Monday, December 5, 2016

Focus on Forward w/#terimiyahirabeauty

The year may be coming to an end, but it has me looking forward to what's to come in the future, much like subscription boxes. It's always fun to see what surprises can be found in the next box.

As you know, I've been receiving the Teri Miyahira Beauty Box for quite some time now (you can read my past posts here, here, here, here and here). I just knew I had something special coming in the mail, when the November 2016 box arrived on my doorstep the other day. It's packed with all you need to give your face a contoured look for your next holiday party or whenever you want to achieve that effect.

First of all, it came with more vegan makeup brushes to help complete my Teri Miyahira Beauty Vegan Rose Gold Makeup Brush Collection (remember my excitement when the Commit & Persist box contained four of these brushes?). These brushes are so soft and fluffy, and I adore the rose gold accents. No. 3 is a contour buffing brush for applying contouring powder to the hollows of the cheeks and jawline. No. 8 is a fan brush for highlighting the tops of the cheekbones and down the bridge of the nose, and No. 11 is a small eye blending brush that's perfect for both eyes and precision nose shaping.

Next up, is the 100% natural, vegan and cruelty-free "Focus" Sculpting Powder for adding shadows/contours. Although it looks like a dark shadow in its cute, compact packaging (it's slim enough to fit in the pocket of your skinny jeans), this sculpting powder is actually light in consistency and blends well. It also doesn't contain any shimmer, which makes it appear very natural when applied. It's nearly identical to one of the eyeshadows in the Carefree Eyeshadow Palette from the previous box, but I think Focus might be slightly lighter in color.

To finish off your contoured look, you need a good highlight. The Teri Miyahira 100% natural, vegan and cruelty-free "Lucky" Illuminating powder is the perfect complement to the "Focus" Sculpting Powder. It's a pale yellow powder that looks like sunlight on your skin. It's a soft, lighter version of the yellow powder in the Harmony Compact Color for Face & Eyes from the Sprint to Success box. It also blends better and has less shimmer.

Rather than swatch these colors on my arm as usual, I opted to change things up a bit. My mini me (my 7-year-old daughter) and I tested out Focus and Lucky on one of her Fashion Diva Sticker Faces. We contoured the face (you may have noticed on her nose and cheeks in the previous pics), and added the powders to the eye crease and brow bone (the two powders are applied heavy for photo purposes). Honestly, my favorite way to use these powders is on my eyes for a no-makeup makeup look.

Are you a Teri Miyahira Beauty subscriber? What's your favorite way to use these contouring powders? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Teri Miyahira Beauty sent me this box for review. All opinions are my own :)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Moisturize the Melbourne Way w/Mettā

I love "discovering natural beauty around the world" with Pearlesque Box. Previous boxes have brought me products from here in the U.S.A. (Rhode Island to be exact) and from nearby Toronto, Canada, as well as global beauty. I'm extra excited about this month's destination, which is the home of some of my favorite brands (I just adore Nudus lipstick, and I'm counting the days until Moana Bikini releases its latest collection).

Of course, I'm referring to Australia, where you'll also find Mettā Skincare. According to the information card, Mettā Skincare was created by Anca Grigoras "to help people make healthy decisions about their skincare routine. Anca developed the range following extensive research into safe ingredients, experimenting with oils traditionally used for nourishing the skin and studying under the guidance of world leading natural and holistic skincare formulators." The resulting product line includes four balms and a body oil; I can't believe that all four fabulous balms are featured in this month's box.

Although Australia is currently experiencing a warmer season, these highly moisturizing, hand-made in small batches, cruelty-free, vegan balms couldn't have come at a better time. The cold weather here has already been harsh on my skin, mainly my hands, so this Mettā Skincare Comforting Hand Balm was just what I needed. This combination of olive oil, shea butter, candelilla wax, lavender essential oil, non-GMO vitamin E, calendula extract, linalool, geraniol and limonene soothes my dry hands and heals the little cuts and cracks that have appeared on my delicate fingers. It also works well on nails, cuticles and feet, and the natural scent is very relaxing.

When it comes to moisturizing the rest of my body, I've enjoyed testing out this mini-size Mettā Skincare Lavender Body Butter (ingredients include shea butter, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, cocoa butter, coconut oil and lavender essential oil). It's a rich butter that arrived in an extremely solid state due to the cold, but softens in warmer conditions. In its more solid state, it can be a bit difficult to rub onto a cold body, but when applied right after a shower, this fluffy white goodness literally melts like butter into your warm, damp skin and seals in moisture. It's like a protective coat for my body.

