animal testing

Oh so CHARMing: an ethical alternative to down comforters

(Disclosure: post contains affiliate links.)

CHARM is turning the traditional approach to down comforters on its head with natural, breathable fiber alternatives.

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, then you probably know one of the reasons I got into blogging in the first place was my desire to find natural, affordable, animal-friendly alternatives to the lifestyle products I was currently using. Things have come a long way since I started back in 2008—animal-friendly fashion, beauty, and home goods are continuing to take up a larger market share with each passing year—but there are some goods that remain difficult to replace. Take bedding, for example: if you don’t want to utilize animal-sourced wool or down, the alternative is often synthetic. But synthetics are sucky in their own way, and not just because they’re hard on Mother Earth: they’re not as breathable and often not as soft as a natural fiber, making for a less-than-zen sleeping experience.

So imagine how intrigued I was to discover CHARM. Drawing on years of design experience, and an unwillingness to settle for anything less than perfection, the company is upending traditional comforter design with a plant-powered blend that offers all the loft and coziness of down with none of the ethical complications. (more…)

Product review: Own Skin Health Lifting Eye Cream

Disclosure: free product was sent for consideration, however the free product does not affect my honest review in any way and all opinions are my own. As always I do my best to provide you with a complete and honest review!

When I was younger I didn’t realize that slapping makeup on when you haven’t been taking care of your skin serves no purpose at all. I thought the solution to dullness, dryness, dark circles and all other assortment of skin maladies was different makeup. Now that I’m a bit older and wiser I’ve realized that I’m better off spending my money on quality products to take care of my skin, and that in doing so I’ll end up needing less makeup overall. Win-win!

The main problems I run into when shopping for skincare products are:

  • Not vegetarian-friendly
  • Packed full of chemicals
  • Way too expensive
  • Irritates my sensitive skin

So with those concerns in mind, I was super happy when IFabbo and Own Skin Health sent me this sample tube of the Own Skin Health Lifting Eye Cream to try out. (I say “sample” because that is how IFabbo refers to it, but judging by the size of the tube and the website info this is a full-sized product, which made me do a little jig of surprised happiness.)

This product is vegan, Leaping Bunny certified, free of retinol and other harsh ingredients, and priced comparable to drugstore lines like Olay and L’Oreal.

The product: Own Skin Health Lifting Eye Cream; $23.99/0.5 oz.; available online through ownproducts.com.

The claim: Formulated to lift and smooth wrinkles while brightening skin with clinically proven CLA technology. In eight weeks, reduce the appearance of crow’s feet by 61% and the total number of wrinkles around the eye area by 30%. Free of retinol, fragrances, parabens, and sulfates.

I tried it: I received my tube of eye cream at the beginning of April, so I’ve had ample time to test it out and see how it works! I apply it twice daily, in the mornings and evenings after I’ve washed my face and applied my regular face cream. You need only the tiniest dab–think the size of a grain of rice–for both eyes. I just tap it lightly into place around the eye as with any eye cream. (Jasmine at Green Eyed Monster has a great illustrated tutorial on eye cream application here.)

I feel like this stuff absorbs very well and is non-greasy, but remains hydrating. It has a very light and pleasant silky texture. If you had very dry or mature skin you might wish for something more moisturizing, but I felt like this was really hydrating even after a long day. And since you only need to use such a tiny amount, I know this little tube is going to last forever. I feel like I’ve barely made a dent in it in the six weeks that I’ve been testing it!

Having noted the hydration level, I must also note that this eye cream wasn’t too slippery to wear under my makeup. I have very dark undereye circles and need heavy-duty concealer to hide them; that “sheer coverage” nonsense just does not cut it with me. The trouble with heavy-coverage concealers is that they have a tendency to settle into the fine lines around the eyes and highlight them, which just defeats the purpose of trying to look fresh and rested! The solution is to wear an eye cream under your concealer, but some are so slick that your concealer just melts right off. I felt like this Own eye cream struck the perfect balance between hydration and staying power; I layered it over my moisturizer and under a primer and concealer, and my concealer’s normal wear time was not affected at all. My fine lines, on the other hand, were much less noticeable.

Now, let’s talk about using the eye cream without other products. This cream has an immediate yet subtle firming effect around my eyes, which helps disguise my bags and lines on the days I really don’t have time for makeup. I feel like this eye cream does help me look more well-rested. As far as the long-term anti-aging properties, I do feel there’s been a noticeable decrease in the number of fine lines around my eyes.

