January 31, 2013

Reduce your use

This blog mainly focuses on showing better alternatives to the chemical filled products that dominate the market. That's really the fun part of going natural for me. But I think another important piece is using less product, less frequently when you can. This means reducing your exposure, and also being more environmentally friendly. If you question the safety of the products you use, you might also want to question the idea that we need use them all the time. Here are some of my ideas for reducing your use:
  • Shower less. Yes, I said it. I'm not talking about letting your hygiene go, but the truth is that many people do not need to shower every day. I think society has this crazy idea that if you don't shower constantly, you are a dirty person. And it's just not true. It's so much easier and greener to shower less. There is the convenience of the extra bit of sleep, and saving the time it takes to style and dry your hair. You also save water and energy. Over time, this can make a real difference.
  • Wash your hair less. This goes hand in hand with showering less, and I talk to people about this all the time. I always hear "I'd do that, but my hair gets oily after one day." Here's the trick: for many people, your hair gets oily after one day because you wash it everyday. I've been there. In high school I'd wash my hair every single day, or else it would get oily. But I was insanely busy, and I started to slip. To my surprise, when I stopped washing my hair so often, I stopped needing to! I haven't gone back since. It will depend on the person, but I usually only need to wash my hair two times a week. If my hair happens to get a bit oily between washes, I dab a bit of baby powder or dry shampoo on the roots to freshen up. Soon, I am going to switch to the no shampoo method, and I applaud anyone who has gone this route. 
  • Ditch the body soap. Awhile back on No More Dirty Looks, I read a post challenging people to lay off the soap for a while. It made it seem like this might be a huge struggle, which I found it really funny because I have never been one to soap up everywhere. Of course you should use soap when you're physically dirty. But if you are not caked in dirt or covered in sweat, you probably do not need to soap up your whole body. 
  • Use multitasking products. Try using natural skincare oils for multiple needs. One bottle of any good oil can replace hair styling products, moisturizer, lotion, eye makeup remover and shaving cream. I will readily admit that I myself have to work on this one too, but I am trying to keep my skincare buying to a minimum (makeup is another story). Right now sweet almond oil is my go to, and there are a slew of wonderful oils to choose from. Apple cider vinegar is another product I use for many things: you can rinse your hair with it, tone and clean your face, and I even use it to remove underarm odor. 
  • Skip the makeup on some days. I know this is a pretty counter-intuitive thing to read on a beauty blog, but let your natural face see the light of day sometimes. Even if you don't use clean products, reducing the frequency of use will reduce your exposure to the chemicals in them. Even Snooki takes no makeup days, and if she can do it, anyone can.
In what ways do you use less? I would love to hear some thoughts from others on this topic!

January 28, 2013

Ecco Bella FlowerColor Blush

I am excited about this one. I am finally writing a post on Ecco Bella FlowerColor Blush. I have wanted to share these for such a long time, but I struggled to get photos of them that showed true to color. After the gazillionth try, I finally have photos that I think show how they really look, and at last it is time to do this review.

I obviously really love these blushes, otherwise I wouldn't own all seven. I started with one or two, loved them, and slowly collected the rest. They really stand out to me because they are the most affordable clean pressed product that I have found yet. They have no nasty binders, and have good-for-skin ingredients like sweet almond oil, green tea and aloe vera. They range in price from around $10 to $16, depending on where you purchase from. For anyone looking for a reasonable priced natural pressed blush, these are your answer.

These blushes perform really nicely, and hold their own even against their mainstream counterparts. Most have a nice pigmentation, but sheer out to give a natural glow on the cheeks. I didn't find the peach, coral and orchid colors to be as pigmented as the other, but for a blush that's not a bad thing — it just makes it easier to not go overboard. They are also very long lasting. After swatching these on my arm, traces of them remained even after 3 days! 

I find the colors to be very wearable. Because no synthetic pigments are used, the colors are very natural looking, and all have a sort of mutedness to them. I will personally wear all the colors of blush, but if you like to stick to a certain range, they make ones that are cool, warm or neutral in tone. 

There are really only minor complaints I have. One is that they are quite fragile. The first time I ordered one, it broke, but Vitacost quickly sent me a replacement. One of mine is also crumbling a bit due to it moving with me across the country two times. So I would try to avoid traveling with them. There's also not a variety of finishes. Only Nutmeg has the tiniest bit of shimmer, but it's really not apparent on the face. If you are looking for more sheen or shimmery blushes, there aren't really any options. If you love matte blushes like me, then that's not really a negative. The only other suggestion I have would be to list their ingredients with INCI labeling, only because "flower wax iron oxides" is a bit vague. I would assume that's just flower wax and iron oxides, both of which I'm okay with. But I personally always prefer the standardized labeling.

