The Green Beauty Edit: MŪN Skincare

When I originally started delving into green skincare, MŪN was one of the brands that first caught my eye.

MŪN believes in simplifying beauty "through innovation" with a "minimalist approach" to natural skincare. They specifically aim their products to "nurture, balance, and brighten" your skin. Their minimalist approach puts importance on botanical ingredients "produced and sourced with integrity... grown under pristine conditions," including their dedication to "sustainable practices." MŪN partners with co-operatives that economically support local Berber women in Morocco by helping to produce and manage the ingredients that the brand uses (such as Argan, Olive, and Prickly Pear oils). Chairing this effort is one of MŪN's co-founders, Anas Saidi, who has actively worked to establish connections that support this economic growth.

I have also been really inspired by Munemi Imai, one of the other co-founders of MŪN. A former esthetician turned professional makeup artist, Hiroshima-born Imai has worked with high profile luxury brands and celebrities in the industry. She continues to be a professional makeup artist along with helping to maintain and grow MŪN. I'm always motivated by women who work so hard to reach for their aspirations, Imai being someone who has done the same and continues to do so. Putting a lot of importance on living a green lifestyle and having her skincare brand in the realm of green beauty, MŪN incorporates these organic beliefs of simplifying one's routine with lesser products while also providing impressive results.

I was kindly approached by MŪN to test and review using their 3-step product routine for 7 days straight. My findings were a lot different than what I had first expected, since my routine is highly Asian Beauty based. From this experience, now more than ever I believe in the nourishing products that Imai has created. My opinions below will be based upon my 7-day usage.

Akwi Purifying Cleanser*

100 ml | $60 | (Buy here)

Out of all of MŪN's products, this one is my second favorite. Akwi means "awakening" in Berber and I think it's a very apt name for it.

Akwi Purifying Cleanser is a vegan and cruelty-free softening cleanser that provides a good amount of moisturizing qualities for the skin. I describe it as softening because it really does that to my skin, as there is no stripping or feeling of dry texture left behind. MŪN states that it has a pH of 4.7-5.2. Although it relies on using oils as skin nourishing ingredients, it doesn't have that light feeling that you would expect. It includes skin conditioning and viscosity increasing agents that create its emollient consistency. There is a slight film that is left over after using this cleanser but it can easily be lessened by taking off the product with MŪN's Organic Face Towel (or any you have already). I tend to use 5-7 pumps of this on slightly damp skin in the morning and about 8-10 pumps at night without dampening my skin. At night I usually use their Organic Face Towel to take off the cleanser and in the mornings I'm fine with just using water. This cleanser is actually described as a balm and behaves as one without using water, but I tend to enjoy using some water in the mornings with it.

It has quite an herbal-y scent that is very relaxing. I'm not sure exactly how to describe it but it's not overpowering, either. I think those who are sensitive to scents might be okay using this. I have not used this to take off my makeup (except for sunscreen), as I like to use thinner products, but it works very well as a cleanser. I do feel like it thoroughly cleans, brings clarity to my skin, and has helped with unclogging my pores. CosDNA ranks the ingredients mostly on a low hazard scale, however it did rate a few as possibly acne triggering. I especially like seeing Camellia Seed Oil, with anti-aging abilities and antioxidant properties that work against oxidative stress, and Rice Bran Oil, which has squalene and phytic acid components to hydrate and brighten skin.

In the picture below and at the bottom of this post, you can see what the product itself looks like. As it's worked into the skin, it utilizes its oil ingredients by spreading out into a thinner consistency while holding its emollient properties.

After my 7-day usage of this product, I can whole heartedly say that it delivered on most of what its claims were. It did leave my skin softened and moisturized, washed away impurities, and easily took off sunscreen. Since I have oily skin and quite large pores, I wasn't expecting it to do any magic work but I could tell that it did help to unclog them to a point! I also noticed that it added some brightness to my skin and made it feel very refreshed. I especially think it was a big helper during my drier days and even now as I'm transitioning products. I really recommend this cleanser for all skin types but do use as much as you need depending on your needs!

Ingredients (CosDNA analysis): Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil*, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil*, Aqua, Camellia Oleifera (Camellia) Seed Oil*, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Sodium Laurylglucosides Hydroxypropylsulfonate, Silica Silylate, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Sodium Bis-Hydroxyethylglycinate Coco-Glucosides Crosspolymer, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Seed Oil**, Tocopherol**, Isopropyl Palmitate, Citrus Junos (Yuzu) Oil (*Organic, **Non-GMO)

Anarose Hydrating Rose Toner*

100 ml | $65/$15 | (Buy here)

If you know me, you know that I have a toner hoarding problem. It's one of my obsessions that has gotten out of control through the years but toners are seriously one of my favorite skincare products. I bought MŪN's toner in the past (before it was renamed and had new packaging) and really enjoyed it! So I was more than happy to test it for this challenge and see how my skin did. "Anarose" is the Berber word for "hope."

Anarose Hydrating Rose Toner is a vegan and cruelty free exfoliating toner that soothes redness and adds a glow to the skin. Although it includes ingredients that are geared to exfoliate, it also has botanical extracts that provide hydration, including sodium hyaluronate. It's made up of botanicals that are geared for being anti-inflammatory, hydrating, and full of antioxidants. Your exfoliating ingredients come from botanicals like Willow Bark, which includes BHA (salicylic acid).

This mist has a great sprayer and evenly distributes the product, however it can be quite strong so I would advise having it a good distance away from the target area. When it comes to mists, I put a lot of importance on how the product applies and I really have no complaints against this one. It has a very subtle scent, I'm not sure how to describe it but it's almost like a sweet, floral scent. It feels so refreshing once you apply it and I enjoy this so much in the mornings because of that. I usually spray it a good 5-6 times, sometimes more, as my skin really relies on my toner step. While I don't think using mists gives me the same kind of hydration or cooling as a bottle toner does, I do like using them as an additional step or at the end of my routine before balms and facial oils. This mist makes your skin feel very soothing and calming, and I can tell it helps tone down my redness. I also feel like my skin gets a subtle shiny glow when I use this, which amplifies the next step of using MŪN's Aknari Brightening Youth Serum.

Over my 7-day usage of this toner, my skin definitely noticed that I changed up my routine. After using a toner, I always follow with my essences (usually layering them). I could tell that I wasn't getting the plumpness that comes from the AB products I use. Still, my skin wasn't totally without hydration since this mist provides it! Western toners are very different compared to Korean toners/skin, so maybe that was the major thing for me with trying to adapt to the change. Overall, it was really refreshing to simplify my routine. I didn't see any negative reactions to the change (as in, breakouts, etc) but I actually think this 3-step helped to clear up my skin (especially this mist!). This is in my top 5 favorite Western toners!

Ingredients (CosDNA analysis): Aqua, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Extract*, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice*, Maltodextrin, Opuntia Ficus-Indica (Prickly Pear) Stem Extract, Lycium Barbarum (Goji Berry) Fruit Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Rosa Centifolia (Rose) Flower Extract, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Flower Extract, Bellis Perennis (Daisy) Flower Extract, Xanthan Gum, Glycerin, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol (naturally derived from essential oils). (*Certified Organic)

Aknari Brightening Youth Serum*

20 ml | $95/$30 | (Buy here)

This is my favorite product from MŪN and has been much loved by me in the past. This oil serum's defining ingredient is Prickly Pear (Opuntia Ficus-Indica), which is the definition of what "Aknari" means in Berber. If you were to invest in one product from MŪN, this would be the one to get.

