September 8, 2014

August Empties with Reviews

*PR Samples

It's that time again. Time for me to show you our empties!

We love natural soap in this house and these are a combination of bars finished and opened over the past month or so.

Harmony Cream Soaps Old Time & Oatmeal.  This is a local South Dakota brand.  Old school goat's milk soap.  I met the maker at a local holistic trade show at the end of spring.  She even cares for the goats who she milks herself.  Oh yes, this is truly old fashioned goat's milk soap.  I purchased every variety she makes.  I would repurchase at a later date.

Pacha Soap Dirty Hippie.  My son had first dibs on this one.  This is a Nebraska brand that we discovered while traveling.  Read my introduction to the brand here.  Pacha Soap is cruelty free, vegan, and certified organic.  Dirty Hippie soap is a patchouli & nutmeg soap and it smells divine.  I stocked up at the Whole Foods in Omaha while were were there.  Thankfully they have a great online store where you can get your Pacha fix.  I have a nice supply of Pacha.

Jacq's Organics Lemongrass with Shea Butter Soap full size & Chocolate Fix sample.  Barbara from Jacq's Organics specifically recommended the Lemongrass soap to me since I get migraines.  This bar has been a pleasure to use.  No only is it a very moisturizing soap due to the shea butter but the scent is very calming and relaxing.  I'm glad when I placed my order I ordered two.  I had previously finished Jacq's Organics Chocolate Fix sample that she included in my order.  It was very hydrating.  If you have dry skin I would recommend this bar of soap!  My husband however did not care for the scent.  So chocolate lovers you may enjoy this bar, but others it may be an acquired scent.

Badger Balm Rose Geranium Race & Body Soap.  My daughter finished up this bar.  If you make a rose scented bar of soap, she's your target market.  Being a huge Badger Balm fan it had escaped me for the longest time that they made soap!  Not surprising they make a fine bar of soap gentle and moisturizing enough even for the elementary school set.


Acure Organics Moisturizing Root Repair Argan Stem Cell + Mint.  Honestly I found this to be a light weight treatment.  When I think of deep conditioning I guess I'm thinking of something more conditioning than my everyday conditioner.  Acure's Moroccan Argan Oil + Argan Stem Cell Conditioner is my everyday conditioner and it is SO HYDRATING.  If you use any other daily conditioner than this one would be a deep conditioner, but if you compare it to the Moroccan Argan Oil one then in my experience it is just not as deep.  It pains me to say since I love Acure so much, but I will not repurchase.  Maybe I just do not need deep conditioning anymore.

Acure Leave-in Conditoner*. This is an essential for me after I shampoo and condition.  Having thick hair (as in a lot of it) but the actual hair strands themselves are thin, I need a detangler.  I already have a backup of this product.  Both my daughter and I use this product.

Evolvh UltraShine Moisture Shampoo* & Conditioner* samples (from Petit Vour box).  I really did enjoy these samples (travel size) and thought they preformed well.  The conditioner is especially unique in that it feels like a hair moisturizer when applied but still conditions and detangles after being rinsed out.  I understand that this brand is "salon" brand and marketed as luxury.  The full size price reflects that at $24 for the shampoo & $25 for the conditioner for 8.5 oz.  In my experience it did not out preform my Acure Organics Moroccan Argan Oil + Argan Stem Cell Shampoo/Conditioner that retails for $9.99 each for 8 oz. each.  I just cannot justify the purchase on an economic level.  While I enjoyed the travel size samples, I will not be purchasing the full size.

Briogeo foil packet samples in Be Gentle, Be Kind Shampoo*, Curl Charisma Conditioner*, Don't Despair, Repair*.  These were some samples that were sent out to me to test out.  To be honest the samples were just too small for me to have an honest opinion of the brand.


Organic Bath Co. Stress Less Organic Lavender Sugar Scrub*.  I used every last bit of this sugar scrub and have already repurchased it.  Of the two scrubs that I've used Organic Bath Co.'s sugar grains are larger but still manage not to be overly abrasive.  They are just the perfect balance of exfoliation and hydration.  I'm fully committed to the Stress Less line of products.

Blum Naturals Dry & Sensitive Skin Daily Cleansing Towelettes.  I put these in an average performance category for cleansing towelettes.  They are not the worse nor the best that I've used.  The price is fair if you purchase them online.   For the time being I will not be repurchasing.

