Soaps, soaps, soaps

As you may know, I am a big fan of natural soaps. I no longer use commercial brands of body wash or soap other than Philosophy Falling In Love because of this set I've purchased that includes body wash, lotion and perfume-- not going to waste it but I tend to use this in summer when my skin isn't so dry. Otherwise I use soap I have purchased at Natural Soap Warehouse   I first purchased from them last year before Christmas since my MIL loves Anise/Black Licorice scented soap but she's so afraid of computers that she won't even turn it on, let alone purchase anything online. I also like to purchase FIL some unscented natural soap since he has extremely dry skin.
So Christmas is coming soon and it's become my tradition to purchase these two items for them and then I load up on other scents for our own use and to make goodie bags for SILs. A 3 pound loaf  usually ranges between $12-14- which when cut into sizable bars- I usually get at least 10- makes  price per bar relatively inexpensive. I can get a month of showers from one bar and it's well worth the extra pampering my skin receives.
I now stock my kids up with this soap because I think most of the cleansing options out there are pretty harsh. The key to natural soaps is to use a poof or scrubby because they don't lather as much as traditional body washes.

So recently I ordered-
Coffee Soap- Rather disappointed in this one as far as coffee scent. I LOVE coffee scent and this one is minimal. It does contain real coffee butter so this one is actually pricier. I haven't used this yet but it may be worthy for skin conditioning aspect. I plan to add a few of these to FIL's gift because the scent is minimal and may be the best soap ever for dry skin.

Grapefruit Margarita- Yummy citrus combo. I am a foodie and especially drawn to citrus smells. This was a good purchase. I feel that citrus smells are the one fruity smell that men and women can use without the guy smelling like a girly man. Liked this enough that I purchased another loaf in today's order so I can give some away.

Key Lime- I bought 2 loaves of this last year and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. It's my usual choice because the lime scent wakes me up and pairs well with any of the perfumes I wear. My boys pick this scent quite often too.

Vanilla Mocha- Again, love coffee so thought this was going to be a winner. It has more scent than the coffee soap but still not enough coffee in my opinion. This one is more chocolaty scent than "mocha" but at least it's not overly vanilla which seems to "turn" with my skin chemistry.

Black Licorice- MIL's favorite scent. It really truly smells like this. I cut into bars and give most to MIL but keep a bar or two for my own use because it's a lovely spicy scent for wintertime.

Tea Tree- This one is definitely medicinal scented because of the tea tree but I purchase because it seems to help DD's "back-ne." My middle son, 14, also uses this on his face- although he doesn't seem to have any acne issues  yet other than the time he tried Max Clarity system-- poor boy had some sort of allergic reaction because every pore was a tiny little bump. I wouldn't use this soap on certain parts of the body- if you know what I mean-- same goes with any mint scented ones. (Last year my ordered included tea tree peppermint and tea tree eucalyptus soaps- kids use these routinely-- these are really nice in the winter  - invigorating.)

Super Shea- This goes to FIL. Unscented and seems to pamper his dry skin. Like most males he won't go any extra steps to take care of skin, so this is the easy way to help out.


Biscotti- LOVE! Blend of almond, orange and sweet that is just perfectly yummy. Not too scented so could see this being unisex. I've almost used up this sample so I ordered 2 loaves of it for personal use and gifting.

Chamomile Neroli aloe & organic options- Reminds me of MMBB Neroli spray... LOL

Coconut- I really liked this one for it's very subtle coconut scent-- actually rather cocoa butter smelling rather than fake coconut overpowering scent. It remind me of lingering sun lotion. I ordered a full loaf today because this is an excellent scent for entire family use- rather clean smell rather than scented. This one seems to give a thicker lather too. Been using it already.

Dragons Blood Natural- Pretty heavy scent. Definitely floral yet rather fruity with a spicy baby powder scent finish... actually reminds me of a lot of perfumes on the market now which I tend to dislike so not my type at all.

