MAY PRODUCT REVIEW: Innersense Organic Haircare

So for May, I’ve got a real treat for all of you that love organic and natural beauty products. The wonderful folks at Innersense sent me their haircare line to review. I’ve got a ton of fun products for all different kinds of hair types, so let’s get to it.

First, let’s start with a little bit about Innersense Organic Beauty:
“Nature is at the Center of Innersense Organic Beauty. Our products are crafted from pure, certified organic plant ingredients your hair will love. Enjoy the hydration, moisture, shine and color protection only pure nature can provide and fall in love with the beautiful truth of innersense organic beauty.”

Who doesn’t want nature to make their hair pretty and shiny? It’s so much better than when machines do it.

“Innersense products are handcrafted from a rich combination of carefully selected certified organic and biodynamic plant extracts, rich in emollients and nutrients, high in antioxidants. Our products are built to restore hair’s natural balance, leaving it healthy, full of body and shiny.”

Am I the only one who gets excited when I hear the word “antioxidants”? I think it tricks my brain into thinking I can undo all the damage pollution from the Lincoln Tunnel has done to me.

It’s also important to note that Innersense is a certified green company, for those of you looking at beauty companies that are  into environmental sustainability.

Now my hair is naturally red, thick, wavy and currently so long it’s bordering on sister wife territory. It’s prone to tangles, frizziness and I often get dry scalp (maybe a little TMI on the last one). Just so you have a reference point for my product experiences.

Shampoo
Color Awakening Shampoo

(Retail: 8.5 oz: $24.00; 32 oz: $60.00)
Description: “A gentle cleansing therapy for color-treated hair, this formula creates a gentle bath for the hair and scalp. Sunflower seed oil, a natural anti-oxidant, protects color from fading and leaves hair naturally clean without residue or dryness.”
Verdict: Love!
This shampoo had a wonderful citrus scent that I adore. It didn’t irritate my sometimes sensitive scalp and had a nice lather (which is hard to come by with many natural shampoos). It also didn’t weigh down my wavy hair like other brands have. My hair isn’t color treated, so I can’t speak to it’s properties in that regard, but it definitely felt gentle. This one was a winner for me.

Conditioner
Color Radiance Daily Conditioner

(Retail: 8.5 oz: $26.00; 32 oz: $68.00)
Description: Formulated to nourish color-treated hair with natural proteins, aromatic oils and flower essences, this beautiful formula prevents build-up and includes sunflower seed oil for color protection..”
Verdict:
Great for folks with Color Treated Hair
My first impression on this was the scent – unlike the light citrus of the shampoo, this had a heavier floral scent. For me, it was a bit too strong, but I could see other people really enjoying it. This conditioner did a fabulous job of making my thick knotted hair, soft and manageable, but I noticed that when I used it every day I got a bit of build-up that weighed my hair down. I offset this by using a clarifying shampoo. I think because this is made for color-treated hair, it may be a bit strong for my natural locks, but it really did a remarkable job of getting the tangles out of my hair. I think this would work amazingly well for folks with color treated hair, so if you’ve got a fab dye job, you may want to try this conditioner out.

Scalp Treatment
Harmonic Healing Oil Soothing Treatment

(Retail: 1 oz: $22.00; 4 oz: $65.00)
Description: “A rich blend of sacred healing oils and flower essences, this product is ideal for soothing dry skin and scalp. With certified organic safflower and evening primrose oil, and the healing properties of sacred tamanu oil, this luscious oil is rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins and antioxidants. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it ideal for deep tissue massage and dry or irritated skin.”
Verdict: Like!
I’ve tried a lot of scalp oils and products and I really liked this treatment. It smelled lovely, (whereas other natural brands sometimes just smell like cooking oil) and it wasn’t super greasy. I haven’t tried it for my skin yet, but I really like that it’s multi-purpose as well. My favorite scalp treatments are scrubs and I’d love to experiment with combining this treatment oil with some salt to exfoliate.

Leave In
Sweet Spirit Leave In Conditioner

(Sale Price 8.5 oz: $19.79)
Description: “Natural oils, fragrant herbs, flower essences and a touch of honey leaves hair perfectly balanced and ready for any style. The natural orange blossom fragrance makes this a refreshing delight for all the senses.”
Verdict: Like
This has a lovely scent, wasn’t too heavy, and left my hair soft. It didn’t really make much of a dent in my frizziness, but it left it feeling refreshed.

Frizz Control
Curl Control Quiet Calm
(Sale Price 8.5 oz: $19.79)
Description: “Certified organic shea butter sets and hydrates curl while rice bran oil and oat kernel extract combines to protect hair when blow drying smooth.”
Verdict: Like
This had a soft scent and wasn’t harsh or heavy on my hair. I don’t blow dry my hair often so I didn’t get to try this out as much as the other products, but I really like having a natural product I can use to protect my hair against heat styling.

Gel
I Create Hold Styling Gel
(Sale Price 8.5 oz: $19.79)
Description: “Take control and embrace your style. Certified organic honey acts as a natural resin; organic rooibios tea adds antioxidant protection, while rosemary extracts crate incredible shine.”
Verdict: Okay
I’m not a gel person, I’m much more of a sea salt spray, let it dry, bohemian type. This gel wasn’t super heavy or tacky like some can be, but it didn’t work so well with my normal wavy style. I imagine it would work better with other hair styles and textures.

Volume
I Create Volume Volumizing Lotion

(Sale Price 8.5 oz: $19.79)
Description: “Add lift from roots to end with certified organic honey and aloe. Wheat germ amino acids combined with eucalyptus provide moisture and nutrients to improve elasticity and shine.”
Verdict: On the Fence
My hair is already thick, so I’m not sure I’m the target audience for this. I’m also accustomed to volumizing products that give a big bang and this one is a bit more subtle. I think this is a product suited for folks with thinner hair.

Hairspray
I Create Finish Finishing Spray

(Sale Price 8.5 oz: $19.79)
Description: ”This versatile spray, provides hold and manageability. Aloe and rice proteins provide moisture and strength, and certified organic lavender soothes the senses.”
Verdict: Like!
I’m not much of a hairspray person. And I hate, hate, HATE stuff that makes your hair hard or sticky. This is a lighter hairspray so if you want to beehive your head, I don’t think it’s going to work, but for less aerodynamically challenging hairstyles I think it works well. I like that it doesn’t harden my hair or smell like a chemical factory.

A couple products they sent me were more suited for short styles, so I couldn’t really try them out, (nor did I know anyone with suitable hair) but there’s no reason I can’t share some info on them with you all:

Texturizer
I Create Inner Peace Whipped Crème Texturizer

(Sale Price 3 oz: $16.20)
Description: ”This crème will leave any style peacefully texturized throughout the day. Certified Organic shea butter and fruit oils are whipped with wheat protein to condition and strengthen hair, while sunflower seed extract prevents color from fading.”

 Polish
I Create Inner Reflection Finishing Polish

(Retail 3 oz: $18.00)
Description: ”Add control and reflection to any style. Shea butter, wheat grass an sunflower seed extract condition hair and protect color form fading.”

Innsersense Haircare
Overall: Hit!
Except for the Color Radiance Conditioner, whose scent was a bit strong, I thought the products all smelled lovely. They were natural but not overpowering. Since I’m fairly no frills when it comes to styling, my favorite product was the Color Awakening Shampoo which I’d gladly purchase on my own. The styling products all come in really generous sizes and with most of them, a little product goes a long way so even if you are paying $20ish for a bottle, it will definitely last you awhile. I’d love to see Innersense expand the line a little more with a conditioner with the same scent as the Color Awakening Shampoo, an exfoliating scalp treatment and a sea salt spray.

