Body Care


Giovanni’s Hot Chocolate Sugar Scrub vs Cool Mint Lemonade Salt Scrub – Which is Best for You?

Giovanni is a fantastic cruelty-free brand that is totally affordable and rather easy to find in local stores. They just happen to make some of my favorite body scrubs – not too harsh, but scrubby enough to be effective. They are absolute perfection! The two scrubs Giovanni makes are the Hot Chocolate Sugar Scrub and the Cool Mint Lemonade Salt Scrub. A scrub is a scrub, right? Well, not exactly. Though these two are quite similar, there are subtle differences that may make one preferable to the other. So let’s examine the two so you can find the one that’s best for you!

Let’s start with how the two scrubs are similar. Both of these are emulsified body scrubs (my favorite type of scrub). An emulsified body scrub is simply one where the ingredients are actually sort of “fused” together. We’ve all seen the oil suspension scrubs where you basically have a pot of oils chocked full of salt and/or sugar. The Giovanni scrubs are basically the less messy cousins of these scrubs. They use a binding agent that blends the oils and the granules together making almost a paste-like texture. So, long story short, the Giovanni scrubs have a thick, not at all messy consistency that is scooped out of the tub and rubbed into the skin. The sugar or salt is a physical exfoliant that literally scrubs away flakiness leaving behind softer, brighter and more hydrated (thanks to the oils) skin. They are both stellar physical body scrubs and I would not hesitate to recommend either one to anyone looking for such a product!

So why this post? Well, let’s talk about the differences! J The most immediate difference between the Hot Chocolate Scrub and the Cool Mint Lemonade Scrub is the scent (let’s state the obvious, shall we? J). The two smell pretty much exactly as they sound – warm, hot chocolate or refreshing, slightly minty lemon goodness. They both smell insanely delicious and pretty dead on to the real thing. You really can’t go wrong, so it’s just a question of personal preference.

The other rather obvious distinction is that the Hot Chocoalte Scrub uses sugar to exfoliate, while the Cool Mint Lemonade uses salt. Both are scrubby and feel slightly rough, though gently so. However, using salt will actually help to kind of suck up the dead skin because salt is a drying agent. This doesn’t mean your skin will feel dry if you use it, it will actually aid in removing the dead skin. The drawback to that is that it’s salt, and salt can burn. If you have any cuts, you’ll find them when using the Mint Lemonade Scrub! Having a small army of cats, this can be problematic for me because I almost always have a tiny scratch somewhere. Because of that, I tend to reach for the Hot Chocolate Scrub most of the time. I don’t really like it any more or less, I just want to avoid scrubbing salt into a wound! J If that’s not a concern of yours, or your heart is set on using a salt scrub, you’re going to want to use it before shaving! Always, always, always use salt scrubs beforeshaving to avoid the horrifying burn of salt over freshly irritated skin! And should salt pose a problem to you for any reason, the sugar scrub will do just as good of a job at physically scrubbing away your scaly bits. J

Another fantastic aspect about the Cool Mint Lemonade Salt Scrub, at least in the summer, is the mint! There are actually little bits of fresh mint mixed into the scrub. I’m not sure if this really serves any function as far as exfoliating goes, but it does have a fantastic cooling effect on the skin! It’s wonderful on a hot day or after a brutal workout. As you’re scrubbing, the mint will work its magic and you will feel kind of a tingly, cooling sensation. So, so nice when you’re hot and sweaty, or just looking for a really refreshing shower. However, during a bitter cold winter it may not your preferred effect. J The Hot Chocolate Sugar Scrub adds crushed cocoa beans, but I don’t find that they really have any added sensation; it’s simply a fantastic all around scrub that won’t irritate cuts, scrapes or burns. Again, which of the two scrubs you chose will likely depend on the season and you’re general preferences.

Bottom line? I can’t tell you which scrub to choose, but I would bet that whether you prefer a cooling Cool Mint Lemonade Salt Scrub or a comforting Hot Chocolate Sugar Scrub, Giovannihas a fantastic scrub for you!

