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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

January Favorites for 2015!!! Sibu, frank, Daniel Sandler, Deep Steep, Hourglass, Barielle, Deborah Lippmann Urban Decay

Wow. The first month of 2015 is over! I have a love/hate relationship with January since it really is quite a miserable month, but it also includes my birthday…a day which I increasingly dread as the years fly by! J This month has been full of, well just eventful stuff. Now that it’s over, it is time for another monthly favorites!!! J I have some new near-addictions, as well as a total dud. Have a seat, grab a drink and I hope you enjoy this first of 2015’s Favorites!!!

As I said, my birthday is in January. Because of that, there is no more appropriate favorite than this first one – Happy Birthday Nail Lacquer from Deborah Lippmann! JI have always wanted this wonderfully glittery top coat, but never wanted to spend the money. This year I finally bit the bullet and I’m really glad I did! There are tons of dupes for it, but no one does glitter polish quite like Deborah Lippmann. I’m usually not a huge glitter polish person, especially when the base is clear like this one, but I’ve actually found myself adding this as a topper more often than not. It just looks like a confetti-filled celebration. It’s like fun in a bottle…and speaking of bottle, I should add that I absolutely adore the shape of Deborah Lippmann bottles. They’re actually designed to prevent them from tipping over! Anyway, my nails have been well dressed in pretty multi-colored glitter pretty much all month and I have loved it! J

Sticking with nails, another nail favorite is something I’ve been wearing every single day. It is from Barielleand it is the Clearly Noticeable Nail Thickener. I have mentioned my terrible peeling nails repeatedly and I think I have finally found something that actually does make a lasting difference. This is basically just a clear polish, but somehow it manages to seal down any peeling bits and not only prevents further peeling, but seems to help it disappear. Not sure how it does it, but it seems to be working! I can also easily apply this as a base coat or with color on top and the benefits seem to stay the same – and the polish wears just as well, if not better than with other base coats. If worn alone, my nails actually look healthy even when they are not. I think I’m going to have to buy the Clearly Noticeable Nail Thickener in bulk from now on! J And if you’re wondering where to find it, I get mine from Vitacost (referral link).
Moving right along, I have a new body scrub favorite…make that addiction! It is frank. That’s right, frank. Who, or shall I say what is frank? Well, frank is themost amazing body scrub ever! J I have the Coconut Coffee Scrub and it is basically made using finely ground coffee and oils. You just scrub away in the shower, preferably letting it sit on the skin for about 5 minutes and rinse away. It is kind of messy, but I find by the end of my shower most of the super-fine coffee granules have rinsed down the drain. When I get out of the shower, my skin is so, so soft! I have never felt it this soft before, not even with dry brushing. Even better, it is hydrated from the oils and I think by letting the scrub sit for a bit helps the oils to actually penetrate the skin for the ultimate in softness. I don’t need moisturizer, though I’ve been using one anyway. And if silky skin were not enough, I also feel like frank makes my skin look a bit firmer (who doesn’t want that? J) and just all around healthier. It’s truly amazing stuff. I intend to write a review on it soon, so I’m not going to write my entire thoughts here, but definitely give frank a try and he’s sure to treat you right!
Typically I’ve been following up a down and dirty scrub from frank with a prior favorite – the Deep Steep Dry Oil Body Spritzer in Brown Sugar Vanilla. I reviewed this a while ago and you can find that review here. It is just so easy to use! My only complaint is that, though the mist is incredible, the bottle doesn’t spray from all angles and sometimes I feel like I’m standing on my head trying to spritz it on my back. But I can forgive that because it smells delicious, absorbs almost instantly, hydrates so beautifully and is just all around amazing. I have definitely become an oil-loving convert over the past year! J Between frank and the Deep Steep Dry Oil Spritzer, my skin is probably softer than the day I was born!!! JI think the two will have to be my Valentine this year. Hehe J
To keep my face clear, soft and clean, I’ve been turning to Sibu Beauty’s Seabuckthorn Balancing Facial Cleanser. I typically don’t feel like face washes make much of a noticeable difference in my skin care routine unless my face has a negative reaction to it. However, the Sibu Cleanser made me feel like there was an actual improvementin the clarity, texture and appearance of my skin almost right away! It is a gentle gel cleanser that works into a creamy lather, but also has some sort of very gentle scrubiness to it. I’m not sure what is in it that feels scrubby, but there’s definitely some kind of gentle grit. It’s always difficult to tell with my acne-prone skin, but I really think this has been keeping most of my acne troubles at bay…of course I have two massive eruptions on my face right now, but generally speaking, my skin has been much clearer and just all around healthier looking since I switched to the Sibu Balancing Facial Cleanser.
Quickly moving on to makeup, my first favorite was in my Annual Favorites, so I’m not going to say much. It is the Arch Brow Sculpting Pencilfrom Hourglass. It is just such a quick and easy way to fill in my brows. I love the color (I use Blonde), the texture and the packaging. The shape of the brow pencil itself is a triangle and, though I have thin and sparse brows, I find this is really convenient to just angle differently for thin or thick lines. Thinner pencils take too much time, while a thicker pencil is not thin enough to get the tail ends of my brows. This pencil can do both and I find it to be just perfect. Well done Hourglass! J
These last two products I haven’t used much because I haven’t had them long, but I already know that I love them! The first is one of the new Sheer Revolution Lipsticks from Urban Decay. I have the color Sheer Rapture and it’s just a perfect everyday my-lips-but-better kind of color. It seems to wear pretty well, especially for a sheer formula, and it is surprisingly comfortable to wear. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original Revolution Lipsticks, but I absolutely love the new Sheer Version!
Finally we have what I guess is a cult classic. It is the Watercolour Blush from Daniel Sandler. Oh. My. God. This stuff is seriously incredible! I have the shade Cherub and I seriously cannot envision ever grabbing for another blush! It is so easy to apply – a dot is plenty. It lasts literally all day and it creates just the perfect sheer wash of color to the cheeks. It reminds me of the effect that the Josie Maran Watercolor Cheek Gelee (reviewed here) provides, but is so much easier to use. I just put a dot on the back of my hand, tap my finger into to it, apply to the cheeks and stipple with a brush for even distribution. I find it incredibly easy and it is so pretty! Can you tell that I find it pretty and easy? I seriously love the Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blush!!! I need them all! J
I feel that I need to address something that was so horrendously awful that I can’t bear to try it out more than once! It’s the new Physician’s Formula Organic Wear BB Mascara in the white tube. I only used it once and would normally give it more of a test, but I can usually tell if a mascara is worth a second chance after one try, plus this was just freakin’ awful. The brush, the formula, the wear, just everything about it. The plastic comb has different length “teeth” on various sides and unless you have it positioned just right, it’s nearly impossible to get on your lashes without smearing it all over your eyelid. It also clumps something awful…and it’s chunky!…plus the more I tried to fix it, the worse it clumped. I tried holding the wand a variety of ways, but nothing worked well and my lashes ended up clumpy no matter what I did. I would have been willing to give it another shot, but it flaked so horribly that I just can’t bear the thought! I veryrarely find mascara to flake or smudge on me, but this stuff left little specks of black all over under my eyes. I may try it once more out of sheer curiosity, but I have absolutely no hope for the Physician’s Formula BB Mascara. Stick to the green tube if you’re looking for a good Physician’s Formula mascara!