Lemongrass- Definitely a winner. I love lemongrass because it has that lemon scent but also very clean and clear. I don't even consider this one so much a foodie scent because of it's very clean finish. I ended up ordering two loaves of this one because I'm planning on gifting this scent.

May Chang- This one was touted as being more lemony and sweet than lemongrass but I found this one actually fainter, although sweeter. I prefer the lemongrass one a bit more.

Orange Spice Tea- I would prefer this one to have more orange. Has the spicy baby powder finish like dragons blood.

Orange Vanilla- Know the pop-up creamscicles? That's what you get in this scent. A little too sweet for my tastes but I could see "tweens" and kids really enjoying this one.

Raspberry Riptide- Definitely berry scented but can't really distinguish it as "raspberry" per se. Seems to have the spicy powder finish of dragons blood & orange spice tea.

Raspberry Rush- Slight berry scent with a bit of spice. I actually prefer this one to raspberry riptide. This one reminds me of a candle shop-- combo of all the fruity and spicy scents combined in one.

Spearmint- This one is actually quite a clean scent... get just a hint of sweet mint with soapy scent. I'm guessing this one would be a bit tingly on more delicate parts.

Today I ordered: 2 loaves each of biscotti and lemongrass, another  loaf each of grapefruit margarita and  key lime, and a loaf of coconut. I will be gifting biscotti, lemongrass, grapefruit margarita and key lime to SILs. The coconut will be for family use since it's a nice neutral scent. Also took chance on full loaf of Autumn Apples- I usually like this scent so thought to go whole hog on it.
Also ordered samples in- clean cotton, creme brulee, kiwi, mango, mango papaya, mountain air, ocean breeze, ocean reef, and strawberry shortcake. (I'll give you my take on these scents when they arrive.)

It may seem like a lot of money for soap but when you break it down into cost per gift/ personal use- it's very reasonable. I can make very special gifts for SILs for about $5 that doesn't seem cheap at all. I slice loaves into bars. Wrap each in wax paper. Then add a band of wrapping paper- dollar store kraft wrapping paper with gold stars printed on it- gives very "crafty" look to it. Then I put computer printed labels of scent on each. Bath and Body Works samples would cost way more and seem skimpy. Throw in a poof and you have a great gift for all those people on the Christmas list that you don't want to forget but also don't want to break the bank buying for.  As I said, I get about a month of showers out of a single bar of soap- cheaper than even the cheapest body washes out there and I feel like these soaps pamper my skin.

FOTD as I get lighter

Ah, winter is coming and I have had to change foundation color. I started using Dayna for this look. It was a tad light so I warmed it up with a light dusting of Beach using a very large, fluffy brush. I also notice that my winter skin starts looking dull. I tend to have dry skin but in the summer it's not so bad because it's usually pretty humid- even when we are in drought conditions, we still have humidity- so my skin is nearly normal in summer. As fall settles in, the humidity drops and I find my skin craving moisture- it's back to lots of emu oil but it still tends to look a bit dull. You may notice more fine lines than summer shots because of the lack of moisture in skin-- note to self-- drink more fluids. So I grabbed one of my glows- Peachy Sheen- to perk it up.
I used Earthy Girl for my brow fill since it's a little redder than my usual Just Browsing Brown because I went with a slightly redder, darker hair color. (I also got my hair cut a couple of weeks ago- more on that in  a bit although pulled back in a very short ponytail here.) I applied Apricot Dreamzzz all over my lid and then Sterling Violet to the middle of the lid blending up into crease. I used e.l.f. Gunmetal liner (for Tee) and then did outer corner with a little Purple Haze. (I tend to shy away from grays but both Sterling Violet and Purple Haze are every so slightly purple which seems to work better for me.) Max Factor 2000 Calorie Extreme Mascara finished off the look. BTW- DH says "Did you do something different with your eye makeup?" Can you believe he notices such a thing? I start explaining what was different and he blurts "I like it." I think he wanted to let me know he liked the new look (grayer colors) but didn't want to actually HEAR about it. LOL

On my lips I used Revlon Just Bitten Lip Stain (see previous post) and topped with NYC Lippin' Large gloss in Mulberry (I think of Tee on this one because it's a sheer red gloss- a little red but not too much color for us faint of heart lip color girls.)

