More Hair and Shampoo Talk

All right, I promised I’d post about shampoo…

I’ve described my hair type before, but it’s been a while. I have fine hair, and not much of it. It’s a few inches below my shoulders with a couple very subtle layers at the ends (my hair girl calls it “shattering,” which sounds kinda badass), and I have side-swept bangs. I’ve been growing my hair out for a while now, with lots of trims along the way, and I always have trouble with my ends getting tangly once it gets past my shoulders. Then I get split ends (ugh). My hair is prone to looking a bit greasy, especially in the bang area, so I try not to use a ton of product in it. I wash my hair every other day, usually using Acure Dry Shampoo on my “off” days. My scalp is mostly healthy, with some minor build-up every now and then. I consider my hair to be color-treated, even though I use henna, which isn’t really “traditional” hair color. Henna will be a good topic for a future post!

During my, um, absence from blogging, I’ve tried a couple different shampoos. The first one was Juice Organics Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner. I had liked their Brightening combination for normal hair, so I thought I’d try this version for fine hair. I found it at good ol’ TJ Maxx for $8.99 per bottle — great deal! Though it did a good job keeping my scalp feeling healthy, I felt as though it dried out my ends and made my hair more tangly than usual. It’s a good thing I have a large supply of hair oil samples from Birchbox, because that helped me to deal with those dry ends! Also, the smell wasn’t my favorite. It’s supposed to be passionfruit scented, but it sort of reminded me of Children’s Tylenol. Not offensive, but not pleasant either. I know it sounds like I’m hating on this shampoo/conditioner combo, but I’m not. It just isn’t for me; good but not great. So, after I was done with this combo, I was in search for something a little less drying that would help my ends feel healthy and a bit more moisturized.

My next (and current) combo is Acure Moroccan Argan Oil + Argan Stem Cell Shampoo and Conditioner. I had a ton of Birchbox points to burn, plus a discount code, so I went for it. I had tried the version for fine hair as well (which I had also posted about), but had a similar issue with my ends being a bit on the dry side. I’ve been using it for about a month now and so far I like it. It smells very strongly of almonds, which I didn’t love at first, but it’s growing on me. The reviews I read talked about it being a bit heavy for fine hair, so I’ve taken extra precautions when using it. I’ve only been using a little bit of each product and I only use a little bit of conditioner on my ends (I don’t put it anywhere near my roots). I haven’t had as many tangles in my ends, which is great! My hair looks shiny and healthy. Plus, using less product will help it to last longer, thus saving me money. So far it’s a win!

Due to my frequent shampoo-hopping behaviors, I may not stick with this one. I love trying all kinds of products, and until I find something that knocks my socks off, I’ll keep my options open. I’ve seen Juice Organics Repairing Shampoo and Conditioner around as well (again, at TJ Maxx) and that looks intriguing to me. I love anything that smells like coconuts, and now I know my hair can handle moisturizing shampoos/conditioners, so that may be the next one I try! And, of course, I’m always looking for recommendations. What shampoo do you like and use?

Lip Balm Problems

Ahh, Sunday. I meant to clean today (and I did, a little bit), but I mostly sat around the house drinking coffee instead. Sometimes my laziness gets the best of me.

No product reviews today, just story time.

I’ve heard mixed reviews about using coconut oil on the face. Most sources say it can be pore-clogging, especially for those who are already acne-prone or have oily skin. A couple years ago, I tried using coconut oil on my face (it smells SO GOOD mixed with honey), but only for a week or so until a few readers and No More Dirty Looks peeps told me to be careful. I got freaked out and stopped before anything bad happened (thanks, guys!). About 6 months ago, I was a bit puzzled as to why my breakouts were only happening around my lips. I finally came to the realization that over half of my lip balm collection contained coconut oil! Derp. I decided to abstain from my coconut-oil-containing lip balms for a while to see if things would improve. I went through my collection (over 15 tubes, FYI), set aside all the ones with coconut oil, and vowed not to use them until I could verify that coconut oil was my main problem.

