Monday, April 30, 2012

April Eco-Emi and Lots of Goodies!

Lots of goodies this month from Eco-Emi!  I'm really enjoying being introduced to so many different products with an eco-consciousness.  From cosmetics to skin care to food and household items - such a nice range and the quality has been really good so far.

April's box contained 6 beauty items and 5 food items plus assorted promotional cards (with discount codes) describing all the times.  Also included was a really informative "Pacyderm Paper" describing the efforts of project Maximus to convert elephant dung into stationary and paper items so that elephant and man have a greater chance of living in peace together in Sri Lanka.  The thought behind this if that if elephants are viewed as revenue generating, then farmers will not kill them when the elephants interfere with agriculture, the main industry there.  The pink paper with the elephant on it is an example of the stationary produced, it's actually quite pretty.

Now for the beauty products!  Shea Radiance Whipped Shea Butter with Kalahari Melon Seed Oil has a really cool texture.  I think it had melted a bit during shipping but it still had bubbles in it.  I was able to pour it from the jar into my hand but it has since solidified a bit and is now like a frothy mousse.  It applies so smoothly and does sink into skin almost immediately.  The fragrance is not anything I can identify - slightly nutty and pleasant.   This is a fair trade product and uses shea butter produced by women in West Africa, with 10% of profits going back to their co-ops.

Also included was a 3.5 gram container of golden bronzer from Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques.  This may actually be one of her foundations, but it will work as a bronzer on my skin tone.   These are natural and organic and she includes some interesting ingredients such as raspberry, neem and olive extracts.   A regular sized foundation (13 grams) sales for $30 so this sample is an $8 value. 

Next up is alabu Baby Me Goat Milk Soap for sensitive skin.  This soap is made with pasteurized goat milk, olive oil, cocoa butter and other natural oils and is supposed to provide special hydrating ability to help restore a youthful look to dehydrated skin.  Sounds like it will be a good facial soap!

Continuing the trend of soothing sensitive skin is Wildly Natural Seaweed Soothing Body Wash in Eucalyptus & Peppermint Scent from The Seaweed Bath Co.  This company was founded by a sufferer of psoriasis who, after much personal trial and error and research, discovered that seaweed is a natural remedy for skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.  This body wash contains bladderwrack seaweed and Kukui and Neem oils.  Looking forward to trying this.

I also got a Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in Plum.  I've been a fan of Burt's Bees for eons, having discovered them when I went to school at UNC-Chapel Hill.  Lots of gift shops in the area carried Burt's Bees long before it hit the national scene in a big way since the company headquarters are located in Durham. 

Also included was a natural toothpaste in Vanilla Mint with Goji Berry by Dr. Collins (not pictured).  I haven't had much success with the few natural toothpastes I've tried, but this I like!  My teeth feel super clean and the taste is quite pleasant.  This has lots of cool ingredients such as CoQ10, Aloe Vera, Teat Tree Oil, Magnolia Bark, and contains no preservatives, artificial ingredients, fluoride, or sodium lauryl sulfates.  I will be getting a larger tube of this.

The food items were a fair trade organic raw honey, a packet of Yerba Mate tea, a delicious sample of Enchanting Chai Bites of Bliss Spiced Chocolate Bark, Enchanting Chai Gourmet Finishing Sugar, and Enchanting Chai Catalyst Gormet Enhancer.  The spice mixes made the box smell delightful!  Most of the items came with 15-20% discount codes.

I'm loving Eco-Emi!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

NOTD: Mermaid Spell by Layla

I picked up two of the  Hologram Effect Polishes by Layla recently, Mermaid Spell and Flash Back.  This was my first foray into holographic polishes, and from reading other blogs I had determined that I'd either have to buy a special base coat or use a nail buffer to prime my nails.  So, I also got the Layla nail buffer, which did buff my nails to a pretty shine while I waited for the Layla polishes to be restocked online at Ulta, as they were all sold out.  Fortunately, the next week I was able to get the polishes.

