Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Good Deal Alert! Zoya Nail Polish 70% Off on November 25th

Here's a nice surprise for all you nail polish lovers out there: Zoya is offering 70% off ANY purchase on their website on November 25th with code YAY. Great opportunity to stock up for yourself or fill some stockings. 


Zoya Black Friday 70% Off Sale

Thursday, September 22, 2016

ELF Cosmetics Just Joined the New York Stock Exchange - Eyes Lips Face

e.l.f. Cosmetics, Inc.

Want to buy some stock in Eyes Lips Face Cosmetics? This one did surprise me. Just received an e-mail from the ELF CEO that they went public and are now being traded on the NY Stock Exchange. Their ticker symbol is "elf"!

While I recommend avoiding their low end products, their higher end cosmetics are worth a look. As always, read the ingredients lists. They also sell some very nice brushes and a value eyelash curler.

Dear e.l.f. Friends,

Thank you for your support of e.l.f. Cosmetics over the past 12 years. I am incredibly proud to tell you that as of this morning, e.l.f. is officially listed as a public company on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol "elf." This is an exciting milestone for e.l.f. Cosmetics, and one that we could only achieve thanks to your loyalty and support.

This step in e.l.f.'s journey gives us further resources to help achieve our mission of making luxurious beauty accessible for all women to play beautifully®. Our mission is powered by our values of Delight our Consumers, Do the Right Thing, Work Together to Win, and Execute with Speed and Quality. 

We invite you to join us in this celebration. As a token of our appreciation, please visitelfcosmetics.com or our e.l.f. stores to find out more about #elfringsthebell special gifts and celebration offers.

Our vibrant community is what makes e.l.f. such a special brand. Thank you for your unbelievable advocacy and collaboration over the years. On behalf of everyone at e.l.f. Cosmetics, we look forward to continuing to deliver high-quality cosmetics at an extraordinary value to inspire each of you to play beautifully everyday.


Tarang Amin
Chairman and CEO
e.l.f. Cosmetics

Drugstore.com and Beauty.com Will Close September 30th

Sadly, one of my favorite websites will be no more in a few days. Drugstore.com (also Beauty.com) sent an e-mail out to customers a few days ago stating that they will close forever on September 30, 2016. That is rather short notice, but not completely unexpected since they were purchased by Walgreens back in 2011 and never performed strongly after that.

R.I.P. Drugstore.com and Beauty.com.

On September 30, 2016, drugstore.com will shut down. All sales are final beginning on September, 1. No returns will be accepted, and products will be sold as is, without warranty. We are not responsible for any losses incurred due to attempted returns of purchases made after September 1.

All products purchased prior to September 1, 2016 will still be eligible for returns based on the policy in place at that time. Returns for those products will be accepted for 30 days post purchase.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. This change will affect both drugstore.com and Beauty.com websites:

Beauty.com | drugstore.com 

Thank you for being a valued drugstore.com customer.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

June Empties: Paraben Free Shampoo Reviews - Jason Biotin Shampoo, Shea Moisture Wash & Shampoo, Alba Botanica Shampoo

June empties! I continue to work my way through my closet of half used products. In June, I finished off Jason Biotin Shampoo, Shea Moisture Olive Baby Wash and Shampoo, and Alba Botanic Shampoo.

Jason Restorative Biotin Shampoo
Jason Restorative Biotin Shampoo
$7, 16 ounces
Aqua (Water) , Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate , Decyl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (1), Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract (1), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (1), Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract (1), Equisetum Arvense Leaf Extract (1), Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract (1), Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Biotin, Citric Acid, Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Dimethicone , Glycerin, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Panthenol, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Sodium Phytate, Sodium Sulfate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Alcohol (1), Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Coumarin, Fragrance (Parfum)    

Review: I have purchased the Jason Restorative Shampoo and Conditioner line several times over the years. They can really make a difference if you have damaged hair. My hair feels immediately softer after using the shampoo. The bottle is a flip top that you can store upside down so gravity keeps product available. My negatives about this shampoo is that it can be a bit too perfumed and that it is thin. The majority of organic and paraben free shampoos that I use are nice and thick (almost conditioner consistency). There is a lot of water in this shampoo. I would not recommend this for regular use because your hair will eventually go flat, but if you need short-term help, give Jason Restorative Biotin a try.

Shea Moisture Olive Oil and Marula Baby Head-To-Toe Wash
Shea Moisture Olive Oil and Marula Baby Head-To-Toe Wash
$6.50, 12 ounces
Deionized Water, Decyl Glucoside (Coconut Oil), Lauroyl Lactylate (Palm Kernel), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Sclerocarya birrea (Marula) Seed Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe Vera), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Guar, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower (and) Lonicera Japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Essential Oil Blend

Review: I am a big, big fan of Shea Moisture products. I have used them for several years. I generally stock up at the Walgreens sales. I used the Olive Oil and Marula wash as a shampoo. It smells to good. It also has avacado and shea butter. This is a very rich, thick shampoo. The quality of the Shea Moisture products is always something I appreciate. The shampoo is very thick and not watered down like the Jason's shampoo above. It takes very little product to wash your hair. No artificial fragrances. The ingredients create their own fragrance. Will repurchase this again.