So a couple of weeks ago I got my hair cut-- it was getting long and I was always wearing it up in a ponytail. I took some photos of hairstyles I liked and stylist picked one of Ellen Barkin as the one she liked most. It looked really cute when she did it- I looked like a rock star- LOL- but I'm not really loving it now. I really like the back but she really made the angling towards face quite dramatic- so the back (nape of the neck) is about 1.5 inches shorter than the front. I kind of wanted this to be more subtle because in all honesty I'm really lazy about doing my hair. I love edgy cuts-- my hair looks HORRIBLE if it is blunt cut- but this pronounced difference in length back to front doesn't look great with Ms. Wash N Wear Hair. Next time I go in for a cut, I will have length taken off only the very long  front parts-- so it is slightly angled, long layers, and edgy- yet works with my lazy, lack of ever trying hairstyling. Note to self- make sure to reapply SOME kind of lip product before taking photos!!

Lipstain review- Tarte/Covergirl/Revlon Just Bitten

Above are all the lipstains I've purchased- Tarte came in a collection from QVC, CG 420, and Revlon Just Bitten in 3 colors. 

I purchased Covergirl lipstain in 420 last year and do like to use it since I tend eat my lip products off very quickly. Definitely not a product one can apply without a mirror and it does take a little practice to get it right. Cover Outlast lipstain looks like a large felt tipped marker. The colors tend to be brighter/darker that I am accustomed to so application is key. I find the best way to apply is actually turn the tip almost sideways in corner of mouth and slide along lip line towards center for the bottom lip. The top lip I kind of do this only stopping before center to do "bow" precisely from center back to where I left off. After each lining I use a finger to blend the color onto the entire lip. I apply a little more to main part of  bottom lip and quickly blend by smooshing my lips together. (I am thinking I may try to do a little video since a few have complained about having a difficult time applying lipstains like CG and Revlon ones.)  I prefer to top with a gloss because I have thinner lips and glosses make them look more plump. It's kind of a brownish mauve that is a good my lips but better color.  No smell to it and stays put.

So this summer I saw Revlon came out with Just Bitten Collection with lipstain on one end and balm on the other. I bought Twilight which seemed to be the lightest mauvy color they have. I've seen the ads with Jessica Beal wearing the light pink color and it looks kind of fake on her so probably would be even worse on me. I fell in love with this product right away. The color is a nice berry color that actually looked nice with my tanner skin and made my teeth look super white. Then a wonderful makeup maven friend sent me a bunch of lip products that didn't work for her-- thanks again Laurie =D!!! To my delight included was Just Bitten in Forbidden. I had been eyeing it but just couldn't commit to buying another. This color is a great my lips but better- not too brown, not too mauve, not too flashy. Since Laurie was kind enough to send it to me, I have since bought a backup because I really like this color too. This also tempted me to buy yet another color Beloved- a deeper almost plum shade. With a light hand, this color is quite lovely which is surprising since I tend to shy away from bolder lips. I am really in love with these because they stay on very well and glosses don't erase them like many long-wear lip products do. Feel like bare lips after applying the lip stains. Again no smell and stays put. I now have backup in Twilight and Forbidden since these have been used almost daily since purchasing/receiving.

