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Skin care

Masks 101… the 40s ReStyle Way

June 30, 2016

A mask is the favorite part of a facial for most women. Skin can feel clean and bright. It can feel tighter and younger looking.

IF – and that’s a big IF – the right product is used.

If not, the skin can turn out red, irritated, broken out, and itchy or burning. Then, we just want to hide for days. Bottom line is: that sucks!  Read on for some useful info about masks. Hopefully it will help in choosing the correct one a bit easier.

ūüíčThere are three main types of masks:¬† Clay, Cream/Gel, and Setting masks.¬† Clay masks, including mud masks, help absorb oil. Cream and gel masks are designed to provide deep moisture. Setting masks turn hard and are meant to peel off. Their job is to cool and refresh tired skin. Knowing your skin type is important so the right masks can be applied. For example, my skin tends to be oily. A cream or gel mask is probably not what I need. I’d opt for a clay mask or a nice refreshing setting mask.

ūüíčThat brings us to goal. What is the reason for a mask treatment?¬† While I narrowed down that a cream/gel mask isn’t right for my skin type, I need to decide next if I just want to pep up tired skin or soak up oil. Once you know your skin type, decide next what you hope to accomplish.

ūüíčSteer clear of masks with a list of ingredients a mile long. The more ingredients, the more things the skin can react to. Masks stay in contact with the skin for as much as fifteen to thirty minutes. That’s a lot of contact with ingredients that can help or harm the skin.

ūüíčTry making your own mask. Common ingredients such as honey, baking soda, plain yogurt, eggs, and many fruits and veggies are excellent ingredients for a mask. Look online to find millions of recipes for millions of skin concerns. No need to worry about tons of ingredients then.

ūüíčRemember any allergies. If it causes an allergic reaction when ingested, it can do the same if it comes in contact with the skin–and vise versa.

ūüíčSensitive skin trumps all advice. Some people, no matter how much they would like to use some beauty products, just can’t. Some skin can be so ultra sensitive to products that doing masks and such are just not possible. If that’s the case, then don’t do it!

ūüíčIf while the mask is on, the skin gets itchy, red, swollen, too tingly (some masks are made to tingle), or just down right burns or hurts, remove immediately. Cleanse gently and follow with a moisturizer. If the pain, itch, or swelling continue contact a professional.

ūüíčTry a pre-mask treatment. These primers help prepare skin for the mask.

ūüíčTry using multiple masks at once. This works especially well for those with combination skin. Try a clay mask on areas that tend to be more oily like the T-zone and a cream mask on cheeks that need more moisture.

ūüíčSome masks do double duty as a scrub (exfoliant) and mask. If it doesn’t work as a mask, try it as a scrub before you write it off completely.

ūüíčTry the latest trend in masks–the sheet mask. They are paper masks with precut holes for eyes, nose, and mouth. The product is on the paper. Sheet masks do much the same thing as clay, cream/gel, and setting masks with the added convenience of not having to apply it. (I have trouble with them slipping, but I’ve heard others rave about them.)

ūüíčSome masks I’d recommend are: Origins Retexturing Rose Mask, Origins Charcoal Pore Cleaning Mask, the GlamGlow line, First Aid Beauty Oatmeal Mask, Jacq Organics Green Smoothie Mask. Also try the Origins Mask Primer.

ūüíčLastly, try a cruelty free mask, one with sustainable or recyclable packaging, or one that comes in a powder to use minimal water. You know, because doing something good for the world feels good, too.

Now, go be fabulous!

Cosmetics Skin care

I Can Do That! – Tips to Make Your 40sRestyle Beauty Routine Fab

March 26, 2016

Our 40s are wonderful. At 40sRestyle, we work to stay current with trends. Any trend must be modified for your own style.¬†Makeup trends must especially be customized whatever age we are. That doesn’t mean tons of time and effort, either. Being 40-something doesn’t mean we should hang up our makeup brushes. It just takes a bit of tweaking for makeup to continue to flatter us. No extra time involved. I promise. Here’s some simple tips:

Start With A Good Canvas
A gentle cleanser is best for the delicate skin on the face. Anything too harsh will dry the skin on the face and neck. Choose a cleanser that effectively removes makeup but without scrubbing and rubbing too hard. Also follow with a moisturizer twice a day on the face and neck. If the skin on and around the eyes or on the neck is dry, consider investing in a good eye cream and/or neck cream to moisturize, as well.

Matte Lipstick And Eyeshadow
Matte colors look more natural. Leave the glitter to the 16 year olds. Shimmery, glittery, or frosty lipsticks and eyeshadows settle into the creases of the lips and eyes and exaggerate our age. Go for a matte shade instead. For a bit of pop, a lip gloss can help. Lip gloss isn’t the sticky mess it was in the 80s. (Now, Michele disagrees with me on this one, but she can tell you about that in a later post.)

Cream Blush
A cream blush works well for skin as it gets older. It doesn’t look too powdery and helps with the dry patches that appear in the 40s. Also be careful with application. Smile when applying blush and only put it on the apples of the cheeks. Don’t try to sweep it from just outside the nose to the hairline like we did in the 80s. It dates the look.