Although the previous two products have been effective on my skin, I would hesitate to use them on my face. Instead, I was happy to find this Mettā Skincare Intensive Replenishing Face Balm, which contains shea butter, jojoba oil, macadamia oil, candelilla wax, pomegranate seed oil, red raspberry seed oil, seabuckthorn oil, non-GMO vitamin E, lavender essential oil, rosemary leaf extract, linalool, geraniol and limonene. It's not quite as dense as the hand and body balms, yet still gets the job done. I just rub a little bit between my fingertips and lightly dab it onto my face, focusing on the spots that are dry and/or more prone to wrinkles. I prefer to use it at night and wake up with a healthy glow.

Day and night, my lips have been treated lately to this Mettā Skincare Coconut Lip Balm. It keeps my lips soft and smooth with a combination of avocado oil, sunflower seed oil, castor oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter, candelilla wax, non-GMO vitamin E and coconut extract. I've been using it before I apply my lipstick, but it's also nice as a gloss on top. Apparently, you can use it on your cuticles, too. 

Gotta love all these multi-purpose products in their cute reusable glass jars with 100% tree-free Stone-Paper labels (an earth-friendly, energy-efficient and acid-free paper, which is photodegradable and can be recycled into either paper or plastic channels).

Curious about the name? According to their website, "Mettā is an ancient style of meditation that encourages loving-kindness with yourself and the world around you. Regular practice fosters a sense of belonging, a pure connection with other living beings and a compassionate understanding of the interconnected world ... Mettā Skincare shares much with this style of meditation. We wish to help reconnect your daily skincare routine to nature through a practice of loving-kindness for your skin."

You can give your skin the gift of love and kindness by subscribing to Pearlesque Box. Use the code: RAW15 for 15% off your first box. If you are looking for a gift idea, there's also an Exclusive Holiday Gift Box (one-time purchase) available, as well as electronic gift cards.

Are you a Pearlesque Box subscriber? Have you purchased the Exclusive Holiday Gift Box? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

Pearlesque Box sent me these Mettā Skincare products
for review. All opinions are my own :)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Welcoming Amaki's addition w/a happy face

I am so pleased to introduce you to Amaki's latest product addition. It's this Japanese Tsubaki Anti-Aging Face Oil that happened to show up on my doorstep recently. I'll admit that this baby arrived unexpectedly, but boy am I happy it did (on a side note, the beautiful background in the above photo is Emily Schuman's bathroom from her "Cupcakes and Cashmere at Home" book; it's so lovely, like this facial oil).

You may recall me raving about Amaki's luxurious, yet affordable, beauty products in some of my past posts. Founded by a certified esthetician, Amaki is a family-owned and -operated company that makes all-natural, cruelty-free, organic skincare products from ingredients sourced exclusively in the U.S.A. and without harmful chemicals, preservatives, synthetic fillers, parabens and petroleum by-products commonly found in commercial skin care products. I just adore Amaki's Jasmine & Rose Nourishing Oil and Flowers & Salts Bath Soak that both contain actual flowers.

Oh, and don't forget about the Amaki 100% Pure & Natural Rose Water. It smells so fresh and floral, and can be used from head to toe.

Amaki's latest product is meant for your face, but I've also used it on the ends of my hair and to moisturize my hands after applying it to my face (honestly, I don't want to waste it). According to the website, this "Japanese Tsubaki Anti-Aging Face Oil hydrates and nourishes, packed with oleic acid to seal in moisture and leave your skin looking and feeling smoother. This botanical blend gives the skin-brightening effects of Vitamin A as well as Vitamins B, D and E for a radiant complexion. Its enriching antioxidants ward off damaging free radicals, fortifying the skin against visible signs of aging."

As you may have noticed, each ingredient in this beauty oil serves a purpose, such as the antioxidant- and omega-rich Tsubaki (Camellia) oil. There aren't any added fragrances, so this combination of oils smells only like the ingredients inside its simple, sleek and sophisticated glass bottle. It's light, yet effective. It absorbs into my skin, keeping it soft, supple, hydrated and clear at the same time. Although I prefer to use this facial oil at bedtime (I love how my skin looks when I wake the next morning), I've also had good results wearing it under my makeup during the day.

