Beauty

Product review/giveaway: Teeze w/ Eez Aqua Brush

(Disclaimer: I received a sample product in exchange for an honest review; however I was not compensated for writing a review and as always all opinions are my own.)

Win an Aqua Brush from Teeze w/ Eez!

If you follow me on Instagram then you might remember me posting this photo on Wednesday. Teeze w/ Eez was kind enough to send two of their new Aqua Brushes (retail $8.95) for review and I have to say that I just love them! Having long hair, knots are a constant problem–after washing, after swimming, or during windy days–and picking them out is not only time-consuming, it can be damaging, too. More often than not I end up pulling clumps of hair out while detangling, but this brush gently glides through tangles without tugging or breaking the hair.

Win an Aqua Brush from Teeze w/ Eez!

I really like how this brush looks, too. It’s bright and cheerful and has a pretty, textured grip that fits nicely in my hand. (Hey, I have small hands–I appreciate a small, contoured grip!) You’ll notice in the picture below that the bristles are extra-long–they’re super-flexible, so they won’t snag the hair, and as an added bonus, they give your scalp a nice massage, too!

Win an Aqua Brush from Teeze w/ Eez!

Thank you to Teeze w/ Eez for the brush–I’m been using it all week to detangle my hair and have really loved it! It definitely beats picking away at my snarls with a comb.

And now for the giveaway! Since the company was kind enough to send me two of these brushes, I’m giving the second one away! Just use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. (U.S. residents only through May 2nd; see terms and conditions for full details.) Good luck!

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Product review: Andalou Naturals Lavender Shea hand cream

I’ve struggled with dry hands all winter and have tried a few different hand creams, without finding one I really love. Now that spring is here my skin isn’t quite so dry, but I still need something, so I picked up this fresh-smelling hand cream from my local natural foods store.

Andalou Naturals Lavender Shea hand cream review from I'd Rather Be Reading blog

What it is: Andalou Naturals Lavender Shea hand cream; $8.95/3.4 ounces. An organic, vegan and gluten-free hand cream designed to nourish dry hands and cuticles.

What it does: It’s a fairly thick cream that absorbs quickly and smells strongly of lavender, without that baby powder tendency found in some lavender-scented products. It’s less sweet and more earthy, which I like.  I do feel like the scent fades quickly.

I like how this feels on my skin, but it’s still not quite thick enough for the winter months. You still have to reapply every couple of hours or after washing your hands, and I’ll be shopping for something a bit thicker for the colder, drier winter months. That said, I feel like this will be a good hand cream for the spring-to-fall period, when I want something with a medium thickness and a clean scent. I also really love that the profits from this hand cream support projects to benefit women’s education–I feel that it’s important for companies to find ways to give back to society, and human rights and education are important to me.

Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Juice (organic), Aqua, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil (organic), Stearic Acid, Prunus Amygdalus (Sweet Almond) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter (organic), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Butter (organic), Mangifera Indica (Mango) Butter, Vegetable Glycerin, Calophyllum Inophyllum (tamanu) Oil, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Malus Domestica (apple), Solar Vitis (grape), Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) (Fruit Stem Cell Cultures and BioActive 8 Berry Complex. Organic), Allantoin, Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis Extract, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Extract (organic), Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil (organic), Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Oil, Xanthan Gum, ethylhexyl glycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Lavandula Officinalis (Lavender) Oil (organic).

Product review: Dermalogica Precleanse oil and wipes

(Disclosure: I received samples of the products mentioned in this post for testing purposes; however I was not compensated for writing a review and as always all opinions are my own.)

Dermalogica Precleanse

What it is: Dermalogica Precleanse oil ($38/5.1 oz.) and wipes ($18/20 ct.). Available through major beauty retailers like ULTA or through the Dermalogica website.

What it does: This lightweight cleansing oil works to dissolve excess dirt, oil and makeup on the surface of the skin prior to regular cleansing, allowing your regular cleanser to penetrate more deeply, resulting in a deeper, better clean. The wipes are biodegradable and travel-friendly.

I tried it: I feel like the best test of any “precleanse” or makeup remover is what I like to call the “classic Hollywood face”: foundation, liquid liner, mascara, and of course matte red lipstick. These precleansers took it all off with ease, allowing me to move on with my regular cleanser (which isn’t designed to remove makeup, especially around the eyes).  I usually use coconut oil to remove heavy makeup and I think that these were definitely less messy,not to mention they left behind less residue. Neither irritated my skin or eyes.