I decided to try Mermaid Spell first, and it's been a learning process.  The first coat was sheer, the second better, the third even better, but wait, I see bald patches.  It's almost as if putting the next layer on re-wets the previous layer.  So, I did a fourth, somewhat thick, coat and called it a day.  Fortunately, these dry super fast!  I'd read that top coats dull the holographic effect, so did not use one.

Mermaid Spell is a gorgeous light blue that definitely flashed with holographic glory.  I admired my nails to no end in the sun, but did not take pictures as I usually do that the next day.  Mistake, big mistake.  After showering the next day, my nails had major tip damage, just from washing my hair.  Okay, this is a fragile polish.  Also fortunately (or unfortunately), this removes in a breeze.  I repainted (3 coats this time) and used Seche Vite as a top coat, dulling be damned.   They still looked pretty vibrant to me. 
However, I scoured the web to see what others had done to extend wear time.  One blogger recommended applying several coats of Layla, then a top coat, and then a final layer of Layla.  So I applied a final coat of Mermaid Spell, used dry shampoo the next day, hoping to get at least one more day of wear.  I ended up with 3 days of wear.  I've also seen recommendations to use a fast drying top coat as a base coat.  I really do like how beautiful this polish is, but will have to make my peace with the limited wear time.

The last two pictures are with Mermaid Spell over the topcoat.  I can't tell a difference in the holographic effect between using a topcoat versus not using one, personally.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Yes to Tomatoes Rollerball Spot Stick

I've been on a concerted effort to get my oily, blemish prone skin under control.  Enter salicylic acid, which is latin for willow tree, whose bark was originally where salicylic acid was derived from.  It's a beta hydroxy acid and helps skin cells to shed more readily, unclogging pores and neutralizing bacteria.  Pores then do not clog back up as easily, due to constricted pore diameter (thanks, Wikipedia).  Smaller pores, people!

I've been using cleansers, toners, serums, and masks that contain salicylic acid.  Now, I've got a spot treatment rollerball from Yes to Tomatoes to add to this arsenal.  In addition to 2% salicylic acid and tea tree oil to treat acne, bisobol and ginger help to reduce inflammation and redness.  I've got under the skin bumps that are the result of overactive sebaceous glands, and I'm targeting them to see if the rollerball makes a difference.  I can say that I've seen a reduction in at least one of my most stubborn under the skin bumps after only one week of treatment.  The metal ball feels very cool on my skin, which is a nice sensation.  I have to press firmly sometimes to make sure the solution comes out. 

According to the Yes to.... web site, a clinical consumer evaluation study saw an improvement in both the severity and size of blemishes in 3 days.   Also a plus, this product is 97% natural and relatively inexpensive at $9.99.  I bought mine at Rite Aid for 75% off, making it $2.49. 

Ingredients:  Salicylic Acid (2.0%).,Water, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Fruit Juice, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Bark/Leaf/Twig Extract, SD Alcohol 38-B, Propanediol, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Extract*, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan) Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Juice, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract*, Bisabolol, Maltodextrin, Glyceryl Caprylate, Sucrose Stearate, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil

Friday, April 27, 2012

Tarte Gifts from the Lipstick Tree Achiote Color Collection

Photo source:  Wikipedia
One of the spring collections released by Tarte is the Gifts From The Lipstick Tree Achiote Color Collection.  The set contains a LipSurgence™ Natural Lip Luster, an Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush, and a Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss in Achiote, a lovely peachy pink shade.  All three products are full sized and contain achiote, a rusty red seed found in tropical and sub-tropical regions and primarily used for providing color and flavor to food.   

