycine soja (non-GMO soybean) butter, Butyrospermum parkii (raw organic Shea) butter, Theobroma cacao (organic cocoa) butter, Mangifera indica (raw mango) seed butter, Euphorbia cerifera (candelilla) wax, Cemellia sinensis (organic green tea) seed oil, Prunus dulcis (organic sweet almond) oil, Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate (coconut-derived and ECOCERT approved for organic products)*, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Wax, Tocopherol (non-GMO vit. E), Soy lecithin (organic), Rosmarinus officinalis L (natural preservative), pure essential oils. *These are essentially fruit salts and fatty alcohol derived from coconut…sketchy name, but 100% safe and non-irritating.

Laurel Whole Plant Organics Eye Balm**: I’m really in love with everything Laurel WPO offers and the samples I received were just further proof of this. The Eye Balm is incredible! It’s very moisturizing, light (but rich in formula) and gentle. The product also easily sinks into skin and has a unique texture that is a slightly grainy balm (grains dissipate when pressed into skin). This product boasts stellar organic ingredients like lavender, grape seed oil, borage seed oil, bilberry and cranberry seed oil– which moisturize, are high in vitamins and antioxidants, de-puffing, promote skin cell regeneration and skin firmness. Although I don’t have serious wrinkles or bags under my eyes yet, this balm is great for keeping the area under my eyes moisturized and less puffy. It’s a great product that I really believe will help keep my undereyes as nourished and healthy as can be. UPDATE: Laurel WPO emailed me to let me know that the granulated texture is not the way the balms should appear. Apparently, my samples had melted in full and re-solidified with warm temperatures during shipping. Laurel WPO now ships their balms with cold ice packs to prevent this from happening! 
Ingredients: Shea Butter˚, Jojoba Oil˚, Borage Seed Oil˚, Rosehip Seed Oil˚, Almond Oil˚, Grape Seed Oil˚, Cranberry Seed Oil˚, Beeswax˚, Pomegranate Seed Oil˚, Rosemary˚; in-house biodynamic proprietary blend of Nettle˚, Bilberry˚, Rosehip Fruit˚, Chamomile˚, Licorice˚, Gotu Kola˚, Calendula˚, Comfrey˚, Fennel˚; essential oils of Lavender˚, Bergamot˚, Sandalwood˚, Myrrh˚, Helichrysum˚ ˚signifies certified organic ingredient

Laurel Whole Plant Organics Daily Balm**: Another home-run for Laurel WPO, I definitely would love to pick up a full-size of this product. I loved using this balm as a daily moisturizer and even at night (though there is a separate Night Balm from Laurel WPO). It is light, smooth and melts into the skin. I love how the Daily Balm is moisturizing enough to keep my dry patches at bay while not being too greasy to wear during the day or under makeup. The balm also has a lovely, fresh scent definitely derived from 29 beneficial active organic ingredients including calendula, comfrey, gotu kola, nettle, chamomile, sandalwood, neroli, carrot seed, and lemon balm. The product appears to have a large grains though is not at all grainy in texture, it is soft and buttery. This balm is gentle and calming on my skin with so many nourishing ingredients. UPDATE: Laurel WPO emailed me to let me know that the granulated texture is not the way the balms should appear. Apparently, my samples had melted in full and re-solidified with warm temperatures during shipping. Laurel WPO now ships their balms with cold ice packs to prevent this from happening! 
Ingredients: Jojoba Oil˚, Shea Butter˚, Rosehip Seed Oil˚, Red Raspberry Seed Oil˚, Borage Seed Oil˚, Cranberry Seed Oil˚, Almond Oil˚, Evening Primrose Oil˚, Sesame Oil˚, Beeswax˚, Sea Buckthorn Oil˚, Rosemary Extract˚; in-house biodynamic proprietary blend of Gotu Kola˚, Calendula˚, Comfrey˚, Nettle˚, Chamomile˚, Licorice˚, Red Clover˚, Lemon Balm˚, Astragalus˚, Yarrow˚, Elderflower˚, Horsetail˚; essential oils of Sandalwood˚, Neroli˚, Carrot Seed˚, Lemon Balm˚ ˚signifies certified organic ingredient

John Masters Organics Linden Blossom Face Creme Cleanser: Believe it or not, I haven’t tried anything from JMO prior to this sample. As an effective, well-known organic hair/skincare brand plus, affordable and easy to find at most retailers, JMO products have been on my “to-try” list. This cleanser was definitely a hit for me. Creamy, smooth and gentle, this cleanser was great for my dry and often irritated skin. I absolutely loved the sweet, muted fragrance and how fresh and revitalized it made my skin feel. This cleanser includes beneficial ingredients such as rose flower oil, linden blossom, ginseng, yang yang and radish root which nourishes, tones, softens and treats dry, sensitive skin like mine. For a small sample I randomly selected to go with a Spirit Beauty Lounge order, I think this was a great choice for me! I’d definitely like to get a full-size of this product.
Ingredient: Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice*, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, rosa damascena (rose) flower water*, glycerin*, cocoglucoside, coconut alcohol, leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate, triticum vulgare (wheat) germ oil*, lauryl glucoside, calophyllum inophyllum (foraha) seed oil*, sclerotium gum, tilia cordata (linden) flower extract*, panax ginseng (ginseng) root extract*, sambucus canadensis (elder) flower extract*, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract*, cananga odorata (ylang ylang) flower oil*, rosa damascena (rose) flower oil*, melissa officinalis (melissa) flower oil*, xanthan gum, citric acid, potassium sorbate  *Certified Organic

