Thursday, November 19, 2015

Color me a Pure Kitten, Mermaid or Princess

I've been so excited about the new 100 Percent Pure palettes in Sex Kitten, Mermaid and Punk Princess. You may have seen me repost some of Fashionchicsta's swatches on Instagram a month or so ago, but now I can post my personal review.

As you can see, I had a ton of fun on this rainy day coming up with a creative way to swatch these palettes. I felt as though I'm one of the last bloggers to get around to posting mine, so I wanted to make this review more memorable.

Let's start with the Sex Kitten palette, which comes in a feminine pink palette with naughty lace details. I also got this vegan, cruelty-free short-handle eyeshadow brush #1 (a $10 value), as well as a fluffy blush brush #11 (it's worth $18) to purr-fectly apply the product (a set of these two brushes comes free with each palette).

Inside the Sex Kitten palette is (from left to right) a Luminescent Powder in Sexy (it's a pale porcelain shade that looks like light on your skin), Allure Blush (a warm peachy pink), and eyeshadows in Risque (a golden yellow that is purr-fect for a base color and/or highlighting your brow bone), Provocateur (a soft taupe/light brown) and Cat Eyes (a shimmery charcoal gray with a touch of purple).

Rather than photographing traditional swatches, I opted to sketch out a cartoon model for each palette and color them with the shadows, blush and luminescent powder. Above is a cartoon kitty with an outfit and ears colored with Cat Eyes, hair shaded with Provocateur, a Risque heart on her necklace, an Allure choker and inside of her cat ears, and a Sexy skin tone. I also used the blush as blush and lipstick, and used the eyeshadows on her eyelids.

I was most anxious to try the Mermaid palette, since I'm a big fan of anything mermaid (it must be the long flowing hair and the shell bikini top). This palette has the most beautiful green, blue and yellow scale print and mermaid tale silhouette on the packaging.

Inside the Mermaid palette is a Luminescent Powder in Siren (it's more of a golden bronze shade that looks good with a tan or a warm skin tone like mine), a Blush in Coral (that's pretty self explanatory, although it has more pink in it than the Allure blush from the Sex Kitten palette), and eyeshadows in Shell (a light greenish bronze, which reminds me of lost treasure at the bottom of the sea), Sea Glass (a seaweed green) and Star Fish (a deep purple which adds more contrast to your finished look).

Of course, I sketched out a mermaid to test out the colors (I have worn them on my face, as well; they are all quite lovely). Her skin tone is Siren, her starfish hair clip and seashell top are in Coral, the top of her hair and waistline of her tail are in Shell, her tail and mid-length of her hair is in Sea Glass and her pearls are in Star Fish. I used both Coral and Star Fish to finish off the length of her hair. I also applied the blush as her blush and lipstick, and used the eyeshadows on her eye lids.

The Punk Princess palette is purple with a lace pattern. The outside looks more pretty than punk ...

... but when you open it, you reveal the darkest eyeshadow of the bunch (see the far right). Before I get too ahead of myself, let's start with the "princessy" shades. The Acoustic Luminescent Powder is a creamy shimmer that falls in between the other two Luminescent Powders in color. Next up is the Blush in Sold Out, which is the darkest pink blush of the bunch, although not overwhelming (it's also a tad on the warm side). The lighter two eyeshadows are Boyfriends Band (a pale yellow shimmer that shows up much better on your skin than paper) and Private Show (a light brown that gives just the right amount of shine). To amp up your look, the Unplugged eyeshadow is dark gray (although it appears black in the palette) that's exactly what a Punk Princess needs to create a dramatic smokey eye.

This Punk Princess sketch has a Acoustic complexion, Sold Out hair, a plaid skirt colored with Boyfriends Band and Private Show, and an Unplugged bodice. I used the blush for her blush and lipstick, and the eyeshadows on her eye lids.

I have to say that I love all the palettes. The colors are highly pigmented and show up well on my skin. Although I thought the Mermaid palette would be my fave, I find that I'm leaning more toward the Sex Kitten palette this time of year.

