Andalou Naturals


Best of Cruelty Free Beauty 2017 – Skin Care

Today’s Best of 2017 is focusing on Cruelty Free Skincare. This is a bit of a tricky category for me because 2017 was the year that I finally started taking Accutane for my stubborn acne. If you’re unfamiliar, Accutane is an often controversial drug taken to (hopefully) “cure” treatment-resistant acne. It has the side effect of completely drying out everyone’s skin, so the second half of the year I was doing everything I could to keep my formerly combo-to-oily skin as hydrated as possible while taking the drug. Having said that, you now know what skin types we are working with here, and since I had two majorly different concerns throughout the year, I will specify which type of skin I had while using the product if it’s relevant. If it worked well either way, I won’t specify the skin type unless it’s still somehow relevant. So, with that out of the way, let’s just get going because there is a lot!

Cruelty Free Accutane Skin Care – Dry & Sensitive Skin Recommendations

As a lot of you may know, I’ve been on an Accutane regimen for a little while now (I just found out I’m about to start my *hopefully* final month!). Accutane is infamous for the extreme skin dryness that everyone seems to experience while on the medication. To give an example, while I’m writing this, I’m on 7 day hair!!! 😳 Yup. It’s been an entire week without washing the not-even-remotely-greasy mop on my head which, I must say, is a positive side effect in my eyes. 😉 With that though, my face has certainly gone from combo / oily to definitely on the dry side. Given that, I have managed to avoid much of the flaky, itchy, tight or other such variations of actual discomfort from the drying effects of the Accutane…with the exception of my nose, which, to be fair, is usually a bit flaky. Since I’ve been using the same products pretty consistently, I feel like I can finally share my cruelty free “secrets” for managing super dry and sensitive skin that is also safe for using while taking Accutane.

Cruelty Free August Favorites! – Antonym, Sol de Janeiro, Aquis & More!

***This post was written before the recent disaster in Texas, so please don’t think I’m ignoring it or being insensitive. If you are interested in more information regarding ways to help in the wake of such tragedy, please see yesterday’s post. And we now resume our regular programming….


This has been the strangest Summer. The weather has been absolutely bizarre. At this point, I almost feel like Fall is already here…and much to my shock, I’m not entirely upset by that! As September rolls around, I’m finding myself looking forward to all the fun things about Fall – the food, the pretty leaves (even though they’re a dying sign that winter is coming), the berry-hued lips. Yes friends, I may be turning into a Fall loving convert! Then again, I am still an absolute Summer lover too. Anyway, this is all a long way of saying that today’s post is dedicated to my Cruelty Free August Favorites!!! Much like last month, I haven’t been wearing much makeup. Still, I have come across some fantastic beauty products that I want to share. So let’s see what they are!

Whole Foods Beauty Bag + My Favorite Brands

This past week, Whole Foods highlighted their beauty department with various events that culminated with the availability of a beauty bag! Not being one to pass up samples-that-I-paid-for-but-convinced-myself-they’re-free kinda deal, I thought I’d check out what the bag had in store. Since the bags were supposed to be available on Saturday only, it doesn’t make sense to talk a lot about the bag itself, but I thought I would share some of my own Favorite Beauty Brands that are available at Whole Foods…at least my local Whole Foods! I’m sure there is some variation from store to store, but I feel these brands are pretty universal. All beauty products sold at Whole Foods are cruelty free (though not necessarily vegan) and are free from over 50 questionable common ingredients. So, if you’re browsing the aisles of Whole Foods and decide to do some ethical and good-for-you beauty shopping, here are some of my favorite brands worth checking out (plus a peak into the Beauty Bag at the end)! J

Something that I use every day…first and last thing in fact…is from Sibu Beauty. Sibu Beauty uses the increasingly popular Seabuckthorn Seed Oil in all of their products. They produce not only skin care, but they have a body lotion and also make some oral supplements! Though I have not used a ton of Sibu products, I definitely have gone through a few bottles of the Seabuckthorn Seed Oil (rave here) and the Balancing Facial Cleanser. I love them both! I would like to try more, but am not in the market for new skincare at the moment.