The products all have a very natural feel to them and if organic beauty is important to you, this is a great line to check out.

 How important is it to you that your beauty products be organic or natural?

NOVEMBER PRODUCT REVIEW: Emtage Hair & Beauty

For November, the lovely folks at Emtage sent me a selection of really intriguing products to review. They are a natural beauty brand with products that feature botanical oils.

So first a little about this company:

“Emtage Beauty is born out of genuine passion and commitment for providing pure, premium, natural, multi-use products that are healthy for the body and the planet. We are committed to a lifestyle that focuses on the holistic approach of beauty, from the inside out. Our mission is to use only the purest, highest-quality ingredients that are fairly traded, sustainable and ethnically sourced that are effective and benefit the health of the skin, hair and scalp. We support fair trade women co-ops throughout the world, support human rights and are against the use of child labor and animal testing.”

Emtage has an extensive list of all the natural ingredients they use including things like Certified Argan Oil, Certified Sea Buckthorn oil and Mango Butter.

This seems like a super health conscious line and I’m interested to see how the products work.

Moisturizer
Emtage Island Beauty Balm, 2 oz
(2 Oz Retail: $18.40)
Description: “An exotic blend of organic oils, fruit extracts and butters to nourish, inspired from the Tropics where women are known for their beautiful skin. This multi-use cream moisturizes, nourishes, hydrates and protect face and body. Apply to face, lips, hands, feet, stretch marks, anywhere care is needed. Use a small amount on face as your daily moisturizer, makeup remover and night cream.”
Verdict: Like
This is thicker balm so it’s not something I would use on my face during the day. It is rich and hydrating so I think it’s great for those rough areas on the body that need extra hydration (like elbows, heels,and hands). I also could see using this on your face as a night treatment during the winter months when your skin might be feeling raw. This product didn’t have much of a scent and definitely had a natural feel.

Scalp
Emtage SILKtage Scalp Repair, Pre-Wash Healing Oil Treatment

(2 Oz Retail: $17.00)
Description: “An infusion of nature’s most healing organic botanical oils from around the world. This multi-purpose oil treatment nourishes the scalp, soothe itchness, dryness, eczema, psoriasis, relieve dandruff, strengthen roots and follicles and stimulate.”
Verdict: Like
I get a super dry scalp (especially in winter) which often results in that oh so fun problem of itchy scalp and oily roots. This is a treatment that you apply to your scalp and then leave on for a few hours (or overnight) and then wash off. I felt like this moisturized my scalp but it also made my hair super greasy while I waited for it to do its thing. So if you try this out just make sure you have some time to let it work before having to look presentable.


Styling Serum
Emtage Silktáge™ Rejuvenating Styling Serum
(1 oz Retail:$15.20)
Description: An infusion of nature’s most exotic organic botanical oils from around the world. This multi-purpose hair oil serum is nourishing to every hair type and especially beneficial to dry, stressed, frizzy hair—strengthening hair from the root and restoring moisture lost from styling heat, chemicals, and the environment..”
Verdict: Miss for Wavy Hair, Hit for Straight Hair
So hair oils are super trendy and I’m always up for trying a new one. I have thicker, wavy hair that is prone to frizziness. I tried a bit of this and let it air dry and while it made my hair shiny and helped the frizz, it sort of weighed down the waves and made them odd. It is much better suited for applying to wet hair, then blow drying.  I’m going to set this one aside for my blowout or flat iron days.

Cleansing Oil
Emtage Clear Glow™ – Camellia Cleansing Oil

(4 Oz Retail:$26.00)
Description: ”An infusion of nature’s most luxurious organic botanical oils from around the world. This all-natural cleansing solution combines the ancient beauty secret of Camellia with Olive and Red Palm to calm redness, diminish pores and blackheads, rejuvenate your skin and restore your natural glow. This multi-purpose cleansing oil treatment removes makeup, dirt and impurities and leaves your skin soft and clear while treating your skin and delicate eye area with age-defying antioxidants.
Verdict: Like
Oil cleansers are my absolute favorite type. I gave this one a “like” rating because I found it to easily break down make up and to go on smoothly. This is a natural product and has a nutty (almost cooking oil) type scent which just isn’t my favorite. It’s not overly obtrusive but I prefer a fresher scent in my cleansers, which is the only reason I didn’t give this one a “love”.

I saved my favorite items for last:

 Argan Oil
Emtage Argan Oil Rollerball
(.36 fl oz Retail:$12.99)
Description: “Rich, nourishing Argan oil provides instant hydration and age-defying benefits to nourish skin, soften cuticles and treat split ends. This precious, time proven oil in a rollerball form allows you to target and rejuvenate problem areas with powerful antioxidants, Vitamin E and essential fatty acids for a healthy and radiant glow that’s always with you.”


Argan Rosehip
Emtage Argan Oil Rosehip Rollerball

(.36 fl oz Retail:$14.99)
Description: “Rich, nourishing, luxurious blend of Argan oil and Rose hip oil infused with Geranium essential oil provides instant hydration and age defying benefits to dehydrated, dry skin, wrinkles, fine lines and discoloration. These precious, time proven oils in a rollerball form allow you to target and rejuvenate problem areas with powerful antioxidants, vitamin E, C and essential fatty acids to restore skin’s radiance and youthful glow.”

Verdict: Love!
Oils are great but applying them can be an arduous process. Pure Argan Oil can also be quite pricey. These adorable rollerballs have taken all the annoyance and expense out of using Argan oil. They have a metal rollerball that makes them fabulous for using on the undereye area. It gives a nice cooling effect that feels fabulous when your eyes are tired. These are also safe to use on your lips. I’ve been using the rosehip under my eyes and on my giant forehead wrinkle and I do feel like it’s made a bit of difference. The argan oil roller is perfect on my lips. These go on smoothly and are not sticky at all. Out of all the products I received, these are the rockstars.

OVERALL
Full Collection
Hit!

All these products were of good quality and felt super natural. A lot of the items had multiple applications which helps you get more bang for your buck. I really loved the Argan oil rollerballs so that put this collection firmly in the “hit” category for me.  The packaging on them is wonderful and it’s a inexpensive way to incorporate Argan oil into your beauty regimen.

Do you currently use Argan Oil? If so, do you notice a difference in your beauty routine?

 

Coupon Code: If you want to give these products a shot you can use my code at iherb.com: CVF809 for a discount on your first order. They are a fabulous place to buy everything from groceries to essential oils and they frequently offer freebies at checkout.

AUGUST PRODUCT REVIEW: Honey Girl Organics

So I’m just sneaking in my August product review. I like to hold these until the end of the month, so I have lots of time to try out the products. This month I have some skincare from Honey Girl Organics. (Isn’t that an incredibly adorable name? It totally sounds like a Japanese anime character). The Honey Girl folks were super gracious and sent me a sample of products to share with you guys.

So First let’s start with a little background on Honey Girl:

Honey Girl produces Certified Organic skin care products in Hawaii. They describe them as “Completely natural skincare made with nature’s best organic ingredients including honey, olive oil, beeswax, and propolis.” They also state that “…We collect these ingredients from our hives located in forested areas on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii , from our holistically managed hives..”

Foraged in Hawaii from holistically managed hives? Sounds awesome, sign me up for a jar of that.

