I will never abandon you again, The Body Shop’s Aloe Soothing Day Cream

Dear The Body Shop,

Thank you for inventing your little pot of Aloe Soothing Day Cream.  I strayed from using it when I became skeptical of its powers, but immediately regretted my decision.  Once I switched back to using your Aloe Soothing Day Cream, any damage that had been done to my skin by trying a drugstore brand – including hideous dry patches around my nose and cheeks – healed in days.  Days.  Within one week they were completely gone and you would never know my skin had been peeling horrendously from a bad decision.

Just a little dab erases any dryness or irritation on my sensitive skin.  When the redness on my cheeks flares up, your cream calms it down.  My skin is never greasy or oily.  A little bit goes a long way.  It is so light and absorbs so quickly, that it’s hard to believe it actually works.  It has never interfered with any makeup I’ve worn after applying it.  I don’t smell like an old perfume after putting it on, either.

The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep cosmetic database scores The Body Shop Aloe Soothing Day Cream as a 1 on its level of toxicity and danger.  A 1.  As in, it’s basically water and aloe and you can’t get much more natural than that.  Making your product baby friendly, pregnancy friendly, TTC-friendly, fertility-friendly, earth-friendly.  Awesome.

Oh, and your products are made from fair trade farmers, which doesn’t exploit workers in third world countries.  Thanks for that, too.

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Your price, at $15, doesn’t break the bank and your stores typically have great deals so that it’s even less expensive.

If I ever cheat on you again, The Body Shop Aloe Soothing Day Cream, it will be because I will need a moisturizer with an SPF if my makeup doesn’t have any.  But fortunately, I see you have an Aloe Soothing Moisture Lotion SPF 15.  That’s very good news.

Thank you for this all around awesome product.  I will never need to search for a moisturizer again.

Sincerely,

Hope

No to Yes to Carrots Soothing Moisturizer

When I ran out of my last facial moisturizer, I decided to give a drugstore natural product a try.  Having sensitive skin with occasional redness, I looked for something that would help keep my skin calm and protected.  I read the labels for lots of different moisturizers and decided to try the Yes to Carrots Soothing Daily Calming Moisturizer.  It says its formulated for sensitive skin and, as it has natural ingredients, what could possibly cause a reaction?  Cucumbers, aloe vera, and almond oil… sounds good to me.

Except it wasn’t.  The first day I used it, I noticed an immediate burning sensation especially in the drier parts of my face on my cheeks and around my nose.  I brushed it off and thought that maybe I should let my skin get used to it, and vowed to try to use it for a few weeks before I criticized.  But day after day, the burning continued, followed by unusual red blotches all over my face that would eventually fade.  The blotches were in random places too, and not always in the same locations, and not always every day.  At the end of the night, after I would wash my face with my usual natural cleanser and makeup remover, my skin was tight and dry.  All of this was the opposite of “soothing,” “calming,” and “gentle.”

It’s been about a month and the symptoms have not gone away.  While they do fade within 10 minutes in the morning, my makeup has been caking in my drier parts of my skin and doesn’t blend as nicely.  It’s the end of the line for me and I’m finally giving up on it.

Yes to Carrots Soothing Daily Calming Moisturizer: retails for $14.99; EWG Skin Deep rating not available, but the regular daily moisturizer is rated a 5 (medium risk).

While it’s nice to have easy access to an over the counter moisturizer that’s natural, I’ve decided to return to the last moisturizer I used – The Body Shop’s Aloe Soothing Day Cream… arriving at my doorstep any day now.

Natural Beauty Review: Nad’s Eyebrow Shaper

I like to try new beauty products whenever I’ve finished my current stock, and I’ve been trying to upgrade my products to be a little more earth or body friendly as I go.  Well, one luxury that I’ve let go since I’ve had a baby is getting my eyebrows waxed.  Even if DH takes my son for the afternoon or evening, it’s never easy to find a reliable salon where I can get my eyebrows waxed quickly, without waiting, and have them done right, and not pay an outrageous amount of money.  Because, really, even after paying $15 my eyebrows are going to need waxing in a few weeks again anyway.  So I’ve been doing them at home.

I’ve used a Sally Hansen at-home eyebrow waxing kit that came with a little tub of microwavable wax and a little plastic stirrer that has heat-sensitive ink that says “ready” when the wax isn’t too hot.  I’ve had it for years but I have to say after even three at-home waxes the jar of wax got goopy and solid.  It got to the point where I would have to microwave it for way longer than the recommended 90 seconds, then hit it with a hammer to break through the exterior and reach the melty inner sanctum.  Even when that happened, I had a small window of opportunity to scrape out the soft wax, get it on my eyebrows, and peel off the wax while it was still pliable, all while trying not to get the little wax strings in my eye or on hairs I would need.  (And there were several times I had bald spots in my eyebrows from goops going awry.)