Aknari Brightening Youth Serum is a light oil-based serum that makes your skin soft and radiant. This can be used both as an overall oil/serum or used carefully in your eye area in place of an eye cream. This has a very noticeable Argan Oil scent, especially since it's the second ingredient. This is applied very easily and sinks in a lot quicker than any other oil serums I've tried. Most times I don't even need to add another product to finish up my routine since this gives me enough nourishment. I like to use about 2-3 pumps of this at night and it takes care of my whole face. Although it only has three ingredients, they are powerhouses with this product and work well together. Prickly Pear has strong antioxidant content and has also been shown to have generous amounts of flavonoids, along with ascorbic acid to brighten skin. Rosa Damascena has been studied to have high flavonoid and phenolic content, which is especially of importance for working as an anti-inflammatory and anti-aging agent. Argan Oil utilizes its squalene, oleic acid, and tocopherol content to improve skin hydration.

I think what most impresses me is that even though its ingredients are very simple, it really works as a multi-beneficial product. It makes your skin feel supple and hydrated, helps to improve skin texture, and gives you a refreshing glowy look. Its brightening capabilities are subtle at first but over time really make a difference. Whenever I wake up the next day after using this, my skin always feels and looks so soft, calmed, and radiant. Although I have oily skin, I never feel like this is greasy or 'too much' as an oil. My favorite way to apply this is to have my face dampened by the Anarose Hydrating Toner and then massage it into my skin. I think to a point this also has helped with some lines I have on my forehead, which is a big deal to me since its one of my main points of concern. There were some days during my 7-day usage that I felt like I needed a little more moisture, so afterwards I would use MŪN's Argan Pure Argan Oil*. There is something with this product that is so healing, not only for your skin but as a personal connection as well.

You know that feeling when you just instantly click with a product? This is what's happened with this serum ever since I first tried it. I know that I'll always have it in my skincare cabinet.

Ingredients (CosDNA analysis): Opuntia Ficus-Indica (Prickly Pear) Seed Oil*, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil*, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Oil. (*Certified Organic)

Top: Aknari Brightening Youth Serum; Bottom: Akwi Purifying Cleanser

To sum up my 7-day usage of all four of these products, they really went past my first expectations. I thought that my skin would be flipped upside down after simplifying to only three steps, but it actually helped some skin conditions I had instead (like treating my blemishes). It was very refreshing to only use these products, although I don't think I can totally do away with my AB routine. I think this 3-step would be great for those who are uncertain how to make their own routine or those who want to minimize their routine.

If you're interested in any of the products individually then they work brilliant on their own as well! Or, if you're wanting to first try a couple of their products, the Travel Set would be a perfect starting point before making a commitment to the larger sizes. MŪN was also very kind to offer a discount code to everyone if you're wanting to try their products! You can use the non-affiliated code hellohimawari to get 15% off your order on their official website.

Make sure you are signed up to their mailing list (you get 10% off by signing up!) and also follow their Instagram, as they will have flash specials and GWPs available. If you'd like to see their products in person, they have a list of retailers that stock them.

Have any of you tried MŪN before? Which product are you interested in the most?

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*This product has kindly been PR gifted. All opinions are my own. See my disclaimer for more information.


Introduction to Heimish Cosmetics

In terms of using Korean makeup, I've always pretty much stuck to using the same brands and have rarely stepped out of my comfort zone. Lately I've been more open with trying new things and so far the products I've tried have been a hit!

One of the brands that has impressed me is Heimish. I first heard of them through Instagram and was attracted to their chic packaging. Heimish's brand tagline is "No More Normal," putting importance on effortlessly worn natural makeup to heighten your beauty. I'm sure those who are involved in AB circles will know of their much hyped All Clean Balm. In addition to their All Clean Balm, they have a cleanser called All Clean White Clay Foam. Heimish has a wide range of makeup products, from blusher palettes to cream eyeshadow sticks.

I was kindly sent a care package from the StyleKorean team to try out and review these three Heimish products: Breeze Beige Eye Palette*, Dailism Serum Rouge Lipstick in Morning Calm*, and Dailism Mineral Rich Lipstick in Fine Day*.

Breeze Beige Eye Palette

7.5g | $26.91 | (Buy here)

Heimish has a total of six eyeshadow palettes available: Blissful Plevy (blues and greys), Brisk Grey (greys), Balmy Khaki (green and browns), Lovesome Brink (pinks and browns), Cozy Coral (coral, pink, and browns), and Breeze Beige (creams, browns, and copper).

They come in a sturdy black colored palette with eight colors to choose from. The packaging gives it a very chic feel, accentuated by the rose gold lettering on the front with the brand's name. It is very light but that doesn't take away from it's simplistic stylish exterior or quality. It has a click function to make sure it doesn't open during travel and a fairly good sized mirror to help with on-the-go application.

They also included a rounded double-ended brush for multifunctional usage. The left side can work for applying eyeshadow and blending due to its fluffy top, while the flat right side can work as a smudger, packing on the chunky glitter shades, and liner. While I appreciate including a brush for travel, I do think it severely underperforms in comparison to the quality of the eyeshadows. I usually apply the shadows with some of my Wayne Goss eye brushes and opt to not even pick up the one included with this palette.

Top (L-R): Darjeeling Milk, Earl Grey, Mocha, Cappuccino; Bottom (L-R): Roiboos, Yuja, Silver Pearl, Espresso

There are eight colors available in this palette, ranging from cream, brown, and copper. Starting from the top left and working your way right, then bottom left to right, these are the colors and their names:

  • Darjeeling Milk: matte cream 
  • Earl Grey: satin taupe-y champagne
  • Mocha: satin amber 
  • Cappucino: bronze pressed glitter
  • Rooibos: matte light beige 
  • Yuja: satin coral rose
  • Silver Pearl: silver pressed glitter
  • Espresso: satin espresso brown

Darjeeling Milk and Roiboos are the only two matte shades in the palette. Both of these kick up some powder when you dip your brush in to pick up shadow. Even though they are both matte, they are not the same quality. Darjeeling Milk is quite powdery and a tad dry, however it does work wonderfully as a base shade and applies smoothly. Roiboos on the other hand is a lot softer in texture than Darjeeling Milk and also more opaque. Roiboos is another great base and blending crease shade. 

Earl Grey, Mocha, Yuja, and Espresso are the four satins in the palette. I think what's most fascinating about this palette is that the shadows in the pan do not necessarily look the same once worn. Earl Grey takes on a taupe champagne color, Mocha appears as an amber color, and Yuja looks quite pink in the pan but applies as a vibrant coral rose color. Espresso is more closely like its color in the pan, but what's different about it is that it applies quite sheer and on the dry side. I was expecting a strong color from how it looks but it doesn't hold its weight in this aspect. It does apply patchy due to it being so dry but I usually layer it a couple of times to even it out. Since Espresso isn't a bold color, it works very well for natural makeup and adding some subtle depth to your look. 

Yuja and Mocha are very vibrant colors in the palette, and both apply soft and evenly. Mocha's rich, opaque amber color makes it the strongest color in the palette. I really enjoy it the most out of all the shades. I especially love to foil the shadow and pack it on my lid for a more dramatic look. On the other hand, Yuja is on the sheer side and takes a few coats to get a strong opaqueness. It also does well using the foil method and packing it on the lid. Earl Grey is alike to Yuja in these aspects as well, as it appears very soft from the first layer. Yuja and Earl Grey are both two-dimensional shades since you can use them as a light wash of color or to add more intensity, depending on how you apply them.

Cappuccino and Silver Pearl are the two chunky pressed glitters in the palette and are a great variety with the other shades. These both cause the most fallout compared to the other shades and need some extra time to even them out. I would recommend applying them with your fingers or wetting your brush beforehand so that you don't get a lot of fallout. Since I have hooded eyes, I've mostly applied them with the foil method and also on top of glitter glue. Those two methods have been the best for me personally and I find that they last longer compared to just applying them as is.