Face & Eye
Face & Eye Créme
(1.75 fl. Oz Retail: $29.44)
Description: “This luxurious emollient will soften, moisturize and repair your skin, reducing fine lines while providing protection from the harsh elements. It hydrates and nourishes to bring out your natural radiance. This crème is extremely beneficial and gentle enough to use on the delicate tissue around the eyes.”
Verdict: Like
This product is super moisturizing and quite rich. Because it’s natural, once you open it, there tends to be a little bit of oil that’s separated at the top. A quick stir and the cream is perfectly fine. This is definitely a product more geared toward those with dry skin, or for use during the colder seasons. If you have oily skin, I’d say you should probably skip this one. The scent is slightly herbal, but not particularly strong or distracting. I found this to be super gentle around my eyes (which can be a problem area for me). The packaging is quite attractive and a little of this product goes a long way. If you have dry, sensitive skin this might be the perfect product for you. (Honey Girl also has an extra sensitive version of this product as well.)

Polish
Facial Scrub
(1.75 fl. Oz Retail: $24.69)
Description: “HGO Facial Scrub whisks away dead skin cells and increases blood circulation, helping to diminish fine lines, revealing plumper, younger skin and leaving it silky smooth.”.”
Verdict: Like
Of course at first glance I adored the itty bitty metal jar. I’m a sucker for tiny packaging. Once I got into it, the facial scrub had a really unique consistency, almost like a rubbery sort of texture. It was really intriguing. I found that this product to be a good exfoliator and quite gentle. Some scrubs can leave your face feeling a little worse for the wear, but this one left my skin soft without any irritation. I think it would work really great on those with sensitive skin. Honey Girl says you can use it once or twice a week.

Mask
Rejuvenating Mask
(1.75 fl. Oz Retail:$25.64)
Description:Enhance collagen production and stimulate new cell growth with HGO’s Rejuvenating Mask. It softens and moisturizes while providing the skin with the nutrition it needs to be the best. Good for all skin types..”
Verdict: Miss
Unfortunately, I’m someone who really doesn’t like sticky masks. I know that honey cleansing is the rage right now, but the consistency of this on my skin just didn’t work for me. While the herbal scent in this product was similar to the one in the cream, it was a bit more overpowering. My skin did feel tighter after using this mask, so it’s really just my preference for the texture of it. If you don’t mind honey type masks, you’ll probably like this one.

Lip Balm
Lip Balm
(.33 fl. oz Retail:$6.36)
Description:A luscious antioxidant lip treatment that soothes dry and chapped lips and protects them from dehydration.”
Verdict: Miss
This balm had a nice citrus taste and scent. Both the texture and wear reminded me of the Eos balms. It’s a harder balm and you just put a thin layer on your lips. The positive is that the balm will last you a long time, the negative is that because it’s a thin layer you’ll have to reapply frequently. I prefer thicker balms (like the Rosebud salve) so this one was a miss for me. It does feel nice on, and I love the scent. Because of the thinner application, I think this balm would be perfect layered beneath matte lipsticks. It won’t interfere with the color, but it will give you some extra moisture  to combat the uber drying characteristics of most matte lip products.

Cuticle Balm
Cuticle & Nail Créme
(.5 fl. oz Retail:$12.82)
Description: “This nourishing crème soothes protects and moisturizes whil providing nutrition for stronger and healthier nails.”
Verdict: Love!
You guys know I have a polish obsession so cuticle crème is right up my alley and I totally fell in love with this one. It is super rich and a little will go a long way. I found it really moisturizes my cuticles and nails and I’ve left the jar on my desk so I can apply frequently. I highly recommend this if you have problems with dry cuticles and peeling nails.

Foot Balm
Foot Balm
(2 fl. oz Retail:$17.49)
Description: “Our rejuvenating and moisturizing Peppermint & Lavender Foot Balm instantly soothes, nourishes, restores and softens your tired and overworked feet. It will also help with dry and cracked skin.”
Verdict: Love!
I love, love, love this product. It does exactly what it says and the peppermint smell is present but not at all overpowering. I tried this cream on my feet and put some socks over it. I checked back in just a half hour and the dry skin on my feet was so much improved. This is my favorite product and the best foot balm I’ve tried.

OVERALL
All Products
Hit!

I really enjoyed trying out this organic line. All of the products were super moisturizing and had that natural feel you expect from organic skin care.  Even the products that I found weren’t the right fit for me, would be great for someone with a different skin type or preference. This line is a great option for those with dry, normal or combination skin as we head into the fall/winter season. If you’re into manis and pedis, I highly recommend grabbing the cuticle and foot balms. You won’t be disappointed.

Do you regularly use organic skincare products? What are your faves?

JULY PRODUCT REVIEW: Earthlab Cosmetics & a GIVEAWAY! – WINNER ANNOUNCED!

In order to celebrate my milestone of surpassing 100 posts and to highlight July’s products from Earthlab Cosmetics, I’m hosting a giveaway! If you’re super impatient, you can jump down the post for all the details, but if you’ve got some time let’s dive into my review.

Let’s start with a little background on Earthlab Cosmetics:

Earthlab Cosmetics was created by a mother and daughter team whose goal was to create a makeup line that worked well for women of all different skin color, tones and types and features the finest natural minerals and raw pigments, derived directly from nature with no additives. Earthlab’s vision is to “have women around the world using a pure makeup that is actually healthy for their skin. One that will not completely absorb into the skin and that is completely free of additives, fillers and preservatives.”
This is a vegan makeup line that does not test on animals and does NOT contain: By-Products, Parabens, Toxic Chemicals,Bismuth Oxychloride,Preservatives.

I’m always intrigued with trying out organic and vegan makeup, but I must confess that I’m not typically a fan of mineral makeup. I find it to be too much effort and a bit too messy for me. Let’s see if this brand changes my mind.

Mascara
Earthlab Cosmetics, Raw Mascara, Black, 0.33 fl oz (10 ml)
(Retail: $18.37)
Description: “…a silky, lash-defining and weightless mascara providing all day colour. The smooth light-as-a-feather base does not clump because of the absence of clay in the superior formula. Which also means no flaking and no smudging. Perhaps best of all is that this botanically-enriched mascara adds a softness to the lashes while this moisturizing formula will condition the lashes at the same time. It also has no harmful preservatives that can irritate the eyes and is paraben free.”
Verdict: Like
I wear contacts and in general it’s hard for me to find mascaras and liners that don’t bother my eyes. Since this is natural it didn’t bug my eyes and it also didn’t flake or smudge. This mascara gives you a very natural, boho chic type of vibe. It’s not going to give you that super thick, heavy lash look, but it’s great when you’re going with a natural beauty feel.

Gloss Gloss Swatch
Earthlab Cosmetics, Lip Gloss, Autumn, 0.25 fl oz (8 ml)

(Retail: $15.00)
Description: “Earthlab’s lip gloss is handcrafted with natural plant products and mineral blends. A base of jojoba and natural waxes yields a wonderful silky texture. Your lips will benefit from this nourishing botanical based formula. The Autumn shade is a beautiful cool shade of light pink and gold tones.”
Verdict: Hit!
When I first glanced at this shade in the tube I was worried it would look terrible on me. But with the cooler skin tone, red hair and brown eyes it was a perfect shade. The consistency was a little odd to me at first since this had a more liquid feel and wasn’t quite as sticky as other glosses. I got used to that quickly and found that it had excellent staying power for a gloss.

