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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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Pevonia Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser Review
Complexion, Earth Friendly, Skin Care, Splurge Worthy - Comments Off - December 16th, 2012

I really love splurge-worthy facial scrubs. Pevonia offers a Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser, a scrubby cleanser that’s mild and gentle. Me likey!

The Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser contains soapwort, horsechestnut and chamomile, which Pevonia says will thoroughly eliminate dead cells, sebum, toxins and impurities without irritating your skin. It also uses jojoba seed powder and cellulose to get the scrubbing done – which is important because I won’t use products that contain plastic anymore, because they’re bad for the environment. Finding scrubs (both inexpensive AND splurge-y) that DON’T contain plastic (polyethylene) is kind of hard, so I’m pretty happy to promote them when I find them. The Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser has a gentle foaming lather, and the scrubbing is gentle but effective. The chamomile and calendula extracts it contains are also really soothing – I would say this is probably a good scrub for sensitive skin. It has a clean kind of fragrance, sort of spa-herbal. It rinses easily.

It’s pricey, at $33.50 for 5 oz., but a little goes a long way, and it IS a really nice exfoliator. I really like it!

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When You Get Back To Back Colds
Body Care, Earth Friendly - Comments Off - December 11th, 2012

I’m not dead, promise. I got a bad head cold right after Thanksgiving, and before I was fully over that one, I got an even nastier bug, courtesy of my sweet college student sister (her whole class got sick). Basically, I’ve been miserable for the last two weeks. Yuck. (Together, I think my sister and I have gone through like, a case of of Kleenex boxes. Good times.)

Needless to say, the makeup wearing has been basically NONE around here. But I can blog about some really awesome stuff to use in the shower to make yourself feel better when you have the head cold plagues of doom! I can’t smell much of anything, but I can smell peppermint and eucalyptus and they both are great in the shower.

I picked up a bottle of this Griffin Remedy Peppermint & Tea Tree Shower Gel at New Seasons Market, because PEPPERMINT. It’s a liquid soap, which means it doesn’t contain synthetic detergents. It has a lovely soft lather, isn’t drying at all, and it’s quite peppermint-y. It’s not as strong as say, Dr. Bronners Peppermint Soap (which actually makes my skin tingle a lot, it’s sooo peppermint-y), but it’s definitely minty. I don’t pick up a lot of tea tree, which is good, because I really dislike tea tree. Bonus: it’s pretty cheap for a high quality natural product, at under five bucks a bottle. SCORE!

The Aura Cacia Shower Tablets are a product I’ve purchased before, and just love when I have a cold. It’s like a bath bomb, except they’re flat and meant to dissolve slowly on your shower floor. Take a decently hot shower, and it’s like an essential oil steam tent while you bathe. The Peppermint ones are stronger than the Eucalyptus, btw. I hadn’t tried the Eucalyptus ones before, and probably won’t again. They’re a little spendy, almost $7 for three tablets, but totally worth it when you’re miserable.

I’m finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, so hopefully we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled blogging around here soon.

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Avalon Organics Vitamin C Renewal Hydrating Cleansing Milk Review
Complexion, Earth Friendly, Reviews, Skin Care - Comments Off - October 24th, 2012

I’m kind of a sucker for cleansing milks. I like them because they are not drying like some foaming cleansers, and they do a great job taking makeup off – especially eye makeup. I haven’t tried this one from Avalon Organics before, so I decided to give it a whirl. It’s the Vitamin C Renewal Hydrating Cleansing Milk.

The Vitamin C Renewal Hydrating Cleansing Milk is made with aloe vera, sunflower oil, kukui oil, borage oil, shea butter, a slew of citrus extracts, white tea, and vitamin C. It has a light texture, smells divinely citrus-y, and rinses easily. It leaves my skin clean and soft. It does pretty good at removing makeup, although waterproof mascara sometimes needs a second pass. Regular makeup comes right off.

It was under $12 at my local store, so not super-cheap but not too spendy for a nice, plant-based cleanser. It contains a high quantity of certified organic ingredients and the bottle is made from 100% recycled material. The really great citrus scent gives it a leg up on other milky cleansers I’ve used. It gets two thumbs up! I really want to try the Vitamin C Renewal Refreshing Cleansing Gel now, for in the morning. I like to use a foaming cleanser in the shower, and I imagine the citrus would be a great pick-me-up.

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Alice In Wonderland EOS Lip Balm Trio
Earth Friendly, Hot Lips, Shopping - Comments (4) - October 16th, 2012

I love eos (Evolution of Smooth) lip balms. I love the pod-shaped containers, I love the rounded shape of the balm itself, and I love the formula. I spotted this adorable Alice In Wonderland inspired trio online recently, so I had to snag it when I was in Target the other day. So cute!!

The set has three flavors, Blueberry Potion, Sweet Vanilla Nonsense, and Watermelon Wonderland. They are all three quite yummy. I’m especially pleased about the vanilla one, since it seems to be the same flavor as the vanilla bean stick balm, but in the pod shape I like better! YAY!!

All the eos lip balms are certified organic, and contain nice things for your lips like shea butter, vitamin e, and jojoba oil.

The packaging is really cute, with its tiny printed Alices, and a tea party scene inside. Also? The usual dimple on the side of the sphere has two extra indents to make the shape of mouse ears! SO CUTE. I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for the whole Mickey Mouse thing.

