Miessence Body and Hair Care Products: Wonders from Down Under

A few months ago I was contacted by Erin from elyorganics.  She wanted me to try out some body and hair care products from a brand called Miessence.  I had never heard of this company, so I did a little research before I agreed to give them a try.  Miessence is an organic beauty company based out of Australia, and they sell their products through direct sales reps (you’re probably familiar with other direct sales businesses such as Avon and Mary Kay).  The wonderful thing about Miessence is that most of their products are certified organic (the organic products are labeled Miessence Certified Organic).  So this is something very unique and special, and I was certainly up to try it!

Erin has been using the products herself since 2005, is extremely knowledgeable, and available to answer questions.  Her website is elyorganics.com, and I would definitely recommend purchasing Miessence products from her.

Here are my thoughts on the products I tried:

Miessence Dessert Flower Shampoo
I really like this product.  Since I’ve switched to sulfate-free shampoos, I’m already used to the lack of rich lather, but this one does lather a fair amount and left my hair feeling clean, voluminous, and manageable.  The panthenol and organic avocado oil do a great job of adding moisture.

Miessence Shine Herbal Hair Conditioner
I was pleasantly surprised by this product.  It doesn’t have that heavy, greasy feeling of most conditioners, which at first worried me, as I thought it wouldn’t be unable to detangle my hair and leave it feeling soft.  But I was wrong.  With just a small amount of product, it worked through my hair effortlessly, while untangling any knots and rinsing cleanly. I loved it! It has a light scent of herbs and a hint of apple cider vinegar.

Miessence Sunflower Body Wash
With a delicious scent of citrus/grapefruit, this body wash foamed beautifully and left my skin feeling soft and smooth.

Miessence Tahitian Breeze Deodorant
As long as you’re aware that this is a deodorant and NOT an anti-perspirant, you’ll have the proper expectations.  It worked fairly well at controlling odor, but does not control sweat.  It has a musky, masculine scent (likely from the patchouli oil); goes on very wet but dries quickly, and lasted about 5-6 hours before I could detect any, ahem, “natural” odor.

Miessence is manufactured in Australia by the Organic and Natural Enterprise Group (ONEgroup). Another great thing about this company is that you can purchase most of their products in sample/trial size before committing to the full-size versions.

As a special offer to my blog readers, you can use the code elyo20 for 20% off your purchase!
Posted in beauty, natural, organic, product review, products, shampoo, shower gel

EOS Shave Cream in Lavender Jasmine- Is it a smooth move?

A few months ago I reviewed the spherical lip balm by EOS: Evolution of Smooth. When I purchased the product from Walgreen’s, I also picked up the shave cream.  I went with the Lavender Jasmine formula because I liked the purple bottle and it smelled feminine and delicate.  I just finished the bottle, so I’ve had a fair amount of time to try it out and develop an opinion.  Will I purchase it again? No.  Here’s why:

* Packaging.  Although the purple bottle is cute and has a slight rubbery feeling that makes it easier to hold in the shower, there are other less-than-desirable attributes to the packaging.  First of all, the pump itself doesn’t extend far enough past the bottle, so pumping the product is cumbersome.  I found myself having to hold the bottle in one hand, tilt it forward, pump with my thumb, and catch the product in the other hand.  It was messy and I wasted product on several occasions as it dribbled down the side of the bottle.  Secondly, the packaging itself wastes a lot of product.  When I got to the end of the bottle, I could tell there was still plenty of product, but the pump came up dry.  So, I ended up having to pull the pump out of the bottle, turn the bottle upside down, and bang on it to dump product into my hand.  In the end, I got so frustrated, I just rinsed out the rest of the product that was stuck to the sides of the bottle, and recycled it.

* Ingredients.  I should have read the ingredients more thoroughly before purchasing, because I mistakenly assumed that since the lip balm used organic ingredients and is 100% natural, that this product would also be natural.  Unfortunately, it contains petroleum by-products, triethanolamine, and propylene glycol, all of which are nasty for your body and for the environment.

* User experience.  Because the product contains mineral oil and shea butter, my legs did feel very smooth and moisturized after shaving, which was nice.  However, during the shaving process, the product didn’t provide enough glide. I felt the razor skipping and making that horrible squeaking noise that happens when the blade doesn’t make smooth contact with your skin.