Since I was such a fan of the Twilight lipstain I decided to try Tarte combo I'd seen at QVC when I ordered 100% Pure mascaras for Xmas present for DD- it's her favorite. I hate paying full shipping for only one thing... that's my justification  and I'm sticking to it. = ) I love Tarte gel blushes- give a true blush from within look so I thought the lipstains would be the bomb... instead they were A bomb in my book. Not lipstain at all, more like a rather matte lipstick in a swivel up applicator like many large eye pencil shadows. It has a somewhat fruity plus mint smell. Doesn't feel sticky but isn't as "not there" as other lipstains. Most disappointing was it's staying power-- I saw no difference in using this "lipstain" as I do with regular lipsticks- and definitely pricier. = ( The Lucky (pink) color looked awful on me-- just not the right color for my lips so I actually gave this to DD right away. I kept Hope (nude berry) and Exposed (Nude) looked decent but I found that I rarely used because they didn't have any more staying power-- so after taking photos I gave them to DD since she actually liked them. She has more pigmented and fuller lips so they do look nicer on her. Matte lips just don't become my thinner lips, I guess and adding gloss made these come off very quickly. I will not be repurchasing.  

Long overdue Avon Skin care Review

In early summer I purchased some skin care from Avon- mostly to combat "Spot"-- my melasma issue when I get any sun exposure.

I was most excited to try ANEW CLINICAL LUMINOSITY PRO Brightening serum after reading all the positive reviews-- 1 oz. is pricy and I am so disappointed with this product. Not only did it do nothing to lighten melasma issues but it made me breakout on top of being useless.  Seriously the worst money I've spent on skin care in my life. Still have half of it and just can't see myself using it- what a waste. 

I also got SOLUTIONS PLUS TOTAL RADIANCE- Brightening Concentrate- This one is way cheaper than the above mentioned and did not make me break out. I believe it was bogo at the time.  I don't really know if it "brightened" my skin but I did use up a whole bottle of it- 1.0 oz-- and I am ready to start using the next. This is an orange gel with sparkles in it. What I liked about it was the cooling sensation upon application and it did seem to tighten my pores. I may repurchase this one.

BANISHING CREAM- Skin Discoloration Improver- I haven't used this one often because like the Luminosity Pro I will breakout with this one, but not to the same extent. So I can't really testify to it's skin coloration results--- this one was far cheaper than Luminosity- BOGO. So I'm not kicking myself for trying it. 

ANEW CLINICAL ADVANCED RETEXTURIZING PEEL- This was a BOGO and I do think this is a worthy, if pricy, item. Each jar contains 30 pads saturated with the peel. I actually wring it out a bit before using because they are quite saturated. The one side of the pad is textured and helps exfoliate the skin. After I've applied to face, I also apply to back of hands. After using my skin is tighter and pores are smaller. I did feel a tingling sensation, so someone with very sensitive skin may have an issue with this, but it wasn't too bad. I would repurchase at BOGO pricing. 

SOLUTIONS BODY LIQUID BRA- Toning Gel- this is a lotion that one applies in upward motion to breasts. With larger breast and losing weight- my girls were hanging a little more than I liked. I got this BOGO- and surprisingly I do notice a toning of the skin when I remember to use it. The girls seem a little perkier these days. I would repurchase. 

SOLUTIONS BODY STRETCH MARK 24- Line Reducing Treatment- I've been using this on stretch marks on thighs and belly since I lost some weight and yet see little difference. I would pass on buying this one again. Maybe my stretch marks are just too pronounced but like I said, I do not see a difference since using this over a normal lotion. 

SOLUTIONS DRAMATIC FIRMING CREAM- This one was on sale and I'm glad I purchased it. I don't use it every night but when I do, I notice a firming of the skin. This does not make me breakout and I would repurchase this one. 

I also bought several of the body lotions- Some of the scented ones- all fruity.  These are not as fragranced as Bath and Body Works lotions which is actually a good thing to me. I find B & B W lotions too overpowering to use alone. The Avon ones were lighter scented and more foodie than flowery which is my preference. Not as moisturizing as what I like for winter time but definitely a nice light lotion for summer. I also got two of the Skin So Soft shimmering lotions- one is silvery mica flecks and one is golden. In the summer, I think legs and arms look much better with shimmery lotion-- makes skin look super hydrated. Shimmery lotion is difficult to find, off hand I can only think of Jergens as making one, but I hate the smell of that brand- so I definitely recommend SSS shimmering lotions.