Which palette is your favorite? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* As a 100 Percent Pure Approved Blogger, I was sent these palettes for review.
All opinions are my own.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Integrity Botanicals lets me try them all

I almost didn't blog this week, as I needed a "blogcation" (I obviously made up that word), but then my hubby surprised me with these; a big pile of samples from Integrity Botanicals (in a cute cloth pouch). This online natural beauty boutique not only lets you pick three free samples with every order, but also allows you to purchase sample sizes on select items to count as your order.

Let me explain. You probably noticed that I'm a bit of a lipstick addict with a wish list of lipsticks a mile long. Since I'm always changing my lip color and looking to try as many as possible, my hubby thought it would be more economical for me to get samples and then purchase my absolute favorites (I have to add a full-size Nudus lipstick to my collection, at least for the design/artwork on the tube; doesn't everyone need a lipstick with a tasteful nude sketch on the outside?). For $2.50 per lipstick sample, he bought me five Nudus lipstick samples and five Axiology samples, and got two W3LLPEOPLE and a Vapour Organic Beauty sample for free. In the end, I think he spent less than one Nudus lipstick, which I've been eyeing (27 Kisses, of course), for all you see here.

Speaking of Nudus, here are the five Nudus lipstick samples he picked for me. The colors are Revenge, Dirty Diana, Just Like Jade, 27 Kisses (I gave in to all the hype) and Fairy Tales. As you can see, the samples are very generous. You can tell that they were cut off an actual lipstick. After testing and swatching them, the containers barely look disturbed.

The Nudus lipsticks are highly pigmented (they actually stain a bit, so I had some trouble removing the swatches after photographing them). I only lightly touched the samples to get enough product to apply to my lips. Above you can see Fairy Tales (a warm peach), 27 Kisses (a mauve that seems to flatter most skin tones), Revenge (a bright, bold red; I can totally see why it's sold out), Dirty Diana (love the name; it's a deep bordeaux red that's a good dupe for W3LLPEOPLE Universalist Multi-Use Colorstick No. 5 in Creamy Crimson) and Just Like Jade (it's described as a berry aubergine, like the W3LLPEOPLE Universalist Multi-Use Colorstick of the same name, except this has a hint of purple, similar to RMS Beauty Lip Shine in Royal; it's just not as sheer and shiny as Royal).

The five Axiology lipstick samples my hubby bought me included Reflection, Virtue, Intrinsic, Elusive and Infinite. Again, these are generous samples cut from an actual lipstick. I can see myself getting quite a number of uses out of these.

The Axiology lipstick samples don't seem to be quite as pigmented as the Nudus lipstick. They have a bit of sheerness to them, but are still buildable colors. Above are swatches of Intrinsic (a light nude with gold undertones and shimmer), Virtue (an apricot peach with a light shimmer), Elusive (an orange brick red with brown undertones), Infinite (similar Elusive, but with brown and purple undertones, as well as a light shimmer) and Reflection (a purple that's not quite as bright/dark on your lips as it is in the tube).

As for the free samples, my hubby selected Vapour Organic Beauty Aura Blush in Crave (he knows how much I "crave" Vapour Beauty), and W3LLPEOPLE Bio Brightener Stick (it's so pretty) and Bio Bronzer Stick (gotta love a good bronzer, especially this time of year when my summer glow is fading).

Here are swatches of the W3LLPEOPLE Bio Brightener Stick (I layered it on thick so it would show up in the pic, but it looks more natural in person; it really looks like natural light on your face), Bio Bronzer Stick (it's very similar to RMS Beauty's Buriti Bronzer) and Vapour Organic Beauty Blush Stain in Crave (it's a bright orange in the website photos that's actually more of a burnt orange in real life). These are also cut off an actual stick, so there is ample product. I have to say that I'm really loving all of these. Thanks Matthew (that's my hubby).

Have you purchased samples and/or full-size products from Integrity Botanicals? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

Thursday, November 5, 2015

I am happy w/The Hippy Bee Collection

As a natural beauty blogger, I get contacted all the time about reviewing products. If you want to know a little secret, I actually say yes only a handful of the time. I need to feel like it's something I'd actually buy myself, before I take on such a task. Besides, who wants to give a bad review? Also, my conscious won't allow me to rave about something I'm not really loving.

Anyway, I was recently offered a chance to try The Hippy Bee Collection. I honestly couldn't say no and was curious to test it out. Their products are as clean and pure as they get, and they are packaged so sweetly.