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Hair Wash Coconut Milk
Alba Botanica Hawaiian Hair Wash Coconut Milk
$6.50, 12 ounces
Aqua, aloe barbadensis, sodium lauryl sulfoacetate, cocoamidopropyl betaine, soyapropylkonium chloride, citric acid, panthenol, glycine soja (soybean protein), glycerin, oil of macadamia ternifolia, guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, ananas sativus (pineapple), carica papaya (papaya), zingiber zerumbet (awapuhi), chamomilla recutita (matricaria), oil of aleurites moluccana, cocos nucifera (coconut), ethylhexylglycerin, amodimethicone, phenoxyethanol, glyceryl cocoate, macrocystis pyrifera (kelp), sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, fragrance.

Review: I'm not ashamed to say I buy this shampoo because of the way it smells. Every couple of years, I buy the Coconut Milk or the Gardenia varieties of shampoo. It's a tropical punch in the nose, so avoid if you have allergies or are sensitive to strong scents.The shampoo itself does the job. The Alba shampoo is mostly water. It's very runny. If you aren't careful, you will end up with a handful of shampoo. Will probably purchase again next year.

I have been buying the majority of my beauty products from the Lucky Vitamin website. I used Vitacost for years before I found Lucky. Better prices and selection of the products I like. Sign up for their e-mail for discount codes.

Lucky Vitamin Website Link

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Good Deal Alert: ZOYA Nail Polish - Buy 3, Get 3 + Free Shipping

Just a quick note that Zoya nail polish is having a good July 4th sale. Buy 3 and get 3 free. Plus free shipping with code 34FREE. If you aren't interested in purchasing that many polishes at once, the code also appears to work for free shipping on a single item. I think it's time to stock up on new colors.

Zoya July 4th Sale Link

Monday, June 27, 2016

Check The Expiration Dates On Your Over-The-Counter Medications

I'm always banging my drum to check your makeup products for their expiration dates since they can carry Staph and other diseases. Well, here is a post to get you to clean our your medicine cabinet. You're probably going to need the big trash can for this one.

We have two bathrooms, upstairs and downstairs. Over the course of a year, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and related products float between the two, are replaced in one and forgotten about in the other. We don't need two bathrooms full of products, but that's how things migrate around the house. I got on a tear this weekend and cleaned out the bathroom cabinets, drawers and under the sinks. There were so. many. expired. products. In the downstairs bathroom, I filled up a kitchen trash bag with expired products, empty containers (!) and broken bits that had found their way to the back of drawers. The do we have any lipbalm? was answered when I found a dozen tubes in various corners of the downstairs bathroom. I'm not joking.

Expired over-the-counter medications and vitamins

This stack is what I pulled from my bathroom. Most of these are vitamins and digestive aids. Their expirations date from 2013 and up. I had a bottle of Tylenol not pictured that expired in 2011. That's FIVE YEARS out of date. I hung my head in shame.

Aside from taking vitamins and medications that were woefully out of date, most of these bottles were barely used. We couldn't find X because it wasn't where it was supposed to be. Buy another one and start using it. The first one turns up. Circle of life. So much money wasted. I estimate this stack is about $50 in unused, outdated products. Ouch.  

Some suggestions I am implementing to keep our meds fresh and my money out of the trash can.
  • Streamline medications - Do you really need 5 products for a single issue?
  • Which products actually work well for you? 
  • Dedicate a single space for storage and return errant bottles there.
  • Keep a special eye on the expiration dates of liquid medications, those tend to turn faster.
  • Buy generic medications at the Dollar Tree or similar stores: aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxin, allergy, Excedrine Migraine (20 pills for $1).
  • Time to turn back the clock? Time to change your fire alarm batteries and the expiration dates on all the products you use.
While a bottle of Vitamin B two years out of expiration probably won't hurt you, you won't get the same benefit as a fresher product. Vitamins and medications do break down over time, both physically and in potency. Since most people keep medicine in the bathroom, you have to factor in heat and moisture into the viability of expired products. I had a huge bottle of flax seed oil pills turn into a gelatin concrete mass because I kept it in the bathroom. Don't repeat my mistakes.

Further discussion about expiration dates.

Drugs You Never Take Past Their Expiration Date
Harvard: Drug Expiration Dates - Do They Mean Anything?

Guidance from the FDA of prescription medication disposal. I strongly disagree with flushing medication down the toilet. For any "flushable" medications they name, I would recommend crushing them up and throwing them out with the cat litter, coffee grounds or something else fairly disgusting. The point is to keep them out of the hands of addicts. That doesn't mean you need to destroy the environment by putting them into the water system.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Just Discovered Lily Farm Fresh Organic Skin Care - Paraben Free, Gluten Free

I just ran across an article about Lily Farm Fresh Organic Skin Care and wanted to share their products with the readers. This company is based in Colorado and uses ingredients they grow on their own organic farm - 7th generation farmers. USDA certified organic. I think that's pretty cool.

