Hello readers, it has been yet another 6 months. How’s the heat treating you?
I have been imaginably busy which things I’ll blog about soon! But one of ongoing projects is cleaning out/reorganizing my room. So I need to get rid of a ton of empty bottles! But have once again failed in actively keeping track of my experience with them. So once again, I will try once I get rid of these and have a designated space, and try to keep up with the next batch 😅
Nivea Breathable Lotion
I got this from Influenster awhile back, and I feel like when I used it then, it felt watery on application. The texture itself wasn’t too liquid. But it leaves skin feeling very satin with a nice scent (I got Tropical Breeze which I don’t think really matched but was still ok). I like the pump packaging (not sure if folks into recycling think it’s wasteful though 🤔). The only other issue may be sus ingredients. No parabens though.
Tree to Tub Soapberry for Face & Hair
I won a credit for some Tree to Tub items and was really impressed by just how natural they were! I think that my original review still stands. You can read it here.
Queen Helene Cocoa Butter
Unfortunately, I didn’t like this product. It was too watery as well and smelled like sunscreen. I bought it because it was more affordable, but it has methylparaben and dyes/colorants among other concerning ingredients.
I tried this Tom’s deodorant in effort to try something more natural and without aluminum. But I think I might as well try an anti-perspirant (but they cost more 😫). Other more affordable brands like Suave even offer aluminum-free deodorants now.
Blue Lizard Sunscreen
I only had a sample of this, but it’s honestly the first sunscreen I’ve used to leave a cast. However, they don’t use parabens or fragrances!
Air Wick Life Scents
Obviously more of a lifestyle item, I think you’re supposed to have some kind of plug-in so that it releases a scent into the air every so often. But we just used it as a spray. It is an aerosol though. I just included this because I absolutely love this Paradise Retreat scent that lists it’s made up of coconut, almond blossom, and cherry. If anyone knows anything that smells like it, let me know!
I did just throw away some empties I honestly can’t remember how they worked. So I should be done with these vague reviews in a post or two! Thanks for reading.
To be honest, I don’t really know myself. I feel like the common idea of it just being one’s spa day robs it of the weight of its activist origins. One’s 9-to-5 is one thing, but the stress of trying to change the forces of the world is a whole other story! Some people may find the collectiveness of that work invigorating though. So facial masks may also work for some, but maybe you may still need a safe environment, therapy session, or simply getting other needed medical care.
Did you know that besides skincare and makeup natural brand Pacifica has some collections centered around wellness? I was able to snag a few items by Influenster, and even though they weren’t things I would’ve got myself, I’m glad I was able to try them!
Dream Sleep Beauty Gummy
I sleep terribly. I am always sleeping during the day and partying with my cat at 3am. So I was thinking of trying a new melatonin, but since I am usually on vampire time, I don’t want to take it regularly or get dependent or even immune. Since this gummy also has L-theanine and chamomile, it is great for such situations.
They really helped me get ready for bed and fall asleep. However, I think that they work best if you take them right when you want to fall asleep. I was able to “power through” them when I wanted to squeeze one more thing in my day, so they ended up being useless that time.
You take 2 gummies per serving. They taste pretty much like any gummy that aren’t coated in sugar, but they are shaped like little fruits!
Rose Quartz Pre-Wash Dry Brush
When I first saw it, I was skeptical. It seems like this might have more impact or results if you don’t regularly exfoliate. It’s supposed to sweep away dead skin and “debris” as well as energize. I would say that it can do the latter, but it’s just kind of weird to fit into my schedule. It says “pre-wash,” but I’d prefer to use it after I wash my face or be able to do it at any time.
I gave this 5 stars on Influenster pretty much based on its amazing coconut and vanilla smell. But I will probably knock it down one because it really is a soft hold. It kind of reminds me more of a dry shampoo. Pacifica though, true to its ethical brand image, doesn’t use an aerosol spray but an interesting twisting cap that can lock in as “on/off,” so helpful from the spray going off in your bag!
