Thursday, July 28, 2016

Innersense lives up to the organic hair hype

For about a year now, I've had Innersense Organic Beauty on my green beauty wishlist. All of the green beauty Instagram community seems to be raving about it, so I can't believe it's taken me so long to try it. Lucky for me, Innersense sent me five of their fabulous hair care products (Color Awakening Shampoo, Color Radiance Daily Conditioner, Sweet Spirit Leave-In Conditioner, Quiet Calm Curl Control and Harmonic Healing Oil) to take for a test drive.

If you're unfamiliar with Innersense, let me fill you in on what you've been missing. It's a line of cruelty-free, "pure, organic and toxin-free products that are handcrafted from a rich combination of carefully selected, certified organic and biodynamic plant extracts, rich in emollients and nutrients, and high in antioxidants. [Innersense] products are built to restore the hair's natural balance, leaving it healthy and full of body and shine."

I have to admit that I'm really impressed with this high quality hair care line, starting with the Color Awakening Shampoo and Color Radiance Daily Conditioner. Just like the rest of the line, these daily, 100% color-safe products are free of toxins, sulfates, PEGs, ethoxylates, phthalates, parabens, resins and silicones. They gently cleanse and revitalize/nourish your hair and scalp.

Although I haven't colored my hair in more than a decade, I can still appreciate the tender loving care these products provide my delicately thin strands. I just adore the experience of bathing my hair and scalp in this luxurious combination of coconut, palm oil, pumpkin seed oil, shea butter, sunflower seed extract (it's high in antioxidants to prevent color from fading), rooibos tea, echinacea flower essence, frangipani, lemongrass, aloe leaf juice and citrus peel oils. This shampoo smells amazing (seriously, the citrus really wakes me up in the morning and brightens my day), and balances my hair and scalp. It gets my hair clean without drying it out.

This shampoo's partner in removing hair grime is the Color Radiance Daily Conditioner, which "revitalizes and nourishes color treated hair. Handcrafted from certified organic and biodynamic extracts of rice bran oil and oat kernel, rich in nutrients. Rice and soy proteins, high in antioxidants, restore hair's natural moisture balance. Sunflower extracts protect color from fading, organically restoring hair's natural balance, leaving hair healthy, hydrated and full of body."

I was pleasantly surprised by the richness of this daily conditioner. It has a light, possibly floral scent that I enjoy breathing in while it coats my thirsty strands. After a few minutes on my locks, it washes out easily, while still leaving just enough slickness to help detangle my hair with ease. Don't worry, as my hair doesn't look slick or greasy once dry. This conditioner also doesn't weight down my hair. It just leaves in soft and silky.

If your hair is thirsty for more, may I recommend the Sweet Spirit Leave-In Conditioner. It's a lightweight detangler that adds hydration and shine after your shower. Just mist this "infusion of emollient oils, rich in nutrients, fragrant herbs and flower essences" into your clean towel-dried hair and use it on dry hair to rejuvenate or style it. This conditioner is lighter than the daily conditioner and smells so lovely like a fresh bouquet. However, I sometimes have trouble getting it to spritz out of the pump. Then again, it's totally worth the effort to apply it to my hair, as needed, when the pump gets a bit clogged. I also don't fear that it will leak when traveling.

The leave-in conditioner is one of the three treatments/styling products I received, all of which provided stellar results. The other two include the Quiet Calm Curl Control and the Harmonic Healing Oil.

I used to have curly hair, until I had kids (pregnancy straightened most of it out). I still have a bit of wave in some areas, which mainly just leaves my hair prone to frizzing, especially on hot humid days. Therefore, I've been occasionally using the Curl Control in place of the leave-in conditioner. It defines the slight amount of wave I have left, but it also keeps any frizzy pieces under control. It also has a delicious citrus scent.