I normally just use a bar of super mosturizing soap to shave my legs…..what do you use? Comment below.


Water (Eau), Mineral Oil (Huile Minérale), Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Glycol Stearate, Triethanolamine, Cetyl Alcohol, Petrolatum, Glucono Delta Lactone, Sodium Benzoate, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Stearate, Titanium Dioxide (CI77891), Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Carbomer, Fragrance (Parfum), Disodium Edta, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Propylene Glycol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Benzyl Salicylate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Limonene, Linalool, Violet 2 (CI60725), Red 40 (CI16035).

Retail price: $3.49

Posted in beauty, product review

My new nail product love: Karma Organic Nail Polish Remover

When I saw this product written up in SHAPE magazine, I knew it was something I had to try and report my findings to my loyal viewersand readers. I’ve always hated the way nail polish remover smells, dries out my nails, and gives me a headache.  I’ve used non-acetone varieties and brands that infuse vitamins into the product that supposedly make them less damaging to your nails, but the results were still the same: a stinky product (literally and figuratively) that left my nails and cuticles in terrible condition.


This shows how much product I used


After I read the SHAPE article, I visited the company’s website and sent an email to the owner, Nausil, to see if I could try a sample of the product to review for my readers/viewers.  I was graciously sent a full-size bottle of the unscented version to try. Upon receipt, I opened the bottle to take a whiff–no unpleasant odor. The magic truly began when I attempted to remove the week-old coat of varnish I was sporting on my tips.  I tipped the bottle over twice to get some product on a cotton round, and began to remove the polish as I normally would.  The first thing I noticed is that it does take a little extra elbow grease to remove, but within seconds, the polish began melting off.  The difference is, instead of dissolving any moisture on your nails and cuticles, this product actually leaves them shiny and moisturized.  And here’s the clincher: I was able to remove the polish from all ten nails with only ONE cotton round (Update: When removing a darker color, another cotton pad was necessary to remove the dark residue on my cuticles/skin).  That’s an amazing feat–standard nail polish removers evaporate so quickly and usually require 4-5 cotton rounds soaked in product in order to do the trick.
The cotton pad after removing polish from 10 nails
After a quick handwashing to remove any oily residue, I was able to polish my tips with a fresh coat of lacquer.  I’m thoroughly impressed with this product.  It will last me a long time, save me from the stench and headaches of traditional removers, and also save me from wasting a lot of cotton rounds.
* 100% Biodegradable
* 100% Soy based

* Non-toxic

* Non-carcinogenic

* Free of any Petroleum Ingredients

* Derived from Farm Crops which in turn supports American farming

* Packaged in 100% recyclable glass bottles

Ingredients: Propylene Carbonate, Soybean oil methyl exter, Tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E)
I checked the Cosmetic Safety Database, and all ingredients are safe!
Retail price: $12.00 for 4 ounces

Posted in beauty, nails, organic, product review, products

American Apparel Nail Polish Review

Because I don’t have enough nail polish (yeah, right!), I recently purchased 6 nail polishes from American Apparel for $30 plus tax.  They offer a discount when you buy in sets of 3, so I thought that would make the most sense. 😉 These polishes are DBP, toluene and formaldehyde-free and manufactured in the U.S.

The shades I purchased were Hunter, Passport Blue, Butter, Office, Peacock, and Mouse.  I must say, I’m quite impressed with these polishes.  I love the creamy formula- no sparkle, shimmer, or glitter in sight.  The formula itself is neither too runny nor too thick. Like Goldilocks said, “it’s juuuuusst right!”

Here is Office, a true pale mint green.  I’ve tried other mints, and this one is my favorite! Not too bright or cloying, it’s a very soft and flattering tone.

Office- After 6 days of wear

I also love Peacock–a perfect mix between blue and green with a hint of dustiness to make it more wearable.  Very unique and truly gorgeous, and completely opaque with only one coat.

My only complaint about these polishes would be the size of the brush.  It’s a little small/narrow, which increases your chances of a sloppy application with visible brush strokes.

You can purchase these polishes at any American Apparel store, or on their website. Check http://www.retailmenot.com/ for coupon codes, as they recently just had 30% off plus free shipping! Their website current states that there are new shades coming soon, so I’ll definitely be one of the first to check those out.