Final thoughts: A couple of things keep me from totally loving this duo: first, the price, and second, the long list of less-than-natural ingredients. It’s true that these precleansers are a little less toxic than some others on the market, but they still contain ingredients like phenoxyethanol and a handful of parabens, so they’re not as “green” as I’d like. (You can view the full ingredients list below.) I do have to admit that they’re much less messy than natural oil and if you have nut allergy concerns then these might be a more attractive option. For performance I would give this product a 10/10, and overall a 6/10.

Ingredients: Oil: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, PEG-40 Sorbitan Peroleate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Borago Officinalis Seed Oil, Aleurites Moluccana Seed Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Solanum Lycopersicum (To-mato) Extract, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Decyl Olive Esters, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Citral, Limonene, Linalool, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Isopropylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben. Wipes: Water/Aqua/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Butylene Glycol, Neopentyl Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Lauryl PEG/PPG-18/18 Methicone, Dicaprylyl Ether, Glycerin, Sodium Cocoyl Apple Amino Acids, Prunus Armeniaca Kernel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Peel Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Mentha Viridis Leaf Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Oil, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Sodium PCA, Sodium Benzoate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tocopherol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Chloride, Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Citral, Phenoxyethanol. Dermalogica is listed on the Leaping Bunny website as a bunny-friendly company.

Product review: Monat Global Rejuveniqe Oil Intensive

(Disclosure: I received a sample of this product for testing purposes; however I was not compensated for writing a review and as always all opinions are my own.)

Monat Rejuveniqe Oil Intensive

What it is: Monat Global Rejuveniqe Oil Intensive, a natural oil blend designed to nourish the scalp and alleviate hair thinning and damage while adding body and shine, without the harmful effects of synthetic ingredients like silicone. Also suitable for use on the skin. $99/1-fl. oz. through the Monat website.

Ingredients: Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Seed Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Adansonia Digitata Oil, Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Gardenia Tahitensis Flower Extract, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Caryocar Brasiliense Fruit Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil.

What it does: If you had told me a few years ago that I would one day slather natural oils on my skin and in my hair, I would have laughed at you. But now what sounds like a hippie concept (and an invitation to greasy strands and breakouts) is actually my go-to choice for keeping my skin and hair healthy. Natural oil blends add moisture and repair damage without harmful, animal-tested or animal-sourced synthetics, and many oil blends–like this one–are multi-purpose, suitable for use on the hair, skin and nails.

This oil has a very faint natural scent and absorbs quickly, and I like the glass dropper/pump combo style of the bottle. (I find this is the easiest way to use oils on the scalp without making a mess.) A little goes a long way, especially on the hair. This is great as a pre-shampoo scalp treatment, and if you had thicker hair, you could also use it on the ends post-shower to protect them from heat damage and add silkiness. I think that with steady use you would definitely see stronger hair; I can see a small change but I’ve also only been using it a couple of times a week, on the days I shampoo. Massaged into the cuticles, it softens and strengthens, and it’s also nice on dry, rough patches on the hands and feet.

As much as I love this product, though, I can’t bring myself to justify the price. It’s way too far out of my budget range, especially with the husband back in school. Unfortunately that makes it a no-buy for me.

Find Monat on social media: @MONATOfficial on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Do you have any natural oil products that you can’t live without? Any natural products that you once thought you’d never embrace? Tell me about them!

 

GIVEAWAY: Trio of Zoya Holiday/Winter 2014 PixieDust polishes (U.S. only)

Zoya PixieDust polishes

It’s almost Christmas, and this time of the year I live for glitter nail polish. This week I’m giving away a trio of Zoya’s new holiday/winter 2014 PixieDust polishes: Nori, Imogen and Thea. I’m also throwing in a 2-oz. bottle of their Remove Plus nail polish remover, to help you get all that glitter off when you’re ready to change your manicure!

Entry is easy: just fill out the Rafflecopter widget below. Due to shipping restrictions this giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, but I’ll have one more international giveaway coming up next Friday to finish out 2014, so make sure you subscribe to my feed so you don’t miss it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

GIVEAWAY: Flower Beauty Lip Chubby gift set (INTERNATIONAL)

Flower Lip Chubby set

Time for another Friday giveaway! This week I’m giving away a Flower Beauty Lip Chubby gift set, containing three popular shades: Life’s a Peach, Berry-More, and Red-dy to Bloom. To enter, just use the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway is open internationally through next Friday and you can earn extra entries daily by sharing the giveaway on social media. :)

And while you’re at it, there’s still time to enter my Pacifica Wanderlust beauty set giveaway (here) and my giveaway for a copy of ‘The Magician’s Lie’, by Greer Macallister (here)–both giveaways end tomorrow, so don’t wait!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

GIVEAWAY: Pacifica Wanderlust Beauty Set (INTERNATIONAL)

Pacifica Wanderlust Beauty Set

Let’s kick off the Christmas season with a giveaway, shall we?

