Monday, April 29, 2013

Review: Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Hibiscus Creamy Body Lotion

While I don't really like deviating too often from my skincare routine, sometimes you just kind of have to. Especially when you see a lotion that touts some of your favourite scents. I'm actually somewhat surprised at myself for not writing about this one sooner -- I had purchased it the same time I got the Organix Hydrating Moroccan Argan Oil Creamy Oil Body Lotion but I finished that other bottle. Then I moved and this bottle was cast into the depths of a box and recently I found it again. It's one of my favourites perhaps soley because of it's scent.

It sometimes kind of reminds me of Hawaii and other times it reminds me of what I think a good drink while
cruising around the Caribbean would be. Of course, in regard to the latter, I've never been to the Caribbean so it's my idealized version of what I think it would be. (Hey, I know it sounds weird but my parents just got back from their Caribbean cruise). Rambling aside, let's talk about the lotion.

The scent is light and refreshing as it's a good blend of both coconut and hibiscus and not too much of either. In terms of moisturizing, it's pretty good but not quite all there. I thought that with the element of coconut, I'd be in for a treat and could finally deviate from my trusty bottle of cocoa butter lotion. Nope. Generally by nighttime I find myself having to apply extra shea butter to my legs (they tend to be my trouble area).

I do wish that I could find a heavy shea butter or cocoa butter lotion that has this scent since I love it. But for now, I'm going to have to stick with my trust cocoa butter lotion since this doesn't quite help my overly dry skin.

Product: Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Hibiscus Creamy Body Lotion
Price: $7.09
Stars: ★★★☆☆
Takeaway: While the scent is wonderfully amazing, the lotion is not that moisturizing so my skin still needs help along the way. If you have really dry skin (so much so that you slather heavier moisturizer on it), then you might want to pass on this. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

What To Do With the Leftovers

Since running this blog, sometimes I'm left with items that I can't really use and while I generally reroute them to my mother so that she can donate them, sometimes I have items that I opt to repurpose. For those of you that aren't sure about what to do with the leftovers and you can't seem to get rid of them via swaps or donating them, this might be up your alley.

Leftover conditioner can either be decanted into a smaller container and then combined with others down the road. Alternatively they work great as a shaving cream as they tend to be quite moisturizing.

When dealing with lotion, sometimes if it's a big bottle that doesn't work out, then I'll add in some cocoa butter lotion or shea butter lotion in order to balance it out.

If I have a small amount or the remainders of other lotions, then I'll combine them into a plastic container (similar to that in the picture) and use it as a hand lotion.

Nail Polishes
I actually have a bit of fun with this one. When I was younger I used to mix some different colours together in order to create a unique colour. Franken-polishes in this format is a great way to create something from either nail polishes you don't like or are too close to the end to really complete a manicure.

Another thing I love to do is paint with them. Now I don't mean painting on canvas, but rather, painting on tin. Of course, nail polish is a slightly difficult medium to work with and it might not be perfect but for the tin pictured on the left which contains lip balm and hair ties, it works out well.

Powdered Eyeshadows
It is very rare that I am unable to find a welcoming home for eyeshadows whether that is through swaps or giving it to friends. Now if you do have friends or random people you're willing to give them away to, do remember to disinfect them and you can do that by filling a spritz bottle with rubbing alcohol and spraying the eyeshadows (see: Disinfecting Your Makeup). If that's not an option then you can try these:
  • Break up the pan if it is pressed then add the powders to a clear nail polish in order to create a nail polish.
  • Try to create "franken-shadows" by breaking up pans and mixing the colours together. (See: How to Fix Your Broken Eyeshadow). This can be a lot of fun but also quite messy so make sure you have a clear area prepared as you do this. Do be very careful though and do not try to mix a variety of pigments together since some of them might not be approved for certain things (for example, sometimes you get a colour pigment that is approved for use near the eyes but not the lips, and so on).