Eye Bright Vitamin C Serum Mask
Again, I’ll be honest: I flubbed up on this and totally used it incorrectly. It already comes in a tray, and I didn’t realize it has mesh that’s meant to be taken off… duh! I do plan to buy it myself and use it right some time because even with the mesh still attached, it worked! I’m not sure about this, but I feel like undereye brightening products I’ve tried clash with my warm undertones and make them look bruised 🤕 This provided some noticeable lightening, but obviously didn’t magically cure my dark circles. So I’d love to try them again to see if it’s still not too harsh without the mesh.
Lavender Moon Body & Pillow Mist
This is another interesting item. I don’t think I’ve ever tried another aromatherapy product besides my essential oils diffuser. But I’m quite pleased with this. I wouldn’t really like to smell like this (the hairspray on the other hand…), but it’s very relaxing and helped me fall asleep. The only thing I had a problem with is that its spray nozzle comes out in more of a straight spritz than a mist. But it’s easily solved by pouring some in another bottle. I think you can prolong its use this way. It’s pretty big bottle!
How you do to relax or recharge your batteries?
I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.
Happy Black History Month readers! How are you celebrating freedom?
I haven’t quite figured what I’m doing myself but perhaps a toe-dipping into canvassing for my candidate is in order. Just thinking about it is giving me cramps, but I guess when you’re always overthinking, you gotta not sometimes 😅
I’d been trying to make videos for Empties, but I’m still not good at recording my experiences with products, and I just kind of want to make a post, so here it is!
These were part of a gift from a friend. Wipes are so tricky for me because they’re like soda. Once it’s opened, it loses efficacy. And I don’t wear makeup everyday, so halfway through a package, they’re dry. However, I do like Pacifica’s natural focus, and this product doesn’t contain sulfates, parabens or petroleum, and is vegan and not tested on animals. Apparently, rose water smells like my bug spray which isn’t bad! But it just reminds me of being in the woods 😁
I kind of want to stop using wipes because I want to create less waste especially stuff that’s not degradable which I don’t know if these are. They’re made from natural fibers. But I have figured out that if your wipes dry out, you can put toner or micellar water on them!
St. Ives Cactus Water & Hibiscus Cleansing Stick
This was from a Target beauty box (shame on me, I ordered this month’s). Initially, I did not like this because it’s like a bit of bar soap in a plastic container (boo), so you’re awkwardly rubbing it across your face, and it doesn’t lather nearly as much as shown in ads. Some people say it’s convenient for travel which may be true about just tossing it in your bag, but once you use it… it’s wet! So I was a bit concerned that if I would screw the lid on that it would develop mold! It didn’t, but I would always let it air dry.
However, I loved the smell, and it honestly was a good makeup remover (I never really wear heavy makeup though so IDK for other use!). This was also made with coconut oil, so maybe that’s why. But I wouldn’t really like this as my regular face wash because I just feel grimy if I don’t exfoliate and get acne it I don’t use something for it. I would’ve recommended it even though I wished it’d be repackaged, but it seems like they don’t even make it anymore. St. Ives now does have other cleansers that aren’t their famous scrubs, but I don’t see any with cactus water 😔
These were freebies in a CVS purchase. They were a while ago, so I don’t exactly remember how they work, so they’re a freebie in this post too just in case you wanna hear about volumizing hair products. They’re made with rosehip oil, geranium, and aloe vera. So even though it has rose like the Pacifica wipes, these (empty sachets, at least) smell more like baby lotion or powder.
They contain no dyes, parabens or silicones and have a real science side that I don’t even understand. Perhaps that’s why their full size is $11!
L’Occitane 5 Essential Oils Shampoo
I STG that this says it’s a “shampooing shampoo.” Thanks, L’Occitane. I don’t feel so bad that again, I don’t really remember how this worked. It came from a trial hydration set that the brand had on sale for $5 (!), but I don’t think I was that impressed. Maybe it was the small size. But it’s supposed to soften and smoothen your capillary fibers. I can only notice that it smells ginger or herbal-y.