Overall these eyeshadows have surprised me with how great of quality they are, especially from a Korean brand. Often times I find that Korean eye makeup products do not really perform as I'd like them to and I'm left feeling a bit disappointed or just content. This Breeze Beige palette has a wonderful variety and works for numerous types of occasions. The satins are my favorite to use since they are so soft and blend the best.

Dailism Serum Rouge and Dailism Mineral Rich Lipsticks

25g | $13.45 and $15.13 | (Buy Morning Calm) (Buy Fine Day)

Heimish has four types of lip products that they sell: Dailism Mineral Rich, Dailism Serum Rouge, Dailism Water Drop, and Dailism Gradation Cushion Tint. I was most interested in trying their Serum Rouge and Mineral Rich lipsticks since they are both at different ends of the spectrum, one being more sheer and the other opaque.

Heimish's Dailism Serum Rouge range has eight different colors available. The product is housed in a sleek, glossy tube that uses a magnetized locking system. There is no discernible scent to the lipstick and it also has some weight, which adds some luxury-feel to it. On my fair skin, it shows up as a baby pink with hints of coral. The lipstick itself is rounded at the top and works well with its shape to apply the product on your lips. Whether you have smaller or bigger lips, the rounded shape allows you to have an easier application. Since it is on the sheer side, I always apply it layer-by-layer. I've found that tapping the lipstick, instead of swiping, has given me a cleaner look and makes it so it doesn't bunch up on my lips. You do need to really prep beforehand, otherwise it may not look as smooth.

I've loved using this lipstick because it is so sheer and doesn't feel heavy to wear, although it doesn't last as long as I'd like. Do not expect this to hold its own if you are drinking or eating, which honesty isn't a negative for me or a problem, but this may not perform well for those who expect longevity out of it. I'd put it in the range of 2 hours of wear time before I feel the need to apply more, since it does fade a bit. I don't mind seeing my real lip color peak through as it fades, it adds a very nice natural look. My favorite aspect about this product is that it's just so easy to thrown on, regardless of what look I'm aiming for, and sits well under lipgloss too. I've loved pairing it with Tom Ford's Ultra Shine Lipgloss in Tawny Pink and THREE Cosmetics Shimmering Lip Jam in Infant Kiss.

Left: Fine Day; Right: Morning Calm

Heimish Dailism Mineral Rich Lipstick comes in eight shades, ranging from pinks to red. Fine Day is the only 'nude' looking color available and is quite contrary to its online stock photo color. Rather than nude, I would say that its color is an vibrant orange-y coral. There is a subtle scent to the lipstick but hardly noticeable when worn. The packaging is alike to the Serum Rouge line, glossy exterior with a magnetized locking system, but the only difference is its box shape. I do find that the locking system on this lipstick is a lot sturdier compared to Serum Rouge. Its tip shape allows more precise application but takes a bit more time to smooth out. This is very opaque and needs only one swipe to fully cover your lip color. Alike to Morning Calm, I've liked tapping it instead of swiping since it lessens its vibrancy. You need to really prep your lips beforehand since it will highlight any inconsistencies. 

If I had to compare this lipstick to a similar one, I would say that its very reminiscent of MAC's Coral Bliss Cremesheen but it's on the satin side. In the past I was really gravitated to these bright, vibrant colors but this is not very flattering on me at all. I've hardly worn it and especially don't like that it pulls very orange. This lasts about 3-4 hours without needing to touch up. I have not tried applying concealer before it, so I'm not sure if that changes its color or not. In regards to its positive aspects, it is very creamy and comfortable to wear. You hardly feel like you're wearing lipstick since it feels so light. If you're looking for a summer lipstick then this might be a good choice. 

I hope that these reviews helped you get a better sense of Heimish as a brand and the kinds of products that they produce. I'm very interested in trying out more from Heimish! StyleKorean is currently offering 10% off (Code: May10) on purchases from 5/23-5/25, so it might be a great time to pick up some products during their sale. They offer international shipping and have a great amount of AB products and deals.

What are your favorite Korean makeup products? I'd love to know! Thanks for reading!

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*This product has kindly been PR gifted. All opinions are my own. See my disclaimer for more information.


3 Hydrating Skincare Products

Hydration has been the theme for my skincare these past months. Hydration and layers, layers, layers. I definitely prefer it over moisturizing products since my oily skin can only handle so much. Heavier products tend to only stick around the colder months of year for me. I've not really had the time to sit down and write up posts about products that have been helping my skin, especially new holy grails I've found. So I thought I would introduce three brands that haven't been on my blog before and their products that I've been relying on to help my skin.

Jordan Samuel Skin Hydrate Facial Serum

1 oz | $29.00 | (Buy here)

Jordan Samuel Skin is a brand I found through the green beauty community on Instagram. I first heard about his much hyped Plié Treatment Cleanser, then found out he also sells two other products, Hydrate Facial Serum and étOILe Oil. I was really interested in hearing more about Jordan's background, from him being a former professional dancer to becoming a leading esthetician and opening up his own skin clinic. I appreciate Jordan keeping his prices low by directly selling his products to consumers, instead of going through retailers and having to raise his prices. I think more than ever it's important to be aware where you're putting your money and support, Jordan's brand being one where I can put my trust. Jordan also has a youtube channel where he uploads videos talking about skincare and has a few talking about his products (Plié Treatment CleanserHydrate Facial Serum, and étOILe Oil). Jordan's products are cruelty free.

Hydrate Facial Serum is a vegetable-based hyaluronic acid gel serum. Compared to the two other products I'll be talking about, this is the most dense but absorbs without feeling too heavy or that anything is abruptly sitting on top of my skin. This serum includes botanicals like organic aloe, tamarind extract, cucumber extract, passion flower extract, and willow bark extract. Also included is a stabilized form (1, 2) of vitamin c, sodium ascorbyl phosphate. It has no scent and no added fragrance. The natural humectants mixed with botanical extracts really have made this serum a wonderful addition to my routine during these colder months.

I think what I most enjoy about this serum is that it feels very fresh and cooling whenever I use it. Products layer like a dream afterwards and I never have a problem with piling. It feels like the perfect balance of weight for my oily skin, not too light and not too heavy. It doesn't leave any sticky residue either, so that's a major plus. My skin feels really hydrated afterwards, not overly hydrated but just enough where I'm content and I can see the plumpness even when I wake up. I always used to think that hydrating targeting products would be a waste for me to invest in but I can see that I was wrong, I'm really in love with this product and the results it gives me. I also appreciate that the dropper is quite long so that it reaches far into the container.

I do recommend trying this product out from Jordan! I'll have a review of his Plié Treatment Cleanser once I've used it more.

Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice *Organic, Vegetable Glycerin *Organic, Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Xanthan gum, Gluconolactone, Tamarindus Indica (Tamarind) Fruit Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Passiflora Incarnata (Passion flower) Extract, Acetyl Hexapeptide-51 Amide, Sodium Benzoate, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract *Organic

MDSUN Super Hydration B Serum

1 fl oz | $85.00 | (Buy here)

MDSUN was another skincare brand I found through Instagram. I was first approached by their PR team to try out their Brightener Serum* a while back, which I really like and will talk about in a different post later on. They reached out to me again recently and asked if I would like to try another product of theirs, this time one of their best sellers, the Super Hydration B Serum*. I've been using it since late February.

Super Hydration B Serum is a thin hyaluronic acid serum that deeply hydrates the skin. This serum is aimed for dry, oily, combination, sensitive, and problematic skin with acne and hyperpigmentation. I enjoy using this in the mornings since it has such a water-y consistency and absorbs so quickly. It has a clicker on the top, the first of any product I've used with this function. It takes in a lot of the product from the container, so you don't need to drop a lot of it. My makeup applies easily over this and doesn't add to my oiliness, rather I feel like it balances and evens everything out. It especially sits well under my matte sunscreen. While I do prefer to use heavier serums at night, I also sometimes like to incorporate this into my P.M. routines since it makes my skin very soft and plump due to the number of humectants. I do think it adds a radiance, not so much brightness, but more like you've had good rest and your skin looks healthier.