 The Lipsurgence Lip Luster pencil has a gold glimmer and is nicely pigmented with good color delivery.   I find the Lipsurgence pencils do a good job of making my lips feel hydrated and enjoy the peppermint scent and slight cooling sensation they provide.  My only complaint about the packaging is that I've had problems with the tops cracking in the past, which then makes them loose and prone to falling off.
Lipsurgence Lip Luster in Achiote

This was my first experience with the Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss.  I'm not really a fan of click pens, as I find I do a lot of clicking to get the product out.  The brush applicator is nice though, and the gloss itself feels good on my lips and again has that pleasant peppermint scent and tingling sensation.  While the lip pencil does have a nice sheen to it, wearing the gloss on top amps up the shine.  It did seem to lessen the intensity of color, however.
Maracuja Lip Gloss in Achiote (over Lipsurgence Lip Luster)

The last item of the trio is the Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Achiote.  This matte blush is finely milled and has good color payoff.  The pan did pop out of the container when I was photographing it, but also popped back in easily, with a magnet that holds it in place.  Just something to be aware of, as I was surprised when mine fell out.

I find these wear well, although not the 12 hours as claimed.  I have oily skin so that could be a factor, but I'd say they wear for about 6-7 hours on me before starting to fade.  I tend to wear a gel or stick blush underneath with a powder blush on top as opposed to one or the other alone, which gives me lasting color for a full days wear.

Overall, this is a nice set in a color that works really well on me.  The set is $42 with a value of $70, and I bought mine from Sephora. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

NOTD: Galahad & Mahogany Magic French Tip

Egads, a-england's Galahad chipped on me after one day!  Not sure what was going on with that, I think I was opening a package when it happened.  I'd already had the idea of doing a french tip with Mahogany Magic, so this just sped things up a few days.

I topped off with one coat of Sally Hensen's Tealy Cool, an iridescent micro glitter mix in a blue-green gel base.   I really like the overall effect!
Galahad, Mahogany Magic, Tealy Cool

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Josie Maran Summer Lovin' Argan Lip & Cheek Color Stick Set

Oh, how I love stick blushes.  Tarte's Natual Cheek Stains got me started, but Josie Maran's Lip & Cheek Color Sticks reinforced it.  Offer them in a set with multiple colors and there is no way I'm going to be able to resist.

Summer Lovin' gives you four of the little sticks - the 3 colors Poppy, Rosey, and Summer Lovin', plus a clear one for general moisturizing purposes.  

Poppy is my favorite, a vivid coral pink.  These apply sheer but can be built up in intensity.  Poppy has more of a cream finish with no visible shimmer.  These apply smoothly with a balm like texture.  I've got oily skin but do not find these to feel oily or to add much sheen.  I do however tend to use a powder to set these to help with longevity.  Sometimes it's a powder blush on top, sometimes a translucent powder.

Rosey is a muted dusty rose with a slight shimmer and is the one color from the set available in the regular collection.  I found all three shades to be quite wearable with my fair but warm skin tone (I'm a Spring in the Color Me Beautiful vernacular, if that helps).   All of the swatches were taken in full sun.  While I tend to use these mainly as cheek tints, they can also be used on your lips.  I don't really care for them as lip tints, however, as the taste and texture just don't work for me.  But, they are multitaskers with good for you argan oil, shea butter, manfo butter, apricot kernel oil, oh heck, I'll list all the ingredients at the bottom.

Summer Lovin'
Summer's Lovin' is a light coppery bronze with gold fleck and has the most visible shimmer.  This actually applies very light on my skin so I have to really build it up for it to show.  It does make a nice highlighter due to the gold shimmer, which you can see better by clicking the swatch to view larger.  All three apply much more sheer than you would think given the color intensity in the tube.  However, details on the Sephora site say "apply to lips and cheeks for a natural HINT (caps mine) of color", so no false advertising going on there.  All of the swatches have been blended on the skin to show the finished look.

Packaging is nice, with both an outer top and a small inner cap to keep the sticks fresh.  I saw a review on Sephora that commented on the size of these, specifically how small they are.  They are about the size of the travel sized Tarte Cheek tints.  However, they last quite a while.  I've yet to completely use up any of my cheek tints.  Okay, I do have a lot, which could be a factor.

The Summer Lovin' set retails for $32 and is available at Sephora.  Poppy and Summer Lovin' are exclusive to this set.