Curativa Bay Skin Mist
Now this is weird because my mom got this from her friend, and I don’t think she works with the brand or a salon or anything. I thought she worked at a school ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Initially, I thought face mists were kind of gimmick-y too. Like: I already use a moisturizer or serum. How moisturized do I have to be!? But I do think that little extra step does help put that extra bounce. I’ve no idea what electrolyzed water or hypochlorous acid is if those ingredients concern you, but it is vegan, organic, and not tested on animals.
Sunday Riley A+ Retinoid Serum
This is probably the first item I’ve used up from my Allure beauty box sub try. I really like that you can try higher-end brands for only $15, but I wasn’t a fan of some of them. I think I decided to get the box because I saw that I’d get this and confused retinoid with retinol which I thought would be good for dark circles. But retinols are retinoids? 😵 While they both seem to be used for acne, retinol sounds like it’s more for anti-aging (collagen, crow’s feet, dark spots, etc).
So my experience of this serum helping redness actually makes sense. However, it’s usually $80, and I don’t think it doing just that is worth it.
Hoorah! I don’t think this sounded too bad. 😄 Although I have gotten sick over the course of writing this. What are your cures for the cold?
How many years have I had this blog and haven’t really done a haul? Well, last year I won an Ulta gift card, so it was really able to help with my holiday shopping this past season 🤗 There will actually be a part two of this post because some items will be for my friends that read this, and I didn’t want to spoil their gifts (yes, we haven’t seen each other since before Christmas). This one will be for things I got for people that don’t read this and a few things for me.
This post contains affiliate links.
For the Sis in Law
Part of my brother’s wife gift along with a toy for baby nephew. She posted that he liked playing with pens, so I even got a couple of novelty pens for him but technically her. I got this Pacifica Indian Coconut Nectar body butter and Burt’s Bees matte lipstick because I think she’s more into natural beauty than I am and can also somehow pull off a red lip way better than me too.
For Christmas, part of my gift for my mom was Hask’s Argan Oil shampoo and conditioner. I got them because *whispers* her hair is dry, and it claims to repair. It’s not rude to say her hair is dry, right? 😅 It’s just like, what people have. I have flat hair and combo skin. The Pacifica Coconut Milk face wash is for all skin types, so hopefully it’ll work for her. I got it because she always gets store brand face washes. And she actually uses sheet masks, so I got a TonyMoly I’m Real Olive one.
It was actually her birthday too, so in the pic with everything, you can see two hair masks and a kit. I couldn’t really find any spa type of product that would fit the budget but just searching around the Ulta site led me to this Cosy Comfort Kit from The Vintage Cosmetic Company. It’s just kind of an eye mask and knit thing to put a hot water bottle in, but reviewers said it helped with their sciatic nerves. The two hair masks are Hask Rosé Deep Conditioner and a Marc Anthony Aloe Vera and Jasmine Oil Deep Conditioner.
A Little Something for Me
Can I please emphasize… that these aren’t the only things I got for people!? I feel like this makes it look like I bought more for myself. In any case, most of my things are just basics. I haven’t used tanning products with a mitt before or a stipple brush. I’m still searching for my perfect foundation, I was all out of scrunchies, and I got this Ulta brand sharpener with 2 sizes because my lip from Allure is larger than the standard pencil. But unfortunately it fit this either. Any suggestions?
I hope you all had wonderful holidays! Unfortunately, I won’t be able to further review most of the items in this post, but I think what I did get for myself will provide plenty! PLUS, I did also sign up for Bernie Sanders’s volunteer social media team! New year, right? So I’ll be posting about my support on here and my social media channels.
Hello hello all, have you fastened your seatbelts?
I drafted this while we were keeping an eye on Hurricane Dorian. Fortunately, Florida was mostly spared, but the Bahamas suffered major damage. If you have GoFundMes or other donation links, send them and I’ll share them!
I haven’t been blogging lately because I can’t get into my affiliate links program! I’m not here to sell you things every post, but I did just have some book posts and want to have variety. So I’ll promo things some more indie brands pro bono! (I was able to get in on a desktop??? So there will be affiliate links at the end of this post).