Last, but not least, is the Harmonic Healing Oil Soothing Treatment for Skin, Hair and Scalp. This combination of "certified organic tamanu, safflower, and evening primrose oils, abundant in vitamins, minerals, nutrients, proteins and antioxidants, creates a rich healing treatment for skin, hair and scalp." The herbal scent has an aromatherapy calming effect that relaxes the mind, while soothing my scalp. It great for healing dry scalp and hair after a day swimming in the sun. I've been sleeping with it on my hair and scalp at night to combat the effects of the sun and chlorine from the day. It's a bit heavy to leave in my thin hair throughout the day, but it could work to tame thicker hair.

I'm so happy that I finally had a chance to try all these Innersense products. I totally understand the hype. What's your favorite Innersense product? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Although Innersense Organic Beauty sent me
these products, all opinions are my own :)

Friday, July 22, 2016

14e cosmetics soothes, smooths skin w/aloe

If you're anything like me, you've been following @14ecosmetics on Instagram, wondering if these all-natural, organic, cruelty-free and vegan sheer tints and foundations can make your skin as flawless as those featured wearing this aloe-based makeup. Lucky for me, I recently won a bottle of the 14e cosmetics SPF 10 Aloe Nourish Sheer Tint to try.

Professional makeup artist and founder of 14e cosmetics, Emma Fortini, did an amazing job of selecting my shade (03-Bamboo), and was kind enough to toss in three SPF 23 Aloe Nourish Foundation samples in 01-Seashell, 02-Sand and 03-Bamboo). Working with an Ayurvedic molecular biologist, she created these products with aloe vera as the base and skin calming ingredients, such as Gotu Kola and licorice root, to target both acne and early signs of aging (intrigued, right?).

First of all, I'm impressed that Emma picked out the perfect shade of sheer tint for me, based on my Instagram photos (I seriously need to work on my photo-quality, but somehow she got the color just right). This sheer tint is light in texture, although not so sheer that it doesn't do anything for me. It provides a bit of an airbrush finish, without covering my freckles (I love freckles). It doesn't settle into fine lines and feels light as air on my skin. The best part is how it keeps my skin moisturized all day, without melting away in this summer heat. I stay fresh-faced from morning 'til night.

If I need a tad more coverage or some dimension, I'll add those foundation samples into the mix. Btw, how cute is the presentation in this little black bag? You can actually purchase samples from the website (two samples for $6) to narrow down your exact shade in advance and/or to experiment with mixing shades.

The foundation is similar to the sheer tint, but with more coverage and a higher SPF. Here are swatches of the foundation samples next to the sheer tint. From left to right (bottom to the top) are the sheer tint in 03-Bamboo, and the foundations in 03-Bamboo, 02-Sand and 01-Seashell. Although not blended into my skin, you can see how the 03-Bamboo is a perfect match for me. 02-Sand is too light on it's own, but I like to use it as an under-eye concealer. I've also had success using 01-Seashell as a highlighter. There also are two darker shades available, which include 04-Sunkissed and 05-Coconut (not pictured).

Here's a pic I posted on Instagram earlier in the week. It's just a quick photo I took of me wearing the 14e cosmetics SPF 10 Aloe Nourish Sheer Tint in 03-Bamboo, with a tiny bit of the SPF 23 Aloe Nourish Foundation in 02-Sand as an under-eye concealer. Although the quality of this photo isn't the best, you can still get a good idea of the color, as well as how this product soothes and smooths out my complexion. This stuff is so good.

Have you tried 14e cosmetics? What are your thoughts? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* 14e cosmetics sent me this sheer tint and samples. All opinions are my own :)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Can't stop raving about Beauty Brew

Recently, I posted about Beauty Brew, and couldn't stop raving about this line of holistic handcrafted beauty treatments. In fact, I still can't stop raving about those body products from my prior post, and now, this facial scrub, tonic and balm from today's post.

Now, let's start with this Beauty Brew Tea Tree & Matcha Scrub, which contains green tea matcha powder, castile soap, organic brown sugar, tea tree oil, vanilla, lemongrass oil and olive oil. I love the short list of clean ingredients that all serve a purpose. The castile soap cleanses, while the sugar provides a gentile scrub, restoring that healthy glow to dull, tired complexions. The antibacterial tea tree oil prevents inflammation, kills bacteria and treats breakouts, and the other oils keep the skin soft and moisturized. Oh, and that vanilla makes it smell so good (all the Beauty Brew products I've tried smell amazing).