Powdered Foundation
Sometimes you just happen to have ancient foundation, or perhaps it's mismatched, samples, or you're desperately waiting to get to the end of it to start a new one. If you happen to have darker hair and you want to use a "dry shampoo" blend, don't hesitate to make your own by simply adding in your unwanted foundation. There's a lot of recipes out there but this has been tried and true for me for the last 7 or so years:

  • Grab an empty container, add cornstarch or baby powder that is cornstarch based.
  • Add in the foundation that you don't want and mix them together.
  • Use an old powder brush or kabuki brush to apply.

Powdered Blushes
While you can do all the same things that you can with an eyeshadow when it comes to creating a nail polish
or mixing colours together to get a new blush, I'm putting it separately so that you don't get the idea to mix an eyeshadow and a blush together. Remember, not all powders are approved for a variety of uses.

Similar to that of lotion, you can combine the remainders into one bottle to reduce the amount of bottles or clutter you might have. If you wash your bangs, then you can put the leftovers in another smaller container and keep it closer to the sink.

Another use came about when I got a bottle of shampoo that was barely usable. Turns out that it was great as a hand soap and gentle enough for me to also use it to wash my sponges. So it went into my magnificent soap dispenser that is shaped like a whale.

Any small bits that you accumulate you can either attempt to repress it into another soap (I don't really go this route though) or save those ends and use them to hand wash your bras.

The Lonely Leftovers
These are the items that I have not come up with alternative use for as of yet: pencil eyeliners, lip balms, lipsticks, and lip liners

Items to Discard
There are just some items that you can't ever really giveaway, donate, or reuse (or at the very least, I haven't come up with a great reuse): mascara, and creamy or liquid eyeliners and/or eyeshadows.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Series 2 (Prototypes), Complete

After what I like to call a varietal of ailments, I finally managed to complete Series 2. This is basically practice round two and there were a lot of lessons learned here. Mostly that I should stick to smaller batches. I'll be doing one more series (practice) before figuring out what the next steps are.

Series Two is also named after my friends -- this time I decided to use something else that was close to their hearts in order to achieve a variety of colours. This decision came after the infamous "What is your favourite colour?" question went wrong (almost everyone I asked had said a variant of purple). 

They are officially named after the person they were "inspired" by but below I'll give you some alternate names to help you figure out what the underlying factor was. As aforementioned (at least, I think I mentioned this), the prototype series is not for sale and was only created as a lesson in colour mixing. 

On the left for this green blend is Tinker-Devi and on the left is Devi. Tinker-Devi is much lighter than it's counterpart. I revised the colour after swatches because I didn't feel that it hit the right notes of green. Of the swatches below, Tinker-Devi is the middle and Devi is the right. If I had to come up with another name for this one, it would likely be: "Stubbornness is Innate." (On the left of the swatches is Mariel).

Mariel, Tinker-Devi, and Devi.

Mariel, Tinker-Devi, and Devi.

Mariel came out spot on. At first I envisioned a darker purple but realized during the mixing process that this was very fitting for what it needed to be. An alternate name would like be: "Disappearing Act."

While I'm quite happy with the way "Jamie" came out, it wasn't exactly what I was hoping to achieve and ended up being more like another blend I had in mind for the future. In the swatches above, it is the middle one -- it is a silver colour with copious amounts of pink. An alternate name would like be "Oh Bother."

Kayla came out to be spot on and I was really happy with the way it turned out. An alternative name would likely be "The Golden Dress."

Finally there's Tabitha -- with the first go, I wasn't happy with the jelly like vibe it gave off (you can see the original in the previous photograph above on the right). It came out too light for my liking and what it was supposed to represent so I revisited it. The final colour was exactly what I wanted it to be. Alternative names would be: The Dragon, Breathing Green Fire

Monday, April 22, 2013

Review: Essence of Beauty Blender Brushes (LE)

For some reason, I had thought that I wrote about this back in December since that is when I added it into my rotation of wedges and sponges for makeup application. My apologies for the delay on this one! I first got wind of this one in early December and decided that I needed to get it because it was purple. When I finally came across it at my nearby CVS, I had to purchase it since it was the last one available. (Since then, they seem to come and go somewhat sporadically for a limited edition item). 

