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You Smell Good: Lavanila Fresh Lemon Vanilla Perfume Review
Earth Friendly, Perfume, Reviews - Be the first to comment! - June 1st, 2013

Lavanila’s newest fragrance is Fresh Lemon Vanilla, and it’s pretty much the bomb, yo. I bought the rollerball on a recent Sephora trip, and have been wearing it almost non-stop since then. Citrus scents are so great in the summer, since they’re light and fresh.

It’s described as a bright, juicy lemon, with lush watery fruits (huh?), fresh bamboo and pure Madagascar vanilla. I dunno about the lush watery fruits, but it definitely smells lemon-y and vanilla-y. It’s fresh and warm at the same time, but doesn’t smell particularly food-y. It’s not a dessert lemon scent at all. The wear time is not the longest, as to be expected for a perfume that doesn’t contain a lot of synthetics. The lemon burns off after about an hour, and the vanilla lasts for an hour or two after that.

I really like the rollerball format because it’s convenient for touching up the scent, since it doesn’t have the longest lasting power. It’s also pretty affordable, at $19 for 0.32 oz. The larger size is a better value, but I like the portability of the rollerball.

Fresh Lemon Vanilla also comes in a stick deodorant. I love Lavanila’s stick deodorant formula, but it’s soooo pricey. If I get a super-awesome job, I’d consider splurging for it, though.

Overall, if you like citrus scents and vanilla, I recommend checking out Lavanila’s Fresh Vanilla Lemon perfume. It’s perfect for summer!

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Andalou Naturals Meyer Lemon Creamy Cleanser Review
Complexion, Earth Friendly, Reviews, Skin Care - Be the first to comment! - May 31st, 2013

I like lemon-scented stuff. I think I’ve mentioned this a time or two before… I’ve been in the market for a new cleanser to use in the mornings, so I picked up Andalou Naturals’ Meyer Lemon Creamy Cleanser to try because it smelled good. Also, it has nice stuff in it. But mostly, it smells good. (My new status as an actual esthetician compels me to tell you that you shouldn’t pick skincare based on smell. LOL.)

The Meyer Lemon Creamy Cleanser is a unique hybrid between a milky or lotion-type cleanser and one that lathers. It has the emollient qualities of a milky cleanser but it also contains a mild detergent that provides a light lather. It’s great for normal to combination skin, since it cleans but doesn’t overdry the skin. It contains antioxidants like white tea and vitamin c, as well as citrus extracts and sunflower oil. My face feels soft and clean, but not that uncomfortable squeaky clean feeling you get from products that strip the skin. It’s definitely a very gentle cleanser, in my opinion. It smells very lemon-y. I like the bright and cheerful scent in the morning, which was what sold me on this cleanser.

I use it in the shower in the morning, but I’ve also used it at night just to test it out. It removed my face makeup, although I would use a separate eye makeup remover if you’re wearing a lot of eye makeup. It left some mascara residue behind.

It’s on the high end of what I consider an acceptable price for a cleanser, at $12.95 for 6 oz. However, a little really goes a looooong ways – I find a whole pump is too much product, so I only use about half a pump at a time. At that rate, this bottle is going to last a while. Overall, I definitely recommend this for normal to combination skin types. Two thumbs up!

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Mad Hippie Exfoliating Serum Review
Complexion, Earth Friendly, Reviews - Comments (1) - May 4th, 2013

I used up my Mychelle Dermaceuticals Perfect C Serum and was feeling a little too poor to spring for another one, so I picked up Mad Hippie’s Exfoliating Serum to try instead, as it’s a slightly cheaper. Mad Hippie is a company whose ads I’ve seen popping up here and there, and I liked what I saw on the ingredient list, so I figured it was worth a try. So far, so good!

The Exfoliating Serum is meant to be used at night, every other day or every day if your skin isn’t sensitive. It comes in a brown glass bottle with a dropper – I prefer pump packaging, since you’re exposing the product to air and light every time you open the bottle, but it’s not a deal breaker for me. It’s just important to keep in mind the anti-oxidants will lose potency over time with exposure so it’s best to use it regularly and use it up in a timely fashion.

It contains a veritable SLEW of stuff – vitamin c, glycolic acid, antioxidants like goji berry extract, a skin brightening botanical blend, ceramides, vitamin b, and so on. It doesn’t contain parabens, synthetic color, or synthetic fragrance. It doesn’t have much of a scent at all, really.