Shop for a gel liner or a liner that twists up. These dry out less than a pencil does. As the eyes age, we should be particularly gentle with the delicate skin around them. Using a very dry eyeliner drags and pulls the skin around the eyes. Find one that goes on smoothly and gently. Be wary of eyeliner trends such as wings, cat eyes, or other very noticeable application techniques, too. First of all, trendy techniques like those make it appear as if we are trying too hard. Work on getting a nice curved line very close to the lashes instead.

Eyebrows should be defined, filled in, and trimmed. Too bushy and natural or too over-plucked and arched doesn’t really work for any age. A brow powder and pencil work well together to fill in and define the brow. Use the pencil to define and follow with a powder to fill in. Finish by running a spoolie or brush against the hair growth to blend for a natural look.

Let a highlighter or illuminator be your friend. A quick dab across the top of your cheeks and under the brow offers a bit of a glow without looking sparkly.
A medium coverage foundation offers coverage of flaws but doesn’t look too thick. Go for a foundation that isn’t too dewy or glossy and isn’t too matte either. A matte foundation can look dry and settle in lines and wrinkles. One that is too dewy can come across as oily or shimmery and also accentuate lines and wrinkles.

Finishing Spray
A finishing spray can tone down a foundation that looks too powdery. It can keep eyeshadow and other makeup in place so it doesn’t smear or accentuate lines, as well. It helps add a youthful dew to the skin also.

A moisturizer and foundation with some SPF is a good thing for skin at any age. Some have very sensitive skin that reacts to ingredients in sunscreen. There are sunscreens out there for sensitive skin. These can be applied before the regular beauty routine. For those who do not have sensitive skin, always try to look for products with an SPF.

Dry Skin or Blemishes
As skin ages, it looses elasticity and gets drier. Even after moisturizing, there can be tiny pieces of dry skin visible. Use a toothbrush dedicated for this task or a pointy pair of tweezers to remove those tiny pieces of dry skin. Blemishes too, can still be an issue in our 40s. Hormonal changes, in particular, contribute to that. Don’t resort to harsh acne treatments. They can create even more dry skin. Do not skip the moisturizing step either thinking it contributes to oiliness or blemishes. Continue to moisturize. Our skin can try to compensate for lack of moisture with more oil.

These tips shouldn’t add any time to the regular beauty routine, but can make a tremendous difference in how great we look. Forty is fabulous. We should look as fabulous as we feel.

Cosmetics Cruelty Free Fragrance Skin care

10 Best Products for Sensitive Skin

October 16, 2015

Sensitive skin is the worst. The itchy red patches, the bumps or welts, all make choosing beauty products a tough job. Just because a product says its for sensitive skin, doesn’t mean it will work.¬† In many cases, those of us with sensitive skin have full-blown allergies to deal with, as well. But I’ve found a few products made for us that are worth the hype.

1. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Full Coverage Foundation ($39.00)
This foundation actually feels good going on. Tarte isn’t into using a lot of chemicals so their foundation is much less irritating. In fact, they pack a lot of good things into this foundation to help soothe skin. There are tons of shades to choose from so it’s easy to find a perfect match to your skin tone.¬† The coverage is a good medium coverage, in my opinion. It’s buildable though, so it could very easily be a full coverage foundation like the name describes.¬† Tarte is cruelty-free, too. Yippie!

2. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush ($28.00)
This blush glides on. You can use as little or as much as you’d like. It blends like a dream, and my cheeks don’t itch or break out after application like with many products. Again, the ingredients are minimal and great for sensitive skin. There are tons of colors so it actually made picking one difficult. Oh, and being cruelty-free like the rest of the Tarte line makes it perfect. Tarte for the win!

3.  It Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Eye Brow Pencil ($24.00)
I snickered at the term “universal.” ¬†Not only do I have sensitive skin, but I’m a redhead. They seem to go together. Finding a “universal” product that includes us redheads is impossible. Or so I thought. This pencil works great. It makes my brows look natural, but gives them color and depth. No itching or redness around my brows either. Oh yeah, this line is cruelty-free, as well.

4. Bare Minerals Powder Eyecolor ($14.00)
Really any of the Bare Minerals powder in their foundation, blush, and shadow lines are good for sensitive skin. There isn’t a lot of unnecessary ingredients and all their products have staying power. I never worry about the sensitive skin around my eyes when I use Bare Minerals. Some brands of eye shadow have made my lids itchy and red with weird dry patches. Not Bare Minerals. It’s a great go-to brand when all the others get tossed aside. Bare Minerals is also cruelty-free. (I’m seeing a pattern evolve here.)

