Monday, February 27, 2012

Delighted Momma DIY Rose Water Toner

 Photo taken by me at the Santa Barbara Mission!

I saw this Rose Water Toner DIY on the blog Delighted Momma and just had to share. The DIY is awesome. I'm even excited about the fact that you can buy dried rose buds at health food stores! I bet you could find them at a Middle Eastern or Indian market also (which usually carry rose water, for the lazy :P).

Lindsay at Delighted Momma is an esthetician by trade and posts skin care tips weekly. Check them all out here, or view my favorite posts below.

DIY Pumpkin Enzyme Mask (Looks delicious!)
Give products time (Who knew new products need 6-8 weeks to settle in?)
What your skin is telling you (Shockingly accurate for me)
Oil cleansing method (Navigate the scary prospect of using an oil cleanser with a pro's advice)

Hope you enjoy!

Yes to Cucumber Daily Calming Moisturizer SPF 30

I really wanted this to work. I had such an awesome experience with the non-SPF version of this moisturizer that I was deeply hoping this product would become a staple. Unfortunately, things didn't pan out with Yes to Cucumbers Daily Calming Moisturizer SPF 30 ($14.99/1.4oz). The texture was the first thing that bothered me. It's thick and slightly sticky, and it feels that way on my skin. It also caused noticeable redness and patches of irritation as well as a couple pimples. On top of that, it didn't seem to impart enough moisture, so I ended up with patches of irritation and dryness. Not cool :(

The Yes to Carrots Hydrating Lotion with SPF 30 seems to have the same texture and also caused my skin to become irritated when I used for a week last summer. I actually broke out in little hives! I'm haven't been able to figure out what is causing the irritation, though I think it may be the high concentration of zinc and titanium oxides. I checked the ingredient lists for the original Daily Calming Moisturizer and the SPF version and the sun-blocking oxides seem to be the only major difference (besides the fact that the original version has way more natural extracts in it. Hm!).

The good things about this product are the packaging (practical pump and tight-fitting cap), fragrance (soft jasmine scent), and price (reasonable for a 97% natural face cream with SPF 30). But sadly they aren't the meat of the product and can't make it work for my skin. Hence:

Green Beauty Blog Rating: *****

I still love you, Yes to Carrots.

I guess the search for a natural face moisturizer continues...any recommendations? I've been using Eucerin Everyday Protection Face Lotion with SPF 30 but am looking for something with mineral sunscreens only.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Love & Toast Happiness Kit

After months of admiring it from afar, I finally purchased the Love & Toast Happiness Kit ($16.99) at Target. The kit contains a shower creme, body scrub, body lotion, shampoo, conditioner, lip scrub, lip butter, and perfume sample. The lip scrub is exclusive to the Happiness Kit; everything else you can buy full size. I think the Happiness Kit does a good job at representing the breadth of Love & Toast's product line. I also like that the kit comes bundled in a handy re-usable plastic pouch.

The goods.

The shower creme, body scrub, and body lotion are all 0.85oz (enough for several applications) and come in the Clementine Crush scent. Love & Toast claims that the scent includes notes of mandarin, ripened mango, vanilla sugar, and guava, but to me it smells exactly like these:

Sweet and orange-y without any tartness. I love citrus scents but I do prefer them a bit tart, so this was just OK for me. As far as performance goes, the shower creme and body lotion did go a good job softening my skin, but nothing extraordinary. I might purchase full sizes of these if I found another scent I really liked (Salt n' Sea and Honey Nectar sound interesting!).

The shampoo and conditioner are also 0.85oz and are formulated for all hair types. The formulas contain white tea, sage, grapefruit and mint. I can definitely smell the mint, as well as a little rosemary, maybe? The shampoo lathered well (with no sulfates!) and did a good job cleaning my hair. The conditioner is really thick so I assumed it would adequately moisturize my hair, but my hair ended up feeling drier than usual. I tend to use moisturizing/hydrating formulas, so I think I was missing the extra moisture those formulas deliver. Love & Toast does offer a "Rich" shampoo and conditioner - I wonder if that would work better for me.