I can feel a slight tingle when I put it on, but it’s not uncomfortable at all. The directions indicate applying the product to cleansed skin, and then putting moisturizer over. I have to admit, I’m kind of bad at remembering to put moisturizer on, since I usually wash my face, apply the serum, and fall into bed. My skin still feels happy and not dry in the morning, so I don’t think this is the end of the world.

It’s not the best time for conducting skin care experiments, since I’m still getting facials at school on an almost weekly basis. My skin looks pretty good. I can say that this product hasn’t caused any bad reactions or breakouts for my face. It’ll be interesting to see if my face continues to look great after I’m done with school…

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with Mad Hippie’s Exfoliating Serum. It’s a pretty good price ($34.99) for a product that has a LOT of active ingredients in it. As with all things that contain glycolic or a high percentage of actives, if you’re sensitive, you might want to purchase from a place that allows returns in case of a bad reaction. I’m quite pleased with the product, and would consider trying other products from the line.

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Desert Essence Natural Roll-on Deodorant Review
Body Care, Cheap Thrills, Earth Friendly, Reviews - Comments (1) - April 7th, 2013

It’s not often that I write a truly negative review. Most of the time, if I didn’t like a product it’s because the product wasn’t right for me, not because the product wasn’t good. But sometimes, I run across a product that I just think isn’t going to be effective for anyone, which is the case with Desert Essence Natural Roll-On Deodorant. I had high hopes for this natural deodorant, but it falls flat.

I prefer to use deodorant rather than anti-perspirant if I can, just because I do think it’s healthy for the body to perspire. It’s one of the ways the body rids itself of toxins, after all. But I also work with the public, and let’s face it, body odor just isn’t socially appropriate, especially if you work in the beauty industry. So far, the only deodorant that actually worked was Lavanila’s Healthy Deodorant, and it’s $18 a tube. Finding a less expensive deodorant that really works has been something of a search for the holy grail for me.

Desert Essence Natural Roll-On Deodorant contains lavender, coriander, and tea tree in a roll-on base that also contains rice starch and corn starch, as well as aloe and allantoin. It’s defintely gentle. However, after about two to three hours I can smell myself. It’s NO BUENO. TOTAL FAIL. I do perspire a bit more than the average woman because of the medication I take (yay side effects!) but this is deodorant fail after two to three hours of non-strenuous activity. Like, sitting in a classroom activity. I shudder to think how it would hold up to actual exercise.

In the meantime, I’ll stick with Tom’s of Maine’s nice anti-perspirant, and continue my search for the holy grail.

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Review: Everyday Shea Moisturizing Shampoo
Cheap Thrills, Earth Friendly, Hair Care, Reviews - Be the first to comment! - April 4th, 2013

Everyday Shea is line of shea butter products brought to you from the fine folks at Alaffia. It’s an affordable line of natural shea butter products, combining great value with great quality. I loved the lotion, so I decided it was time to give the Moisturizing Shampoo a whirl.

The shampoo comes in large 32 oz. bottles with pump tops, in Lavender, Vanilla Mint, and Unscented. I chose Vanilla Mint, because I liked that fragrance best. It’s still a light fragrance, not super-strong at all. The shampoo contains liquid shea butter soap, two surfactants, shea leaf extract, vanilla extract and spearmint essential oil. It’s a very simple formula. It doesn’t contain any SLS or SLES, if you ware avoiding those ingredients.

It’s quite low-lather. If you like (or feel you need) a lot of lather, you will not like this shampoo. I’m pretty accustomed to low lathering shampoos, so it doesn’t bother me. It’s pretty effective at cleaning, but not drying at all. It’s also not too moisturizing. After lightly bleaching my hair, I still only used conditioner once or twice a week with this shampoo, because I didn’t feel my hair needed it more often.

Now, I just (as in, two days ago) pretty thoroughly bleached my hair and colored it blue, and haven’t tried this shampoo on that yet. My hair is a lot drier now, having been more heavily bleached, so I will probably want to use more conditioner. I’ll update this review if that’s the case!

Overall, I’m pretty happy with this shampoo. It’s a good value, it was around $10 for the 32 oz. bottle, and it’s gentle and effective. Two thumbs up!

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Annmarie Gianni Skincare Repair Serum Review
Complexion, Earth Friendly, Reviews, Skin Care - Be the first to comment! - April 3rd, 2013

Annmarie Gianni Skincare sent me a sample of their newest skincare product to try out – the new Repair Serum! I love that the brand uses natural ingredients to improve your skin – that really work! The new Repair Serum is formulated to build collagen, repair itself and prevent aging, using vegan stem cells derived from oranges.

