Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cruelty-Free Update

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. I am including my referral link for Vitacost and The Honest Company.

I had to go back and look, and it's been about six months since I did my post talking about going cruelty-free. I thought it would be a good time to post an update on my progress.

Cosmetics

I had started going cruelty-free a while before I actually mentioned it on my blog, so there really wasn't much of a transition needed when it came to my makeup. The vast majority of my makeup was already cruelty-free, and a lot of what wasn't was already added to my blog sale.

Since then, my next step was to pull out the rest of my items that weren't cruelty-free. I've got quite a few of them in my container of products I'm trying to use it. I use a Stila Smudgestick liner every day to try and finish them. I have to point out that it's really annoying that these liners can't be rolled back down. I have no way of knowing how close to being gone they are. I have this feeling that one day I'm going to line one eye and discover that the product is gone before I line the other one.

Bath and Body

Like with my cosmetics, most of my bath and body products were already cruelty-free. I believe all of my shower gels were already cruelty-free when I made my announcement. The same thing is true of shampoo and conditioners, barring a bunch of samples that I still have and occasionally grab for traveling. Skincare was almost there when it comes to main products. One of my acne treatments is still by Neutrogena because I had stocked up a long time ago, buying something like four tubes. I'm on my last one. Just like with shampoos and conditioners, I also have a stash of samples that I keep around.

When I started working on my stash of lotion in January, I went through and pulled out all of the lotions from brands that I wasn't sure about or knew wasn't cruelty-free. At this point, all of those are gone.

My next challenge to tackle is hair dye. I had several boxes that I needed to use up, but they are finally gone. I recently purchased a box of Herbatint hair dye from Vitacost (referral link). I haven't tried it yet, so I don't know if it is a brand that I'll stick with. I hope it works well for me because most of the cruelty-free hair dyes that I've seen are henna based, and I would prefer to avoid that route, since using henna means I can't go back to regular dyes until it has completely grown out.

Deodorant is another one of my trouble areas. Most cruelty-free options are also natural, which haven't worked for me so far. I've read somewhere that switching to natural deodorants requires a detox period of about two weeks before they become effective. I'm not willing to do that when I'm working. A detox attempt might happen this summer if I can find a stretch of time when I'm not going to be terrified of smelling terribly in public. I've also got a lot of deodorants that I need to work my way through before I try any others.

Home Products

This is the area where I've been making progress a lot more slowly. I've already done a post on The Honest Company (referral link) dishwasher pods, which I love. Several of their other products have also made it into my regular routine. I didn't particularly like their dish soap, so I'm testing out a different one now. Dish soap is a crucial product for me. I have always used Dawn dish soap, and I use it for more than just dishes. I use it to mix up my own shower cleaner and even use it in laundry to boost my regular detergent when I feel it is needed.

I don't think my home products will ever be completely cruelty-free. I don't have access to much of it locally, and I'm not willing to sacrifice quality either. I'll continue to experiment and replace what I can, but I'm definitely making baby steps in this area.

Are you going cruelty-free? What trouble areas have you had? If you aren't going cruelty-free, that's okay too. I'd love to know what other steps you might be taking to improve yourself or the world (recycling, exercising, eating better, etc)?

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. I included my referral links for Vitacost and The Honest Company.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Jane Blush in Berry Bouquet - Review and Swatches

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

I'm spending a Sunday afternoon trying to get some blog posts scheduled while watching a Harry Potter marathon on TV. Does anyone else watch movies on TV that they already own? It seems silly to me, but I do it anyway. Most of the time I do it when I'm just looking for something to have on as background noise.

I've been enjoying trying out products from the relaunched brand Jane Cosmetics. I haven't tried a lot yet, but I have other items on my wishlist for the next time I'm shopping at Ulta and  they are on sale.

One of the products I've been testing out is their Multi-Colored Cheek Powder in Berry Bouquet.