I do have some constructive criticism that I hope they will implement in the future for those interested in trying this product. They do not have the full ingredient list available on their website, which in my opinion is a big negative. I think it would be very beneficial for them to include it and make it available for everyone before committing to buying the product. I've included it here, as I always do in my posts with skincare, straight from the box.

Ingredients: Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Sodium PCA, Water/Aqua/Eau, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Glycerin, Disodium EDTA, Hydroxyethycellulose, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Sodium Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide, Sorbitol, Sodium Acrylates, Copolymer, Lecithin

Huxley Grab Water Essence

30 ml | $52.00 | (Buy here) (Buy here)

I've been interested in Huxley for a long while now. Glow Recipe was the first U.S. retailer I saw stock their products and it's where I purchased the two items I have from them. They have two videos on their youtube channel featuring Huxley, here and here. I knew that I wanted to try the Grab Water Essence after seeing that it was a gel-type since my oily skin really does better with that consistency. I also have the Oil Essence and will be talking about it in a future post.

Grab Water Essence is a light-weight water-gel essence featuring organic Sahara cactus extract. This essence uses Opuntia Ficus-Indica (Indian Fig) extract and seed oil, providing natural moisturizing factor (NMF) with ceramides and sodium hyaluronate to increase hydration retention. The prickly pear extract also has ample antioxidant benefits. The other ingredients such as grapefruit, peppermint, camu camu, acai fruit oil, bamboo tree sap, yerba mate leaf, and Japanese apricot help to create a refreshing and soothing product. This doesn't make your skin sticky or greasy, it dries a bit matte but isn't drying at all. Your skin will feel very soft and plump for the next skincare routine steps. I use about 3-4 drops for my whole face. This does smell a bit like alcohol, so keep that in mind if you're sensitive to scents. 

While this is a gel consistency, it also is a bit runny like water, so the 'water-gel' description is really on point. Alike to Jordan Samuel Skin's Hydrate Serum, it feels very cooling on the skin. I think due to it being a water-gel type it's able to add even more of that cooling feeling compared to the Hydrate serum. It may be a gel but it breaks down into a thinner water consistency as you apply it and work it into your skin. I can always expect a thrilling amount of hydration, it's a step of my routine that I really look forward to. It's light enough to use in the morning and I can easily multi-layer it with heavier essences at night. I like to pat it into my skin and doesn't take very long to absorb.

For oily and combination skin types, this is the product to always have. Even when the unbearable heat comes during summer, I'm sure I'll still be using this then. This will forever be a repurchase. 

Ingredients: Opuntia Ficus-Indica Stem Extract, Butylene Glycol, Alcohol, Glycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Opuntia Ficus-Indica Seed Oil, Betula Platyphylla Japonica Juice, Phyllostachis Bambusoides Juice, Ilex Paraguariensis Leaf Extract, Prunus Mume Fruit Extract, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract, Myrciaria Dubia Fruit Extract, Chenopodium Quinoa Seed Extract, Menthapiperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ceramide Np (Ceramide 3), Acorus Gramineus Root/Stem Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Perilla Frutescenx Leaf Extract, Malachite Extract, Methyl Gluceth-20, Water, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Carbomer, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Polysorbate 80, Disodium EDTA, Tromethamine, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance

Swatch photo of the three products: Huxley Grab Water Essence (top), MDSUN Super Hydration B Serum (middle), Jordan Samuel Skin Facial Serum Hydrate (bottom)

I hope these condensed reviews helped you get a sense of each product. They are great hydrating products and I really recommend you try them out, regardless of season.

What are your favorite hydrating products? I'd love to know!

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*This product has kindly been PR gifted. All opinions are my own. See my disclaimer for more information.



Pestle & Mortar: Erase and Renew The Double Cleansing System

If there is one certain aspect of my skincare routine that I am sure to do like clockwork, it would be double cleansing. I don't know what it is about taking off all the grime, wiping away the day's stress and impurities with two cleansing steps, but it's become a vital part of my ritual. As I've said before, I really don't like taking off my makeup, but I do like cleansing my face. If I'm wearing some light bb cream, sunscreen, and so on, it's not so much of a chore. If you don't know what double cleansing is, it's basically a two step process: first using an oil-based cleanser to remove makeup, sebum, and sunscreen (with a cleansing oil, cleansing water, balm, etc), and then a second cleanser to wash away sweat, other impurities, etc, overall clean your face (with a gel, foam, cream, etc). Korean skincare really promotes this system of double cleansing and nowadays it's becoming a lot more common knowledge with Kbeauty booming in popularity. 

Pestle & Mortar is an Irish brand I found through Instagram after seeing their Superstar Retinol Night Oil featured in people's routines. I decided to pick it up and have used it a couple of times so far (I don't have any real thoughts yet but I'll have a review up soon). Pestle & Mortar actually reached out to me after hearing me talk about how I was really looking forward to their new Erase & Renew Double Cleansing System to come out here in the States. They kindly sent me this to review and I've been using these two products for a couple weeks now, so I'm finally ready to share with you all my thoughts about them. 

If you're wanting to learn more about Pestle & Mortar, there is a wonderful introduction video (here) featuring the founder of the brand, Sonia Deasy. Pestle & Mortar is a family run business, and the name itself connects to Sonia's family background with natural healing. They believe that every single ingredient matters, with "Simplicity, Natural Solutions, and Less is More" being their philosophy. It's with this philosophy that they dedicate their time and effort to creating only the best natural products possible. 

Erase & Renew: The Double Cleansing System

$109.00 USD | (Buy set here) or (Buy Erase) (Buy Renew)

Erase & Renew: The Double Cleansing System* is made up of a makeup removing balm, Erase, and a gel cleanser, Renew. Also included in their three step system is a double-sided cleansing facial cloth. One side features an exfoliating muslin and the other cotton. Erase & Renew promotes an easy way to ease into double cleansing, especially since you only need to do it at night. You also can use Renew in the mornings, if you like. These two products won't strip away your skin's natural barrier and instead offer further nourishment and balance, helping to prep for your next skincare routine steps. Without fully cleansing your face, your next steps won't be as effective and the products also won't be able to work their best. Therefore your first steps are your most important ones when it comes to your routine and setting up for how your skin will be able to accept what products you will be applying.

These are both free from parabens, mineral oil, silicones, sulphates, propylene glycol, and synthetic fragrances. Both Erase and Renew have an expiration of 12 months after opening.

Erase is a makeup removing balm that breaks down into an oil once you massage it into your skin, with little sugar-y-like granules that softly exfoliate. Pestle & Mortar recommends putting a small amount in your hands and rubbing together before applying onto dry skin, but I've simply been applying it straight on so you can do either/or. I'm very careful what products I use around my eye area so I've actually never used it to remove eye makeup, but I've read reviews that have done so successfully. This really gets everything off and easily so, the granules are not at all abrasive and wonderfully exfoliate your skin. The oil thats broken down always feels very moisturizing on my skin and I never have to use a lot of it to get makeup or sunscreen off. The scent is a mixture of lavender and subtle rose, I really enjoy how soft it is. I have taken this balm off with and without the facial cloth, and I would say most times I prefer to take it off with the cloth.

The ingredients in this balm are a nourishing blend of botanicals: with grape seed oil, sunflower seed oil, meadowfoam seed oil, pumpkin seed oil, prickly pear seed oil, lavender oil, and rose geranium flower oil. Grape seed oil being the forefront ingredient provides a light, non-greasy base, along pumpkin seed oil and prickly pear seed oil's fatty acid content help to retain moisture. This lush blend does a wonderful job at not overpowering one another, rather being very cohesive and compatible for even oily skin like mine.

