Monday, April 25, 2011

Hang me up to dry

I don't exactly know if laundry detergent falls into the "beauty" category, but it's definitely important in ensuring one looks their best. There's nothing like leftover grains of powdered laundry detergent, hanging onto your outfit like dandruff, to ruin a look. Detergents that fade clothing's color or leave the fabric feeling like burlap are equally undesirable. I've been using Seventh Generation Free & Clear Laundry Detergent for a while and I've found that it performs as well as other detergents at cleaning clothes and removing stains. I've even started skipping fabric softener.

Due you use a natural laundry detergent and/or softener? If so which is your favorite brand?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Minty Fresh

The weather in the Bay Area is warming up, which to me means that summer is right around the corner! Which is great, except that summer is also swim suit warmer weather also means more working out. The following minty fresh products have been keeping me cool as the mercury rises and my exercise routine amps up.

Burt's Bees Fabulously Fresh Peppermint & Rosemary Body Wash ($8/12oz) has a nice, thick consistency and foams lightly. I love using this body wash as a pick-me-up after a tough workout because the peppermint and rosemary oils in the product are naturally cooling on skin and invigorating. Another thing I appreciate about the product is that the minty scent isn't saccharin sweet; it's more of a naturally sweet herbal scent. After 30 minutes on the elliptical, a warm shower and some aromatherapy by way of this body wash are entirely welcome.

After the shower I like to slather on some Yes to Cucumbers Cooling Body Butter ($13/8.45oz). The body butter is a thick cream with the same fresh, jasmine scent as the rest of the Yes to Cucumbers line. It spreads easily over skin and soaks in within 10 minutes or so. I haven't noticed any cooling sensations when using this product but I do think it would make a killer after-sun cream if left in the fridge.

As for hair...

I've been using Organix Teatree Mint Shampoo and Conditioner ($6/13oz. each) on and off for the past few months. Pretty appropriately, my feelings about the product have also been on-again-off-again. For the record - I have thin, normal to dry hair. When I first got these products I liked the shampoo's high-foam lather and the conditioner's thick consistency. But after using both for a few weeks, I didn't feel that my hair was moisturized enough. I switched to other products for a while and then recently switched back to the Organix, but I'm still not sold. I think that this duo's light moisturizing effects might work better for me in the summer when my hair tends to be a little oilier and I end us washing my hair more often due to pool trips and outdoor activities.

Green Beauty Blog Report Card:

Burt's Bees Fabulously Fresh Peppermint & Rosemary Body Wash: A

Yes to Cucumbers Cooling Body Butter: A

Organix Teatree Mint Shampoo and Conditioner: C-

Is the weather warming up where you live? If so, what do you do to keep cool? Is there a minty beauty product that you love?

Monday, April 18, 2011

St. Ive's Naturally Clear Green Tea Cleanser

As a teen, I religiously used pHisoderm's Anti-Blemish Gel Facial Wash. To this day I still love the stuff, and measure all face washes against it. There are plenty of great things about it: the gel cleans without drying, the formula effectively prevents my temperamental skin from breaking out and, HELLO!, it's cheap! There are only two problems with the pHisoderm face wash: 1) It's not very easy to find it Nor Cal drug stores nowadays, and 2) It doesn't contain a lot of natural ingredients. The ingredient list gives me flashbacks to my college chemistry classes. Over the past few years I've tried a few different cleansers in place of the pHisoderm wash...the replacement I purchased a few months ago is St. Ives Naturally Clear Green Tea Cleanser, $6.

St. Ives' Naturally Clear collection was released several months ago and includes washes and scrubs for both face and body (to read my review on St. Ives' Naturally Clear Green Tea Face Scrub, click here).

I was originally attracted to the Naturally Clear face wash because of the "natural" factor. It contains green tea extract, which St. Ives claims reduces redness, as well as moisturizing olive oil and olive leaf extracts. The product also contains Salicylic acid to fight blemishes, as well as extracts of:

-Ascophyllum Nodosum: brown seaweed (kinda cool, right?)
-Alteromonas: bacteria found in seawater (OK, less enamoured with this ingredient :P)
-Epilobium Angustifolium: Fireweed (AKA willowherb)

Brown seaweed is naturally high in nutrients and antioxidant willowherb has been brewed as a healthy tea for hundreds of years, so I can get behind those ingredients. I can also support the fact that this product does not contain parabens and phthalates. But I'm not so keen on the sulfates, propylene glycol, perfume, artificial colors, and other weird ingredients the products does contain.

Performance-wise the face wash is okay - it cleans and removes makeup without drying out my skin but unfortunately it does not prevent the stray blemish from erupting. Also, after using the product for several months I did not notice a decrease in the redness of my skin. To be fair, I have sensitive, acne-prone skin, so for people with normal skin and occasional breakouts (vs. my near perpetual pimples) this product may be a good choice.

The product has a low price point, which is a plus, but a lot of other affordable drugstore brands bring it a lot harder on the green front for about the same price. Overall....

Green Beauty Blog Rating: C+

Have you tried this face wash? What did you think?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Euro-trip Arsenal

Munich by Aerial Photography on Flickr

In exactly 68 days I will board a flight to Munich for 10 days of euro-tripping! I am super excited and already pondering what beauty items to pack. Since all the literature I've read about traveling to Europe emphasizes the importance of packing light, I guess I won't be lugging my Urban Decay Book of Shadows with me transatlantic. Below are the items I plan to take for a perfect European summer look:
Urban Decay Naked Palette, $48

Alba TerraTints Tinted Lip Balm in Blaze, $3.99

Mini bottles of Garnier Fructis Pure & Clean Shampoo and Conditioner (free with purchase of full-size bottles at WalMart)

Badger Balm SPF 30+ Sunscreen for Face & Body, $16

Oh yeah, and toothpaste and deodorant :P Now what to wear?!