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!

Tips and Tricks for Clear Skin

Take a walk through the skincare aisle at your local pharmacy, and you’ll see it….the war on acne is big business.  You can try cleansers, scrubs, masks, toners, 3 part skincare systems, and expensive tools.  Unfortunately, none of these is a sure bet when it comes to getting clear skin.

Some people may think that getting upset over acne is silly.  I mean, it’s just pimples and you’ll outgrow it, right?  Clearly these folks have never suffered chronic acne or they’d know that it is a big deal.  I am not talking about a pimple here and there.  I’m talking about struggling with acne EVERY day.  When you have this problem, it can feel like the world sees your acne instead of YOU.  And usually, no over the counter remedy helps.  Acne is a devious little bitch.


I was blessed.  I sailed through my teen years without more than an occasional zit.  I never understood why people got so upset or worried about their skin.  And then I hit my twenties, and my skin went haywire.  Overnight my skin became a red, rashy mess.  It had the texture of sandpaper, and you could see your reflection in my forehead.  I felt powerless when NOTHING I did helped.  I was mortified when one of my professors offered the unsolicited advice that I try tea tree soap for my skin in front of my classmates.

I know some had it much worse than I did.  My acne was probably moderate rather than severe, but it was consistent, and it is not an exaggeration to say that I tried EVERYTHING.  The only thing that got it remotely under control was a prescription from a dermatologist. Even that was not a 100% solution.

Today, my skin has done a full 180.  I no longer take prescription meds, and I don’t incorporate any anti-acne products into my regimen.  I still get some breakouts, but nothing like before.  I also still worry about the constant breakouts returning because I haven’t forgotten how powerless acne can make you feel.  I’m not sure whether I’ve just outgrown my adult acne or if it has improved because I’m super vigilent about skincare.

Before (and this was the “improved” version when I was on prescription meds):

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Now:

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The point of telling you all of this is that there are some things that I believe make a huge difference.  I’m not going to talk about any products to fight acne because, honestly, I’m not convinced any really work.  I’m also not claiming that following these tips will clear up your chronic acne, but I think these habits help maintain clear skin.  If you’re suffering from serious acne and it’s causing you a significant amount of stress or social anxiety, I’d encourage you to see a professional.  If you’re just looking for some easy (and free!) ways to improve and/or maintain your skin, try these.

1. Consistency is Key – Once you find a skincare regimen that works for you, STICK WITH IT! Don’t try a new product every other day or you’ll never be able to tell what’s working and what’s causing a reaction. Wash your face every night (no excuses).  Oh…and forget about all of the “acne” products for adult acne. A lot of that stuff targeted to teens is just going to irritate your skin and make things worse.  Keep it simple (and consistent!).

2. Watch Out for Stealth Acne Promoters – There are so many things that can cause a flare up that you might not even notice.  Watch how often you touch your face, and don’t even think about popping that zit!  Wash your sheets and pillowcases regularly. Try to limit the amount of hair products that you use.  All of these things deposit bacteria, dirt, and pore-clogging crap on your face. Try to minimize it whenever possible.

3. Evaluate Your Diet – Whenever I’m eating crap, I definitely notice its effects on my skin.  Try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables while limiting processed and sugary foods.  Another dietary change that I think has made a real difference is cutting back on dairy.  This helps a lot of people because they aren’t exposed to all of the hormones found in most dairy products.

4. Stop Putting So Much Stuff on Your Face – I know, I know. When you’ve got breakouts, you really want to cover them.  But burying yourself in layers of foundation and concealer isn’t doing you any favors. It might work in the short term, but all of that make up is probably making your skin worse in the long run.  Try to limit the makeup you wear on your face to the bare minimum, and remember that you’re beautiful with or without breakouts.

5. Stress Less – I know that right now you’re probably thinking (cue sarcastic tone) “Gee, Lauren. That’s a great idea! And so easy! I’ll do that right now!”  I know that it’s really easy to say “stress less,” but it’s super hard to do.  Find a way to do it anyway.  Whether it’s exercising, meditating, or having sex, do something that takes your mind off everything that’s bothering you.  I bet you’ll see improvement in your skin.  And even if you don’t, at least your doing something good for your body or getting laid.  Either way, you win.

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!