Mineral Blushes  Blush Swatches
Mineral Blushes
Earthlab Cosmetics, Loose Mineral Blush Shimmer, Sultry Brown, 2 g
(Retail: $19.50)
Description:This deep luscious color is a blend of plum and brown. Perfect for a darker cheek highlight.”

Earthlab Cosmetics, Loose Mineral Blush Shimmer, Apricot, 2 g
(Retail: $19.50)
Description: Highlight the cheeks with this soft Apricot glow, for just a touch of cheek color.”

Earthlab Cosmetics, Loose Mineral Blush Shimmer, Peach, 2 g
(Retail: $19.50)
Description:This peaches and cream shade works well with all skin tones. It’s the perfect shade to achieve a natural daytime look.”
Verdict: Hit!
So I’m usually intimidated by mineral makeup, but I grabbed a big old blush brush and gave this a try. While the sultry brown is far too dark for me, the apricot and peach both looked quite nice. I was very surprised at how easily (and non-fussy) the blush went on. Very easy to apply and the peach and apricot both looked extremely natural on me. (Although the Apricot is my favorite). If you want a really natural cheek, these blushes are perfect.

Eye Bright
Earthlab Cosmetics, Mineral Powder, Eyebright, 1 g
(Full Size Retail: $18.00)
Description:Women of all skin tones and types will benefit from having a brighter eye area when using this product. Use as a base on the lid and under brow. It looks great by itself but even better when other shades are added to the inner and outer edges and along the crease line.”
Verdict: On the Fence
This applied easily but it was a bit shiny for my taste. I layered colors over it but I wasn’t really sure if it made a difference. I’m not quite sure how to use this one so I’m a bit on the fence about it. But maybe folks more experienced with mineral makeup will have a better time with it.

Matte Shadows Matte Shadow Swatches
Matte Mineral Eyeshadows

Earthlab Cosmetics, Matte Shadow Liner, Lavender, 2 g
(Retail: $19.99)
Description: “Earth Lab’s MSLs can be used wet or dry as a matte eye shadow or as an eyeliner.”

Earthlab Cosmetics, Matte Eye Shadow, Deep Plum, 2 g
(Retail: $19.99)
Description: “This soft gorgeous Plum shade is one of our most popular raw pigments. This shade works well in the crease of the eyelid, and looks great paired up with our Bronze shade on the lower lid. It can also be used as a lip tint just top off with clear gloss or make a great fall nail color by mixing with a clear nail polish! Our Multi-purpose colors are unbelievably versatile.”

Earthlab Cosmetics, Matte Eye Shadow, Light Brown, 2 g
(Retail: $19.00)
Description:This Matte Shadow Liner can be used wet or dry as a smokey eye shade or wet with our Accent It brush as a light brown eye liner. This shade also works well dry with our angled brush to define eyebrows for that perfect blended line.”

Verdict: Like
I only tried these out as eyeshadows because I don’t think I’m quite advanced enough with mineral makeup to attempt them as eye liners nor do I need to make my own nail polish. It took me a little while to figure out how much to tap off before application, but the colors went on nicely. They had a pretty, soft focus (almost watercolor) look. The light brown was a touch warm for me. I really like the two purple shades but I need to be careful since purple + my complexion = giant bruise.

Shimmer Mineral Eyeshadows
Shimmer Shadows Shimmer Shadow Swatches
Earthlab Cosmetics, Multi Purpose Mineral Powder/Eye Shadow, Sea Moss, 1 g

(Retail: $18.00)
Description: “A dramatic color to blend with other colors for amazing eye color results..”

Earthlab Cosmetics, Multi Purpose Mineral Powder/Eye Shadow, Plum, 1 g
(Retail: $18.00)
Description: “This soft gorgeous Plum shade is one of our most popular raw pigments. This shade works well in the crease of the eyelid, and looks great paired up with our Bronze shade on the lower lid. It can also be used as a lip tint just top off with clear gloss or make a great fall nail color by mixing with a clear nail polish.”

Earthlab Cosmetics, Multi Purpose Mineral Powder/Eye Shadow, Soft Brown, 1 g
(Retail: $18.00)
Description: “This color can be sheer or dramatic. A Perfect soft brown color for your eyes. Pair it up with our Champagne color on the lower lid for a more dramatic look. This shade is one of our most popular colors.”

Earthlab Cosmetics, Mineral Powder, Autumn, 1 g
(Retail: $18.00)
Description: A very soft pink shimmer. Works well worn alone on the eye or blended with darker shades.”

Earthlab Cosmetics, Multi Purpose Mineral Powder/Eye Shadow, Brown Copper, 1 g
(Retail: $18.00)
Description: This shade is a rich firey shade of copper with just a hint of pinkish/orange..” 

Verdict:
Love!
For me, these were the rockstars of the products I tried. These are so pretty going on and I found them to be easier to apply then the matte shades. The shimmer on these is beautiful and the Autumn and Sea Moss look amazing on. The shimmer on these sort of mimics the effect of a smoky eye so you can wear a lot of the shades on their own and still look amazing.

 

All Products
OVERALL

I found this line to be a lot of fun to try out and it definitely helped me get more comfortable with mineral makeup. I think the colors and formulations give a fabulous laid back, boho, California vibe and I think it’s a great option if you are looking for a natural look. None of the eye products irritated me at all and I’m going to keep experimenting with their mineral products. If I had to pick one product for you to try from the ones I reviewed, I’d suggest one of the eye shimmer mineral eyeshadows. They are so lovely and versatile.

Do you swear by mineral cosmetics? Do you find them too messy or intimidating?

Coupon Code: If you want to give these products a shot you can use my code at iherb.com: CVF809 for a discount on your first order. They are a fabulous place to buy everything from groceries to essential oils and they frequently offer freebies at checkout.

GIVEAWAY!!!

I’m giving away a cosmetics set from Earthlab Cosmetics featuring a mascara,lip gloss, shimmer mineral eyeshadow and a mineral blush. This contest is open to US folks only (sorry my international peeps). Just leave a comment on this post before midnight (EST) August 7th. I’ll be choosing my winner at random from the comments. I’ll post the winner’s name after I’ve confirmed with them.

Good Luck & Thanks for Reading!

And the winner for this giveaway is…(drumroll please)…Michelle Claxton!

Thank you to everyone who participated.

June 2014 Product Review: CC Pollen’s Organic Honey

 

So as I mentioned back in my May Product review of the CC Pollen skincare line, they also included an awesome assortment of their organic honey. So for June, I’m endulging my sweet tooth and focusing on CC Pollen’s honey products.

Raw Blossom
C.C. Pollen, Raw Blossom Honey, 1.5 lbs
(Retail: $ $10.51)
Verdict: Hit!
This honey was lovely and smooth and I used it in tea and in a spicy peanut noodle recipe. I love that this comes in a wide mouth jar. It makes it so easy to use for recipes. I can dip my measuring spoon right inside with no problems.  It’s also a nice big jar for the price point.

Premium Honey
C.C. Pollen, Premium, Finest Pure Natural Honey, 13.4 oz
(Retail: $10.06)
Verdict:
Hit!
I used this honey to sweeten a champagne sangria and in a bread recipe (similar to the type they serve at Outback Steakhouse). It worked well in both uses and again it came with that fabulous wide mouth jar that’s great for cooking.

