The Honest Company

I just found this great online company called The Honest Company. The company manufactures its own natural products and sells them on its site. The company offers subscription delivery services, wherein you pay a monthly fee to have an assortment of products delivered to your home on a monthly basis, like this “Family Essentials” bundle. I don’t have babies, but it seems like a pretty good deal. You can also just buy products at your own pace.

This company looks awesome. It makes 100% plant-based baby care, cleaning, and personal care products. It has an “Honestly Free Guarantee” that promises that its products are free of (get this):

phthalates, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates, PVC, parabens, benzene, chlorine, synthetic fragrances, triclosan, formaldehyde-based preserving agents, nanoparticles, TEA, MEA, phosphates, polyethylene glycol (PEG), quaternium 15, DMDM hydantoin, 1-4 dioxane, bisphenol-A (BPA), alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs)/nonylphenol, BHA, benzalkonium chloride

Wow! And it doesn’t test on animals. And it uses renewable or recycled materials in all of it packaging, shipping, and office products. AND it donates money to good causes. And that’s not even everything! Read about their extensive sustainability efforts here.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be shopping.

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Lumene Eye Makeup Remover

I have been using Lumene products for years and, as I’ve done so many times since I started my cruelty free journey, braced myself for the bad news as I browsed through its website: no mention of animal testing (which usually means that the company does indeed test on animals). But, lo and behold, right there under “Our Philosophy” it states that the company does not “carry out animal testing nor order it through subcontracting.” That was music to my ears! Lumene products are wonderful, and you can expect to read lots of my reviews about them.

This review is about Lueme’s eye makeup remover. Most importantly, it works really well. You know how sometimes you take off your eye makeup right before bed, and you use lots of cotton swabs and lots of makeup remover, and you think you’ve gotten all of it off, and then you wake up the next morning and you’ve got big greasy circles of makeup under your eyes? I HATE that. Because I’m not going through all that trouble when all I really want to do is pass out just to have it look like I did nothing at all. Well, that doesn’t happen with this stuff.

I don’t wear makeup often, but when I do I pile it on (who am I, this guy?): primer, highlighter, eye liner, eye shadow, and mascara. I use four cotton swabs (two for each eye) with this product and gently wipe the makeup off. I don’t need to scrub it off, and I don’t need more than the two swabs. The eye makeup remover feels like water on the swab–just cool and wet–but it does feel a little oily on my skin. I don’t really mind that because I always follow up with a quick face wash.

Full disclosure: I also use this to remove my face makeup. I know that’s not what it’s for, but it works so darned well that I can’t help myself. And (knock on wood) it doesn’t seem to affect my acne either way.

DevaCurl “No-Poo” Shampoo and “One Condition” Conditioner

The DevaCurl brand is a godsend for women with curly hair. I myself have wavy, fine hair, and its products do wonders for me. I found the brand while on a quest for sulfate free shampoos and silicone free conditioners. I was so happy when I found this brand because not only is it 100% sulfate, paraben, and silicone free, but it is also cruelty free.

I initially bought small bottles of each because, like many of you I’m sure, I sometimes have bad experiences with sulfate free shampoos either weighing my hair down or drying it out. But I used up both bottles and have since bought several more of the 32 ounce sizes!

Like other sulfate free shampoos, the cream-style “no-poo” cleanser does not lather. It’s more like a conditioner consistency. But it rinses away cleanly–I never feel like there’s residue. The conditioner is also creamy and a little thicker than the cleanser. Despite that, the conditioner has a lightweight feeling once it’s on. It either absorbs well or rinses away completely because once I’ve rinsed and gotten out of the shower, my hair doesn’t feel “coated” like it does with some other conditioners.

When it’s time to style, my hair feels bouncy and clean. This duo of cleanser and condition seem to cut my hair drying in half–maybe because it doesn’t strip the natural oils in my hair? And the fragrance (which I absolutely LOVE and smells a little like candy) stays with you for most of the day. I considered trying DevaCurl’s other line of products for damaged hair (DevaCare) because my hair is, well, damaged but decided to stick with the original because it smells SO GOOD.

Arbonne Intensive Pro-Brightening Night Serum

First, a bit about the company: Arbonne is a Swiss company that has been creating all natural beauty and health products for 30 years. It is Leaping Bunny certified, which means that none of its products and ingredients is tested on animal and that none of its ingredients is animal derived. You can learn much, much more about its philosophy from its website at www.arbonne.com.