When this simple cloth bag arrived, I opened it up to reveal three products with many uses and a handy wooden spoon. Everything was neatly wrapped in colorful paper and with the message, "Every day is a gift." I don't know about you, but the presentation "had me at hello."

The first product I tried was Plane Perfect. You may have seen me mention it on Instagram as an excellent way to remove your makeup (it works wonders for removing Halloween makeup, for example, which is why I posted it at the time). It comes it a dark, glass jar, which is perfect for containing this pure, unrefined, organic, non gmo coconut oil. It's sulfate-free, paraben-free, fragrance-free and doesn't contain any artificial additives or preservatives. This is way better than the coconut oil you tend to find on grocery store shelves. Seriously, not all coconut oil is created equal.

Although some coconut oils will cause my skin to break out, this one does not. It also absorbs better, so I can actually touch things after applying it to my hands as a hand cream. The list just goes on and on.

The difference between Plane Perfect and I Am Coco is the size. Plane Perfect is more like the travel edition of the main feature, I Am Coco. Although it comes with this cute wooden spoon, I actually don't need that much to get most of the job done. For example, I've been cleansing my face with about a pea-size amount lately, prior to applying the Lenus Handcrafted skincare from my last post. When I opt to use I Am Coco as my cleanser and moisturizer, I need even less as a moisturizer. It really softens and plumps my skin to make my fine lines less noticeable. It's especially nice to use when I'm in a hurry as a one-product wonder.

Other uses include a body moisturizer, shaving cream, cuticle oil, lip gloss and even a natural lubricate (so I've been told). According to the website, it's good for treating eczema, cradle cap, dermatitis, psoriasis, acne, stretch marks, mature skin and more. If you're still using old-school Vaseline, please consider this instead.

My favorite product of the trio is the Coco Hair Elixir, which is a 100% natural hair treatment. According to the website, it "is made with the finest natural ingredients, formulated with coconut oil, which deeply conditions hair from the inside of the strands out, provides protein and eliminates dandroff. Jojoba oil acts as a natural hair sebum, moisturizes, prevents hair loss and removes buildup around your hair follicles. Combined with avocado oil, which will provide protein and smooths the hair cuticles."

I've been using this hair treatment off and on for a couple of weeks, and I have to admit that I could tell a difference with my first use, although you do need to keep using it for the best results. I simply added it from my roots to my tips as an overnight treatment or in the morning while I worked out. It recommends using 3-4 pumps, but I used twice as much to really cover my lengthy hair.

When ready to wash it out, I just shampoo and condition, as usual. It leaves my hair soft and silky smooth, all the way to the tips, and my scalp is balanced (I have dry hair with an oily scalp, so this is a big deal). On days when I'm not doing a full treatment, I've used a tiny pump just on the ends.

I haven't been using it long enough to confirm all the claims, but I'm loving it so far. I even mentioned it in today's outfit of the day Instagram post. In case you missed it, I'm wearing an old red and blue gingham crinkle shirt from J.Crew (although this particular color is no longer available, there are more gingham crinkle shirts on the site, like this one and that one), last year's Madewell Rip and Repair Skinny Skinny Jeans (these particular ones are no longer available, but there's still a great selection of denim) and W3LLPEOPLE Universalist Multi-Use Colorstick No. 5 Creamy Crimson on my lips (I'm so excited that W3LLPEOPLE is now being sold on the Target website).

Have you tried The Hippy Bee Collection? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* The Hippy Bee Collection sent me these products for review.
All opinions are my own :)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Lenus Handcrafted is a hidden gem

Since I've been on Instagram, I've discovered so many small beauty brands that are really hidden gems. Once found, I can't wait to tell you all about them, like today's review of Lenus Handcrafted. Owner/Maker Laura Lisauskas was kind enough to send me some samples to try of her Etsy line (you can also contact her to order other specialty products seen on her Instagram and Facebook pages).