So Long Summer! – August Favorites

::sigh:: Well, Summer is unofficially over. Though I am dreading the chilly days, the messy months of snow and sleet, the dying leaves, and the general malaise of Fall and Winter, there are some things I’m looking forward too as well. But that’s getting ahead of myself. Today we’re focusing on the last days of Summer and what I’ve been loving throughout August! It’s been kind of an uneventful month and I don’t have much in the way of makeup to share, but there are plenty of other goodies for your reading pleasure. Let’s just get into it, shall we? J

Where to start? I guess I’ll go with body products. I have absolutely been adoring my Deep Steep Dry Oil Body Spritzers! My favorite scent so far is the Brown Sugar Vanilla, and it will be perfect as the weather starts getting cooler too. It just has that warm, comforting feel to it. I’m not going to go into it much more since I literally just reviewed these, and you can check that out here. Amazing scents aside, these dry oils are just the absolute best moisturizers I have tried probably ever.

Sticking in the realm of moisturizing oils, I’ve also fallen in love with Coconut Oil, specifically for shaving my legs. Again, I recently wrote about this as well so I’m not going to drone on about it, but you can check out that review here. I’ll just say that it has totally changed the way I view shaving and my legs are thanking me for it!
Bailey likes it too! 🙂
For my hands – wait for it – I’ve been addicted to the Soap & Glory Endless Glove 2-in-1 Moisture Mask & Hand Cream. And surprisingly, I also recently wrote about this as well! In case you missed that, check out the review here. Smells good, does what it says, keep hands soft and smooth, moisturizes. What more do you need to know? Excellent stuff. J
Moving on. Something I have not written about yet (I know, crazy) is Manuka Honey. I’ve been using it to wash my face in the morning and I feel like my skin really likes it. Manuka Honey is known for it’s anti-bacterial properties, so it’s great for acne-prone skin, but it also helps soften and hydrate the skin. I actually feel like my skin looks more youthful with a bit more glow, as well as maintains a better oil balance throughout the day when I use it. I’m not going to get into all the potential benefits and what-not of using Manuka Honey here because this would end up insanely long, but I have really been loving it this past month.
Sticking with the honey theme (and making an unintentional pun), I have also really been enjoying the Amber Honey Exfoliating Scrub from CSI, which I believe is part of VitaCost’s in-house anti-aging line. It is an intense physical scrub for the face. Just a tiny little dot will be plenty to exfoliate your entire face. It will definitely get rid of any dryness or dead skin lingering about. It is not for the faint of heart and I would run the other way if you have sensitive, or otherwise irritated skin, but if your skin reacts well to exfoliants, this one is definitely great for the occasional intense scrub.


Hard to see, but insanely effective scrubbing granules
Finally, I have one lonely makeup item. It’s another standard black eye liner from Butter London. It is the Wink Eye Pencil in Union Jack Black. It is a standard creamy gel pencil liner in the vein of Urban Decay and the many others out there, but this one I’ve just gravitated to this month. It stays put – even on the waterline – and is a nice rich black. What more could you ask for? I would say that it’s every bit as good as the NARS pencil, which I reviewed here, plus it’s a tiny bit less expensive. I would definitely recommend checking out the Butter London pencils based on this one’s performance – and they have a number of unusual shades along with the old standbys. Well done, Butter London! J
I think that pretty much does it for August’s favorites. There are some other new things I’ve been testing out, but haven’t settled on an opinion yet, so I don’t want to include them here. Besides, this is long enough already! JI hope you enjoyed this trip through August’s favorites and I hope to see you again next month (well, preferably before that, but you get the idea)! J Thanks so much for stopping by and leave me a comment with what you’ve been loving!!!

Deep Steep Dry Oil Spritzers for Seriously Soft Skin

Oh. My. Soft. Skin! I am completely obsessed with the Deep Steep Dry Oil Spritzer! I have never really tried a dry body oil – or any kind of body oil for that matter, but I am so glad I finally did! I guess I always shyed away from dry oils because I assumed they would be somewhat greasy. That’s rather silly of me since I know that not all oils are greasy on the skin. Having now tried the Deep Steep Dry Oil Spritzer, I’m not sure I can ever go back to a traditional moisturizer!