Anyway, the set was $7.99 at Target. It’s not available online yet, but will be in November. Two thumbs up!

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Made From Earth Three Berry Daily Face Serum Review
Complexion, Earth Friendly, Reviews, Skin Care - Comments Off - October 12th, 2012

Made From Earth is a small company producing a nice collection of skin care and body care products. I had the opportunity to try their Three Berry Daily Face Serum, and I quite like it! Check it out.

The Three Berry Daily Face Serum is a serum that can also be used as a daily face moisturizer, particularly if you have oilier skin. It contains Vitamin C for all its great antioxidant effects, as well as blueberry, cranberry, and raspberry extracts. Blueberry extract also is a good antioxidant, the raspberry is very soothing and calming for the skin, and the cranberry extract has antibacterial qualities.

The serum has a light texture, although it leans a little sticky. This was my only nitpick with it, but it’s only a problem if you’re in a hurry and need to get makeup on your face fast. If you have an extra 5-10 minutes to let it fully absorb, the stickiness isn’t a problem. My skin liked it just fine, no problems with breakouts or irritation. It works fine for my skin as a moisturizer, although I usually used it like a serum and applied a sunscreen moisturizer on top.

Overall, if you are looking for an antioxidant serum that doesn’t break the bank, this one could fit the bill. At $27.99 for 2 ounces, it’s quite reasonably priced. I give it a thumbs up.

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EcoTools 6-Piece Brush Set & Tutorial
Best Of, Cheap Thrills, Earth Friendly, Makeup Fun - Comments (3) - October 9th, 2012

Ever since I first discovered EcoTools, I’ve been a huge fan. Almost all the makeup brushes I use now are from them. The 6-Piece Brush Set is a good place to start if you’re starting a brush collection, as it’s got some good foundation pieces, and is an excellent price.

The 6-piece brush set includes a blush brush, an eye shading brush, an angled eyeliner brush, a concealer brush, a lash/brow groomer, and a nice hemp/cotton brush holder/bag combo. The brush handles are all made out of bamboo (a great renewable resource), the bristles are synthetic, and the ferrules (the metal part) are made from recycled aluminum.

I use all of these brushes every time I put makeup on, and actually have multiples of some of them so I don’t have to clean them between uses. For example, I use the angled eyeliner brush both for eyeliner, but also to apply brow powder – so it’s nice to have two brushes so one can be dedicated to brow powder. I really like the case that comes with this set. In addition to the brush holders, it has a zippered bag to hold makeup, and a velcro flap to secure the brush holder side. It’s great for travel!

EcoTools did a nice tutorial for a pretty jewel-toned eye that uses the 6-piece brush set. You can check it out here.

You can beat the prices. EcoTools brushes are so affordable, but not cheaply made at all. I have several brushes that are now a few years old and they are holding up perfectly despite regular use and washing. I *heart* EcoTools!

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Portland Bee Balm Review
Cheap Thrills, Earth Friendly, Get Local, Hot Lips, Reviews - Comments Off - August 13th, 2012

A few months ago, I noticed a new lip balm brand popping up in my local New Seasons and Whole Foods Markets. It’s called Portland Bee Balm, and it’s handmade in Portland (duh!) with locally sourced beeswax and honey. I checked out the label, and because it also has peppermint essential oil in it, I didn’t buy it immediately. I am just not a peppermint fan, so I resisted the temptation to purchase.

Fast foward a few months, and that Portland Bee Balm was still making its siren call… “Check me out! You know you want to! Try me!” See, I’m a sucker for all things local, handmade, and organic, and despite the peppermint, I just couldn’t resist. Also? It was cheap! At under three bucks a tube, I figured that if I really, truly hated it, I wouldn’t be wasting much money. Besides, HUSBAND doesn’t hate peppermint and I’d just make him use it. *evil*

It contains beeswax from Sauvie Island. First, about that beeswax. It’s hard to label beeswax “organic” because bees go where they want. But, this is probably as good as it gets. The beehives are located on an organic farm that’s surrounded by other organic farms. Next, it contains organic extra virgin coconut oil, organic extra virgin olive oil, honey, and organic peppermint essential oil. The honey comes from their own hives, that they keep in their backyard. Peppermint is also an Oregon crop, but I don’t know if their peppermint EO is from Oregon or not. I hope so!

I’m going to be honest – it’s not the best lip balm ever. If it were me making it (I used to make and sell lip balm, among other things) I’d probably decrease the amount of wax, because it’s a bit on the draggy side. All that wax does have a few advantages though. It doesn’t get too soft if you keep it in your pocket, even on a hot day, as I did all week on a camping trip recently. It also lasts longer on your lips than other lip balms I’ve tried, which is a definite PLUS. The peppermint isn’t super-strong, so even an avowed peppermint hater like myself will find it tolerable, even *gasp* fresh and pleasant. Overall, it’s nicely emollient, has good lasting power, and you can feel good that it’s about as pure and natural as lip balm can get.

If you live in the Portland metro area, you can find Portland Bee Balm in shops all over town – check out their Facebook for more info on that. You can also order it directly from their website if you’re interested in trying a little bit of Oregon in a tube. I’ll probably keep buying it because it’s inexpensive, gets the job done, and it’s local!

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