Finally, I have to point out that my skin is fickle: it handles some products with aplomb and others not at all. Many mainstream skin care products are full of chemicals that are not only icky but can also irritate sensitive skin, retinol being one of the most potent, so I’m really happy that this product is plant-based and didn’t sting my skin in the least. It also doesn’t have a strong “skin care” smell, if you know what I mean!

Here’s the ingredients list (from the Own Skin Health website), just in case you’re interested: Water, Caprylic/ Capric Triglyceride, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oleosomes, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Stearic Acid, Conjugated Linoleic Acid*, Dimethicone, Cetearyl Olivate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Coco-Caprylate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Tocopherol, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sorbitan Olivate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Germ Extract, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Potassium Sorbate, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin.

My verdict: I love this stuff! I’m normally very skeptical of products that claim to improve your skin by such-and-such percentage so I was very happy to see such good results from this product. I’m so pleased to find a vegan Leaping Bunny-approved product at a mass retail price that works so well for me, and I will definitely consider purchasing other Own Skin Health products in the future!

If you’d like to try this product for yourself, Own and IFabbo have a special coupon code for you to use! Check out through the Own Skin Health website here and use coupon code “CLAIFABBO1” to get 30% off your first purchase of Own Skin Health products.

 Disclosure: free product was sent for consideration, however the free product does not affect my honest review in any way and all opinions are my own. As always I do my best to provide you with a complete and honest review!

My Influenster Holiday VoxBox arrived!

I feel like I’ve been waiting for FOREVER for my Influenster Holiday VoxBox to arrive! It’s packed full of goodies, which I’ll be reviewing in detail over the next week or so. But for now, let’s take a look at the goods!

Disclaimer: I received this product complimentary of Influenster for testing purposes. I was not reimbursed for this review however and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Here’s the full box. I’m going to get a proper unboxing video uploaded on my YouTube channel soon, once my lazy self digs out the mic for a voiceover, but for now let’s look at what I got in brief.

First, you’ll notice a card for Sole Society. I hadn’t heard of this site before Influenster, so this is sort of interesting. Through the end of January, you can get $25 off your first purchase through the site with the code “INFLUENSTER25”. (http://www.SoleSociety.com) I am of course a massive shoe addict, so I’ll probably find an excuse to use this code.

Next, there’s a package of Kiss Nail Dress stickers (retail value $6.99). I’ve never tried these before, but I love the design they sent! I’m super-excited about this product and will probably try these out next weekend when the hubby and I have date night.

The Goody QuikStyle brush (retail value $11.99) is going to be interesting. I got a “half-round” brush that’s supposed to give better blowouts and cut drying time thanks to the microfiber bristles, which absorb water from the hair. I hate the time it takes to dry my hair, so this will definitely be reviewed within the week.

The Quaker Real Medleys+ oatmeal ($1.79 per cup) is the wild card item. I know lots of people are not “oatmeal people” but I love it and I always need breakfast items to go. My one gripe with this product: it has a lot of sugar in each cup (22 grams) and I feel like it’s a bit pricey for regular eating. Still, it’s tasty (I already tried it!).

Then there’s the EBoost packet ($28/20 packets or $39/30 packets). I tried one of these in the orange flavor in my last VoxBox; this one is a Pink Lemonade packet. I’m not a fan of these fizzy packets per se but they DO give you an energy boost (essential for nutty multitaskers like me) and they’re not so bad mixed into a smoothie.

The NYC New York Color Liquid Lipshine ($2.49) is the only item that disappoints me. Parent company Coty tests on animals and since I can’t get any definitive information on NYC’s testing policies, I have to assume that they test as well.This is a nice neutral shade (“Nude York City”) but I’ll be passing it on.

Finally, I qualified for a bonus item this time around (yay, me!). Montagne Jeunesse makes awesome face masques, and this Fruit Smoothie deep pore cleansing masque ($2) looks perfectly suited to my skin type. Oh, and did I mention that MJ is vegetarian and Leaping Bunny-certified?