Turns out my suspicions were spot-on! I still have occasional breakouts around my lips, but far fewer now that I’ve learned this important lesson. The sad part about all this? All my favorite lip balms have coconut oil. Here’s a list of what I’ve had to give up:

  • S.W. Basics of Brooklyn in cinnamon (my absolute #1 fave lip balm of all time) and peppermint (a close second). Thankfully, I hadn’t yet opened my next cinnamon, so I can give that one to a friend.
  • Meow Meow Tweet in grapefruit clove. My most recently purchased lip balm, of course!
  • Burt’s Bees in original, grapefruit, pomegranate, and Pink Blossom tinted balm.
  • Juice Beauty lip balm trio with SPF, harumph.

Total removed from my collection: 10

Bummer, right? Yes (sigh), but I’ll be OK. There are plenty of other lip balms out there. I’ve got some good ones in my collection so far! Here’s what I’m using now:

  • Pangea Organics in fennel grapefruit (maybe an older formulation because I can’t find the link anywhere), which is my go-to I keep at my desk at work.
  • Madre Bees (now known as Sierra Bees) in honey. It was a freebie from iHerb and I usually use it at night before bed.
  • Herbivore Botanicals in rose.
  • Lily Farm Fresh, which is unscented. I absolutely love the formula, but I wish it was scented.
  • Alaffia in tangerine clove. I went out and bought this one after realizing I didn’t have very much lip balm without coconut oil. I needed more variety and it was a weak moment for me. Don’t judge.
  • Dr. Bronner’s in peppermint. Also purchased to help my variety “problem.” I carry this one in my purse and it’s my new fave.
  • Coola, which actually does have coconut oil in it, but also has SPF 30. I need something to protect me from the sun, and I’m sure to use it sparingly and never at night.

So, that’s my story. Surely a helpful discovery, but it sucks to have to give up all those awesome lip balms. Anyone have suggestions as to what to do with them? It seems like a waste to throw them away. I suppose I can use them on dry knuckles, or my cuticles. In addition to suggestions, I’m also looking for recommendations. What’s your favorite coconut-oil-free lip balm? Hit me up!

Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Cream

Hey guys! Remember me? It’s, uh, been a while. Sorry about that. Life has been busy! The new job, though not so “new” anymore, is awesome. I should be there right now, but I’m at home with a raging cold and I’m tired of watching TV today. So here I am again! I haven’t been trying a lot of new clean products lately. I’ve more or less settled into a routine that I haven’t switched up very much. That’s mainly why you haven’t heard much from me in the past few months.

I did find a new deodorant, though. I first learned of Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Cream on No More Dirty Looks while having a rough patch with Schmidt’s (towards the end of my jar of cedarwood+juniper, I broke out in a really bad rash and couldn’t wear deodorant for weeks). I ordered both the lavender and tea tree for myself, and a couple more lavender jars for friends.

Image credit: Meow Meow Tweet

Image credit: Meow Meow Tweet

This deodorant is a bit softer in texture than Schmidt’s, and I was really glad I saved my tiny spatula because it’s much easier to scoop it out that way. It melts onto the skin pretty nicely; I didn’t feel like I was jamming it into my pits. I’ve finished my container of lavender and now I’m onto the tea tree. I haven’t gotten irritated with either scent, rashes or otherwise. I like the lavender scent better than tea tree, but the lavender didn’t seem as effective (to be fair, it was summer and during a time when I was working out more regularly). The scent of the deodorant doesn’t really stick around after applying, so my preference is the tea tree.

Along with all the deodorant I ordered, Meow Meow Tweet also sent me a tiny size of their Repair Balm, which smells great and works wonders for dry cuticles and knuckles. I’d really like to try more of their products, especially the face toner and cleanser. Everything is reasonably priced, so I will definitely be ordering and trying more stuff. I love the ingredients they use, and the packaging is so cute! And for those of you who are sensitive to baking soda, they now make a baking soda free version of the deodorant cream!

Have you tried any products from Meow Meow Tweet? What did you think?

Honey, I’ll Never Stray Again

This winter was rough, and my skin is still paying for it.

