A sneak peek at the shelf where I keep my most-used products in my medicine cabinet, including some items I have yet to review. This gives you a good idea of how far along I am in my better beauty journey!
Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Cleanser - I feel pretty meh about this. I bought it as part of a kit and I’m not super thrilled about any of the products in it. Just trying to use it up so I can try something else.
100% Pure Red Wine Resveratol Scrub + Mask - I got this recently and have only used it a few times, but so far, I love it. Smells awesome and feels soft on the skin.
Juice Beauty Green Apple Blemish Clearing Peel - This is part of the kit I mentioned in #1, and I’m not a huge fan of it.
100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream - I’m not typically an eye cream person (I don’t think I have the issues that eye cream tries to address), but I wanted to try this because it’s one of 100% Pure’s best-selling products. I’ve only used it once or twice but so far, so good.
SheaMoisture Reconstructive Finishing Elixir - I did a lite review of this product here, but I continue to use this more as a body oil than for my hair (it’s a bit heavy even for my course/medium thick/frizzy hair).
SheaMoisture Thickening Growth Milk - More on that in this post, but all in all, I still like this stuff.
100% Pure Purity Hydrating Tonique - I reviewed this pretty thoroughly here. I like it well enough, though I’m not sure it helps a ton with breakouts. 
Crystal Body Deodorant Stick - Just posted a review of this stuff. Definitely liking it!
Glow by Dr. Brandt Overnight Resurfacing Serum - Not necessarily part of a better beauty regimen but this stuff is absolutely my HOLY GRAIL acne treatment. Hilariously, it doesn’t seemed to be designed for acne (it’s marketed more at aging skin) but out of all the non-Rx acne products I’ve tried, this one works wonders on my skin. I buy it as part of the Glow kit from Sephora and use the daytime product too (which didn’t make it into the pic). I keep buying itduring bad skin months despite its ridiculous price tag. The crazy price — $65 for one ounce of product — is why I only let myself buy it when my skin is particularly bad. But seriously, guys, this is the only thing that I can count on when my breakouts get bad and I’ll probably continue to suck it up and buy it because it’s amazing.
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Face Cream - Now we’re getting into the more conventional products. I got this as a gift and I can’t say I notice a difference when I use it — which I haven’t been doing lately because the Glow serum mentioned above seems to work for both aging skin AND acne. It’s seriously a miracle product.
Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover - Just your standard eye makeup remover. I’m sure there are better options out there, but I’ll finish what I have before I scope out a more natural version.
Clean & Clear Popped Pimple Relief Drying Paste - I bought this out of desperation while traveling and I don’t like it at all. I should throw it away but sometimes I try it again just to make sure I hate it (do you ever do that?). It looks ridiculous on (BRIGHT white) and seems to make pimples, and popped pimples, look worse in the morning. Boo.

A sneak peek at the shelf where I keep my most-used products in my medicine cabinet, including some items I have yet to review. This gives you a good idea of how far along I am in my better beauty journey!

  1. Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Cleanser - I feel pretty meh about this. I bought it as part of a kit and I’m not super thrilled about any of the products in it. Just trying to use it up so I can try something else.
  2. 100% Pure Red Wine Resveratol Scrub + Mask - I got this recently and have only used it a few times, but so far, I love it. Smells awesome and feels soft on the skin.
  3. Juice Beauty Green Apple Blemish Clearing Peel - This is part of the kit I mentioned in #1, and I’m not a huge fan of it.
  4. 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream - I’m not typically an eye cream person (I don’t think I have the issues that eye cream tries to address), but I wanted to try this because it’s one of 100% Pure’s best-selling products. I’ve only used it once or twice but so far, so good.
  5. SheaMoisture Reconstructive Finishing Elixir - I did a lite review of this product here, but I continue to use this more as a body oil than for my hair (it’s a bit heavy even for my course/medium thick/frizzy hair).
  6. SheaMoisture Thickening Growth Milk - More on that in this post, but all in all, I still like this stuff.
  7. 100% Pure Purity Hydrating Tonique - I reviewed this pretty thoroughly here. I like it well enough, though I’m not sure it helps a ton with breakouts. 
  8. Crystal Body Deodorant Stick - Just posted a review of this stuff. Definitely liking it!
  9. Glow by Dr. Brandt Overnight Resurfacing Serum - Not necessarily part of a better beauty regimen but this stuff is absolutely my HOLY GRAIL acne treatment. Hilariously, it doesn’t seemed to be designed for acne (it’s marketed more at aging skin) but out of all the non-Rx acne products I’ve tried, this one works wonders on my skin. I buy it as part of the Glow kit from Sephora and use the daytime product too (which didn’t make it into the pic). I keep buying itduring bad skin months despite its ridiculous price tag. The crazy price — $65 for one ounce of product — is why I only let myself buy it when my skin is particularly bad. But seriously, guys, this is the only thing that I can count on when my breakouts get bad and I’ll probably continue to suck it up and buy it because it’s amazing.
  10. Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Face Cream - Now we’re getting into the more conventional products. I got this as a gift and I can’t say I notice a difference when I use it — which I haven’t been doing lately because the Glow serum mentioned above seems to work for both aging skin AND acne. It’s seriously a miracle product.
  11. Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover - Just your standard eye makeup remover. I’m sure there are better options out there, but I’ll finish what I have before I scope out a more natural version.
  12. Clean & Clear Popped Pimple Relief Drying Paste - I bought this out of desperation while traveling and I don’t like it at all. I should throw it away but sometimes I try it again just to make sure I hate it (do you ever do that?). It looks ridiculous on (BRIGHT white) and seems to make pimples, and popped pimples, look worse in the morning. Boo.