I bought most of these when they were available for around $8. Unfortunately, the price has gone up everywhere that I know of, but at around $12 they are still a fair price in my opinion. And in case you're wondering, Ecco Bella also makes a line of eyeshadows that come in some really nice looking, mostly neutral colors. I imagine that they would have a really similar formula to the blushes, and they do contain the same ingredients. I probably won't be getting any too soon however, with the amount of mineral shadows I have to go through in my collection!

If you want to put these in a compact, Ecco Bella makes ones that can hold two blushes, or a combination of blush and eyeshadow (their eyeshadows come in half circle shapes) that are available on all of the sites I listed below. Each one also comes with a magnet, if you want to put it in a palette or compact that is not magnetized. I really like that they come in pan form, because I like having them all available in one place. Here they are all cozy (looking a tad washed out) in my Z Palette:

If you are looking for reasonably priced pressed blush, get your hands on some of these already!

Ingredients: Mica, kaolin, cornstarch, magnesium carbonate, zinc oxide, sweet almond oil, lecithin, green tea extract, aloe vera extract and flower wax iron oxides. May contain: carmine.  
**The colors Coral Rose, Earthy Rose, Peach Rose, Wild Rose and Nutmeg are vegan.

Where to buy: $12.76 at iherb.com and $12.76 to $13.20 at vitacost.com
*Contains affiliate links

January 22, 2013

Silk Naturals swatches: the sequel

Today I wanted to share some eye shadows I picked up recently from Silk Naturals. In case you haven't heard of them, Silk Naturals is a great indie makeup brand that makes a huge array of products, including eyeshadows (272 shades available!!), blushes, bronzers, setting powders, lipsticks, lip glosses, cream eyeliners and skin care, for starters.

At the beginning of last year, I ordered a bunch of their shadows, and I completely fell in love with them. Before trying Silk Naturals, I usually saved eyeshadow for special occasions, but these colors worked so well for me that I started wearing them on a daily basis. They were hands down my favorite eyeshadows of 2012, and after I'd used a couple of the colors up, I decided to treat myself to some more.

While last time I was on some sort of mission to get every taupe color available, in this order I leaned more towards matte, cool toned colors, and a few that just happened to catch my eye.

I chose Lavender and Thistle because I wanted to try some matte purples. I remember hearing somewhere that "purple is the other neutral," and it's completely true. I'm not one for bright purple shades, but both of these colors are subtle and pretty. They are something a little different from your usual browns, but you definitely won't look like you're channeling 1984 Prince. These are perfect if you are a bit afraid of color, but want to try something new.

Moonstone and Bone are part of the gorgeous Geo Collection. I already had the colors Aztec and Terra from the same collection, and had to try some more. Moonstone is a dupe for Bobbi Brown Stonewashed, and Bone is a dupe for Bobbi Brown Navajo. Bone is a perfect creamy base color or browbone highlight. Moonstone is yet another gorgeous taupe grey color — mostly matte with just the slightest bit of shimmer.

Trouble and Stag are dupes of the colors Sin and Buck from the Urban Decay Naked palette, and Chase is a dupe of Tease from the Naked 2 palette. Buck and Chase are some good matte browns, and Trouble is a super nice sandy pink. I picked out Alibi and Code because I wanted to try a couple colors from the newer Fall 2012 collection. I especially love Code; I've been looking for a perfect matte smokey grey color like this for a long time. And Cloudberry caught my eye because of it's gorgeous suede finish. It's not matte or shimmery, its just has a nice subtle sheen. The pictures don't do it justice.

I highly, highly recommend trying out Silk Naturals. Their gigantic collection means that there are colors to suit everyone's taste. Matte, shimmery, bright, neutral, you name it. This is company that makes me want to put on eyeshadow everyday!

Ingredients: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Magnesium Myrsistate, Magnesium Stearate, Boron Nitride, Silica.  May contain:  iron oxides, ultramarines, chromium oxide green, manganese violet, tin oxide, ferric ferrocyanide, carmine.
**None of the colors shown contain ferric ferrocyanide. I recommend avoiding this ingredient.

Where to buy: $4 each at silknaturals.com

January 18, 2013

Silk Naturals Stick 'Em Eye Shadow Enhancer

While you don't have to look too hard around the web to get vibrant eyeshadows or flattering face products, finding a good eye primer is a tough task in the world of healthy beauty. It's one that's still ongoing for me, even after two years. With that said, let me introduce you to one of my most frequently used products, Silk Naturals Stick 'Em Eye Shadow Enhancer. Though it's not specifically called a primer, based on its description on the website, it is supposed to do everything a primer does. So let's just call it a spade a spade.