Tom’s of Maine Simply White Fluoride Toothpaste, Clean Mint: I was switching between this natural toothpaste and another one, a clay-based, Zion Health toothpaste (review HERE) for a while. Compared to the Zion Health toothpaste, I didn’t like the Tom’s product as much. Though this still does contains fluoride and SLS unlike other toothpastes claiming to have all natural ingredients, this product made my teeth feel very sensitive and almost weak-feeling. I didn’t quite see any whitening effects and found the mint flavor to be lacking. Not sure if I’m just too used to synthetic toothpaste flavoring, but I did not like how my teeth did not taste and feel fresh. I’m pretty sure most naturally-derived ingredients can pack a “fresh”, minty punch, although this “Clean Mint” flavor did not last at all. I don’t think I’d repurchase this toothpaste and the product actually made me rethink my priority on seeking natural toothpastes. I’m still on the fence about how beneficial it really is to completely remove ingredients in toothpaste that could potentially combat bacteria, serious oral diseases and is recommended by the ADA and dentists.
Active Ingredient: Sodium fluoride 0.24% (0.15% w/v fluoride ion). Inactive Ingredients: hydrated silica, water, sorbitol, glycerin, xylitol, sodium lauryl sulfate, natural flavors, xanthan gum, titanium dioxide, chondrus crispus (carrageenan).

Kahina Giving Beauty Night Cream: Kahina is also another brand I haven’t tried yet but is a popular, well-known brand. Being the cautious shopper that I am, I’ve recently stocked up on a few different Kahina samples before I fully commit to such expensive products. Cue the violins coming from my wallet: I loved this night cream. It has a perfectly smooth and soothing formula that gently sinks into the skin and keeps my face moisturized all night long. I loved how my face didn’t feel dry in the morning and stayed just as supple and glowing as the night I applied it. I usually try to save money and amount of daily products used by having a singular multipurpose cream or serum for both day and night. However, I really loved this night cream and saw the immediate benefits on my skin that I think I’d shell out serious money for the small, full-size product. It’s also nice to know that Kahina products are true quality, organic products that also benefit communities in need.
Ingredients: aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice*, argania spinosa (argan) oil*, glyceryl stearate citrate, cetearyl alcohol, glyceryl caprylate, pichia/resveratrol ferment extract, lactobacillus ferment, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, propanediol, vitis vinifera (grape) juice extract, glycerin*, water/aqua/eau, butyrospermum parkii (shea) nut butter*, sodium hyaluronate, disodium rutinyl disulfate, hordeum distichon extract, melissa officinalis extract, cetyl esters, rosa damascena (rose) flower oil*, pelargonium graveolens (geranium) leaf/flower oil*, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower oil*, citrus aurantium (petitgrain bigarade) leaf/bud oil, bisabolol, tanacetum annuum flower oil*, santalum spicatum (sandalwood) wood oil, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract*, sclerotium gum, p-anisic acid, xanthan gum *Ingredient from Organic Farming, 99.98% of the total ingredients are from natural origin; 78.68% of the total ingredients are from Organic Farming, certified natural and Organic by ECOCERT Greenlife

100% Pure Coconut Nourishing Body Cream: I’ve used a fair amount of 100% Pure products yet their body creams have been on my list to try. I love products scented with coconut so I figured I’d enjoy trying this first out of the 3 body cream samples I received with my 100% Pure order. In my opinion, this sample was a bit small for testing out a body cream but I did get a general feel for the product. I loved how natural and pleasant it smelt of coconut and was generally soft and moisturizing to the touch. For me, the cream was a bit chalky and hard to spread, I had to put a bit of effort to rub it into my skin. It did absorb into my skin well and left my dry skin feeling soft and moisturized. I don’t know if I’d purchase a full-size of this body cream, though I loved the scent, it perfectly emulate a tropical, summer destination.
Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Leaf Juice*, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water (Organic Rose Hydrosol)*, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Butter, Cocos Nucifera (Virgin Coconut) Oil, Rosa Canina (Rosehip Oil) Seed Extract, Euphorbia Cerifera Cera (Candelilla Wax) Extract, Ribes Nigrum (Blackcurrant) Seed Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C) and Resveratrol, Extracts of Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit, Vanilla Planifolia (Vanilla) Fruit, Coffea Arabica (Organic Kona Green Coffee) Seed*, Prunus Serotina (Wild Cherry) Fruit, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Fruit, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit, Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Fruit, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf, Origanum Vulgare (Oregano) Leaf, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Flower/Leaf, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai Berry) Fruit, Camellia Sinensis (Organic Green Tea) Leaf*, Garcinia Mangostana (Mangosteen) Peel, Lycium Chinense (Goji Berry) Fruit, Aristotelia Chilensis (Maqui Berry), Sambucus Canadensis (Elderberry), Vitis Vinifera (Muscadine Grape) Skin, Lonicera Caprifolium (Japanese Honeysuckle) and Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal), Citric Acid, Hamamelis Virginiana Water (Witch Hazel), and Alcohol (Grain) * Certified Organic

Have you tried any of these products?What are you currently testing out? See my first Testing Table post here.

*Post contains affiliate links, all opinions are my own. **PR Samples provided for consideration.
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