Enter Nad’s.  It has been a long time since the infomercials of yesteryear telling the story of a mom who made a natural hair removal wax for her daughter in her kitchen.  In search of a new at-home eyebrow waxing product, the following box caught my eye (and so did its price tag):

For $7 at Walmart, I picked it up and gave it a shot.  So far, two at-home waxes in, I’m very pleased with the results.

Pros: No heating, no stirring, no waiting.  The applicator makes it easy to keep the wax contained.  Instant on.  Natural ingredients.  It is very easy to remove the hair with the included cotton strips (which are completely washable and reusable).  No heating means your skin is much less irritated, which also makes it easier to use more often for touch-ups.  Excess wax washes off quickly and easily with warm water.  No more pulling out hairs trying to get rid of excess wax!

Cons: Sometimes it’s awkward getting the right angle on the applicator to cover exactly the area you want.  You may have to practice a little bit to be able to get the look you want the first time.  The box recommends you clean the area to be waxed with the enclosed cleansing sheet but I get good results with my own facial wash (Neutrogena’s Naturals Facial Cleansing and Makeup Remover) and a clean towel.  I tried the wax on my chin and it worked well for the finer hairs but not for thick, stubbly ones.

Overall: 5 out of 5 stars.  It’s effective, efficient, natural, and pleasing to use.  And at $7 a box, this is a bargain.

Walmart in-store was $7; Drugstore.com has it today for $5.59 (buy it now)

Update to Natural Beauty Review: Almay’s Smart Shade Foundation

I’m getting to the bottom of the Almay Smart Shade Foundation.  I probably have about 1/4 of the container left, and, unfortunately, the color beads are getting a little funky.

ALMAY Smart Shade  Makeup

Now the little blue beads which contain the brown color mixing are kind of taking over the foundation, so that I look either really tanned or bronzed whenever I wear it.  I don’t know if you’re supposed to shake up the container every time you use it – that’s what I’ve been doing lately to try to even out the color – but I try to wipe away the dark blue dots that I know will bronze my face with a tissue before I put it on.  At least it’s summertime and a darker complexion doesn’t look too suspicious… but there were a few days my face was more bronze than my neck.  This is not leaving me with a great impression of the product, and I’ve been switching back to the remainders of my Josie Maran Argan Oil makeup, at least until I figure out something else to try.  Anyone have any suggestions for a natural, shade-adjusting, spf foundation?  🙂

Natural Beauty Review – Burt’s Bees Therapeutic Hand Creme vs Baby Bee Nourishing Lotion

It’s winter.  And I get really dry skin in the winter, especially on my hands, which I wash all the time.  And having had to go to the bathroom at least once an hour while pregnant at work really did a number on my skin.  I asked the hubby to pick up some natural hand cream for me at the store and he came home with the Burt’s Bees Thoroughly Therapeutic Hand Creme, honey and grapeseed oil.  In fact, when he walked in he smelled of perfume – actually, honey, which is the strongest scent it has – and I always get comments on the scent from others when I use the cream.  It’s a pretty good cream; it blends right in to your skin, a little goes a long way, and it doesn’t make your keyboard or anything else greasy after you’ve used it.  But its effects are temporary and I’d find myself reapplying frequently.  All in all, though, I liked it and recommended it to others.  My husband, whose knuckles started bleeding from the cold weather and dry air, used it even more than I did (followed up by Neutrogena lotion at night).

But then one night after giving our little one a bath, we put Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Nourishing Lotion all over his body to help with his dry skin and keep the little bugger moisturized.  And immediately after massaging our son, my husband and I looked at each other simultaneously with a wide-eyed look of eureka – “This is better than the hand creme!” I exclaimed.  “I’m going to use this from now on!” I said.  My husband concurred, just as enthusiastically.  So now when our hands get a little dry, we turn to the Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Nourishing Baby Lotion instead of the hand creme (although I am still using the hand creme from time to time, because it’s wasteful not to).  Keep in mind, the hubby also liked to ask me if I ever considered the plight of the bees used in making Burt’s products, so for him to willingly use the lotions says a lot about their quality.

The baby lotion feels a little heavier but it is greaseless, like the hand creme, and doesn’t have as much of an overpowering scent as the hand creme does.  And just like the hand creme, a little goes a long way.

The Thoroughly Therapeautic Hand Creme is regularly priced $9.99 on Drugstore.com, while the baby lotion sells for $7.99.