This busy mom of three, interior designer, devoted gardener, cook and fan of all things homemade, somehow manages to find the time to make these amazing, natural, plant-based (although sometimes "beegan," using raw, clean, organic, local San Diego bee products from a family-based hive) skincare products in small, high-quality batches. Therefore, if she ever gets the time to use a facial mask, she makes sure it's packed with good ingredients, like her No. 58 Honey Mask. It contains raw honey, pumpkin seed oil, Oregon grape root, cinnamon, yarrow, chamomile oil, red grape seed, apricot kernel, kaolin clay, diatomaceous earth, Indian clay, sweet orange oil and benzoin oil.

I was lucky enough to get a few uses out of this sample. I applied it to clean, dry skin, left it on for about 15-20 minutes and washed it away in a circular motion to continue the exfoliating benefits. It smells so sweet, is gentle, yet still leaves my face as soft as a baby's bottom. The mask itself is a bit sticky from the honey, so make sure you put your hair up out of your face while wearing it. The best part is that it also seems to improve my complexion and keep it clear.

On the days that I used the honey wash, I followed up with the No. 91 Facial Oil Light. I didn't see it on the Etsy page, but it's a combination of Marula, Blackberry and Frankincense oils. It's meant for combination/normal skin, which is probably why she selected it for me. I never outgrew that oily T-zone, while still experiencing some dryness in other areas. I'm getting fine lines, yet still prone to the occasional breakout. This oil does not clog my pores. It absorbs quickly and balances my skin. I only need a small amount, so this sample really lasts a while.

For extra moisture, I've been using the face creams and eye creams designed specifically for day or for night. The No. 10 Day Face Cream with sunscreen contains red raspberry oil, rose hip oil, Olive squalane, green tea extract, aloe vera, grape seed oil, hazelnut oil, shea butter, frankincense, apricot kernel oil, chamomile, carrot seed, sweet fennel and yarrow. Together, these ingredients help protect your skin from daily environmental damage. "The cream provides skin nutrients, free radical fighting/anti-aging elements, and light sun protection," according to the Etsy page.

I found the cream to be rich, yet fast absorbing. In fact, my skin may have started out a bit parched, because I needed to apply more initially to cover my entire face (it would absorb before I could spread it out). The more I used it, the less product I needed.

In addition to the Day Cream, I have been applying the No. 17 Eye Cream that's not yet available on the Etsy site (you can contact Laura directly via her Instagram or Facebook page to find out more information and how to order it). It's very similar to the Day Cream, but richer in consistency. It plumps up fine lines, while still tackling any puffiness from lack of sleep. I can even wear makeup over it without any issues. It also doesn't irritate my eyes.

As for the No. 12 Night Face Cream, it really works its magic overnight. It nourishes and repairs with aloe vera juice, witch hazel, cupuacu butter, chamomile, babassu oil, wheatgerm oil, meadowfoam oil, borage oil, pumpkin seed oil, black seed oil, coconut, frankinsence, calendula, clary sage and Melissa leaf. Again, this is really rich, but since it absorbs well, I needed more than the recommended pea size amount to cover my face. I honestly didn't realize how much my skin was craving moisture until I started to use this. After a couple weeks of use, I wake up in the morning looking so refreshed.

Just like the other eye cream, I didn't see this No. 12 Night Eye Cream on the Etsy site, but I highly recommend contacting Laura to place an order. When used with the No. 12 Night Face Cream, my straight-out-of-bed no-makeup face has never looked better. I need to order more of this.

But wait, there's more. I also received a sample of the No. 61 Nighttime Face Scrub, which I've used a couple of days per week. This combination of raw sugar, raw honey, sea salt, neroli, lavender, golden seal, comfrey, rosemary, chamomile, bergamot, sandalwood, sweet fennel, lemon, Indian clay, myrrh, jojoba oil, coconut oil, grape seed oil, avocado oil and castor oil gently exfoliates while relaxing you. It's very calming to the skin, as well.

Honestly, I highly recommend these products and plan to order more in the future. Have you tried Lenus Handcrafted? What other small brands do you recommend? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

If you missed it on Instagram, here's my lipstick of the day (I post the lipstick I'm wearing each day on Instagram and tweet it when I get a chance) and how my skin looks after using these Lenus products. My lipstick is Vapour Organic Beauty Siren Lipstick in Ornate. It's a bronze berry shade that's perfect for fall. It's also available exclusively on the Target website.

* I was given these Lenus Handcrafted samples for review. All opinions are my own.