Ingredients: Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic /Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Esters, Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Sorbitan Stearate, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil, Opuntia Ficus Indica (Prickly Pear) Seed Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Linalool, Geraniol, Citronellol.

Renew is a light, gel cleanser that is step two of The Double Cleansing System. This gel cleanser is supposed to leave your skin hydrated, glowing, and bright. I definitely do agree with that description of it. I've found that my skin feels very soft and fresh afterwards, especially. Pestle & Mortar recommends one pump applied to dry skin, and removing it with the cleansing cloth. I use it both with and without, and I don't really have one preferred way to remove this cleanser. I do enjoy feeling the cleanser under my fingers as it melts off the impurities and washes away, but I also enjoy the warmth of the cloth and taking it off that way too. It's really up to your own personal preference! This has a very distinct citrus-y scent but it's subtle enough to not bother me. I really enjoy using this as part of the double cleanse and have also used it in my morning routines, but it works beautifully in this two part system. The gel cleanser glides so easily and I really enjoy massaging it into my skin. It's such a lovely cleanser.

The ingredients from the balm mesh so wonderfully with the botanicals found in this product. The mango fruit extract and papaya fruit extract work effectively to help refine skin texture and brighten, while meadowfoam and jojoba work to nourish and provide moisture.

Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Aqua, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Superoxide Dismutase, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Tocopherol, Sucrose Palmitate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Sucrose Stearate, Benzyl Alcohol, Limonene, Linalool, Annatto (CI75120).

Pestle & Mortar is indeed a brand to keep your eyes on. I'll have my review of their Superstar Retinol Night Oil up once I'm done testing it, but so far so good. I'm excited to try the two other products from their line, Hydrate Moisturizer and Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum. Also, if you sign up to their newsletter on their website, you can get 10% off your first order.

Update: You can now buy these two products individually online here (Renew) and here (Erase)!

I'd love to hear from any of you if you've tried their products! 

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*This product has kindly been PR gifted. All opinions are my own. See my disclaimer for more information.


Wander Beauty Wanderlust Powder Foundation

For those of us with oily skin, finding the perfect powder foundation and setting powder is almost like a never ending search. Factor in having specifications like oily but dry skin and having limited shade availability, and it becomes even more difficult.

Wander Beauty is a brand whose philosophy rests on the concept of "less is more" and simplifying your beauty routine. They recently came out with a compact powder foundation called Wanderlust Powder Foundation* that aims to be the answer for all of us who have been on the hunt for a good setting and powder foundation. It is a lightweight, ultra-fine powder that has buildable medium-full coverage without looking cakey. The consistency of the powder works to absorb excess oil and even minimize pores, especially being oil and talc free. You can wear this alone or use it as a setting powder over your liquid foundation. It also includes botanical extracts like aloe leaf, jojoba esters, honeysuckle, safflower, and hibiscus, all working to hydrate and condition the skin. This is made without parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, and sulfates. Wander Beauty is also a cruelty free brand. Included is an anti-microbial rubicell applicator to apply the powder, or you can easily use it with their Pixel Perfect Retractable Brush.

Wanderlust Powder Foundation

0.310 oz | $40.00 | (Buy here) or (Buy here)

I have the color Fair and it is a bit on the warm-neutral side. It also might be a bit too dark for my face but matches well on the color of my arms, as pictured in my swatch below (taken in natural light, indoors w/no flash). Unfortunately there are only five colors available (Fair, Light, Medium, Tan, Deep), which is already a setback for being a new release. I do hope that they will expand their colors, especially deeper shades and possibly provide cool/warm tone choices.

For the actual wear of the product, I've tested it for about two weeks now and it lasts for about 4-6 hours before I might feel the need to touch up. If I'm doing anything like being outside or any strenuous activity, then I would say a base of about 4 hours is when I'll touch up. If you have normal-dry skin, then this might last you longer but having oily skin it's normal for me and not necessarily a negative if I have to touch up. If this made me touch up within the first 1-2 hours, then I would think differently. I'm actually quite impressed that it could go that long! My skin at the moment is on the combo side but it did a good job keeping the oils at bay.

This makes your skin actually look like skin. As it promotes, there is no caking or looking like pile up. Since I tend to prefer a heavier coverage, adding on powder can easily look and feel very heavy. Whether I apply this on its own or use as a setting powder, it glides on very silky and lightweight. It truly makes the skin look healthy and vibrant. I prefer to use the applicator that comes with it when I use the powder on its own, and when I use it as a setting powder I like to use either my Wayne Goss 13 Powder Brush or Wayne Goss 11 Powder Brush. If you're wanting this to cover every single little spot, then it might not exactly do that. It lessened the redness on my face and in my problem areas, but wasn't able to fully cover some blemishes when I used it alone. Of course, you can layer and layer it to your heart's content, but that's not what I want out of this powder and I do think you will take away from its high quality if you do so.

I think what I enjoy the most about this is that it has oil absorbing properties but it's not drying. Mattifying powders tend to be drying and even for my oily skin they can end up making me look very unflattering, but this one deviates from the trend. Due to it being so soft and finely milled, it creates a very light layering effect. I'm definitely impressed with this and I think Wander Beauty has a winner here.

Ingredients: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Silica, Boron Nitride, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Dimethicone, Nylon-12, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Caprylyl Glycol, PDimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, 1,2-Hexanediol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Ethylhexylglycerin, Allantoin, Water, Jojoba esters, Tocopheryl Acetate, Butylene Glycol, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Flower Extract, Chrysanthellum Indicum Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Iron Oxides (CI 77492), Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Iron Oxides (CI 77499)

This was my first time trying something from Wander Beauty and I'm looking forward to trying more from them! I've heard a lot about their lip products so those might be next on my list.

Have you tried anything from Wander Beauty? I would love to know what your favorite products are!

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*This product has kindly been PR gifted. All opinions are my own. See my disclaimer for more information.


ExNatura: A Plant Based Makeup Remover

One of the least favorite parts of my day is when I have to take off my makeup. It's an absolute chore, in simple words. When will we get to the part of our technological advancement in society when makeup can take itself off? I definitely will be waiting for that day to come, but until then my skincare cabinet will continue to be a hoarding space of makeup removers, cleansing oils and balms, micellar waters, you name it.

ExNatura Makeup Remover* was introduced to me through Vanda, who has her own beauty blog (that I'm a big fan of!) called Miss Viggity Beauty. This product really peaked my interest after learning that it's purely made with a water base and only plant ingredients. As you know, I've really gotten into green beauty this past 2016 and I've incorporated a lot of 'clean' products into my routine. I don't solely stick to one specific type, be it Korean, French, green beauty, and so on. I like to mix because I do favor certain ingredients, consistencies, etc, and I've found wonderful skincare gems from all around. I've mostly been using cleansing balms and oils to take off my makeup, which can provide some moisturizing benefits as well. But before this, I had yet to use such a unique and special makeup remover like ExNatura.

ExNatura - "From Nature"

What exactly is ExNatura and what makes it so special from others? Let's start from the basics.

ExNatura Makeup Remover is formulated with plant extracts to create a blend that is gentle and effective for removing all kinds and types (waterproof, etc) of makeup on even the most sensitive skin. Its high quality is also seen in its ability to not leave any oily residue afterwards, only promoting fresh and clean skin. Since it's a green product, it has been carefully made to not include any parabens, toxins, carcinogens, or fragrances. They are 100% cruelty free and all of their ingredients are sourced in the USA.

I also had the chance to ask the creator of ExNatura, Scott Babey, a few short questions and I want to share some of his responses here with you!

ExNatura is a very unique product and does indeed remove makeup so efficiently and visibly without much trouble. Using plant ingredients doesn't always spell excellent results, there also is another factor with how the product itself is made and formulated. Could you possible explain a little more about what makes this product so special with your extraction/blend process?