Look at the weird gaps between “teeth”. No bueno!
As for the items that I’ve been testing this month (check them out here), I’m still sitting on the fence. I partly feel like I haven’t given them enough of a go, but I also can’t decide on the end results either. I’ll try to keep you posted when I make a decision, but for now, they’re all still in that uncertain “testing” phase. Sounds so scientific, doesn’t it? Trust me; it’s not! J
That’s going to do it for my January Favorites! It’s actually been a pretty good month all around with many changes, but moving in a positive direction. And for me at least, January meant Christmas! How awesome is that! J I hope you all had a wonderful January, though that sounds a bit contradictory since January always tends to be kind of a grey month – both figuratively and literally. Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of my monthly favorites and I hope to have a few more posts throughout February than I did in January! Looking forward to seeing you soon!!! Until then, best wishes and thanks for stopping by. J

Best of 2014 – Skin Care, Body Care & Hair Care

Well, 2014 has come to a close and if I’m completely honest, I think I’m really glad about that. It’s been a bit of a rough year. It started strange and ended equally odd, though there were plenty of highlights in the middle. But now is that time where we put all that to the past and look ahead to the fantastic future that must surely be awaiting, right? J However, the year wouldn’t be complete without a roundup of the Best Products of 2014 now, would it?! Because it’s so hard to include everything in a single blog post without it becoming an epic novel, I’m going to break this up a bit. Today I’m going to share my favorite picks for Skin Care, Body Care & Hair Care. I am trying not to repeat things from previous years (all of which are linked at the bottom of this post), but if I do it will be noted and it will only be done because I really haven’t found anything better. I don’t have items to fit into specific categories either – for instance, I don’t have a favorite foundation for 2014 so you won’t see one. I have just stuck to products that truly stood out to me regardless of their categories. So, without further ado, I bring you the Best Skin Care, Body Care & Hair Care of 2014! J

Something that I’ve actually never ever mentioned that has become a definite staple in my routine is up first. It is the Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil from The Body Shop. It is by far the best makeup remover I’ve tried. I use it for my entire face, including my eyes, and it makes everything disappear with the littlest of effort. Of note for quick touch-ups is the Camomile Eye Makeup Remover. Works like a charm as well, but without any oil left behind to ruin further makeup application. The Body Shop is definitely a fantastic choice for removing makeup.