5. Urban Decay De-Slick Oil-Control Makeup Setting Spray ($14.00-$30.00)
This is one of my favorites that isn’t cruelty-free. While some label the brand CF, its parent company is not. Is that splitting hairs?¬† Maybe. I’m just giving the information. I love the spray, honestly. Something that gets put on the entire face makes me nervous. An itchy red eyelid or patch on the cheek is bad enough, but to have your entire face react to a product is the pits. Unfortunately, it happens to those of us with sensitive skin if we aren’t careful.¬† Urban Decay’s setting spray really works, and my skin feels great when I use it. It dries fast. Makes my makeup look dewy but not oily. It has no discernible¬† scent. Best of all, it makes my makeup last longer without crazy reactions.

6. Origins Zero Oil Deep Pore Cleanser and Oil-Free Moisturizer ($22.00 and $28.50)
Awhile back, I wrote about my search for a new cleansing system because Origins is not cruelty-free. I’m still on that search. Origins is hard to beat for sure. I have not found a product line I buy into and love as much as Origins, but I have promised myself I would. I’d like to phase out all the products that aren’t cruelty-free eventually, so the search for great CF products is ongoing. For now, I have to give Origins props for helping out those of us with sensitive skin. The cleanser gets rid of all traces of makeup. It does not over-dry the skin. The moisturizer is light, not too oily, and keeps skin with just the right moisture balance. Origins, if you were only cruelty-free, I’d sing your praises more.

7. Dr Brandt Pores No More Refiner Primer ($15.00-$45.00)
Here’s a product line on the pricy side, but good heavens does it work!¬† On a whim I bought this primer. I bought a small one so I didn’t feel too guilty if it didn’t minimize pores like many products claim to do.¬† Wow!¬† I loved it. It isn’t greasy. My pores around my nose disappeared. My sensitive skin felt wonderful, and my foundation went on smoothly over this primer. It’s a dream. It’s cruelty-free, too.¬† I’m in love with whoever this Dr Brandt is. After trying some sample sizes, I’d say the Dr. Brandt product line would replace my disappointing love for Origins if I could afford their cleanser and moisturizer ($35.00 and $60.00).¬† But alas, I can’t. For now, I’ll sing the praises of the primer though, and pray Origins becomes cruelty-free or Dr Brandt goes on sale permanently.

8. The Clean Perfume Line ($18.00-$72.00)
For those of us with sensitive skin, it doesn’t stop at the neck. Many perfumes and perfumed lotions make my arms and legs itch. Spraying perfume directly on the body is like dipping some sensitive skin people in acid. More often than not, I spray the perfume on my clothing, not my body. The lotions, I choose carefully. The Clean line is not like that for me. I don’t itch when I apply the lotion. The perfume does not make my neck turn into one giant itchy welt. Oh, and every one of their scents smell amazing. Yep, the product line is cruelty-free, too.

9. Simple Kind To Eyes Makeup Remover Pads ($5.99)
God bless a cruelty-free product line that is less expensive. Michele already talked about how going cruelty-free is not always cheap. This is one product that can be found in most drug and discount stores. The skin around the eyes is very delicate for everyone, not just those of us with sensitive skin. These inexpensive rounds remove all traces of eye makeup without making my skin feel like it’s burning. Contact lens wearers also worry about harsh makeup removers. Not with Simple. This product gets a very big thumbs up for being budget-friendly, cruelty-free, and great for sensitive skin.

10. Tarte Opening Act Lash Primer ($22.00)
Let’s end where we began. Oh Tarte, I love you more everyday. Like I said before, delicate skin around the eyes needs special care for everyone. I worry about eye makeup and what goes into it. Least of all, I don’t want needless wrinkles that didn’t come from living life. While worst case scenario, I don’t want to harm my vision. I never worry with the Tarte product line. This primer really does help my lashes look longer and thicker. It doesn’t clump or smear. It helps my mascara stay in place. I don’t notice dark circles under my eyes at the end of the day where my mascara gradually leapt from my lashes to under my eyes. No itching or redness from Tarte’s primer either. (Now, Tarte, please make a brown mascara for us redheads. Pretty please. I promise to write about it.)

Okay sensitive skin peeps–speak up. Tell us what products you love, or hate. These are mine, and I’m sure my list will always be changing as I find product lines I love AND can afford.


Photo Credit: garlandcannon

Cruelty Free Skin care

Meow Meow Tweet – Silly Name, Sensational Skin Care

September 25, 2015
IMG_1005 (1)

One of the first samples I received from PetitVour was from Meow Meow Tweet, a small-batch skin care line located in New York.

The packaging in adorbs, without a doubt. (If all 40s ReStyles could look that good.) It was a little odd, though. It was a pump bottle, and the cleanser was a milky liquid that was really quite runny. I wasn’t at all sure it would take off all of my makeup and sunscreen.

I’ll go so far as to admit that I was a little skeptical even as I used it for a week or so.

But then we vacationed in a hotel. A hotel with the pristine white wash cloths that show every bit of makeup when you take it off at night. And by darned if that cleanser didn’t take just all of my makeup off every night, as evidenced by the multi-colored cloth.

