Beauty Smackdown: Dry Shampoo

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Hello, lovelies! It’s that time again. Are you ready for another “Beauty Smackdown?” Up this week is one of my favorite products: dry shampoo. I try to limit shampoos to a couple of times a week because it seems to help cut down on frizz and fly-aways, but that doesn’t mean that I want to go out with oily roots. If you have very dry, fine hair like me, you probably already know that this product is a lifesaver. So which one reigns supreme?

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1. Herbal Essences Naked Dry Shampoo

Price: ~$6.29 for 4.9oz

Fragrance: This dry shampoo has a unique scent. It’s part floral, part herbal, and very fresh. It makes me think of something minty and green.

Effectiveness: This shampoo is great. It is different than most dry shampoos because it goes on a bit damp and then dries to an invisible powder finish. The spray bottle makes it easy to use, and it doesn’t leave any white residue that is common with other dry shampoos.

Other Factors: 0% Paraben, 0% Colorant

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0

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2. Zabana Essentials Shimmery Dry Glow Shampoo

Price: $9.95 for 2oz

Fragrance: This clay-based dry shampoo brings to mind a box of Crayola crayons. It isn’t upleasant…just very, very strange.

Effectiveness: I’d describe the effectiveness of this product as “average.” It is perfectly fine for second-day hair, but it might not be strong enough if you plan to go longer without a real shampoo. One benefit is that the squirt top bottle makes application extremely easy. The bottle is also perfectly sized for travel, and the fact that it isn’t a liquid makes it airplane friendly.

Other Factors: Non-toxic, Does not contain palm oil, sulfates, parabens, triclosan, phthalates, or propylene glycol

Overall Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0

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3. Lulu Organics Hair Powder

Price: $30.00 for 4oz

Fragrance: I love, love, love the herbal scent of this powder. For the purposes of this post I tried the lavendar and clary sage fragrance, but Lulu Organics has additional fragrances.

Effectiveness: This hair powder works pretty well. Again, I’d limit this one to second-day hair. It is a little difficult to apply, but the white residue is minimal. The fact that it is a powder also means that this container lasts FOREVER.

Other Factors: Not tested on animals, organic

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5.0

So there you have it. 3 options to keep you smelling and looking fresh when you’re too lazy to wash your hair. I’d love to hear any of your recommendations. Leave me a comment with your favorite products.

 

 

Unboxed: Petit Vour June 2015

 

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I think I’m in love.  I just discovered a new subscription box called Petit Vour.  I think it’s pretty obvious by now that I love all things beauty-related. This is particularly true when I get a suprise assortment delivered to my door, so I love the subscription box concept. And Petit Vour is my new favorite. (note: I am not being paid for this article….I just really wanted to share.) The thing that differentiates this company is that they only care cruelty-free items. This also means that most of their products are vegan and free of nasty chemicals. Score!

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The first item in the June box was a full-size Fior d’FINEd LINEs eyeliner in brown sugar.  It seems like a decent quality eyeliner that is vegan and free of gluten, petro-chemicals, parabens, etc. And it just so happens that bronze-y brown is one of my top choices in eyeliner colors.

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Next up is a 1oz sample of Jacq’s Organics Green Smoothie Scrub & Masque. I’m super excited to give this one a try. It’s actually a powder that you mix with water to form the masque. I love the herbal scent; it smells almost good enough to eat.

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This month’s box also contained a vegan facial brush from 100% Pure. It’s a small brush that would be great for travel. It seems like a good quality brush, but if I’m being honest, I probably won’t use it. I’m sure that this will find a loving home with one of my friends.

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The final item in this month’s box is a 1oz sample of face cleanser from Meow Meow Tweet. I may have to break my “consistency is key” skincare rule to try this one because I’ve always wanted to try out this brand. I can’t make up my mind about the scent of this cleanser though. It reminds me of tobacco….it isn’t completely unpleasant, but I’m not totally sure that I want this particular fragrance on my face.

I’ve gotten this box twice now, and I’ve been really impressed with the sample sizes and variety. Each month there have been at least a couple of items that I’d use regularly. I’ll start posting an unboxing each month here at the blog so check back!

Craveworthy: Tournesol Macarons

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This weekend I attended the Occoquan Craft Festival.  I swear that this was the best year yet.  I attended with some of my favorite people, and the weather was gorgeous.  I probably should have just handed over my wallet when they let me in.  There were so many great vendors this weekend.  I ended up leaving with a couple of pairs of earrings and some macarons. Oh…the macarons….