S: "The process involved for formulation utilizes nano technology. When a product/substance uses this process, it penetrates at such a deep level that the substance just works better (nano particles will penetrate areas that normal physical substances or other products just cannot due to the law of quantum physics... you can fit 80,000 nanometers on the head of a pin/needle!). When you take this technology and couple it with natural ingredients (i.e. plants), then you have a 'win-win' situation. 
The majority of cosmetic products still utilize some, if not many, petroleum based ingredients. These products not only cannot work as well, but leave behind lots of harmful/toxic residue. Remember, our skin is like a sponge, and anything we put on it will be absorbed into our bodies and bloodstream. Another thing with these sorts of products is that no matter how well you 'think' you get your skin/face clean (whether washing with soap, using makeup remover, etc) there will always have a layer of petroleum left behind, no matter how minute. So, when you reapply makeup the next morning, you are just compounding more petroleum on top of petroleum."

I really love the name ExNatura and how you took it from Latin. Was there a certain inspiration for choosing it?

S: "The name 'ExNatura' came about out of necessity. The original name of the product was supposed to be 'Naturely Clean.' When I went to the trademark attorney and a search was done, he told me that there was a product with a very similar name and that there would be a lawsuit for sure. At that point, I decided to think outside the box. I had studied Italian for a few years, and also looked into a Spanish translation. I really wanted the 'nature' aspect to be prevalent in the name, and I love the way the Latin phrase translated."

Do you currently ship international or have thought about shipping international?

S: "I'm glad you asked about international shipping. I'm trying to work out some type of offer that will make it beneficial to cover shipping costs. I'm very interested in doing business in England with some retail locations. I can work a better pricing schedule shipping a dozen unites at a time."

It's great to hear about the global shipping for all of you who are international! Scott also mentioned about some exciting releases he's been planning for this year and onwards, including a face wash, shaving cream, and makeup remover wipes! All of it sounds so exciting and I can't wait to see how ExNatura will flourish.

A spray bottle of ExNatura holds 2 oz and retails online for $8.99, and one should last you about 30-45 days (per their FAQ). I've had mine for a few months now and I'm about more than half way done with it. You definitely can use it longer than 30 days without going through it but it really depends if you're only using this by itself, and also how many sprays you're needing.

If you're sensitive to fragrances then you'll be glad to know that this practically doesn't have any scent to it. ExNatura states on their website that they want to keep their product as clean as possible. Since some people tend to have irritants with essential oils, they have opted to forgo that route as well.

I mostly enjoy using this makeup remover to take off my BB cream, sunscreen, and any light makeup. I do think it does an excellent job as well to take off my heavier blusher, bronzer, and so on, but it really does well for lighter makeup! I have used it on my eye makeup, too, and it really breaks down the eyeshadow pigments and gets it off well. I sometimes need to go in a little extra more, especially if I've layered eyeshadow and used more sturdy liners, but it's not at all a problem. Mascara and waterproof mascara have always been a part of the makeup removing process that I have come to detest. It was very easy with spraying ExNatura on a cotton pad, holding it on my lash line, and applying pressure, to remove it all. I think that's what makes ExNatura really so easy to use in my routine, it makes taking off makeup seem so easy and that's all I ever want.
Ingredients: Non-Chlorinated Water, Processed Plant Extracts (Coconut, Corn, Grains, Sugarcane, Tree Sap).

I want to provide some example to how this works and the efficiency of the product. I decided to test out the remover on liquid lipstick, waterproof gel liner, foundation, and a drier matte eyeshadow.

ExNatura is not geared for taking off lip products, but I found it did a really good job at removing them! I went over this liquid lipstick about 2-3 times (after it's been dried!) and the right picture shows the aftermath. It got it off pretty well and I didn't even scrub at my skin, all I did was use a cotton pad and lightly push to take it off. The same goes for the waterproof gel liner (this dries pretty matte!), this was after 2 times going over it. I was really impressed considering it's one of the blackest and toughest to get off once its fully set. I didn't fully wipe it off because I wanted to show you what it looked like after 2 times going over it.

Scott had kindly given me advice that I can hold the cotton pad down for a few extra seconds when I'm taking off heavier makeup, just so that it picks up everything and works more efficiently. Whether you hold the cotton pad down or swipe over, I think either way it can work but holding it down might do well for concentrated areas. So you definitely can use this for heavier makeup, it just takes a few seconds more to get the makeup off.

I'm really impressed with this ExNatura makeup remover. I'm really looking forward to the remover wipes that will be coming out. This is such a unique product and I'm really glad to have been given the opportunity to review it for you all!

Do you have any favorite makeup removers? What's your holy grail product?

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*This product has kindly been PR gifted. All opinions are my own. See my disclaimer for more information.


The Beauty Crop Girl Gang #GRLPWR Liquid Lipstick Set + GIVEAWAY

Am I the only one who hoards lipsticks like she's an old cat lady? I haven't gotten to the point of naming them yet, at least! But all you fellow makeup lovers can understand, I'm sure. I was recently approached by The Beauty Crop with one of their newest releases, their Girl Gang Liquid Lipstick Set*, and thought I would finally review it all for you today (along with an opportunity for you to win one for yourself!). I couldn't wait to share this with you all. 

Before getting into the review itself, I want to talk about the brand. The Beauty Crop is an company that values healthy living and using natural ingredients for their beauty products. They have a philosophy of not using harmful or complex formulas, instead opting to create colorful, nutrition-rich cosmetics with plant-extracts, shea butter, and natural oils. They approach beauty through simplicity, authenticity, and performance, which is easily seen with their products. They also say they do not test on animals, which makes it even better using their products. They do not use parabens or phthalates, however they do use preservatives like phenoxyethanol.

They recently sent over their Girl Gang #GRLPWR Liquid Lipstick Set* and it really made me appreciate all of the inspiring and motivational women that I know, both online and around me in my life. Through Instagram I've 'met' some really inspiring people, their individual personalities and creativity shines so bright. I want to always support and be there for them to help their success. There are of course times when I do feel jealousy rear its ugly head, but it's really all a relation to how negatively I feel about myself. It's a reminder for how I should not only focus on my own journey and work towards my own success, but also learn to love myself and treat myself better. 

Girl power is not only about helping to uplift each other but also helping to nurture, respect, teach, and love. We help nurture through our successes and our failures, respect each other through disagreements and appreciation, teach each other when we're wrong and with tolerance, and love each other when we truly need it the most. Girl power is during the easy times and also during the difficult times. It's obvious that right now the state of our world is very shaky but we need to be diligent to remember to support one another, not just white women helping white women, straight women helping straight women, or any other variant that has always been the acceptable mainstream normalization. All of us, with our girl power, need to help and accept one another in all of our diversity and differences. I think for me, this is truly what girl power means and represents. 

There are five colors in this limited edition set:

For mere aesthetics, I really love the frosted packaging. I think it makes the liquid lipsticks very unique amongst the many that are already out there, and with the rose gold etched on top it adds a very chic feel to it.  Speaking of rose gold, I love that they opted for this color because I'm obsessed with anything having it.

These have a bubble gum-esque scent to them but it's not at all very strong. They also are very light weight in your hand, easily thrown into your purse or makeup bag. There is 4ml per liquid lipstick and costs $14.95 each. These have doe foot applicators that pick up a good amount of product when you first take it out. I like to use that amount as a single layer and then gauge if I need to dip back to apply a second. These are pretty opaque with a single layer so I rarely felt the need to do a second. These do tend to dry quickly and I would compare them to KVD consistency. I've been using Aromatherapy Associates Hydrating Moisturizing Lip Balm since it has a base of cocoa butter and is very moisturizing, and that has done the trick to keep my naturally dry lips from becoming chapped. They are really comfortable to wear as long as you have a good base underneath, and even if you don't they aren't super drying due to the shea butter included in this.