Lily Farm Fresh Organic Skin Care
 Let's check out some of their products.
Lily Farm Fresh Organic Skin Care Nourishing Facial Cleanser

Lily Farm Fresh Organic Skin Care Nourishing Facial Cleanser, 3.4 ounces, $18.35

Purified water, Lily’s homemade almond oil soap, natural grain alcohol, vegetable glycerin, symphytum officinale (comfrey*), chondrus crispus (irish moss), hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel), citrus limon (lemon juice*), xanthomonas campestris (xanthan gum), hectorite mineral, citrus grandis (citrus seed extract), essential oils of lavandula angustifolia (lavender), salvia officinalis (sage), melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree), rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary), cinnamomum camphora (camphor), and tocopherol (vitamin E oil) 

   Lily Farm Fresh Organic Skin Care Calming Facial Toner – Unscented

Lily Farm Fresh Organic Skin Care Calming Facial Toner – Unscented, 3.4 ounces, $22.39

Purified water, natural grain alcohol, vegetable glycerin, aloe vera spp. (aloe vera), eucalyptus globulus (eucalyptus*), symphytum officinale (comfrey*), foeniculum vulgare (fennel*), laminariales (kelp*), calendula officinalis (calendula*), sambucus nigra (elder*), chamomilla recutita (chamomile*), tussilago farfara (coltsfoot*), equisetum arvense (horsetail*), and citrus grandis (citrus seed extract) *USDA certified organic

Lily Farm Fresh Organic Skin Care Hydrating Moisture Mist

Lily Farm Fresh Organic Skin Care Hydrating Moisture Mist, 3.4 ounces, $19.95

Purified water, natural grain alcohol, symphytum officinale (comfrey*), chondrus crispus (irish moss), matricaria recutita (chamomile*), calendula officinalis (calendula*), vegetable glycerin, essential oils of cananga odorata (ylang ylang) and lavandula angustifolia (lavender), and citrus grandis (citrus seed extract) *USDA certified organic

Lily Farm Fresh Organic Skin Care Rejuvenating Enzyme Mask

Lily Farm Fresh Organic Skin Care Rejuvenating Enzyme Mask, 1.6 ounces, $29.99

Honey, natural grain alcohol, carica papaya (papaya), ananas comosus (pineapple), symphytum officinale (comfrey*), equisetum spp. (horsetail*), mentha piperita (mint*), tocopherol (Vitamin E oil), ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), and citrus grandis (citrus seed extract)
*USDA certified organic

Lily Farm Fresh Organic Skin Care
Lily'scustomers give them raving reviews. I signed up for the mailing list. I really like that this is a family operation and they are their own organic farm. Complete transparency. They even give you an interesting behind-the-scenes tour of their lab.

Original article I read.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Post Update: NYX Lipstick Contains BHA, a Known Carcinogen and Dangerous Ingredient

My post about NYX Lipstick containing BHA and BHT from 2011 still receives quite a bit of traffic so I thought an update would be helpful for people who run across it. To summarize for new readers: NYX products are inexpensive but many contain ingredients that are known carcinogens, especially their lip products. Let me repeat that: Some NYX lipstick and lip gloss products contain BHA (a known carcinogen) and BHT (toxic for human immune systems) . 

What does BHA and BHT do?  Both of these are antioxidants and fragrance maskers. They keep products fresh and smelling nice.

From the Environmental Working Group

About BHA: BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) is a preservative and stabilizer; U.S. National Toxicology Program, a part of the National Institutes of Health, has classified BHA as "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen" based on evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. 

About BHT: Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) is a toluene-based ingredient used as a preservative in food and personal care products. Known human immune toxicant or allergen.

About TOLUENE: A volatile petrochemical solvent and paint thinner, toluene is a potent neurotoxicant that acts as an irritant, impairs breathing, and causes nausea. Mother’s exposure to toluene vapors during pregnancy may cause developmental damage in the fetus. In human epidemiological studies and in animal studies toluene has been also associated with toxicity to the immune system and a possible link to blood cancer such as malignant lymphoma. (Toluene is what makes nail polish smell good. Most polish companies removed Toluene from their products years ago.)

NYX Extra Creamy Round Lipstick - Contains Carcinogen BHA

Let's take a moment and reapply our lipstick. Having any second thoughts about NYX yet? I went through the NYX website's lip products and looked at the ingredients for all of their products. Here are the BHA and BHT winners for 2016.
NYX does sell lip products that don't contain BHA or BHT. If they can formulate their new products without them, why can't they update the formulas for their older products that so many people purchase? Read your labels. As a consumer, you don't have to settle. Spend your money with companies who care about the health and safety of their customers.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Favorite Things: 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream

100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye CreamI was organizing my products draw and realized I needed to do another post about my love for the 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream. I've been using it twice a day for over 5 years now and can't do without out. I actually ran out a few months ago and my under eyes were miserable. I knew the cream was luxurious and felt good on my skin but I hadn't realized how much my eyes really needed it. After a co-worker asked if I was feeling well (eye puffiness and tired look), I threw my hands up and was fortunate to catch the cream on sale. I stocked up.

Below are 3 of the 4 Coffee Bean Eye Creams I purchased from the 100% Pure website (on sale!). I average about one tube a quarter, so this stash will hopefully do me for the rest of the year. When this product first came out, they were in a glass pump bottle. Cut to me scraping the inside with a eye shadow brush handle to get the remaining product out. I am very happy that 100% Pure has changed to squeeze tubes for most of their products.

