Jason Quick Clean Makeup Remover Pads

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Jason (one of the oldest natural personal care companies) makes wonderful natural and cruelty-free beauty products. I recently ran out of my go-to eye make-up remover and decided to try Jason’s Quick Clean Makeup Remover Pads.

First, I will point out that these pads are for all make-up, not just eye make-up. I am lazy, so I use general make-up remover for my eye make-up as well. But I know that some people need to use separate remover for their eyes. So I will note that the remover did make my eyes sting a little. I’m sure this is common when you don’t use a make-up remover formulated specifically for the eyes.

Aside from that complaint, I really like these pads. First off, it’s super convenient to not have to find a cotton swab, open the bottle, and moisten the swab before you can start taking off your make-up. That’s not a huge inconvenience, of course, but I did say that I was lazy. These pads are premoistened and ready to use out of the jar. They formula works really well to remove all make-up.

It generally takes me 3 pads to clean my entire face including eye make-up. The jar contains 75 pads (which equals about 25 uses for me) and costs $8.79 (which is about 37 cents per use). I think that’s pretty reasonable when you factor in that you’re not also paying for cotton swabs. Another plus is that you can buy these at Walgreens.

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SheaMoisture Curl & Style Milk

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SheaMoisture is a company that makes bath, body,face, hair, and baby products from natural, organic ingredients. Its line of products is extensive–it even makes hair dye! The company has a pretty cool history too: Sofi Tucker started selling Shea nuts at the village market in Bonthe, Sierra Leone in 1912. She then created hair and skin products with those Shea nuts and started selling those. Her grandchildren started SheaMoisture and today are continuing her legacy. Its products are free of lots of the baddies we’re supposed to avoid like phthalates, parabens, artificial colors and fragrances, mineral oil, and petroleum. And of course the company is cruelty free.

SheaMoisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk is a great leave-in styler and curl tamer. In the summer months, my wavy hair gets really frizzy. If I let my hair air dry without any product, it would triple in volume. I know that I could blow dry it, style it, etc., but I’m SUPER lazy and let it air dry every day even though I know it will look terrible.

This styling milk is the perfect solution for people like me who are hair-lazy. I towel dry my hair and then comb a generous amount of this product through my hair. Then I braid it or put it in a bun (I suppose curlers would also work) and leave it alone. When I eventually let my hair down, it’s not frizzy; the curls are defined. Other pluses:

  • Smells lovely, like sweet coconut
  • Is not sticky at all
  • Acts as a detangler, so great for wet hair
  • Hard to use too much (i.e., doesn’t seem to weigh my hair down even if I use a bunch)

Abba Gentle Conditioner

Abba makes plant derived hair care products that are only sold in salons. It is one of the very, very few salon products that is not only sulfate free, phthalate free, and paraben free, but also 100% vegan (no animal testing and no animal products). To get an idea of how rare that is, google “cruelty free hair salon products” and see what you get. It’s pretty much only Paul Mitchel, Giovanni, and Abba.

The only Abba hair care product I’ve tried is the Gentle Conditioner. And it’s probably the only one I will try because I love it so much. I bought it as a set with the Gentle Shampoo, which was okay but didn’t give me a squeaky clean feeling (in other words, it seemed to weigh my hair down, which is a common failing of sulfate-free shampoos in my opinion). But the conditioner is perfect for me. It’s very light and seems to absorb into my hair immediately. I use it every day as a leave-in conditioner after I get out of the shower as the last step in my morning hair regime.

Alba Botanica Natural Hawaiian Shampoo and Conditioner

Alba Botanica makes tons of great natural products for your face (including acne care), body (including deodorant and shave cream), lips (including lip gloss), and hair. It also makes natural sun block, which I can’t wait to try. This company is one of the few health and beauty aid companies out there to have the Leaping Bunny certification (learn more at leapingbunny.org), meaning that everything it makes is 100% vegetarian. 

I am a huge fan of their Hawaiian hair care line, specifically the Body Builder Mango shampoo and conditioner. Both are sulfate free, paraben free, and phthalate free. I like the shampoo because it’s one of the rare sulfate-free shampoos that lathers well. And I like the conditioner because it rinses clean and doesn’t leave a residue.

But mainly, and I can’t lie here, I like these products because they smell AWESOME. Seriously awesome. I can’t even describe how great the smell is. After my shower, I just want to crawl into bed, lay my hair across my face, and smell it all day long. Get this shampoo and conditioner. Get it and use it today and then send me a thank you note.

Yes To Blueberries Deep Wrinkle Night Cream

Yes To Blueberries, the age-fighting line of all natural skin care products from the Yes To brand (more commonly known by Yes To Carrots), is the most robust plant-based cruelty-free anti-aging line I’ve come across. The blueberry line offers more than 10 skin products for your face, eyes, and lips that target wrinkles, dullness, and discoloration (to name a few). Its other lines focus on different skin concerns:

This Deep Wrinkle Night Cream is great stuff. It only takes one pump from the dispenser to cover your whole face, and it’s got a silky feel. It doesn’t feel greasy and absorbs well (but it does take a couple minutes to absorb–it might take less time if you use less of it). The best part, though, is that when I wake up in the morning, my skin is not an oil slick. For anyone who has oily skin with acne, you know that some moisturizers seem to send your pores into oil-producing overdrive. This cream does not, and, even better, it does not cause my face to break out. I haven’t noticed much of a difference in terms of wrinkles, but I’m in my early thirties and don’t have many wrinkles to begin with (prevention is my goal!).

Arbonne Hydrating Eye Cream

I’ve written about Arbonne before. It is a Swiss company that makes its own brand of personal health care products that are botanical based and cruelty free. It is also committed to being “green,” using recycled packaging and carbon-neutral shipping practices (read more here).

I would totally buy all of my health and beauty aids from Arbonne if it weren’t so darned expensive. So, as it is, I only buy the products that I want to splurge on. Like, the things I really want to work or can’t find a good cheaper version of. This Hydrating Eye Cream is a good example of both. Some eye creams can be so cake-y that you end up tugging your skin trying to blend it in. Other eye creams can so liquid-y that it ends up running into your eyes halfway through the day. This product is the happy medium–the Goldilocks of of eye creams. It’s a cream that comes in a pot, and when you dab your finger into it, it sticks and doesn’t slide off. But when you put it on your skin, it blends in like a silky dream. I use this in the morning after washing and moisturizing my face. I have to be careful not to use too much or else it won’t absorb completely and end up irritating my eyes.

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. 😦 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!

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.