I can also smell the green tea matcha powder, which I have always heard was excellent for sun-exposed skin (I've actually used green tea bags on sunburns). The funny thing is that the overall scent of this product reminds me of a spicy gingersnap cookie; it makes me hungry every time I use it, although it doesn't look very appetizing on my face. It's a paler color on the skin than you see in the container. It looks a bit like something from a baby's diaper (sorry, it's the mommy in me), but it makes my skin soft and smooth like a baby's bottom, after I wash it away. It also doesn't clog my pores.

Heads up, though, that you'll need to avoid using this near your eyes. I recommend cleansing your face with your usual facial cleanser before using this product. I washed my face with the Handcrafted Beauty Almond & Honey Cleansing Oil that I reviewed a couple weeks ago.

Next up is the Beauty Brew Vodka & Rose Face Tonic. I've heard that vodka was an excellent toner for the skin, but since I don't drink these days, I also don't have any organic vodka around the house to test out, as part of my skincare routine. Lucky for me, Beauty Brew included it in this tonic, along with purified water, witch hazel, rose hydrosol, rose oil, tuberose oil and sweet orange extract. I just adore the light floral scent and the way this toner gently cleanses, tightens my pores and leaves my skin so very soft. After using this toner (applied with cotton rounds to remove any leftover dirt and makeup, being careful to avoid the delicate eye area), I'm tempted to skip moisturizer, and actually have skipped the moisturizing step on occasion (it's that good).

When I use moisturizer lately, I reach for this face tonic's "partner in crime" (is it a crime that these products work so well together? Something's suspicious here; just kidding, although they really are made for each other). The Beauty Brew Rose & Vitamin C Restorative Face Balm is absolutely amazing, especially when applied after the tonic. I can't believe this simple "beauty brew" (it only contains shea oil, cacao butter, beeswax, rose oil, tuberose oil, sweet orange oil and seaberry oil) is so effective and such a dream to use (it's so luxurious and smells heavenly).

You only need a small amount of this rich balm to experience all it has to offer. The shea and cocoa butters melt the minute the heat of your skin touches it. These butters are known for their moisturization and healing properties (I've always used shea and cocoa butters to help prevent scarring and reduce the appearance of stretchmarks, scarring, etc. Did I mention that you can also use this balm on other parts of your body? I have). I just dab a little on where I need it most, and let my skin drink it up. They must be high quality butters, as I haven't had issues with them clogging my skin or causing breakouts.

The star ingredients in this balm are the rose and sweet orange oils. Together, they feed your skin antioxidants to prevent the formation of free radicals that can age the skin. Personally, I've noticed my skin looking smoother, softer and more vibrant. My fine lines seem to disappear, especially around my eye area. I'm not sure if it is advisable to use this product there, but I've had amazing results using it in place of my usual eye cream (I just make sure not to get it in my eyes). I just love this little miracle in a jar and plan to purchase more in the future (once I get through this one; I'm only about a quarter of the way through it).

Seriously, I highly recommend Beauty Brew. I'm so glad I stumbled upon this brand. Let me know, if you can't stop raving about Beauty Brew, too. You can find me on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* A big thank you goes out to Beauty Brew for sending me these products.
All opinions are my own :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Leaves of Trees is a lovely way to stay fresh

Natural deodorant can be tricky, when it comes to finding one that works for you. I'll even admit that I had some trouble myself, until I gave my underarms a "pit detox" (you basically have to stop using the toxic stuff for at least a month, even if that means using detoxifying facial masks under your arms and freshening up with a spritz of water mixed with organic raw apple cider vinegar from time to time).