January 14, 2013

100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Blush in Strawberry

I was recently given the opportunity to try a product from Charleston Naturally, an online high end natural cosmetics retailer based in Charleston, South Carolina. I jumped at the chance to try a blush from 100% Pure. I was already impressed with the ingredients and performance of the brand's pressed eyeshadows, so I had high expectations for their pressed blush.

And once again, they delivered. No matter how used to loose products I get, I can't deny how nice it is to use a pressed one. They are so convenient, way less messy and it is so much easier to get just the right amount of product on your brush. The formula is super smooth and soft, and the color is gorgeous too. It looks pretty bright, but on the cheeks it gives that really nice, natural looking flush. I even swipe a tiny bit around my hairline and forehead to give my face some color. The shade is a slightly cool pink. It can look very bright or subdued and natural, depending on how heavily it is applied. It would work on many skin tones. 
I have discussed in other posts how natural pressed products almost always have a high end price tag, and at $25, this blush is no exception. Unfortunately, you kind of have to accept higher price point for pressed products if you want truly natural ingredients. This is one of the few brands that makes pressed powders without "cones" (silicone, dimethicone, etc.). On top of that, it doesn't even contain titanium dioxide or iron oxides. In place, the color comes from organic fruit pigments. The only inorganic (as in not from a biological origin) ingredient is mica. So it really is worth it considering the super natural ingredients and pretty metal mirrored packaging. I hope to snag more of their pressed products, like the matching highlighting powder in the future!

Ingredients: Fruit Pigments of Organic Blackberry, Organic Pomegrante, Organic Cranberry, Organic Raspberry, Organic Strawberry, and Organic Cherry, Organic Rice Starch, Organic Rosehip Oil, Organic Avocado Butter, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Flax seed Oil, Goji Berry Extract, Vitamin E (a-tocopherol), Vitamin C (ascorbyl palmitate), Mica.

Where to buy: $25 at charlestonnaturally.com ($20 with 20% coupon CN20). The 20% off coupon is a great way to get products from 100% Pure, Dr. Hauschka, Suki, Intelligent Nutrients and more at a discount!

Disclosure: Product was sent to me as a PR sample. Opinions are my own and I am not being compensated in any way. 

January 8, 2013

Badger Balm

If you're reading this blog, there's a good chance you've heard of Badger. They make sunscreens, body oils and most famously, balms. And they do it with a lot of integrity. I have yet to see an ingredient in any Badger product that I would not use, which is really saying something. I wanted to try Badger Balm because it is a classic product from the company's line; the original that started it all. It contains a simple mix of olive oil, beeswax, castor oil, aloe vera extract and essential oils of birch and wintergreen. And it's USDA Certified Organic.

The balm was created by Badger's founder to heal hands damaged from carpentry work during the cold New England winter. Luckily, I don't have to deal with such harsh conditions, but I have experienced the healing power first hand. The balm provides instant relief for chapped winter skin and cuts. I also applied it bedtime to help the dry and cracked skin around my nose from having the flu, and in the morning, the skin was almost completely back to normal. I like to use it on cuticles and lips when they get dry. The one thing I found it was not okay for was removing eye makeup. But I'm pretty sure this is not recommended for use around the eyes in the first place. My bad.

I didn't really look at what the scent was when I ordered, and was surprised to find that the smell reminded me of gum  probably from the wintergreen essential oil it contains. I find the smell to be very mild, and it shouldn't be a problem unless you are very sensitive to smells. There's also an unscented version available if that's your preference.

I've also got to mention the cute packaging. I obviously love that it is metal, not plastic. And the tin is fun, it is almost kind of rustic and old school to me. I feel like I should take it with me camping. After the product is all used up I'll probably use it to store something small like thumb tacks or beads.

After trying the product, and I am totally hooked on Badger Balm. I now have a secret ambition to try every single balm that they make. So it's likely this is not the last you'll see of the cute Badger tins here on Pure Makeup...

Ingredients: *Olea Europaea (Extra Virgin Olive) Oil, *Cera Alba (Beeswax), *Ricinus Communis (Castor) Oil, *Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Extract, and Essential Oils of Betula Lenta (Birch) and *Gaultheria Procumbens (Wintergreen). 
* = Certified Organic

Where to buy
The 2 oz. size shown is $6.80 at vitacost.com (lowest price found). Available in the UK at lovelula.com

Disclosure: Product purchased by me. Contains affiliate links.
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