Paraben Free 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream Review100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream, 1 ounce, $25
Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Leaf Juice*, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water (Organic Rose Hydrosol)*, Rosa Canina Seed Extract (Rosehip Oil), Coffea Arabica (Organic Green Coffee) Seed Extract*, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Extracts of Coffea Arabica (Coffee Cherry) Seed, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf, Origanum Vulgare (Oregano) Leaf, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Flower/Leaf, Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal), Vanilla Planifolia (Vanilla Absolute) Fruit, Euphorbia Cerifera Cera (Candelilla Wax) * Certified Organic

If you have never tried this product, the cream is very rich and smooth. You just need to use a dab under your eyes. I sometimes apply twice if my under eye area is feeling tight or dry. The difference is immediate. It vaguely smells like coffee but other than that, no perfumes or funky scents.

Check out the reviews from other users: 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream Reviews

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

My Beauty Blender Just Turned 5!

As I was giving my makeup brushes their weekly washing, I realized I've had that Beauty Blender for quite a while. Digging around on my past orders on Drugstore, I discovered that it and my 100% Pure Caffeine Eye Cream were the first things I ever bought on that website. Last month, that pink wobbly turned five. 

I'm kind of amazed it's still in relatively good shape. I remember the You Tube makeup gurus frequently complaining that theirs fell apart after a few months. I use mine almost every day and wash it weekly (sometimes more often). I don't use any special makeup brush cleaner or baby shampoo. I give the credit to another holy grail item, Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash. I buy the giant 32 ounce refill jug. I put it into a foaming hand soap dispenser and wash everything with it, including my face. It easily removed the heaviest makeup from brushes and the Beauty Blender. Big fan here.

Eventually, this little fella will have to retire and I will buy a new Beauty Blender. I am shooting for 7 years out of this one. I think I can, I think I can...

Makeup brushes and Beauty Blender

5 Year Old Beauty Blender

Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash For Washing Makeup Brushes Sponges
Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash

Around $13-15, 32 Ounces

Castille soap (water (aqua), cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, tall oil, potassium hydroxide), glycerin, eco-harvest melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, hydrastis canadensis (goldenseal) root extract, hedychium coronarium root extract (awapuhi), fucus vesiculosus extract (bladderwrack), cymbopogon martini oil (palmarosa), citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) peel oil, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower oil, calendula officinalis flower oil, callitris introtropica wood oil (blue cypress)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Haul: Roots & Fruits Natural Soaps

It's rare that I do any type of haul these days. Most of my purchases are a re-buy of a holy grail staple that is always in rotation. I purchased a bar of the Roots & Fruits Apple Cider Vinegar & Honey soap about a month ago because I had been reading about apple cider vinegar on hair care forums. I have also been trying to move away from bottled shampoos to shampoo bars. I am wild about this ACV and honey soap! I've been using it exclusively as a shampoo bar for the past three weeks (review on that to come). Giving it a big thumbs up so far.

Roots & Fruits Apple Cider Vinegar & Honey Soap Around $3, 5 ounce bar

This bar was created to help balance your skins natural pH and nourish your skin.
Ingredients: Palm Oil, Kernel Oil, Water, Glycerin, Coconut Acid, Red Palm Oil (Elaeis Guineenis), Fragrance, Shea Butter, (Butyrospermum Parkii), Salt, Apple cider Vinegar (Acetic Acid), Aloe Leaf Juice (Barbandensis), Honey, EDTA, Mineral Pigment, Essential Oil.

Roots & Fruits Soap Haul
The tower of Roots & Fruits soaps are stacked two deep, so there are 12 bars in total. I bought these on Amazon. They are the full size bars and smell divine. Aside from the Apple Cider for my hair, I am also using the Papaya and Chia Seed soap. Makes the entire bathroom smell good. I want to get into all of them to test them out, but I am trying to be good. This will be enough soap to last me the rest of the year. I can guarantee Santa will receive a note to reorder these come December.

Learn more about Roots & Fruits Soaps.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Eye Opener: Medications as a Source of Paraben Exposure

If you think that you only have to avoid parabens in your makeup and beauty products, think again. The National Institute of Health studied individuals from a fertility clinic to see how taking medication containing parabens impacted the concentration of parabens in their bodies.  It's no surprise that actually ingesting something containing parabens will raise the levels of parabens in your body. You can read more about the study below.

This study made me curious and I spent a few minutes searching for over-the-counter medications we actually put in our bodies. You always check the back of that bottle of lotion for ingredients, but do you check your suppositories? 

Preparation H Hemorrhoidal Cream contains Methylparaben and Propylparaben

Preparation H should be called "Preparation Paraben". Those little suppositories contain both methylparaben and propylparaben.
Children's Tylenol Contains Butylparaben

Children's Tylenol Liquid Contains Butylparaben.

  • Parabens are used in some medications and may adversely affect reproduction
  • We compare urinary paraben concentrations in relation to medication use
  • We control for use of personal care products, an important exposure source
  • Paraben-containing medications were associated with increased urinary concentrations
  • Paraben-containing medications can be a source of very high paraben exposure


Determine whether paraben-containing medication contributes to high urinary paraben concentrations.


Individuals at a fertility clinic provided multiple urine samples during evaluation/treatment and reported 24-hour use of medications and personal care products (PCP). Repeated measures models compared specific gravity-adjusted urinary methyl, propyl, and butyl paraben concentrations between samples “exposed” and “unexposed” to paraben-containing medication.