If you’re wondering what in the world a dry oil is, it’s simply an oil that leaves no greasy residue. That’s not to say that it does not leave the skin insanely hydrated, soft, smooth and, in the case of the Deep Steep versions, deliciously scented. Quite the contrary. Most surprising to me is that there is absolutely nogreasy, tacky or sticky residue left behind. You just have baby soft, smooth, moisturized skin. It’s a wonderful feeling!

I always feared that body oils would be messy and/or difficult to use. Deep Steep has made them very user-friendly. Their Dry Oil Spritzers come in convenient spray bottles – hence the name – that easily mist out the oil without any fuss.  The best way I find to apply the oil is right after showering/bathing. I gently towel dry so that my skin is still damp, but not dripping with water. Still standing in the shower so as not to coat my bathroom with the oily mist, I simply spritz the dry oil onto a section of my body and rub it in for even distribution and absorption. It spreads across the skin like a dream and sinks in almost immediately. It leaves a bit of a glow to the skin, but it’s not an overtly plastic-like shine. I find my skin just looks healthy, radiant and happy. J I actually find these Dry Oil Spritzers easier to apply than a lotion or cream…and I feel like they’re more effective!

As for the scents, they are to die for! I have two at the moment – Brown Sugar Vanilla and Passion Fruit Guava. Both smell delicious! In fact, I gave each of the seven scents a whiff at my local Whole Foods, and they all smell divine! As far as I know, the available scents are: Grapefruit Bergamot, Tangerine Melon, Honeydew Spearmint, Rosemary Mint, Lavender Chamomile, and the aforementioned Brown Sugar Vanilla and Passion Fruit Guava. The Brown Sugar Vanilla is a nice warm, comforting scent; the vanilla is very subtle, but the brown sugar is definitely there. The Passion Fruit Guava is a bright, fruity scent that’s perfect for Summertime. The scent doesn’t really last all day, nor is it terribly strong, but you can smell it for a good while after oiling up. J You may get whiffs of it throughout the day, but it’s nothing overly powerful or disruptive should you want to add perfume or avoid knocking people over with your scent. Basically you’re softly scented for the day, but you and anyone who gets real close to you are probably the only ones who will notice. 

As far as ingredients go, they are quite simple! For the Brown Sugar Vanilla scent, they are as follows: Coconut Oil, Pomegranate Seed Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Olive Oil, Sugar Extract, Vanilla Plantifolia Fruit Extract, and Aroma (Organic and Wildcrafted Aroma Blend). Basically a blend of lovely oils with some scent thrown in. Deep Steep is, of course, cruelty free and is also PETA approved. According to Deep Steep’s website, their products are 100% Natural and use a 100% Natural preservative system, so no nasty chemicals in there. I believe all Deep Steep products are also Vegan and Gluten-free!

I will say that I’m not sure how long one bottle of the Dry Oil Body Spritzer will last. They contain 4 fl oz/118mL, which is a decent amount. You don’t need much, but by the same token, when you’re covering you’re entire body regularly, I feel like this will disappear faster than something like a body lotion. However, given the price point and the wonderful scents, I don’t really mind since I love having a new scent all the time.

On a superficial note, I absolutely adore the packaging too! It’s rather simple, but it looks somehow cute and elegant at the same time. And the little duck wearing a crown logo is soadorable! Also, each scent has it’s own color so you know what you’re grabbing should you develop a large collection of these babies. J

The Deep Steep Dry Oil Body Spritzers retail for $13.95 for a 4oz misting bottle (check out VitaCost where they’re only $8.69!). They are available on the Deep Steep website, and I have seen them at my local Whole Foods too. There is a store locator on their website if you’re having trouble finding them in person. I absolutely 100% recommend giving these dry oils a try! Your skin will thank you for it. J