I’ll have a new giveaway starting each week on Friday throughout the month of December. Each giveaway will be open for one week. This week I’m giving away a Pacifica Wanderlust Beauty Set, which includes a BB cream, a tinted lip balm, and two eye shadows. All are vegan-friendly.

All you have to do is enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway is open internationally through December 12th, 2014. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Unboxing: Influenster Moda VoxBox

(Disclosure: The products mentioned in this post were provided compliments of Influenster for testing purposes; I was not compensated for writing a review and as always all opinions are my own.)

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It’s been a long time since I’ve had one of these to unbox for ya! The Influenster Moda VoxBox arrived recently and I’m finally getting pics of all the products and squeezing in some product testing. For today I have a quick rundown of the box and its contents, with some mini reviews.

First up we have a trio of products from Rimmel London. The Scandaleyes Rockin’ Curves Mascara ($5.99 at drugstores). This mascara promises to give you major lash volume, with a specially designed brush that grabs even the tiny lashes at the inner corners of the eyes. This mascara does contain beeswax and silk powder, so it isn’t vegan friendly.

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The Moisture Renew Lipstick ($7.49 at drugstores), in #560 As You Want Victoria, promises brilliant color and “lips drenched in moisture”. The photo does a terrible job of capturing this shade; it puts the “shocking” in “shocking pink”. Click over to the Rimmel website (here) to see a photo of Georgia May Jagger wearing this shade.

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Finally from Rimmel there’s a Moisture Renew Lip Liner ($6.49 at drugstores) in a clear shade, designed to prevent feathering. I have to say that I don’t understand why more companies don’t offer a clear lip liner; I’m constantly reading in beauty magazines that it’s a “must-have” and better than colored lip liner. Mystifying.

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I have to say that for cruelty-free consumers, Rimmel London might be an iffy choice. In a pop-up on their home page, the company states, “We at Rimmel take the issue of animal testing very seriously, and have for many years been vehemently against animal testing products or product ingredients on animals.  We do not undertake animal testing for any of our products or even product ingredients, and do not commission such tests with outside test institutes either.” However, the company is owned by Coty, and their animal testing statement (see it here) includes the infamous “where required by law” clause that has caused many cruelty-free consumers to shop elsewhere.

I know this statement causes a lot of heated arguments, especially in light of the recent EU ban on testing and all the confusion about what that means for cosmetics sold here in America; also, the Coty statement is from 2012…so, this might warrant a longer post on another day. For now I’ll just say that as consumers we always have to make our own choices about what to buy, so you’ll have to weigh the two statements and decide how you feel purchasing from a company whose parent may or may not occasionally submit their other brands for animal testing. (Much like The Body Shop and Urban Decay being owned by L’Oreal.)

Okay, on to other products! There’s a Puffs SoftPack ($2.49 at drugstores), which will come in handy since both the husband and I have the sniffles. The soft body lets you easily stick these in a backpack, baby bag, luggage or anywhere else. Let’s face it, those tiny “travel packs” are never big enough when you have a severe cold; this is so much better!

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The Hair Food Moisture Hair Mask ($14.99 at Target) is designed to condition and smooth hair with honey and apricot oil. Because of the honey this product is not vegan-friendly, and I believe Clariol tests on animals (they’re also owned by animal-testing Proctor & Gamble).

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There’s a travel-sized bottle of Jergens Ultra Healing Extra Dry Skin Moisturizer ($4.99 for a 21-oz. bottle or $6.99 for a 32-oz. bottle, at drugstores). I’ve used this before and liked it, but more recently I’ve had trouble nailing down the brand’s animal testing policies, so I’ve stopped using their products. I have heard both that they do not test on animals and that their parent company, Kao Brands, does test.

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Next we have a Swiss Miss Simply Cocoa packet ($2.29 for an eight-count box; at grocery stores). This contains milk, so I can’t drink it, but I gave it to a non-vegan friend who appreciated the “short, sweet ingredient list” and “rich, not-too-sugary taste”.

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Finally there’s a bottle of Resource Spring Water ($1.49 at grocery stores). This is a water enhanced with “natural electrolytes”, in a 100% recyclable bottle made with 50% recycled plastic. Nifty, though I’m not sure I’ll necessarily notice a difference from any other bottled water–but I’ll certainly give it a spin!

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So that’s it for this VoxBox! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram for more pics as I try out these products!