The wear time of these I would say is around 4-ish hours before I feel the need to touch up or possibly fully re-apply the color itself. If you're someone who works long shifts then these might not be the best to wear but maybe a night out or shopping date would be the most preferable. I definitely think that Greige Expectations is my favorite.

If you haven't seen yet, also check out Jenn's post here about these liquid lipsticks. She has some great thoughts about them and her photos are stunning.
Ingredients (they list the same for every single lipstick on their packaging): Isododecane, Silica & Methicone, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Butylene Copolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Phenoxyethanol [+/- (may contain) Red Iron Oxide (CI 77491), Titanium Dioxide (CI77891), Yellow Iron Oxide (CI77492), D&C Red No.6 (CI15850), Red 27 Lake (CI 45410)]

I have a surprise along with this post! The Beauty Crop was kind enough to offer all of you a chance to win this limited edition set! All you need to do is fill out the form below and do all the mandatory steps. This is open for U.S. residents. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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*This product has kindly been PR gifted. All opinions are my own. See my disclaimer for more information.



Lush Valentine's Day Collection

Long time no blog! I'm back after a somewhat short hiatus from blogging. I hope you all had a wonderful New Year's and CNY!

I'm breaking into 2017 with a new post all about Lush's Valentine's Day Collection. I was kindly sent some pieces from their new collection for reviewing purposes and I've been loving every single thing. This Valentine's Day Collection has some AMAZING limited edition items, some new and some re-promotes. Either way, you definitely will be needing to run to your nearest Lush to grab at least one or two things before this collection phases out.

Included in this Valentine's Day Collection is a variety of the usual gift sets, bath bombs, bubble bars, special lip scrub and accompanying lip gloss, soap, and also a bath melt. Lush isn't stopping short of creating the perfect atmosphere for those celebrating and wanting to pamper themselves and their loved ones. Of course, whether or not you celebrate Valentine's Day (or Galentine's Day!), these products are wonderful for some self care time.

What really has impressed me with this collection is the attention put towards creating high quality themed products, from Cupid Bath Bomb being shaped as a bow-and-arrow heart to Rose Bombshell Bath Bomb having raised rose imagery on top and the most luscious rose fragrance. Every product is given a lot of thought. I especially love the variation with the gift sets, Lots of Love, Happy Valentine's Day, and Love and Kisses are top notch. It's hard to praise this collection without talking about the selection of fragrances and mixtures, and they themselves are wonderfully put together. I thought that the Holiday 2016 selection smelled amazing but this takes the cake and more. Even as I sit writing this the scents from these products are taking me to heaven.

If you read my Lush Holiday 2016 post, then you would know that I just recently tried out their flavored Lip Sugar Scrubs. I fell in love with Sugar Plum Fairy and was so excited to see another one included with my package to review.

The Kiss Lip Scrub* ($9.95) is a hot pink, bubble gum scented scrub that is super sweet to the taste buds. It is limited edition and a debut to this collection, featuring ingredients such as Sicilian Mandarin oil,  Organic Cocoa Butter, and Safflower Oil. This really gets the job done for being a Lip Scrub and makes my lips super smooth afterwards. Whether I apply a lip balm or lip oil afterwards, they both easily glide right on and any lip product I use has no issues. What makes this Lip Scrub so unique is not only the sweet scent (that I'm addicted to!) but also the inclusion of the little hearts! They can be a little abrasive so you'll need to be careful but I love that addition to the product. I wasn't joking when I said that there is a lot of attention put to detail with the products in this collection! This also tends to tint your lips a lovely darker pink color, which works really well if you decide to purchase the accompanying lip gloss too since it's also a similar shade from what I can tell.

If I had to choose between Sugar Plum Fairy and The Kiss, I actually think I might choose The Kiss! I'm a sucker for super sweet scents and I'm really loving the cute hearts. While they are really only on the top of the container, it's still a nice touch to the product. Plus, anything pink instantly has my attention.

Ingredients: Castor Sugar, Safflower Oil (Carthamus tinctorius), Fine Sea Salt, Fair Trade Organic Cocoa Butter (Theobroma Cacao), Red Hearts (Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Glycerine, Gum Arabic, Sodium Carboxy Methyl Cellulose, Red 40), Flavor, Sicilian Mandarin Oil (Citrus Nobilis), Almond Essential Oil (Prunus Amygdalus amara), Corn Starch (Zea Mays), Geraniol, Limonene, Red 7 Lake, Red 30, Soft Pink Lustre (Mica, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Titanium Dioxide, Red 28, Tin Oxide). *Occurs naturally in essential oils

One product I was super excited about to try was Unicorn Horn Bubble Bar* ($7.95), as I've heard a lot about it previously and never got my hands on it myself. It has the prettiest design! A shimmery glitter sheen amidst a swirl of pastel rainbow coloring, this alone really makes it such a unique product and one that stands out. I really like that Unicorn Horn was redesigned last year. The colors look more polished and the shimmer more defined. Besides its pleasant looks, the scent of Unicorn Horn is a lovely mixture of lavender, ylang ylang, and neroli. It is very light and soft, a wonderful uplifting scent that is so relaxing and perfect to relax tension. This is easily broken down into soft pieces and creates lots of big bubbles! I really loved that it also turned the water a darker pink and made my skin feel super moisturized. I've broken it into pieces so I still have a bit left for another night of self care that I plan to do, it's honestly the perfect product to use. I definitely will be stocking up on this before this collection is gone and I recommend you do too! There is a really cool video on Lush's youtube page where they show you how they make the Unicorn Horn Bubble Bar, you can check it out here if you're interested.

Cupid Bath Bomb* ($5.25) was a love at first sight. When I took it out of the packaging, I honestly was so in love with it before I even knew anything about it! This is a bow-and-arrow heart shaped bath bomb that is softly raspberry scented, with an ingredient mixture of bergamot oil, rose petal powder, fresh raspberry juice, violet leaf absolute, and Persian lime oil. This is one of the best releases that Lush has come out with for their Valentine's Day Collection. Not only for the imagery of the Bath Bomb but the scent, too. The fragrance is soft, sensual, and fruity, almost like a cocktail of romance. Lush also mentions that it shares the same scent with their Razzle Dazzle Luxury Bath Oil. When this is put into the water, it instantly starts to fizz for seconds from either sides until it slowly winds down for the next minutes. I loved the fizzing, I think that was a great aspect about the bath bomb and allowed the product to disperse quickly at first (along with starting to color the water). It looked so beautiful to see the pink and white expand out from each side. The water doesn't fully turn pink in color, rather it is tinted/translucent. The Bath Bomb itself also doesn't fully dissipate either, so you might have a bit of it floating at the surface (which is not a big deal to me, personally!). The best part of it is the scent, which you can really smell once you're in the water and once you get out. I really think this Bath Bomb would be great to use after a date night out when you want to wind down, or even spending a nice time with your SO. It's such a romantic one, I would save it for a special time! Even if you don't have an SO, it's still such a great one to pick up (I know I probably will be!).