A random aside about the body and hair care products - they are really difficult to squeeze out of their little bottles! The square shape is attractive, but just doesn't seem to be well-designed for getting product out.

The lip butter is a normal-size tube in the Strawberry Fields flavor. I do get a strawberry note in the scent, but I also get an anise or ammonium note that just seems misplaced to me. The flavor bothers me so much that I won't use the product, which is too bad, since the texture is great (virtually the same as the lip balm). I think this lip butter will be finding a new home with a friend, but I'm hoping to try other flavors of these lip butters and be more successful with them.

The lip scrub is nothing special. It seems to be petroleum jelly with some silica in it. There doesn't seem to be enough silica/exfoliators to effectively scrub lips, but the jelly is fairly moisturizing. The lip scrub is supposed to have a Green Tea mint scent (maybe the same as the Green Tea Mint lip butter)? To me it smells like sweet peppermint.

The perfume sample I received was Sugar Grapefruit, which is supposed to have notes of Pink grapefruit, Orange citrus, Warm musk, Lily. It does smell citrusy, but I don't get a clear grapefruit or orange note. It smells more like a mix of lemon and lime to me with a tart edge. I don't pick up the lily or musk either, but I do detect a clean, soapy note somewhere in there. The scent is too tart for me, so I wouldn't purchase a full size, but it has reignited my love for the Gin Blossom perfume! Gin Blossom seems to have the same citrus notes but is a bit sweeter and less tart.

So I think that covered everything...Overall I wasn't super impressed with the products in this kit but I was happy to become more familiar with the Love & Toast product line. And I'm happy that testing these new products reignited my love for the Love & Toast products I already have! I probably wouldn't purchase full sizes of any of the specific products contained in this kit, but I have been persuaded to think about purchasing full size products in other scents. I'm still interested...that's good, right? ;)

Green Beauty Blog Rating : *****

Korres Cherry Lip Gloss

I cannot believe that I have not yet reviewed Korres lip glosses! They are my go-to lip glosses for several reasons. They have a good color range (lots of flattering neutrals plus some bolder colors), good pigmentation, low stick factor, and wear for at least a couple hours. They also have a sweet cherry scent thanks to cherry oil infused in the gloss. Being as lippie-crazed as I am, I have acquired 5 of the 12 available shades. Check out my hoard below...


Top to Bottom: Beige, Nude, Natural Purple, Light Purple, Fuchsia

Swatches L-R: Beige, Nude, Natural Purple, Light Purple, Fuchsia

Compared to a MAC lip gloss, I find these Korres glosses to be much less sticky but about as pigmented, with comparable wear time. Compare to a geoGIRL lip gloss (the only other lip gloss I've used recently), the Korres glosses are thicker and slightly stickier with more pigmentation and longer wear time. I give these Korres glosses five stars, but if you want a second opinion, check out Sephora's website. They get (almost) 5 stars there as well!

I am so happy tomorrow is Friday - happy weekends to all!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Soap Tins: Recent Shopping Win

I've been looking for a soap tin to keep my soap from turning to mush in the shower. I was originally eyeing this Pre de Provence soap tin, but at $18 it seemed a bit expensive. I was almost resigned to getting a plastic soap case when I stumbled upon this tinned Seaweed Soap by Scottish Fine Soaps.

These soaps turn up from time to time at stores like TJ Maxx and Marshall's - I got mine at Marshall's for $4! So for 4 buckaroonies I got a soap and a re-useable tin. Score!

For those who can't easily find Scottish Fine Soaps, or don't want to order online, Lush carries some tins for under $4 that you can check out here, here, and here.

Hope everyone is having a good day and to my fellow Americanos - Happy President's Day!