Oh, and did I mention the price? First of all, $25 is reasonable, but for a limited time, the introductory is only $15 with free shipping (no code needed). I don't know how long that's going to last, so you may want to take advantage of the discount now. Let me know if you do. As always, you can find me on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Although I was sent this Amaki Japanese Tsubaki Anti-Aging Face Oil
for review, all opinions are my own :)

Monday, October 31, 2016

Live Bravely w/#terimiyahirabeauty

When I posted about last month's Teri Miyahira Beauty Box, I mentioned that Teri must have read my mind. Well, this month, she did it again. This time, she included another one of those fun shadow quads (see the original quad from the Sprint to Success box), but in the earthy shades I tend to gravitate toward (especially this time of year). She also surprised me with a bold lipstick and a flirty finishing touch.

Let's start with the Teri Miyahira 100% natural, vegan and cruelty-free "Carefree" Eyeshadow Palette. I already knew I adored it's design with it's hidden brush compartment. However, it's not exactly the brush I would select for applying these shadows to my eyes. Thank goodness I received more precise shadow brushes in last month's box.

I've also had success applying these shadows with my fingers in a pinch, which is how I opted to swatch them for you. These eyeshadows are great for creating a contoured look that can go from natural to more daring, depending on the application (you can check out Teri's YouTube channel for application tutorials). As you can see, there's a soft, shimmery beige highlighter, a matte taupe for defining the lash line and/or crease, a pinky nude base shade and a terracotta that's nice for adding a more vibrant pop of color.

The eyeshadows go perfectly with the lipstick. Honestly, I was hoping there would be a lipstick in this month's box, and Teri delivered.

The Teri Miyahira 100% natural, vegan and cruelty-free "Brave" Satin Lipstick is a bold color that you don't need to fear, as mentioned on the enclosed information card. This month's box encourages you to "Live Bravely" and rock that darker, deeper lip color.

"Brave" may be darker than the pinks, nudes and corals that most of us sported all summer, but now that it's fall, this shade seems like a natural choice. Those of you who tend to be intimidated by bright red lipsticks will be happy to know that this lip color is a more wearable brick red. It's also very buildable, allowing you to control the amount of color. This lipstick has a smooth, moisturizing texture and good staying power.

This month's box completes your "Live Bravely" look with these "Imagination #04" Vegan Faux Mink False Eyelashes. I'm actually anxious to take these for a test drive, but since I don't regularly wear false lashes, I don't happen to have any eyelash glue on hand (the glue was not included with these). I guess I need to buy some, asap.

Interested in getting Teri Miyahira Beauty delivered to your doorstep? You can sign up for the November wait list here. I'm so proud of how successful her boxes have been and still continue to be.

Did you get this month's box? Which item was your favorite? What do you hope to see in the future? You can find me on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Although Teri Miyahira sent me this box for review, all opinions are my own :)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Feel good in your skin w/Province Apothecary

As you know from my previous Pearlesque Box posts (here's last month's box, as well as the first one I received), this subscription box likes to deliver natural beauty from various locations. The November 2016 box takes you to Toronto, Canada, where you'll find Province Apothecary.

According to the information card in the box, Province Apothecary's founder Julie Clark (pictured above with those familiar blue bottles; this photo is from her website) struggled with allergies and eczema all her life, so she began crafting natural, organic beauty products out of her kitchen. She used her time off from being a costume designer and stylist to experiment with oils, waxes and herbs. She also studied Aromatherapy, Holistic Health and Esthetics in Toronto, where she formed the foundation of her skincare expertise, experimenting with raw materials and natural ingredients. "For Julie, natural beauty goes beyond simply organic and wild-crafted ingredients; natural beauty means a pledge to helping clients feel good in their own skin."

Province Apothecary has long outgrown its kitchen and now can be found on your doorstep in the latest Pearlesque Box, which is filled with five natural, certified organic skincare products to help you feel beautiful in your skin. This cleanser/makeup remover, clay mask, exfoliator, toner and face serum are packed with "high quality, certified organic, biodynamic and wildcrafted ingredients sourced from Canadian provinces. Julie expertly formulates, blends, and packages all products by hand in small batches, ensuring the highest quality skincare for you."

The full-size Moisturizing Cleanser + Make-up Remover with Avocado & Raspberry is meant for all skin types. This combination of sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, evening primrose oil, raspberry seed oil, GMO-free vitamin E and rosemary leaf extract gently removes makeup and excess oil, while hydrating and keeping your skin in balance. It also contains therapeutic essential oils of bergamot, lavender and frankincense, which have a nice calming effect. "Bergamot oil clears congestion. Frankincense tones the skin. Lavender heals blemishes and works as a restorative."

The oils in this particular oil cleanser smell really fresh and lovely. They also do an excellent job of cleansing my skin and removing my makeup. It leaves my skin so soft.