Now, I don't sweat quite so much, and I've been able to find some natural deodorants to keep me smelling fresh, like this Leaves of Trees Lavender Tangerine Deodorant. It comes in this elegant tube and has a natural lavender citrus scent (it smells so good). A combination of sodium bicarbonate (a natural deodorizer; heads up, if you are sensitive to baking soda), kaolin clay (although this is not an antiperspirant, it does keep you a tad bit drier) and natural antiseptic agents (neem oil, lavender and tangerine essential oils, eucalyptus and peppermint oils; sweat itself doesn't smell until it comes in contact with bacteria) help to prevent body odor, while argan oil, cocoa butter and vitamin E keep your skin soft. It's easy to reapply, as needed, throughout the day, without contaminating the rest of the product.

You can find this lovely deodorant (yes, I just referred to it as lovely) at Petal and Post (I snagged the two banners in this post from their site, reminding you why it's so important to include natural products in your beauty routine), which only sells products that are free from sodium laurel sulfate, sulfates, parabens, propylene or butylene glycols, petroleum, PEGS, TEA, DEA, phthalates, GMO, silicones, pesticides, BPA, lead, artificial dyes, harmful synthetic fragrances or animal by-products. In other words, you can be assured that brands purchased from this site are safe to use. U.S. and Canadian customers can get free shipping with the code: rawdorable-SUMMER (the code is good for one use through 9/30/16).

Have you found a natural deodorant that works for you? Let me know your faves. You can find me on Twitter at @Rawdorable and Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Petal & Post sent me this deodorant for review.
All opinions are my own :)
* This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Creamy Dreamy Watermelon Butter Smoothie

If you don't follow me on Instagram, then you probably missed my latest creamy, dreamy smoothie. It's been so popular that I had to share it here, too. All you need to do is blend some frozen watermelon (I just filled up my personal blender; I used my Tribest), a heaping spoonful of Dastony 100% Organic, Raw & Stone Ground Watermelon Seed Butter and enough water to make it blend easier (maybe a couple tablespoons, but not much). The result is a creamy sweet melon smoothie with this pretty pinky peach color.

Sometimes I'm hesitant to combine anything with watermelon than water and melon (although I have broken that rule), but since this seed butter is made out of watermelon seeds, I knew this combo was meant to be. If you haven't tried watermelon seed butter, I can tell you that it's similar to sunflower seed butter in both taste and texture, so don't expect it to be sweet (unless you add something to it, like in this smoothie). It's made out of 100% organic watermelon seeds that are peeled and stone ground into a silky smooth butter. Very cool.

I got this watermelon seed butter in my latest RawBox (check out my original RawBox post for more information), along with this facial scrub from The Wonder Seed (you may have seen it in other veg-friendly subscription boxes). This 100% vegan and cruelty-free, gentle scrub is made out of natural ingredients, like water lotus blossom extract, virgin hemp seed oil and coconut oil, to create a clear cleanser with sea salt exfoliates. It's a deep cleanser that leaves my skin fresh and radiant.

I basically mentioned The Wonder Seed Facial Scrub, because I included it in my original Instagram post about this smoothie (and because it's good stuff). Also included in this RawBox was Juvo Organic Raw Meal packets (very convenient), Coconut Simple Squares (quite tasty), Whole Fig Nut Raw Bar (figs are my favorite), Barnanas (like chewy banana candies, but better for you), Ello Raw Cinnamon Sugar Donut Holes (need I say more; they're so yummy), Rawxies Lemon Poppy Seed Heart Bar (who doesn't love Rawxies?), Amazing Grass Green Superfood Detox & Digest packets (I've been a fan of Amazing Grass products for years) and Vera Clean Natural Antibacterial Cleaner (I feel good about using this cleaner in my house). These boxes just keep getting better and better :)

If you make this smoothie, let me know what you think. You can find me on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* RawBox sent me this subscription box. All opinions are my own :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Handcrafted Beauty is affordable, effective

In all my time of beauty blogging, I've learned that you can't really judge a product by its packaging or it's price. Yes, there are some expensive luxury brands that work well, but you can also find smaller handcrafted products that really give you some bang for not a lot of bucks, like the ones pictured above by Handcrafted Beauty.