From the website:

This active blend of stem cells, along with Superoxide dismutase (SOD) — a powerful antioxidant — will make a noticeable difference in aging skin when used continuously over the course of 30-40 days. This serum is high in Vitamin C and has the essential oils of Lavender and Sandalwood, which are skin-lightening and balancing.

So, what’s the scoop? I used the serum under my moisturizer each night, and after 30 days I did notice an improvement in my skin. My skin felt really smooth and seemed brighter after use. The product absorbs nicely, and doesn’t feel oily. I didn’t experience any breakouts from it, either. It does have a strong scent from the sandalwood and lavender, but I found it quite pleasant.

I think the serum would be a great choice for anyone looking for an anti-aging serum with lots of high-quality natural ingredients. I give it two thumbs up!

Disclosure: Editorial Sample Provided For Review

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New Pacifica Pefume Products: Cosmetics!
Complexion, Earth Friendly, Hot Lips, Makeup Fun - Comments (2) - February 5th, 2013

Whoa! Stop the train! Pacifica, a Portland-based company that makes perfumes I really enjoy, is offering an expansion of their color cosmetics, as well as some skin care products. Neat-o! I’ve heard a rumour that you can find some of these things at Target, so I’ll be checking that out in the coming weeks. Look at the pretties!

This Enlighten eyeshadow quad looks nice. $14 isn’t a bad price, either, if the quality is nice. The colors look really pretty, a nice multi-use palette – I love these for travel.

I’ll have to look at the ingredients before I’d commit to buying, but I’m really interested in the Alight Multi-Mineral BB Cream. As long as it’s not too emollient, it sounds like a nice tinted-moisturizer type product for summer wear. I wish it had sunscreen, but can’t have everything…

The Radiant Shimmer Coconut Multiples look awesome for lips and face! This one is really calling my name.

There is a face wash, a face moisturizer, and face wipes that are new too. I love the packaging, it’s well done! Hopefully these products will turn up locally at places where other Pacifica products are sold, and I’ll definitely be scoping out Targets to see if I can find them!

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J.R. Watkins Lemon Cream Hand Cream Review
Best Of, Body Care, Cheap Thrills, Earth Friendly, Reviews - Comments (2) - February 4th, 2013

It’s really hard finding a good hand cream. My gold-star favorite is L’Occitane’s Shea Butter Hand Cream, but at $25 a tube, I have to admit it’s pricey. (In its defense, a full-size tube lasts for like six months, so it’s not that bad, which is why it’s still my gold-star favorite.) BUT ANYWAY. I’m picky about hand cream. I really, really hate that slippery feeling you get on your hands when a lotion or cream contains a lot of silicones. I don’t mind it on my body, but I hate it on my hands. I picked up a tube of J.R. Watkins Shea Butter Hand Cream to try out because of its IMPRESSIVE ingredient list and more reasonable price.

So, what does it have in it? What doesn’t it have in it? Seriously, this hand cream reads like a who’s who of awesome ingredients – shea butter, jojoba oil, macadamia oil, avocado oil, cocoa butter, babassu oil, apricot kernal oil, aloe, calendula, chamomile… it goes on. It doesn’t contain mineral oil, petrolatum, silicones, or parabens. It’s pretty darn close to an all natural product. The scent is a delightful lemon frosting/cookie smell, very refreshing and very yum. Seriously, I almost wanna lick my hands, it’s that good. It is knock-you-down strong though, so if you don’t like a strong fragrance, steer clear. It’s more dessert-like, as opposed to fresh cut lemon juice.

The texture is quite thick. If you want a light hand cream, this isn’t it. It’s thick, it’s rich, it’s going to leave a feeling on your hands for a while after you apply it. It won’t be a slick, slippery feel though, which is why I like it. It definitely relieves dryness like a champ. A little goes a long way, so this tube is going to last for a while.

Overall, I’m quite pleased to have given this a try. The 3.5 oz tube is on the large side to want to carry in my purse, but it’s fine for the tote bag I drag to school every day. It’s also a perfectly good size to keep on your nightstand or on the bathroom counter. Price will vary depending on where you shop, but it should always come in under ten bucks for a tube. I give it two (no longer dry!) thumbs up!

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