Acure Unscented Argan Oil Cleansing Towelettes*. These are my favorite cleansing towelettes to date.  I've already repurchased.  Acure has mastered the moisture content of the towelette as well as the size of the actual wipe.  Where these on average tend to cost more than other brands I've used in the past, they also remove my makeup more efficiently with less effort.

TAY Rosehip balancing cleanser with seabuckthorn*.  The TAY cleanser was a travel size sample from one of my Petit Vour* boxes.  It is more of a milky type cleanser that was not effective in removing my makeup.  It is fine for morning cleansing or as the 2nd step in a double cleansing routine, but if you prefer a one and done cleansing method you might want to consider a different cleanser.  This cleanser was actually too gentle for me and that is a rare thing for this dry skinned gal to ever say.  I do however expect all of my cleansers to remove my makeup.

Corpa Flora Beauté Divine*.  This is the first bottle out of a starter set that I've emptied.  This cleansing oil has been a joy to use.  As of late I've been using it mostly as an eye makeup remover an not as an all over cleansing oil.  Either way this product is effective at removing my makeup and not drying out my skin.  It's also a great step 1 in a double cleansing method.


Juice Beauty Refining Finishing Powder in Ivory.  I actually transferred what was remaining in this jar to a refillable makeup brush so now the product is empty.  I am however going to count this as an empty now.  I've mainly used this powder as a setting powder.  It has a glow type finish and is not 100% matte.  I prefer the matte finish in a finishing powder.  I will not be repurchasing.

The All Natural Face Foundation Sample in Almond Goddess.  So far out of the foundation samples that I've tried from the All Natural Face this one seems to be the closest match.  I'm still on the fence about how the product feels on my face.  Coverage is really nice, but I feel like my skin prefers Alima Pure.  I understand the price point of the two brands are much different, but mineral foundation last me a long time.  I'm unsure if I will purchase the full size.

September 4, 2014

To Lush or not to Lush?

*PR Sample

My Alternatives to Popular Lush Products

Three weeks ago Lush hosted a USTREAM event called The Great Preservatives Debate.  Several UK bloggers brought this live event to my attention and like many other bloggers I was sucked into the debate.  Especially as a former Lush customer I had strong opinions about some of the things that were expressed in the event.

As it stands in my opinion Lush is not a company that I feel is worth my money.  I fully admit I fell into the hype that is Lush and purchased several products from them on a few occasions prior to my transition into green beauty.  My personal experience with the brand was less than stellar.  I went into a brick and mortar location in Utah when I was traveling and really wanted to try their bath bombs.  The smell of the store is very overwhelming if you have never been in one before.  Their customer service was great.  The only thing I knew was that tons of women on YouTube seemed to love this brand.  Well, when I actually started trying these products I was not relaxed by them, but had itchy skin and irritation.  At the time I had no idea why.  Now I do.

I do believe that their efforts to transition some of their products to "self-preserving" is in response to consumer pressure.  I hope this means in the future they will be removing ingredients that us in the green beauty community just care not to expose ourselves too.  See 10 Synthetic Cosmetics Ingredients to Avoid.  Until then know that alternatives to Lush do exist.

Now I know that many of the bath balms from Lush that I had tried contained Sodium Laurel Sulfate among other ingredients.  I avoid SLS in my shampoo and body wash why would I want to soak in a bath tub full of the stuff?  For an easy explanation on why to avoid SLS check out Bubble & Bee Organics 9 reasons on why you should avoid SLS here

I'd like to offer you three items that I use instead of popular Lush products.  In my opinion they are cleaner more enjoyable to use.

1. Better Bath Bombs

I'm going to give you two options Hugo Naturals and Zabana Essentials.

Hugo Naturals Bath Bombs come in a variety of scents.  Never any: parabens, phenoxyethanol, sulfates, PEGs, propylene glycol, petroleum products, silicones, phthalates, synthetic surfactants, artificial colors or synthetic fragrances.  Vegan, Soy free, cruelty free, gluten free.

