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

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

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!

July Favorites!!! – Hang Ten, Tarte, Milani, Anastasia, Giovanni, Badger Balm, Fitness & Cats

Another month has come to a close, which means it’s time for my July Favorites!!! JSummer is seriously flying by, which makes me sad because I love the sunshine and warm temps…though I could do without the humidity! J I must say that I am beginning to feel a hunger for some deeper shades and jewel tones too, but I don’t want the cold! Enough about the weather, let’s just get into the Favorites. And, I must apologize for my erratic posting this month. It’s been rather hectic and if I manage to find the time, I just do not have the energy to write anything. Hopefully August will be a bit better, but back to the topic at hand – on to the Favorites! J

I’m going to start with one of the most important things for Summer beauty – the sunscreen! I have absolutely been in love with the Hang Ten Sunscreens. I have been switching between the three that I have – the Mineral Sport SPF 50, the Classic Sport SPF 50, and the Classic Sport Spray SPF 50. I’ve decided my favorites are the Mineral Sport and the Classic Sport Spray. If I’m in a rush, I grab the Spray – not that the Mineral version takes any time either, it’s just not as convenient. I think I’ve finally decided that the Mineral Sport is my all-around favorite. It’s a great consistency that rubs into the skin quickly and easily, and it is never greasy. It’s absolutely fantastic! The Spray is all those things as well, I just always feel like using the spray in the bathroom leaves a sunscreen film all around me, and it’s just kind of troubling for my semi-OCC brain. JAs for the regular Classic Sport, it’s wonderful too, but it’s so thin that I’m always afraid it’s going to drip all over the place. It just seems messier than the others to me, but I’ll definitely continue using it as well. If you’d like to learn more about SPF and the difference between the formulas, check out my post here. For more detailed thoughts on the Mineral Sport SPF 50 and the Classic Sport Spray SPF 50, check out that post here. And for one last shameless plug, if you’re interested in the traditional Classic Sport SPF 50, you can find that post here.

Wow, that was long! So, moving on…I’ve gone back to using my Tarte Colored Clay SPF 15 Liquid Foundation, but I have found my favorite way to apply it is with a Beauty Blender. That makes two favorites in one! JI have never really used my Beauty Blender much because I never find it to give enough coverage and I feel like it’s such an expensive gimmicky product, but for some reason I really love it with the Colored Clay Liquid Foundation. The two really work well together to create a fantastic finish that looks like natural, healthy skin. The foundation does lose a bit of coverage when applied this way, but it still has a fantastic and buildable medium coverage that works well enough to cover my giant blemishes to the point where just a bit of concealer takes care of any remaining discoloration. Plus, it never looks too heavy or cakey as it sometimes can when applied with a brush or your fingers. If you’d like to read more about the Tarte Colored Clay Liquid Foundation, check out my review here. As for the rather new appearance of my Beauty Blender, I simply wash it right after every use and it comes clean really easily. I know, it’s a pain in the arse, but I feel like germs and bacteria are just waiting to grow all over the thing and at least having it lookingclean makes me feel a bit better about it.

For the eyes, I’ve been absolutely loving my Milani Shadow Eyez in Brown Deluxe. It’s the perfect bronzey shade for Summer and it is so easy. I just scribble it on my lid and a bit under my lower lash line, blend it a bit, add some mascara and maybe a liner and call it a day (these are my fancy days lately btw). It gives kind of a grungy effect that I actually love. Plus, it’s so easy that I can do it in no time – andit’s waterproof! J

For my brows, I finally caved and tried the Anastasia DipBrow Pomade in Blonde. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve swatched this in a store and thought it was just the complete wrong shade for me and the texture would make for such a strong brow that I’d never use it. Well, I swatched it yet again and decided it might not be so bad after all, and I gave it a shot. It is quite creamy so it can be easy to go a bit too heavy handed, but if you don’t get too much on your brush, the consistency spreads beautifully and fills in my brows with ease – and it’s a lot faster than I would have expected. I’ve really been loving it! I use it with the Anastasia #12 Angled Brush which is perfectfor my brows. It’s quite thin – as are my brows – so it’s great for getting a precise brow shape, or (at least in my case) not going outside the natural lines of your brow hairs. The spoolie on the opposite end is a must for me too, so together, the two have been great for my brows – and the Pomade really is budge proof! Seriously, I have trouble getting it off even after a sweaty workout or even a shower if I don’t use an oil-based makeup remover. Great for sweaty Summer days! J

For my limp, lifeless hair, I’ve found a new combination that’s actually helping! Both products are from Giovanni. The first is the Giovanni 2Chic Tangerine & Papaya Butter Ultra-Volume Leave-In & Conditioning Elixir. It helps condition my hair while taming flyaways and I think it actually does help a bit with volume. After that, I add the Giovanni Natural Mousse Air-Turbo Charged Hair Styling Foam. This definitely is adding volume to my hair. We’re not talking ‘80s hair or anything, but nice, natural looking body that’s never over-the-top (though I’m guessing you could do that too if you really wanted). I believe this is alcohol-free, which is fantastic since alcohol will dry your hair out – the last thing I need. It can get a little crunchy if you get too much product in one spot, but I use about 2 pumps and start with the lengths of my hair, then use what’s left at the roots since I’m aiming for thicker hair all-around, and I never have trouble with crispiness. I find if I start at the root, they can end up a bit stiff if I’m not careful. But once you figure out how these work best for your hair type, they are fantastic for just adding a bit more life into your locks. Love, love, love Giovanni this month! J