Sponges (wedges, the Beauty Blender, and this item) have quickly become my favourite tools in my makeup kit. I don't think I fully appreciated foundation or blush till I made the switch and that's because it requires a whole new attention to detail. One that admittedly did not have till I had to use a sponge and realized that this was colour that I was layering on my face and that it actually needed to be blended properly. Brushes, for whatever reason, don't tend to pick up enough of the product for application so it often looks like I'm not wearing any foundation or blush at all. The reason why I go into this depth is so that we can paint a picture of the difference between a brush and wedge in my makeup kit.

Now consider the Beauty Blender Brush, it's a much small surface area when compared to a wedge/sponge or even a brush. It does pick up a lot of product for application, but given that it's not as soft, it's a bit more targeted. Which means that the application can be heavy in a spot or rather, very clear lines can appear which means that I have to be even more careful when using this type of a blender brush.

It's been a fun one to use though -- I definitely enjoy using it since it I can't be as careless in the morning when I apply my makeup. I notice that it does as good of a job as the Beauty Blender. It is a bit of a pain to clean though since it doesn't fit into the rack and the sponge can end up quite heavy as a result of the water so hanging it isn't really a good option for it. I will say that just propping it upward has worked out just fine. That's been the slight relief about sponges in general; it usually doesn't matter how they hang, lay, or are positioned to dry because the only thing it can effect (if applicable) is the shape depending on what type it is.

Product: Essence of Beauty Blender Brushes (LE)
Price: ~$7
Stars: ★★★★☆
Takeway: Easy to use but it has a smaller surface area which kind of puts it in between an actual brush and sponge for me. While it's a slight pain to clean it and dry it, it's still nice to use from time to time.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Find This For Me: Black Lipstick

Every once in a while a friend will ask me to recommend or simply find some type of item for them. Usually I prefer to recommend things that I've used myself but sometimes I don't really have the opportunity to do so. Thus a new series of blog posts has begun which is tentatively called "Find This For Me." If you have anything you'd like me to search for, drop me a line.

A few weeks ago, Nikki asked me about black lipstick -- now it's been awhile since I've rocked a black lipstick. Sure, I still guard my tube of Wet n' Wild Fantasy Makers black lipstick tube (you can check that out here), but a quality tube for everyday use? A fondly recall a limited edition MAC greyish black that I was given as a teenager (and no, I'm not talking about MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in Black Knight) but neither of those can really be found. So, I started with that which I know of:

While these four brands are the ones that I'm most familiar with, that doesn't mean I've tried their lipsticks. Also Black Widow Balm specializes in balms so if you're looking for a true lipstick, then that might not be the best bet. Here are some other ones I managed to find as well:

If you know of any others out there (or can attest to the quality of these), comment away! I'm sure Nikki would enjoy the feedback. 

Review: Jess Bee's Natural Lip Balm & Shea Butter Lotion

Items were received by Kara's Way complimentary.

Maria of Kara's Way fame was kind enough to give me a few samples from Jess Bee's and the first thing that
registered when I got them was "shea butter." I love all things shea butter (or cocoa butter, for that matter) especially since I deal with dryness all the time. My boyfriend ended up taking the peppermint lip balm which he is happily keeping right by his keyboard whereas I keep my unscented lip balm in the nightstand.

Needless to say that these items were a hit with us. But let's do some quick comparisons since that's what this blog is about. On the surface the lip balms are great since they function as they should. However when compared to my tube of Wholly Hemp they don't quite stack up. I will admit that I like them better than say Burt's Bees for the moisturizing factor but they are as moisturizing as they could be. They do however still function well and overall I do like them, I just can't say that I'm in love with them. Still for an all natural lip balm (it is made of sweet almond oil, beeswax, soybean oil, organic shea butter and Vitamin E), it works well and feels great.

The shea butter lotion is a big hit with me as it's is a whipped moisturizer which means that it doesn't harden as shea butter would and that makes it easier to apply. The light tangerine scent makes it all the more amazing for me (since I love citrus scents) and it's actually kind of fun to apply. I have been using at night on my legs as I've been experiencing a bit more dryness there lately and it's been working out extremely well.