First up in the incredibly Instagrammable Foxie Cosmetics which seems to sell more bath goods than makeup. Owner and creator Kayla Phillips, a writer, musician, and activist (!), knows the importance of vegan, animal testing-free and even chronic illness options and all those factors influence her vibrant and unique products.
Coloured Raine might be the first brand I’ve come across to mention that they strive for fair wages. Created by Loraine Dowdy, I like that she acknowledges the push to highlight black and black woman owned businesses includes reasons like other brands don’t take different skin tones into account. Coloured Raine doesn’t test on animals, has many vegan items and also is environmentally-minded.
While “natural” may conjure thoughts of botanical ingredients, natural hair particularly associated with a movement may refer to the embracing of naturally curly, coily, and kinky hair. This is to whom Taliah Waajid has spent 20 years catering. But I like that like her ingredients still seem kind of plant and vitamin-based. A few skincare items are also offered.
I typically try to close out the month with an empties, but I haven’t posted one in almost a year, so this is close enough, right? And you’ll forgive me if I don’t remember how these actually work and talk more about the brands 😅
I usually just use whatever hair products around which tend to be White Rain, but I didn’t have a conditioner for my Tree to Tub shampoo, and I had a discount. I like that this variant is supposed to give extra body by having collagen. Whether it’s effacent is debatable; I think that I felt like I couldn’t wash it all out. But it does have a ton of other oils and vitamins. Many websites say that Vo5 tests on animals, but this bottle says that they’re paraben and silicone free, and this product hasn’t been tested on animals.
Chanel Hydra Beauty Serum
I believe this was a sample from a magazine and that it felt very silky on the skin. Nothing much else I can think of except that it’s said that Chanel tests on animals.
Art Naturals Face Wash
This clarifying wash has already appeared on the blog in my moisturizer skeptic post. It claims to be made for oily/acne-prone skin and is sulfate, gluten and paraben-free. The first thing I noticed is it’s unusual green color! I was suspicious that this was actually causing acne, but I think that if I use it as a makeup cleanser rather than my wake-up face wash, it’s ok. This product was also not test on animals.
Rimmel Stay Matte
Again I tried this drugstore staple and again, I’m neither impressed or frustrated by it. This is the Translucent shade, but I feel like I’m liking Wet n Wild’s powders that are meant to match one’s skin tone more than a “transparent” option. Would I try again? Third time’s the charm.
Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar
This was just another sample about which I don’t have much to say. Although I did write “nice texture and light scent” on it. Personally, I don’t really like Philosophy’s product/line names make it sound like your skin is some epic catastrophe that need a literal miracle lest all hope be lost… It’s just skin dude.
I still have a bunch of empties and have just received a bunch of notepads for my birthday! So hopefully I’ll write shit down! Thanks for reading!
You may have noticed that yes, I am posting an unboxing from 3 months ago. Let me tell you! I thought I could get some nice products and try vlogging only for the first video to be completely wrong and the second to be interrupted at every turn. I went back and re-recorded my December unboxing and then while I was editing January’s, my program would crash every 5 seconds. I downloaded another and didn’t realize the free version was only a trial 😡 It’s like the universe does not want me to vlog 😫
Well, fuck you, universe! I’ve at least one more video idea, so you’re just gonna have to suck it up into that black hole of yours! Here is what I received in Allure’s January Beauty Box. It is usually $15/month, but you do get your first box for $10 and you get a new subscriber gift. They previously sent out in boxes like Birchbox but now use pouches made out of plastic (I think) that are still shipped in corrugated boxes.
Mally Shadow Stick
This is an interesting product. It’s in a very pretty shimmering brown eyeshadow shade called Burnished Bronze. It’s supposed to make smokey eyes easy. Retail Price: $25
Ouai Scalp & Body Scrub
This smells so nice! It’s like a perfume. I haven’t used it yet, so I don’t know if it has staying power or efficacy. But the included booklet say that a user uses it to clean product buildup off their scalp. Retail Price: $38 (for 8.8oz)
Received size is 1oz which would cost about $4
Sunday Riley CEO Glow Face Oil
This is a big reason why I decided to continue my subscription through the month. I’ve never used a face oil before, and I’ve heard turmeric (apologizes to the turmeric gang if I mispronounced it in my vid) is good for scarring. I’m not big that it claims to “brighten” because I’m concerned about that meaning “whiten” and I don’t think that anyone needs to be whiter particularly to be beautiful or attractive.