Eleven participants contributed 12 exposed and 45 unexposed samples, among which paraben concentrations did not differ. Use within seven hours was associated with 8.7-fold and 7.5-fold increases in mean methyl (P=0.11) and propyl (P=0.10) paraben concentrations, respectively, after adjusting for PCP use. However, these associations decreased to 1.3-fold (P=0.76) and 2.6-fold (P=0.34), respectively, after removal of one influential individual.


Paraben-containing medications contributed to higher urinary paraben concentrations within hours of use.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Favorite Things: Uncle Harry's All Natural Tooth Powder - Paraben Free, No SLS

For years, I have been using the dental products recommended by my dentist. Your dentist should know what is best for your teeth and gums, right? RIGHT? Not so much.

I had extremely sensitive teeth. The slightest hot or cold would make my whole mouth hurt. My dentist recommended Sensodyne this, Crest Pro that and gallons of different mouth washes. Not only did my teeth still hurt, but I would frequently develop blisters on the inside of my mouth after brushing. My gums were also starting to recede from a couple of teeth. I was faithful to dental hygiene and was always very careful with my teeth. Why was this happening?

I stopped that chemical freight train just like I did when I went paraben free and started doing research. I found I was not alone in my overly sensitive teeth and mouth blistering. Many other people were complaining of the same issues.

The frequently named ingredients culprits:
  • sodium laurel sulfate 
  • triclosan
  • fluoride (yep, some people have an allergy)
  • plastic bits used in whitening toothpastes 
  • saccharin  
I threw my tubes and bottles in the trash and hoofed it over to Whole Foods where I purchased Desert Essence Natural Tea Tree Oil & Neem Toothpaste. My mouth stopped blistering and my teeth sensitivity dropped quite a bit. I liked the toothpaste but I noticed my teeth were starting to look dingy. That's when I found Uncle Harry's All Natural Tooth Powder.

Uncle Harry's All Natural Tooth Powder

Uncle Harry's All Natural Tooth Powder is as basic as it gets. Natural chalk, sea salt and some essential oils. Basic and amazing. It cleans your teeth and balances the ph in your mouth for healthier gums. It also really freshens your mouth. My teeth started getting whiter after the first brushing. I use the regular but there is a whitening version as well. It's a powder, shake a little into your palm and scoop it up with a wet toothbrush. You would be amazed at how little product you have to use to brush your entire mouth.

I'm on my third bottle of this and couldn't be happier with the results. I went in for a checkup last week and the hygienist kept commenting on how healthy my gums looked. She fussed about not having anything to scrape. The best part was when she blasted my teeth with cold water to rinse. It didn't hurt at all.

Seriously, if you have teeth or gum issues that never seem to get better, check out some of the Uncle Harry products. They are reasonably priced and certainly worth a try.

  • Whiter teeth
  • Fresher breath
  • Gums are happy
  • Healthy feeling mouth
  • Use less product
  • No toothpaste globs smeared in the sink
  • No toothpaste globs clogging the drain
  • Impress your hygienist

Monday, June 6, 2016

I Wonder If I Can Make Pope Francis Go Paraben Free...

When I saw the headline that Pope Francis met with You Tube beauty vloggers, I laughed. It had to be an Onion story. Nope. He met and praised fashion and beauty personalities for their positive messages and sense of community. Thinking on it a bit, I have to agree with him. Regardless of the topic, a good blog or You Tube channel can bring people together for a common interest and create a micro community. This is one hip Pope.

Now, I just need to get Pope Francis on the paraben free wagon.

"The eclectic group of 12 YouTubers addressing the pontiff included Louise Pentland, a British videomaker behind the Sprinkle of Glitter channel, who was praised by the pope for her fashion and beauty clips.
“I am glad that you carry out the type of work you said, following the line of beauty, it’s a great thing. To preach beauty and show beauty helps neutralise aggression,” said the pope, sharing a table and laughing along with the video bloggers.
The pontiff instead advised the videomakers to help those of their followers who feel lost. “You can create a virtual identity; you belong to this circle at least virtually. From that you can start taking a path of optimism and hope,” he said."

Read the Guardian article.

Friday, June 3, 2016

May Empties and Reviews: Burt's Bees, Shea Moisture, Physician's Formula Organic Mascara

Shea Moisture shampoo, Burt's Bees conditioner, Physician's Formula Organic mascara, Carmindy powder

Just finished up Shea Moisture Curl & Shine Shampoo, Burt's Bees More Moisture Conditioner, Physician's Formula Organic Mascara and a powder compact by Carmindy for Sally Hansen. I've been trying hard to shop my bathroom closet and get through all of those half-used bottles and tubes before they expire.

It's embarrassing how may bottles that are half full or less stacked up in the closet. I'll eventually make my way through it all. Eventually.

Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Shampoo Paraben Free

Shea Moisture Coconut Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo 13 ounces, $10. 

Deionized Water, Decyl Glucoside (Sugar Beets), Cocos Nucifera Oil (Coconut) (Certified Organic), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) (Certified Organic), Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Vitamin E, Melia Azadirachta Seed Oil (Neem), Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate (Coconut Oil), Panthenol (Vitamin B-5), Rosemary Extract, Silk Protein, Lonicera Caprifolium Flower Extract (Honeysuckle), Lonicera Japonica Flower Extract (Japanese Honeysuckle)

Review: I have purchased various Shea Moisture products over the years. Thumbs up on the entire line. The shampoo and conditioner are very thick and smell fantastic. Most shampoos are mostly water, you get your money's worth in this small bottle. Since it is so thick, use half the amount of what you would normally use. Rub it between your hands and then work it into your hair. Don't plop a squirt of it directly on your scalp, you need to work it through your hair.