Ingredients (Unicorn Horn): Sodium Bicarbonate, Cream of Tartar (Potassium bitartrate), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Lauryl Betaine, Corn Starch (Zea Mays), Fragrance, Lavender Oil (Lavandula augustifolia), Ylang Ylang Oil (Cananga odorata), Neroli Oil (Citrus Aurantium amara), *Citral, *Limonene, *Linalool, Yellow 8, Red 27, Yellow 10, Yellow 5, Mica, Blue 1 Lake, Titanium Dioxide, Maltodextrin, Copper Powder. *Occurs naturally in essential oils 
Ingredients (Cupid): Sodium Bicarbonate, Citric Acid, Persian Lime Oil (Citrus aurantifolia), Bergamot Oil (Citrus Aurantium bergamia), Violet Leaf Absolute (Viola odorata), Cream of Tartar (Potassium bitartrate), Rose Petal Powder (Rosa damascena), Fresh Raspberry Juice (Rubus Idaeus), Water (Aqua), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Lauryl Betaine, Propylene Glycol, *Limonene, *Linalool, *Eugenol, Fragrance, Red 4, Red 33, Red 27. *Occurs naturally in essential oils

While Lovestruck Bubble Bar* ($8.65) may look a bit Joker-ish at first, don't bypass this one completely just yet! This Bubble Bar may not look beautiful to you but it's what's on the inside that counts, right? Well, that's how I've approached this review. Lovestruck is a smiley emoji Bubble Bar that's scented with Sicilian lemon oil, geranium oil, and petitgrain oil. It's basically a big 'ol fragrance mixture of floral-y, citrus goodness. I really applaud Lush for bringing some humor to their collection, I think this product is a great addition to the rest of their themed pieces. This was really easy to break down under running water and created a lot of fluffy, big bubbles. It turns the tub water a golden yellow color, kind of reminiscent of beer. It is moisturizing but I don't think it's something that I'll pinpoint over others in this collection. I do think this won't be a product everybody will like due to the unique scent, so it might be best if you first go in person and smell it yourself before buying. It's also a bit pricey for a Bubble Bar but considering the size of it, I don't think it's too much of a stretch.

Love Spell Massage Bar* ($8.95) is one of the cutest debut products of the collection along with Cupid. The raised hearts on the bar makes it so charming and very in tune with the Valentine's Day theme. The scent of this actually brings a lot of personal memories to me, as it reminds me of my Nonna's old home bathroom soaps. It has the softest mixture of sweet floral and citrus, with organic lemon myrtle oil, neroli oil, rose petal, carnation absolute, and rose hip syrup. The floral adds such a warm uplifting mood while the citrus is very refreshing in contrast. This scent is perfect for this collection, it's quite a muted fragrance that pulls more towards romantic softness. I love being able to apply this straight onto my skin, both raised hearts and flat-side, and allow myself to let the butters and oils do their work. This is one product that can be used multiple amount of times without fuss, as I pleasantly found out that it doesn't easily break down like some bar body products do. Whether you apply this on yourself or your SO, you won't need to worry about going through one of these quickly. It also does a brilliant job at moisturizing your skin and keeping the scent on afterwards. Your skin will feel supple, soft, and very refreshed afterwards. Even for how subtle the scent of the bar is, the fact that it still held on hours afterwards really impressed me.

Ingredients (Love Struck): Sodium Bicarbonate, Cream of Tartar (Potassium bitartrate), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Lauryl Betaine, Fragrance, Corn Starch (Zea Mays), Sicilian Lemon Oil (Citrus limonum), Geranium Oil (Pelargonium graveolens), Petitgrain Oil (Citrus Aurantium amara), Titanium Dioxide, *Limonene, *Linalool, *Citral, *Citronellol, *Geraniol, Red 4, Red 27, Red 33, Yellow 10. *Occurs naturally in essential oils
Ingredients (Love Spell): Fair Trade Organic Cocoa Butter (Theobroma Cacao), Fair Trade Shea Butter (Butyrospermum parkii), Fragrance, Organic Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia chinensis), Rose Hip Syrup (Water (Aqua), Sugar, Rosa Canina Fruit, Citric Acid), Fair Trade Organic Aloe Vera Gel (Aloe barbadensis), Carnation Absolute (Dianthus caryophyllus), Neroli Oil (Citrus Aurantium amara), Organic Lemon Myrtle Oil (Backhousia citriodora), Fresh Rose Petal (Rosa centifolia), *Benzyl Salicylate, *Cinnamyl Alcohol, *Citral, *Farnesol, *Limonene, *Linalool, Amyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Benzoate, Coumarin, Eugenol, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Pink Lustre (Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Red 7, Red 27). *Occurs naturally in essential oils

My favorite of the whole collection has got to be Rose Bombshell Bath Bomb* ($7.95). No surprise there! Not only is it a beauty to look at but the scent is sweetly intoxicating.  This Bath Bomb has a fragrance cocktail of Sicilian lemon oil, geranium oil, rose absolute, rose oil, and actual rose petals inside of it. This has a strong powdery rose fragrance as well, which makes it extra sweet and uplifting. I love how much this fizzles in the tub, it creates such nice bubbles and turns the water a romantic rose color. There also tends to be white patches swirling at the top of the water throughout the tub, which looked to be a combination of the oils. I also think it's brilliant to have rose petals added into the Bath Bomb, it really creates such a lovely atmosphere and experience with the product. This Bath Bomb was one of the most skin nourishing and moisturizing products out of the whole collection, my skin felt amazing afterwards and the scent still held on for a while. One of the best aspects was that I didn't have to clean up anything afterwards, just another positive about this product. Rose Bombshell will only be around for this collection so I definitely recommend picking up a few!
Ingredients (Rose Bombshell): Sodium Bicarbonate, Citric Acid, Fine Sea Salt, Yellow Rose Petals (Rosa Centifolia), Water (Aqua), Propylene Glycol, Sicilian Lemon Oil (Citrus limonum), Geranium Oil (Pelargonium graveolens), Rose Absolute (Rosa damascena), Rose Oil (Rosa damascena), Titanium Dioxide, *Limonene, Citronellol, Coumarin, Geraniol, Fragrance, Frosty Holly Lustre (Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Yellow 5, Blue 1), Red 4, Red 33, Red 27. *Occurs naturally in essential oils
When these two are placed together, they look like a heart. (promo image)

Two Hearts Beating As One* ($10.95) is a very unique inclusion in this collection. It boasts a handful of lush oils, such as apricot kernel oil, argan oil, bergamot oil, geranium oil, jasmine absolute, rose absolute, and ylang ylang oil. This mixture exudes a luscious, sweet floral scent that beckons your senses to stop in its tracks and pay it all of your attention. It is both sensual and flirty, with the floral scent being the showstopper. The jasmine and rose mixture is absolutely breathtaking. You can break them apart to be used at separate times but I really think the best experience you'll have is by using them at the same time. They create the most beautiful mixture of bright red/orange coloring in the bath water and really do look like a heart is beating as they slowly spin in the water. Overall this will take a good 10+ minutes to dissolve, so your best bet would be to actually be in the tub as its happening. You will need to brush your hand through the water a bit to get coloring distributed but it's not much of a hassle. I previously have not been really acquainted with bath melts beyond a few times, but I've found them to be pretty oily for me and I usually don't put my hair in the water when I use them. However, I found that this wasn't that oily and the scent of the bath melt stayed on pretty well afterwards. I think this is a lovely debut product and wonderful to at least try out, but for the price I'm unsure if it's really a need.
Ingredients (Two Hearts Beating As One): Fair Trade Organic Cocoa Butter (Theobroma Cacao), Laureth-4, Almond Oil (Prunus dulcis), Fragrance, Apricot Kernel Oil (Prunus armeniaca), Argan Oil (Argania spinosa), Bergamot Oil (Citrus Aurantium bergamia), Geranium Oil (Pelargonium graveolens), Jasmine Absolute (Jasminum grandiflorum), Rose Absolute (Rosa damascena), Ylang Ylang Oil (Cananga odorata), Water (Aqua), Titanium Dioxide, *Benzyl Benzoate, *Citronellol, *Geraniol, *Limonene, *Linalool, Hexyl Cinnamal, Red 4, Red 27, Red 28, Yellow 5, Orange 4. *Occurs naturally in essential oils

Overall another amazing collection from Lush! I'm seriously so in love with every product from this Valentine's Day Collection. You can't go wrong with any of these!

Will you be picking up any of these products or have you already? Let me know!

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*This product has kindly been PR gifted. All opinions are my own. See my disclaimer for more information.
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