Not to mention that it kind of romanticizes CEOs, but I’m willing to overlook that ’cause ok, I’m sure everyone just means it that they want to be their own boss and not actually want to cheat their workers out of health insurance and livable wages. But the fact that it is called CEO and “brightens”… makes it sound like you have to look a certain way to be boss… 💩 Retail Price: $40 for 0.5oz
Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum
I don’t know if I realized I’d be receiving both Sunday Riley products, but I was glad when I unboxed this. I’ve heard retinoid is good for dark circles and didn’t wait to start trying it. Unfortunately, my eyes must be sensitive because I think that whenever I try products more for (under)eye areas, my eye twitches!
Maybe I should just use it for the rest of my face though as that’s what it looks like it’s designed for on their website 😬 It is cruelty, sulfate, paraben, gluten, soy, phthalate, and fragrance free. Retail Price: $85 for 1oz
Received size is .27oz which would cost about $22.95
Doucce Relentless Matte Lip Crayon
This is a pretty, blueish red called Winterberry. Apparently if you buy it from Doucce it comes with a sharpener, but it looks like I’m gonna have to buy one. Retail Price: $22
Amika Soulfood Nourishing Mask
I just noticed that this brand has products that are made in Israel, so I think they may be on the BDS list. Retail Price: $28 for 8oz
Received size is 2oz which would cost $7
NCLA Nail Lacquer
Apparently, everyone gets a bonus gift! These “luxury” polishes are 7 free, vegan, and aren’t tested on animals. I think I’m a fan! Retail Price: $16
Estimated Value: $136.95!!
As I say in the video, overall, I’m quite pleased with what I received! I don’t think that I’ve tried not only most of the brands but a lot of the types of products as well. The only problem I have is some kind of disorganization with Allure and receiving brands I for which I don’t care. Frankly, I wouldn’t need more than these two boxes. Do you think that I should write a wrap-up of my experience or is this enough? 😅
I know we should know better than to put any worth into physical appearance, but I can see how treating oneself to something like a haircut or manicure can make one feel fancy and ready to take on the world. If you’ve got styling damage or don’t wash your hair with cold water like they say, you might be looking for a solution to dry hair.
Maple Holistics was cool enough to previously let me try their Winter Blend shampoo and conditioner, and I’m excited that they’ve reached out again to let me try their Silk18 shampoo! Like the Winter Blend, Silk18 aims to strengthen hair and are paraben and sulfate-free. Silk18 is different as it contains argan and jojoba oil. It gets its name from the 18 silk amino acids which are supposed to strengthen hair follicles dryness, damage, and even split ends and fallout!
The first thing I noticed about Silk18 is the scent. It is a VERY sweet vanilla smell. You know that kind of smell, right? I actually love more sultry vanilla scents, so fortunately, that sweet scent doesn’t stay with you and you go around smelling like a cake (although I guess some might like that 🤔) !
As for the actual use, I can’t really tell if it helps with split ends. I do have less fallout at least in the shower. I actually don’t think my hair is that dry, so it’s hard to say if it’s particularly moisturizing. But it definitely made my hair more sleek. Lately, my hair has been rather flat, so this isn’t really what I want. But perhaps this would work if you already have lots of hair and/or volume and want to make it more manageable.
Self Tanning Lotion
I was also able to ask to receive this Self Tanning Lotion (bloggers, get yours! 😆). I’ve tried similar products in the past and they did not work for me. They would have a slightest color on me after the first use and then nothing. I was much more pleased with Maple Holistics!