Flavored Honey
C.C. Pollen, Natural Pure Honey, Chocolate Flavor, 12 oz
(Retail: $7.90)
Verdict:
On the Fence
This honey came to me crystallized. I’m not sure if that’s how it’s supposed to be and I know it’s an easy fix, so I’m not too concerned. It has an interesting flavor that is kind of hard to describe. It’s not quite chocolately, but it has almost a nut sort of flavor. It’s not unpleasant but I’m going to need to experiment with it in some recipes and cocktails before I’m sure if I really like it.

C.C. Pollen, High Desert, Natural Pure Honey, Natural Peach Flavor, 12 oz
(Retail: $7.90)
Verdict:
Love!
I adored the flavor of this honey. I used it in a berry flavored Iced tea and a fruit dip. It gives this really natural peach flavor that compliments all kinds of summer dishes. I will definitely be picking this up again when I finish the contained.

C C Pollen High Desert Natural Pure Honey Cinnamon — 12 oz
(Retail: $8.24)
Verdict:
Hit!
This honey had that cinnamon candy type taste, although it wasn’t synthetic at all. It’s going to pair really well with apple recipes and I know I’ll be pulling out for my Fall baking.

 

All Honey
OVERALL
Hit!

I enjoy cooking and use honey in all kinds of recipes. From baking to dips and cocktails and I enjoyed trying out all of these. I found them all to be high quality and the flavored honeys to be really unique. I think they are well worth the price and I don’t think you could go wrong with trying out any of them.

Do you use a lot of honey? Have you ever tried any flavored ones?

 

Coupon Code: If you want to give these products a shot you can use my code at iherb.com: CVF809 for a discount on your first order. They are a fabulous place to buy everything from groceries to essential oils and they offer lots of freebies at checkout.

May 2014 Product Review: CC Pollen’s Royal Jelly Skin Care with Honey

So for May’s product review I got a lovely box chock full of items from CC Pollen. They sent me a skincare collection and a fabulous assortment of honey. I figured it made more sense to review them separately so for May we’re focusing on the skincare and in June we’ll dive into sweet honey goodness.

CC Pollen sent me their Royal Jelly Skin Care with Honey line. The idea is that royal jelly has many benefits that will result in firmer, healthier and younger looking skin. The purported benefits of royal jelly include supporting skin renewal and acids that contribute to collagen production and promotion. The addition of honey is for keeping skin hydrated and because it “…supports the skin’s ability to rejuvenate and refresh depleted skin, leaving it feeling silky, soft and supple.”

I was really intrigued with the ingredients and I don’t recall ever trying Royal Jelly in skincare products before so I was excited to give these a shot.

Cleanser
C.C. Pollen, Foaming Cleanser, Royal Jelly Skin Care, with Honey, 4 oz
(Retail: $ $9.33)
Verdict: Miss
The packaging on this was nice and the smell was a little sweet but not flowery (almost like the scent of baby products). I found the fragrance to be really pleasant and not at all overpowering.  Unfortunately the cleanser to was really drying.  I have combination skin with some oily areas, so I can only imagine what happens to the folks with overall dry skin. The only way you should try this out is if you have oily skin, otherwise skip it.

Toner
C.C. Pollen, Toner, Royal Jelly Skin Care, with Honey, 4 oz
(Retail: $10.77)
Verdict:
Like
After the cleanser I was afraid this toner might be really drying as well, but it was pretty nice. Toners typically fall into two categories: refreshing or astringent. In my opinion this one is actually in between. If you want an astringent toner, but don’t want one that’s really  harsh, this might be a good choice for you. I’d skip this if you have dry skin, but I think it would be a great fit for the folks with oily skin or oily/normal combination.

Serum
C.C. Pollen, Anti Aging Serum, Royal Jelly Skin Care, with Honey, 1 oz
(Retail: $21.57)
Verdict:
Hit!
So this has that same light sweet, scent as the other products and a wonderful gel consistency. It’s cooling to the touch and goes on light and smooth. I think the texture is a perfect match for summertime and I feel like it helped smooth out any irritation or redness my skin had.

Moisturizer
C.C. Pollen, Royal Jelly Skin Care with Honey, Moisturizer, 2 oz
(Retail: $14.37)
Verdict:
Hit!
The first thing I was struck with was the packaging. I love the metal tins. I tend to only keep a few beauty items on my tiny bathroom counter and this one (along with the night cream) were cute enough to keep out. They are a great alternative to lovely (but oh so breakable) glass and not so lovely plastic. Anyway, enough about the outside, let’s get to the inside. This cream went on smoothly and sunk into my skin pretty quickly.  It had that same pleasant scent as the rest of the line. It’s a lighter moisturizer and I think it’s a good option for ladies who don’t like the feel of heavier face creams.

Night Cream
C.C. Pollen, Royal Jelly Skin Care with Honey, Night Cream, 2 oz
(Retail: $17.97)
Verdict:
Like
The night cream was in the same adorbs packaging of the regular moisturizer and I actually found the products to be quite similar, although this one was a little richer.  However in terms of a “night” cream, it’s definitely on the light side.  I liked the product and found it gave me excellent hydration, but I tend to prefer more intense creams and serums at night. (I like my skin to do the heavy lifting while I sleep). I think this might be a really great fit for ladies with oily skin who still want to keep their skin fresh and hydrated.

All Products
OVERALL
Like!
I really enjoyed trying these products. The line has a lovely scent and the products go on smoothly and they all possess a pleasant consistency. I think these products would be a great fit for ladies with oily or normal skin that want their skin to look fresh without slathering on heavy moisturizers. If you’ve got dry skin, I’d probably skip these because of the drying nature of the cleanser and toner. If you just want to try out one product, I’d recommend the moisturizer, since I think it will work just as well for day or night. It’s also a great price for the size and one jar will last you awhile.

So what type of moisturizer do you use? Do you prefer heavier or lighter creams?

 

Coupon Code: If you want to give these products a shot you can use my code at iherb.com: CVF809 for a discount on your first order. They are a fabulous place to buy everything from groceries to essential oils and they offer lots of freebies at checkout.

April Product Review: Garlic Gold!

So it’s that time again to step away from my subscription boxes and do a product review. For April, we’re taking a little break from the beauty products and focusing on some organic food, garlic, to be precise. The folks at Garlic Gold, sent me a package chock full of seasonings and oils to review so I’m going to put down my makeup brushes and pick up my fork.

Garlic Gold sources their certified organic garlic, oils, vinegar and seasonings from around the globe and create all of their unique products by hand.

Garlic Gold
Garlic Gold, Rinaldo’s Organic Real Nuggets, 2.1 oz (60 g)
(Retail: $5.30)
Ingredients: Organic garlic hand-chopped and toasted to crunchy perfection in organic extra-virgin olive oil
Verdict: Hit!
A lot of Garlic Gold’s product line stems from this little guy. They are crunchy little garlic bits that you can top all kinds of things with. They come in lots of different flavors, but this is the basic garlic one. The best part is that except for the sea salt version, Garlic Gold nuggets are sodium free so you can add a lot of flavor without extra salt. Mix this one into the breading on your chicken, veal or pork cutlets for extra flavor and crunch.

Parmesan
Garlic Gold, Organic Parmesan Nuggets, 2.2 oz (62 g)
(Retail: $5.30)
Ingredients: Organic garlic chopped and toasted to crunchy perfection in organic extra-virgin olive oil, organic Parmesan cheese.
Verdict:
Love!
This was one of my favorite flavors in the box. I make a variation of this skillet mac and cheese recipe that calls for parmesan being mixed with panko to top the pasta. I used the Garlic Gold parmesan nuggets in lieu of parmesan and it was absolutely delicious. These are the perfect topping for baked pastas.

