Thursday, 25 April 2013

One In, One Out: Choosing Skincare Products

When I first started switching my skincare and makeup over to natural, I'm not going to lie--it was pretty costly. Since most people replace products one at a time, you don't notice the overall cost of all the products you use. However, I went all dramatic and tossed everything at once and thus, had to replace everything at once.

Now that I'm settling into a better routine for me, I've decided to only buy new products when I run out of the one I'm currently using, or if one of my products starts destroying my skin. Here's my plan:

Testing out New Products

So as you can see, my new plan is noticeably more expensive than my current plan (although, prices listed aren't what I'd really pay--I've noted the MSRP, not the cheapest available price). One reason for this is that, now that I'm more comfortable in my 'big-girl' job, I have realized that it's OK to pamper myself a little--I'm no longer trying to stretch every last dollar like I was in grad school.

Another reason is that, in skincare, oftentimes you get what you pay for.  Since switching to natural beauty I've been pleasantly surprised to find that there are several notable skincare lines (Acure Organics and Andalou Naturals come to mind) that are inexpensive AND effective. Now that I've tried those lines and have a better understanding of my skin, I'm excited to try out a few new, more expensive products to see if it's really worth the cost!

The Plan: 
Toner: I've been eyeing the whole Yuli Skincare line (although sadly some products contain jojoba oil, which I'm allergic to), so once I use up my current Andalou toner I plan to buy a sample of Yuli's Panacea Elixir toner--I'm intrigued by the lure of colloidal silver!

Cleanser: My current Andalou cleanser works well but is a little harsh on my skin. I'm hoping Manuka honey will provide the antibacterial and cleansing effects while being gentler on my dry, sensitive skin.

Facial Oil/Serum: I'm currently enjoying my Sibu sea buckthorn oil and Mad Hippie vitamin C serum, but I've been really curious to try out Stark's line, especially their Cypress oil blend (cypress oil is known to help control sebaceous gland production, thus helping with breakouts).  Stark's oil contains rice bran oil, which has been used as a natural SPF, so hopefully it will provide some of the same benefits as my vitamin C serum as well :)

Sunscreen: Although I love my Burnout sunscreen (I've already finished my second tube), my boyfriend doesn't like how chalky it appears in his beard--it tends to stay white in hair like beards or eyebrows. I've heard great things about Devita's sunscreen and picked up a bottle yesterday. This morning it went on very nicely, no white cast, and moisturized like a lotion. I'm hopeful that it won't make me break out, because so far this may be my new holy grail sunscreen!

Clay Mask: As I've mentioned before, Aztec's bentonite clay works amazingly well at pulling gunk out of your pores, but it is pretty drying and harsh on my skin. I'm curious to try Yuli's Pure mask, which although much more expensive, has a great blend of clays plus other ingredients like matcha, fruit enzymes, and mung beans to help soothe, exfoliate, and provide antioxidant effects. Plus, it turns to a cleanser when you wash it off! So cool :)

What products have you been eyeing up lately? I'm also looking to try a new enzymatic mask to replace my Andalou Pumpkin Mask--I love it but am a little bored with it, so when it runs out I'd like to try something new! Any suggestions?c

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Tween Queen...

Sometimes I scour Ebay for Turkish Kilims. I've never bought one because they rarely fit my color scheme and/or price range, but sometimes they really pull at my heartstrings and I just have to share them with the world. Like this beauty:

The colors are so vibrant and crazy, I just HAD to pull together a bedroom fit for a tween queen, including lots of items that will transition well as a kiddo ages:

Tween Bedroom

A few items of note....I love Society6 for affordable pillow options, I want 90% of Kate Spade's Saturday line, and I love that although most of the items here are crazy-colorful, it's not tooooooo overwhelming because of the staid color of the duvet and the other neutral furniture pieces. If I were 10 years younger, I'd want to move right in!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Goin' to the Desert!

Something that I may not ever have shared on this blog is that I'm an avid outdoor adventurist. Living in Utah, some of my favorite hobbies include hiking, rock climbing, and canyoneering. This weekend, I'm very very excited to take a mini-vacation with my man and a large group of friends to go to Escalante Petrified Forest State Park!

Since it IS a desert in early spring, packing can be a challenge. Here is the gist of what I'll be brining with me:

Goin' to the Desert!

1. I've professed my love for these Gap Motion tanks before, and the love has not abated since. They're the perfect base layer for the desert--breathe easily, are soft, and don't move around when you do!

2. Given the whole desert-in-the-spring thing, layers are a must. I personally prefer to wear spandex capri-length leggings to traditional hiking pants/shorts--they breathe really well, dry easily if wet, keep you warm enough when it's chilly, but are easily pushed up your legs if it's hot!