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Any the ingredient du jour is...banana!

Bananas are one of my favorite foods, and they are also great natural moisturizers. Their high water and vitamin content make them great for softening and nourishing skin. For a simple skin- and hair-softerning mask, mash half a banana with some yogurt and honey. Or pick up one of the skin care products below featuring banana as an ingredient :)

Lush Banana Moon Soap, $7.95/3.5oz.

The Body Shop Banana Shampoo and Conditioner, $8 each/8.4oz.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Body Shop Honey Bronze Shimmering Dry Oil

In one month I'll be on my way to Miami, Florida - the land of epic beach bodies and sun-kissed skin. Unfortunately I'm pretty pale nowadays, .  Enter The Body Shop's Honey Bronze Shimmering Dry Oil ($14/3.3oz, $22 for larger sizer). Following success with Tarte's Celebutante Mositurizing Shimmering Dry Oil I was happy to try a similar product with a bit more pigment. I haven't given Honey Bronze Shimmering Dry Oil a full test run yet, but I did swab some on my hand at the store. It's thin, has medium pigmentation, and blends in with just a bit of rubbing. It has a jasmine scent that I find divine (it was the scent that launched a week-long obsession, then finally a purchase). However, some users who posted reviews on The Body Shop's website found it to be too strong/difficult to layer with other fragrances. I'm a one-note fragrance kind of girl anyway, so I have no problems with it.

I find the packaging to be really pretty (bonus points for glass => recyclable), with a heft that makes the product feel expensive and luxurious. The bottle has a small hole in the top (not sure what to call that type of applicator/bottle type) to dispense a small amount of product at a time. The oil does separate from the shimmery particulates, so you have to shake up the product before applying. I bought my bottle in store for $22, and I think there are about 6-8 ounces of product in the bottle. You can buy a smaller 3.3oz. bottle online for $14. I'm not sure why the smaller size isn't available in store, and the larger size isn't available online, but whatevs! The clerk who assisted me with my purchase said that her particular store was sold out of this product for a long time and they just got some back in. Good to know. Hurry and get yours while supplies last! ;)

P.S. I sniffed the Chocomania soaps (featured in my Valentine's Day Treats post) while I was there and they smelled positively delicious - like chocolate and coconut. I may bring one home with me next time I hit the mall....

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

geoGirl Lip Gloss in Orangeade

Buying lip gloss doesn't violate my "no buy" on lip balm...right? Haha ;) I picked up another flavor of geoGirl lip gloss ($4.29) - Orangeade. It's sheer orange tint and citrusy flavor are a nice pick-me-up, and the non-sticky texture will surely be nice when the weather warms up.

Green Beauty Blog Rating: *****

Monday, February 6, 2012

Survey - I've been tagged by sGreenJuice!

1. Post these rules.
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post. 
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog and tell them that you’ve tagged them.
6. No stuff in the tagging section about ‘you are tagged if you are reading this.’ blah blah blah, you legitimately have to tag 11 people!

11 Random Things About Me:
1.  I am pretty interested in cars and other motor vehicles. I can identify most car makes and models by sight, I just have to learn how exactly they work!

2. I am an adventurous eater. I will eat just about anything.

3. I am seriously directionally-challenged. I like to find my way by landmarks, but I can't always find the landmarks :/

4. I like to do things the old-school way whenever possible. For example, I'd rather ask for directions than look up directions on my phone. This may contribute to me getting lost a lot.

5. I'm studying interior design and hope to be a designer someday!

6. My favorite color is blue/green (teal?). But I am a big fan of color in general, and love all the hues.

7. My nickname is LoLo.

8. My family has two chihuahuas and one fat cat - quite the menagerie!

9. My first major in college was marine biology.

10. I love animals, particularly birds and big cats.
11. I've owned a red lipstick for over a year but am still too shy to wear it out!