Shaving with Coconut Oil? Remedies for Sensitive Skin

I have what seem like the most sensitive legs in the world. I’m sure that’s not really true, but when it comes to shaving my legs, it seems that every nerve ending on my legs becomes the most sensitive things ever. Waxing? No problem. Hair removal creams? Big deal. Epilators? Well, not sure I’ve really tried any, but you’re getting the idea. However the second a razor nears my skin, my legs burn, sting, get raised bumps, get red bumps, you name a negative reaction and my legs will probably experience it.  Whatever kind of shaving cream I try never makes much difference. It’s been an ongoing nightmare for most of my life. To add to the agony, the second I’m about to shave my legs, I undoubtedly end up with goosebumps all over my legs, which naturally increases the misery. I had basically just accepted my lot in life with razor burn and dealt with the irritation the best I could, but then I decided to give Coconut Oil a try. I’m not entirely sure why. I know it’s not an unknown use for coconut oil, but I hadn’t tried it before. I was completely dumbfounded after trying it just once and will never go back to anything else! J

Firstly, some amazing things about coconut oil. The most basic and commonly misunderstood aspect of coconut oil is that it is often a solid block. That’s because it solidifies when it is under 76°F/24°C. Run the container under some hot, or even warm water for a minute or two and if will soften and eventually liquefy. Most oils actually do this at varying temperatures, but coconut oil is one that commonly hardens around room temperature. In the shower, it’s quite easy to warm up the oil so it can be scooped out and applied to the legs…or wherever else you may be shaving.

Another wonderful thing about using coconut oil in the shower is that it’s an oil! Since oil and water don’t mix, it will stay on your legs even with the water beating directly onto your skin! No weird positioning required to keep shaving cream out of the water and between your legs and the razor. And, as if that’s not beneficial enough, it moisturizes your skin too! Seriously, you can shave your legs, finish showering, towel off and your legs still don’t need moisturizer! They’ll be baby smooth – and stay that way for quite some time! It’s a great time saver.
Water beading up over a patch of Coconut Oil

Some things to keep in mind when using coconut oil in the shower: Because it is an oil, it is slippery. This is good and bad. It helps a razor glide over the skin like no other, but if you’re not careful and end up with some oil on the floor, it can get slippery. I rarely find this an issue, but be cautious. Another downside of sorts is that the oil can kind of clog your razor. Not to the point that it’s ineffective, but you will get a buildup on the razor blades. Simply rinse the razor regularly and it’s fine. Again, I feel like there’s a benefit to this as well…well, not the actual buildup, but the oil passing through the blades. It seems to me like it helps to keep hair and gunk from collecting in between the blades, as well as helping to prevent the blades from dulling as quickly, though I have no proof to back this up. All in all, I can’t really find a downright flaw in using coconut oil for shaving.

So on to the actual shave experience! I keep a tub of coconut oil right in the shower (I like the Nature’s Way Coconut Oil mainly because it’s in a plastic container, which is much safer in the shower and it doesn’t have a metal lid prone to rusting). When it’s time to shave, I just scoop out a bit of semi-solid or liquid oil and rub it over my legs like I would any other shaving cream. Then, it’s shave as usual. Simple as that! I don’t find my legs getting goosebumps at any point, there’s no burning or irritation when I pass over any areas and my legs, and they feel sosoft and smooth when I’m done! Plus it smells like delicious, fresh coconuts. It’s absolutely fantastic! I can run a razor over the same area multiple times without a problem, and as the hair grows back in (which to take longer than before), my legs don’t get irritated with itchy red bumps. I also have no issues when I get goosebumps post shave either, which was usually rather painful with standard shave creams. I seriously cannot tell you how life-changing this has been! That sounds so dramatic, but it really was so uncomfortable to shave my legs – and live with the regrowth afterwards – that I often found myself feeling disgustingly hairy for months between shaves…which also made the problem worse. Now it’s smooth sailing and my legs are thanking me for it! JIf you haven’t tried it already, I highly, highly recommend getting some coconut oil and replacing your current shaving cream! Your legs…or whatever else you’re shaving…will thank you for it! J

Coconut Oil can usually be purchased in most grocery store these days, and if that fails, you’re local Whole Foods or Health Food Store will definitely carry it. I buy the Virgin Coconut Oil because it maintains the most original properties, plus it is the only way to get the delicious natural coconut scent! I recently started purchasing mine from VitaCost because their prices are fantastic – also, check them out for all kinds of things for the household, cooking, beauty, pet, and vitamins. If you click on my referral link, you will receive $10 off your first order of $30 or more! It’s really a fantastic site – like Whole Foods at a discount! If you’re interested in cruelty free or natural beauty products, this is definitely a site worth checking out. 