Better Bath & Body: Crystal Rock Deodorant

I’m not even going to apologize for how long it’s been between posts because I honestly didn’t even know if I would ever have time to pick up this blog again! But I was just so dang excited to tell you about this product that I had to make an appearance.

Soon after I re-started my blog with the new better beauty direction, I got a new job — a new job that consumes almost every waking moment of my life (in a good way, if that’s possible!). My commute is long, I travel a fair amount for work, and I’m still adjusting to life in the Bay. I love (almost) every moment of it, but I miss having actual hobbies.

One of my 2014 hopes is that I can make more time for blogging because I love talking beauty products and I love experimenting with new ones… and then telling you about them. I’ve realized over the past couple months that although I definitely do want to stay focused on BETTER beauty products, it’s not realistic for me to buy 100% Filthy Fifteen-free products 100% of the time. So I might include some products that aren’t necessarily better ingredient-wise, but are hopefully better in other ways.

The product I’m here to talk about today, however, is completely free of any Filthy Fifteen ingredient. In fact, it only has one ingredient.

image

I was so dreading the search for a “natural” deodorant. For me, a better deodorant means one free of aluminum chlorohydrate, the controversial ingredient in deodorant. Or in other words, the ingredient in deodorant that actually works. I’ve tried Toms before and was thoroughly unimpressed, and then more recently, I tried an Alba version that was just like the Toms. It just didn’t stop stank or sweat at all, and the “natural” scent combined with my natural odor actually smelled worse to me than nothing at all. Also, many of the “natural” deodorants I saw still contained Fragrance (Parfum), which is technically a no-no, even if it is ambiguous.

To say I was pleasantly surprised with Crystal deodorant is an understatement. I mean, I had SUPER low expectations for this stuff. First of all, it’s weird. You have to wet it to put it on, and I hate wet-feeling deodorants (I hate the gel ones). Secondly, it literally looks like a rock crystal, which is super weird. It essentially is a rock — its only ingredient is natural mineral salts.

But surprise, guys, it actually works! I would say I get a good 12-15 hours out of this stuff without smelling anything nasty. It has no natural scent, so my armpits basically smell like whatever soap I used before I put it on. I do highly recommend applying it directly out of the shower because like I said, it tends to just make your armpits smell like whatever they smelled like when you put it on — which means it doesn’t necessarily cancel out any odor you may already have, it just prevents NEW odor. Now for the breakdown…

What it costs: Around $5-7. Doesn’t seem particularly insane for deodorant, right? I’ve also seen it in spray form, which I haven’t tried.

What it says it does: “Kills odor causing bacteria for up to 24 hours without the use of synthetic fragrance or harmful chemicals. Gentle. Non-sticky. Non-staining.”

What’s in it: Literally just the one.

image

What it smells/feels like: It smells like nothing. I kinda wish it had a pretty scent, but on the other hand, I’d rather not mix eucalyptus or whatever with BO smell. It also dries instantly, meaning it never feels wet despite having to wet it before application. Love that.

What it actually does: Definitely keeps me odor-free for at least 12+ hours (workout tested). Definitely works better when I use it fresh out of the shower than if I’m reapplying after not having showered, but still not bad even on reapplication.

Would I repurchase: Already have! I convinced my hubs to get the men’s version, which is exactly the same as the women’s version except with different packaging. I’ll ding them a bit for the sexist marketing (if it’s literally the same product, why not a gender-neutral package?!).