Posted in beauty, cosmetics, nails, product review

Product Review: Tarte Lifted Eye Primer

About two years ago, I didn’t even know what an eyeshadow primer was, much less have it as part of my daily makeup routine.  I just accepted the fact that at the end of the day, I would have little lines and creases in my eyeshadow.  Boy, was I in the dark!!

Thanks to the magic of YouTube videos, I saw all these makeup gurus talking about this miracle product, Urban Decay Primer Potion (affectionately known as UDPP).  I’ve tried it and think it’s okay, but I have 2 complaints: 1) The packaging does not allow you to access the majority of the product in the tube 2) It leaves a chalky residue on my lids that can be difficult to blend.

Searching for an alternative, I stumbled upon the Tarte Lifted eye primer at Sephora.  It has sleek packaging, a doe foot applicator, and retails for $20.

I’ve been extremely happy with this product and I’m now on my second tube.  The consistency is thin and silkly (easy to apply), my shadows last all day, and it’s paraben free!

I will note that the product claims to also reduce eyelid wrinkles.  I can’t say that I’ve noticed much of a difference, but in all fairness, I don’t really have wrinkly eyelids to begin with (not yet at least!).

What’s your favorite eyeshadow primer? If you don’t have one, give this a try!

Posted in beauty, cosmetics, product review

Peachy Keen, Jelly Bean!

In my latest YouTube video, I’m wearing China Glaze’s Peachy Keen polish on my tips. It has a cream finish with no sparkle or shimmer in a juicy shade of peach/cantaloupe.  It’s very unique….I love it!
I know I’m way behind on this, but I wanted to share my love for this collection of nailpolishes from China Glaze.  This came out in their spring Up and Away collection, and I have several other shades from the collection as well. I’ve really been loving these creamy pastel shades this summer!  These polishes apply so perfectly….it’s really easy to get a flawless manicure with them.

What do you have on your nails right now?

Posted in beauty, cosmetics, nails

Natural and Organic: What Exactly Does That Mean?

Shopping for natural skincare, cosmetics, and body care products can be a somewhat daunting task. Because the words “natural” and “organic” are used so loosely and without regulation (contrary to popular belief, the FDA does not regulate the sale of skin care and cosmetic products!), there is a lot of confusion about what those terms actually mean.  Without any regulation, the reality is that many personal care products sold in the United States contain ingredients that have been BANNED in other countries!  Shocking, isn’t it?

I hear beauty gurus on YouTube, makeup artists, and sales reps in department stores frequently describe a product as “organic” when it doesn’t even contain a single organic ingredient!  There is so much bad information being passed around, it’s hard to tell what is what, isn’t it?  So as a consumer, what are we to do? Who can you trust if you’re looking for truly toxin-free products to use?

Luckily there are organizations out there like the EWG and NPA that have created standards and definitions so that consumers can educate themselves in order to make informed decisions about the products we use on ourselves and our families.  So, in order to simplify things, I’m going to do my best to explain the differences in terminology so that you’ll know exactly what you’re getting.

NPA Seal
Unfortunately, the word “natural” doesn’t mean much….simply that the ingredient is from a source found in nature.  This term is too vague to mean anything, because natural ingredients can be “tinkered” around with in a laboratory to create some pretty nasty chemicals.  So even if a product is described as “all-natural,” this is by no means a guarantee that the product does not contain harmful ingredients.  A private organization called The Natural Products association has created standards for natural products, as well as a seal you can look for to identify products that have passed their certification process.  Companies like Aubrey Organics, Burts Bees, Badger, and Yes To Carrots have had many of their products certified.  The Natural Products Association standard holds that natural products should contain only ingredients that come from a renewable/plentiful source found in nature. They also require that neither the products itself or ingredients in the product are tested on animals.  The NPA lists 10 ingredient classifications that should NEVER be included in a product described as natural.  They are:
  1. Parabens – Synthetic preservatives that are potential endocrine disrupters
  2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – Harsh cleansing agent that can potentially damage the lipid layer of your skin and cause irritation
  3. Petrolatum/Mineral Oil/Paraffin – Non-renewable byproducts of crude oil with potentially dangerous impurities
  4. Chemical Sunscreens (Avobenzone/Oxybenzone) – Synthetic sunscreens that get absorbed and potentially disrupt hormone balance
  5. Glycols – Petroleum derived synthetic chemicals that can potentially draw other chemicals into the bloodstream
  6. Phthalates – Synthetic fragrance components that are potential toxins
  7. Ethoxylated ingredients like Sodium Myreth Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate, PEGs or PPGs – classified as a possible carcinogens
  8. Ethanolamines like MEA/DEA/TEA – Foam and viscosity boosting ingredients that can interact with other ingredients to form nitrosamines, a known carcinogen
  9. Synthetic polymers (PVP/ Acrylates) – Synthetic stabilizers that may contain residual PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons); most widespread organic pollutant
  10. Formaldehyde Donors (DMDM Hydantoin/ Diazolidinyl Urea/ Methylisothiazolinone) – Preservatives that work by releasing formaldehyde
The term “organic” is incessantly misused in the beauty industry.  For an ingredient to be organic, is not only has to be natural, but there are certain standards in which the ingredient must be grown, processed, and handled.  By definition, organic means that the ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation.  The USDA seal is the highest level of assurance that the product you’re buying is made with at least 95% organic ingredients.  There are also the following definitions:
  • Made With Organic Ingredients: Made with a minimum of 70% organic ingredients with strict restrictions on the remaining 30% including no GMOs (genetically modified organisms)
  • Products with less than 70% organic ingredients may list organically produced ingredients on the side panel of the package, but may not make any organic claims on the front of the package.