***Post contains an Affiliate Link***

Miracle for Dry Skin? – Flexitol Diabetic Foot Balm

I have the worstdry elbows. Seriously. They’re not only dry and flaky, but they actually look almost dirty because they are so much deeper in tone than the rest of my body. Little rough bits of skin will actually catch on things because they’re so dry. It’s pretty disgusting and nothingever seems to do much to fix it. I’ve exfoliated like crazy, moisturized with the most nourishing creams I can find and still no improvement. One day while waiting for a prescription at the local pharmacy, I saw this Diabetic Foot Balm from Flexitol staring me in the face. I thought, “Gee, this would be great for my dad’s horrible cracked, dry feet.” And since I had nothing to do but wait at the time, I decided why not grab a tube? My dad’s interest seemed less than stellar, and it suddenly dawned on me that maybe it would help my elbows. Why not try it since nothing else has worked, right? JSo, I went about slathering my elbows with this thick cream day and night not expecting any changes. So have my elbows improved?

Hell yes!!! Literally within a day or two, my elbows looked pretty much normal again. Needless to say, I was impressed. I’ve continued using the Diabetic Foot Balm at least once a day and my elbows are still in tip top shape! The balm is somewhat thick and smells a bit grandma-like. I don’t really notice the smell much once it absorbs into the skin. It’s not exactly greasy, but perhaps tacky might describe it. It’s not an unpleasant feeling and, unless you’re using it on your hands, I don’t think it would be much of an issue. Basically, it feels moisturizing and protective, but it also feels like it’s going to stay where you put it. It’s not something I would want to use all over my body, but it’s perfect for any particularly troublesome spots. Now that I’ve fallen in love with this diabetic balm, I figured it’s about time I learn a bit more about the company and it’s animal testing policy.

Perhaps not surprisingly, I knew absolutely nothing about Flexitol before grabbing this cream. Since I was getting it for my dad who isn’t terribly concerned with animal testing, I didn’t think much about it and kind of just assumed that a Diabetic Foot Balm would be made by a company that tests on animals. After having such success with my elbows, I decided I should look into the company and see if my assumptions were in fact correct. I first discovered that Flexitol is an Australian company, which makes it seem cooler to me for no apparent reason. And then the really good news! Flexitoldoes not test on animals! J After discovering that, I knew I needed to share my experience with all of you, because I know we all have troublesome dry patches…at least from time to time. This will definitely clear them up!

For those of you who are a bit freaked out by lanolin, then you might want to skip this particular balm. It does contains Lanolin to help prevent the skin from drying and chapping. It also utilizes Shea Butter for moisture, as well as Vitamins A & E plus certain fats and acids beneficial to the skin. In addition, and perhaps its secret, it has a high concentration of chemically synthesized Urea (25% to be precise) to help break down tough skin so that moisture can be better absorbed. Urea is also a humectant, so it helps draw moisture into the skin. Finally, this balm contains an Australian herb called Centipeda Cunninghamii, which is clinically proven to have skin nourishing properties. I have never heard anything about this herb, but it may work miracles! JThis combination of ingredients has completely rescued my elbows, so thank you so much Flexitol! J

Sugar Body Scrub Tutorial – Last Minute DIY Gift – Using Common Household Ingredients!

Today I have a really quick last minute DIY project that would make a great gift for men or women. It takes very little time, is best made closest to the time it will be given, and you probably already have everything you need in your kitchen! We’re going to be making a Basic Sugar Body Scrub!

First things first – the Materials. You will need the following:

  •        Container to hold the final product (Mason Jars, Bail Jars or other Glass Jars are my favorites)
  •        Rubbing Alcohol
  •        ¼ to ½ cup Oil of your choosing
  •        2 cups Sugar or Medium to Fine Grain Salt (I will be referring only to Sugar, but you can use either – or even a mixture of the two)
  •        Skin Safe Scent (many Essential Oils will work) – Optional
  •        Food Coloring – Optional

You want to start by “disinfecting” your container. Either use a spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol to spritz the jar and wipe down, or put a bit of rubbing alcohol on a paper towel and clean the container. This should sanitize the container as well as it can be done in your kitchen.