I was leaning toward buying a bottle of it for real, but unlike my lovely LeeAnn, who will drop and buy the entire set, I couldn’t spring for it. Lucky for me, MMT offers samples of all of their products at very reasonable prices. The one ounce bottle of cleanser that I got in my box lasted me a little more than a month. I ordered another sample of it (same size) at a very¬†reasonable $8. ¬†I’m not quite finished with it yet, but I’ll buy a full-size bottle when I do finish.

Picking a moisturizer was complicated, and I almost didn’t. Luckily, I found a handy tool on their blog that helps you determine what you need based on your skin type. For my dry skin, it suggested either their body oil (what?) or their baby body balm (again, what?). I ordered samples of both.

The Frankincense & Flowers Body Oil sample is one ounce and was $8. It smells amazing. The mini Baby Body Balm was $5.

The baby balm was way too much, even for my dry skin. But I think it would be just divine on a baby’s skin. It is smooth and only every so lightly scented. And new moms could rest easy knowing only natural ingredients were going on their baby’s skin.

I will without a doubt buy the body oil and keep using it on my face – on everything. Never before have I used a product on my face and had both my husband and daughter say to me after I prepped my skin at night, “you smell good.”

Recently, I had a small surgery and didn’t leave the house for several days. I didn’t put on makeup & thus, wasn’t as diligent about my skincare routine. After a few days without the oil each evening, my skin was dry and flaky. This is good stuff, adding good stuff to my skin.

Yes, MMT is Cruelty Free, and yes, they are vegan. I’m all for both of those. More than that, though, I like to support small businesses when I can. They are absolutely a new part of my personal 40s ReStyle.

And seriously, these products are lovely. And the packaging is just almost as wonderful. Go visit their site. Order a few samples. Let us know what you think. We’re interested.

Cosmetics Skin care

10 Tips to Help You Create Your Own Best 40s ReStyle Look

August 10, 2015

I recently read an article filled with makeup tips. Some were useful. Others…not so much. Most were too specific, not age appropriate, or too complicated. All these tips got me thinking.¬† What are the basics of good makeup habits?¬† What are some tips and tricks I wish I’d known sooner?¬† I bet there are thousands of things, but here’s what came to mind first.

1.  Keep it in place.

A setting spray can extend the life of your makeup. Especially if your skin is oily or you live in a humid area like I do, a setting spray can be a life saver.¬† Also, when using powder over foundation, it can cake and look like I stuck my face in a bowl of flour if I’m not careful. A setting spray tones the powdery look down.

2. Have kissable lips.

It’s one of the first beauty products we use as pre-teens for good reason. A good lip balm is worth a million dollars. Whatever the brand of choice, lip balms keep lips from chapping, cracking, and peeling.¬† Wear it under lipstick or apply it each night before bed for beautiful lips.

3. Moisturize!  Moisturize! MOISTURIZE!

Even if you have sensitive or oily skin, MOISTURIZE!   Our skin craves moisture.  Find a moisturizer for your skin type and use it.  For that matter, find a body lotion you love and put it on after a shower for maximum impact. Your skin will thank you.

4. Eyebrows matter.

Most prefer a natural brow, but don’t skip the brow altogether or forget to trim them from time to time.¬† Brows frame our faces and are one of the first things people notice.¬† Forgetting the eyebrow may be a no-no, but overdoing it may not be the best approach either.¬† Try not to over-arch, over-pluck, or over-color the brow. A perfectly arched, filled-in brow can make a complete difference in how we look, and it works with any makeup style.

5. Blend!

Blend your foundation into your hair line and along your neck. Blend your blush to look natural. Blend your eye shadow so it’s not striped or streaky. Blend for heaven sakes!¬† Blend!

6. Add a glow.

A strategic touch of illuminizer on cheeks, chin, and nose adds just the right glow. A little goes a long way. You don’t want to sparkle like a teenage vampire.¬† Illuminizers can also be used under brows to give a wider eye and on the center of lips to make them look fuller.

7. Keep it balanced.

Don’t skip your bottom lashes. Take the time to put a bit of mascara on them. Heavy mascara on top lashes and nothing on the bottom looks unbalanced.¬† Yes, they are harder to do, but worth the time.¬† Also, since we are talking mascara, do both sides of those top lashes.

8.  Nix facial hair.

Wax it, shave it, or use a hair removal cream.¬† Facial hair between eyebrows, on cheeks, and lips can take the focus off of gorgeous qualities we try to enhance. However, you chose to do it…remove it.

9. Make that eyeshadow last.

There are a million products out there to make your eye shadow last all day. Primers and creams galore promise to make your eye shadow stay.  One simple tip is to wet your powder shadow. A dab of mineral water or contact lens solution on your applicator brush makes the color stick around a lot longer.

10. Say no to Benzoyl Peroxide.

Even at this stage of life, going through my 40sRestyle, I still have a pimple occasionally. Spot treatments with Benzoyl Peroxide dry my skin out so badly.¬† It peels off in layers leaving a scabby ugly spot that takes days to heal. Instead of using harsh acne treatments, dab a small amount of Neosporin on the spot.¬† By the next day the pimple is all but healed. The skin around the pimple isn’t dry either so it’s much easier to apply makeup over it.

