Tarte cosmetics giveaway! (International!)

Tarte cosmetics giveaway

ITS FALL, Y’ALL! I am soooooooo excited for the start of September! While I find something to love about every season, there’s no denying that autumn is my favorite. Pumpkin lattes, cozy scarves, and long hikes through autumn leaves—I love it all!

I know the official start of fall is still a few weeks away, but I couldn’t wait any longer to start celebrating. I’ve also been wanting to do a little giveaway to celebrate getting back into blogging. And finally, school is starting back up—and whether you’re heading off to school yourself or packing up your kids for another year of classes and activities, I bet you could use some new beauty goodies to freshen up your routine for a busy new season!

So, I’m giving away a bundle of beauty loot from Tarte! One lucky reader will win a Tarte Dream Big Eyeshadow Palette, Leave Your Mark Eyeshadow Palette, Maneater Self-Sharpening Liner in Black, Tarteist Lash Paint Mascara in Black, and Arch Architect Brow Pencil & Gel. The Tarte cosmetics giveaway is open internationally and will run through September 10th; you can enter as many times as you like using the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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: Adovia Natural Dead Sea Mud Soap

(Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.)

 

The product: Adovia Natural Dead Sea Mud Soap; $16/4.4-oz. bar. Available through Amazon.com.

The claim: Great for eczema, psoriasis or acne. Dead Sea mud minerals keep the skin hydrated while also cleansing to remove impurities. Made with natural and animal-friendly ingredients.

Ingredients: 80% Palm/ 20% Palm Kernel oil, Dead Sea Salts, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Deionized Water (Aqua), Natural extract (Fragrance).

My experience: I’m not a big fan of using bar soaps to wash my face. For the most part I find that they fall into one of several categories: too drying, too abrasive, doesn’t clean well enough, leaves a film, etc. In short, just not up to par for cleaning my sensitive, somewhat dry yet acne-prone skin.

This soap is really different from anything else I’ve tried. It does a wonderful job of cleaning my oily T-zone without over-drying, and it doesn’t leave my skin feeling scummy. My skin just feels super-clean and pleasant. I do think it’s helping reduce my breakouts, which is awesome, since I’ve been going through a period of stress-related breakouts recently and nothing else seems to be taming them. I don’t have eczema or psoriasis so I can’t say how it would help with those skin conditions.

This soap does have a very faint earthy smell, owing to the natural ingredients. Personally I’m fine with that, especially compared to harsh chemical fragrances (which my skin typically finds irritating). I don’t think the scent would be an issue for most users, since it isn’t overpowering.

My final review: 9/10. It’s a little pricey unless you snag it on sale, but overall I do think it’s a worthwhile investment for problem skin, and it’s a pretty generous size for a bar.

(I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.)

Product review: Beautisol Exscrub Me? Citrus Face Exfoliant

(Disclosure: I received the product(s) mentioned in this post in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any other way and as always all opinions are my own.)

 

The product: Beautisol Exscrub Me? Citrus Face Exfoliant; $17 for a two ounce tube. Available through the Beautisol website. Purchase it here and be sure to use the coupon code “BOGO2014” to buy one, get one free through June 30, 2014.

The claim: A gentle yet effective scrub with jojoba beads that leaves skin smooth and prepped for a flawless self-tanning application. Paraben-free and vegan. (See a full ingredients list at the bottom of this review.)

My experience: Unlike some facial scrubs that feel dry and gritty, this one is creamy, so it feels much gentler on the skin. The jojoba beads do a nice job of exfoliating without over-drying. I feel like this did a much more thorough job of smoothing my skin that some other scrubs that I’ve tried; it left my face super-smooth and soft, with no leftover residue.

The scrub is labeled for all skin types, but I do think it would be better suited to those with normal to combo/oily skin. The drier parts of my face (along the jawline and chin) definitely felt a bit dry after use. If you have very dry skin, you could use a hydrating self-tanner and apply a thicker moisturizing cream later on to keep skin happy. I did test this as a starting point before using a self-tanning mousse and found it really helped improve my overall end result.

Based on the ingredients list, this isn’t the most natural product you can find on the shelf, but it is vegan and free of parabens, sulfates and propylene glycol.

Final review: 8/10. It’s a bit of a splurge for me, but if you’re a die-hard self-tanner, then it might be worth it to ensure even, glowing results. Just keep in mind that if your skin tends to be dry, you’ll want to slather on extra moisturizer after using to avoid ending up with unsightly dry patches.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Polyethylene (Beads), Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Jojoba Esters (Beads), Behenyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Dicaprylyl Ether, Glyceryl Stearate, Sucrose Stearate, Xanthan Gum, Titanium Dioxide, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Squalane, Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Peel Oil, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Citric Acid, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil*, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Potassium Sorbate, Carbomer, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Tocotrienols, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil, Phytic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Alcohol, Tocopherol (D-alpha), Passiflora Incarnata (Passionflower) Flower Extract. (*Certified Organic)

(Disclosure: I received the product(s) mentioned in this post in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any other way and as always all opinions are my own.)