The lovely Lyndsey and Raquel (pictured above; the photo is from their website) are the founders of Handcrafted Beauty, a line of natural skincare, created by hand in a home kitchen out of only the best ingredients nature has to offer. These ingredients are selected for their effectiveness, purity, ability to promote healthy nourished skin, and never include synthetic dyes, fragrances, colors or chemicals. The ladies like to tease that they don't test on animals, although they do sometimes test out their products on their husbands :)

I'm so honored that Lyndsey and Raquel offered me an opportunity to test out their Handcrafted Beauty Bundle (it contains a facial cleanser, toner, serum and moisturizing oil), as well as their After Glow Detoxifying Scrub and Mask. It's basically everything you need to begin your Handcrafted Beauty facial routine, starting with the Almond & Honey Cleansing Oil.

The Almond & Honey Cleansing Oil is basically an oil base (coconut oil, almond oil, apricot oil, grapeseed oil, castor oil and jojoba oil), mixed with organic castile soap and organic raw honey to create a creamy, gentle, "beegan" cleanser that removes dirt and makeup, providing a deep clean without throwing your skin off balance. It leaves your skin soft and not too tight, despite the fact that it contains castile soap (just be careful about getting it in your eyes, as it can sting when combined with makeup). It keeps my skin clear and my fine lines less define. It also has a light honey almond scent.

Next up is the Handcrafted Beauty Rose Water Toner, which I, of course, adore. I'm a huge fan of rose water toners, and this one does not disappoint. This combination of spring water, aloe, organic witch hazel, dried organic roses, dried organic calendula and citric acid provides the perfect balance to both hydrate the skin and keep it clear. This toner has antioxidants to protect the skin from signs of aging; it improves overall tone, texture and reduces pore size. It's advised to apply it with a cotton round, but I like to just give my skin a spritz or two. It smells so fresh and lovely.

The Handcrafted Beauty Vitamin C Serum has quite a sparkly container, which made me extra curious about what was inside. Could it be this bright and shimmery? Well, I was only slightly disappointed that the color and shine was really just the outside of the bottle, as the product inside is a more natural pale lemony lotion. However, this light serum really brightens and tones my skin, giving it a youthful glow. I absolutely love this product.

This Vitamin C Serum contains aloe, glycerin, rosehip seed oil, emulsifying wax, vitamin C, vitamin E, soybean oil, organic cranberry fruit extract, organic red raspberry fruit extract, organic blue raspberry fruit extract, organic white willow bark fruit extract, organic alcohol, organic neem seed oil, organic rosemary leaf extract, organic sunflower seed oil, sweet almond oil and organic lemon essential oil. It's loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants, which work to prevent environmental and UV damage to your skin.

The Handcrafted Beauty Daily Moisturizing Oil also comes in a brightly colored bottle, although the product is clear and natural. A little of this hydrating oil goes a long way, as I just dab a small amount with my fingertips on my face and neck. This combination of sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, apricot oil, organic dried calendula, organic dried chamomile and organic red roses absorbs well and is made for all skin types. I tend to use this at night and sometimes during the day. The rest of the line seems to balance my skin so perfectly that my skin doesn't seem to need the extra moisturizer all the time.

Lastly, the After Glow Detoxifying Scrub and Mask is my favorite Handcrafted Beauty product out of the ones I was sent for review. It really is a scrub and mask in one that quickly gets the job done. After cleansing, simply apply a generous amount of this mixture of castile soap, coconut oil, sugar, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, activated charcoal, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, wintergreen oil and bentonite clay to your face and massage it in a circular motion. Heads up that this mask can be a tad bit messy (but fun), as it's texture is more like an oil-based sugar scrub than a mask and its color is quite dark (it has a deep marine blue-green/gray color).