So 40sReStylers, what are some more must-share tips? Feel free to add yours.


Photo Credit: Courtney Rhodes

Skin care

Going back to school – with better skin

July 21, 2015

LeeAnn and I both have two kids – a teenage son and a pre-teen daughter. Yes, we planned it that way.

As we navigate our own 40sRestyle, we are also trying to help the four of them navigate their youth. And teenage skin is a mess. Frankly, it may be worse than I remembered.

My son is the oldest of the four, so he was the first to get his own skincare routine. And because I am a little obsessed with good skin, it was introduced to him probably not so subtly. I had mentioned to him in elementary school that he needed to begin good skin care maintenance. He ignored me.

Later, when he was in middle school, and his skin was a mess, I didn’t suggest it. I might have mentioned that girls didn’t date boys with icky skin. He might have said that girls weren’t that shallow, and I might have said he clearly didn’t know teenage girls. It was a conversation that might have led to me admitting to have rejected boys for shallow things – no need to be specific here – and to him finally agreeing to use whatever products I gave him as long as they were easy to use.

It was during this phase that we, as a family, voted that he had to stop trying to asphyxiate us with his Axe product use. He was annoyed, but our lungs were better for it.

I gave him Coalface and Dark Angels from LUSH, and within weeks his skin was beautiful. Seriously, this kid has some of the best skin I’ve ever seen on a teenage boy. He uses The Body Shop’s tea tree oil spot treatment for those rare times when there is a problem, but those days are rare. Some day, he will thank me. (Maybe.)

The soon-to-be sixth grader looked at me one day at the beginning of summer with a forehead full of pimples. I was shocked. Knowing the answer to the question (the proof was staring at me), I asked, “are you washing your face every day?” “Yeah, sure.” “Liar.”

Maybe I didn’t call her a liar, but I did slather a face mask on that forehead and talk to her about her skin care and about how middle school girls are mean.

She’s using LUSH’s Fresh Fharmacy soap every day now, with a face mask once a week, and her little face is nearly as clear as her brother’s.

Good quality products – simple with few chemicals – are important. But more important for teenagers, I think, is the simple act of actually cleaning that skin. Day in and day out, setting good habits that will follow them for a lifetime.

And anything – even something as small as good skin – that can make those teenage years easier is a good thing.

Beauty Boxes Cosmetics Cruelty Free Skin care

Cruelty Free Subscription Box: PetitVour Review

July 6, 2015

For Christmas last year, I got each of my kids a subscription box as a gift. The teenage boy received Loot Crate, and Little Bit received Boodle Box (she has since switched to iBBeautiful on LeeAnn’s recommendation).

Soon after, LeeAnn said she had begun receiving the ipsy bag. Loads of folks on my Facebook feed were raving about their ipsy hauls, too. I’m rarely a joiner, but if we’re talking beauty bags, I wanted to play. So I looked around at the options, and I bucked the trend and went with Birchbox instead. Birchbox seemed to offer more skincare than cosmetics, and that’s more my style. I got the box for three months, and was pleased with the samples I received on the whole.

For $15 a month, I was introduced to some nice products (one, in particular that I will stick with for a while) and was able to share some products that I didn’t so much like. But I was already a little bored, so I started looking around again and found PetitVour, a box with all Cruelty Free and vegan products. Same price. Products more in line with the way I think and shop. So I dropped Birchbox (but not before cashing in my points and getting a free product) and picked up PetitVour.

The full contents of my first PetitVour box.

The full contents of my first PetitVour box.


While there were only four products in the PetitVour box (and I usually received five in Birchbox), I have loved all of them. With the exception of the 100% Pure cleansing brush, I will most likely purchase either a full size version of each of these products or I will buy another product from the company sampled. And in the case of the brush, they just gave me what I would have needed. And it’s really nice – such soft bristles for massaging cleansers or masks into the skin.

I think that for a sample box, this was a pretty good return. For less than the cost of a lunch out, PetitVour introduced me to four new companies and shown me four really great new products.

The Fior Minerals eye liner is wonderful. I’m not a young woman, and I have a difficult time finding liners that I like. I’m not steady enough to use liquid liners well, but I need a soft liner so it doesn’t tug at my eyelids. This eye liner is super soft and smudges beautifully. But it is also highly pigmented, so the color stays all day. And it arrived in brown. I get so annoyed when sample eye liners are always in purple (maybe just mine?). I cannot tell you how many purple eye liners I have.


It looked like a small, sample sized eye liner, but when I took the lid off, I realized the lid hid half the liner. It appears to be a full size liner. I’ll buy more of these in different colors.

I’m a sucker for fun company names, and Meow Meow Tweet wins this box’s prize for that category. In this month’s box, everyone got to sample either the Facial Cleanser or the Spot Serum. I lucked into the cleanser. I’m not going to lie, it’s odd. I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now, and only this week have I decided that I really do like it. And I mean I really like it.