3. I love wearing thin half-zip long-sleeve tees over my base layer. This one will keep you just the right temperature, and they ball up into a tiny little space in your pack if you get hot!

4. Featured here is the Mammot jacket my boyfriend gifted to me for Christmas--I cannot emphasize enough how amazing this jacket is! Keeps me nice and toasty when it's chilly, packs up SO TINY (I wear this to the airport all the time for that reason--easy to stow in my 'personal item' bag). On cold nights I even wear this to bed because it's so thin, comfortable, and warm. LOVE.

5. I have similar Merrill hiking shoes and they're great. They aren't too heavy, don't cause blisters, and have enough grip on the bottom to get me in and out of slippery areas.

6. Kelty makes great day packs! I love that this one is designed for a woman's form. The pocket on the waistband is great for your camera, and this has both top-and-bottom access to the central pack (makes it easier to grab stuff from the bottom of the pack if necessary).

7. And of course, your canine companion needs to be suited up as well! We got this exact pack for my 8-month-old lab puppy, and she barely notices that she's wearing it! Finally the little freeloader can start carting her own damn water... ;)

1. It's the desert; it is very dry and hot during the day and it gets cold at night. What does that mean? Moisturize! I'm packing my Andalou Naturals moisturizer to save my sensitive skin.

2. Moisturizer alone doesn't always hack it though, so I'm also packing my new favorite sea buckthorn oil.

3. Of course, given the strength of the desert sun, sunscreen is a must! I'm giving the DeVita sunscreen a whirl--I'll let you know how it goes!

4. For added protection, I'll be layering my Mad Hippie Vitamin C serum underneath my moisturizer and sunscreen. The vitamin C and ferulic acid are said to up the SPF benefits of sunscreen, keeping my pale pasty skin in tip-top shape!

5. Lastly, after a long day of hiking, there's nothing better than washing your face of the day's dusty grime! I'm packing the sample of R.L. Linden's cleansing powder that I've been testing (LOVE!), but this Crunchy Betty cleansing powder looks great too. I prefer bringing cleansing powders to the desert (as opposed to liquids or creams) since I can add water myself--no risk of spilling all over my pack!

How about you, readers? Anybody else love the outdoors like me? What are your favorite items to get you moving?

Friday, 12 April 2013

Weekend Wishlist

Lately I've been feeling utterly bored with all the clothes I own, and I'm looking to shake it up a little! I've always been a pretty classic dresser (thus, the black striped skirt below), but I'd like to start branching out and wearing more unique clothing. I also am running short of some of my beauty basics and figure now is a good time to shake up my winter beauty routine (after all, summer keeps promising that it'll show up soon...). So here's what's on this weekend's wishlist:
Weekend Wishlist 4-12-13

In particular I'm contemplating purchasing those funky pants--they're definitely unlike anything I have in my current closet!!

What's on your wishlist this week?

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Winter Beauty Regimen

It seems like right when I've figured out a great routine for my winter skin, the weather starts changing on us. So for any readers heading into winter now (or for myself as a reminder next year... ;), here's what is working really well for me in the dry, cold temps of winter:

(see below for product reviews/links)

Winter Beauty Regimen

All of these products have been shown on this blog before in various stages of my search for the right regimen for me. But only in the last couple of weeks has this routine really clicked for me.

For reference:
Face: dry skin but prone to breakouts. Pale, burns easily then tans
Hair: Blonde, fine but lots of it, prone to greasiness/limpness with the wrong products, not frizzy or easily tangled, dries pretty straight
Body: Dry skin, no problems with eczema, rosacea, etc.
So hopefully that helps you determine whether the products I use may work for you too!

Shower Time: Lately I've just been using the Acure shampoo every time I shower, with ACV as a rinse every other shower or so. Then when I step out of the shower I apply Acure's body lotion, plus a bit of sweet almond oil on my really dry spots. I love my Rainwater Botanicals deodorant--can't say enough good things about the lavender scented one.

Day Time: 
On days I've showered, I apply the vitamin C serum to my damp face. If I didn't shower, I spritz my face with the Andalou toner then apply serum. Next is the Andalou moisturizer (it's from their clarifying line and I like it a lot--it's a bit mattifying--but I probably won't repurchase for winter as it isn't quite heavy-duty enough). Then I add a drop of sea buckthorn oil to my sunscreen to help it glide better/moisturize more, which has really helped past issues with this being a stickier sunscreen.