So you’ve probably figured out by now that I love all things girly.  So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the macaron tent caught my eye at the festival.  And this tent was adorable.  The logo was cute, and the tent was filled with young women all decked out in retro, pastel dresses.  Everything looked like a fun tea party that I definitely wanted to be a part of.

As I was paying for my rainbow-colored pastries, I happened to ask if they were local.  It turns out that Tournesol Macarons are only available online at this point.  You heard it here first–this is a brand new company (only two weeks old!), so I was really excited to give them a shout-out.

And let me tell you, the cookies are AMAZING! The raspberry-rose macaron tastes like heaven.  A very delicate, very very girly heaven. The caramel is even better.  The pastries are light, fluffy, and delicious.  It is seriously like biting into a cloud.  I’m selfishly hoping that anyone that reads this places an order so that the business grows and I can continue to get these. They are that yummy.

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Product Review: Carefree Acti-fresh Pantiliners

I have a hypothesis. It’s that EVERYONE enjoys getting surprises in the mail.  And I was recently fortunate enough to open my mailbox to find this:

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Yep, yep, yep.  I’ve been given the opportunity to sample free swag, and I’m sharing what I’ve learned with YOU, dear readers.  I’ll be honest, I’m not generally someone that uses pantiliners, so I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the Carefree acti-fresh pantiliners.  I committed to trying them out for two weeks in the name of research.

One of the first things that I noticed was that despite being labled as “unscented,” these pantiliners do have a faint fragrance.  It isn’t strong, and it definitely isn’t upleasant (picture a nice, soft, powdery, rose scent), but it’s there.  I personally prefer the faint the scent.  And really, it is so light that it might as well be unscented.

The packaging claims that the pantiliners are so thin that “you’ll forget you’re wearing a liner.”  I’m pretty aware of all things comfort related (the “Princess and the Pea” could totally have been written about me), and I found this claim to be true. The liners are paper-thin with no prickly edges.  It’s pretty much like you’re just wearing underwear.  (If you don’t wear underwear, then this product probably isn’t for you, but no judgement here).

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Perhaps most important, I did actually find that these made me feel a bit…..*ahem*…….fresher.  These really did seem to help keep everything dry and lady-like.  I sort of know what these feminine hygiene brands mean now when they talk about “added confidence.”  I don’t know yet if I’d wear one every day, but there are several scenarios where I might just have to bring some of these along with me:

*Workouts

*Extra-long work days

*Long flights (think about it, it could be like having new underwear on a 20 hour flight, but much less awkward in those tiny bathrooms)

*Extra-hot summer days

Really, my ONLY complaint about these liners is that wearing them every day doesn’t seem very environmentally friendly. Hey Carefree…..can you fix that for me?  I’ll be first in line for the compostible version!

 

*I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Spring Favorites

DSC_0996I originally titled this post March favorites. That should give you a good indication of where brain is at this point. Sadly, I can’t even blame the child this time.

The weather guys, is.a.amazing. I love it, I’m ready for it. We have started eating lighter foods and taking evening walks. I actually took pictures of a cucumber salad that is pretty much a spring/summer staple in our house. Sadly, I only took pictures of half the process. So I will be making that again this week and posting it soon. In lieu of the food recipe I will be showing you some things that I have come to love this spring. I tried to choose a mix of beauty, bath and food items. Let’s get to it!

YES to Coconuts body wash and Cetaphil Lotion

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This body wash is everything to me right now. I love the scent of coconuts anytime but during the spring and summer it’s my go-to scent for body wash. When I smelled this in the store it instantly reminded me of visiting my grandparents in New York and getting coquito from the cart. As far as body wash goes it’s standard. I don’t have a very high standard for body wash. It needs to get me clean, not dry out of my skin and smell good. This does all over those things. The bottle says it’s made with oil. For some reason, I assumed it would be creamy but it is a very runny body wash. My skin was super soft after so I guess it is pretty moisturizing. Let’s be honest though, it’s the scent that got  me. Sadly, the scent did not linger on my skin. I may need to pair it with the lotion.

Cetaphil Lotion

True story, this lotion kind of surprised me. I threw it in my suitcase to use on vacation because the bottle was small. I have been using it every night, before bed, since we got home and my hands are completely smooth. I don’t even know how this little bottle of magic got into my house. Clearly, God felt bad for my sad sally hands and dropped it off. Bonus, Cetaphil is hella cheap. A 16oz bottle is about $11.