Another fantastic skin care brand at Whole Foods is Anadalou Naturals. The line touts anti-aging “Fruit Stem Cell Science” and includes a full range of skin care, bath and body products, as well as hair care! I have been regularly using (in fact I’m on my second tube) the relatively new 1000Roses Color + Correction with SPF30 CC Cream. I absolutely love their many Masks too…I think I’ve tried nearly all of them (the Kombucha Enzyme Exfoliating Peel is my fav and I reviewed it here)! The Meyer Lemon Creamy Cleanser, the Clementine + C Illuminating Toner, the Blemish Vanishing Gel, also fantastic. I have yet to try something that I actually disliked from Andalou Naturals.
Probably one of the most buzzed about brands is Acure Organics. They products are fair trade, natural and certified organic, and utilize natural plant and food-based ingredients in all of their fantastic products. I have tried a sampling of them, but certainly not all! I recently started using the Argan Stem Cell + Chlorella Growth Factor Brightening Facial Scruba few times a week and it genuinely makes a difference in the appearance of my complexion right away! My face looks much clearer and brighter with a more even texture, plus no irritation! I also noticed a similar immediate result from their Cell Stimulating Facial Mask (a sample of which was in the bag). However my skin went back to looking normal by morning, so the mask seems like something better to use before a big day instead of before bed. I also really love the Shampoos and Conditioners! The Moroccan Argan Oil + Argan Stem Cell versions smell delicious…if you like almonds as I do. The Argan Stem Cell + CoQ10 Dry Shampoo (more here) is probably one of the best I’ve tried as well! There make body care products, and are probably best known for their facial oils, though I really haven’t given them much of a test. Overall, a fantastic brand with an amazing product line up.
An all-natural luxury body care line that I love is Deep Steep! Their Dry Oil Body Spritzer is truly life changing (full review here). The Hand Cream is wonderful as well! Not only do the products work well, but their scents are spectacular! I can’t even pick a favorite, but my most reached for Dry Oil is the Brown Sugar & Vanilla. Delicious! JDeep Steep sells a full range of body care and has recently added hair care products to the line!
Giovanni is a natural “eco-chic” brand that I often see at drugstores too, but Whole Foods definitely has the most complete selection of their line. They make hair care, body care and skin care items. I especially love the Hot Chocolate Sugar Scrub (discussed here) and a number of their hair care items like the Natural Mousse Hair Styling Foam, the 2chic Brazilian Keratin & Argan Oil Ultra-Sleek Leave-In Conditioning & Styling Elixir and the Don’t Be Flaky! Soothing Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. I don’t think I’ve tried any of their skin care products, but I really should given my satisfaction with everything else! J
I am always pleasantly surprised to find Nail Polish at Whole Foods as well. Most recently they’ve added a good selection of one of my favorite brands – Zoya! I love that I can see a wide range of the shades in person. I also first discovered Mineral Fusion Polishes there – another amazing brand with some beautiful classic shades mixed in with the fun, on-trend hues. Though I can find both brands at Ulta now, the selection at Whole Foods is far superior.
I absolutely love browsing all the amazing Lip Balms at Whole Foods. It’s becoming a tradition when I pop in. JI would be remiss if I didn’t mention my typical go-to from Badger Balm, which is the Cocoa Butter Lip Balm in Creamy Cocoa (more here). I also have discovered a similar balm that’s not as hard for those who like a less waxy formula and it is called Mongo Kiss. I grabbed the Vanilla Honey flavor and the scent alone is heavenly! J When I picked up the beauty bag last Saturday, I stumbled across a newcomer to my Whole Foods that I had actually been hunting for – Waxelene! I can already say that in the few days I have been using it, my lips are in the best condition that they have ever been!!! It literally only takes a pin-point dot to cover your lips with the stuff, so the tube will last you decades. If you’re ever at a Whole Foods wondering where I’ve wandered off to, check the lip balm selection because chances are that’s where I’ve been for the past 15 minutes. J
I know that I haven’t mentioned any actual makeup items, but those are available as well. I just haven’t purchased much in the way of color cosmetics from Whole Foods. The few items that I have are not carried there anymore. I know that my Whole Foods currently has a good selection from Mineral Fusion and Gabriel, as well as bits from Pacificaand a few other random brands. I tested a few things from both Mineral Fusion and Gabriel (yes, they have testers!!!) last time I was there and I’m definitely considering purchasing, but I reallydon’t need anything new right now!
So I guess that’s going to do it for this installment of my Favorite Beauty Brands at Whole Foods. I may revisit this from time to time as I feel their selection is constantly evolving. I am always surprised by just how extensive their beauty department is, and I’m glad to see that the stores are making more of an effort to bring attention to their cruelty free beauty selection! I would love to know some beauty products you always pick up or are just intrigued by at Whole Foods.
The contents of the Beauty Bag are below. Until next time, thanks for stopping by!!!
As promised, here are the contents of the beauty bag – it’s possible they may still be selling them if there were any left over, so it never hurts to check! J
Derma E Microdermabrasion Scrub
Acure Cell Stimulating Facial Mask
Trilogy Vital Moisturizing Cream
Gabriel Mascara
Giovanni 2chic Blackberry & Coconut Milk Ultra-Repair Shampoo
Pacifica Eye Shadow Duo (a Devocean Lipstick was substituted in some stores)
RIJI Beauty Bag

