Ok. Obligatory “month flew by” blogger intro here. I seriously don’t even remember November starting! I swear time is flying so fast all the time and I’m starting to wonder if it’s just age relative to time. Whatever the case, it’s been another month of not a lot of makeup and when I’m wearing it, I’ve been testing out new products (thanks Sephora VIB sale). That said, the cruelty free favorites I do have from the month are good. On a more personal note, Thanksgiving was fantastic, though I nearly lost it at crunch time! 😂 And I had no time to properly dress for the event! It was the same as always – just me and my parents, and the past few years I’ve “prepared” everything – Veggie for me, meat for the ‘rents. Nothing fancy and nothing new. If you’re curious why so small, not a lot of extended family lives close by…of the few that remain…and I’m an only child which makes for small gatherings. I really like it that way and since I enjoy my parents’ company, it’s always an enjoyable experience…horrible near-genocidal historical origin aside. Side note…anyone seen that Thanksgiving episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”? First year of college I believe when Buffy hosts the festivities? Classic Buffy awesomeness! 💖 Anyway, I do have some non-makeup cruelty free favorites despite all of my disclaimers there – mostly skin care with a few others for good measure. Since November is over, I thought it time to share them with you today!

I guess I’ll start with a new addition that’s been around the longest. It is the Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex (abbreviated as MMHC2) from NIOD. This is essentially a multitude of hyaluronic acid molecules that help lock in and draw moisture to the skin at varying depths of the skin. It is absolutely fantastic and really makes a difference. Yes, I have mentioned both hyaluronic serums from The Ordinary and Hylamide in Favorites posts before and both are still good…and probably work great on most skin types…but there is something about the NIOD version that just really hydrates my skin the best. Since I’m still on the Accutane and the cold weather has arrived, every ounce of hydration help I can get, I’m taking! This is pretty damn expensive however, especially since it’s only a 15mL bottle for $35. Gulp! I’m not sure how long this is going to last, but I’ve been using 3 drops twice a day. It’s more of a watery consistency than the other two so it absorbs a bit better with less product, but it still seems awfully expensive for this teeny tiny little bottle. Nonetheless, I would consider going back to one of the others when I run out because of the price per mL, but I really feel that the NIOD MMHC2 deeply penetrates my skin keeping it more comfortable and better hydrated throughout the day. Thumbs up on everything but the size and the price.

Moving on to a product I’ve used on and off for quite a while now, we have the Tatcha Polished Classic Rice Enzyme Polish. I’ve just had the baby size of this forever and it’s still going strong. It’s one of those grainy exfoliants that I add to my normal cleanser (currently the Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil – compared to the Derma E Nourishing Rose Cleansing Oil here) and then apply to the skin. It’s a great one step cleanse and exfoliate, but it’s also pretty gentle. Tatcha has a gentler version as well, but I haven’t tried that, nor do I feel a need to. Whenever I use this, not only is any dead skin removed, but my skin is so incredibly soft with minimal redness or irritation. I also love the packaging. Even the mini is fancy feeling. Better than that though, when you remove the screw-top, you open a little sliding bit that you can close when you’re done pouring out a wee bit of the grainy powder (you really need just the smallest amount) keeping the container neat and clean use after use! Brilliant! I should point out that this is a manual exfoliant that you are going to feel on your skin unlike most chemical exfoliants, but I haven’t had any trouble with irritation when I mix it with a cleansing oil. Also, the less powder you add to the cleanser, the more gentle the exfoliation so it’s customizable. Anyway, if you’re looking for a good exfoliant that’s gentle, effective, quick and easy, I would pick up the little baby size of the Tatcha Polish because not only can you give it a test run, but it’s still going to last a pretty long time since you need such a tiny amount. Great, great stuff!

Sticking to a Tatcha related product in a way, I tested out the insanely expensive Tatcha Camellia Gold Spun Lip Balm this month. However, though it seems to me that on typical dry lips it would be absolutely incredible, it just isn’t quite enough on my Accutane-battered lips. It’s still good and it sticks around amazingly well even through drinking and eating light meals, but there’s just something about it that isn’t quite right at the moment. So I went back to my old faithful Lucas’ Pawpaw Ointment. I’m not sure what it is about the Papaw Ointment, but it’s so wonderful for the driest of dry lips. It keeps them at least seemingly soft, smooth and supple. I’ve had no cracking, not really any peeling (I do exfoliate my lips regularly with my toothbrush before bed). It’s just great stuff! I hate that it is petroleum based, but it’s working so I can deal with it. If you’re curious, Papaw is actually Papaya which has a slight natural acidity meaning that it has a natural chemical exfoliant which I think really makes a difference from many lip balms. It is a thick and slippery balm with a sheen, but it sticks around on the lips nicely and is available in a squeezy tube with an applicator, a standard squeezable tube, as well as a tub. It’s also a lot more affordable than the Tatcha, though I will say that I want to test out the Tatcha balm again when my lips are in more of their normal state. If you’re suffering from incredibly dry lips, I highly recommend Lucas’ Papaw Ointment. I think you’ll find it works wonders!