The company is structured like Avon or Mary Kay, wherein there are independent beauty consultants who run their own Arbonne business and from whom you purchase products. I have no problem with that business model; one of my friends is an Arbonne consultant. However, it does make obtaining the products you want a little harder. That being said, I absolutely love the company and would love to buy all of their exciting products. THAT being said, the products are pretty pricey. Like $45 for body lotion and $10 for lip balm pricey. If I were a millionaire, I would shop exclusively with Arbonne. But because I’m firmly middle class, I have to rely mostly on mass-produced products and splurge every few months on Arbonne.

Now, about the product: The Intensive Pro-Brightening Night Serum is a big winner for me. I started using it a few months ago and have really noticed a difference in discoloration on my face. I have acne scars, tons of freckles, and some sun damage. This serum has faded my acne scars and evened my skin tone (I don’t see much of a difference in my freckles, which is fine by me). The serum feels really nice going on–cool and silky–and absorbs quickly. It can be a little sticky feeling once you’ve rubbed it in, but that goes away. I will say that it took a couple weeks for my sensitive skin to adjust to the serum–it initially made my acne worse (but, honestly, everything does)–but it did adjust.

Lastly, independent beauty consultants who sell expensive products love to say “but you don’t need to use a ton of this stuff, so this bottle will last a really long time.” Although I think this is not always true, it is certainly the case with this serum. A 1 fluid ounce bottle has lasted me about 6 months.

Jason Normalizing Treatment Shampoo

I bought this shampoo because I have dandruff. I didn’t always have this condition, but now I do. And it’s super annoying. Because I didn’t grow up with it, I haven’t put in the years of time trying different products and finding out what works for me. Which means that I am now blowing through tons of products that don’t work to find one good one.

That is the case for this shampoo. ūüė¶ The frowny guy is there because I really wanted this to work for several reasons. One, I love the Jason brand and their model (they have been creating natural beauty products since 1959, none of them tested on animals). Two, this shampoo is realitively cheap and easy to find at my local Walgreens. Three, I really want to not have dandruff any more. And four, the more ingredients that I try and eliminate, the fewer ingredients I have hope in to fix my scalp.

To expand my point number four: I am positive that this shampoo will help someone out their with his/her dandruff. There are lots of reasons out there why people get dandruff, from the situational (allergy to a type of shampoo, oily build-up) to the medical (seborrheic dermatitis, Malassezia fungus, psoriasis). And different problems have different treatments, which means that you have to try different approaches for your specific issue.

That being noted, I don’t think tea tree oil is my solution based on using this shampoo. Tea tree oil kills fungus, so it is a go-to natural ingredient in anti-dandruff shampoo. (NOTE: Many people are sensitive to tea tree oil, so it’s a good idea to test this product on a small patch of bare skin to find out if you are before lathering it all over your head). I used the shampoo as directed for 2 weeks and did not see a difference in my scalp. It’s a shame because it smells really nice and is free of parabens, SLS, and phthalates.

If you’ve had a good experience with this product, please comment and let me know!

Seventh Generation Launches Personal Care Product Line

Seventh Generation, the pioneer of natural, sustainable household products, has recently launched a personal care line. So far, the products have gotten rave reviews. I know I can’t wait to try the lavender facial clothes (and then write about them here!).

All of the products in this line are made with 100% plant-based cleansers (and have the USDA Biobased 100% certification, do not contain parabens or phthalates, are gluten free, and have the Leaping Bunny certification for being cruelty free.

You can purchase the products on Seventh Generation’s website and on Vine.com. Walgreens also carries this line (in addition to many of Seventh Generation’s other household cleaning products and baby products).

Ulta 3-in-1 Beauty Smoothie

Ulta is beauty product heaven. For me, it is Mecca. I believe that the brick and mortar stores are only in the southeastern part of the U.S., but, luckily for the rest of you, it has a website (www.ulta.com) where you can buy most of the products it carries.

Ulta sells almost every brand you can think of, but it also is its own brand. It makes face and body products and cosmetics. The brand itself is not cruelty free; however, some of its products are. For me, that is usually good enough. For example, I know that L’Oreal¬†tests most of their stuff on animals, but it does have some products that are not tested on animals. Some people might boycott the brand as a whole. I choose to only buy products that are cruelty free. As a consumer, my thinking is that the company will notice that its best sellers are cruelty free, and the company will get the message that consumers want cruelty-free products. If we buy nothing from the company, how can we reward them for taking the first step toward ending animal testing of its products?