I ran out of my Badger Balm Cocoa Butter Lip Balm in Vanilla Bean, so I grabbed my old favorite this time – Creamy Cocoa. I don’t know if or how the formula between these two differs other than the flavor, but I forgot just how insanely wonderful the Creamy Cocoa version is! It actually seems to be more hydrating and conditioning than the Vanilla Bean for some reason. It makes no sense to me, but I am 100% addicted to the Creamy Cocoa formula! If you’d like to see a full review on this lip balm, check it out here. (I believe this is my third replacement tube, plus I have a few others stashed in various places that are only used occasionally.)

For something I don’t normally include in my Favorites, I’m going to give you a Fitness Favorite and a Cat Favorite. For the Fitness Favorite, I have been addicted to FitnessBlender.com, or just FitnessBlender on YouTube. I cannot stress how much I dislike exercising, but I do like feeling stronger, more toned and in better shape so I’m trying my best to keep it up – I’ve been doing pretty well too despite knee and ankle issues. I actually started with the Tone It Up videos about 2 or 2 ½ years ago, but was getting sick of them. Plus, I was having trouble doing a lot of the exercises when my knee was acting up. I somehow stumbled across Fitness Blender on YouTube and tried a few of their workouts and really enjoy them (as much as I can enjoy exercise). Granted, they’re not as personable as Karina & Katrina from Tone It Up, but they’re better at explaining how to – and how not to – do the exercises correctly for the best results. I swear, in the few months I’ve been doing more workouts from Fitness Blender I’ve noticed more results. Not to mention they have about 6 billion work outs, and if you go to their website, they have an awesome search feature where you can specify workout time, type, intensity, calorie burn, etc., and the results are displayed for your sweating pleasure. If you’re at all interested in working out at home – be it yoga, pilates, strength training, HITT, and more – definitely check out Fitness Blender.

As for the cats, Bailey has had a lot of belly issues so I’ve been trying to find something that helps to keep her regular. Emerson also has had tummy troubles her whole life, but they have never really been addressed too much because she started with a different vet that gave her an enema and sent her on her merry little wet-bummed way. During my research, I found tons of Probiotic products for cats (although apparently there’s no evidence one way or another that shows such things do anything for cats at all). Figuring I had nothing to lose, I settled on some treats hoping that at least one of the cats might simply enjoy them. Well, all five cats seem to love them! They are from Greenies and they are the Smart Bites Digestive Care in the Salmon Flavor. Even little Miss Clover comes running over to get her share, and she never eats any treats! There must be crack in these or something because I have never seen a treat that every one of my cats absolutely devours (they’ll even lick my fingers to get all the dust) – and they generally don’t even like the Greenies treats. As far as aiding their digestion, I don’t know if they do anything, but they certainly do love them. I had to include these because they are apparently the greatest treats on earth in my cats’ eyes!

And that’s it. If you made it this far, I feel like I owe you something. There’s not a lot included here, but I certainly had a lot to say! J I hope you enjoyed seeing my July Favorites and if there’s anything you would like to know more about – more about the DipBrow, my favorite FitnessBlender workouts, a Bailey update, something entirely unrelated, etc. – let me know and I’ll see what I can do. Thanks so much for sticking around through my spotty posting and I hope to get back to a more regular schedule soon. Thanks so much for reading this far, and let me know what you’ve been addicted to this month! J Until next time, love you all!!!

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

February Favorites 2014 – First Aid Beauty, Ole Henricksen, Bite Beauty, Giovanni, Tarte, Hourglass, NYX & Urban Decay

Well, well, well. Another month has passed and it’s time for another Favorites post! I feel like I’ve been snowed in, or at least anticipating such an occurrence, all month. Hopefully the white stuff has finally given up and some warmer weather will soon be here because I am freezing! J I’m also looking forward to all the new spring products that have been released recently! And tank tops. Please warm up so I can wear tank tops. Oh how I love summer. J But back to dreary, snowy, nail-bittingly cold February and my Favorite products of the month. I feel like I have a lot, so let’s check out what they were! J

I’m going to start with my new morning face moisturizer. I loved my Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 50, but since it has been discontinued, I’ve been desperately searching for something to replace it. I’ve tried quite a few over the past few months, plus my skin has dried out a bit due to a new acne cream, but I think I finally found one that I really like! It’s from First Aid Beauty, which seems to be popping up in reviews everywhere lately, but I haven’t seen a mention of my favorite which is the 5-in-1 Face Cream SPF 30. It has a decent SPF, it’s hydrating without being greasy, it has a lovely texture that blends like a dream, it doesn’t break me out, and I really couldn’t be more impressed. It may not be my beloved Josie Maran, but the First Aid Beauty 5-in-1 Face Cream SPF 30 is a pretty damn fine second! J