This version is made for thick, curly hair. My hair isn't curly but I use it because it is so rich and moisturizing. It made an immediate difference on my hair. Recommended.

Burt's Bees More Moisture Conditioner Organic Paraben Free

Burt's Bees More Moisture Conditioner 10 ounces, $8.

aqua (water, eau), cetyl alcohol, brassica alcohol, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, cetearyl alcohol, persea gratissima (avocado) oil, adansonia digitata oil, hydrolyzed jojoba protein, arginine, theobroma grandiflorum seed butter, parfum (fragrance)*, sodium polyaspartate, stearyldimoniumhydroxypropyl laurylglucosides chloride, glycerin, brassicyl isoleucinate esylate, cetrimonium bromide, guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, behenyl behenate, lactic acid, sodium chloride, leuconostoc ferment filtrate, potassium sorbate, phenoxyethanol, limonene, linalool *natural fragrance

Review: I'm a big fan of the Burt's Bees conditioner line. It is another very thick hair product that actually saves you money since it's not watered down. This smells great. Just a dab will do you since it's so thick. Start at the bottom of your hair and work your way up. I also used this as on occasional leave in. Recommended.

Physician's Formula Organic Wear Mascara Paraben Free

Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Water*, Glycerin*, *Iron Oxides, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Beeswax*, Jojoba Esters, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax*, Tapioca Starch*, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract*, Stearic Acid, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil*, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract*, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract*, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract*, Cellulose Gum, Glycerin, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate May Contain: Titanium Dioxide

Review: I'm a long-time user of the Organic Wear mascara line. Nearly a decade now? Before I went paraben free and used regular mascaras, I was losing several eyelashes every week. Since changing to this mascara, I lose one or two a month. This was a moment of enlightenment for me. 
I've tried most of the different versions that have come out, but I always return to the original or the Jumbo Lash. I wouldn't recommend their Fake Out mascara with fibers for daily use. Those little fibers fall off and into your eyes. The original is a holy grail product for me. I take it off with grape see oil (another holy grail product). A couple swipes and it's gone. Recommended. Try it!

Sally Hansen Natural Beauty by Carmindy Paraben Free

Sally Hansen Natural Beauty by Carmindy Pressed Powder. 

This one makes me a sad panda. I was a huge fan of the Carmindy line of cosmetics that Sally Hansen put out. The ingredients were great, they were quality products and reasonably priced. Unfortunately, Carmindy stopped partnering with Sally Hansen to start her own line (which apparently did not take off) and these wonderful products were discontinued. I was very upset. They gave me the perfect makeup line and then took it all away. You can still find the remnants of this line on Amazon and Ebay but I recommend against purchasing. They are near or at the end of their shelf life. I just threw away a couple of unopened lip glosses I had bought in my frenzy to grab what was left. I'm going to sit in a corner and pout for a while.

Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Water*, Glycerin*, *Iron Oxides, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Beeswax*, Jojoba Esters, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax*, Tapioca Starch*, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract*, Stearic Acid, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil*, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract*, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract*, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract*, Cellulose Gum, Glycerin, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate May Contain: Titanium Dioxide - See more at: http://www.physiciansformula.com/en-us/productdetail/eyes/mascara/01063.html#sthash.1FOryiBp.dpuf

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Favorite Things: Crystal Body Deodorant - Paraben Free - No Aluminum Chlorohydrate - Environmentally Friendly

I have been using Crystal Body Deodorant for a decade now. I initially started using the rock crystal because it was really budget friendly. A rock if used and kept properly can last you for years. No joke. I used my last crystal deodorant stone for three years before I needed to buy a new one.

Crystal deodorant paraben free
But don't you stink? Um, no. The minerals in crystal deodorant create a barrier on your skin that helps prevent bacteria from forming. No bacteria, no funk. I did experience a week of weird smells as I transitioned from using a solid stick deodorant to the crystal. I think my body was actually detoxing from having my pores clogged up by Secret for so many years. Learn more about how mineral deodorants work.

I  have tried the spray and roller versions of Crystal Body Deodorant but prefer the simple rock. It's just a big rock of mineral salts with a little tray. It's cheap and I'd rather not use a tube or plastic bottle when a good alternative is available.

Benefits of using Crystal Body Deodorant:
  • It's paraben free, aluminum chlorohydrate free and doesn't clog up your skin.
  • There's no scent! 
  • It's safe for all ages.
  • You won't be throwing out plastic deodorant tubes X times per year.
  • It doesn't stain or smear your clothing. No more white stripes! Minerals are clear.
  • You will save crazy money by using a crystal. I bought a 5 ounce rock on sale at Trader Joe's for $5.50. My 3 ounce rock lasted 3 years. You do the math on 3 years of deodorant tube$.  
  • It travels easily. No worrying about spills or airport security.
  • You can use anywhere on your body. Say goodbye to stinky feet.