For today I'm going to give the ingredients on the Grapefruit Orange:
Citric Acid, Sodium Bicarbonate, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Tocopherol (Red Palm Oil), Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Citrus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Orange) Peel Oil, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract, Melia Azadirachta Flower Extract, Amino Esters, Coccinia Indica Fruit Extract, Solanum Melongena (Eggplant) Fruit Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Flower Extract*, Lawsonia Inermis (Henna) Extract, Ocimum Sanctum Leaf Extract, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract  *Certified Organic

Zabana Essentials Bath Bombs also come in a variety of scents.  Never any:  Palm Oil, Triclosan, Parabens, Sulphates, Phthalates, Animal Testing, Propylene Glycol, FD&C/ Lake Colors, & Synthetic Fragrances

Today I'm going to give the ingredients on the Blood Orange:
Sodium Bicarbonate, Citric Acid, Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom Salt), Sodium Chloride (Dead Sea Salt), *Vitis Vinifera (Grapeseed Oil), Essential Oils, *(Safflower) Tinctorius, Red & Pink French Clay *Organic Ingredient.

If you want to compare them on price as well the Zabana Essentials bath bomb is $4.95 for 4 oz., Hugo Naturals is $4.75 for 6 oz. on Soap Hope and the Twilight Bath Bomb on Lush (one of the bath bombs that I had previously tired and gave me skin irritation) is $6.25 for 6.3 oz.

2. Better Body Hydration

The next replacement for a Lush product I will fully admit I've never even tried.  What I've done here is reviewed Lush's top 25 best selling products and come up with a few alternatives.  The main reason why I've picked Lush's Dream Cream is because it contains parabens.
Methyl and Propyl and Butyl and Ethyl Paraben — Used as inhibitors of microbial growth and to extend shelf life of products. Widely used even though they are known to be toxic. Have caused many allergic reactions and skin rashes. Methyl paraben combines benzoic acid with the methyl group of chemicals. Highly toxic. Source: Organic Consumers Association
I offer you instead Drenched Organic Body Butter* from Organic Bath Co.  Drenched has ingredients you can actually read and understand and is very hydrating.

Ingredients:  Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Oil*, Argania spinosa (Argan) Oil*, Prunus dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil*.  *Certified Organic Ingredient

Photo Credit: Bubble and Bee's website

Also on my wish list to try is Bubble and Bee's new Lavender Vanilla's 100% Organic Body Butter.  I do not currently own this product, but wanted to put it out there as a possible alternative.

Ingredients: Organic shea butter, organic coconut oil with retained coconut meat, organic jojoba oil, organic sunflower oil, organic vanilla extract, organic lavender essential oil.  vegan, no animal testing, gluten-free.

Cost comparison: Lush Dream Cream Body Cream is 8.4 oz. $26.95 and Organic Bath Co. Drenched Body Butter* is 6.8 oz for $29.  One is a lotion and the other is a body butter so they may not be a perfect comparison, but you will get purer ingredients with Organic Bath Co.'s product. Also on my wish list is Bubble and Bee's new Lavender Vanilla Body Butter $24.95 for 8 oz.

3. Safer Suds

When I saw that one of the top 25 products was a patchouli soap that they called Karma I fully admit I new right away a there was a better soap out there.  Again this soap has SLS in it among other offenders.  Why Lush why?  Pass on this Karma and get ready to connect with your inner Hippie.

I offer you Dirty Hippie.  Yes, you heard me.  Pacha Soap's Dirty Hippie.  If you want some good Karma in your life this is the brand of soap to buy.  Not only does is smell great they do great things.  Check out this blog post here about the brand.

Ingredients: Organic Palm Oil*, Organic Coconut Oil, Water, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sodium Hydroxide**, Castor Oil, Unrefined Shea Butter, Patchouli Essential Oil, Organic Oats, Organic Patchouli Leaf Powder, Nutmeg Essential Oil, Clove Bud Essential Oil, Grapefruit Seed Extract *sustainable  **None remains after saponifying oils into soap and glycerin

Cost comparison: Pacha Soap's Dirty Hippie is $6.00 for 4 oz. vs. Lush's Karma is $7.95 for 3.5 oz.

Are you a Lush user?  Were you aware of their ingredients?  I commend their cruelty free status, but do believe that overall the brand is much over-hyped.

For a few other green blogger's perspective on the to Lush or not to Lush question be sure to check out:
Amber's Beauty Talk
Rainbow Feet