Sometime in January, I started experimenting with facial cleansers that aren’t honey. I think I was just going through some sort of weird phase. It got really cold this winter, so I started cutting my nighttime routine short. Our house is super cold, and spending any unnecessary time with water (waiting for it to warm up, rinsing forever to get all the honey off) makes me hostile. The entire honey experience felt exhausting (which I realize sounds super whiny). In an effort to make my face-washing routine quick, I tried some other products.

Now, I don’t normally like to call out products I don’t like — my aim isn’t to dissuade others from trying something that might work for them — but that’s exactly what I’m going to do here. This post isn’t even about me not liking these products, it’s about the lesson I learned from this experience. I’ll explain that in a minute. Here’s what I tried…

Seventh Generation Facial Cleansing Cloths and Yes to Blueberries Cleansing Facial Wipes
I usually hate facial wipes, but I had purchased the lavender-scented Seventh Generation wipes for camping, and I got the Yes to Blueberries ones in my Birchbox. I kind of figured I should use up my sample, so I started using them, and they were so easy! After removing my makeup with either olive or sweet almond oil, I’d wipe my face with one of these, and then rinse with warm water. It didn’t take long for my skin to start drying out and looking dull. I was getting unnecessary zits. Not such a great idea after all.

Wild Honey Apothecary Sweet Cream Alpha Hydroxy Cleanser
Since the wipes didn’t work and I had some Birchbox points to burn, I bought this. Maybe this cleanser would work as well as honey, but be less of a pain in my ass? It’s made by small company based in Wisconsin, which immediately appealed to me. I looked at the ingredients, and they all sounded amazing (I mean… it has honey in it), so I immediately ordered it. While I appreciate this company for what it is and believe their other products have serious potential for awesomeness, this did not work for me at all. Shame on me for not seeing that the first ingredient is castile soap! Honestly. It dried the hell out of my skin. I started massaging my face with sweet almond oil before using the cleanser, and that helped, but not enough for me to keep using it.

A few weeks ago I thought to myself, “Oh man, remember when my skin looked so good because I used honey? That was awesome.” Yeah. Duh. So I’m back on honey now. In just over a week, I’ve seen a serious difference! My skin is no longer super dry. I’ve stopped breaking out, the blemishes I had started healing quicker, and my skin feels better. It’s not 100% better, but it’s getting there.

How I use honey to wash my face:
I use olive oil to remove my eye makeup, massage sweet almond oil all over my face, and slather honey all over on top of the oil (I’m using the same local brand of honey I started using last January). Sometimes I rinse it off right away, and sometimes I leave it on for a few minutes. I make sure to put it all over my lips and keep it away from my hairline. Then I rinse well with warm water, towel dry, spray with toner, and apply serum and eye cream.

This post is a way to remind my future self of the lesson I learned here: I should never use anything other than honey to wash my face on a regular basis. Is it OK to use something different every now and then? Sure. But on a regular basis, it should always be honey. Always.

Future self, take note.

Juice Beauty Lash Defining Mascara

Annnnnd, once again, it’s been a while. I hope I’m back for real this time. I’ve been slowly getting into a routine now that I’m a working gal again. I’ve been at my new job for about two months. I’m still in a training period, and I think I’m going to love it once I get properly up and running. My coworkers and boss are awesome and I love the organization. So far so good!

I was thrilled when Juice Beauty Lash Defining Mascara became available last year, so naturally I had to get my hands on some. I’ve tried a few Juice Beauty products and liked most of them. This is only the second mascara I’ve tried that’s been on the cleaner side of things (I tried 100% Pure’s last year). As I’ve mentioned before, I love drama when it comes to mascara. Most days I like my lashes thick, long, and as large as possible.

Image credit:

Image credit:

The reason it’s taken me so long to write a review is because I hoped this mascara would get better the longer it was open. 100% Pure definitely improved with time and air exposure, but this did not. I wasn’t wowed by what it did for my lashes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I expected major drama and volume. The formula was thin and liquidy, which was very hard to layer. No matter how many coats I put on, my lashes looked the same. It seemed to perform well otherwise, lasting all day and not flaking off. I think this mascara would be perfect for someone who has a more natural look. It just wasn’t enough oomph for me.