My recent purchase of a 5 ounce deodorant crystal from Trader Joe's. It comes with a little storage tray. If you look closely in the circle, you can see the sliver remains of the 3 ounce crystal I used for three years. These crystals will last forever if you use and store them correctly.

How I Use & Store My Deodorant Crystal:
  • After my shower (and I shower every day), I wet the crystal in the sink and give my underarms a couple of swipes. That's it. If you are still shower wet, you can use the crystal dry but I prefer a little extra moisture.
  • I give the crystal a quick rinse under the faucet and then store it in the tray in my bathroom cabinet.
  • Store it wet side up. If you store it face down, it will melt a bit (it is essentially salt) and create a rough texture on that side. 
  • Enjoy the savings, being paraben free and environmentally friendly!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Product Review: Circa Beauty by Eva Mendes

When I first discovered the Circa Beauty line by Eva Mendes, I was really excited. The products looked solid and I loved the art deco vibe of the packaging. The reality of my product experience is not a positive one. All but one of the 5 products I purchased ended up in the trash within the first 30 days. I've held off on doing a review because I was so aggravated and disappointed, I needed some distance to review objectively.

Circa Beauty by Eva Mendes

Circa Beauty by Eva Mendes. Available at
Walgreens.com, and  Drugstore.com - even though the Circa website says it's only available at Walgreens.

My first post about Circa was over a year ago. I ordered foundation, concealer, lipstick, lip butter and mascara from Drugstore.com for $58. My receipt is at the bottom. When I started unwrapping and unboxing items, I noticed how poorly made and cheap the plastic packaging felt. It was pretty but the package quality reminded me of Wet 'n Wild. That was my first disappointment. There was so much more to come. Looking back, I should have boxed everything up and sent it back to Drugstore and spent my $58 somewhere else. I was just too stubborn and determined to make these products work for me.

My Circa Beauty product reviews:

Circa Beauty Color Balance Liquid Foundation Review

Circa Beauty Color Balance Liquid Foundation, 1 ounce - $15. This is a very high quality foundation for the price. It is extremely thick and I have to cut it with a drop of facial oil. I may purchase this again.

Solid glass bottle with a pump. The lid is cheap, ill-fitting plastic. I could turn the bottle upside down and shake it and the lid would fall off. I dropped this on the floor multiple times because of the lid. I eventually threw the lid away.

Circa Beauty Studio Edit Full Coverage Concealer Review

Circa Beauty Studio Edit Full Coverage Concealer, .15 ounces - $12. This concealer crayon was broken when I received it. I pulled off the cheap plastic cap and half the product fell to the bathroom floor. I cleaned it off and shoved it back into the tube. I tried to use this product a couple of times, but the crayon felt dry to me. I thew it all out after the product fell out onto the bathroom floor again.

Circa Beauty Optical Illusion Lash Lengthening Mascara Review
Circa Beauty Optical Illusion Lash Lengthening Mascara, .25 ounces - $11. The first time I opened this tube of mascara, the cap on the end came off. Just slid right off. I don't think it was even glued to the wand handle. I tried to glue it back on myself, but the cap just kept coming off. This went into the trash after two weeks.

The mascara itself was very good quality and had staying power. The wand did a good job of application. I had to really work to remove this mascara at the end of the day.

Circa Beauty Color Absolute Velvet Luxe Lipstick, 07 Vivien Review

Circa Beauty Color Absolute Velvet Luxe Lipstick, .12 ounces - $10. This is in the color Vivien. I actually laughed when I opened this tube. You can see in the product photo that it appears to be a subtle shade of pink. The actual lipstick was more of a coral neon flamingo. It was bright and it was loud, really loud. The packaging on this was slightly better quality than the others, but the lipstick was unusable to me. $10 out the window.

I did try it on just to test the product. The lipstick is thick and provides full coverage. I left it on about five minutes before I could feel my lips drawing because of lack of moisture.

Circa Beauty Color Treatment Tinted Lip Butter Review
Circa Beauty Color Treatment Tinted Lip Butter, .1 ounces - $10. This is in the color Sheer Poppy. I received the color in the photo. The packaging for this was just awful. They packaged what is essentially a skinny Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer stick into a lipstick case. Not much product at all. That clear plastic lid just sat on the base, it didn't snap on. I tried carrying this in my purse, but after the third time the lid came off, I was tired of it smearing the inside of my bag. This went into the trash.

The lip butter itself was nice. Subtle color and good moisture. I would buy it again if they would just package it in a regular lip balm tube.

In the end, the only product from the Circa Beauty line that did not make it into the trash within 30 days of my purchase is the foundation. I still have a quarter of the foundation left and save it for when I need thick coverage. Overall, I think the Circa Beauty line has some quality products for the price. However, any advantage they may have with quality is being overshadowed by the cheap packaging impacting the user experience. Would you use a product that fell out of the tube every time you picked it up?

Drugstore.com Circa Beauty Order
Drugstore.com Circa Beauty Order

Thursday, May 26, 2016

What's NOT an Ingredient a Selling Point for Paraben, Gluten, and Sulfate Free Products

Interesting article from the Wall Street Journal about how marketers are now touting what's not in their products. The NO labels have been gaining strength the past couple of years. I have found these labels useful when scanning shelves for new products. I will pick up these items before ones without special labeling. Regardless of what the front may say, you need to read what is on the back of the package. Just because a product may not have one of the ingredients you are avoiding, that doesn't mean it automatically checks off the rest of your list. If a product has even one of the ingredients that I avoid, I won't buy it. Not everyone will be as hardcore in their purchase decisions, but I have been doing it for years and have managed to survive.