The Meow Meow Tweet cleanser is a liquid that is supposed to be gently massaged onto your face. It has a milky appearance and feels almost as an oil on your skin. But when I rinsed my face, all of my makeup was gone, and my face didn’t feel dry or oily either. It just felt really smooth and soft. Again, it took me a while to decide I liked it, mainly because the whole experience was just so different. But my skin looks good, and it feels good.

I like the fact that you can order the smaller, 1 oz. sample size on the website, too, to try before buying the full size version. Many of their products offer the mini versions for sampling. Given what products cost, in general, this is a big bonus in my book.

The dark horse in this race was the Jacq’s Organics face mask. It looks unassuming in packaging and when opened. But it’s ah-mazing. Truly. I like every, everything about it.


This mask is a dry powder. You add your own water to activate the mask. I adore this. Seriously. Any product that arrives in my possession as a dry powder asking me to add my own water is automatically in my top 20 list. Dry products conserve water in general, which is important for our environment. They also last longer because there is no risk of contamination. You can set that sucker on your shelf forever if you want. Love.

I also like that you can add exactly as much water as you want. Add more if you like a thinner paste, less for a really thick paste. Love.

It smells wonderful. My husband suggested it smelled like pine trees, but all I could smell was the peppermint oil. My pre-teen daughter and I both used it at the same time, and she hated it because it dried on her skin. She hates a drying mask. It’s a shame because her skin honestly glowed when she took the mask off. It sucked up all of the awful pre-teen facial oil and made her skin look lovely. It still looks good days later.

With my dry skin, I was worried it would make it even drier, but I applied a really thick coat of the mask so it didn’t dry out too much, and it was really nice. I applied a good moisturizer right after, and all was well. This is the 1 oz. sample size, and I expect we’ll get six or eight uses out of it.

I’m already excited to see what new products will be in my next PetitVour box. (Let me know if you’d like to try it. I’ll give you my info & I think we both get a little something happy.)

Now, the PetitVour points system isn’t great, from what I can see so far. Best I can tell, Birchbox has the best points system. In three months, I earned enough points to get a $20 product for free. But I think I’ll enjoy the PetitVour products more, so that’s good enough for me.

If I had unlimited disposable income, I’d subscribe to multiple, multiple boxes. Alas, you noticed I mentioned the children.

But I like them, so for now, PetitVour and iBBeautiful are the boxes we’re enjoying around here.



Skin care

BITE me, why dontcha? BITE Beauty is all that.

June 14, 2015

I’ve never been a fan of lip scrubs until recently. I know that the skin on your lips is delicate, and I never could see the point in putting something rough on something so tender. I’m a bit of a lip balm addict – if sent on a show such as “Naked and Afraid,” it’s possible my one tool might be a good lip balm.

My family has affectionately dubbed 2015 as ‘the year my body turned against me.’ Suffice it to say, I’ve had some medical issues. It’s a bit of a 40s ReStyle that I didn’t exactly choose.

One of the odder issues – or maybe one of the odder side effects of one of the other issues, who knows – is that the skin on my lips began to peel at some point. (WARNING – GRAPHIC IMAGERY AHEAD.) Imagine a sunburn on your lips. Always. The corners of my lips cracked and never healed. The skin would peel off completely, multiple times a day, and sometimes my lips would bleed. My lips always stung and hurt.

I had to give up lipstick. It was an unhappy situation.

I explained this to a doctor. “Seriously. No lippies makes me unhappy. I need you to fix this.” She seemed less than concerned about my cosmetic concerns, but did make notes about my health comments.

I tried every lip balm on the market. Really. I could buy a new outfit for what I have spent this year on lip balm. As time went by, thankfully, they began to heal some and were only peeling once a day or so. Trust me, this was serious progress.

The lovely LeeAnn is married to a pharmacist who suggested I throw out all lip balms and other lippies and start over. Shudder! I did it, though. At that point, I was ready to try anything.  My husband bought me a LUSH lip balm for my birthday. It was fresh and new, and it was all I used.

LeeAnn suggested a BITE Beauty product she had seen on Sephora, and I thought I’d try it, too. I was at a point by then that my lips were only peeling every few days (often enough for me to think I was healed, only to have them peel & shatter my dreams of wearing lipstick again). So I dropped $15 on BITE Beauty’s 5 Night Fix for Lips. It’s the cutest little jar with a tiny lip scrub stick and tube of agave lip mask.

You’re supposed to use the lip scrub (in whipped cherry – I hate cherries, but at that point, I’d have rubbed raw cherries on my lips if necessary.) and then follow with the lip mask right before bed. Five days later, and I swear my lips were better.

Now, sure, they were getting better all along.

Was it coincidence? Probably.

Do I care? No.

This is a wonderful little jar of a product. And I’ve been using the five day supply for about 30 days now, on and off. I have about one more day of the lip scrub, and I’ll replace it with a LUSH scrub (did I mention I hate cherries?). But I’ve easily got half a tube left of the lip mask. It’s a thick gel that really does make my lips feel better by the next morning, even now that they aren’t peeling (though admittedly, they do still get a little weird some days. When they do, I use the scrub & mask & they’re fine by morning.)