Price: $12

Packaging



The compact is a basic black with a clear window. It is serviceable without a lot of bulk or frills, which I like. When purchased, it comes with a cardboard band with bright and colorful pictures, but that obviously gets thrown away. The flower pattern on the product itself is eye-catching and pretty.

Product



This berry shade is exactly that, a bright berry color with a matte finish. The swatch above is all of the colors mixed together. After some experimenting, I have decided that I prefer avoiding the deepest shade in the blush when I use it. The difference doesn't show up very much when I swatch it, but I notice the difference more on my cheeks. The powder feels smooth and not overly dry and blends nicely on the skin. It lasts well on my skin, making it through a workday without problem.

Final Thoughts 

I like this blush, but at the same time, it doesn't wow me either. It's a little pricey for a drugstore brand as well. I wouldn't have purchased it at regular price; I picked it up on sale. There are only two other colors in the range, and the colors aren't of interest to me, so I won't be picking those up.

Have you tried the new Jane blushes or other products in the range?

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

NYX Baked Shadow in Nebula - Review and Swatches

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

I don't know about all of you, but I'm really glad that spring is finally deciding to show itself. I've been prepping for the season by doing some clothing shopping recently. I'm also eagerly watching the yard to see flowers starting to pop out of the ground.

Today I'm going to be reviewing a shade from the new NYX baked shadow line.

Price: $5.99; NYX products are regularly on sale, so watch out for a good deal.

Packaging





NYX has gradually been creating a theme with their eye shadow packaging. Most, if not all, of their shadow packaging now has this cute bow over the clasp. It's a nice touch. The configuration of the clear panels also adds some interest to an otherwise basic shadow compact. Probably the only thing I would have changed is shaving off a bit of the extra bulk.

Product



Left to right: swatched dry and swatched wet

I wish I could say that I loved this shadow because I wanted to love it, but I was really disappointed.

My first disappointment was with the color. I purchased this online off Ulta.com, and I thought the color I was getting was going to be much lighter than it was when it arrived. I don't really blame that on the shadow. Whenever I buy something online without seeing it in person first or seeing online swatches, I know I'm taking a chance.

The shadow itself performed terribly on me. I tested it with my regular primer applied dry, my regular primer applied wet, with my regular primer and Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy, and with primer and Jordana's Made-to-Last Shadow pencil. With just primer, the shadow had practically disappeared after just a couple of hours. My other attempts only helped marginally.

Final Thoughts

Clearly, I wasn't happy with this particular shadow. I've only tried this one, so I can't say if the others perform better. I won't be purchasing any more of to find out. I've only seen one other review of these, and it was positive, so these might work better for someone else.

Have you tried any of NYX's baked shadows? What did you think? I would love to hear other opinions on these!

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Finished It!!! Volume 12

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me except the Vaseline lotion, which was sent in an Influenster box, and the Tata Harper serum, which was part of a giveaway prize. All opinions are my own.

I'm really excited about this empties post for a reason that might seem a little strange. I recently found out where there is a nearby recycling drop-off, so I can actually recycle most of the empty containers I'm about to show you. Yay!

I'm also excited about the number of products I have to show you, especially lotions. For the majority of January, I was applying lotion to my arms and legs twice a day. I've since gotten a little lazy and only apply lotion once a day, but I'm still making progress working through my stash.


DermOrganic Daily Hydrating Conditioner - I really loved this conditioner. It made my hair feel really soft and moisturized. It's a little bit pricey (I found this bottle at TJ Maxx for $20), so I'm not replacing it right away, but I do plan on picking it up again in the future.


Organix Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco Conditioner - I happened upon the 50% more free bottle around the holidays, so I went ahead and picked it up. I liked this conditioner too, and the Organix line is a great cruelty-free option from the drugstore.