After exfoliating away any dull skin with the sugar scrub, allow the charcoal mask to dry a few minutes to draw out impurities. The mint will provide a refreshing aromatherapy scent and a slight tingle to stimulate blood flow, while the tea tree oil has antibacterial properties that clear your skin. The oils will also keep your skin hydrated, even after you wash this scrub/mask off your face. I highly recommend this mask, especially this time of year when it's prone to sun damage and sunscreen-coated days.

Actually, I highly recommend Handcrafted Beauty in general. I never would have guessed I'd get such amazing results from handcrafted products from a home kitchen.

Have you tried Handcrafted Beauty? What are your favorite small-batched beauty brands? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Handcrafted Beauty sent me these products for review. All opinions are my own :)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Plant Powered Perfection from Teri Miyahira

Recently, the gorgeously talented Teri Miyahira (pictured below; this photo is from her website) offered me an opportunity to test out her new monthly subscription service. When it comes to green beauty, Teri really knows her stuff, so I knew she wouldn't disappoint.

For those of you who follow her Instagram or hugely popular YouTube channel, you're probably already aware of Teri's dedication to an all-natural, cruelty-free lifestyle, as well as her exquisite taste (she's worked professionally in the high-fashion industry and with celebrities). In the green beauty scene, she's used the skills she developed in her fashion career to create very curated content in the beauty industry, including for natural brands like Honest Beauty by Jessica Alba. Knowing that high-priced products aren't accessible to every budget, Teri felt it was important to find ways to provide luxury-quality green beauty products at an affordable price.

Teri Miyahira Beauty is Teri's unique business model that combines limited-edition collections with a monthly subscription service. There's an online store with featured green beauty products from her line, as well as like-minded apparel, decor and, of course, the subscription box filled with luxury, all-natural, cruelty-free products personally curated by Teri, herself. With total control over the company, she makes sure there's no skimping on quality ingredients (there aren't any hidden synthetic ingredients), as well as being able to ensure her line is truly cruelty-free (no parent company in question).

Her attention to detail is evident in her latest subscription box. Packed tightly and securely in a tiny black box (this girl really knows how to limit her packaging), I found the most stunning summery makeup shades and a spray toner, protected in a cute reusable drawstring bag. Even the decorative information card suggests that you help conserve by reusing the card as a bookmark, planner insert, etc., and the drawstring bag as a purse organizer or snack bag.

The makeup colors in this box are stunning. I have no idea how Teri knew these are my favorite shades to compliment my summer glow, not to mention the fact that I love anything that makes getting "made up" quicker, easier and more convenient. These Teri Miyahira Crushed Color Roll-On Loose Pigments for Eyes & Cheeks make it simple and convenient to take these loose shimmering pigments with you on the go (these would be amazing on a vacation) and to apply them quick and easily either straight from the roller ball or with your finger.

See how beautifully they roll out of the container. The top shade is Love, a pink coral that glistens when the light hits it. I've used it on both my cheeks and eyes. Next, is Freedom, a glittery taupe that looks way more sophisticated on than those old-school Claire's Boutique glitters. It appears really natural on my lids and beneath my brow bone, like natural light. Last, but not least, is Patience, which is a bronzy gold that's perfect in my crease. It also could work as a bronzer, if applied correctly.

Here's another pic of all three swatched shades. Don't fear the shimmer, as they provide just enough shine without being too much. They don't even accentuate my fine lines, which can sometimes be an issue with shimmery shades on more mature skin.

The June 2016 subscription box also contains the Teri Miyahira Detox Tonique in a 2 fl. oz. spray bottle. It contains ingredients like witch hazel, green tea, lemon, lemongrass, grapefruit, calendula, honeysuckle and coneflower to refresh your skin after cleansing, or anytime you want to experience its benefits. It's advised to use with a cotton round, but I just give it a mist (with my eyes closed, of course). I love the light citrus scent and the way it moisturizes and tones my skin at the same time. I can feel that it leaves a layer of moisture on the top of my skin, as well.

I am beyond impressed with Teri's new products, I think you would be, too. I can't wait to see what she puts out next. Let me know if you subscribe. You can find me on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Teri Miyahira sent me these products for review.
All opinions are my own :)