I’ll buy more of the lip mask when I use up all of this tube.

BITE Beauty is cruelty free, and the products are made with food grade ingredients, so if you happen to lick your lips a lot, it’s all good.

This little sampler is a good way to try two products at once with a tiny investment price. I’ll be buying more of this brand. Just no cherries.

And yes, I’ve been able to add a lippie or two back to my makeup routine. Happy days.


Photo Credit: Courtney Rhodes

Skin care

Confessions of a LUSHie

June 13, 2015

Nearly a decade ago, a friend told me she had found a great new beauty store. We went to the shop in New Orleans, and I fell in love. I’ve been a devoted LUSHie ever since.

I’m a firm believer that a beautiful face doesn’t begin with good makeup but with good skin, and good skin is always a result of good skin care. And it’s important that what we put on our skin is sometimes as important as what we put into our bodies. Our skin absorbs what we put on it. I’d much rather put creams and lotions on my skin that don’t contain a lot of chemicals than ones that do. I should admit up front that LUSH has started offering makeup, but I haven’t tried any of it. Thus far, I’m just a skin care girl with them.

My lovely partner here, LeeAnn, just wrote a post about being a LUSH virgin and about how overwhelming it can be to see that they feel strongly about recycling and about not using excess packaging. Those are some of the reasons I love the company. They are also strong water conservationists, and are dedicated to giving funds to various causes around the world through their Charity Pot program. Since 2007, the program has raised nearly six million dollars for more than 600 grassroots charities in 35 countries around the world.

I want to support companies like this. The fact that they have amazing products that do what they claim is an amazing bonus.

That day in New Orleans, I started off with an array of products, mostly colorful and sparkly.

LUSH’s bath bombs and bubble bars are beautiful ways to make a bath special. Space Girl¬†is my favorite. Any other one I have at the time is also my favorite.

Do your cuticles need help? Lemony Flutter will fix them. I pick my cuticles obsessively. They look horrible all the time. But Lemony Flutter keeps them hydrated, even when I am awful to them.

I’ve used several of their cleansers, both bar and scrubby. I’ve Fresh Farmacy, which is the perfect gentle cleanser. I’ve got both of my kids using Coal Face. It uses licorice root to clear up blemishes. I buy the soaps in small chunks and then cut off slices to use. I store them in the freezer, and on hot days, it’s nice to use the frozen pieces.

In combination with the bar cleansers, the people in our house use a variety of the scrubby cleansers. My teenage son uses Dark Angels. I can look at his face and tell when he isn’t using it. When he is, he’s got fabulous skin for a teenage boy. I – and my pre-teen daughter – use Angels on Bare Skin. It smells like lavender and is gentle and calming. My new favorite scrub is Let the Good Times Roll. I use it each morning in the shower. It’s super. Smells great. Leaves my face smooth.

We haven’t even begun to touch upon all that I use from LUSH in terms of skin care. There’s the Dream Cream lotion that really is a dream. A hydrating lotion that’s oddly light. The massage bars. Multiple bars. Seriously. Everyone should have at least two. Get the Wiccy Magic Muscles for when something aches and then another for when something doesn’t.

LUSH’s Fresh Face Masks are quite possibly the perfect masks. Made from fresh ingredients without preservatives, they are good for your skin while being good for your skin. I like the Sacred Truth for aging skin, while my daughter likes Cupcake for oily or spotty skin. Cupcake smells like chocolate. We try really hard not to snack on it.

I also use their Lip Scrub (Mint Julep) and their Lip Balm (Lip Service).

The boys in my house like LUSH’s shower gel in the Grass scent. It’s clean and masculine. Happy Hippy is nice, too. If you want a very sweet scent, look for the Snow Fairy scent around the holidays.

I could go on, but I think you get where I’m going with this. I’ve never tried a LUSH product I didn’t like. I’ve tried scents that didn’t appeal to me (see the Snow Fairy referenced above). And I’ve had favorite products that were retired. But I’ve never been disappointed.

One really wonderful thing about LUSH, especially in terms of the shops, is that they are liberal with samples. If there’s something you want to try before buying a full-size product, ask for a sample. Most of the time, they’ll provide you with a sample. And with the soaps – I didn’t even talk about the soaps! I love them, too! – you can request that they cut you a very small slice to try.

Good skin starts with good skin care. LUSH can help you with both.


Photo Credit: Miran Rijavec

Skin care

Confessions of a LUSH Virgin

June 13, 2015

I have a friend who is much more socially and environmentally conscious than I am. She loves LUSH and encouraged me to check it out. Not being swayed by all-natural, herbal, or vegan products, I never gave it much of a chance.

In my search for cruelty-free beauty products though, I find they often overlap with natural ones. I revisited the LUSH website with new eyes. Here are the thoughts this newbie had visiting a very socially-conscientious, natural-product website.

Let’s start with “Our Story.” Find out some more.