RenPure Solutions Sweet Pomegranate Cleansing Conditioner - I got out of the habit of using a cleansing conditioner a while back, and honestly, this bottle got lost in my stash of hair stuff. I've mentioned before that I like cleansing conditioners when I'm feeling lazy and don't want to do two steps. This is another product that I'll probably purchase again at some point, but I'm not running out to buy it now.

got2be Guardian Angel Flat Iron Balm Mini Size - I bought this for a long time because I thought it was cruelty-free. I've since seen got2b on a list of brands to avoid. Thankfully, I rarely use heat on my hair anymore, so it isn't a huge loss.



Nourish Organic Organic Hand Wash in Wild Berries, Almond Vanilla (2 - I'm reusing one of the bottles), and Fresh Fig - I made a big Nourish Organic order when they did a 50% off Black Friday sale. I love the principles of the company, and the soap itself was good. I probably wouldn't repurchase the hand wash though because I like using Dr. Bronner's soap even more, and it is less expensive.


Studio 35  Beauty Pure Honey Body Lotion - I made a point when I started focusing on using up lotions to use up ones that I knew weren't cruelty-free or ones that I wasn't sure about, and this one falls into that category. It was a cheap drugstore lotion too, so it wasn't anything special.

Scentsations by Bodysource Berry Burst Body Lotion - I don't know the status of this company either, and I didn't care for the lotion anyway. It was really runny and didn't seem to do much for my skin.

Vaseline Spray & go Moisturizer in Total Moisture - I like the concept of this lotion, but I didn't love it. This was part of an Influenster box I received last year. Vaseline isn't cruelty-free, so I wouldn't purchase it myself.

Paula's Choice Resist Skin Revealing Body Lotion 10% AHA - I have come to the conclusion that I have keratosis pilaris because I constantly have small bumps on my legs, and I have started getting them on the backs of my arms as well. I bought this to try and help. It didn't work miracles for me, but nothing has so far. I might buy it again in the future.

Wei East China Herbal Hand & Body Perfection - I bought this a long time ago because there was an awesome deal where this tube only cost a couple of dollars. I don't know the status of the brand and didn't like the lotion enough to check.


Bath & Body Works Pomegranate Citrus Body Lotion - I'm a sucker for Bath & Body Works scents and sales. This was a limited edition scent, and while I liked it, I wouldn't repurchase it if it was released again.

Essence of Beauty Citrus Coconut Body Lotion - I got this for free a while back with a CVS coupon. The lotion itself wasn't great, and I don't know the cruelty-free status of the brand.

True Blue Mini Shea Cashmere Hand Cream - The scent of this is beautiful and cozy smelling (don't ask me how it smells cozy though). I'm not running out to repurchase it, but I would definitely pick it up again if I happened to find it for a really good price.

Honest Face & Body Lotion - This is my second mini tube of this lotion that I've finished. It was a decent product, but I don't plan on repurchasing.

Luxury Lane Soap Nourishing Body Lotion in Vanilla Oak - This is a lotion that I would consider repurchasing once I work my way through my stash. I like the formula, and I love the scent.

Bath & Body Works Apple Blossom Citrus Body Lotion - Another limited edition scent that I couldn't resist trying. I wouldn't repurchase.



Bath & Body Works Cherry Vanilla Body Wash - I really liked the scent, and I like Bath & Body Works' body wash formula. I can't get this scent anymore, but I will repurchase other scents in the future.

Bath & Body Works Eucalyptus Spearmint Body Wash & Foam Bath - This came in the Black Friday bonus bag. I wouldn't have picked out the scent myself, but I liked it. I didn't like it enough to repurchase, but I would use it again if it came in another set.


Heritage Store Rosewater - I like using a rosewater spray after I've applied my makeup to help get rid of the powdery look that it can sometimes get. This is my second bottle from this brand. I have a couple of other facial sprays to test and use first, but I might repurchase this one in the future.

Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30 - I like the brand Paula's Choice, but I really didn't like this moisturizer. The consistency was really runny, similar to what a traditional sunscreen feels like, and it felt gritty when I applied it. I won't repurchase.

Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum - Just like a couple of other Tata Harper products that have ended up in my empties, this was part of a giveaway prize. The brand is too expensive for me to consider buying, but it was fun to try, and I like the principles behind the company.

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer - This came in a Sephora set that I bought over a year ago. It's a really nice primer, but it isn't amazing enough for me to justify buying a full size, which is quite pricey.


Silk Naturals Candie Blush Sample - Candie is a light shimmery pink blush. The color was pretty, but I don't wear my loose blushes enough for me to choose to purchase a full size.

Silk Naturals Translucent Cloud Finishing Powder Sample - I bought this to mix in with my beloved Sleep in a Jar Light Peach. It is supposed to help skin retain moisture, and I find Sleep in a Jar to be drying. I'm still testing my mix, but the sample jar is in my empties because the jar itself has been emptied.

Silk Naturals Sleep in a Jar Medium Peach Sample - I originally just planned on mixing the Cloud Powder with the Medium Peach, assuming that the mix would be light enough for me to use. However, the Cloud Powder didn't lighten the Medium Peach as much as I expected. They both ended up mixed in with my Light Peach.

The Body Shop Vitamin C Eye Reviver Duo - Just like a lot of my beauty purchases, this item got purchased because it was on sale. At first, having the two sides, one with a roller ball and the other with a doe-foot applicator, seemed fun. Later it just seemed annoying. Because of the two products in one gimmick, there's also less product overall. I think this product was actually discontinued, but I wouldn't repurchase it anyway.

Stila Lip Glaze Mini in Splendor - Stila, sadly, is no longer cruelty-free because the brand has started selling in China. I made a point to use this up to get it out of my collection. I didn't particularly care for the applicator or the formula, so it isn't a huge loss.

Chapstick Lip Balm in Cake Batter - I'm a sucker for cake, vanilla, and sweet scents, so I was weak and purchased this balm along with a red velvet one back in the fall, even though Chapstick isn't cruelty-free. I didn't love the formula, and the scent was just okay, so I'm glad to have this one gone and the other one about to head out the door too.

Hard Candy Concealer Pencil (comes with the Glam-o-flage Concealer) - I pitched my Glam-o-flage a long time ago, and this concealer pencil just kept hanging around. I used it up by using it to clean up my lip line. It wasn't special, and I didn't like the Glam-o-flage enough to repurchase.

That's all of my empties for the time being. Now I get to go sort them out for recycling.

Have you finished anything recently?

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me except the Vaseline lotion, which was sent in an Influenster box, and the Tata Harper serum, which was part of a giveaway prize. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Beauty and Babbling at Home - Honest Dishwasher Pods

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. This post contains my affiliate link, which earns me a $20 credit if someone uses it and makes a purchase. All opinions are honest and completely my own. 

I haven't done a Beauty and Babbling at Home post since my initial one. I think it's about time for another one, don't you?

I don't mention my journey to go cruelty-free very often, so if you are new to my blog, you might not know about this goal. Most of my makeup was already cruelty-free, so I'm doing pretty well there. Most of what isn't is currently in my regular rotation to be used up, listed in my blog sale, or in a bin waiting to be listed on my blog sale.

I've had a harder time with home products and some toiletries, but I'm making progress.

One company that has been really helpful though is The Honest Company (referral link). The company was co-founded by Jessica Alba and Christopher Gavigan, an author and a collaborator with WebMD. Their goal was to create products that were eco-friendly, non-toxic, and affordable. The more I read about this company, the more I like it. For example, while searching their site for information about them to add to this post, they have earned Gold status as a Green America Certified Business. I had no idea what this was, but you can check out everything that the company has to do in order to receive this certification here. I'm impressed!

One of my favorite Honest products so far is their dishwasher pods.


Price: $10.95 for a pack of 32. If you choose to subscribe to their bundle service, it is cheaper (more on that later).