Sticking with skincare, I found a daytime eye cream with SPF!!! I always find it troubling that eye creams never have SPF in them, though I can see why whenever I get just a dab of regular sunscreen near my eye. This one is from Ole Henricksenand I feel I need to point out that I haven’t been able to 100% confirm from the company that they are cruelty-free, but their website does state that they never engage in animal testing. Google searches seem to indicate the same. I’d like something more concrete, but I just went with it and tried the Total Truth Vitamin C Eye Cream SPF 15. Not only does it protect my delicate eye area from the harmful rays of the sun, it’s also a really nice eye cream! It’s thick, but blends in nicely – I use gentle patting motions to apply it. It actually seems to brighten under my eyes and makes my dark circles look a little less dark too! So, well done Ole Henricksen, although some confirmation on your animal testing policies would be fantastic.

I have also been loving my Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask for soothing and healing my dry, chapped winter lips! I recently reviewed it here, so I won’t go in to too much detail. Aside from tasting insanely delicious, although it kinda grosses me out to realize what that taste is disguising (lanolin), it feels really conditioning and protective on the lips. You put it on at night and it’s still there in the morning! Excellent stuff if you are ok with wool by-products (I know some are not)! It’s also a pain to get out of the tube, but it’s worth the effort for Bite Beauty’s Agave Lip Mask.
A hair favorite for the month is from Giovanni. It is their Don’t Be Flaky! Soothing Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. As I mentioned a little while ago, the nasty white itchy flakies have been gracing my scalp recently. I love the other tea tree-based shampoos I’ve tried as well, but this one works even better! It uses Salicylic Acid to treat the dandruff, with Tea Tree and Oatmeal to soothe the scalp. Not a white flake in sight and it smells really nice! It has kind of a mildly fruity scent that seems a bit tropical to me. It’s not terribly strong, nor does it linger and it’s a nice change from the standard tea tree-eucalyptus-mint hybrid in many standard tea tree shampoos. The Giovanni Don’t Be Flaky! Soothing Anti-Dandruff Shampoo has been a scalp saver in February! J

Agh! This is already long! Hurrying on to makeup, I’ve been using the Tarte Colored Clay Liquid Foundation pretty much daily. I reallylove this foundation! Again, I recently reviewed it here, so I won’t blab on about it. At the very end of the month, I tried using it with a Beauty Blender, and I finallyget the Beauty Blender hype! JThe two work fantastically together! I hope Tarte releases this widely soon so everyone can try it because the Colored Clay Liquid Foundation is suburb!
Another recently reviewed product that I have rarely been without is the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Ethereal Glow. I will say that this shade is very subtle, but it actually does make my cheeks glow! You can read more about the blush and see it swatched here. It’s not for everyone, and if you’re looking for a huge pop of color, check out another shade. But personally, I love the subtle glow that the Ambient Lighting Blush in Ethereal Glow gives my cheeks.
The eyeliner I’ve reached for every day is the NYX Slide-On Eye Liner in Jet Black. Nothing fancy here, although it is a fantastic liner. I’ve mainly just been tight-lining my upper waterline with it, adding a bit of mascara and I’m out the door. It’s a wonderful, deep black that’s still really soft and creamy while remaining budge-proof. How it does all of that is beyond me, but it’s absolutely perfect for my recent purposes! J Love, love, love the NYX Slide-On Eye Liner in Jet Black!
Much to my own amazement, I’ve been reaching for eyeshadows from the Naked Basics Palette from Urban Decay this month. I’m amazed not because it’s a bad palette, but because I neveruse it! I find it most useful for crease colors and a brow highlight, but rarely do I only use this palette. For some reason though, it was pretty much all I reached for in February. So I guess I’m finally on the Naked Basics bandwagon! J

Last, but not least, I’ve been constantly reaching for the NYX Butter Lipstick in Fireball. I never would have thought I would like this shade, let alone be constantly reaching for it! But, as they say, never say never! J The lipstick itself is not really all that special. It’s a good lipstick, but nothing revolutionary. It’s comfortable and it wears well, but it’s the color that I’m constantly drawn to! I almost didn’t order it, but I kept seeing swatches of it online, and it looked kind of fun and different…for me anyway. It’s basically a bright orangey-coral. It’s not terribly opaque, which I think makes it more wearable. It’s a great way to tiptoe towards orange lips. J For whatever reason, I think it’s pretty and it seems to work well with the simple makeup I gravitated towards in February! Fireball, you were my Valentine! J

Finally, I’m finished! So many Favorites for such a short month! J If you stuck through me with this, thank you! You are a patient sole…or simply a beauty junkie that lives for Favorites posts as much as I do! J Let me know what you’ve been reaching for over and over again the last month because I’d love to know! Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again next month…well, hopefully sooner, but you know what I mean! JI hope you’ve had a fantastic February and may March be even better!!!

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