Wow!¬† They are super conscientious about things I haven’t even considered. I’m tired just reading their website.
They really are all about this.
Conserve water.
Limit packaging.
If only I were THAT dedicated.
I should recycle more.
I should be a vegan.
Ha!  No.
It would be more healthy.
Focus!  Cruelty-free products is the goal right now.
Ooooh, bath bombs.
I’ve used these.
Wait, is that glitter and flower petals and stuff inside them?
I don’t want stuff floating in my bath water.
Maybe it will all dissolve.
Maybe not.
Pass on that.
My husband will say it clogs the drain.
Maybe a bubble bar?
All of them are so beautiful.
Almost too pretty to use.
Oh gosh, I’m gonna be that old lady with pretty soap in her bathroom no one is allowed to use.
And hand towels, too.
And plastic furniture covers.
Maybe I do need some of those with my messy kids.
Oh gosh, no!
Besides, plastic is bad.
We are being socially conscious right now.
No plastic.
Okay, the Bubblegrub creeps me out for some reason.
My kids would love Bubblegrub.
My daughter would love all the bath bombs and bubble bars.
My husband would say all that would clog the drain.
Holy Moly!  Moldable soap for kids.
It looks like PlayDoh.
I love it!!!!
Forget what the kids want.
I want some.
Focus!  We are trying to be more environmentally conscious.
Shower jellies.
How cool is that?
I need some.
My kids need some.
My husband needs some.
My friends need some.
Everyone I know needs some.
Geez, the soap is as beautiful as the bath bombs and bubble bars.
Oh Good grief, I’m going to be that old lady with pretty soap in her bathroom no one is allowed to use.
And plastic furniture covers.
I need to try all of these soaps.
And the shower gels.
And shower smoothies.
And shower scrubs.
Will any of them make my teenager smell better?
Probably not.
Which one would my husband like?
Who am I kidding?
He will use whatever is in the shower.
Solid shampoo and conditioner bars?
Yeah, I’d totally mix up my bar of soap with my bar of shampoo with my bar of conditioner.
I think I’ll pass on all these bars.
Where would I put them all anyway?
I don’t have that many places for soap in my shower.
Can I use the Veganese conditioner if I’m not a vegan.
Feels hypocritical.
But it sounds lovely.
These names crack me up–Sex Bomb, Granny Takes A Dip, Space Girl, It’s Raining Men, Dirty, Happy Hippy, Grass.
I don’t know if I should light a candle to set the mood or smoke a joint.
Or both.
Lovely Jubblies?  Really?
It says “keep your knockers in tit top shape”.
Do I need a lotion just for my boobs?
Is it really just for boobs?
I must have my mind in the gutter.
But it says knockers and tits.
My husband would die laughing if he saw this.
This one says self-preserving.
Are the others going to go bad?
What if I put lotion on that was bad?
Could I die?
I could die.
Surely not.
They wouldn’t sell it if it’s not safe.
I should check on that.
$40 for lotion?
That better be some darn good lotion.
Fresh Farmacy. Ha!
I get it.
Cute spelling.
Steamers. Never heard of those.
Reminds me of seafood.
Oh, you steam your face with it.
Well, I need seven.
One for everyday of the week.
Tooth tabs sound weird.
Solid toothpaste makes me think of the hard part on the end of the toothpaste tube when you leave it open.
Dusting powder, huh?
It says “to keep all your bits dry”.
They have either really cleaver, or really twisted, writers for these descriptions.
What’s a massage bar?
They are pretty, too.
Do they melt?
It says they heat up with body heat.
Good grief!  Their descriptions are suggestive.
I love it!
Will I turn that color if it’s rubbed on me?
Will my husband turn that color?
Oh gosh, will it wash off?
My luck it wouldn’t wash off.
I’d be like the weird person walking around with purple shoulders–or worse.
Oh what the heck. Sounds fun.
Eh, the makeup isn’t exactly for redheads.
Why do companies do that?
Only black mascara?  Ugh!
I’d look ridiculous.
A goth chick gone wrong.
Does anyone really wear eyeliner that is THAT blue?
Or THAT yellow?
I should branch out more.
I should be more bold.
Yeah right.  Girls who wear that eyeliner are edgy and cool.
I’m not.
I’m jealous.
I’m too old for edgy and cool.
So what am I going to buy?
Definitely a massage bar.
And some lotion
And a bath bomb.
Oh, and shower jellies.
What the heck, a shower smoothie, too.
Ok, that’s enough.
Don’t over-spend.
Who am I kidding?
A steamer, too.
That Lemony Flutter looks great.
Did I really just put all that in my shopping cart?
Gosh, I’m so socially conscious.
I’m so helping the planet.
I am SO making a difference.
I’m such a smart ass.
I didn’t do anything but shop.
Hey!¬† I’m no longer a LUSH virgin, though.
There’s always that.

(If you’d like to see a LUSH review from someone who has been loving them forever, check out Michele’s review.)


Photo Credit: Robin Zebrowski