Ingredients: Sodium Carbonate (Natural Soda Ash), Sodium Citrate (Citrus Derived), Sodium Metasilicate, Sodium Percarbonate (Solid Form Of Hydrogen Peroxide Bonded With Natural Soda Ash), Sodium Sulfate (Mineral), Crystalline Silica (Mineral), Non-Ionic Ethoxylate (Biodegradable Cleaner), Sodium Polyaspartate (Mineral), Sodium Iminodisuccinate (Biodegradable Water Softener), Alpha-Amylase & Protease Enzymes (Organic Enzyme Blend), Polyvinyl Alcohol (Biodegradable, Water-Soluble Film)

Performance: These are fantastic! I love the the convenience of the pods compared with a loose powder or gel, and they work as well, if not better, than the brands I used to buy. I'm pretty lazy about rinsing dishes before sticking them in the dishwasher. I'll usually make sure there aren't chunks of food left on dishes and do a quick rinse, but I don't scrub everything off before they go in the dishwasher. The vast majority of the time, all of my dishes come out completely clean. The items that don't are ones that really did need a good scrubbing before going in, but I was too lazy to bother. :-) I also have a couple of cookie sheets that I use regularly, and these pods have gotten rid of all the build-up and discoloration that tends to happen with cookie sheets. 

My only minor issue that I've had with these occurred recently. I just got a new bundle shipment in, and it included two bags of these pods. I haven't actually opened the bags yet, but there was a lot of loose powder in the bag, so I could tell that several pods had broken (I've never had that happen before, and I've been getting these since the summer). I shot the company a message on Facebook and included pictures. In less than a week, I had a new bag shipped to me to make up for the broken pods. No hassle. No fuss. The company also made a point of asking for the batch number of the bags I received so they could investigate the problem. 

Bundle Subscription Information

When I was first introduced to The Honest Company (referral link) and became interested in the brand, I signed up to get their I signed up to get their Essentials Bundle trial kit, which includes trial sizes of their shampoo + body wash, face + body lotion, laundry detergent, healing balm, and hand soap. I only had to pay $5.95 shipping and handling. 

This signed up up for their Essential Bundle service. The standard setup for this service is receiving 5 full-size products every month for $35.95 plus $5.95 shipping and handling. Each individual can choose which products they receive, and it can be changed with each shipment. 

These bundles can be customized even further. The Honest Company allows up to 3 add-on products in each bundle at a 25% discount. If the bundle total after add-on items is over $50, the bundle ships for free. Also, even though the initial setup has bundles shipping ever 4 weeks, the shipping frequency can be changed to every 8 weeks. If even that is too often, there is a calendar that allows for personal ship date selection. For example, I just received a bundle, and I have enough product to last me a while, so I adjusted my next ship date to the end of May. If it gets close to that time, and I still have product to get through, I can adjust the date again to push it back. 

When constructing my bundles, I usually end up doing a lot of mental math, and even sometimes scribbling some figures on paper. The bundle is a really good deal, but only if I pick up some of their more expensive products. A lot of them are around the $6 mark, which isn't really a deal if a bundle is only made up of those items. They, unfortunately, don't have anything to indicate whether your bundle has reached the $50 threshold for free shipping, so I end up doing some figuring to make sure I've reached that amount. 

One of the other downsides to the bundling program is that there is no way to cancel a bundle except for calling the company directly. I would prefer having the option to cancel online, but since I plan on continuing with the service for the foreseeable future, this isn't really a big deal for me. 

Final Thoughts

These dishwasher pods work really well for me. With my current bundle and the extra bag sent to make up for the broken pods, I have 5-6 bags of these stashed in my kitchen, and I'm happy to have them. I love the fact that I'm supporting an eco-friendly, cruelty-free company that does its best to provide products without a lot of nasty chemicals. I haven't loved all of their products that I've tried, but I have liked the majority of them. 

Do you have any favorite eco-friendly, cruelty-free household products? Have you tried anything from The Honest Company? 

