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Beauty Obsession: Mineral Fusion Concealer

I’ve mentioned this before, but I inherited a lovely family trait: discoloration around my eyes and dark undereye circles. Sometimes, if it’s particularly bad, people think I have two black eyes or ask if I’m tired. And so, just like I feel like I’m on a quest to try every single eye cream in the world, I have a similar quest to test every concealer in the world, too.

I was cruising through Earth Fare a few weeks ago and picked up this concealer by Mineral Fusion on a whim—I’d just run out of the last bit of my non-natural concealer (see? my journey to all-natural cosmetics is still evolving, too), and I was not excited about facing another work day without it. Turns out? I’m in love.

What I tried: Mineral Fusion Concealer in Cool ($24.99)

First impressions: I studied the ingredients list before I decided to bring this little two-tone palette home with me, and I do have to say that I’m making a bit of a compromise, because it does contain phenoxyethanol, which I do not love. On the plus side, though, I like that it offers two shades—a pale, brightening shade, and then a deeper shade that matches my skin tone. In my previous, not-natural beauty life, I used a little pot of concealer in the same salmon shade from a brand I don’t go near nowadays, and loved the results. Now I feel like I’ve been reunited with an old friend!

Here’s the full ingredients list: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Silica, Jojoba Esters, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Pinus Pinaster Bark Extract (Pycnogenol), Zinc Oxide, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate (Licorice Root), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf Extract, Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos Red Tea) Leaf Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Phenoxyethanol. May Contain (+/-): Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499)

What caught me by surprise: Its staying power. I put it on in the morning, top it with a little translucent powder, and don’t need to re-apply all day long. Plus, the creamy texture means I don’t have to use much.

Bonus: No fragrance, parabens, gluten, or animal testing!

Do you have a favorite natural concealer? I’d love to hear all about it! —Aleigh

(Images via Mineral Fusion)

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Beauty Obsession: Nordic Naturals

When I interviewed Julie Ebner for this story on how to get glossy hair, I took several pieces of her advice to heart. Her final tip was her “hair prescription,” in which she encouraged readers to take an Omega-3 supplement, which is great for skin and hair. The last time I saw my physician, she agreed—and so, with my doctor’s stamp of approval, I decided to try it.

What I tried: Nordic Naturals’ Omega Woman, Evening Primrose Oil Blend* ($24.95 for 120 capsules).

First impressions: Even though these capsules contain fish oil (the typical ingredient in omega-3 vitamins), they don’t smell fishy. In fact, they smell slightly lemony and like roses.

What caught me by surprise: I’ve noticed over the past year or so that I’ve been shedding a lot more of my hair and it didn’t seem like my hair was growing enough to keep up with the shedding…which was, frankly, starting to concern me. And so my reason for wanting to try these supplements was pretty much vanity-related—I knew they were recommended to balance hormone levels (I know changing hormone levels sometimes cause hair loss), and Julie said they were good for shiny hair. I’ve been taking them every day since the beginning of the year, and you guys, I can actually tell a difference in my hair. I’m still shedding, but I can tell my head is magically growing new hair, because when I pull my hair back into a ponytail I have a ton of short, wispy baby hairs that stick basically straight out of my head—and my ponytail is thicker. Vitamins! They work.

Bonus: Nordic Naturals is hosting a What’s Essential contest—first prize is a trip for two to California (and a year’s supply of supplements)! Find details here.

Do you take a supplement you love? Please share! —Aleigh

*Disclosure: This sample was sent to me for review, but I only write about the products that I think are truly worthy of being shared with you. View my full disclosure here.  

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Beauty Obsession: Broo

I know that beer is good for your hair, but I haven’t tried a beer rinse myself—although it’s on my list of things to try (and share with you, obviously!). So when I spotted these new products on the shelf at my local Earth Fare, I decided to take a closer look.

What I tried: Broo Craft Beer Shampoo and Conditioner ($14.95 each).

First impressions: The girl who rang up my purchases said she’d just tried these products, and warned me that she liked them but they “smell weird.” Since I’ve been using natural shampoo and conditioner for several years now, I’m used to the “but they smell weird!” reaction to natural products. The truth is, when most people say something smells strange, what they mean is that is smells different—not like the synthetic fragrances they’re used to.

Here’s what I thought: The shampoo smells just like a good craft brew should—hoppy and fresh. The conditioner, on the other hand, smells less of hops and more like wheat or even bran. Both smell unique and vaguely beer-y, but just like the magic of an apple cider vinegar rinse, once your hair is dry, it just smells like fresh, clean hair.

What caught me by surprise: The texture! There’s a little sticker on the shampoo that directs you to shake it before you use it; the formula tends to settle out and is best when mixed up a bit. I found the shampoo to be silky and satisfyingly foamy—just a pea-sized amount foams into enough shampoo for my shoulder-length hair. The conditioner is rich and left my hair moisturized without feeling heavy or greasy.