If you are looking to purchase a product that is totally organic, look for the USDA organic seal. If it doesn’t have the seal, read the ingredient label to find out how many ingredients are truly organic and how many are synthetic.

As far as personal care products go, it is difficult to find products that are truly 100% Certified Organic.  But we can at least find ones that contain as many organic ingredients as possible, while altogether avoiding the unhealthy toxins listed above.

Because natural products are “all the rage,” companies will write anything on their labels and advertising propaganda to make you believe you are getting a healthy product.  But when it comes to your health, YOU have to be your own advocate!  Don’t let sexy advertising and packaging with leaves and flowers trick you into thinking you’re getting something that’s healthy!

Since we know the words “natural” and “organic” can be used without regulation, YOU, the consumer, have to take matters into your own hands and READ YOUR LABELS.  Don’t rely on a label or a salesperson telling you that the the product is “all natural” or “100% organic.”  And even if a product does contain only natural ingredients, this doesn’t necessarily mean that those ingredients aren’t harmful.  Print out a list of ingredients to avoid, familiarize yourself with the lingo, and you’ll become more confident in the decisions you’re making about which products to purchase.

Posted in beauty, cosmetics, health, organic

9 reasons to love summer

Besides the gorgeous warm weather, here are a few reasons why summer is my favorite time of year:

1. Watermelon. There is nothing like biting into a fresh, juicy watermelon and having the juice drip down your chin.  I love it; and to me, watermelon just SCREAMS summer!!
2.  PinkBerry.  I know I can have PinkBerry any time of year, but there is something about enjoying this      frozen delight in summer that is just…..amazing.  It’s light, tasty, and when you cover it in fresh fruit like I like to do, it’s a healthy summery treat!

3. Fishing.  Sitting out by a lake, staring out into the still water, smelling the fresh air….ahhhh.  Of course it doesn’t hurt to bring some delicious picnic food and have friends and family to talk and laugh with! What’s even better? Catching some fish that you can take home and grill for a delicious and healthy dinner!







4. Farmer’s Markets. Supporting the local community, stocking up on the freshest vegetables, freshly-laid eggs, local honey, and artisan breads- what a great way to spend a Saturday morning.  I love talking to the growers, listening to music, sampling food, and just taking in the whole experience.







5. Sweet tea and bike rides.  I had to put these two together because I had the perfect picture for it. I like to ride my bike, get some sweet tea on the way, and enjoy my city on two wheels.  Want to know the ultimate way to spend a summer Saturday? Riding my bike the farmer’s market and buying some sweet tea on the way.  Now that’s heaven.







6. Basil limeade.  I posted last summer about Susan Branch’s recipe for this scrumptious summery concoction.  You sweeten it with sweetened condensed milk, and it’s creamy, citrusy, and so fresh tasting.  I’m drooling just thinking about it!










7.  Long days.  I love waking up when it’s sunny, and still having hours of daylight after I get home from work.  I always feel like I’m getting much more out of my day!