A look at the Zoya Lovely spring 2013 collection

Fellow nail polish junkies of the world, I do not normally get excited about pastel polish. But I just might possibly make an exception for Zoya’s upcoming spring 2013 collection. Take a closer look:

And here’s possibly my favorite of all the new colors: Neely, a gorgeous minty green. As I said already, I’m not usually a fan of pastels, but this year I’d really love to find a minty green for my fingers, and this looks perfect. And because I know you want to see the rest of the colors in detail (you do, don’t you?), they are also Pinned down below. You’re welcome.

Source: zoya.com via Martha on Pinterest

From the sneak previews, Zoya and Butter London are both releasing similar pastel collections for spring. However, I kind of prefer Zoya, since they’re a) cheaper and b) I like the formula a little better. What do you think, lovelies? Any must-haves from the new collection?

Swatches: Butter London Bluey, Wallis, and Knackered

Well, a week after my Butter London polishes arrived from Coterie, I finally got around to swatching them. Before I show you the pics, though, I wanted to update you on something else: their Leaping Bunny status.

You might remember that when the polishes first arrived, I noted that the bottles had the Leaping Bunny logo on them and wondered what this meant, since I couldn’t find Butter London listed on the “safe” companies list online. I immediately e-mailed Leaping Bunny and Butter London to ask what was going on!

On Monday, I got this reply from Leaping Bunny:


…a few months ago, we became aware that Butter London was using the Leaping Bunny logo without permission. The good news is, we have been in touch with them and they are in the process of getting certified. Unfortunately, it’s taking a bit of time, but please feel free to check back to see if they have been added to the list. We hope to get them approved as soon as possible. We feel this will be the best result. Even though they have been using our logo without permission, it is always good for consumers and animals when another cruelty-free company is added to the list.

Needless to say, I haven’t yet received a reply from Butter London. This is part of the reason it took me so long to get around to swatching these colors: I’m pretty steamed about their blatant misappropriation of the logo and I do not like being lied to, ever. I’m happy that they’ll soon be joining the Leaping Bunny ranks, and I do think their polishes are lovely, but I’ve just been stewing a bit over this news.

Okay, I’m done griping. On to the swatches!

I got three polishes: Bluey, Wallis, and Knackered. Bluey is a peacock blue with a hint of shimmer, and as you can see after two coats it’s still rather light. I think this would be better with three or even four coats for full opacity.

Bluey, outside, direct sunlight
Bluey, inside, indirect natural light

Next I have Wallis, a green-gold with shimmer. Like Bluey, it would be best with three coats rather than merely two. This is a very pretty and different color and it would be great if you wanted something a little different for the weekend.

Wallis, outside, direct sunlight

Wallis, inside, indirect natural light

Earlier this month I wondered if my drugstore score of L.A. Colors Color Craze nail polish in Cactus could possibly be a dupe for Wallis; now that I’ve tried the two, I think they’re very close. Wallis seems to have more of a gold base while Cactus has a blue base, so while Wallis has more of a green-gold warm shimmer Cactus is a cooler, more muted olive.

Cactus, outside, overcast natural light

Finally, there’s Knackered. This is a holographic polish with a silver-purple-blue-green shifting tint that really changes depending on the lighting. It also has subtle glitter in it. It’s very sheer and needs at least three coats for opacity.

Knackered, indoors, indirect natural light

This polish really looks lavender and slightly metallic, and then when the sun hits it the silver comes out. I don’t see much of the green or blue but maybe it’s just the lighting. I like this color because it’s a little bit different but still very feminine, and since the glitter is so small it doesn’t make me feel like a little girl when I wear it.

Knackered, indoors, direct sunlight
Knackered, indoors, direct sunlight

You know who I could honestly picture wearing Knackered on her nails? A winter bride. You know, with the full winter wonderland theme, complete with matching white faux fur muffs for all the bridesmaids. It’s such a chic and unexpected alternative to the usual pink/nude lineup that brides tend to pick, and this color just seems so very winter/holiday to me. I think it’d be perfect!

For myself, I’ll probably use Knackered primarily as a topcoat over different creme polishes to experiment with the duo-chrome/holographic effect. Earlier this month I swatched this over Julep Toni, a griege lavender, for a more full-bodied effect. The result was pretty lovely, and now I’m eager to see what effects I’ll get layering it over black, blue, green, and silver.

Knackered over Toni, indoors, indirect natural light
Knackered over Toni, indoors, direct sunlight