Southwest
Garlic Gold, Organic Southwest Blend Nuggets, 2.0 oz (57 g)
(Retail: $5.30)
Ingredients: Organic garlic chopped and toasted to crunchy perfection in organic extra-virgin olive oil, tossed with a Proprietary blend of Organic Mexican seasonings.
Verdict:
Miss
So this is just as crunchy and nice as the others, but the seasoning isn’t quite to my taste. I think there’s a bit of cumin in there and that tends to ruin a lot of seasoning blends for me. But if you enjoy Mexican flavors you’ll really like this and I think it will pair well with things like tacos and quesadillas.

Italian
Garlic Gold, Organic Italian Herb Nuggets, 1.6 oz (45 g)
(Retail: $5.30)
Ingredients: Organic garlic, chopped and toasted to crunchy perfection in organic extra-virgin olive oil, blended with a proprietary blend of organic Italian seasonings.
Verdict:
Love!
This one was my boyfriend’s favorite. Once we got it, he put it on everything, pasta, pizza, chicken salad, sandwiches. (I keep half expecting him to add it to ice cream). This one pairs really well with pasta and most Italian dishes. I used it to jazz up some jarred alfredo sauce and it really did a wonderful job of adding  flavor and texture.

Provence
Garlic Gold, Organic Herbs de Provence Nuggets, 1.7 oz (48 g)
(Retail: $5.30)
Ingredients: Organic garlic chopped and toasted to crunchy perfection in organic extra-virgin olive oil, tossed with a Proprietary blend of Organic French Seasonings.
Verdict:
Hit!
This one features French seasonings and pairs well with mushrooms and poultry. Like all the other nuggets, it’s crunchy, tasty and sodium free.


Sea Salt
Garlic Gold, Organic Sea Salt Nuggets, 2.3 oz (65 g)
(Retail: $5.30)
Ingredients: Organic garlic, chopped and toasted to crunchy perfection in organic extra-virgin olive oil, blended with sea salt.
Verdict:
Hit!
So this is like a super crunchy garlic salt. I think it makes a perfect topper for homemade bread. I make this fabulous Italian Bread in my bread machine and a little of this sprinkled on top makes it extra special.

Garlic Gold Vinaigrettes
Vinagrettes

Garlic Gold, Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette, 8.44 fl oz (250 ml)
(Retail: $6.63)
Ingredients: Organic Garlic Gold® Oil (organic extra-virgin olive oil infused with organic garlic), organic Meyer lemon juice, organic Garlic Gold® Nuggets (garlic), sea salt, organic black pepper, organic spice blend, organic Italian seasoning blend.

Garlic Gold, Classic Balsamic Vinaigrette, 8.44 fl oz (250 ml)
(Retail: $6.63)
Ingredients: Organic Garlic Gold® Oil (garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil), imported organic balsamic vinegar, sea salt, organic Italian seasoning blend, organic black pepper.

Garlic Gold, Red Wine Vinaigrette, 8.44 fl oz (250 ml)
(Retail: $6.63)
Ingredients: Organic Garlic Gold® Oil (garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil), imported organic red wine vinegar, sea salt, organic Italian seasoning blend, organic black pepper.

I paired these dressings with green salads mixed with nuts, cheese and veggies. The garlic flavor comes through quite well and I think they lend themselves to being paired with flavors like blue cheese, walnuts, goat cheese and grilled meats.

Rinaldo's
Garlic Gold, Rinaldo’s Organic, 3.75 fl oz (110 ml)
(Retail: $7.34)
Ingredients: Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Toasted Organic Garlic
Verdict:
Like
This olive oil has a lighter garlic flavor. I think it’s best paired with items where you want other flavors to shine through and not be overwhelmed by garlic. I tried this out with a Caprese inspired pasta salad and it worked quite well. I think this will really suit Mediterranean style pasta salads and coating vegetables for roasting.

Olive Oil
Garlic Gold, Pure Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 8.44 fl oz (250 ml)
(Retail: $7.34)
Ingredients: Organic, extra virgin olive oil infused with the rich flavor of organic garlic.
Verdict:
Hit!
The garlic flavor in this olive oil totally shines through. If you’re a garlic lover, this is something you must definitely try. I only realized I ran out of pizza sauce after I’d defrosted dough, so in lieu of sauce I brushed on a thin layer of this olive oil and topped with pizza seasoning, shredded Italian cheese blend and turkey pepperoni. It came out amazing with a super rich garlic flavor. I recommend it for any dish where you want that garlic flavor to really shine.

Overall
Full Line
Verdict:
Love!

All of these products were tasty and high quality. They are inexpensive and have a myriad of uses, so if you love garlic and Italian flavors I definitely recommend trying out a few Garlic Gold products. My favorites were the Parmesan nuggets and the Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  You can’t go wrong with either of those.  It’s also wonderful that except for the sea salt nuggets, all the Garlic Gold nuggets are sodium free so they are a great alternative to salt.

How often do you cook and what kind of flavors do you enjoy?  Do you cook with a lot of garlic or olive oil?

 

Coupon Code: If you want to give these products a shot you can use my code at iherb.com: CVF809 for a discount on your first order. They are a fabulous place to buy everything from groceries to essential oils and they offer lots of freebies at checkout.

March 2014 Product Review: D’Adamo Genoma skincare

Do you give a lot of thought to the science behind your skincare?  March’s product review is on the science focused D’adamo Genoma skincare.  The folks at D’adamo were super gracious and sent me a giant box filled with their entire skincare line for me to review.

First, a little background….The founder, Dr. Peter D’Adamo is famous for his bestselling books which focus on gearing your diet toward your blood type.  He’s brought his science background and the idea of matching your products to your blood type into a skincare line.  It is Dr. D’Adamo’s assertion that “most other skin care products contain irritants for one or more blood types” so this line is “formulated to be right for all types.”

Here’s what this skincare like doesn’t include:

●None of the following common irritants: wheat or milk proteins; corn or coconut by-products, or aloe vera.
●Mineral oil, parabens, paraffin or petrolatum or any petroleum-based products.
●Propylene glycol or other potentially harmful ingredients used in typical moisturizers.
●They also do not test on animals.

What they do include:
●All-natural, wild-crafted and organic botanicals.
●Carnoisine, a powerful amino acid that inhibits the aging process and rejuvenates skin cells.

So what we’ve learned is that this is an uber sciency anti-aging skincare line that should be especially beneficial for those with allergies and sensitivities.

To understand where I’m coming from with my review, I’ll give you some info about my skin.  I’m in my thirties and have combination skin. I am sensitive to certain ingredients, but they most frequently pop up in makeup rather than skincare.  I have large pores and while acne isn’t usually an issue, blackheads can be.

Now enough gross stuff about my skin and let’s try this stuff out already.

Cleanser & Toner
D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition, Genoma, Rejuvenating Cleanser, 3.53 fl oz (104 ml)

(Retail: $39.95)
Description: “D’Adamo Genoma Cleanser is a creamy, super-hydrating formula that gently removes dirt, make-up, and excess oils without stripping essential oils from the skin. Dr. D’Adamo uses the naturally occurring amino dipeptide carnosine to help block chronic glycation. The Cleanser is enhanced with wild-crafted extract of krameria root, a gentle cleanser, and extract of lemon myrtle, long used for healing by indigenous Australians.  As an added benefit, the cleanser can also be used as a hydrating mask.”
Verdict:  Like
There’s not much of a scent and the packaging is on the clinical side.  Unlike the description, I didn’t find it to be “super moisturizing”, but I also didn’t feel like it stripped my skin either. I think it’s a solid cleanser and would appeal to those who are sensitive to scents and particular ingredients.

