Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Review: Smart by Nature Smart Lips Lip Balm*

*Product provided for review by PR Company/Manufacturer

Last week I reviewed Smart by Nature Handcrafted Soaps, which were sent to me along two of Smart by Nature's Smart Lips Lip Balms. If you haven't read that post, you might want to go check it out, because those soaps were pretty awesome and I'd hate for you to miss that. If you have, then allow me to introduce two of their lip balms: Cool Mint and Telluride Truffle Belgian Chocolate (the name makes you drool, doesn't it?).

I'm usually not picky about my lip balms until early spring, when my lips become dry and disgusting from surviving winter. Then I need to constantly keep something on my lips to stay comfortable. These lip balms arrived right around that time, so I made the decision to use nothing but these on my lips until they were healed. I allowed the occasional bit or lipstick or gloss, but my EOS and Chapstick were going to stay in their box.

The first week of using these was heavenly; my lips, which had been so dry to the point of chapping, felt cushiony and well hydrated whenever I used the balms. There are those lip balms that you have to constantly reapply throughout the day to stay that way, but Smart Lips had the right idea. The texture was thick enough to stay on my lips but didn't feel tacky, and it kept my lips moisturized enough that I only needed to use it a couple of times a day.

After about two or three weeks, my lips were completely healed! They felt really smooth, and not at all dry. Downright kissable, even. I was able to start wearing my dark and bright lipsticks again, and if I put a bit of Smart Lips on before, the lipsticks lasted longer and looked much better.

Now to the part I was worried about: the taste and scent. I've never been a huge fan of scented lip balms, particularly chocolate ones, because they have the taste. You know the one. You slick a bit of flavored balm over your lips, no big deal, right? But then you open your mouth, and it tastes like plastic. We've all been there. I've only tried a few lip balms that didn't have that problem, and I'm happy to report that these taste and smell wonderful; exactly how they're named. I accidentally licked my lips while wearing Telluride Truffle Belgian Chocolate, and it actually tastes like chocolate! I'm not recommending that you eat it or anything, but still, how cool is that?

                                                   Price: $3.95 - $4.25
                                                   Performance Grade: A+


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Giveaway: Beauty O'holic's Prom 2014 Giveaway!

Giveaways are the coolest thing, don't you think? It takes minimal effort to enter one, and in exchange, you can win all kinds of cool stuff! Today's post is to let you guys know about the Beauty O'holic Prom 2014 Giveaway. Since prom season will be upon us soon (thankfully I'm not involved in that mess), Meredith has set up one of their best giveaways yet! 

This Giveaway Includes:
  • Avon Turquoise Clutch with Mirror and ID Holder
  • Urban Decay Loose Pigments in Asphyxia
  • Urban Decay Loose Pigments in Shattered
  • Urban Decay Loose Pigments in Graffiti 
  • Urban Decay Loose Pigments in Smog
  • Dove Sensitive Skin Moisturizing Cream Sample
  • ELF Eye Shadow Brush (I have two of these, they're crazy soft)
This giveaway is worth $115 and is open from March 30th until April 8th. Click here to enter!


Monday, March 31, 2014

Review: For Sanity's Sake Petite Pamper Sampler

Beauty O'holic's Etsy shop, For Sanity's Sake, introduced a new product this year called Pamper Samplers. What's that? Pamper Samplers are boxes containing sample sized pamper products from contributors all over the world and blogsphere. They'll eventually be available in three sizes: Petite, Mezzo, and Grande, but for now, Petite is the only option.

Inside your little box of wonders, you'll find 3-8 randomly selected samples with a card listing the shops they came from and online discount codes for some. My Pamper Sampler contained four samples from For Sanity's Sake, Nelly's Quilt RoomThe Merry Spinster, and Slippery Creek. Below are my thoughts on each of the products.

Continue reading this post on Beauty O'holic.


Review: Smart by Nature Handcrafted Bar Soaps*

*Product provided for review by Manufacturer/PR company

This year, I'd like to think I've made a bit of a difference in my lifestyle by doing yoga, recycling, and eating more organic produce. But lately, my obsession has been with making the switch to all-natural, eco-friendly products for my body. You might not think it would make a difference, but it really has! Let me introduce you to Smart by Nature, a company focusing on completely natural, earth friendly products that won't break the bank. I was sent three of their handcrafted bar soaps and two of their lip balms (post soon!) for review, and over the past 5 weeks I've used nothing else. 

The first thing you notice about these soaps is their wrappers, which are made from FiberStone treeless paper. Neat stuff, especially if you've never felt it before. The minute I slid the soaps out of their packaging, though, was the moment I fell in love. I have a soft spot for things that smell wonderful without being packed full of chemicals, and these hit it just right: strong enough to be pleasant and enjoyable, but not at all overwhelming. I love being able to smell just a hint of them left on my skin after a shower.