8.  Picnics. Sure, you have to fend off bugs and keep the sun out of your eyes, but some foods just taste better when eaten outside!  We always “do it up right” when it comes to picnics……tablecloths and cloth napkins, delicious food, and citronella candles!









9. The Beach.  Need I say more?  Soft sand, playing in the water, cherry lemonade and cheese-on-a-stick, frozen bananas dipped in chocolate, reading magazines, and soaking in the sun……that’s what going to the beach means to me!

Hope you’re having a great summer!  Enjoy it while it lasts!

Posted in farmer's market, food, happiness, life, simple pleasures, summer

Bubble and Bee Organic Products- and a contest!

If you saw my YouTube video, you know how excited I am about Bubble and Bee Organic beauty products.  Now that I’ve been using the products every day for the past couple of weeks, let me just tell you….I’m obsessed!  I love everything about this company- the packaging, the scent of the products (omigosh, the SCENT!), the personal service, the company philosophy and dedication to safety in cosmetics, the wealth of information they provide about what ingredients to avoid, and the effectiveness of the products.

Here’s a quick recap of what I’m using:
1) Squeezed Lime Organic Shower Gel.  This one is so amazingly wonderful and delicious, I feel the need to buy one for everyone I know, just so they can experience the joy of wrapping themselves in luxurious bubbles that smell like fresh-squeezed limes!  I never knew I could be so excited about a shower gel.  This product is pure heaven….it lathers beautifully, smells fresh and juicy, and doesn’t dry out my skin- all without the use of any toxic chemicals!  It’s my new obsession!
2) Organic Coconut & Lime Lip Balm.  This organic lip balm smells like key lime pie, is moisturizing, applies like a dream, and leaves just a hint of shine.  I’ve been using it every morning and night, and my lips have never felt better.  I can’t wait to try the other flavors. Rootbeer? Raspberry? Peppermint Cocoa?  Sign me up!
3) Coconut & Lime 100% Organic Lotion Stick.  At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this, simply because the idea of a lotion in stick format was unfamiliar territory for me.  But when I started using it, I quickly realized what a brilliant concept it really is.  Although it’s not ideal for your arms, legs, or other large areas, for dry hands, elbows, knees, or heels it is perfect!  You can apply this lotion directly to the rough spots without getting it all over your palms (whose palms are dry anyway?).  It has the same amazing key lime pie scent that the lip balm has, and absorbs quickly into my skin.  I’ve found that when I apply this to the backs of my hands and knuckles in the morning, I don’t even need to reapply lotion for the entire day.  This is a breakthrough for me.  I live in an extremely dry climate, and usually have to reapply lotion every time I wash my hands.  It’s not unusual for the skin on my hands to look somewhat reptilian…but not anymore!  I love that you apply the lotion exactly where you want it, and it doesn’t take much.  This stick will last me a LONG time!
Ready to get in on the action??  The lovely Stephanie at Bubble and Bee has offered to give away a $25 Gift Certificate to one of my readers!  How nice is that?  All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog entry telling me which one of their products you’re most excited to try.  You must be in the U.S. for this contest, and I’ll randomly select a winner out of all the comments.  The contest will close at the end of the day on August 6, 2010.
Posted in beauty, contest, cosmetics, lip balm, lotion, natural, organic, product review, products, shower gel

The Story of Cosmetics

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a short, hard-hitting video about toxic chemicals in cosmetics and what their impact on our health – a video that could reach millions?

It’s coming! The Story of Cosmetics, a 7-minute film from the good people at The Story of Stuff Project, Free Range Studios and (of course) the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, launches July 21.

I’m a big fan of The Story of Stuff, so when I heard that the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (a GREAT resource for info about detoxifying your beauty product stash) was coming out with the Story of Cosmetics, this made my day!  As consumers, we deserve to know and understand what ingredients are added to the products we use, so that we can make more informed choices about what we’re putting on our skin (and ultimately in our bloodstreams, tissues, and organs).  Unfortunately our governmental agencies have been very “soft” in their regulations for ingredients used in cosmetics products, but fortunately there are some great organizations helping to educate consumers.  If you watch my YouTube channel, you know I’m a proponent for toxin-free beauty products.  Do yourself a favor and check out the website for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Environment Working Group.  They offer a plethora of information!

Help spread the word, and tell your family and friends about The Story of Cosmetics, which is coming soon!

Posted in beauty, cosmetics, natural, products