D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition, Genoma, Age-Inhibiting Toner, 3.53 fl oz (104 ml)
(Retail: $39.95)
Description: D’Adamo Genoma AGE-Inhibiting Toner provides continuous hydration to your skin. Dr. D’Adamo uses three natural mineral peptides to enhance toning of the ligaments underneath the skin, helping to tighten soft and sagging facial muscles. Wild-crafted extracts of milk thistle, neroli flower, and krameria root help to tighten pores and expel trapped dirt and debris.”
Verdict: 
Love!
I’ve only ever found a couple toners that didn’t make my skin super dry or sting when I applied them.  This one went on smoothly and lifted any of the stubborn bits of mascara and eyeliner that like to appear even after I use a cleanser.  I also loved using this as a makeup remover.  If I get a little too excited with the eyeliner, I just dab a little onto a cotton pad and voila the smudge is gone and my skin is refreshed.

Day & Night
D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition, Genoma, Day Light Face Cream, 1.67 fl oz (49 ml)

(Retail: $36.95)
Description: “This hydrating Cream plumps up and softens the skin reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Dr. D’Adamo created two powerful herbal combinations for this Cream: a lecithin, carnosine, and milk thistle complex to stop the stiffening of collagen fibers and a date, pomegranate, and strawberry complex to provide superior antioxidant protection. The addition of wild-crafted extract of cassia seed provides moisturizing benefits similar to hyaluronic acid.”
Verdict: Miss
This is a thin, more liquidy day cream.  Like the other products there isn’t much of scent.  I found it just didn’t do much for my skin.  I prefer my day creams to have some kind of spf or more of a brightening effect.  If you like lighter day creams, then this would probably be right up your alley.

D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition, Genoma, Restorative Night Cream, 1.67 fl oz (49 ml)
(Retail: $36.95)
Description: “This is a heavier Cream designed to promote a more intense level of restorative support; improving hydration, firmness, and smoothness of the skin, while reducing wrinkle depth. Dr. D’Adamo blends a proprietary extract of mung bean, known for its anti-irritant properties, with carnosine and yerba mate, known for their ability to block tissue-aging glycation. The addition of wild-crafted clary sage enhances the drainage of the lymphatic channels underneath the skin and enhances tissue detoxification.”
Verdict:  Like
This cream was a bit thicker than the day cream but not quite as rich or thick as most night creams I’ve used.  It applies easy and I think folks who dislike really heavy night creams would like this.  I didn’t find it super moisturizing but I did feel like it helped even out my skin tone a bit.

Eye Cream & Serum
D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition, Genoma, Eye Cream, .5 fl oz (15 ml)
(Retail: $39.95)
Description: “This hydrating cream, formulated by Dr. Peter D’Adamo, firms and protects, reducing the appearance of fine lines and puffiness around the eyes.”
Verdict:  Hit!
This is possibly the thinnest eye cream I’ve ever tried.  One pump is enough to cover both eyes, below and on the lid.  The consistency is actually refreshing and maybe it’s just willful thinking but I did feel like it diminished the fine lines around my eyes a bit.  Like the other products, in this line not much of a scent.

D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition, Anti-Age Serum, .50 fl oz (30 ml)
(Retail: $29.95)
Description: “This light, refreshing serum does double duty. Crafted from organic Trehalose and all-natural botanical extracts, it provides superior hydration to skin cells, while minimizing the appearance of Age-spots. Particularly suited to dry and sensitive skin, this serum will leave your skin looking lighter, brighter, and more luminous. Only the finest wild-crafted herb and botanicals are used in our products, and there are no mineral oils, parabens, paraffin, or petroleum, which can be disruptive to hormonal activity.”
Verdict:  Hit!
As is the theme with the D’Adamo line this product is light with a thinner consistency and not much of a scent.  I used it at night and I felt it did a really great job of evening out my skin and helping smooth out some fine lines.  Personally it was a bit drying, so I probably wouldn’t use this every day and instead alternate with a more hydrating serum.

Mask
D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition, Deep Pore Cleansing Masque, 4 fl oz (120 ml)
(Retail: $36.95)

Description: “Montmorillonite, a French green clay, has been used for centuries to detoxify and lift impurities from the skin. Dr. D’Adamo blends botanicals, minerals and organic oils to heal, tone and moisturize, keeping skin smooth and supple. Weekly use of Deep Pore Cleansing Masque leaves skin feeling healthy and purified.”
Verdict:  Hit
This product has the typical clay mask application where you slop on some thick sludge, let it dry and hope for the best.  The mask was ready to remove in about 15 minutes.  It wasn’t difficult to take off, although as is par for the course with these, it was a bit messy.  I thought it did a good job of cleaning out my pores and leaving my skin refreshed.  Sometimes these masks can leave your skin super sensitive or bit worse for the wear, but none of that happened with the D’Adamo mask.

Body Cream & Body Wash
Daily Repair Body Lotion
(Retail: $29.95)
Description: ”Dr. D’Adamo blended aloe vera with shea nut butter to create a body lotion that not only moisturizes, but heals dry and damaged skin.”
Verdict:  Miss
With Body Lotions, I tend to like them to have a nice scent and be super moisturizing.  I found this to be not particularly compelling.  Again not much of a scent and while it moisturized it wasn’t at the level of my usual products.   If you have a lot of allergies this might be a good option for you, but it’s a miss for me.

Cellular Renewal Body Wash
(Retail: $29.95)
Description: ”Cellular Renewal Body Wash contains two key ingredients; vitamin B5 which increases the humectant properties of the skin and plays a role in cellular metabolism, and sodium hyaluronate a naturally occurring substance that penetrates the skin’s basal layer to replenish devitalized cells.”
Verdict:  Miss
This is the first product I tried in the line that actually had a scent.  It was light citrus, but it still wasn’t quite as strong as most women would like in a bodywash.  I didn’t find this hydrating enough for me and like the body lotion I found it pretty pedestrian.

Full Line
Overall

I liked this line a lot.   If I had to pick one favorite it would the toner, which I felt left my skin refreshed and did double duty by removing makeup.

This line would appeal to folks who prefer a more streamlined and not uber feminine approach to their skincare.  There’s not much scent, the packaging is more science than beauty and the consistency of the product is a lot less heavy than what you’d expect.  I think if you’re trying to get the man in your life to try a skincare line, this would be a fabulous choice.  It doesn’t have the flowery scents or the girly packaging that often intimidates men from trying out skincare products.  I also think this is a great option for the folks that have a ton of allergies and need to spend an hour reading the label of every product since this line is specifically created to eliminate many allergens.

Overall I enjoyed trying these products. I find the idea that your blood type influences the type of skincare you should use to be very intriguing and something I am going to give more thought to in the future.  The D’Adamo products aren’t as feminine as I typically like in my skincare, but they are solid and high quality.

Do you have any allergies to skincare or makeup?  If so, what products do you find the most problematic?

Coupon Code:
If you want to give these products a shot you can use my code at iherb.com: CVF809 for a discount on your first order.
They are a fabulous place to buy everything from groceries to essential oils and they offer lots of freebies at checkout.

February 2014 Product Review: Pacific Perfumes!

So it’s that time again – time for a monthly product review!  February has brought me a wide variety of solid perfume samples all the way from New Zealand!