Night Time:
I keep it pretty simple. Cleanser, 2 drops of sea buckthorn oil, wait a minute, apply Badger's beauty balm.

Makeup Time: 
I wear very little makeup anymore, especially now that my skin has improved so much. When I do, I cover up acne or hyperpigmentation with my concealer, dab on some blush, and put on some mascara. Done.

Mask Time:
I use one of these masks or the other about every other day. I use the Aztec clay mixed with ACV about once a week on my Tzone, and every other day or so I use the ubtan scrub mixed with whatever liquid I'm feeling at the time. Sometimes I even mix the pumpkin mask together with the scrub and leave it on while I'm showering. Other times I use the pumpkin mask alone (I find that it makes my skin so so soft and doesn't strip it at all!)

Will I use this routine again next winter?
Yes and no. There are several products that I have really loved and will reuse, such as:

  • Sibu sea buckthorn oil
  • Acure shampoo (not really a seasonal thing for me anyway)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (My favorite is Braggs' With the Mother)
  • Badger's beauty balm
  • Rainwater Botanicals deodorant
  • Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Mask
  • Skin Apotheke Ubtan Scrub
  • Eye Kandii blushes (as long as you're willing to wait a while for them to arrive)
  • Oh Sudz concealer
There are several products I don't plan to repurchase, mainly because I've found that they are each too drying for my skin. These products include:
  • Andalou Naturals Kombucha Cleanser: I think this is just too drying for my skin. I've been using it about every other day (on the off days I've been using a sample of a new line that I'm beta testing called Linden Beauty--can't wait for them to debut their products!). If you have oily or normal skin this is probably a great cleanser for you--it does its job well and removes makeup like a dream.
  • Aztec Secret Healing Clay: This comes in an enormous jar for like four bucks, so I'll probably still have product left next winter, but I'm not planning to repurchase afterwards. Again, it does its job terrifically--my pores are so much clearer after using it--but it is pretty harsh on my dry skin. I've taken to just applying it to my clogged areas like Tzone. Those with less-dry skin would probably greatly benefit from this though.
  • Mineral Fusion mascara: This isn't a bad mascara, but all it really does is darken my light-brown eyelashes. I don't get any lengthening/thickening benefits, so I'm planning on trying out some other options. Top of my list: 100% Pure's fruit mascara and Physicians' Formula's natural option in the green tube.
  • Acure's body lotion: I think this will be a great lotion for spring/summer, but it's just not moisturizing enough for me in the fall/winter. They have an "ultra moisturizing" option now that I may try next winter, and I may repurchase this for the summer.

The remaining products from my winter regimen are products that I'm on the fence about, including: 
  • Andalou toner: I really like this toner and it's a great price. However, I personally never really see that much of a difference in my skin when I do and don't use toners. On the other hand, I like to dampen my face before using my oils and if you're going to do that, might as well use something with beneficial properties rather than just water right? Anyway, I think this toner would serve just as well as many others, so I'll probably only repurchase if it's on sale.
  • Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum: I love how this product glides easily onto my damp skin and absorbs quickly. I'm just not sure how much of a difference it's making. I still haven't been using it that long, so once I use it up (the bottle lasts forever!) I'll probably not reorder for a few weeks and see if my skin is negatively impacted by not using it.
  • BurnOut sunscreen: I've repurchased this sunscreen already, so clearly I like it a lot, especially now that I'm mixing in a drop of sea buckthorn oil. However, it DOES still in hair like eyebrows easily and leaves a white cast for a few minutes, and when my much-hairier boyfriend uses it, it doesn't absorb at all in his beard or arms/legs. So I want to try out other options, like Devita's sunscreen that so many natural bloggers rave about. I'll keep this in my back pocket if none of the other options work out well though!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Purchases to Ponder...

Do you ever get in a pinning frenzy and look back at the collection of things you've pinned and there's a common theme?

Well lately I've gotten sick and tired of the frat house look my house has going right now (I'm looking at you, folding chairs that were used for painting when we moved in, are paint-stained, and have served as dining chairs for two years now....) and have decided that it's time to invest in my home a bit.

In searching out options (I'm in the market for dining chairs, a coffee table, a rug, a side table, and a floor lamp right now... $$$$$!), I noticed that putting all my favorites together made for a pretty little moodboard:

Purchases to Ponder

Apparently I'm in the mood for neutral, masculine pieces, mixed metals with wood, and straight lines.

I have loved that Ikea rug in virtually every room I've ever seen it in, but for $300 I haven't pulled the trigger yet because I'm worried that the white parts will look dirty quickly. Anyone have some advice for me? Anyone with experience with any of the other pieces?