I have discovered an eye cream that I absolutely adore this year as well. It is from Ole Henricksen(which is cruelty free to the best of my knowledge, but I cannot get a response from the company directly). Their Total Truth Vitamin C Eye Cream SPF 15 is everything I needed in a daytime eye cream. I am such a fan of the fact that there’s SPF included because it seems so rare that eye creams include it. I don’t need sun damage and wrinkles around my eyes when they’re already prone to such ailments! If that’s not enough for you, I swear it immediately brightens and lightens the insanely dark circles under my eyes. It’s a fantastic cream – a bit on the thick side, but it blends beautifully. I definitely recommend the Total Truth Vitamin C Eye Cream from Ole Henricksen!

Moving on to body care, my absolute must have, cannot live without find of the year has to be Coconut Oil. Any brand will do, just give me some Coconut Oil if you expect me to have smooth, hair-free legs! I cannotshave my legs without it. That’s really the main reason I use Coconut Oil, though it has about 1 million additional beauty uses. For me, shaving my legs is just a no-go without Coconut Oil (I wrote all about it here).

Another fantastic find this year has been the Hang Ten Sunscreens. I mainly use them in the summer because I’m super lazy in the winter, but Hang Ten makes the best sunscreens I have ever found – and I’ve tried all of their variations, each with fantastic results. They are just so easy to blend, non-greasy, no white cast, great protection, and so on. If you’d like to read more about Hang Ten Sunscreens, I have written more about them here, here and here.

My favorite body moisturizer this year comes from Deep Steep. It’s a product that I wasn’t at all sure I would like using, but it has proven to be the nicest, quickest way to hydrate and soften my skin! What is it? It’s the Dry Oil Body Spritzer! They come in the most amazing scents – my favorite is the Brown Sugar Vanilla – and are so easy to use. Just spray, rub in and go. They actually are dry oils, so no grease here and I can’t say enough great things about the Deep Steep Dry Oil Body Spritzers (for more about them, check out my full review here).

Perhaps the weirdest find of the year comes from a brand called Flexitol and it is the Diabetic Foot Balm for Rough, Dry & Cracked Feet. Yup, you read that correctly. I still have not actually tried this on my feet, but I love it for my insanely dry and flaky elbows. It works wonders. If you want to read my full rave, check it out here and then run out to find the Flexitol Diabetic Foot Balm for all your troublesome dry spots! J

Sticking on the dry skin train, I have a hand cream love of the year. It’s not a new find this year, but I definitely fell in love with it this year. It is from Out of Africaand it is the Pure Shea Butter Hand Cream. I love the Verbena scent because it’s light, fresh and clean with a bit of zest. The cream itself is a nice thick and nourishing texture that manages to melt into the skin nicely without leaving behind a lot of grease. If your hands are dry and even cracking, the Pure Shea Butter Hand Creamwill soften them right up! It’s fantastic stuff!

Lastly, we have a lonely hair care item. I would add a couple more, but check my December Favorites here if you’d like to hear more about them and the reason I didn’t really want to include them just yet. But back to the definite hair go-to for 2014 – Giovanni’s Don’t Be Flaky! Soothing Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. Since I seem to get a touch of the white flakies now and then, I add a bit of this Anti-Dandruff Shampoo in with whatever other shampoo I may be using at the time to nix the white bits. I like to combine it with another shampoo because my hair is heavily bleached and I try to stick with color care type products for the best results (lately it’s with a purple color-correcting shampoo). I find that even without using this full strength, it does a great job at controlling dandruff. Plus it is mighty difficult to find an affordable cruelty free anti-dandruff shampoo! But this fits all bills. JIf you’re suffering from dandruff, or even just a dry or irritated scalp, definitely look into the Giovanni Don’t Be Flaky! Soothing Anti-Dandruff Shampoo.

I think that’s going to do it for my 2014 Skin, Body & Hair Care Favorites! There are a few other mentions I could add (I’m looking at you Trader Joe’s Coconut Body Butter!), but I don’t want to repeat too many prior annual favorites. Should you be interested in what some of my picks were in prior years, they will be linked at the end of this post and should open in a separate window. Anyway, I hope you found this enjoyable, as I always love writing these types of posts. It is so interesting to go back through the year and see what I’ve loved and forgotten and what’s stayed a diehard favorite day in and day out. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for other Annual Favorite Categories because more are headed your way soon! JThank you so much for joining me in 2014, and I hope to see you again throughout 2015!!! J

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

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