Primal Pit Paste and Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue

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Primal Pit Paste is a natural deodorant. I have a bad history with natural deodorant. Normally, they either don’t work or they make me break out in an awful rash. This does neither. I use the scent Thyme and Lemongrass and I can still smell it when I am getting ready for bed. They also make a lavender scent which smells amazing but I feel like I need to reapply by 5PM. The only downside is that it can be hard to find in the store. The one thing that I both love and hate about Pit Paste is that all the ingredients are things I have in my kitchen. Seriously, I should just make it and stop paying someone else to do it.

Bare Mineral Complexion Rescue, like everything else I love, makes my skin less dry. If you haven’t noticed by now I am really preoccupied by how dry my skin is all the time. I didn’t have high hopes for this product. I have tried a lot of Bare Minerals products and not loved or even like any of them. This has light coverage, buildable to medium and hydrates skin. It has weird texture. When you squeeze it out, it looks really creamy but once you start to blend it becomes almost water-like. It gives a very natural look and feels light weight. I think it’s going to be great for summer.

Pantene Co-Wash

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I have a confession: I haven’t shampooed my hair since last November. I switched over to co-washing and never looked back. Co-washing, or conditioner washing, has completely transformed my, you guessed it, dry curly hair. The only downside you have to be careful what kind of styling products you use. Nothing with silicone in it. Co-wash doesn’t have the detergent that regular shampoo does, so it can’t remove silicone buildup. I have tried a lot of brands of co-wash brands, Pantene works just as well, if not better than some salon brands and it’s only $5 for 24oz.

Vanilla Almond Milk and Love Grown Power O’s

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I hated almond milk until this week. Truth. Lauren told me to try the vanilla almond milk and now I am obsessed. She said it tasted like marshmallows and that is the best description. I have been putting it in my ice coffee and it is the best. I have to admit that it is pretty delish on cereal too. Currently I have three gallons of almond milk in my fridge. That is multiple brands of half gallon containers. We are doing a taste off  – post to follow.

Love Grown Power O’s

Let’s cut to the chase – I think this cereal tastes like Cheerios and my wife thinks it tastes like beans. I do not detect any hint of beans. It’s crunchy, delish and healthier than your average cereal which makes me feel better when I snack on it before bed. Combined with vanilla almond milk, it is satisfying sweet snack.

 

Green Beauty

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I have a confession to make.  I have always been a bit of a hippie.  Back in junior high, I used to slather myself in patchouli oil and spend my free time picking up garbage from the neighborhood for fun.  To this day, I completely geek out over folks that raise alpacas or live in tiny homes.  I would totally vacation at a one of those communes where folks spend their days working the land, composting, and living in a yurt or whatever.

Having said that, I still live in the real world where being presentable matters.  Also…I said that I’d vacation on a commune, not live there permanently.  I enjoy my life of luxury, thankyouverymuch.

At this point, you might be asking yourself if there’s a point to all of this.  Actually, yes. The point is that back in the day, “green beauty” typically meant a very small selection of products that were difficult to find outside of organic markets and weren’t always effective.  But more and more beauty brands are wising up to the fact that many women want to limit their exposure to toxins and support companies with strong values.  This has led to a massive increase in the number of products that offer greener products without sacrificing efficacy or luxury.

Today I’m going to share some of my favorite “green” beauty products.  I won’t pretend to be a purist.  I use plenty of non-green products, but I prefer healthier options if they work as well as the less safe alternatives.  I truly believe that each product mentioned here is up to the job.

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1. The Honest Company Shampoo & Body Wash – This is hands-down my new favorite product. I actually really love everything from The Honest Company, but this is my favorite. The sweet orange vanilla fragrance smells delish and this shampoo strikes the right balance when it comes to cleansing.  I find that many shampoos either strip my hair of moisture or leave me feeling greasy.  After using this one, my hair felt full and soft with less frizz than normal.  Also, I’m lazy so if I can combine shampoo and body wash in one product, I’m sold.

Free of: SLS, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, fragrances, dyes, sodium chloride, formaldehyde, MEA, DEA, TEA, & most common allergens

Other notes: For each purchase the company donates to families in need, No animal testing

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2. Kiss My Face Liquid Rock Deodorant – Ok.  So natural deodorant is a bit of a touchy subject because as much as I indulge my inner hippie, I definitely don’t want to be the stinky hippie.  This deodorant does the trick.  It lacks the aluminum that makes so many traditional anti-perspirants controversial, and still keeps me stink-free.  I like that it smells like lavender and doesn’t stain my clothes.