Better Beauty Rating (Worse, Okay, Good, Better, Best): Hands-down, Better. Almost gave it a Best except for a couple things: 1) it gets kind of messy. The natural minerals kind of leak out of the package. And 2) it doesn’t smell like anything, which sometimes bug me. Sometimes, I want to lift my arms and have it smell like flowers, you know?! I saw on their website that they sell some deodorant sprays with natural fragrance (“Cobalt Sky,” among others), but I can’t tell what’s in them. I’d definitely experiment with those.

All in all, I highly recommend this product. It even works on stankier, smellier dudes AND doesn’t make me feel self-conscious when I’m working out.

So for the holiday season, I give you a natural deodorant that legit works. Happy holidays, and may you use better deodorant in the new year.

Better Drugstore Beauty: SheaMoisture


image

Perusing the drugstore just got a LOT less fun now that I have much stricter standards for what I can try. So it’s a fun surprise when I come across a drugstore brand that truly meets my criteria. I picked up the above SheaMoisture products on a recent trip to Walgreens, but you can also find the line at Target and CVS.

SheaMoisture is a line of organic hair, bath, body, and shave products made with all-natural ingredients. And I mean truly, guys. There’s nothing shady on the ingredient lists . Here’s the list for the Reconstructing Finishing Elixir:

image

The prices are a little steeper than your average drugstore hair care product, but definitely worth it to find better hair care at the drugstore!

Much of SheaMoisture’s hair care line (the only products I’ve tried so far) seem to be formulated for people with courser, curly hair. My hair falls somewhere on that spectrum, but it’s probably on the straighter, less-course end. I have weird hair that can be frizzy, wavy, curly, thin, or thick depending on the day (yeah, it’s fun). SheaMoisture products definitely seem to calm down and de-frizz my hair, but I have to be careful about using too much of any product, otherwise it’s oil city.

I’ve actually been using the Reconstructing Finishing Elixir as a moisturizing body spray because I’ve found that using it on my damp hair just makes it look greasy. I haven’t tried using it on dry hair, though.

My favorite product of the three I’ve tried so far is definitely the Thickening Growth Milk. I’m not sure how thickening it is, but it definitely de-frizzes my hair without weighing it down. Oh! And I used to have this Coconut & Hibiscus Hold & Shine Mist, which is nice for refreshing curls and smells amaaaaazing. I kept it in my desk at work and every time I sprayed it, I would get comments like “What smells like a beach?! I WANT TO GO TO THERE.” I think I’ve also tried a body scrub at some point, but I can’t remember which one.

I will absolutely be trying more of SheaMoisture’s line — I’m interested in trying some of their non-hair care items! Have you guys tried the SheaMoisture line? What did you think?

Alsoooo, would you want to see a detailed review of any of the above products? If so, which one?

Better Bath & Body: Everyday Shea Moisturizing Shea Butter Bubble Bath

Note: I purchased this product with my own monies. I promise to let you all know if I ever review a product that I didn’t buy myself!

When did stores stop carrying bubble bath?! Maybe it’s just me, but I haven’t been able to find plain old bubble bath at a drugstore or Target-type place in a long time. I usually end up using body wash as bubble bath, which doesn’t work as well (obv).

So imagine my surprise when I find not one, but like five varieties of straight up body wash at a natural pharmacy/drugstore I visited recently! One of them was Everyday Shea's take on bubble bath, and I have to say, I'm really into it. The bath tub in my last place didn't work, but now that I have a functioning tub, I'm re-obsessed with baths… and these bubbles make them even better.

What it looks like:

Pretty basic bubble bath-y looking package. I guess it’s nice that you can see how much you have left. You definitely don’t need a lot of product to get a ton of bubbles.

What it costs: $13.99 online, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t pay that much in the store. $13.99 is kinda pricey for bubble bath, right?! I want to say this was under $10 in the store, but unfortunately, I can’t remember and don’t have the receipt.

What it says it does: “This naturally foaming, non-irritating, gentle bubble bath is handmade with moisturizing, Certified Fair Trade shea butter to nourish and soften your skin. Infused with fresh herbal extracts - clary sage to uplift the spirits and calm nerves, and African yam to help regulate mood and promote relaxation.”

What’s in it: Here’s a picture of the ingredient list since they don’t list the ingredients online:

Nothing on my Filthy Fifteen list! Love the uber-short ingredient list full of completely recognizable stuff.

What it smells/feels like: This stuff definitely has an herbal/medicinal scent that I wouldn’t necessarily describe as Vanilla Citrus Mint at all. In fact, all I can really smell is lavender with maybe a hint of citrus. I have a feeling many of my Better Beauty products will end up smelling like lavender. Sighhhhh… if only I liked lavender better. That said, the smell isn’t terrible, it’s just not amazing.