I plan on trying more clean mascaras when I get around to it, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, I’m still using dirties like Too Faced Lashgasm, Benefit They’re Real!, and the semi-dirty Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes. I just can’t help myself!

DIY Rooibos Facial Toner

I’m back with another toner recipe! It’s almost exactly the same as the toner I previously made. Maybe not the most exciting post, but I like it, so I thought it would be worth sharing. I have a deep love for rooibos tea. Not the chai or flavored kind, just the plain stuff, which is what I used in this recipe.

I started by brewing just a few ounces of tea with distilled water for about 10 minutes. I let it cool before I mixed up the toner.

Brewing the tea

Brewing the tea

The other stuff

The other stuff

In a 1-oz. spray bottle:
Fill the bottle up halfway with rooibos tea
Add rosewater, leaving a little bit of room at the top
Add about 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s)
Add a few drops of essential oil (lavender is always my favorite)
Shake well before each use

I like this toner better than the one I made with plain water. It hasn’t made any difference in my skin, but the tea helps neutralize the ACV odor a bit, so it smells more pleasant. It’s still quite cheap to make, too!

Schmidt’s Deodorant

You guys, I’m such a slacker! It’s been way too long since my last post. I can’t really blame the holidays or job hunting for this, because the truth is that I just haven’t had much interest in blogging lately. It’s not that I don’t want to share my experiences with others (I do!), it’s just that I don’t have much to say. I haven’t been trying as many new products because of my current employment status (which I like to refer to as “funemployment”) and I haven’t really done anything new or different. I’m hoping this is about to change, though, because I start a new job next week! Huge relief. I am very much looking forward to this new chapter in my professional life. As much as it sucked to lose my job, I’m finding that it’s one of the best things that happened to me in 2013. I was so unhappy, and life is too short to not enjoy something you do 40 hours a week. I’m sure that as I get into a new daily routine (and start receiving a regular paycheck), I will have new things to share. Thanks for bearing with me during this time of transition.

Onto the topic at hand: Schmidt’s Deodorant. I’ve been waiting to voice my opinion about it because, as many of you have probably experienced, sometimes natural deodorants stop working after using them for a few weeks. I didn’t want to jump the gun and recommend it if it didn’t hold up. But it does! I’ve been using it for maybe 10 weeks now (and have about a week’s worth left) and it still works quite well. I ordered this because it’s less expensive than the beloved Soapwalla ($14 for 2 oz.; Schmidt’s is $9 for the same amount).

Image credit:

Image credit:

Schmidt’s is firmer in texture than Soapwalla. Though you can’t really scoop it with your fingers, it comes with a small plastic spatula that fits inside the container. You scoop out a pea-sized amount, warm it in your hands, rub it into your pit, and the repeat the same process on the other pit. It holds up all day and was effective through all the job interviews I had (though I did still sweat, there was no stink). I ordered the lime+bergamot scent and I love it. It’s fresh and zesty, and you can barely smell it once it’s rubbed in. Two of my friends ordered some with me so we could split the shipping. My friend S ordered lavender+sage, which was lovely as well. My friend J ordered fragrance-free because she’s a sensitive gal. S and I have enjoyed our deodorant and will order more. J says that while this deodorant is effective, it’s a bit more irritating for her than Soapwalla. I don’t know for sure, but my guess is that Schmidt’s has more baking soda in it (it’s higher on the ingredient list anyway). So, this product might not be the best for someone who’s more sensitive, especially to baking soda in particular. It’s also worth noting that I’ve never used it right after shaving (and would never try because I’m sure my pits would get super angry), and I always use coconut oil underneath my deodorant. I feel like it boosts the effectiveness of any deodorant.

Unless this stops working (which I can’t see happening at this point), this is my new default (and favorite) deodorant! It’s effective, less expensive, it comes in a reusable glass container, and I like having different scent options. I’m trying to decide between ylang-ylang+calendula and cedarwood+juniper for my next scent. I intend to try them all, because why not?

Have you tried Schmidt’s? What’s your favorite scent?