My Current Hair Care Routine for Lifeless, Dry, Color-Treated Hair w/ Acure, Giovanni, Avalon Organics, Earth Science, Badger, Mineral Fusion & Living Proof

Firstly, let me say that I feel somewhat narcissistic writing a post about my Current Hair Care Routine because I feel like I’m bragging about how wonderful my hair is and that everyone should be envious of it. That’s not at all my intent. I actually don’tthink I have great hair, but I feel like this particular routine has made a difference in the softness, shine and overall condition of my hair. So, because of that, I thought I would share what I’ve been using on my hair to improve it!
For starters, I’ll try to describe my hair. I have chest-length, heavily color-treated hair that is often dry, dull and damaged. I have quite a bit of very fine hair strands that love to stick to themselves, creating horrible knots that make brushing while wet an absolute nightmare. My scalp has been dry and flaky, but the roots of my hair are quite prone to oiliness. Whew! Quite the lot, eh? J So, what on earth could possibly remedy all these complaints? I went on a mission to find out and these are my findings!!! J

I try to wash my hair once every two to three days to avoid overstripping the natural oils that your scalp actually needs. My first step before hopping in the shower is to brush my hair with a Tangle Teezer (see my review here) to remove any tangles and loose strands that may have accumulated since the last brushing. This just helps keep my drain from clogging, makes washing my hair easier, and makes brushing it after showering easier.

Once in the shower with my hair thoroughly drenched, I start with shampoo…shocking, I know. I have battled for a while to find a good balance that doesn’t add too muchmoisture to my limp locks, yet still deeply hydrates since it is heavily color-treated. And I can’t forget my itchy and sometimes flaky scalp. Yuck! Given my multitude of problems, and my mind-boggling quantity of shampoos, I finally started mixing some to see if perhaps that might yield better results. Well, I found the perfect solution that way! J I start with Andalou Naturals Tea Tree Scalp Treatment Shampoo and add a little bit of Giovanni’s Don’t Be Flaky! Soothing Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. I use about 2/3 Tea Tree and 1/3 Anti-Dandruff. Both are pretty good by themselves, but together, they seem to create my perfect shampoo! The Tea Tree Shampoo gets my hair nice and clean without stripping it, and it also adds a bit of life to my otherwise limp locks, while the Anti-Dandruff completely eliminates itchiness and flakes. Finally! A shampoo combo that suits all of my needs! JI begin shampooing at the nape of my neck where most of the oil and grime collects, working to the crown of my head, and just kind of rinsing any remaining shampoo over the length of my hair. Then it’s on to a conditioner…yet another battle!
I have had the worsttime trying to find a good conditioner that didn’t totally weigh my hair down, but still did something. So, using the shampoo concoction as inspiration, I decided to mix a few! I use a similar ratio – 2/3 and 1/3, respectively. I use mainly Acure Moroccan Argan Oil + Argan Stem Cell Conditioner Triple Moisture Repair (which smells like almonds and I love the scent!) with a little bit of Earth Science Olive & Avocado Deep Conditioning Hair Mask , which also smells delightful, but is more of a fresh, grass-like scent. I liked both of these conditioners alone, but I felt like the Acure was just missing some hydration, while the Earth Science was just a tad too heavy. Again, when I mix them together, it’s just the perfectconditioner! J I finger comb the mixture through my wet hair from the ears down. Whatever is left on my hands I gloss over the top of my head and let it sit for 2-5 minutes before rinsing it out. Easy and quick – two requirements for my hair! J My hair literally feels like silk as the conditioners run out of it…and it remains silky even after the conditioner is gone! Another winning combination! J
Towel drying my hair seems simple enough, but I use something that I don’t think most people do. I use a microfiber towel (I usually find them at Ulta) after gently squeezing excess water out of my hair by hand – I try to be as gentle as possible because your hair is very fragile when it’s wet. I use the microfiber towel because it absorbs more moisture, thus helping it to dry faster, and I also can kind of “pat” my hair dry instead of rubbing and tugging on it with a standard terry cloth towel. Once most of the water has been absorbed by the towel, it’s on to styling products!