Free of: aluminum chlorohydrate, parabens, propylene glycol, animal ingredients, artifical fragrance

Other notes: cruelty-free, no animal testing, Note: This is a deodorant and not an anti-perspirant, so I approve it for everyday use…I do NOT recommend using this when you run that marathon in August.

 
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3. Dr. Bronner’s All-One Bar Soap – This is a great bar soap that as far as I can tell is about as green as you can get.  The ingredients list is super short and mostly contains various plant-based oils.  This is nice for that “squeaky clean” feeling and comes in a number of fragrances.

Free of: I don’t have a list of what’s not in this soap, but as I said…it’s mostly just a bunch of natural oils that make up the ingredients.

Other notes: Oregon Tilth Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Certified, No Animal Testing, 100% Vegan, Packaging is Printed on 100% post consumer waste paper to “relieve stress on our working forests.”

 

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4. Lulu Organics Hair Powder – This hair powder is perfect for second (or third or fourth) day hair.  It isn’t a spray like most which makes it a little easier to avoid having a huge spot of white powder in one spot.  It does a decent job of soaking up excess oil and the lavender clary sage scent is nice and subtle.

Free of: Again, I don’t have a list of what it doesn’t contain, but the ingredients are pretty straightforward.  It is made of corn starch, baking soda and other natural powders and essential oils.  I’d say you’re pretty safe with this one.

Other notes: USDA and Oregon Tilth Certified Organic, No Animal Testing

 
So there are 4 great products to keep you smelling fresh while saving the world.  I have a follow-up post planned that will focus on some of my favorite green makeup and perfume products as well.  In the meantime, I’d love to hear some of your recommendations.

 

 

 

Beauty Smackdown – Lip Balm Edition

Happy Easter, Everyone. Today I decided that it was a good time for another “Beauty Smackdown.” I love me some lip balm. It’s easy, mistake-proof, and you can never have too many. So without further ado!

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1. LUSH Lip Balm in Honey Trap

Texture: This balm moisturizes like a dream, but can get clumpy if you use too much. This tendency to get chunky is probably the biggest drawback of this lip balm.

Fragrance/Flavor: I LOVE the flavor of this balm. The vanilla-honey flavor reminds me of angelfood cake. Plus the fact that Lush uses natural ingredients makes me feel better about putting this yummy concoction on my lips.

Price: $7.25 for .3oz

Other Factors: Vegetarian, No Animal Testing, As a company LUSH attempts to limit unnecessary packaging and give back to the community through various charities

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5.0 (mostly because of the chunkiness factor)

2. TokyoMilk Dark Lip Elixer in Cherry Bourbon

Texture: Nice and smooth. This one reminds me a bit of a silky petroleum jelly. Not too shiny, not too matte.

Fragrance/Flavor: These lip elixers are supposed to have more “grown-up” flavors (other options include flavors such as absinthe and clove cigarette). At first I felt like this one tasted like cherry cough syrup, but after a minute it does settle into a nice, subtle flavor. I’d definitely give the other flavors a try.

Price: $7.00 for a whopping .7oz

Other Factors: The slightly goth packaging is perfect for a girly badass.

Overall Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

3. Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm

Texture: Like the LUSH selection, this honey lip balm is super moisturizing, but is pretty thick. A little goes a long way. It is slighty gritty with a very natural (i.e. not shiny) finish.

Fragrance/Flavor: This one is vaguely citrus-y. Not at all what I’d expect from a honey lip balm. It’s not my favorite, but it isn’t unpleasant at all.

Price: ~$19.00 for .52oz

Other Factors: None.

Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0

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4. Perfumaria Gal Lip Balm in Violet

Texture: This balm isn’t as moisturizing, but is silky with a balanced level of shine.

Fragrance/Flavor: The violet fragrance is a nice change. It’s fairly strong without being overpowering. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a feminine option that isn’t too sweet.

Price: $6.50 for .53oz

Other Factors: Perfumaria Gal lip balms have some of the most beautiful packaging around. I’m also partial to these because I always used them in high school.

Overall Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

5. By Terry Baume de Rose

Texture: I adore this balm. A little goes a long way, and it has a nice sheen. It feels cushion-y and soft.

Fragrance/Flavor: The light rose fragrance is probably the most subtle of all the balms reviewed today.