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. This post contains my affiliate link, which earns me a $20 credit if someone uses it and makes a purchase. All opinions are honest and completely my own. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Surprise Love! Physicians Formula Nude Wear Blush in Natural - Review and Swatches

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own. 

I usually like products from Physicians Formula, and when there is a good sale on the brand at CVS, I usually can't resist picking something up. It's rare for me to discover a product from them that I'm really excited about though.

I've already posted about picking up a blush and bronzer from their new Nude Wear line when I was able to get them for a fantastic price.

Price: $12.95 on Physicians Formula's website; I got mine for much cheaper at CVS with a sale and coupons.

Packaging



Just like pretty much everyone else out there who buys Physicians Formula, I have a love-hate relationship with their packaging. Their packaging is usually really cute, and this line is no exception. I love how girly it is with the pale pink and the metallic bow.

Just like every other Physicians Formula powder product though, the packaging is really bulky so they can include their terrible, scratchy brush. I would so much rather they skipped the brush (and even the mirror) and made the packaging half the thickness. I don't expect that to happen though, and it is just something that has to be expected with the brand.

Product






A shimmery over-spray is another one of Physicians Formula's quirks, so if you aren't familiar with the brand and are hoping that shimmer runs throughout, you are out of luck. If you don't like the shimmer, don't worry. It is gone after one use.

The four tones of the Nude Wear Blush in Natural combine to make a soft pink with just a little bit of sheen. It feels smooth to the touch and blends easily onto the skin.

It honestly doesn't look like anything special, so what makes me love it? There are two things. The first is that the color is practically impossible for me to over-apply, which is a near miracle on my fair skin. The second is that it lasts all day on me. I'm talking 12+ hour wear time here. Those two things combined is probably going to make this a blush I'll reach for regularly.

Final Thoughts

I'm obviously really happy that I purchased this blush. If you have fair to light skin and are looking for and easy-to-apply blush, keep an eye out for sales and give this one a go. I have a feeling this shade might start to look a little bit ashy on medium to dark skintones, but that is obviously just a guess on my part.

Have you tried any products from the Nude Wear line? Have you had any products that surprised you with how much you like them?

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

NYX Hot Singles Eye Shadow in Sex Kitten - Review and Swatches

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own. 

Was anyone else really impressed with the size of NYX's spring collection release? It was huge! They released a ton of new products, and I have to admit being totally jealous of the people who got the NYX swag bag at LA IMATS.

Even so, I had a hard time picking out a couple of products to try when I placed a recent Ulta order. A big part of that is not being able to see them in person. Colors weren't jumping out at me like they might in the store. I did finally settle on a few items to try out, and I've had some mixed results.

First time going to talk about one of their new Hot Singles Eye Shadows in the color Sex Kitten.

Price: $4.49 on Ulta.com

Packaging


The packaging is pretty standard for a single eye shadow. It's a simple black compact with a clear window on the top to show off the shadow shade. NYX added a little bit of individuality to it with the bow at the clasp. I didn't take any close-ups of it, but it is essentially the same as the bow on the palettes they released last year.

Product



NYX Sex Kitten swatched on bare skin

NYX's website describes Sex Kitten as a peachy pink shimmer, which is pretty accurate. I see a lot more peach than pink, and the shimmer is gold. This shadow would look stunning on blue eyes. My eyes are a mix of blue and green, and I could definitely see the blue popping out when I wore it. I've only done online comparisons, but the shade looks similar to MAC's Jest or Makeup Geek's Cinderella.

Both the pigmentation and texture of this shadow are really nice. It applied smoothly and evenly and wore all day over primer.

Final Thoughts

This shadow is a win for me. I don't think there's anything that I dislike about it. If you've got blue eyes, check it out the next time you see a NYX display. I'll definitely be checking out other colors in the line the next time I get to Ulta.

Have you tried any of NYX's new Hot Singles Eye Shadows? What other colors should I check out?

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.