Bonus: I love that these products are made with craft beer from Asheville—and according to this story in the Asheville Citizen-Times, the cosmetics chemist who created the formulas is in Kannapolis (about half an hour north of Charlotte). That’s about as local as it gets for me. And that? Is awesome.

Have you stumbled upon a product that you just have to share? What’s your latest beauty obsession? —Aleigh

(Image via Broo)

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Beauty Obsession: 100% Pure Red Wine Resveratrol Eye Cream

Since the skin under your eyes is some of the thinnest skin on your body, it shows every sleepless hour, every ounce of dehydration. It’s one of the first places on your body to show signs of aging, and it’s one of my biggest skin woes. My dark undereye circles are my least favorite inheritance—it’s pretty easy to trace them straight back to my mom’s dad. (My sister has them too.)

Before I switched to natural beauty products, I tried just about every single eye cream (and concealer) on the market. It’s the one product I’m pretty religious about applying at least once or twice a day—sometimes three times! And now that I’ve made the switch to natural cosmetics, I’ve renewed my search. I’m planning try as many natural eye creams as possible. So far, this is the first one that’s been worthy of a review.

What I tried: 100% Pure Red Wine Reservatrol Eye Cream, $25. Resveratrol is the antioxidant in red wine that is suspected of being the key to red wine’s ability to help prevent damage to blood vessels, reduce inflammation, and help prevent blood clots—perfect for a girl who can use all the help she can get fighting puffy eyes and dark undereye circles.

First impressions: There’s an awful lot of packaging here, but it’s made of cardboard and is recyclable. Inside, the little jar that contains the eye cream is glass. I like that 100% Pure’s products are vegan, and the ingredients list makes me happy:

Organic Rosa Centifolia Flower (Rose Hydrosol) Water1, Organic Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Juice) Leaf2, Vitis Vinifera (Grapeseed) Seed Oil, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Oil, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Resveratrol, Wine (Red Wine) Extract, Organic Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract3, Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Vitis Vinifera (Muscadine Grape) Skin Extract, Lonicera Caprifolium (Japanese Honeysuckle) Extract, Hyaluronic Acid

What caught me by surprise: It smells fruity! If you’ve ever been to a winery (I’m married to a wine expert, so this is something I have done many times), you know that sort of grape-y, earthy smell that greets you when you enter a cellar that stores aging wine in barrels? That’s what this stuff smells like.

Bonus: After a few weeks of using it, I can definitely tell a difference in the elasticity of the skin under my eyes, and I think the discoloration has slightly faded. I’m definitely going to use up the entire jar before I try a new eye cream.

Do you have a favorite eye cream? Is there one you’ve been wanting to try that I should add to my list? —Aleigh

Want to read about more of my beauty obsessions? Here’s where you can find them.

(Image via 100% Pure)

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Beauty Obsession: Florere Deodorant Cream

I finally made a visit to my (awesome) neighborhood’s newest shop, Ecolicious, this weekend. My favorite purchase so far? My new Florere Deodorant Cream. Don’t let anyone tell you that organic or natural cosmetics don’t work, people. This stuff is the real deal.

What I tried: Florere Deodorant Cream ($8.50 online, $6 in-store at Ecolicious). Originally, I picked up the stick formula, but Marley (co-owner of the shop, with business partner Fiona) suggested I try the cream in a jar instead, because she prefers it. I’m really glad she did, because although I was initially a little wary of deodorant from a jar (how much do I need to use? how exactly do I apply this stuff?), so far I am loving it. This could turn out to be one of those life-changing purchases that I wish I’d tried years ago.

First impressions: At first, I was a little intimidated with deodorant cream that didn’t come in a stick form, but I really shouldn’t have been—using this stuff is really easy. Here’s what you do: use the spoon that comes with the jar to spoon out a nickel-sized amount (plenty for both underarms) and warm it in your hands until it’s nice and smooth. With your fingers, rub the deodorant into your underarms. Rub any remaining cream into your hands. Just make sure you either wash your hands before doing your makeup or put your deodorant on after you put on your makeup.

What caught me by surprise: How well it worked. This stuff is AWESOME. It smells a little like lavender and sage (but the scent is not strong). No sweatiness, no stinkiness, even after an entire day of activity. Plus, it’s really moisturizing, which is a nice change from the over-drying conventional deodorants I’ve used and the still-sweaty feeling I had when I used Tom’s of Maine antiperspirant, which isn’t as pure as I would like anyway. Plus, the cream is vegan, with no aluminum, propylene glycol, parabens, or petroleum by-products.

Bonus: My little jar is going to last me a lot longer than a stick of regular deodorant, so it’s a money-saver, too. And the jar is glass, so I can toss it in the recycling bin when I’ve used it all up.

So, what do you think? Will you give deodorant cream a try? —Aleigh

Want to read about more of my beauty obsessions? Here’s where you can find them.

(Image via Florere)

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