Much to my own surprise, I use quite a few products on my hair. I don’t typically do much more than let it air dry, but I find these products keep it looking much healthier no matter what I do with my hair. I start with Mineral Fusion’s Volumizing Beauty Balm for Hair. This stuff claims to do just about everything – volumize, moisturize, control frizz, strengthen, repair split ends, style with light hold, protect color and protect from heat! I mainly use it as a detangling leave-in conditioner that doesn’t weight my hair down. It makes my hair so mucheasier to brush through while it’s damp. I also like that it is a heat-protectant because I feel better should I decide to heat-style my hair and forget to use a separate protecting spray. It also really does tame the little fly-aways I think we all get! J Plus, my hair seems to dry faster when I use the Beauty Balm! To apply it, I flip my head upside down and gently scrunch in about a nickel-sized amount, concentrating on the ends and below my ears. I could stop there – and sometimes do – but I really like to add a few more things before calling it a day.
The next product, Badger’s Argan Oil for Dry & Damaged Hair, could be added directly to the Beauty Balm, but I find it easier to control the products separately. I use the Argan Oil the exact same way as the Beauty Balm. I usually use about two pumps of oil for my chest length hair, which is the high end of the recommended amount, so this stuff will last for ages! It’s intended to moisturize, protect, strengthen and revitalize dull hair. I find this wonder oil also helps with detangling, conditioning, frizz-control and shine. I really like this oil! Again, I concentrate it below my ears to avoid oil slicks on my scalp! J
Finally, it’s time to add a little volume! I’m not talking ‘80’s hair here, just a bit more lift at the roots. I use Living Proof’s Full Thickening Mousse (I’m still using the baby size) and, unlike everything else, I finger comb about half of a golf ball sized amount through the roots while my head is still upside down. If there’s any reside left on my hands, after flipping my head back upright, I kind of clamp my hair as though I were making a ponytail to help distribute any residual product onto the rest of my strands. And that’s it for styling products! (As though that’s a small quantity! J)
Now it’s time to brush through that tangled, knotty mane. I grab my trusty Tangle Teezer again and gently brush through my hair. If there are any bad knots, which usually doesn’t happen with this regime, I carefully separate the tangle and gently brush it out, working up from the bottom of the knot. I really don’t like to brush my hair while it’s wet, but the Tangle Teezer is so gentle and effective that I end up with very little breakage. A wide-tooth comb works as well, but the Tangle Teezer is definitely my weapon of choice!

At this point, I’ll adjust my part if necessary (I usually just leave it wherever it feels like falling – yes, I’m that lazy) and brush into place. Once that’s done, I’ll usually try to add back a bit of the lift that brushing removes by just putting my hands on either side of my head and softly pushing up a bit. As I’ve said, I usually just let my hair air dry, so I’m all done! JBecause of the Beauty Balm and the Argan Oil, my hair really does dry faster as well!!! I’d say it takes about an hour to an hour and a half for it to fully dry with no heat. Since I typically wash my hair at night, time is not that much of an issue.
So there you have my current Hair Care Routine! Having written it out, it seems like a lot, but it really doesn’t take long. Maybe an additional five minutes after I’m out of the shower, and no added time for the actual shampooing/conditioning process. As I said, by no means do I think I have fantastic hair, but I havenoticed a difference in the health and, most notably, the softness and shine of my hair since I’ve started using this routine. I must say, if you have blonde hair – color treated or naturally – you probably know just how difficult getting it to shine can be! Though I can’t be certain, I would probably attribute the softness and shine to the Earth Science Conditioner and the Badger Argan Oil. I think the Mineral Fusion Beauty Balm definitely helps tame fly-aways, while the Giovanni Shampoo is the biggest help with dandruff. Both the Tea Tree Shampooand the Living Proof Mousse add some volume, while the Acure Argan Conditioner provides a great weightless, but hydrating conditioner. For my mixture of dry, damaged, lifeless and limp locks with a dry flaky scalp, this is currently the perfect routine! J