What it actually does: Makes lots of bubbles! I loooove the bubbles I can get with this stuff. They last the whole time I’m in the bath (maybe 15-30 minutes) without totally deflating, and they feel totally luxurious.

Would I repurchase: Yeah! I think I would. Despite the price tag, it’s hard to find bubble bath as it is, much less better-for-you suds. I hate the idea of soaking in bubbles that are full of harsh chemicals and irritants. For that reason alone, I think I’ll be repurchasing this product or testing others like it. I’m also interested in trying Everyday Shea’s lotions and other products. The short ingredient lists really get me!

Better Beauty Rating (Worse, Okay, Good, Better, Best): I can confidently give this a Better ranking. The only thing that stops it from being a Best product? The average to below average scent. Otherwise, I’d say it does what it says it’s going to do and performs admirably!

Better Skin Care: 100% Pure Purity Hydrating Tonique Acne Care

After realizing that I had approximately TWO products that met my new, pretty strict beauty criteria, I pretty much immediately decided it was time to pick up a few things to start reviewing. Online searches quickly led me to 100% Pure Cosmetics, which has a bevy of makeup, skin care, and bath/body items that totally align with my better beauty standards.

Imagine my shock when I was strolling in Berkeley and actually came across one of their three retail stores! I had no idea they were based in California, much less a short drive away from me. Cue me being super excited and dragging my mom (who was visiting at the time) and friend into the store. I definitely had to try a couple things, and the first thing I selected was the Purity Hydrating Tonique. I know, “tonique.” But whatever, I rolled with it.

I’ve never really been a big toner person, but since I don’t own any already, it didn’t seem like such a frivolous purchase. I’m trying to use up my conventional beauty products as best I can before adding too many new ones.

I’ve been using this toner for a few, so I feel like I can give you a well-rounded review.

What it looks like:
image


Check out the beautiful cardboard packaging it comes in! It felt luxurious just opening the product.


image


Inside the cardboard tube is a heavy opaque glass bottle that also feels pretty luxurious and expensive. I definitely give the packaging high marks.

What it says it does: “Purity Tonique is formulated specifically to give you a clear complexion and to protect against future breakouts. This purifying facial toner delivers hydration to skin cells while fighting against blemishes. Hyaluronic acid delivers organic lavender hydrosol and organic aloe to thirsty skin cells…”

What’s in it: Organic Lavandula Angustifolia Aqua (Lavender Hydrosol)1, Organic Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Juice) Leaf2, Extracts of Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower, Echinacea Purpurea (Echinacea), Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal), Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Flower/Leaf/Stem and Lonicera Caprifolium (Japanese Honeysuckle), Hyaluronic Acid

Nothing that’s on my Filthy Fifteen list!

What it smells/feels like: It definitely has an herbal-y scent, and I think the lavender and tea tree it contains is probably partially to blame for that. Lavender isn’t one of my favorite scents, so I’m not in love with the smell. But I don’t hate it, either. Let’s say I’m neutral, but if you hate herbal scents, this might not be for you. It feels like a cool mist and does absorb into the skin fairly quickly with no damp or sticky residue.

What it actually does: This stuff definitely feels good to spray on my face. It’s refreshing and I suppose does feel a bit hydrating (which I don’t really need — my skin is fairly oily). But I’m not in the market for just a “feel-good” product. So does it actually help reduce/prevent acne?

I’m going to tentatively say yes. I think this stuff calms my skin down. If it’s red or blotchy from me poking at my pimples (a total no-no that I indulge in far too often), spraying some tonique does seem to soothe it. I’ve also used it as a priming spray before makeup and I would maybe say it helped minimize oil but I think I’d have to try it a few more times to be sure.

I’ve also noticed less pimples in general, but when my hormones started to change around my period, it seemed to be powerless to fight them.

Would I repurchase: Eh, probably not. It’s a nice product that feels good on the skin and maybe fights the good fight against my pimples a bit. It also makes me feel like I’m at a spa, which I’ll admit is plus. But I don’t think I’d shell out $21 for it again. My experience with this product hasn’t turned me off from 100% Pure skincare products whatsoever, though. I think they’re made of high-quality ingredients, and I bet there are some real gems among the bunch of otherwise solid products.

Better Beauty Rating (Worse, Okay, Good, Better, Best): I’m going to give this a solid Good. It gets higher marks for packaging and feel on my skin, but it’s not like I woke up in the morning after using it with perfectly clear skin (not that I expected to). I think it’s worth a try if you want a fancy product to calm your skin and make your bathroom feel like a spa.

Okay! So this has been my first Better Beauty review. What do you guys think? Did I skip anything you want to know? Want to see more of these?