Product: Jess Bee's Natural The Best Natural Lip Balm in Peppermint & Natural (Unscented)
Price: $3
Stars: ★★★★☆
Takeaway: Great product though not the most moisturizing that I've had. Nonetheless it works great and comes in great scents. 

Product: Jess Bee's Natural Shea Butter Lotion in Tangerine (Sample Size)
Price: $2
Stars: ★★★★★
Takeaway: For anyone who is familiar with shea butter, this whipped lotion is amazing since it has all the benefits and none of the... solidity that shea butter. It also comes in wonderful scents that makes it fun to apply.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Deconstructing a Blush

My Bobbi Brown blush has been haunting me for the last year now. It's great and while I love it, I've had it for almost four years! So here's a peek into the Red Labs in regard to reconstructing a new franken-blush!

The first thing is to figure out what colour I wanted. Luckily for me, I didn't really care, I just wanted something different. So I grabbed nectar and a sample packet of Everyday Minerals Glam Guru blush. I wish I had taken pictures of them side by side but alas, I was too excited. The EVM blush can be described as a "soft and earthy pink pigmented blush" and the BB blush is a pink coral. The closest I can get is to provide the two colours side by side to the right.

As you can see, they are a bit different. The problem I had was that I couldn't seem to finish the Nectar and the Glam Guru was in odd packaging that made it hard to get it out. As a result, I decided that combining them would be fun and a good learning experience. Sadly, there aren't very many photos since this got messy quick, but let us begin!

I broke up the pan of the Nectar blush with a bamboo skewer. I tried to break up the bigger chunks, but I figured it would be okay. Basically mixing a pressed blush and a loose powder one is somewhat difficult but still a good learning point. After breaking it up, I added the the powder blush and leveled the top.

After trying to make sure the two blushes were mixed as best as I could, I then added the alcohol. I did a direct pour of alchohol into the pan and when I realized I added too much too quickly (sigh), I went into recon mode. I took a paper towel and pressed into the powder mixture to get the excess alcohol and stop any overflow. Once it seemed stable, I grabbed some baby wipes and cleaned the outside of the pan and the surrounding area. 

Here's the "new" blush a few days after the experiment when I knew that the blush was fully dried. I have since cleaned it up a bit more but overall, I'm pretty happy with this experiment. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Review: JĀSÖN Moisturizing 84% Aloe Vera Conditioner

I will completely admit that I don't worry about conditioner as much any more. Since switching to Pure Clean that is the one item in my routine that is never out of stock. The shampoos that I use are generally missing but the conditioner? Not once in the year that I switched has it ever been missing so as a result, I don't try out very many alternatives. When one of my housemates was cleaning up though, he came across this full bottle in his stash so he handed it to me. 

That was a while ago... I needed to get through the previous conditioner first. So now it's been a few weeks since I switched over and let's start by not knowing how old this conditioner is. The reason why I say that is because it seemed a bit chunky at first, but I shook the bottle up and while it's a bit hard to get out of the bottle cap, the texture is fine. My assumption is that given the nature of this type of conditioner, it may have separated a bit.

What is this type of conditioner? It's one that is formulated without parabens, SLS, or phthalates. It also looks that it doesn't have any cones either (but it does have proteins). The conditioner itself relies on the aloe vera so the scent itself follows the predominant ingredient. 

All of that aside, I actually love the wonders cast on my hair as a result of this conditioner. I waited a while before I posted simply because my shampoo regime was up in the air for a bit but since I'm back to my shampoo staples, I could finally properly give this conditioner the review it needed. The thing I love is that my hair has been it's bouncy and wurly self. It hasn't been weighed down and it just feels fantastic.