Pacific Perfumes creates unique solid perfumes “inspired by the startling South Pacific and the essential elements of earth, fire, sea and air.”  Their products are 100% Sustainable and 100% natural and contain certified organic ingredients.  Their perfumes are “steeped in certified organic golden jojoba oil, then carefully blended with certified organic beeswax to create each of the hand poured fragrances.”  For an extra earthy touch they come in adorable wooden containers.

Now to start, I’m not a perfume person.  I’m super sensitive to scents, and therefore super picky so my perfume collection is somewhat limited.  I do however, love solid perfumes and I think they are highly underrated.  I have a lemon scented one I got from Anthropologie a ways back and I keep it in my commuter bag.  If a chain smoker (or someone else who’s not so fresh sits next to me on the bus), I can just whip it out, dot it on a few strategic points and have a much more pleasantly scented commute.

So all of the perfumes had the same packaging and consistency.  They go on smoothly and they have a really soft, hydrating feel against the skin.  I’m going to go through the scents and give you a description.

Artisan
Artisan Range
They donate donate $1 from each sale of the Artisan range  to New Zealand Forest & Bird Society
Packaging

The Wild Goddess:  ($50.00)
  A subtle, very refined scent.  It feels very “uptown girl” to me.
Simply Paradise: ($50.00) This one has that herbal + musk scent to it.  I find it a little on the strong side.
Pure Legend: ($50.00)  This one has a bit of patchouli  and an earthy vibe.

Solid Pefume
Other Scents

Hula Lei:($28.00): Very floral with a hint of the tropics.
Love the Mango: ($28.00) My Pick!  This was my favorite of all the scents I tried.  It’s fruity and fresh, without being synthetic or overly sweet.  A perfect summer scent.
Forest of Ferns: ($28.00) This fragrance is a bit sharper , like a not too sweet citrus mixed with a hint of pinetrees.
Pacific Goddess: ($28.00)  This one has those warm vanilla tones, but it’s not super sweet or synthetic.  I think this scent would appeal to a lot of ladies.
Island Passion: ($28.00) This one is a bit spicy with warm and musky tones.  It almost has a unisex feel to it and I think it would appeal to men as well as women.
Frangipani: (28.00) This one is a super light floral.  If you like just having a hint of perfume, this one is for you.

Overall
Verdict: Hit!

I loved the consistency of the perfume.  I found it hydrating and easy to apply.  While I wasn’t in love with all of the scents, I adored the Mango one and would have definitely purchased it at the $28.00 price tag.  I find that solid perfumes last a lot longer than regular ones, so that $28 will go a lot further as compared to a typical perfume spray.  I also totally dug the organic wooden packaging.

If you’re looking for a unique perfume, and you love organic and sustainable ingredients, you should definitely give Pacific Perfumes a try.

Do you have any perfume solids?  What do you think of them?

New Feature: Monthly Product Reviews! January 2014: L’uvalla Organics

So at the beginning of the year I promised you some new features and now I’m ready to deliver.  I’ve got a good friend in California who’s a beauty guru and has the skinny on lots of cool beauty and organic  brands.  Each month she’s going to send me some awesome surprise products to review and thus bringing a little LA style to my NYC life.

So my January surprise came from a brand I am actually familiar with: L’uvalla.  I adore their eye cream and it’s part of my regular beauty routine.  I’ve also sampled a couple of other L’uvalla items in the past.  They are an organic skincare company that manufactures their products in France (ooh la la).

A little on L’uvalla..

According to their site, “L’uvalla (loo-VA-la) means love the spirit within all things.”   Their skin care products only use all natural and certified organic ingredients and are sustainably produced from seed to shelf for optimal environmental preservation.  They use fair trade practices and their beauty products are animal cruelty-free and vegan-approved by COSMEBIO, PETA and Leaping Bunny.

Okay so it sounds like these folks are uber serious about their commitment to nature, but the big question is “How are the products?”

Let’s dig into my mystery box and find out.
Mystery

Milk Cleanser
Hydrating Milk Cleanser
(Full Size Retail: $26.80)
Verdict:  Hit!
This is a nice milk cleanser and it works well with my Mia Clarisonic.  Personally, I prefer oil cleansers, especially at this time of year, but this was a lovely product.  It has a very light, herbal scent (not perfumey) and didn’t bother my sensitive skin.  If you like milk cleansers, you’ll really enjoy this one.

Night Cream
Age Defying Day/Night Cream with Argan Oil: (Full Size Retail: $47.04)
Verdict:
Hit! (for winter time or those with dry skin)
I had actually sampled this product before and wasn’t that thrilled with it.  I have combination skin and I found that it didn’t absorb well and left my skin a little greasy.  But with the polar vortex + my long commute requiring a lot of outdoor time, my skin has been painfully dry.  I just slathered this on at night and it did a wonderful job of combatting my horrible winter skin.  I don’t think I’ll use this product in summer time, but right now it’s wonderful.  I think folks with very dry skin would like this a lot.

Toner
Orange Toner
(Full Size Retail: $23.04)
Verdict: Love!
The only toner I could ever use was one by Bliss that is sadly now discontinued.  I usually skipped toners entirely as I found them to be way too harsh on my skin. But this toner is completely different.  It doesn’t give that harsh burning feeling other toners can and it does a great job of picking up any of that little dirt you may not have scrubbed away.  I also found it to be fabulous as a makeup remover.  I just dab on a cotton square and easily wipe away the many eyeliner smudges from my attempts at winged liner.  The scent is not particularly citrusy.  Like all the of the L’uvalla products I tried, it’s more herbal than perfumey.  The packaging on this products is fabulous (I am a sucker for cobalt blue glass) so I’m happy to leave it out on my bathroom counter (unlike the ugly plastic stuff that gets tucked away).  I would happily buy this at the retail price.  If you’re like me and could never find a toner that worked for you, I’d highly recommend giving this one a shot.

Also included were some sample packets.  (Only the milk cleanser was a repeat of the full size product already included.)

Samples
Eye/Lip Cream with Argan Oil
(Full Size Retail: $63.36)
Verdict:  Love!

This is a product that I use regularly.  I know it’s pricey (as eye creams always seem to be) but my eye area is very sensitive and so many things I’ve tried just don’t work.  This consistency on this cream is just right and it absorbs quickly.  I notice an improvement in the little lines around my eyes when I use this product regularly.  I tried other eye creams and they just didn’t work as well, so I went back to this one.   A little of this goes a long way and one tube will last you a very long time.

Balancing Day and Night Cream with Argan Oil: (Full Size Retail: $47.04)
Verdict: On the Fence

This one seems similar to the Age Defying cream and I’d say that it’s probably more suited to my combination skin.  I didn’t have as many applications as the Age Defying cream so it is hard to judge.  I think I might try out the full size of this come summer time.  If it’s as good as the eye cream I know I’ll love it.

 

Overall

I really liked all the products that were sent to me.  I was already sold on the eye cream, but the orange toner was a revelation.  I probably would have passed it by and just assumed it was like all the other toners I’ve tried.  The organic and natural aspects of these products really elevate them above a lot of the other skincare out there.  L’uvalla’s products really make me feel like I’m sitting in a spa in France and that’s something I can use because most of the time I’m sitting in a subway under New York.

What do you think about organic skincare?  Is it a “must have” for you or just a “maybe”?

Coupon Code:
If you want to give these products a shot you can use my code at iherb.com: CVF809 for a discount on your first order.  They are a fabulous place to buy everything from groceries to essential oils and they offer lots of freebies at checkout.