Anyway, back to the fun stuff. Ulta’s 3-in-1¬†beauty smoothies are exactly what they sound like: creamy, delicious washes that do triple duty as a shampoo, body wash, and bubble bath. I have 5 of these washes in different scents (buttercream cupcake, dragonfruit frappe, creamy cocolada, yum yum yumberry, and apple envy), and, like children or pets, I love every one of them equally. The scents are powerful, and the bottles are big (24 oz), so you have to really like the scent. Luckily for us:

  1. All of the ones I’ve smelled are fantastic.
  2. Ulta is always adding new scents to the line (and getting rid of old ones, which is not always a plus if you fall in love with a scent. It’s not a problem for me because, like children and pets, I am ready to love them while I have them and set them free when they have to go :).
  3. They sell travel-sized bottles so you can audition scents.

Full disclosure: I have not used the wash as a shampoo or bubble bath. I use it strictly as a body wash, and for that purpose it is a superstar. It lathers well, and the scent stays on the skin for a while after your shower. In addition to being cruelty free, the washes are free of parabens, phthalates, DEA, and gluten.

Review of Cruelty-Free Android App

As promised, I am following up on the smart phone app post. I downloaded the Android app (download here) created by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics’ (CCIC) Leaping Bunny Program (their site is listed in my blog roll). I have used it three times and therefore feel confident in providing a thorough review :).

My testing conditions were ideal. I was at the Walgreens (which, bless them, has a section devoted to natural products) armed with my smart phone and a handful of coupons for health and beauty aids. I had plenty of time because my husband was not with me heaving and sighing while I read the labels and checked my phone. Here’s how it went down:

  1. I had a coupon for Jergen’s body lotion with gradual self tanner (because, hey, I’m feeling pretty pasty). I read the label: no mention of animal testing. I checked the app: Jergen’s is not listed as a cruelty-free company, and it’s not listed by product under “self tanners.” So I did what I usually resort to, which is go to the company’s online FAQs. There, Jergen’s said that it does not test on animals. So I bought it.
  2. I needed to replace my shampoo and wanted to try a new cruelty-free one, so I looked in the natural section and saw the Yes To… line. I read the label which had the cruelty-free bunny logo. I double checked on my app and, sure enough, it was listed as a cruelty-free company. I bought Yes To… shampoo, conditioner, wrinkle cream, face lotion, and night cream (reviews to follow :)).
  3. I had a coupon for¬†La Roche Posay¬†Effaclar DUO Acne Treatment. I had never heard of the company, so first I read the label: no mention of animal testing. I checked that app, and it wasn’t listed. I went to the company’s site and, likewise, found no mention of animal testing. So I did not buy it.

All in all, the app did not save me a ton of time, but it was nice to be able to double check. Like some other reviewers on the app’s page, I wish there were a separate list for companies that DO test on animals. That way I could avoid going to each company’s site and searching. Also, it would be nice to have a search function so I could go straight to the company I’m looking for instead of scrolling the list.

I will definitely continue using the app and look forward to updates that are sure to make it better.

The Body Shop Coconut Milk Moisturizer

Since I started this blog, I’ve been trying lots of new products. I bought this moisturizer ¬†about three weeks ago, and it’s already appearing on this blog. That should tell you something about how much I like it.

This moisturizer is light and not greasy. It absorbs almost immediately; the consistency is very much like whole milk, and you spray it on. I like that feature (the pump spray) because it allows me to control how much I’m using, and I can spray all the places I want lotion and then rub it all in at once. It’s important to note, though, that this is not heavy-duty lotion. It moisturizes well, but it is not potent enough to tackle rough, dry skin. It’s perfect for me because I’m part Italian and my skin produces plenty of its own oil. But if you have really dry skin, you might want the heavier version of this product (the Coconut Body Butter). [Side note: all bath & body products are 50% off on The Body Shop’s site until tomorrow!!]

Also, I would be remiss not to mention the scent. This lotion smells heavenly: sweet coconut that is not overpowering. Like a¬†Caribbean breeze (the actual island kind, not the feminine product kind). It’s also 100% organic. What’s not to love?