Ingredients:  Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil**, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil*, Beeswax**, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter**, Copernica Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax**, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax**, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)**, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter**, Persea Gratissima (Avacado) Butter**, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate)**, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil**, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil**, Leptospermum Petersonii**, (Lemon Tea Tree) Oil**, Menthol**, Tocopherol**, Ethylhexylglycerin**, Caprylyl Glycol (and) Phenoxyethanol (and) Hexylene Glycol** May Also Contain: Mica (CI 77019)**, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891)**, Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499)**, Carmine (CI 75470)**, Blue # 1 Lake (CI 42090), Red 6 (CI 15850), Red 7 (CI 15850), Red 22 Lake (CI 45380), Red 27 (CI 45410), Red 28 Lake (CI 45410), Red 30 (CI 73360), Red 33 Lake (CI 17200), Yellow 5 Lake (CI 19140), Yellow 6 Lake (CI 15985), Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate**, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate** (*Organic **Natural)
*Certified Organic Ingredient
**Natural Ingredient

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ulta Extreme Wear Lip Stain Lucky in Love

I picked up another Ulta Extreme Wear Lip Stain called Lucky in Love (#11).  The name is not actually on the tube, as they use the number instead.  Lucky in Love is a rosy red, very close to Benefit's Benetint, IMO. 

I've reviewed one other Extreme Wear Lip Stain, Love Connection, and what I like about these is that, in addition to being a lip tint, they make excellent cheek stains.  They are also on sale right now for $3 and if you buy one you get another free, which effectively makes then $1.50 each!  So, if you've thought about trying these, now would be the time.  I like that these lip tints use fruit extracts for their color, which translates into a pleasantly fruity scent and taste. 
Lucky in Love on cheek
Lucky in Love with clear gloss with shimmer on top

Monday, April 23, 2012

Ojon Restorative Hair Treatment

Restorative Hair Treatment
Based on other reviews I've read on Ojon's Restorative Hair Treatment, this is a product that you either love or hate.  If you hate it, it's usually because of the smell.  I've seen it described as tobacco and leather, a dirty ashtray, or cigarette smoke and oranges with maybe a bit of chocolate thrown in.  I must be strange, because I actually liked how it smelled. 

Apparently Ojon has listened to the complaints.  They have introduced a new Restorative Plus line, which has been reformulated with a new, lighter scent.  I'll review it below as well.  I was first introduced to this hair treatment when I received a sample pack from Sephora.  I was intrigued enough after one use to buy the smallest container and see what long term benefits it might have.

If you are not familiar with Ojon, the story is that the founder of the company traveled deep into Central American jungles to find this miracle elixir he had been introduced to by a relative several years earlier.  The Miskito tribe had been harvesting nuts from the Ojon tree and using it on their hair and skin for generations, with phenomenal results.  The Ojon tree is found only in the Amazon and the company contracts with natives to harvest it, still using the traditional methods.  This probably helps account for the cost, as these can be a bit pricey.  I got the smallest container, which was $19.50 for 1.5 oz. 

The original Restorative Hair Treatment is an emulsified oil which needs to be rubbed in your hands prior to applying to hair.  Directions say to start with about a teaspoon amount and to continue until hair has been saturated.  I usually just stop at a teaspoon, but I also leave it on overnight as opposed to the 20 minutes in the instructions, so I figure it all works out in the end.

I can't say that this has made an amazing difference in my hair.   I like it and think it has helped with deep conditioning, but I'm not so sure that other oils such as olive, coconut, or jojoba would not have the same effect.  My hair, while color treated, is in pretty good condition as it is.  So, perhaps those with dry or damaged hair will have a different experience.
Treatment Plus on hair
The Restorative Hair Treatment Plus is not solid, although you can see some solid bits in it.   The smell is indeed much lighter and I found it to be quite pleasant.  I had a sample pack of this and used the entire contents for the picture on the left.  Again, it's a decent deep conditioning treatment but not something that left me thinking "wow". 
Restorative Hair Treatment Plus

Ojon has several product lines, referred to as "Ojon rituals".  You can discover yours by answering a few questions here.