Next, measure out 2 Cups of Sugar and place in a mixing bowl. You can use any type of sugar, or you can use a medium to fine grain salt if you prefer. The finer the grain, the rougher the scrub.

You want to measure out about ¼ Cup of the Oil you have chosen and add it to the Sugar. It is best to begin with a small quantity of oil and add more as you go. 

Mix the ingredients together until well blended. Check the consistency. It should look like slightly wet, but still fluffy sand. Try some on your hand and see how you like it. If it feels too grainy, add a bit more oil.

If you feel the scrub is too harsh or not moisturizing enough, add another to ¼ cup of oil and mix.  Continue this process until you feel the scrub is just right. I find that about ½ cup Oil to 2 cups Sugar is just about perfect. Now you can mix in your scent and color if you’ve chosen to add them, or place the mixture into your containers!

Adding Scent:  The most important thing to remember with scent is to make sure your fragrance choice is skin safe!!! Most Essential Oils are fine for topical use – if in doubt, do a Google search. Some of the popular scents like Peppermint (NOT for pregnant women), Spearmint, Lavender, Tea Tree, Patchouli, Rose, and Sandalwood, as well as many others, should be fine for topical use. You can also use Fragrance Oils that are made for Soap, just check to ensure that the Fragrance Oil is Skin Safe! There are many Fragrance Oils out there that are made for candles only and should not be used on the skin. Fragrance Oils should always be labeled as to whether or not they are safe for use in bath & body products.

Again, it’s best to start with a small amount of scent (meaning a few drops) and add more if necessary. You can’t undo it if it makes the entire kitchen smell like a pine tree!!! JCheck the scent to see if it’s to your liking. Add more if desired. You can stop here and pack the scrub into your container, or you can add some color if you’d like!

Adding Color:  Color, like scent, should not be done in excess. Too much will stain the skin and your bathtub, so start with just a little bit. Keep doing this until you reach the color you’re after. Pack the scented, colored scrub into your container, and you’re ready for gift giving!!! J

Packaging: Be careful not to fill your containers too full. You want to try to avoid having oil seep out of the container. I would say as a general rule, you probably want to fill the containers about ½” below the top of the container. If you’re using a jar with an airtight lid, such as a bail jar, try to gauge where the lowest part of the lid reaches inside the jar and pack to ¼ – ½” of that point. If you overfill the container a little, it’s not a big deal. You may have some oil that seeps out of the lid, but it’s not going to do anything more than make the container a bit messy!

I alternated between uncolored scrub and the scrub with the red food coloring for a candy cane effect.

Storage: It’s best to store this scrub away from water and outside of the bathroom. I know that seems rather silly and inconvenient, but because there are no preservatives in this scrub, any water that comes in contact with the scrub increases the chance for bacteria to grow. Yuck! You can avoid this by adding a preservative, but they are not readily available so I haven’t included one in this tutorial. Also, be sure to inform the recipient that the oil in this scrub will make the floor a bit slippery, and to be careful!

If this sounds complicated, it’s really not! It does not take much time, uses ingredients you probably already have lying around, and it doesn’t even make a mess! JIf you plan to give this as a gift, it’s nice to add a tag that includes the ingredients, the date it should be used before (about 3-4 months is usually a good window), some directions for use, and of course a warning that it can make the floor slippery!
Now you’ve made a great gift to help your loved ones stay soft, smooth and hydrated this year! I hope you enjoy making this scrub, and feel free to make it your own with different oils! Also, try experimenting with different exfoliants. Himalayan Pink Sea Salt makes the scrub naturally beautiful with its lovely pink hue! Try adding a bit of activated charcoal (look for capsules in the vitamin section) to detoxify and add a natural black tint, or try some black sea salt! Look around the baking aisle at the grocery store and let your imagination run wild! J

If you try this scrub yourself, I’d love to see photos! Tweet them with #MGPDIY so we can all see your creations! J Until next time, thanks so much for stopping by and I will see you again soon!!! J

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