The one thing that drives me nuts is that if I'm out of conditioner, I can't just run into my local drugstore to grab it. I am seriously considering the addition of this conditioner to my permanent hair care routine because my hair has been so happy with it. (As a result, I want to try the shampoos out now). This has definitely been a great item that I'm glad my housemate felt like giving up. :)

Product: JĀSÖN Moisturizing 84% Aloe Vera Conditioner
Price: $8.97
Stars: ★★★★★
Takeaway: A great lightweight conditioner that has made my hair felt incredibly soft, bouncy, and thus allowing the wurls to really take shape. Overall a great conditioner that I have no complaints about. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Review: Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Blushing Bride

I've recently become fascinated with blush and while I'm not sure why and I can't very well explain it. It's something that has suddenly become intriguing. Perhaps because I hit pan on my Bobbi Brown blush a year ago and somehow I'm still at 50% left and I've been using it every day for the last year. I guess that speaks volume to it's longevity but also means it's kind of boring to use the same one day in and day out. Recently I acquired two blushes from Tarte: Natural Beauty and Blushing Bride.

The two Tarte compacts and my UNII palette (that houses
my Bobbi Brown blush).
Let's start with the Blushing Bride, since that's the first one I cracked open. Blushing Bride is described as a plumy rose. I had been looking for a blush that was more on the purple side, but still fell under the criteria of being formulated without all the unnecessary stuff.

Bobbi Brown on the left, Tarte Blushing Bride in the
middle, and Tarte Natural Beauty on the right.
For those who are unfamiliar with the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush line, Tarte has formulated them without: parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, petrochemicals, phthalates, GMOs, or triclosan. As with my hair care, I've been trying to make a more conscientious effort to use makeup products that fit this criteria. (I have not switched over my skincare routine, just so we're all clear). While this is not necessarily important to know, it's going to make sense in a bit.

Anyhow here are some impressions: I love the packaging of it as I think the Tarte blushes are incredibly cute. This only matters since I refuse to depot them into my UNI Palette. I was somehow surprised when I realized that the Blushing Bride had a bit of shimmer since I'm normally very much against shimmer. This is what I get for buying things online without checking them out first. When I purchased Natural Beauty, I was in Sephora so I knew exactly what I was getting out of it. This is by no means something that I hold against the blush since I purchased it without doing the proper research. Plus, I like the colour.

The Blushing Bride has a great colour that I like although it comes off a bit lighter (meaning the pigmentation is not that great). I do believe that that has to do with it being formulated a different manner. My oily skin is of no service either. So, usually when I apply a blush, I put it on strong in the morning because by mid-day when the oiliness acts up, I know that I need to use a bunch of blotting sheets. By the end of the day we're looking at very minimal blush being left over as a result of this. (Some days are much worse than others though -- sometimes I get a fair amount of blush that is left over).

I do not reapply my makeup throughout the day because that would be bothersome. (Trust me, I used to do this in college and doing a midday refresh of my makeup is not optimal). As I've mentioned, the blush is somewhat weak with not the greatest pigmentation but it does provide a good light flush. If my skin is really oily then by midday any trace of the blush is usually gone (so we're talking about 4 hours here). That is generally not the case though but with my oily skin, a very minimal amount is left over.

I'll be following up in a few weeks about how Natural Beauty is working out.

Product: Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Blushing Bride
Price: $26
Stars: ★★★★☆
Takeaway: While it's not as pigmented as others that I've used and it's longevity is not quite there, I still think it's a "healthier" (formulated without all the bad stuff) and for what it is, it's good. There is a good pigmentation to it and sometimes with my oily skin, it won't last too long, but that's fine with me. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Series One: A Guild of Misfits

This is the first series of prototypes that I created in order to get into the swing of things. These are inspired by some characters that my friends and I play (albeit not together on the same servers). 

From left to right is Tenah (blue), Bizrot (rust), Shalori (lavender), and Damaged Goods (green). The first two (Tenah and Bizrot) were part of the first round that took a bit of time to figure out. Originally my aim for Tenah was to create a purplish blue with stars (they are present, but I didn't want too many). For Bizrot, I was going for more of a reddish gold however the bases conflicted. Obviously with round one, I didn't quite achieve what I wanted to, but I learned quite a bit throughout the process. 