Price: ~$60.00 for .35oz

Other Factors: Given the price tag, I’ll say it again—a dab really does go a LONG way with this balm.

Overall Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0

Beauty Smackdown – Hand Lotion

I’m not sure about you, but I could not be more ready for spring!  I’m so so so so so sick of snow, 11 degree weather, and having to wear boots instead of my cute flats.  I’m also sick of having lizard skin because of the dry winter air.  No matter how hard I try, by the end of winter I always seem to end up with dry, scaly, cracked hands (sexy, I know).  So I’m always on the hunt for the perfect hand cream.

This week, I’m bringing you the first installment of “Beauty Smackdown” with an emphasis on hand creams.  Kris always tells me that I spend too much money on hand lotion, so I hope that my addiction can help you find the perfect cure for dry skin without the empty wallet.

Category 1: Standard

 

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1. J.R. Watkins Shea Butter Hand Cream in Lemon Cream (~$9.49)

Texture – This cream is super, well, creamy without being greasy. It soaks in quickly and you don’t need to use much. My hands instantly felt softer.

Fragrance – This one smells super yummy. I’m generally really sensitive to fragrances, but this has a nice, light, lemon scent that isn’t at all annoying. The only problem is that it makes me a little hungry.

Price – At less than 10 bucks, this is a bargain for something that feels so luxurious.

Other Factors – Paraben-Free, Dye-Free, Phtalate-Free, Propylene Glycol-Free, Not tested on animals (yay)

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

2. Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream (~$16.00)

Texture – This one has more of a gel-cream texture. It isn’t greasy, but it also doesn’t feel like it moisturizes as well as some of the others. It does leave a nice velvet-y texture, but it might be better in the summer when my skin isn’t quite so dry.

Fragrance – This product has a light camphor smell when first applied. I actually really like it, but it disappears really quickly if you don’t want to smell like a pharmacy.

Price – This product is $16.00 for a 1.25 oz tube which isn’t exactly cheap. But…you don’t need to use a lot.

Other Factors: Formulated without sulfates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, petro-chemicals and phthalates.

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5

3. Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Ultra-Hydrating Body Butter in Sweet Citrus (~$35.00)

Texture – As the product name implies, this is by far the most hydrating lotion of the lot. It is also the greasiest due to the argan oil. I personally use this one exclusively at night because it makes my hands oily and shiny. On the flip side, it does make my hands feel like heaven. This is the type of thick lotion you’ll want to slather on before donning cotton gloves at bedtime.

Fragrance – Kris described this one as smelling “like a sweettart.” It’s strong without being cloying. I really like this one.

Price – This is the most expensive cream of the lot. At $35, I’d put this into the “splurge” category for sure. But it is an awfully nice splurge.

Other Factors – Formulated without parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, cruelty-free, vegan

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

Category 2 : SPF

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1. Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion with Sunscreen, SPF 15 (~$9.43)

Texture – This is a great texture for an everyday lotion. It’s thick, but soaks in pretty quickly. My skin felt much softer and it seemed to last through several hand washings.

Fragrance – Almost non-existant. Aveeno products always seem like the comfort food of personal care. They’re pretty bland, but always make you feel well cared for.

Price – Totally worth it.

Other Factors – Contains colloidal oatmeal which is supposed to be soothing

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

2. Garnier Skin Renew Dark Spot  Hand Treatment (~$6.99)

Texture – The texture of this lotion is really nice. It feels more like a fluid than a heavy cream. Maybe a little light for dry skin, but I love the way it soaks in almost instantly.

Fragrance – Ok, Garnier. I have to knock off major points in this category. There’s no nice way to say it. This lotion smells like a urinal cake. And the fragrance appears to be fairly long-lasting. It’s not unbearable, but it’s disappointing.

Price – This lotion is a great bargain if you can get past the smell.

Other Factors – None

Overall Rating: 2.5 out of 5

3. Supergoop! Forever Young Hand Cream ($12.00)

Texture – I have really mixed feelings about this hand cream. It seems to do a good job, but leaves me feeling a bit oily and shiny. I can’t decide whether or not the high spf makes up for this.

Fragrance – Meh. Not bad. It just sort of smells like salt water to me.

Price – $12.00 will get you a pretty small tube. Again, the only thing really setting this one apart is the high SPF.

Other Factors – Formulated without parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, cruelty-free

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Now it’s your turn, please leave a comment of some of your favorite hand creams!