If you are looking for a deeper clean, you're in luck. This box also contains a very generous travel-size Detoxifying + Clarifying Clay Mask with Glacial & Bentonite Clay, which can be used 1-3 times per week to help draw out impurities from the skin, clear pores and calm your complexion. "The unique natural properties of bentonite clay act as a magnet, drawing out impurities from the skin to clear pores + calm the complexion. Glacial clay detoxifies and tightens the skin, reducing the signs of aging. Wild-crafted algae nourishes the skin, regenerates cell growth, and stimulates collagen production. Maple syrup mineralizes the skin and neutralizes free radicals, giving your skin a healthy glow and smooth tone," as stated on the Province Apothecary website.

As you can see, this mask comes in a green powder that can be mixed with honey or water. I've tried both methods. Personally, I would recommend honey or something else that's sweet to help cut the strong fishy smell this product has when wet, most likely due to the algae and marine clay. Although I'm not fond of this scent (at least I know there aren't any added fragrances; this is just the true nature of the ingredients), I will say that it is worth using. When mixed with just water, this mask dries tight on my skin, but once washed away, the results are soft, smooth (it really tackles those fine lines) and clear. When mixed with honey, it never fully dries, adding moisture and leaving you with a gorgeous glow.

Speaking of adding moisture, this travel-size Regenerating + Stimulating Exfoliator with Lavender & Green Tea combines exfoliating and hydration in one simple product. It only contains oat flour, lentil flour, flax seed, lavender, violets and green tea leaf in an exfoliating powder that can be combined with other natural ingredients/products, depending on what works best for your skin and the season you 're in at the moment. "Oatmeal calms, softens and nourishes. Green tea stimulates and rejuvenates, giving you a healthy glow. Lavender calms irritation and heals blemishes."

This product smells quite floral in its powder form, but when wet, it reminds me more of baby cereal in both texture and scent. Although recommended to mix with a liquid first, I prefer to apply it dry to my damp face, rubbing it gently in circular motions for a few minutes. While in contact with my damp skin, this exfoliator softens and absorbs the water on my face. Then, in its wet form, it moisturizes. I call that a "win-win."

When all that cleansing, detoxing and exfoliating is done, it's nice to give my skin a spritz of toner, like the full-size Invigorating + Balancing Toner with Rose & Geranium. "Fragrant organic rose water is naturally soothing and cooling to the skin, while geranium essential oil calms and naturally reduces the appearance of scars," according to the product description.

This toner is light and fresh, and smells heavenly. It also preps my skin for the next step (I have no idea if it really works on scars).

Last, but not least, is the travel-size Rejuvenating + Hydrating Face Serum with Neroli & Frankincense. You only need a little bit of this golden oil to make your skin glow. "It replenishes your skin’s health while hydrating and stimulating skin on a cellular level. High in antioxidants, neroli and frankincense reduce the appearance of fine lines and improve skin tone. Jojoba balances skin’s sebum production, controlling shine and congestion. German chamomile and rose soothe blemishes, redness, and reduce the appearance of scars."

A few tabs of this moisturizing oil goes a long way to add an extra dose of hydration (all the other products are quite hydrating, as well) without causing my skin to break out. It's also magical when it comes to reduces fine lines and wrinkles.

If purchased separately, the total for all five Province Apothecary products in this box is $146. You can get them by subscribing to Pearlesque Box for $39.95 per month (shipping to the U.S. is free). Use the code: RAW15 to get 15% off your first box.

Do you subscribe to Pearlesque Box? Do you use Province Apothecary? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Pearlesque Box sent me these Province Apothecary products
for review. All opinions are my own :)

Monday, October 3, 2016

Commit & Persist w/#terimiyahirabeauty

Teri Miyahira, you read my mind. I don't know how she knew it, but she did. I've been wanting some new makeup brushes (she already teased me with a new No. 02 Medium Multi Brush that I posted on Instagram last week; it's currently available for purchase on her site), as well as a fun purple eye color to add to my makeup collection. You can see in the photo above that my wish was granted in the latest Teri Miyahira Beauty Box (you can find out what was in the previous boxes here, here and here).

Just look at these lovely cruelty-free, vegan makeup brushes with their soft and fluffy Taklon bristles, rose gold aluminum ferrules and white lacquer wooden handles. This 4-piece set includes the No. 07 Angled Brush (for bronzer, blush and highlighter application), No. 09 Eye Pencil Brush (to define the crease, smudge eyeliner and/or apply eyeshadow to the lower lash line), No. 10 Medium Eye Blending Brush (an all-in-one eye lid/crease application and blending tool) and No. 15 Smoky Eyeliner Brush (to smoke out the lower lash line with eyeshadow or apply gel eyeliner to the top lashes); all the tools you need to have fun with the other two items in the box.