11 Questions I Had to Answer
1. What's your favorite thing to cook?
Pasta! It's so easy and there are so many possibilities. Plus it's easy to dress up or dress down.

2. Do you prefer your hair up or down?
 Up, but most people I know think I look better with my hair down. I took a lot of dance classes as a kid so I became very used to seeing my hair up!

3. What was the last good book you read?
The first that come to mind are the books in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. I'm slowly working my way through the movies (Swedish), and it's only fueling my excitement for my summer trip to Scandinavia!

4. Describe yourself in five words or less.
Fun, thoughtful, mischievous, goofy, self-critical.

5. If you could only use two makeup products, what would you choose?
Tinted lip balm and mascara.

6. Do you like talking on the phone?
Yes and no, it's fun but I much prefer talking in person.

7. What's one thing most people would be surprised to know about you?
I grew up in California and went to school in SoCal but I have not yet learned how to surf. It's a regret of mine, and I'm hoping to learn this summer!

8. Do you exfoliate your skin?  How often?  What do you use?
Yes, I exfoliate my face 1-2 times a week and my body about once a week. For my face I use a mix of face cleanser and sugar or St. Ive's Naturally Green Green Tea Scrub. As far as body scrubs, right now I'm using Green by Nature's Banana Shea Total Body Scrub.

9. Do you like to stay in or go out?
Both! I like getting dressed up and going out on the weekends, but I'm a big fan of cozy nights in as well, especially on weekdays.

10. What's your favorite/least favorite non-physical thing about yourself?  Why?
I'm carrying a bit of extra weight now, I think I would look a lot better without it. I'm hoping in the next few weeks I can get my butt in gear and get back in shape.

11. What do you do to de-stress?
Play with my pets, take a bath, watch bad reality TV :)

11 Questions for the People I Tag
1. If you could wake up tomorrow and speak another language, what would it be?
2. What is one goal you have for 2012?
3. What is your dream vacation spot?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. What would you rather give up for a month - makeup or dessert?
6. What countries or states have you visited?
7. How have your travels affected your perception of beauty, if they have at all?
8. What is your favorite feature to accentuate?
9. Do you prefer to wear lipstick or lipgloss?
10. Do you use a primer? If so, which one?
11. Who is your celebrity crush?

5 People I Tag (I'm cheating a bit since I don't know more than 5 people to tag)

1. Beauty Reflections
2. Bower of Blisse
3. The Natural Beauty Workshop
4. Organic Beauty Source
5. Chic & Green

NIQUEA.D Candles

A week or so before Christmas my boyfriend and I hit the mall to find a last-minute gift for my mom. Near the end of our trip we ducked into Papyrus and encountered a new collection of greeting cards, jewelry, accessories, and candles called NIQUEA.D. I can get a little crazy about candles, and the candles in this collection did not escape my adoration. Soy-based and poured into deeply-saturated glass votives, they sparkled like little jewels. And each votive was embossed with a gold unicorn, NIQUEA.D's logo. Of course, every candle smells fantastic. The boyfriend and I chose the Blue Hydrangea candle for my mom (Blue Hyrdangea is one of her favorite flowers) and Papyrus kindly wrapped it up for us. But the candle's packaging was so beautiful the gift wrapping almost seemed redundant.

The Scrooge in me is secretly plotting to "borrow" my mom's candle, but in all likelihood I'll end up splurging on my own. The candles aren't cheap - $15 for a votive (1.8oz) and $34 for the regular size (9.4oz) - but because of the soy base they have long burn times and shouldn't produce any soot. The 9.4oz candle has an estimated burn time of 55 hours, so the votive should burn about 10.5 hours. In addition to Blue Hydrangea, NIQUEA.D candles also come in Citrus Blossom, Emerald Forest, Ginger Sandalwood, Wild Currant, and Cranberry Clove scents. Buy them here or find them at a store near you here.

Hope you enjoyed! Now I want to watch The Last Unicorn...