While I am a huge fan of glitters, I wanted to create a series that had them light dispersed throughout rather than dominating. I felt as though I achieved what I needed to with the first two (though obviously I need more practice with mixing my reds [which is a problem I had back in my painting days]).

The second half was completed about two weeks later and this time round I was able to mix them much faster and kept my area cleaner than before. There were still some things to be learned nonetheless which I'll carry with me when I start Series Two.

Since these were inspired by my friends, I'm sending off a bottle of each colour to them. I don't exactly know if I'll be replicating these colours in the future (likely not Tenah and Bizrot since I forgot to take down the measurements in the first place), but they definitely gave me a good idea of what to expect.

I'm hoping to have the Series 2 of Prototypes completed by May and that set will also be training tools (so they will also be limited editions). 

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Wheel is Turning

For the one year anniversary of The Plum Eyeliner, I mentioned that I had a project that I was working on to be slated for early 2013. Well, that project has been to really get into making cosmetics and to start, I'd try my hand at nail polishes. I can officially say that I've started the prototypes as I've entered the "learning" phase of making my own. There's still a lot for me to learn; I've created four prototypes which I revealed to my friends last night, and I've got a few more ideas so that I can continue practicing. With that being said, I can't wait to see what happens -- I'm not really sure what direction this will take or if it will trully reach fruition but it's exciting to try. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Some Samples from Kara's Way

Items were received by Kara's Way complimentary.

Kara's Way was kind enough to provide a few samples for my consideration and these happen to be some of my favourite types. It should come as no surprise that I love soaps and hair care is something that I am quite discerning about. As these were provided complimentary, I know that some of them appeared in previous boxes that have already gone out.

Aubrey Organics
Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Shampoo & Blue Camomile Hydrating Conditioner

First up is the Honeysuckle Rose shampoo which is free of sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens or petrochemicals. Which basically means that there is minimal lather. The scent took me by surprise (I'm not sure what I was expecting) but it was wonderfully light and refreshing. It was easy to work with in terms of being able to wash it out quickly.

I followed up immediately with the Blue Chamomile conditioner and that also had a very surprising scent which was also quite lovely. The conditioner was creamy and while a bit on the liquid like side, it just made it easier to work with. The two combined smelled fantastic.

After my hair dried I noticed that quite few curls came in which is slightly unusual but very welcomed. My hair seemed to be enthralled by this new combination. Grant it those curls slowly dropped to wurls throughout the day but the fact that my hair even started on a happier note was wonderfully unexpected. Now all I have to do is find it at my local stores.

Price: $10.48 each for 11 oz.
Stars: ★★★★★
Takeaway: Great unexpected results for a first go. My hair was softer and bouncier which was great plus it has a great light scent that almost feels like it sticks with you throughout the day.

Fundamental Earth
Fundamental Shampoo (For All Hair Types) and Fundamental Conditioner (Normal to Dry)

I will completely admit that this one somewhat took me by surprise. I hadn't heard about this company before so while I did have a little bit of skepticism, I overlooked it. What I mean is that I frequent a lot of hair forums and weirdly enough this one never came up. On the day that I tested it for the first time, Nicole (at Spialelo) asked me if I had any recommendations for a shampoo and conditioner that was free of sulfates, silicones, and protein. Admittedly protein had never been anything that I was cognizant about so the first thing I did was check the products I had been using lately.

Of the many I have been using and/or recently tested the only ones to pass that test was Disney Baby Daily Renewal Naturals Baby Shampoo (check out the review here) and Fundamental Earth. Incidentally 100% Pure and Terressentials Organic hair care also seems to fit the bill (but I haven't tested these out). In general though, it seems that finding a protein free haircare item that is also free of sulfates and silicones is pretty tough.

Moving back to Fundamental Earth, the ingredient list is paired down which makes for a simplistic blend that hopefully couldn't go wrong. And it didn't. The shampoo had a lot of different scents such as ginger extract, honey, lavender oil, lemongrass oil, rosemary oil, etc. The one scent that really came out though was the rosemary. It worked much like any other shampoo and had a great lather. As one could imagine, it was therefore really easy to wash out.