Ingredients that I avoid:

Parabens and BHT can be in just about any product, including bars of soap.
  • BHT
You will find these in shampoos and conditioners. Major skin irritants. Can cause scalp blistering and hair loss.
Common ingredients in sunscreen and most any product with an SPF. They can cause serious skin irritation and chemical burns. I use products with zinc and titanium dioxide instead.
No toothpaste with SLS. This is actually a skin irritant and blisters the inside of my mouth.

If you have a question about whether an ingredient is safe, check it in the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.

In the U.S., women use on average 12 products a day containing a total of 168 unique ingredients, according to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit that researches chemicals in consumer products, among other things. Men use an average of six products with 85 unique ingredients.- Wall Street Journal

Read the full Wall Street Journal article.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Gwyneth Paltrow Joins Juice Beauty to Create Organic Phyto-Pigments Makeup Collection - Paraben Free

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow wants to put her goop on your face. But that's not a bad thing when the goop comes from Juice Beauty. The new Phyto-Pigments collection looks promising. The pricing for this line is comparable with some of the higher end brands and may be a nice transition from those to something more organic - and paraben free.

Gwyneth Paltrow Juice Beauty Makeup Collection
Gwyneth Paltrow for Juice Beauty

The collection contains mainstay pieces. The price point is a bit above what I normally would pay but they are definitely going on my wish list. Currently available on the Juice Beauty website and Ulta. Gwyneth also has a line of her skin care goop by Juice Beauty on her official site.


Juice Beauty PHYTO-PIGMENTS Flawless Serum FoundationPHYTO-PIGMENTS Flawless Serum Foundation - 1 ounce, $42

Ingredients: Aloe barbadensis (organic aloe juice)*, carthamnus tinctorius (organic safflower oil)*, organic glycerin*, potassium cetyl phosphate, sorbitan sesquioleate, coconut alkanes, coco-caprylate/caprate (plant derived), gluconolactone (plant derived), cetearyl olivate (plant derived), sorbitan olivate (plant derived), sodium benzoate, decyl glucoside (plant derived), silica, hydroxyethylcellulose, sodium bicarbonate, citrus limonum leaf cell extract, helianthus annuus (sunflower seed oil), vitis vinifera (organic grape seed oil)*, tocopherol (Vitamin E), tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (Vitamin C), argania spinosa (argan shell powder), rosa gallica (rose flower powder). May contain: titanium dioxide, iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499).

Juice Organics PHYTO-PIGMENTS Last Looks Cream Blush
PHYTO-PIGMENTS Last Look Cream Blush - .11 ounces, $24

Cocos nucifera (organic coconut oil)*, ricinus communis (organic castor seed oil)*, copernicia cerifera (organic carnauba wax)*, helianthus annuus (organic sunflower seed oil)*, rhus verniciflua peel wax, methyl dehydroabietate (plant derived), mica, euphorbia cerifera (candelilla wax), simmondsia chinensis (organic jojoba seed oil)*, isopropyl jojobate, jojoba alcohol, jojoba esters, tocopherol (vitamin E), helianthus annuus (sunflower seed oil), oryza sativa (rice bran extract), rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary leaf extract), polyglyceryl-10 heptahydroxystearate, butyrospermum parkii (organic shea butter)*, vitis vinifera (grape seed oil), sclerocarya birrea seed oil, rosa gallica (rose flower powder), malus domestica fruit cell culture extract, citrus limonum leaf cell extract, vegetable glycerin, phospholipids (plant derived), silica, magnesium silicate, betaine (plant derived), sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer. May contain: titanium dioxide, iron oxides (77491, 77492, 77499).

Juice Beauty PHYTO-PIGMENTS Satin Lip Cream

PHYTO-PIGMENTS Satin Lip Cream - .11 ounces, $24

Ingredients: Ricinus communis (organic castor seed oil)*, helianthus annuus (organic sunflower seed oil)*, copernica cerifera (organic carnauba wax)*, butyrospermum parkii (organic shea butter)*, methyl dihydroabietate (plant derived), simmondsia chinensis (organic jojoba seed oil)*, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange peel wax), sucrose acetate isobutyrate (plant derived), euphorbia cerifera (candelilla wax), helianthus annuus (sunflower seed wax), hydrogenated jojoba oil, malus domestica fruit cell culture extract, citrus limonum leaf cell extract, helianthus annuus (sunflower seed oil), oryza sativa (rice bran extract), rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary leaf extract), tocopherol (Vitamin E), polyglyceryl-10 heptahydroxystearate, vegetable glycerin, magnesium silicate, silica, vitis vinifera (grape seed oil), betaine (plant derived), sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer, phospholipids (plant derived), rosa gallica (rose flower powder), melia azadirachta leaf extract, melia azadirachta flower extract, amino esters-1, coccinia indica leaf extract, solanum melongena (eggplant fruit extract), aloe barbadensis flower extract, ocimum sanctum leaf extract, ocimum basilicum (basil flower extract), corallina officinalis extract. May contain: titanium dioxide, iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77499), mica.