Any soap that can get me nice and clean without drying out my insanely sensitive skin is a keeper in my book, but these take it to the next level. They lather nicely, especially paired with a good set of exfoliating gloves, and make my feel really, truly clean without stripping the much-needed moisture from my skin. Something I've noticed about a lot of natural soaps is that they don't rinse off easily, and you just feel... filmy. There's no other way to put it. But thankfully, these rinse clean without giving me trouble.

(top to bottom: Lemongrass Lift, Oatmeal Spice, and Lavender Comfort)

Lemongrass Lift
I love lemongrass in everything. Tea, shampoo, bath bombs... So why not soap? The light zing of lemongrass is citrussy and fresh, and really helps me wake up in the morning. I can't wait to use this one during summer.
Oatmeal Spice

Do you remember that Wrigley's Big Red Cinnamon Gum we all chewed as children? Oatmeal Spice smells almost exactly like that gum. I'm pretty sure that scent is embedded in my brain forever, so using Oatmeal Spice on stressful days brings back old memories of sitting with my grandfather on his porch, both of us chewing a stick as we watched people pass through the streets of New Orleans in summer. Nostalgic soap. Who knew?

Lavender Comfort

Lavender Comfort is the perfect soap for late night showers and baths. The lavender scent with just a hint of rosewood is wonderful for helping me relax my mind and body before drifting off to sleep. Lavender has always been one of my favorite essential oils, which might be why I love this one so much. It's calming and fantastic for migraines, too!

I ended up loving all of these soaps! Natural soaps are usually a hit or a miss, and these were a hit. I just suds up with them in the shower, and moisturize afterwards using coconut oil with a few drops of essential oils. My skin feels so much smoother and healthier these past five weeks than it has in months.

                                                      Price: $2.50 - $8.50
                                                      Performance Grade: A+


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Four Essential Oils for Great Skin

When I was a little girl, I used to sit on the floor of my mother's bathroom and watch her apply her skincare products. She'd wash her face with a Dove Beauty Bar, something I picked up years later, and then take five bottles out of the cabinet: Lavender Oil, Lemon Oil, Peppermint Oil, Tea Tree Oil and finally a jar of moisturizer. She'd mix a drop of each with a dollop of moisturizer and smooth it over her skin every morning for as long as I can remember, and in all my life, I've never seen anyone with better skin.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Review: Covergirl + Olay CC Cream Eye Rehab Concealer

I fell head over heels in love with Covergirl + Olay CC Cream Tone Rehab Foundation a while back. It was everything I needed: blendable, long-lasting, a good color, and natural looking. You'd think it's cousin Covergirl + Olay CC Cream Eye Rehab Concealer would be just as good, or at least close, wouldn't you? That's what I was thinking when I bought it, anyway.

Now normally when I'm testing a new foundation or concealer, I give myself a day or two to wear it around at home before going somewhere important, just in case it goes sour. But the first day I had this, I was going to lunch and a movie with some of my friends. Since the matching foundation was so amazing, what could go wrong? I decided to just go for it and wear it without testing it beforehand.


When I pumped out a tiny bit to apply that morning, it didn't seem at all like the foundation. It was a bit thicker, and unlike the neutral undertones of Tone Rehab, the color of this was decidedly peachy (I would assume to help cancel out dark circles). Clearly it wasn't going to work on acne; I knew that color would make any zit look more obvious. I went to work apply eye cream and a touch of Eye Rehab with my finger and the tip of my Beautyblender, and was surprised to see how beautifully it blended. You couldn't tell at all that there was makeup under my eyes, and I was quite satisfied to see that my dark circles had all but vanished. 

However, the honeymoon didn't last long. After lunch, I checked my makeup and noticed that there was some creasing, which I smoothed out with a finger, and the coverage had faded a bit. It wasn't too bad, so I decided to just leave it alone. Fast forward about three hours later, coming out of the movie. I stopped in the bathroom, and looking into the mirror I saw... orange. That's right, the concealer I had such high hopes for had oxidizes. It was at least two shades darker than it had been when I applied it five hours ago, and on top of that, there was very little coverage left.

For the next two weeks, I tried everything I knew of to fix it, but each day produced the same result: It looked beautiful in the morning, a little creased and faded by lunch, and by afternoon, I had tired Oompa-Loompa eyes. Gross. Perhaps I got a bad bottle, you say? I'm afraid not; I exchanged the bottle for a new one and had the exact same problem. Eventually I just threw it out. 

Long story short, I don't recommend buying this. If you're looking for a good drugstore concealer, Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer is a far better way to spend your money.

                                                          Price: $12.99
                                                          Performance Grade: D-


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Why I Can't Live Without Yoga

It's been about three months now since I've started doing yoga, and if you've never really tried it, you can't understand how much of a difference it makes. A couple of years ago, I took a bi-weekly restorative yoga class to help with my migraines and fibromyalgia. It was nice, but laying on a pillow in child's pose for ten minutes while flute music played in the background wasn't really my cup of tea, not did it do any miracles for my pain. However, my six months in that class wasn't for nothing; to this day, I am a master of yoga breathing, a skill I find quite helpful when calming down after a stressful day.


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