Moving on to another brand new addition to my skincare arsenal – the Youth to the People Age Prevention Superfood Eye Cream. I ordered this during the Sephora sale because I’ve been on the hunt for a good eye cream. After testing this on my hand in-store, it seemed like the one to try. I’m not sure it’s doing any miracles in terms of anti-aging or anything…how does one really determine that anyway? But it is a fantastic hydrating eye cream that doesn’t block my pores and cause those obnoxious under eye bumps. It’s lovely and I’ve really been enjoying it! It’s a good thick balmy consistency, but it feels incredibly lightweight and sinks in pretty much on contact. You need just the tiniest bit so it’s going to last a good long while. It also has a pleasant, though barely noticeable leafy green scent that I enjoy (I believe it’s naturally occurring as this brand seems to be pretty “green” and one of the ingredients is Kale). Like I said, not sure it’s working miracles, but it’s hydrating and comfortable under the eyes without feeling heavy or greasy. That ticks all of my boxes…for now!

Let’s switch it up with a bit of haircare. I’ve been using the Sachajuan Hair Repair for maybe a month and a half now…to be fair that’s maybe 5-6 uses given how frequently I need to wash my hair these days. Definite Accutane bonus! My hair is always frizzy since I have a fair amount of breakage from all the bleaching that goes on. Without a flat iron, the top of my head often looks like that of someone who had an unfortunate incident with an electrical socket. Even with a flat iron, I cannot get rid of all the hairs stragglers. And forget a blow drier. For some reason in my hands they all turn into weapons of frizz creation instead of sleek, smooth helpers. Of course I also suffer with dry, dull, lifeless locks that are easily weighed down by most ultra-hydrating hair products. Well, Sachajuan may have just remedied all my hair woes! Ok, maybe not all, but it’s a fantastic start. I’m not sure whether you would consider the Hair Repair a hydrating treatment or a mask…if there’s even a difference. Whatever the case, it’s used in place of a traditional conditioner. I always apply whatever after-shampoo step I’m using to my long locks and then twist it up a bit and cover it with a shower cap while I continue on with my showering routine. This not only keeps the product on so it can work better, but I feel like it traps in more heat as well which helps the products to better penetrate the hair shaft. But back to the Sachajuan Hair Repair…. I’m not entirely sure what is in this that nearly eliminates the flyaways no matter how I style my hair, but it does a fantastic job of doing so! I always let my hair air dry and it dries softer, smoother and more manageable. It does weight my hair down just the tiniest bit, but I feel like it really just prevents the poufy cloud of fluff that looks horribly unkept if I just leave it unstyled. I cannot be certain, but I definitely think my hair at least looks healthier whenever I use this treatment. Whether it actually is I’m not sure, but for anyone looking for a good and effective repairing hair treatment that doesn’t weight strands down, I highly recommend trying the Sachajuan Hair Repair…I should quickly warn that the squeeze bottles are pretty sturdy plastic that can be a bit tricky to squeeze, but it’s still manageable. I happened to find a version with a pump which is so much better than any squeeze bottle (the picture is a travel size)! For anyone with damaged or dry hair, I highly recommend giving the Sachajuan Hair Repair a go!

I do have a makeup tool this month as well. It’s actually been a favorite for a while, but I never think to mention it. It is the good old Beauty Blender. Yes, these are annoying to purchase since they’re $20 makeup sponges, but they really do apply foundation beautifully. The coverage will be sheered out just a touch more than with a brush or your fingers, but I always feel that my foundation looks more natural. My biggest struggle with the Beauty Blender is figuring out what to do with it while it’s drying. Lately I’ve taken to putting the freshly cleaned sponge on top of the package from one of the singles I purchased. Since Beauty Blenders expand when wet, it doesn’t end up resting on any one side potentially harboring bacteria or other nasties and once it’s dry, it falls back into the package where it can stay dust free until I need it again. Works for me! I also find that with dry skin, brushes can make a real mess of foundation application (aka accentuating every dry patch or flake of skin), while a damp Beauty Blender just smooths over the imperfections. They’re lovely little tools and I know they seem silly for the price, but I do feel that they’re worth it. That said, the Flower Beauty Ultimate 3 in 1 Blending Sponge is a great near-dupe for about half the price, I just prefer the shape of the Beauty Blender.

Last on the cruelty free beauty front, I will quickly mention a Favorite from last month (see more here) – the Elizabeth and James Nirvana Amethyst Eau de Parfum. I’ve been wearing this pretty much daily and I’m not one to often remember perfume. I’ll wear this just bumming around the house in my PJs that’s how much I love it! It just smells wonderful to me…and is not at all something I would have expected to like from the notes of Honeysuckle, Tobacco and Cedar. None of those things sound appealing to me, but together they smell wonderful! I ordered the full size during the VIB sale, but have been using up the little sample I had and it’s just about gone. I never finish a perfume sample so that says something! If you’re looking for a subtly spicy, warm, grown-up fragrance that’s kind of season-less, why not give the Nirvana Amethyst a try?

That’s it! I say that as though this isn’t ridiculously long, but we all know I’m long winded, right? 😜 I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the products I was loving in November…and thank you so much for sticking through this far! Apologies for the minimal postings lately. I’ve been saying that for a while, and now with the Holidays upon us, time gets away from me even faster. I’m trying though! I know that I have a few more posts written, but haven’t taken any pictures yet. I’d like to have some festive posts as well, but I’m not entirely sure what would be of interest. I’m thinking about it. Please comment with any requests if you have them. Anyway, I hope you all had a wonderful November and that December is wonderful as well! Thank you as always for stopping by and I hope to see you again soon!!!

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