Also in the September 2016 Teri Miyahira Beauty Box is this 100% natural, vegan and cruelty-free Pressed Powder Blush in Aspire, which comes in this slim and sleek compact that fits in your pocket. It applies beautifully with the No. 07 Angled Brush (don't you love how everything in these boxes are meant to work together?).

It's the perfect pink for fall. It brightens up my face, which is starting to lose its summer glow, and it looks fabulous with that purple eyeshadow I mentioned earlier.

The 100% natural, vegan and cruelty-free Pressed Eyeshadow really is a dream, hence the name Dream, and works well with the other three brushes. Personally, I love to apply it on my lash line, using the No. 15 Smoky Eyeliner Brush, for a subtle look that still makes my blue eyes pop.

This is the exact deep, vibrant shade of purple that my eyes have been dreaming about wearing. It's has a slight shimmer that makes my eyes sparkle. It's also buildable, giving you the option to either apply it softly or create a bold look.

Here's a swatch of Dream, applied with the No. 15 Smoky Eyeliner Brush, alongside a No. 07 Angled Brush stroke of Aspire. It's like they were made for each other.

I snapped a quick pic of me wearing Dream on my lash line, as eyeliner. No surprise, I'm also wearing the Aspire blush. It's so pretty.

Did you get this Teri Miyahira Beauty Box? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Although Teri Miyahira sent me this beauty box, all opinions are my own :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Spa day, anyday w/Margc Cherry Daily Facial

Recently, I discovered Margc Cherry on Instagram. It's a 100% natural and chemical-free hair and skin care line, derived from oils, herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables from all around the world. Lucky for me, Margc Cherry sent me a generous sampling of the facial products in this Daily Facial Routine Mini Set, which can be purchased off the site for a very reasonable price. It's a wonderful way to test out six of the products, as well as being able to experience a relaxing and refreshing at-home facial.

I just love how the set includes step-by-step instructions to help walk you through your facial routine, starting with this Lavender Milk Cleanser. It's "a rich non-lathering deep cleanser that will cleanse away makeup and any impurities. Ingredients, such as lavender and yucca root, create a thick milky texture that helps soothe, hydrate and cleanse the skin, without stripping it from its essential oils."

Although entirely plant-based, this cleanser really does have a thick, rich, milky texture that soothes my skin and easily removes my makeup. I simply massage it all over my face, making circular motions for a few minutes. Then, I gently wipe it away with a soft cloth, leaving my skin prepped for the rest of the process. I also enjoy its calming scent.

Once my makeup is removed, it's on to step 2, when exfoliation is in order (once or twice a week). I must say that this face scrub is quite a treat. "Green Tea Lemongrass Face Scrub has a walnut-shell foaming texture that is perfectly designed for home care. Easy to use, this exfoliant eliminates dead ashy skin and stimulates blood circulation."

Only a small amount is needed of this vibrant in both color and aroma face scrub. I adore the smell of lemongrass, which is perfectly paired with the green tea. I like to massage this scrub all over my face and neck, taking full advantage of its scrubbing power and light foaming action. The walnut shell pieces are quite fine, but there's a lot of them, which makes this scrub very effective. It's also easy to wash away with warm, followed by cold water.

Next up are the Mint Cucumber Face Wash and Basil Lavender Rejuvenating Toner. When I'm not doing the complete spa facial experience, I actually like to start the routine with these products, especially since the Mint Cucumber Face Wash seems to be a great match for my skin. It reminds me of 100 Percent Pure's cucumber cleanser with its light cucumber scent, liquid-consistency, and ability to foam and wash away impurities. It definitely keeps my skin fresh and clear with cucumber, spearmint, tea tree and oregano oils.

According to Margc Cherry, the "Basil Lavender Rejuvenating Toner has an exotic and intoxicating aroma that helps suppress anxiety and calm the spirit," and I have to agree. This entire facial line is a feast for the senses, like this toner. I apply it with a cotton round to balance and prep my skin for moisturizer. It does an excellent job of minimizing my pores and toning my skin.

Speaking of moisturizer, the Vitamin C Face Creme and Eye Creme are so thick and creamy, with a light citrus scent. They quickly absorb, even and tone, and make my skin look more alive with a healthy glow. As you know, I'm a bit obsessed with vitamin C at the moment, which seems to combat a lot of my sun damage. These are the perfect ending to this at-home facial experience.

Have you tried any of Margc Cherry's products? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Although Margc Cherry sent me these products, all opinions are my own :)