The conditioner is somewhat similar when it comes to the ingredient list (by what black magic does this happen?!) which means it's also quite simplistic. This one has hops extract, balm mint extract, honey, Moroccan argan oil, chamomile extract, lemongrass oil, etc. It looks and feels exactly like any other conditioner that I've used but the added bonus is that with the argan oil already in there, I don't have to follow up later with a leave in. Okay, maybe that's not really a good perk to focus on, but honestly, the chamomile scent was refreshing when I used it the first time. My hair was soft and bouncy and overall seems quite happy with this one.

Price: $16 for the shampoo (12 oz) and $17 for the conditioner (12 oz).
Stars: ★★★★★
Takeaway: Definitely a great shampoo and conditioner combination; I'm even more impressed by this one since it fit all of Nicole's criteria (being free of sulfates, silicones, and protein). My hair loved this a lot and this will definitely enter the standard rotation of hair care.

Coastal Scents African Black Soap

As I already mentioned, African black soap was something I grew up with -- specifically Nubian Heritage African Black Soap. I haven't really been able to find it in local stores since I moved out to the West Coast which is why my usage of it dwindled. I received two samples of this soap from Kara's Way so I feel as though was ample to work with in order to provide a review of the long missed black soap. So wait, a step back for anyone who isn't familiar with black soap... what is it?

Black soap, or rather this particular blend of black soap is made with coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa pod ash, and palm kernel oil. The soap itself is great for trouble skin (such as eczema), reducing blemishes and the appearance of fine lines, and evening out dark spots. It also offers light exfoliation so at the end of the day what really works for me is that it provides moisture back to my skin (via the shea butter) and provides light exfoliation which is great for my dry skin without overdoing it.

A note from Coastal Scents is that they do say that you shouldn't use this directly on your skin and you should use a wash cloth or sponge. I didn't know that at the time so I used it directly on my skin and didn't have any issues. With that being said, if I did order a full sized bar (16 oz) then I'd likely follow their directions.

Price: 79¢ for a sample and $12.95 for a full bar.
Stars: ★★★★★
Takeaway: Another win for dry skin but this one is a bit different given the slight exfoliation present in this bar. Black soap is a long time favourite of mine and I'd definitely recommend their blend especially given the cocoa butter element.

This product was featured in the December Kara's Way box and was given to me complimentary for my evaluation.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Review: Les Tai Tai Model Mirror

For the longest time, I had this mirror on my wishlist telling myself that one day I'd get it because I thought it was a great concept and Les Tai Tai had the best reviews. My friend surprised me and got the mirror for me and I was ecstatic. I immediately grabbed some batteries and tried to open the latch. Turns out that the latch is incredibly hard to open and it ended up becoming distorted as both myself and my boyfriend tried to open it. 

The picture to the right is what it looked liked after the first few attempts. I wrote back to both Les Tai Tai and the company that my friend got it from. Les Tai Tai simply responded with, "It can only be opened with a coin." Well, turns out that only a nickel will work on the latch and if it's already distorted then nothing will work to get it open. (It's actually much worse now, which I will admit is partially my own fault). The company it was purchased it from went silent after about a week or two. So if you're wondering why I mentioned this first instead of at the end, it's simply because this will clearly not be a long lasting item.

Of course, I do love the product -- the gold skull is just wonderful and the mirror itself works great. It came in a pouch that fits it well. Oh and not to mention that the lights on it are quite bright. Overall, this would be great but those lights are bright and one day, those lights will require new batteries that I cannot replace which means that this is a huge problem with that flimsy cap.

Add to that that the customer service all around dropped the ball in regard to this matter.

Product: Les Tai Tai Model Mirror
Price: $25
Stars: ★☆☆☆☆
Takeaway: While the mirror itself it good and the LEDs are bright, the battery latch was very tight and led to the distortion of it. So basically, I can't replace the batteries on it. 


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