This lotion comes out in a caramel color. Like: it literally looks like if you melted caramel. But thankfully it is not sticky at all. You must rub it into skin in a circular motion for the color to best absorb. What I’m so pleased about is that the color is noticeable, but it’s still subtle. I mostly want tanning products to even out tan lines, since I’m already kind of beige. This is perhaps why other products weren’t as noticeable on me (I needed darker shades), but not only is it noticeable, it doesn’t totally wash away after one shower.
Additionally, keeping with Maple Holistics’s natural theme, it’s made with macadamia seed oil; shea butter; avocado oil; and mango, orange, and lavender extract. This is a slight citrus smell. My only problem is that is didn’t really absorb in the chest area which is a problem I’ve had with those other products and could be from my end as I didn’t really exfoliate and didn’t use a mitt.
Aside from the botanical ingredients, Maple Holistics also does not test on animals and has a recycling program for their bottles! They’ve updated their website since my Winter Blend post, so check them out!
Maple Holistics says the Silk18 should be fine for fine hair, so maybe I’ll try something different like using it to wash out a coconut oil treatment. What do you think? How can I pump up my hair!?
Well let me tell you about Mielle! Started by Monique Rodriguez in 2014, Mielle Organics focuses on healthier ingredients for healthier hair. The former nurse says she wanted to utilize her background to help others make better choices.
It’s not just the food we eat, but it’s also the products that we use on our skin. That’s important, as well.
Mielle currently offers hair and skincare items with intriguing ingredients like babassu oil, mongogo, and sachi inchi. There’s also standards like honey, avocado, and mint and perhaps even new uses for classic elements. Have you ever heard of ginger for your hair?
The brand has some celebrity fans too! Yara Shahidi gave them a boost. They’re now available in drug stores, groceries, and mass merchandisers, so they should be easier to find and access. Follow them on Instagram to see when CVS is having a sale and for them to repost your pic!
I’m actually keeping up with these Empties & Monthly Wrap-Up blogs posting in one week! Ok, this is only the second month, but if you’d like to check them out, here are July’s Empties and Wrap-Up. This month is a little bit of a sequel to last. September should have things I haven’t talked about before though! And hopefully less vague reviews.
Neutrogena Deep Clean Gel Scrub
Soon after I finished the mask, I finished off the cooling gel scrub. Similar to the mask, I liked this! There was a very refreshing sensation when first using that I think you get used to as well as the beads also being more noticeable. This is a newer Neutrogena product so it may be a little bit more. Personally, I’m currently trying a cheaper Neutrogena scrub and may actually have to go back to this or subsidize it. My previous review is here.
Esfolio Volcanic Ash Essence Mask
I got this from Rue 21 a couple of months ago. Was volcanic ash a trendy ingredient for a minute? I don’t remember nor was this sheet mask experience noteworthy. The wrapper now smells like a baby powder-y perfume, and it contains PEGs and methylparaben. TBH, I’d still be kind of interested in volcanic ash, but I see other Esfolio masks on Amazon for $15! I got this for $2! Other brands may be worth extra money, but I don’t think this is.
Matrix Biolage Exquisite Oil
This micro-oil shampoo and oil creme conditioner were samples in the mail. I was surprised that when they said “oil,” they mean oil! At least for the shampoo anyway. The conditioner is more of a creme, as advertised. I like that it uses moringa oil, and it smells like other salon hair products. I think that it definitely helps replenish hair.
St. Ives Apricot Scrub
Readers, I’m torn about St. Ives (well, I find no reason to side with big brands so not really). This is one of the more affordable cleanser/scrubs that I, myself, haven’t had problems with as far as use. I know its plastic beads pollute water but they use natural exfoliants now. Now I hear they’re being sued because they cause microtears that cause infections! In any case, their parent company, Unilever, is really shitty, so I’ll try to stop buying them.
Love & Beauty Eye Mask
This is a collagen and aloe patch set from Forever 21. It says it has a peptide complex and is paraben-free. Has anyone had a good experience with such things? I didn’t really notice any difference. It kind of smells like a magazine perfume sample. Maybe I should invest in eye creams…
Do you know any better alternatives?
Thanks for reading!