If you’re interested in purchasing any of these items, I put together a Luvocracy Collection with all of the products. If you’re unfamiliar with Luvocracy, it’s similar to Pinterest (you can follow me on Pinterest here), but you can actually buy the items you see right through the Luvocracy site! It’s kind of addictive to browse through everything…much like Pinterest. If you’d like to check it out, you can click here, or just go to Luvocracy.com. I’m not gonna go into great depth about Luvocracy because you know how to check it out if you’re interested! J

Thanks so much for reading this far! Let me know what hair products you can’t live without these days because I love to hear other people’s favorites. J Until next time, thanks for stopping by! J

Andalou Naturals Kombucha Enzyme Exfoliating Peel – New Skin in a Tube!

I have been a huge fan of at-home face peels lately. They are a great way to achieve wonderful benefits for the skin, without needing to take a great deal of time out of your day. One of my favorite peels lately has been the Andalou Naturals Kombucha Enzyme Exfoliating Peel. This used to be called the Grapefruit + C Exfoliating Peel, but the packaging has been updated so don’t be confused if you see it listed with either name (my box says one thing, while the tube says the other). Anyway, this mask/peel uses fruit enzymes to create a chemical peel (from the fruit acids) that I don’t find at all uncomfortable while on my skin, and it makes my skin look renewed and refreshed once it’s removed! I find it also helps keep acne at bay and makes my face so soft. It’s an absolutely wonderful peel and it has rapidly become one of my favorite skin pick-me-ups, so I wanted to share it with you! J

Firstly, in case you haven’t tried one before, a peel is similar to a leave-on face mask. They are often more of a gel-like consistency that is left on for a specified amount of time (around 10 minutes for this peel) and then washed off, just like a traditional mask. However, peels usually do not dry or tighten on the skin, and they are not designed to draw out impurities as much as they are intended to slough away dead skin and to stimulate circulation. I find that with a peel, you are more apt to see immediate results than with a standard face mask, which makes it much more satisfying! JSo, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get into the specifics of the Kombucha Enzyme Exfoliating Peel!

This peel has a clear gel-like texture that smells faintly of grapefruit, and is filled with nourishing goodies for the skin. It uses grapefruit kombucha, pineapple and papaya enzymes to exfoliate the skin and unclog pores. These fruit enzymes also help to stimulate circulation to the skin, which improves the tone and texture of the skin and helps to impart that often elusive “glow.” In addition, this peel utilizes Andalou Naturals’ trademark Fruit Stem Cell Complex, as well as Vitamin C, to aid in cell renewal and a clearer complexion. Basically, this will remove the dead skin from your face leaving it soft, smooth and refreshed, while helping to avoid clogged pores in hopes of keeping the skin free from blemishes. I actually feel like the Kombucha Enzyme Exfoliating Peel lives up to all these claims. It doesn’t completely eliminate acne, but it certainly helps remove the dead skin that often leads to clogged pores that become pimples. And you will definitely see an immediate difference in your skin’s appearance! It does look more radiant and just plain healthier, while feeling incredibly soft, smooth and refreshed.
Though some enzyme peels can be rather harsh, irritating and not good for sensitive skin types, I find this peel to be quite gentle. I don’t have sensitive skin, but I have definitely felt some tingling, burning and/or stinging with other similar peels. Not so with the Andalou Naturals Peel. I cannot guarantee all those with sensitive skin that this will not aggravate the skin, but, at least in my experience, it is less irritating than most (I don’t find it irritating at all, but then my skin is pretty tough!). It is also pH balanced and Hypo-Allergenic, as well as Leaping Bunny Certified, Vegan and Gluten-Free. If you are looking for a good acid peel to start with, I would say the Andalou Naturals Kombucha Enzyme Exfoliating Peel is a great one to start with.

I have seen the Kombucha Enzyme Exfoliating Peel at Whole Foods and even in the natural section of a local grocery store, but it can also be found through a variety of online retailers like Vitacost, iHerb and the Andalou Naturals website. A 1.8oz tube retails for $14.95 (only $10.44 at Vitacost!) and should last quite some time since you need only about a quarter-sized amount for each use. I would highly recommend this mask/peel for just about anyone, though use your own judgment if you have very sensitive skin. As I’ve said, it seems like a gentle enzymatic peel to me, but I have skin of steel, so I’m not the greatest judge! J

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